15_the_circle: (rosette raindrop)
Monday, March 28th, 2011 09:33 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

What does one do for one's dear sister's birthday?
Give her flowers, of course. 

These were taken out on the Circle and in the cottage garden while wishing you birthday greetings by (very) long distance 'phone. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)


Scilla siberica


Scilla siberica


Forsythia
15_the_circle: (azalea post facto)
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 11:25 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

There's always somebody who doesn't get the memo, or perhaps this is just an example of rugged individualism.  Or of feline-grade stubbornness.  For whatever reason, out in the Circle this azalea has been blooming even as autumn winds down. 

Light frosts have not yet deterred these blossoms though a continued decline in overnight low temperatures can be expected.  It's not clear to me which pollinators it might be seeking to attract, but one presumes that the effort is expended for some purpose other than that of catching my eye as I wander past. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)





Azalea
15_the_circle: (cottage autumnal)
Sunday, November 14th, 2010 08:25 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

November in the Grove is our time for the annual leaf crop harvest, or it would be if it had any market value.  Failing that the next best thing is to pile them along the walkways and paved roads from which they are collected by impressively massive and noisy machinery and hauled off to become compost.  The nearby Asbury community used to accrete truly massive leaf piles but some sort of development has been underway over there and that part of their facility has been a construction site for rather a while now so our excess biomass has since been diverted to places unknown. 

As the leaves turn and fall into the ever-shortening days one has to choose carefully: any time spent moving leaves is subtracted from that available for walking around to appreciate and perhaps record the show, and vice versa

The images below represent Saturday's trade-off in this regard:
(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




Step out the back door and the low hanging leaves of the dogwoods are right there, catching the afternoon light. 


Cornus florida

Meanwhile out in the circle the Japanese Maples are at it again, leaves glowing like bright jewels:


Acer palmatum

Down at the other end of the Grove the stately sycamore is using the same light into a different, but equally compelling way against a wonderfully blue sky ...


Platanus occidentalis

... and nearby these stellate leaves are not to be overlooked. 


Around the corner and a ways down Brown Street the light is helping along this found composition.  There's a lot going on here: paint on paint on cement; shadows on brick and mortar; bits of detail that at first seemed extraneous but on taking another look seemed to belong. 


Heading back along Oak Street, looking up into the sugar maples the effect was once again completely overpowering. 


Acer


Coming back to the Circle one returns just as the light is starting to run out. 


127.0.0.1 a/k/a ::1


That was yesterday.  This afternoon's images are still in the camera.  With any luck they will appear in this space in another day or so. 

15_the_circle: (maneki neko)
Sunday, November 14th, 2010 07:43 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)





Acer palmatus

In addition to the play of light and shadow, the leaves in this image are suggestive of traditional Japanese koinobori fish kites trailing the breeze.  This image was taken on Thursday, about a half year too late for Tango no Sekku Boys' Day but it can't be helped: these trees run on their own cycle. 

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Monday, November 1st, 2010 09:52 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

There are some holidays for which the Grove is particularly well suited: 4th of July, anything with snow in it, and of course Halloween.  There's nothing like walking down the walkways in the dark with fallen leaves rustling about one's feet to set the evening's mood.  Some Grovers like to spook up their places, a few of whom to an extreme.  My own preference is for something understated, at least as far as appearance is concerned. 

This year the outbound flows of consumer goods from China have included miniature paper lanterns, in the mode of wrappers for those little Christmas lights.  Paper lanterns were popular in the Victorian era, though for strict adherence to the original these should have been larger, fewer in number and powered by little candles ... and would likely have caused at least one call to the fire brigade. 

After the ritual distribution of treats ("you have to make a choice: there are little boxes of raisins for those who absolutely promise to eat them; the rest of you will have to settle for chocolate") I took a few moments to try capture the scene for prosperity.  These things aren't weatherproof, or anythingproof for that matter, so it's not like there was going to be another chance. 

The above really doesn't do it justice: the paper softens the light without losing surface detail (the reflections seen in the upper window actually provide a better rendering than the direct view of the same lanterns). 

The one below has its own shortcomings: the time lapse gives the impression of ambient light whereas the actual effect was that of pools of light scattered in a region more shadowy than lit.  On the other hand the conical regions of light under each of the paper lanterns are an interesting artifact of the time exposure. 

Ephemeral moments are like that: you had to have been there. 

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Saturday, December 5th, 2009 11:18 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

we don't often get snow this early in the season, and if tomorrow's forecast holds it will be melted before the day is out. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



snowy facade

snowy facade
snowy façade

Center Street

the snow accretes to good effect onto twigs, leaves and berries. 

snow on twigs snow on honeysuckle leaves
lonicera

Ridge Road

snow on berries

upper field

the reason for heading out in the first place was to see what effect the snow squalls and lighting were having on the treeline between the upper and (what remains of the) lower fields.  these thumbnails really don't do justice to the moody atmosphere ... click on through for a better view. 

treeline recedes into snow
treeline recedes into the snow

the break in the hedgerow
the break in the hedgerow

walking on through the break, nearly ignored by a few deer ambling by, for once I found the highway interchange construction project to be neither an auditory nor a visual blight. 




the upper field's most prominent tree presented a ghostly aspect, snow and light combining in a way that made it impossible to stop for just one image. 

ghostly ghostly
15_the_circle: (dogwood leaf)
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 11:59 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

one afternoon of non-rain was all it took to allow some beautiful light. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



the Circle

Japanese Maple leaves when stacked allow layers of light to create compositions like this. 

layers
acer palmatum

McCathran Hall grounds

this oak leaf with acorn cap is about as evocative of the Grove as anything could get. 

oak leaf and acorn cap
quercus

Upper Field

the bittersweet seems to be coming along sooner than usual this year -- or perhaps I just haven't been paying enough attention to the passage of time. 

backlit
celastrus orbicalatus

this corner of the upper field is slated for residential development at the hands of the Toll Bros.  my own (and strong) preference is for it to stay the way it is, but that doesn't seem to be an option.  this view won't last much longer; that it remains at all is an artifact of recent economic distress. 

before the arrival of the Toll Bros

Ridge Road

Ridge Road has two sharp bends, the first of which exceeds 90° and is colloquially known as "big bend".  before the Town got around to resolving drainage issues the body of water that could be found there after a goodly rain was known as "big bend lake". 

big bend is marked by this large maple, caught at its brilliant best in Sunday afternoon's sweetlight.  for me even the power lines don't detract from the setting, rather they seem to help frame the treetop. 

maple in afternoon light at big bend
acer
15_the_circle: (rosette raindrop)
Thursday, May 28th, 2009 11:56 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

one does not wish to complain, but for the longest time now the weather seems to have been rain, more rain, and nothing but.  no doubt later in the year we'll be wishing equally fervently for its return but at this point things have gotten rather soggy around here and we'd readily trade some of this precipitation for, say, a bit of sunlight. 

today provided an opportunity to come home on the train before sundown, much to be preferred to taking the night's last subway.  yet another front had come through, drenching the place but giving the air that cool, crisp and clear edge that lets you know that at least for a while the oak pollen has been washed away. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



the Circle

there was just enough light to see these incompletely fallen raindrops, pausing in their descent to linger on a neighbour's peonies -- a most excellent choice. 

incompletely fallen raindrops

+1 )

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Sunday, April 12th, 2009 11:43 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

there are times when goin' daffy makes perfect sense.  a week at the 7th District police station resulted in a successful field deployment for the first part of the city to cut over to the new system but it made for long hours.  the weekend provided chances to ramp down to normal circadian rhythms and to see what had been going on -- a great deal, as it turned out -- while my attention was directed elsewhere. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



the Circle

this picture took a day to get.  I had seen it on Saturday just as the light shifted away from this composition so there was nothing to do but try again 23¾ hours later.  a thin margin is better when it's positive rather than negative, and it's easier to wait for a day than for a year for lighting and conditions to converge again (this I know from having found it out the hard way). 

daffodil glow

the glow of this daffodil in the afternoon light and the combination of shadow and texture was worth the wait. 




here's the same flower, seen in context with crabapple budding overhead and cottage façades in the background. 

daffodils in context
15_the_circle: (rosette raindrop)
Thursday, March 26th, 2009 09:18 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

finally the days are long enough for Grovers alighting from the train at the end of the street to get a chance to see this place before sundown.  with the vernal equinox behind us the extended light is starting to do all of us more than a little good. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



the Circle

it rained last night and throughout the day.  my good fortune in having been able to catch the early train meant that on getting home there was just enough time to change into jeans, grab the camera and head out into the ebbing ambient light to share these glimpses of what the season has been up to. 


wet daffodil

wet daffodil



wet daffodils

wet daffodil
Daffodil


as usual these thumbnails are too small for much of anything other than to let you know where to click. 

15_the_circle: (snow oak)
Sunday, March 8th, 2009 11:49 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

the past couple of days have provided a wonderful taste of what the spring will bring, but despite the relative optimism of the current ten day forecast there is still a ways to go before winter is finished with us. 

with that in mind it's not completely clear whether the following images from 31 January are a look forward or backwards.  one hopes for the latter but would do well to prepare for either outcome. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




the Circle

as January turned to February the snow on the ground went through a couple of days worth of partial-thaw-and-hard-freeze cycles.  treacherous as the surfaces were for walking, their effect on light was well worth going out to appreciate - luminance from below rather than above made for a different way to view otherwise familiar surroundings. 

ice at sunrise
ice at sunrise

the best lighting was to be found just at dawn so for both days of the weekend a rousting of self up and out was necessary. 




Howard Park

by afternoon things had gotten marginally warmer out there and further wandering turned up the curious sight of these sycamore seed pods. 

sycamore seed pod sycamore seed pod
sycamore seed pods

what makes them come out like this? 
the first one gives the impression of a hole somehow melted through the ice from underneath whereas the second suggests an impact, perhaps as the pod falls from the tree branch far above, thudding onto and into the ice. 




the real attraction of the ice sheets came from their interplay with texture and light: 

ice sheet texture

ice sheet texture

but best of all was the chance to get back inside and restore thermal equilibrium. 


15_the_circle: (snow cottages)
Sunday, March 8th, 2009 09:33 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

it is said of this month that it comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb, a process that was encapsulated into a single week. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)




the Circle

we started off with temperatures in the 20°f range and two days of snow, as caught on the porch cam:

March snow

by Saturday the temperature had hit the 70°f mark but the snowdrops were still holding out in the Circle ...

snowdrops in the Circle
Galanthus Nivalis



Jackson Park

... and over in Jackson Park the crocus meadow had come into its brief annual existence. 

Jackson Park crocus meadow

Jackson Park crocus meadow
Crocus

the Grove's other crocus meadow is/was on a privately owned lot where construction has taken place over the course of the past year; the attendant moving and scraping of soil might have obliterated it.  it's been a while since I've been over there but will take a look later today to see how -- or if -- it's coming along. 

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Saturday, December 13th, 2008 11:50 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

one of the best things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers, not all of which need be culinary in nature. 

for the past several years I have observed a Thanksgiving jointly with friends here in the Grove.  distributed mode cooking makes for a better allocation of tasks and facilities in a way that just makes the day goes better, and entails a certain amount of going back and forth that affords the opportunity to see the Grove during daylight, a pleasure that lately has become too rare a treat. 

this were taken that day; a variety of circumstances have contributed to the delay in posting. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



the Circle

clematis against sky


detail
Clematis virginiana


Grove Avenue (Chestnut Road side)

another example in a different location, looking down rather than up. 


Clematis virginiana

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Monday, May 5th, 2008 11:25 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

the light at its fullest can saturate out all the contrast from any unshaded subject. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)



the Circle

clear afternoon sunlight comes pouring down on these azaleas, washing out sunside detail but leaving layers of shadow to delineate blossoms on the other. 

azalea

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Monday, May 5th, 2008 08:51 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

so much of spring has come out all at once. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



the Circle

another common -- and commonly-overlooked -- wildflower that comes out around now is Star-of-Bethlehem a/k/a Sleepydick.  the first image below shows where it has volunteered along the walkway out front, a spot in which it is most welcome. 

Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem
Ornithogalum umbellatum



15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Monday, May 5th, 2008 08:43 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

yet another out-of-sequence image.  at least the delta t is getting smaller. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)



the Circle

these fuzzy spheroids have showed up on the stem of one the oak seedlings in the Circle.  they must be some sort of parasite but I'm at a loss to identify them. 

oak parasites

15_the_circle: (rosette raindrop)
Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 12:25 pm

[OT from cottage renovations]

by the end of the day the rain finally stopped and the light that remained was enough for walking around to assess conditions. 

(click through these thumbnails for higher resolution images)



the Circle

raindrops were still spattered onto this leaf of Lily-of-the-Valley. 

raindrops on leaf of lily of the valley
Convallaria majalis


3rd Avenue

dangling by a thread, these azalea blossoms exhibit a similar tubular structure to that noted the day before

azaleas hanging by a thread


Zöe Wadsworth Park

freshly rinsed redbuds: 

redbud raindrop
Cercis canadensis

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Sunday, April 20th, 2008 10:17 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

the last of the light shines onto and through this tiny violet; even in the image thumbnail it appears larger than its actual size. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)



the Circle

Violet in late afternoon light

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Thursday, April 17th, 2008 08:03 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

this spring has been very uneven: alternately warm enough to bring things out a bit earlier than usual and then cool enough for them to hang on longer than usual.  as a result we've had some uncommon overlaps of what's in bloom. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)



the Circle

this daffodil looks for all the world like it's sticking around for the Circle's kite festival.  as it happens we don't have any such thing so it might be rather a long wait. 

the Circle's kite festival
daffodil

15_the_circle: (cottage sign)
Thursday, April 17th, 2008 07:44 am

[OT from cottage renovations]

up out of the ground but not yet in bloom, this patch is showing some excellent potential.  we'll be back to see how they come along, you can count on that. 

(click through this thumbnail for higher resolution image)



the Circle

lilies of the valley of the Circle
Convallaria majilis