Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sky decorations

The morning sky wore a blue background decorated with mottled clumps of clouds, beauty for the eyes. It didn't take too long before the clouds were replaced by brilliant sunshine, bringing sparkles to the crystals of snow still covering the ground.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Camera play

Late afternoon seemed like a good time for camera play. I headed out with the intent of experimenting with my macro lens, looking for small things hidden from a simple passing glance.

Sunlight masked by haze called out to be photographed - not a target for a macro lens, but still an interesting vision. Then my camera turned to the edges of the snow and ice, remnants of dried flowers, pine cones...

I managed a few shots that I really like, but I suspect that the addition of a tripod or monopod may be one of the things I need to improve my macro capabilities. First I have to seek out images that attract my eye and my camera, and then I have to manage a still shot. Finding interesting shots doesn't seem to be an issue for me, but holding the camera steady when focusing on something small that is very close to my lens is an interesting exercise in steadiness.

Interested in seeing more of my macro experiments? Photos can be viewed in my Winter (macro) images photo gallery.

Relative warmth

When I look back at today in a month or so, I'm sure that I'll be surprised that I referred to temperatures in the mid-30s as warm. But today? It seemed warm to me.

My bicycles were calling again, and this time I headed out earlier in the day without any hesitation. Of course it was a riding day! Twenty-seven happy miles rolled beneath my wheels as they passed over sometimes dry and sometimes puddled road surfaces. I suppose I will just have to put up with the puddles for a while as the snow melts.

And snow? Please keep melting!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Diminishing daylight

As the sun sinks in the west, remnants of orange tint the horizon, bare skeletons of trees stand before the deepening blue sky...

A bicycle's tale of a February day

The sun rose to highlight a crisp, cold day, clearly still winter here in New England. I knew for the sake of my sanity that today's exercise needed to be some sort of outdoor play, but I decided to wait until the sun had a chance to warm the air before I ventured out either walking or riding.

Mid-afternoon, it was time to (finally) get moving. Brrr! It was still a bit chilly out. Temperatures in the high 20s, wind blowing, it seemed like a good day for walking. I headed out walking, quickly warmed up, and oops! time to turn around and heed the call of my two-wheeled steed. You'd think I would have learned from Monday's experience that if I had any fleeting desire to ride that I should head out on my bicycle and not on foot. Apparently that lesson didn't stick with me last week; maybe today's will.

A tale of a ride, as told by my purple bicycle...

We (Denise's bicycles) really didn't understand why she headed out on foot today. We knew that she would be back sooner than she expected, and we knew that one of us would be rolling down the road with her very soon. After all, it was a beautiful day - even though it was a bit chilly. The temperatures were in the high 20s, and that stuff Denise refers to as wind was blowing. We've ridden in colder temperatures and on windier days before. And we just knew that riding was the perfect solution to Denise's winter funk.

Yes, it was a bit cold out. We don't feel the cold event though Denise does. It's late enough in the winter that she has finally figured out the right layers to wear, so she was quite comfortable. And there was a huge plus to the below freezing temperatures - the road was dry. We rolled in loops not too far from home, chatting with dogs walking down the road with their owners, passing still frozen ponds, and even seeing some other cyclists braving the cold. We didn't stay out terribly long - an hour and a half on the road on this cold winter's day. It was a good ride.

As we wait for spring to arrive, it's time for Denise to remember that riding - even on a cold day - makes her happy.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A light blanket...

...of snow decorated everything in sight early this morning. The early gray sky gave way to sunshine a few hours later, new snow glistening.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Birds walking

Warm temperatures lured me outside for a quick mid-afternoon walk. It's amazing to me that what felt like amazing warmth today - temperature in the mid-40s - will probably feel cold in a relatively short amount of time. I'm hoping that by the end of next month that 40 degree temperatures actually seem cold, but for now they make me quite happy.

I tried to convince some Canada Geese that it would be safe to pose for pictures, but they were clearly leary of the 2-legged creature who was missing her wings but who did have a funny device (a baby camera!) attached to one hand. They were right though - it's probably safer not to stand still for too long, not knowing the intent of the person who insisted on following them.

In case you're worried, I really wasn't that close to these big birds, and the thought of chasing them didn't even enter my mind.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Riding the temperature

17 miles in 17 degrees, with winds blowing at 17 miles per hour (and with gusts to 21)...

This feels like déjà vu; I know I've been here before.

A blue sky greeted me this morning, but brrr! it was cold. The early morning temperatures were in the single digits, and the wind was blowing. No work for me today on this odd federal holiday (Washington's birthday), and it wasn't a day when I wanted to be pinned down by the weather.

I wasn't going to ride today; I thought it was too cold. It was so cold that I waited until afternoon when the temperature warmed into the teens before I headed out walking. Right foot, left foot, right, left... walking, moving quickly... I was still warm when I finished my hour-long walk.

I opened the door, and I thought I heard my bicycle calling to me. What was she saying? That it was time to ride! Yes, it was still very cold and fairly windy, but the roads were dry (unlike yesterday when they were streaming with water just waiting to through salt onto my bicycle). So I agreed; it was time to ride.

It was cold enough outside that I stuck with some relatively short loops where other humans (in houses) weren't too far away. Rolling past Harold Parker State Forest, I was somewhat surprised that the frozen ponds didn't sport any people on skates. And unlike most of my other winter rides, I didn't see anyone else wandering on a bicycle. Do you think there was a reason? I couldn't have been the only person wandering on two wheels, could I?

The late afternoon sun cast shadows through the trees, shadows interspersed with shine from the ice-crusted snow. Winter beauty...

Success! A comfortable winter ride meant that I was still toasty warm when I got home. The remaining Gatorade in my water bottle was another story; it had changed from liquid to slush around a solid core of ice.

My final mileage for the day seems fitting, doesn't it?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Snow visions

Glistening snow surrounds fallen pine needles

What do you see? A bear? Someone (something) else? This looks like a human-aided sculpture to me, but I suppose it could have been accidental.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sea gulls posing

A cold day greeted me this morning, tempting me with blue skies and gradually warming temperatures. After a quick chat with my bicycles I knew that it needed to be a riding day. A late morning start allowed me to ride in comfortable temperatures - mid 20's, rising to 30 while I was out. (Amazing that I refer to those as comfortable temperatures, isn't it?) Many of the roads were cloaked in wet, sand and salt hiding in the puddles, ready to cling to my bike. I chose the dry roads, staying on the more heavily traveled (but still back) roads in my area, and riding for a little over an hour.

I had a need to wander today, and my short ride didn't satisfy that need. Restless...

Ah, the coast was calling to me. I quickly responded, heading to the short southeastern edge of New Hampshire clad, in warm layers for walking, camera at hand and ready for action. The ocean was quiet today, and sections of the beach glistened with water. Sea gulls walked, wet sand acting as a mirror, reflecting images. Sea gulls flew, blue skies framing their wings. Away from the water, snow showed the art of the wind, drifting over the sand.

Walking along the water, talking to and capturing images of the sea gulls provided smiles, calming my earlier restless feelings.

Even small reflections are magic...

Add a sea gull in motion, and the reflections get even better...

Focus? Yes, I would have been happier with a slight improvement in focus on this shot, but I do like the feeling of flying.

Flying, reflected...

...and walking, with a quick peek back at the photographer (me!)
More photos? Yes, of course there are more. You can see them in my Conversations with birds photo gallery.

Friday, February 16, 2007

B flat curiosities

My commute to work is usually eased by listening to NPR's Morning Edition; the story that caught my ear this morning was about musical notes. Did you know that alligators bellow when they hear a specific musical note, a B flat, one octave below middle C? I wonder why.

The why doesn't really matter though; what matters is that this story started my day on a cheerful note!

Interesting reading and listening: Have you heard about B flat?, broadcast on Friday, February 16, 2007.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Precipitation? Freezing!

Freezing fog, snow, freezing rain... It was interesting checking the current (local) weather conditions on the National Weather Service website to see the variety of precipitation that the weather wizard provided today. Freezing fog was a new condition for me, so new that I had to search for a definition to see if that was what I saw flying outside of my window.

Here's what I found in a glossary published by the American Meteorological Society: freezing fog is a fog the droplets of which freeze upon contact with exposed objects and form a coating of rime and/or glaze. And rime is a white or milky and opaque granular deposit of ice formed by the rapid freezing of supercooled water drops as they impinge upon an exposed object.

What's that I hear? I opened the door, and reached out a hand to catch some of the precipitation that was falling from the sky. Oh! It's little balls of ice. I need a picture! I captured some (could this be freezing fog? probably not, it may be sleet...) in a small bowl; it was posing for my camera!

Late afternoon came, and I needed an escape from the house. Walking, more walking... My feet tread the sometimes plowed road surface instead of attempting to find a way through snow-enshrouded sidewalks. Wind came and went, the precipitation continued, and my feet kept moving.

As I was getting closer to home, the wind speed increased. With a distinct wind-assist, the weather wizard started throwing ice crystals into my face. Hey - that stings!

The sound of ice

I expected quiet this morning, thinking that our precipitation would still be falling as snow, but I woke to the sound of ice pelting the side of the house. Ice in the form of sleet, or freezing rain...

In typical "Denise" fashion, I headed down the road intent on reaching my office. Traffic was moving very slowly down slick, sometimes plowed road surfaces. Just a few miles down the road I decided that it would really be smarter to work at home today. So I'm home, at my computer, listening to the sound of ice.

I suppose it's a good thing that this nest isn't populated with eggs or baby birds - the blanket of snow covering the "bed" doesn't seem like it would be very warm.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Standing guard

Mid-afternoon, it was time to clear my mind with a walk, camera in hand.

How nice of this dog to happily stand guard in all sorts of weather... sun, rain, snow, he's always there. Funny thing is, he's guarding a well-worn dog house that looks like it has served many live dogs - but I've never seen a live dog in this space.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Morning magic

Early in the morning, I opened the door and wandered outside to pick up the morning newspaper. I was greeted by magic in the sky. Streaks of pink highlighted my view to the east; to the south I saw the bright magic of morning moonshine.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Walking on water

As I rode by Harold Parker State Forest this afternoon I saw people playing on the ponds, skating, walking. Ah, the temptation... the frozen surface was thick enough to support human wanderings by foot. Ride finished, I warmed up and then headed back to the ponds so I could spend some time walking on (frozen) water.

Walking on water, standing mid-pond

Sections of ice peek through the snow, gleaming, reflecting light
Ponds? A bit of a Massachusetts oddity... The bodies of water that are called ponds here are usually referred to as lakes elsewhere. In fact, one definition of a pond is "a body of water smaller than a lake" - and yet the decent-sized bodies of water that my boots crossed this afternoon are labeled on maps as ponds. I would have called them lakes.

A taste of summer

It's winter here in the northeast, and the weather is almost acting like winter. I say almost because while it has been cold, the ground as remained relatively dry and snow free so far...

Today I had a real treat, a taste of summer provided by a peach from Chile.

Summer fruit doesn't always travel well, and I am usually leery of beautiful displays of peaches and nectarines in the heart of our winter. I'm so glad I was pulled in by the sight of peaches in the grocery store this week. They looked good, they smelled good (what, you don't smell summer fruit before you buy it?), and what a fabulous taste! Peaches, yum!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Flashes of color

Today was a cold (but warmer than it has been) winter's day. It was a day for wandering without a camera, a day for mind pictures...

Blue sky studded with white clouds, a light layer of snow remaining from last week's showfall; it's been so cold that the 2 inches has stayed much longer than you would expect. Rolling down the road, two wheels propelled by two feet, visions by the side of the road of naked trees and bushes, brown against a background of white, frozen ponds, streams still flowing.

What's that? High and off to the side, a flash of red. A beautiful cardinal settling on a branch. And then, a hawk, wings spread, floating. Wonderful.

Later, driving down the road... The late day sun was gleaming, creating bright yellow highlights behind gray clouds. As moments pass, the colors continued to change. Sun sinking, blue sky deepening. Looking to the north and east, the sky was darkening, near nighttime black. To the west, there was still a red glow at the horizon with deep blue above.

Fleeting color, captured in my mind...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

How much snow?

Here I am, happy that I convinced myself that a walk was a good thing to do in spite of the very chilly temperatures - and then I took a look at the weather in upstate New York.

All I can say is wow!

My parents live in an area of New York that normally gets lake effect snow. They have been getting their usual amount of the white stuff, constant, every day snow. It appears that their normal amount of snow this week is quite reasonable when compared with a very narrow band to their west, closer to Lake Ontario - apparently only 10 miles wide - of very very serious snowfall.

I heard the numbers, the snowfall so far plus the predicted snow yet to come, and I find the reality very difficult to imagine. A report titled "Again?" in the Oswego Daily News showed snowfall totals for the five-day storm as of early this morning - and they were impressive. Examples? The town of Parish had 77 inches of snow as of 6:20 this morning, with snow falling at the rate of 4 inches per hour, and the town of Mexico was close behind with a total of 72 inches of snow as of 4:20 AM with snow falling at the rate of 5 inches per hour. That's beyond my wildest imagination - and I've seen predictions that the storm total will top 100 inches by tomorrow night. Eight feet of snow! I feel for the people who live there - but at least they have an inside to escape to... the poor animals!

When I compare our cold and dry weather with the snow coming off of Lake Ontario - well, our weather is nothing. OK Denise, no more (winter) complaining!
A quick update on February 9th: I just saw an article in the Washington Post and another on CNN saying that the snowfall totals were approaching 100 inches, and that the town of Parish had reported 94 inches of snow by this morning. Still continuing...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Brrr... cold and crisp!

Cold, wind blowing, increased chill...

It's been hard from the warmth of my office or of my home to convince myself that walking outside is a good idea. I do know that I'll feel better for it, and while yesterday's chill convinced me to stay inside, today I won the argument with myself. It was a short walk, but yes, it was a good one.

I wonder where the Canada Geese are hiding. I usually have a conversation with a flock of geese during my "close to work" walks, but they seem to have pulled a disappearing act today.

Yes, I know, it really is winter. It's February, so I suppose the cold is to be expected. And no, that's not a complaint; I really can't complain given the minimal amount of snow that we've had so far this winter.
An early afternoon (short) escape from work into the sunshine was a welcome break, but chilly!

And yes, my hood was definitely needed.

Images of blooms from late summer or early fall, captured in a dry and brown state, still beautiful.

Still hanging on, in spite of the strong winds trying to rip this seed from its pod.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Can you hear the wind?

Wind swirling, howling, throwing things through the air, making the already cold air feel even colder...

To a more normal person this would probably have been a day to hide inside, but I've found that I'm addicted to spending time outside. I felt the need to walk, and after conferring with the weather wizard about the real temperature, I donned layers and layers and layers of clothes. It was quite cold, 18 degrees Fahrenheit, and the winds that I had been listening to all day were blowing at 25 miles per hour, and gusting to 35. Cold air, wind, colder air, walking, walking faster, staying upright on sometimes slippery surfaces...

Ah, my layers were just right. Arriving home after 75 minutes of fast walking, warm fingers and a toasty body tell me that my layers were just right.

I could still hear the wind...

A ready-made home...

...for a bird, that is!

I stepped outside on this very cold and very windy winter's day to see a small bird's nest hanging on in the tree in front of my house. A bird's nest waiting for spring occupants (and of course for warmer weather)...

For now, I'll take it as a reminder of a season that I will be happy to welcome.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Decisions! A day for walking? riding?

I woke up to clear blue skies, cold temperatures, and a bit of wind. I was hoping to ride today after skipping yesterday due to messy roads, but after listening to the wind for a while, I decided to walk instead. You know what happened though, don't you?

Fast walking, avoiding icy patches, brrr when the wind blows, but warm as toast when the wind stops. Hmmm...

I finished an hour-long walk still warm, listening to the desire in my heart. Into the house, a short discussion ensued with my bikes (what, you don't talk to your bikes?), tire pump active, putting air in the tires of the bike that insisted on joining me outside. I grabbed a quick snack, switched some clothing layers, and it was time to roll down the road.

It was a short ride - only 14 miles - but it made me happy to be out on the road on my bike. The temperature? It was 19 degrees Fahrenheit when I started out, with wind at 14 MPH gusting to 23 (according to the National Weather Service at a location in the town next to mine). Since I rode a big square, I did have the benefit of a snappy tailwind for part of my ride. And I endured the headwind; it wasn't as bad as it sounds.

Ah, that made my day! And I still have a big smile on my face...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Visions on a cold winter's day

Cold, a layer of snow on the ground, a bit of wind, messy roads, a good day for walking...

How much snow?

Only a couple of inches, but that small amount adds winter decoration to fences.

A bear ensconced in a shop window, grinning as people walk down the street.

An early vision of spring, robins!

A tiny bit of snow clinging to bare branches.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ice remains

Cold temperatures, some days warmer, some not, ice remains...