Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Delicate Colors

Ann-Christine, our challenge host this week, is inspired by “the soft glory of spring nature in my part of the world”. She lives in Sweden, a country I’ve never visited but with which I feel a kind of kindred knowledge as a resident of a northern state – Wisconsin. After a long winter, there is nothing more repeatedly astonishing as the bursting forth of delicate spring color. The leaves here are growing larger each day but have that yellow brilliance that will soon mellow into a sturdier green. Now, they accent a blue sky with a light-filled tenderness that is truly inspiring.

Here in my front yard, the apple trees and crabapple trees have finally burst into blossom. Their colors are so delicate that the midday sun gives them a rather harsh brilliance.

They are much more ethereal in the mist of a spring rain.

In my photographs, I often get a thrill from a good pop of color. I get a much deeper sense of awe from the soft color that I sometimes catch without really knowing how.

I guess the trick to this kind of soft color outside is indirect sunlight and moist air. One of the shots in the gallery above was actually taken indoors. The fern was in a conservatory greenhouse exhibit.

It’s finally Spring, though, and what I really want to do is just get outdoors into the sun and put my feet up!

Wishing you all health, safety, and ease this weekend. 🙂 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Awakening to Spring

The photo challenge for this week is about life’s waking after a long winter. Well, someone must have hit the SNOOZE button for Wisconsin because it’s still FREEZING up here!

I was able to see some blooms indoors at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago at the end of last month. Here’s another fern to echo Jen’s post:

I am really looking forward to the proposition of warmer days and greener landscapes. Any time. Soon. The sooner the better, really. Like…now would be good. Yeah. Until then, Northerners, this bud’s for you. 

Awakening

 

For My Own Sake

It’s still cold and snowy here in Wisconsin, and I have to do my taxes. I’m looking for a bright spot. I found a lot of them last weekend when I was in Chicago for my son’s wedding. The brightest were about family and love, but there was this other bit that was also bright and colorful — a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory.

There are goldfinches at my feeder. I see their feathers brightening a bit each day from their winter brown to that radiant, sunny yellow I love so much. It’s only a matter of time. I will try to “possess my soul in patience”. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise!

“Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!” – Wallace Stevens

Thank you, Jen, for quoting Stevens, one of the best at intuitive word play and surprise.

Thank you, Spring, for injecting life into the world just when we thought everything might be dead forever. 

Surprise

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh and Refresh

“Fresh and refresh were sitting in a boat…” (anyone remember that old joke about Pete and Repeat?) Would you believe I’ve been waiting for 20 minutes now for my computer to wake up and let me access my photo files?  How many times have I hit ‘refresh’? 

I have also been waiting (rather impatiently, again) for signs of spring.  Finally, the temperatures got warmer last week, and I saw the first scilla siberica pop up in the garden.  Can you believe something as tender as this little flower can crack through the crusty earth?  What is the force behind its penetrating power? 

scilla sibericaIt must be the power of Life, of change and renewal.  (To see a photo essay I did recently entitled: Renewed Like An Eagle – A Spiritual Lesson from Nature, click here.) I am winter weary and ready for fresh growth.  I can’t wait for more of Life bursting from the soil!

Happy Spring!  May you be refreshed by the change!

Fresh

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!

I brought my camera out today on a trip to Horicon Marsh Wildlife Refuge, but I didn’t take a single picture.  Spring here in Wisconsin meant barely 50 degrees, windy and overcast.  Although the sight and sounds of sandhill cranes and Canada geese and red-winged blackbirds were quite satisfying, I missed the sun and wildflowers that I’ve seen by this time in previous years.  *sigh*  I remembered that 5 years ago on this date, Steve & I were taking a wildflower class through the McHenry County Conservation District.  We learned to identify all kinds of woodland spring flowers like anemones and violets and jack-in-the-pulpit and May apples.  Haven’t seen but one little anemone this year.  Here she is:first wildflower

Brave little Buttercup!  Do tell your friends that it’s almost safe to come out.  I will wait for them.  🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

The mouth-watering prompt of this week’s photo challenge depicts a plate of cheeses from Italy with a pool of honey in the center.  “Why aren’t we living in Italy?” Steve asked me just a few weeks ago.  Good question.  No good answer.  But this post is not about cheese, or Italy, or even honey, but about angle and perspective.  “Share a photo of a subject which you shot from directly above.”  I have a new batch of shots from our hike along the Ice Age trail, so I looked through to find one which would be up to this challenge.  Aha!  Here it is:

from above

I remember how any bridge on a trail hike would be an opportunity to play “Pooh sticks” when I was a kid.  Just like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, my sisters and I would choose a likely twig to toss into the water on the upstream side of the bridge.  Then we’d wheel around to see whose stick came out first on the downstream side.  This log wasn’t about to budge from its place, but I thought of those childhood adventures with my sisters and my dad nevertheless — tromping the woods in the early spring, greeting the season of Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Mayapples and violets, and playing ‘bridge’ games.  Here’s another one: you pretend you are the troll under the bridge and the passersby overhead are the Billy Goats Gruff.  Believe it or not, I played that one on my first date with Steve.  We were hiking…and there was a bridge…and I just couldn’t help myself.  “Who’s that trip-tropping over my bridge!!!” I bellowed.  Yeah.  I guess he found it endearing in some way, because we’re still together 4 and a half years later.  Good thing. 

Sunshine comes From Above, and for that I am always grateful.  Stay playful, stay young at heart, and enjoy Spring!   

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

COLOR!  Wow.  Great photo subject!  It is now April, and color is slowly returning to the palette of the Wisconsin landscape.  Lawns are still brown and dormant, but the little Scilla Siberica is pushing up bright green and blue in my garden.  Hooray!  I’ve been posting black and white photos for months.  It’s time for a change!  I am definitely agreeable to embracing the rainbow…and you can take that as a political statement, too, if you’d like. 

Happy April, everyone!  And Happy Birthday to my son, Joshua – thanks for making my life more colorful!