Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Awakening


Waking from a deep sleep
the forest yawns and stretches out
stiff limbs


A warm light caresses
the lifeless branches
coaxing out curious puffs
of fuzzy magic


Tiny creatures
poke their heads
from the dark earth.

Such shy, fragile things


Rain falls
and falls
seeming endless

It must reach deep
to stir those
who continue to sleep


Ice transforms to a more fluid state
allowing the fish to escape
their cramped indoor existence


Each flower celebrates
its release
from bulb form


with a glow
whose light, colour and presence,
outshines its real life size
ten-fold!


Silly characters pop out of the lawn;
a happy, unplanned surprise.

I suppose I must thank the squirrels
for this one kind act
among the multitude of mischievous
re-plantings they perform in the fall


Daffodils emit an otherworldly glow;

They seem to siphon their colour
directly from the sun
becoming landlocked beacons of light
for us,
winter weary travellers


With an uncanny ability
to sense Spring air
they have yet to breathe


Houseplants,
rescued from last year's frost,
burst into joyous bloom


Outside,
timid colours
deepen


Fragrance
dances on the
ever-warming breeze
sneaking in through
windows that now remain
a crack open


Early bloomers
know their time
will soon be over,

buds give way to seed


Nature reminds us every day
in colour, shape and form -

It's always about Transformation!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Icy Tears


Winter would stay forever if it could.

It's worked hard to establish itself,
building layers upon layers of ice and snow,
determined to become a permanent part of our landscape.


It's understandable then,
to see the long, sharp, icy tears of sadness
when warm winds blow in
and it must relinquish its grip.


Rings of memory,
frozen in time,
wait anxiously to be released
to rejoin the story of the seasons.


Stripped of Winter's decorations,
the forests are left dark and empty,
save for the icicles
that twinkle like haunted chandeliers,
a memory of happier times.


The ground swells with unfamiliar waters;
milky-grey and ice-cold,
not ready yet for life to begin.


Ice touches gold.

Winter and Autumn, old friends,
reunite for a brief moment.
Together they transform bare fields
into treasure-chests brimming with jewels.


In the same way Winter arrived,
it leaves us breathless, sparkling
with a beauty we won't forget.


And then, with one swoop of a wand
the seasons change. 


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ice Bubble Magic


Need a reason to venture out into the cold?
How about something that will fill you with a sense of wonder!

If you'd like to watch a mini Ice Age planet
form before your very eyes
scroll to the bottom of this post for the video.

If you want to create an Ice Bubble yourself,
continue reading for instructions :) 


First, you must be brave and head out into the cold.

  • Yes, the VERY cold.
  • It should be no warmer than 30 degrees Fahrenheit/-1 Celsius! The day I took the video it was 0 Fahrenheit/-17 Celsius.
  • So, #1 - dress warmly; hat, gloves, coat, slush pants if you have (just like your mother made you dress as a child) because you will be staying still and the cold creeps up on you when you're not moving.


Other conditions you will need:

  • Sunlight (for photos)
  • Little or no wind
  • Some snow or a soft-ish outdoor surface to blow the bubble on.


Supplies:

  • Bubble solution: 3 cups water, 1 cup liquid dish soap, 1/2 cup corn syrup (stir gently, do not shake to mix!)
  • A straw
  • Patience
  • Wonder



I suggest blowing your first bubbles just to watch and enjoy.
The first few are tricky. Don't be discouraged if they don't last long.
Keep practicing, blow very gently and adjust your technique until you get the hang of it.


For taking photos:

  • I use my Canon 6D with my favourite 100mm macro lens which allows me to catch the fine details of the ice crystals but really, these bubbles are so beautiful I think any camera you use will not let you down! Your phone camera will do very nicely too.
  • I often shoot in Automatic setting (or use Aperture Priority, depending on the light) with manual focus.
  • Manual focus is a must because the bubble and the ice crystals that form on it are constantly moving. The trouble you'll see in the video (which I filmed with my iPhone) is the ice crystals often begin to form on the far side, then when the crystals form on the front, the camera doesn't adjust its focus and the final image has a haze on it.
  • With manual focus you will focus first on the far side of the bubble and then adjust to focus on the front side (closest to you) as the ice crystals develop.


Bubble tips:

  • The temperature outside will play a role in the speed and quality of the bubbles you get.
  • The colder it is, the faster the ice crystals form, sometimes I barely have time to blow the bubble and pick up my camera before the whole bubble is completely frozen over. (Yes, in Montreal, where I live, it is often VERY cold and I just love it!)
  • It's nice to catch the ice crystals as they form with a lot of free space around them if you can.
  • Fiddle around with the blowing technique until you find what works for you.
  • I make my bubble solution in a mason jar and keep it indoors with a lid on it for the whole winter.
  • If possible, put the jar outside to cool down a bit while you get dressed for outside.
  • Find a spot to set up, somewhere facing the light with a flat surface you can blow the bubble onto. You should have somewhere to brace your camera arm so you can remain still (or set up a tripod.) I use a banister on my backyard deck.
  • It's important that there is almost no wind. The bubbles don't stand a chance in the wind and you will be eternally frustrated when they keep popping. If you have an outdoor shed with a window, going in there might be a good alternative for you.
  • To blow the bubbles, I dip the straw in the bubble solution and gently exhale, rather than blow like we do with summertime bubbles, about an inch over the place I want the bubble to land.
  • Depending on the temperature, wind and humidity, the bubbles can last anywhere from seconds to minutes. Either way, start snapping pictures as fast as you can. For a more stable, long-lasting bubble, it's best to blow a smaller sized bubble than a large one.
  • Experiment with positioning the camera toward the light to create contrast and bring out the details of the ice crystals. This was extremely difficult for me at the beginning and took a lot of turning the camera every which way before I figured it out. It's times like this that I'm happy cameras today are digital and I'm not paying for rolls of film :)

I do hope you get the chance to give it a try.
It's not every day you find something that fills you with such wonder!






Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017!


Let's cheer to a brand New Year


To a fresh start with a full heart


To 365-days of fun as we journey around the sun


To cherish all we treasure and love without measure.


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