Weekly Photo Challenge: BROKEN

I kicked against the pricks on this one — I don’t like broken! I like whole, beautiful, pristine, functioning. All that good stuff.

But as I went through the photos, it was borne in upon me how often I have in fact photographed things broken — incomplete — in need of repair. Or even broken and NOT in need of repair. For instance, ancient statues like this one:

Nike, Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art

Or mere shards that were pottery or busts or who knows what:

At Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art

Then there’s this image. You might call it “breaking the code”:


And then this obvious one, certainly not beautiful, but hopeful, at any rate:

Subaru Being Towed

Posted in Museums | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: ENVELOPED

I can’t help but read this challenge word as en-vel-oped, that is, all wrapped up in its paper container and ready to put in the U.S. mail. But of course that isn’t at all what the challenger means. Wrapped up, yes —but in one of many possible meanings, or metaphors — and in any kind of container, even a cloud, perhaps. So here’s my first response to the challenge, how a New England spring presents itself, wrapped up in flowering trees and shrubs: New England Spring And in closeup, a spring “cloud”: The flowering of Spring

Posted in Flowers, Nature, Photography, Spring | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: AFLOAT

For most of our married life, we lived on Long Island, surrounded by water — even if I wasn’t much for swimming in it, or boating on top of it, or anything.

But for the past 15 years we’ve lived inland. Landlocked. The occasional lake, in the Berkshires, or the Connecticut River here in the Pioneer Valley. But basically, in the teeth of the challenge “Afloat,” I didn’t have much to offer. (If I had a little yellow rubber duckie I would have floated it in the tub, but I don’t.)

But floating can have other connotations, I guess. At any rate, I’m offering another possibility here,  a bowl of nice juicy clementines — afloat in space! Reminds me of the chiaroscuro still lifes I used to paint:


(I had to take the photo in a hurry before all of the clementines vanished — I pop ’em like orange candy!)

Posted in Color, Food, Photography | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: BLUR

An interesting idea, interesting challenge: BLUR.  Why might we keep a blurry photo, instead of tossing it?What might it express? Well, a number of things, actually.

I’ll lead off with a conventional image, perhaps the most conventional of all. The blur here conveys the flickering of these candles handily enough:
Flickering CandlesAnd the blur below might represent a storm, or some kind of atmospheric disturbance, although in the event, it isn’t. To me the blur reflects confusion about what is land and what is water, in this photo taken in Look Park:

The World Under the Water

Blurring also represents dynamism. You just know that these Portland firefighters have made all possible haste to get to the hotel and discover the fire that’s summoned them here:

Portland Firefighters

Blurs can serve another, less obvious purpose. Why was I so delighted with this self-portrait, so willing — against my usual habit — to post it online? Because it so nicely conceals my face even while revealing it! For those allergic to having their photo taken, a blur is a very satisfying phenomenon.

The Face in the Window

Posted in Photography | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: EPHEMERAL

Robert Frost, quintessential New Englander and poet of his region, taught here for a number of years at Amherst College. He made what to me is the definitive statement about ephemeral in his wonderful short poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay”:

October's Gold

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Frost here means the very first tender yellow-green buds of spring, which swiftly swell into mature deep green, then seem as swiftly to blaze forth into October’s golds and scarlets and crimsons.

But actually to me and to many, autumn is arguably the most beautiful season of the year in New England. We wait all year for it, freezing through the long long winter, slogging in mud season (otherwise laughingly called spring), sweating in the brief hot summer, until at last comes — October’s gold! How we long to hold on to it, this glorious golden season. But as the poet reminds us, sadly, however much we long for it, nothing gold can stay.

Posted in Autumn, Color, Nature, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: FRESH

I could go out and point the camera at the fresh snow falling right now, but that would be altogether too discouraging. Spring has just sprung, at least by the calendar, and by golly! if the snow hasn’t caught up with the news, too bad for it.

To portray the freshness that is associated with Spring, I’ll turn instead to the annual bulb show at Mount Holyoke College, which we visited last weekend. There were many beautiful flowering bulbs in the tulip, daffodil, freesia, and narcissus families, and I was thrilled to document them. But when I looked again at my haul of photos, the one that stood out in my mind as the real harbinger of Spring was this one:

Pussy Willow

See the fresh hint of green in those fuzzy catkins. The pussy willow (genus Salix) with its many male catkins that appear long before its leaves, is one of the earliest signs of spring here in New England. After the drastic winter we’ve endured, all white and black, but mostly white, the subtle grayish green of the new catkins seems more appropriate than  the gaudy colors  of the flowering bulbs, lovely though those are.

To the modest self-effacing freshness of the pussy willows, then — a hearty welcome! Gray has never looked so good —-


Posted in Flowers, Nature, Photography, Plants, Winter | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: WALL

A mini-drama in the Mall:

If ever there was a wall of dreams, here’s one:


The enigmatic siren in the Sephora window offers the secrets and apparatus of beauty to every female passer-by. Come inside, her gaze hints, and learn all the secrets you will ever need.

How can the woman in red resist?

Posted in Photography, Women | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: ORANGE

Who doesn’t love orange? I certainly do! It gives me joy, sparks my enthusiasm, makes me happy. What’s not to love?

Surely one of the reasons for the worldwide popularity of Hallowe’en is — PUMPKINS! Which are orange-est of the oranges. Here’s a medley, because I just can’t choose between them:

A whole bunch of mini-pumpkins

At the farm stand


And just for proof that I truly love orange, here’s a sign that mysteriously appeared out of nowhere on the bathroom rug one morning:

Mysterious heart


Posted in Autumn, Color, Happiness, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: SCALE

A slam-dunk on this one —

A visit to the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures in Tucson, Arizona demands a metamorphosis on entry:

The Hub, Transformed

How the Hub has scaled down!

(The museum is a fascinating place, a paradise for anyone who ever loved doll houses or miniatures, and magical for even those of us who thought we were well beyond magic! More photos of its wonders here.)

Posted in Childhood, Museums, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: SERENITY

PI love it! As my friends said on the rustic sign they hurriedly hung on a tree in the wooded entry drive to their new house: SERENITY NOW!

My friends found — or attempted to create — their serenity in the Beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. For me, it’s more a case of — Serenity Now and Then! More of a moveable target, depending a lot on Serenity achieved by Serendipity. (Are the two really etymologically related? I have no idea. But one is certainly contained in the other.)

A trip a few years back to Acadia, that enchanted paradise in the heart of Maine, defined Serenity for me for quite a while. From the house that we stayed in:

Window on Acadia

to the Asticou Gardens:


Green Shade

these are a few of my souvenirs of Serenity. It was a magical visit.

Posted in Holidays, Nature, Photography, Plants | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments