On the wing

The days are shorter.  The nights are colder.  The first snow of the season has fallen.  And our lakes are starting to ice over as we begin to slide into winter.  Along with all these changes there is an increase in the activity of the ducks and geese.  One of my favorites sights and sounds is a flock of Canada geese flying overhead — the beat of their wings and their honking is music to my ears.  Since I live between Lake Como and the agricultural fields of the University of Minnesota I am on the path of the geese flying from the water at the lake to the food at the agricultural crops at the U.  So many times I am stopped in my tracks to look up and appreciate their flight overhead.  I know that soon enough the majority of geese and ducks will have migrated south to warmer climes and we will return to the hush and quiet of the snow and the cold of winter.  In this week of Thanksgiving, the geese and their winged flight are one of the many things I appreciate and am thankful for.

A quiet dusk at Lake Como

One of the constants of the weather in Minnesota is the wind.  We seem to attract the winds from all four directions, whether it’s a northern clipper coming down from Canada, a warm tropical surge coming from the Gulf Coast to the south, a wintry mix blowing across the northern Rockies from the west, or a wrap-around wind that skirts Lake Superior to the east.  So when the air is calm and still it is most noticeable, and so it was one recent evening.  A good friend (and wonderful photography scout) of mine was driving around Lake Como and noticed that the lake surface was as smooth as glass.  I packed up my camera and headed over to the lake.  The sky was filled with dark gray and blue clouds although there was a thin line of clearing to the south.  I headed to a small bay where I knew I could include the pink clearing in my photo.  As I walked up to the shoreline I found a flock of wood ducks who were not overly pleased that I was coming to their area.  Their swimming out into the lake created a bit of water movement in the bay — just enough to blur the beautiful reflection that I was seeing in the water.  It wasn’t until I got home and was looking at the photos on my computer that I saw the effect of their movement, and although subtle, I liked the end-result.

Change of seasons

We are quickly slipping from fall into winter.  Once Mother Nature has made up her mind it seems that the changes become so much more noticeable.  Although our days have been unseasonably warm, this past week we had two mornings of frost.  That and the shorter daylight seem to have triggered some major changes.  These two images were taken one week apart — the top image was last weekend and the bottom image was this morning.  The colors are gone, the leaves have dropped (except for a few hold-outs), and even the sky has changed to its winter shade of gray.    There is some mention of snow flurries possible later this week so we are hurriedly preparing the yard and garden beds for winter’s cold.   As with the change back to standard time we all seem to change our outlooks.  We’re looking forward to soups and heavier “comfort” meals, along with the upcoming holidays.
And with the calendar change to November I’m happy to announce my 2011 holiday card collection and my 2012 desk calendar collection.  Both of these can be found on separate pages at the top of my blog.  This is my eighth year of offering cards and calendars and you’re sure to find something to delight anyone’s tastes.  Some of the photographs you’ll recognize as images that have been posted to my blog, but many of them are new photos.  Browse and enjoy!  And email me with any questions.
Enjoy this time of changing seasons!

Reds of fall

While the east coast is digging out from its blanket of white, we’ve been enjoying a prolonged and beautiful fall.  Many of the trees have lost their leaves and yet some are just now coming into their brilliant last burst of color.  One of the best things about this year’s prolonged autumn is that you don’t have to drive far to see the colors — they’re in the neighborhood parks and up and down the streets.  And with some sunny blue-sky days like we had last week it was the perfect time to get out for some photographing.  This image is from a small park three blocks from our home.  The sun was low in the sky about a half hour before sunset when I stopped by the park.  Although this single leaf is tattered it was putting on its own brilliant display of fall colors.  I’m not sure if the leaf was still there the next day as we had some gusty winds that brought much of the color down to the ground, but for this one evening this leaf was there to be appreciated and photographed.