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Posts Tagged ‘shadows’

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Photo: Shadows on the Southeast Lighthouse

Time to share a few more photos from a summer in isolation. Four island photos come first. The dishrack photo is to show how I spend my time there. (LOL. I am the one, alas, who said we should protect the groundwater and not have a dishwasher. Sometimes it’s better to be pragmatic than idealistic.)

Back on the mainland, the photos reflect my appreciation of colorful summer meadows, cows, and outdoor library fun for kids. No pictures of people. I do sometimes meet a friend at a safe distance for a sandwich and a chat, but masks never make for good photos. And in my walks, I generally aim for places where people are scarce, like graveyards.

I really liked the spooky-looking crypt and wish I could be Edgar Allan Poe for a minute and invent a reason that a lock was broken.

The long shadow in the next photo is in front of a local senior-living building.

Next comes a sign at Emerson Field that struck me as funny. No golfing? There was never any golfing there. What’s the story? Someone must have tried to get around the governor’s rules in coronavirus Phase One and gotten in the way of dog walkers. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in our town it’s you don’t want to mess with dog walkers.

I wonder what memories we will take away from this weird time. For me, a sign forbidding golfing where there was never golfing might be one.

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As usual on sunny days, I’m paying a lot of attention to shadows, and thinking about shadows often calls to mind these words from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended—
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.

Although Shakespeare is referring to the characters as shadows or perhaps the actors, I’m wondering whether we’re the ones who are shadows. But if so, who is slumbering and seeing visions? When I go down that path, I get all snarled up. Better back off.

Today I was planning to share light and darkness in the form of photos going back to Easter (which seems a long, long time ago for some reason), including photos of shadows. Doesn’t the picture above make you think of a New England painter best known for projecting loneliness?

Sandra M. Kelly sent pictures of the Easter Sunrise Service in New Shoreham and a statue that the folks on the island call Rebecca. Please note she’s wearing her mask.

I used a Sharpie for my hard-boiled eggs this Easter as I had no dye. There were 8 other Easter eggs representing the people who would have come here but for coronavirus. We ate them. 🙂

Kristina Joyce shot the cactus. It bloomed for her twice this Easter. She told me that had never happened before.

On April 18, we had snow, which surprised the flowering bushes at my neighbor’s. The Trout Lilies persevered.

There follow random items that caught my eye on my walks. The mystery vegetable arrived with my farm produce order Thursday. It turned out to be ramps (as in the awesome history of Appalachia called Ramp Hollow) and we sauteed the whole thing, minus roots. We saw online that you don’t cultivate ramps. They need to be foraged. They tasted like a very sharp onion.

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Do  birds rest before bed? It’s a serious question. I have been surprised this past week to note that some songbirds, so skittish all day, flitting hither and yon for food and flying off at the slightest human movement, just sit and take it easy in the evening. Is that a thing?

One evening, I watched a bluebird sitting on a branch and singing for the longest time. I flew away before he did. Then there was the cardinal in the photo, lounging and doing nothing that I could ascertain on the Concord Grape plaque outside the former Welch’s headquarters. Do birds get tired at the end of a busy day and rest? I’d love to know.

Speaking of Concord Grapes, they were bred by Ephraim Bull in the late 1840s. When I went to look up more online, I found something interesting I’d never heard before. Welch’s, still headquartered in Concord, is a cooperative. It’s actually owned by 900 grape growers. Imagine that!

In other recent photos, note the rope tied to a tree by the Sudbury River. It was draped over the stone wall on Elm Street to tempt daredevils. It looked dangerous to me.

Next I give you our dogwood and various nice shadows. In Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the headstone below always draws my attention. You can see that family and friends keep alive the memory of RenĂ©e, a local writer and historian who died young. I like the small stones more than the potted plants at other graves, although plantings that don’t die off are often nicely done.

In the woods nearby, ferns and skunk cabbage are celebrating spring. Still looking for Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Where have they all gone?

A woman who has a basement-level shop on Main Street is constantly coming up with ideas like the chalk drawings here to lure people down the stairs. I bet she wishes she never gave up her old shop at street level.

Finally, we have my first 2019 Painted Rock, a Higurashi-style wave. Plus a funny picture my husband took of two grandkids “watching” television.

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Whenever the sun peaked out this spring, I tried to take a picture. Not that you can’t take photos without sun, but I’m obsessed with shadows. Blogger and photographer Milford Street had a good idea for taking advantage of all the rain. He chose this time to shoot some waterfalls. Check out this shot from Ashby, Mass. (Where is Ashby, Mass.? Will I ever learn all the names of towns in this state?)

Moving right along, I loved the way the writing on the glass door below repeated itself on the interior wall. The very high wall that comes next is in Boston at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a magical place that no wall, alas, could protect from human error and theft.

Sunshine also brings out the vintage cars. I couldn’t resist shooting this red one, even though I am not especially into cars.

The curiosity you see after the car is a piece of bark hanging off a tree that is on conservation land. I have been finding walks in the woods very calming lately, especially since my sister’s cancer returned. If I don’t find ways to calm down, things start breaking or spilling or overheating in my vicinity. Not on purpose. They just happen.

Next is a decorative gate standing all alone without a fence, like the random street lamp in the middle of a Narnia woods. You don’t know what its purpose is, but you’re kind of glad to see it.

The gate is followed by my neighbor’s weeping cherry, which by this date has lost its flowers. The beauty of a weeping cherry is so short-lived. The apple tree by the swamp seems to have planted itself. It beautifies an ordinarily messy area I often pass on my walk.

I will close here with photos from the amazing deCordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass.  The founder’s brick castle is quite dramatic in itself, as you can see, but the sculpture park is the museum’s crowning glory. Even when the indoor exhibits don’t speak to you, the outdoor ones will.

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My new photography resolution, which I hope to stick to through the winter, is to capture shadows whenever the sun is out. Apart from the fact that I really like sunlight and shadow, I know I can find examples even in months when the photographic attractions of flowers and sailboats are not in evidence.

Today’s photo collection includes Massachusetts fall color, decorations for Halloween (I particularly liked that there were three witches, as in Shakespeare), curiosities from the MIT Museum (I loved Arthur Ganson‘s walking wishbone — and all his kinetic sculptures), and a graffiti warning in a Central Square alley.

“Come away, O human child!
“To the waters and the wild
“With a faery, hand in hand,
“For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”

Read the rest of the W.B. Yeats poem here.

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Photo: Narek Harutyunyan
Armenian shadow puppetry uses light and shadow to bring folklore to life. Going back to the 1300s, the art is being revived in a more child-oriented form today.

Throughout the centuries, people have used puppets to express ideas that would be hard to express directly. The oldest version of shadow puppetry in Armenia addressed religious and reproductive topics. In its revived form, shadow puppetry passes Armenian folklore to a new generation.

Allison Keyes reports at Smithsonian, “Behind a screen, puppets mounted on long, slim sticks dance and sway, twirling, backlit so that only their dark shadows appear, while puppeteers called Karagyoz players sing, provide sound effects and create voices for the characters. An interpreter translates, telling in English the Armenian stories like a libretto for an opera, so the audience will understand.

“The Armenian Shadow Puppet Theater, known as Karagyoz, was especially popular in the 18th century. But it has roots dating back to the 14th century, with shared sources in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

“ ‘They are oldest in Egypt and the countries of Maghrib, Greece and the Ottoman Empire,’ explains Levon Abrahamian, an anthropologist and a curator of the 2018 Armenia program at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. ‘Armenians were doing this in the Ottoman Empire because part of Armenia, Western Armenia, is now in Turkey.’

“Now, a new version of the Armenian Shadow Puppet Theater, called Ayrogi, is touring Armenia, staging modern performances reviving the traditions of the past. Ayrogi performed at this year’s Folklife Festival. … Some of the players travel by horseback, stopping to perform horse shows, songs, folk dances and shadow puppet shows.

“[Director Armen Kirakosyan says], ‘In Armenian theater, the puppets were colored in black, so it is a principle of shadow. The light comes from behind them in such a way that you have only shadows.’ Black and white, he says, has a far greater impact on the imagination, and the characters develop a much more menacing or hilarious presence in the minds of the viewers. …

“The stories Ayrogi tells now are for a general audience, and many are adapted for children. Modern shadow puppetry, Abrahamian says, is based on traditional folktales such as ”The Cat of Martiros.’ Martiros is a popular Armenian name meaning ‘martyr,’ and the theater company performs a series of tales about him.

“One story begins with a man who is content and free of troubles, says Kirakosyan in Armenian as Abrahamian translates. He laughs because the man’s life is about to get complicated.

“ ‘The man is complaining about this mouse, saying it is eating his shoes. . . People came and said, “We will help you,” giving him a cat. The cat solved the problem but created other problems, meowing, and the man says he can’t sleep. So the people say, “it is hungry, thirsty—give him milk!” But where would he get the milk? So they give him a cow to solve the problem. He had to have a field to have something for the cow to eat some grass. Lots of problems come, so they give him a wife! Now he has a lot of children, and when he is dying, he calls his eldest son, and tells him, “You can do anything you want, but never let a cat come to your house!” ‘ ”

More here.

Photo: Narek Harutyunyan
Armen Kirakosyan, director of the Ayrudzi horseback riding club and Ayrogi puppet theater, poses with shadow puppets.

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Today I thought I’d start my picture roundup with Lynn’s photo from Florida. Lynn says she was first introduced to trumpet lilies when she toured Africa with her cabaret show. I definitely don’t have any trumpet lilies growing outside my house today.

What I do have is ice, snow, and shadows. Here goes. The icicles were shot back in January. The tulips were a little joke in February (I got them in the store and planted them before the snow). The other photos don’t need much explanation. You know I love shadows.

The moose is waiting for the mail lady.

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I’m back to taking walks near my home and looking for interesting shadows. The current collection of photos includes leaf shadows on a tree trunk. Only a couple dog walkers were out when I shot this, but I noted an unusual number of cars outside a house flying “2017” balloons. Probably a late-night graduation bash. All was quiet as the grave at 6:30 a.m.

Nearby, blue lupines caught my attention. I admired many lovely ones in Sweden and was happy to see that, while I was gone, a whole batch was blooming along my usual walking route.

I’m also sharing a grapevine over a bench, a bonsai tree near the church herb garden, and a deep red rose on a white picket fence.

More unusual: the big playhouse at the nursery school and some elaborate digital art by high school students.

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My hostess knows just the kind of pictures I like. Lots of sunlight and shade. While my husband and I were window shopping in Stockholm today, she went for her seven-mile run and took these photos along the way.

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Photographic Themes

I’m starting to notice that my photos (all taken on my mobile phone) have recurrent themes. Today’s nine pictures reflect a few of those interests: words on signs, shadows, plants, nature, art. Either I’m in a rut, or I’m going to get really good at a few themes.

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This healthy sunflower is at the Old Manse in Concord. The Trustees of Reservations always plant a big garden there, with pumpkins growing between the corn rows.

The lantern-like seed pods in the next photo embellish a tree beside the Providence River. The leaf shadows on brick were spotted not far away, along a grubby Providence sidewalk.

Can you read the plaque on the Providence Journal building? It shows the crazy height that the water reached in the infamous Hurricane of ’38. Golly!

My husband says the barrier at Fox Point will prevent flooding like that from ever happening again. I don’t know. Were the engineers aware of global warming when they started construction in 1960?

New Shoreham (in the next picture) was also battered in the hurricane of ’38. In fact, the storm wiped out the island economy on land and sea. The fishermen and farmers were not insured against such a catastrophe. No wonder people there remember that hurricane!

One thing that is different since 1938, as I learned in a splendid book called A Wind to Shake the World, communities in the path of a hurricane now get plenty of warning. But in 1938, when houses on Long Island, New York, were washing out to sea, no one up north knew it.

A few other shots of New Shoreham: a Wednesday farmers market, the Little Free Library, a view through a stone wall, a rumpled morning sky, and the North Light.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! This mother is indulging her interest in photography today (the simple kind: pointing and shooting with a phone). So here are a few recent pictures and explanations for the less obvious.

For example: I went out for a walk one evening and was surprised to encounter Morris Dancers on the steps of the library. They seemed to be practicing, not performing. Where would Morris dancers be performing in late April, after Patriots Day? That was a mystery. Another mystery to me was how young men and boys get drawn into performing Morris Dance. I’m sure it’s good exercise, but …

I include shots of a clay bird’s shadow on my wall and hedge shadows on a sidewalk. The fence with the stage coach and other old timey images painted along the railings is in Providence — easy to overlook when walking past.

Providence plaques and memorials. The one of Martin Luther King Jr. is on a bridge with a view of Water Place. The monument to an event Rhode Island celebrates as the real first engagement of the American Revolution — the colonists’  clash with Brits on the HMS Gaspee — is partly obscured by bushes.

Little old Rhode Island gets no respect. It was also the first colony to sign on for independence, May 4, 1776. Who knew?

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Time for a photo round-up. Winter in New England: warm days, cold days, snow, ice, complicated shadows, empty facades, food and drink.

If you get any time to be alone and quiet — maybe just nursing a head cold — use it well. Everyone needs time to think.

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It’s getting chilly around here. Thirty degrees this morning. I’m getting wimpier about taking my walk outside and just go ’round and ’round indoors. I need to toughen up. The NY Times health columnist Jane Brody is older than I am and not only swims every day (vigorously, I’m sure) but walks five miles. Whoosh. I would have to walk back and forth to the high school — twice — to do five miles. It would take me half the day.

Here are photographs from the last couple weeks: shadows at the zoo, where my grandson ran into a friend he usually sees only in summer; milkweed and shadows; leaves casting shadows; an abandoned bird nest; overdevelopment reflecting on the waters of Fort Point Channel; and a burning sunset.

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Let me tell you about these photos.

I first noticed the shoes of the gentleman riding the subway. Then the white suit, the pocket hankerchief, the bow tie, and the hat. I was concentrating so hard on taking a photo surreptitiously that it didn’t occur to me to check out what he was reading. Somerset Maugham? Proust? William Dean Howells?

You never know what photo ops you might see on the MBTA, and I hope to get adept at taking pictures unobtrusively.

Next we have a fanciful teapot in the window of the Lacoste Gallery.

Moving right along: dappled shade on Summer St., Boston, near South Station; and a row boat for rent in Fort Point Channel.

Today’s Dewey Square excitement was a labor rally for striking airport workers demanding a $15/hour minimum wage. Lots of speeches. I photographed a T-shirt and a Boston politician. The politician had such an energetic speaking style, the photo came out blurry, but I’ll add it if you want it.

The last three pictures are of a fake snake — perhaps intended to keep passersby from sitting on a resident’s stonewall — and grapes. The grapes were the most surprising thing that happened to me today. I must have walked past that fence twice a day for years and years, and I never noticed a grape vine growing there. Did someone drape it over the fence while I was at work?

Goes to show you don’t really have to go anywhere much to find surprises.

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