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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Day Late...Only Fifty Cents Short

I was all teed up Sunday, ready to go out with the rest of the world and get pictures of the super moon, but some reason, I didn’t.  It might have been because the actual full moon was Monday night, but still.  A photographer acquaintance of mine had advised me that Sunday, the moon would rise early enough that a fair amount of light would remain before sunset, allowing for good shots. Then, all of a sudden, it was 4:45 pm on Sunday, my sister-in-law was texting me to go outside and see the moon, and all I got was scraps of it rising through the trees.

Which was why I headed out an hour-and-a-half earlier than I needed to Monday to scout locations, while crossing my fingers enough light would remain at moonrise, an hour later than the day before.  I don’t have one of those moonrise best-place-to-be GPS apps on my phone. So, based on a stunning picture someone posted from Sunday night, I took a stab as to where I might get a shot of the moon rising over Minot Lighthouse. 

My first clue that I was wrong place, wrong time occurred when no one else showed up with a camera.  Still, I positioned my tripod, framed the image I wanted, took some test shots, and waited. Then I waited some more.  Finally, about ten minutes before moonrise, a group of people gathered on the beach.  Just enough light remained for me to feel stupid uneasy, when I realized they weren’t looking toward the lighthouse at all.

Thankfully, this girl can take a hint.  I kept scanning the horizon, and just on time, a red thumbnail appeared at about a 45 degree angle beyond where I’d focused the camera.  Oops.  After a bit of a scramble, I got a few photos.  It was too dark.  What I caught with the camera says nothing about what I caught with my eyes.  

Nevertheless, a mild afternoon by the ocean, witnessing a mirror-still low-tide is a blessing.  Award-winning moonshot or not.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Picking Favorites - IWSG November

It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. The brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader.  To read other posts, click here.

This month's question: What is my favorite aspect of being a writer?

A long time ago, I read something about musicians feeling a kind of “high” after a performance.  Since I sang for many years, it makes sense to me.  Maybe it’s blood pressure, maybe endorphins, but after a good concert, I glowed inside.

Writing delivers a similar reward.  When the words spill out, something elemental stirs and I’m engaged and engrossed.  Of course, words don’t always flow, but even one good sentence helps, and when the job at hand is editing, I get sucked in while pondering the exact turn of phrase, the nuance of detail. If I'm interrupted by, say,  the alarm I set each morning so I leave the computer in time for work, or a phone, or maybe my family, I blink a few times as I return from where I mentally was.  It’s always difficult to depart that place, but warm coals of accomplishment burn for having traveled there.

Sometimes, I go a day or two without a focused period of writing.  Invariably, on the third or fourth day, I wake up with a craving, the need to sit down in front of the computer and spill it.  For me, the act of writing is medicinal.  It makes me whole again.  Without it, the puzzle of me remains incomplete.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Spectacular? I'll say!

Real autumn arrived this weekend with a whoosh of wind, pelting rain squalls and an overnight drop in temperature to the point the heat kicked on.  Thankfully, the waterworks let up for the field trip we’d planned Saturday, a quick visit with the busy-attending-school-and-working-daughter, followed by a trip to the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Zoo, in Providence, RI.  Said industrious daughter took a break to scope it out with a friend last week.  Her pictures were so stunning, my husband and I decided to give it a go.

The two of us don’t often do big crowds or tourist-type attractions, but this one made it to the exception list.  For anyone who has been in previous years, you’ll be happy to know that they organized it differently, so weekends aren't the mad-house they were apparently, in the past. Crowded? Yes.  But controlled, and worth the bit of patience required to traipse the zoo grounds in the dark, to view thousands of pumpkins, carved and painted into pure art.

Monday, October 17, 2016

And...Last Light

Friday night, when the TV weatherman announced the full moon-rise for Saturday would be at 6:05 pm, and predicted the sky to be clear, I decided to scratch off a bucket list item.  To that end, at 5:30 Saturday evening, my husband and I drove to a neighboring town with a lovely view of, you guessed it, a lighthouse, from across  the harbor.  Yeah, I know. Lately, all of my posts are of a similar theme and well, sorry. 

Actually, I’m not. The thing of it is, I love the water, I love lighthouses and I never get tired of where we live. That said, pictures of the moon rising from the ocean in front of this particular light are almost cliché in our neck of the woods, but I’ve never taken one and I was pretty jazzed that the timing and the weather would be right to do so.  Anxious to get a good shot, once we arrived, I asked my husband’s opinion as to the best place to stand. He laughed and pointed.  “It looks like that’s the right spot.”  Gulp.  About twenty photographers had staked out positions on the parking lot, the rocks and the sandy strip beside the harbor.  No word of a lie, they all had cameras with lenses half the length of my arm. 
Keeping my amateur-photographer distance, I set up my tripod and waited.  When we got close to the appointed time, everyone started checking their watches.  “I’ve got 6:03,” “Mine says 6:06.”  The moon, which should have appeared magnified and orange just over the horizon, didn’t…until, finally it bled through a haze, a ghost of itself, appearing as a fingernail, then a half, and then the image for which we all waited. The photographer closest to me cursed. “Damn clouds.”

Clouds or not, I clicked away, until satisfied, I stopped. Then, while all those pros scrabbled across the rocks, lugging their tripods over the sand, determined to take pictures from different angles, I simply watched the moon climb in the sky—which, in my mind, was the best picture anyone could get, anyway.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Lighting it Up

I had comp time coming, and since my normal Friday workday ends at noon, I extended the long weekend and took the morning off.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a day to myself with nothing on the schedule, and I woke up feeling odd—conflicted as to what to do with the time.  But, I got where I needed to in the end.  The remains of a firewood delivery lay piled in our driveway, and after lugging wheelbarrows full of it to the back yard, I decided I’d earned an “Artist’s Date,” a practice I learned while working through TheArtist’s Way, by Julia Campbell.

Consider an “Artist's Date an indulgence in creativity, something to spur inspiration, and I could use a little help in that department.  To that end, I headed to Fort Revere, a historic park up high on a peninsula, with expansive views of Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay.  I brought the camera and the tripod, with one goal in mind.  To get a nice picture of Boston and Graves Lights, seemingly parallel to each other, at the mouth of Boston Harbor. 

I’ve taken enough pictures now to know that light is more intriguing in the early in the day and pre-sunset.  I, however, arrived mid-morning, and with a postcard clear day, there wasn’t much going on in the sky.  But still, I took it all in, the boats plying back and forth across the water, the airplanes circling low on their approach to Logan Airport, and of course, the lighthouses.  Boston Light, located on Little Brewster Island was the first lighthouse to be built in what is now the United States.  It’s celebrating its 300th anniversary this year.  Grave’s Light, built in 1905, is a newbie by those  standards.  But when you stand on the mounds of an old fort and look across the bay to the two sentinels, it’s as if they’ve been there always, as if back in some ancient time, they thrust up from the sea.

The pictures came out pretty, but the visit itself was more important to me.  "Just what the Doctor ordered," as my father used to say.  I drove home and finished a draft of my current project.