Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Coming

Winter is coming. The leaves are down and the ground is bare. But a beautiful landscape is still beautiful even in its mimimalist unvegetated state. Even in the midst of a cold rain on a December day. Witness these footbridges over the Muddy River in the Back Bay Fens, part of Boston's Emerald Necklace.

Meanwhile the frosty nights of December have caused the lagoon at the Public Garden to start to freeze. I just about shiver thinking about it.

With the evening sky reflected in the frosted waters, this view down Newbury Street contrasts the siloette of the spire of the Church of the Covenant against a sky of purple charcoal clouds and a pale rose sky.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Golden Sunlight of December Afternoons

The late afternoon sun in winter has become one of my time for photography. I may be freezing in the frigid air, but the golden light of a nearly setting winter sun brings out such a warm glow in urban background.....even abandoned factories can look beautiful.

These are photos from last December along the canals in Lowell, orignally in a post in my blog Other Thoughts. Lowell was a big mill town along the Merrimack River. A series of canals weaved though the industrial district, providing water power to the mills.

These photos contrast the old industrial buildings bathed in golden light with the blues of the canals and sky.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Colors of Spring and Autumn

Our two most colorful seasons draw their hues from different palates. Spring (my favorite) features a softer mix of whites, lavenders and pinks. Autumn is bolder with its bright yellows, oranges and reds. Here is a side-by-side of the same tree I captured this year in April and November.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Autumn Hues -- Part 3 - Past Peak

The best colors of fall happen at "peak foliage," which is a somewhat elusive time. Often the weather is rainy or the wind blows away many of the leaves. The period after the peak is often thought to be mostly dull, uninteresting colors and a lot of bare trees. But, this year I've found that interesting colors even after the peak.

Below: 3 views showing the changes over the last 3 weeks at the lagoon in Boston's Public Garden. Compare this view to the same view in part 1 of Autumn Hues.

Below: a promenade in the Public Garden. Compare this to the view a few weeks earlier in part 1 of Autumn Hues

Below: even a view with mostly bare trees includes subtle background colors against a blue sky, particularly where reflected in the lagoon.

Below: a leaf-covered path along the banks of the Charles River.

Below: bare trees line the Charles River on a bright 15th of November.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autumn Hues, Part 2

This fall, the weather has been warm and cold, we've had rain and even snow. But, I have been trying to take in as much as possible of the foliage around me. New England is blest with four distinct seasons, but the best ones don't last long. Whenever I can, I try to capture the colors and scenes that capture my eye.

The Hues

The autumn hues feature bright reds, yellows and oranges, as seen below.

Each species of tree and shrub has its own distinctive color. The maples, with their bright oranges, tend to steal the visual show. But the yellows make my favorite backdrop. And even the duller reds have their own beauty.

Building Blocks

Taking a close look, you can notice that the individual leaves are not a single color, but their own little palate mixing several hues.

More Autumn Urban Streetscapes

Below: With a towering canopy over Brattle Street, my photo captured a fellow bike rider.

Below: Fallen leaves line the sidewalk and street on a sunny afternoon.

Below: Brilliant red foliage steals your attention.

Below: Bright yellow canopy over a meandering lane through Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Autumn Hues in the Urban Streetscape

While spring is my favorite season, the fall in New England is the most photogenic season. Just Googlefall in New England” and you’ll behold the classic scenes of hills, farms, quaint villages and the countryside in brilliant colors.

While the spring palate features subtle hues of white, lavender, and yellow greens, the fall plate is much bolder: bright yellows, oranges, and reds framed with some browns and greens. It’s our little visual concession while the temperature is plummeting and winter’s blustery winds and snows are just around the corner.

The classic autumn photos feature rural scenes, but the brilliant hues of the autumnal transformation are striking even in the urban streetscape. And this fall did not disappoint.

Bonus feature: Why do the leaves fall off trees in autumn? Because the tree say "time to go" and sever the ties! Click here for more info.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gardens of Boston and Cambridge

As much as I love gardening, I love admiring the work of other gardeners. From spring to fall, I'm looking for interesting displays or just creative angles on the familiar. During our brief summer this year, I always had my phone's camera at the ready to capture the blossoms that attracted my glances.

We start out with some views from spring around Cambridge.

Flowers of summer

Horticultural displays in Boston's Public Garden. I'm so fortunate to work near the Public Garden, allowing me to take strolls at lunchtime or after work.

Summer flowers in Cambridge gardens taken on my strolls around the city.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barrier Beaches and Oceanscapes

Summer and beaches. Vacation time, relaxing in the warmth of the sun. With the very short summer we had here in the Boston (Massachusetts, USA) area, I only had a couple of visits to the beach.

Still, beaches are beautiful in any season or time of day. Being fair-skinned, I tend to visit the beach in the late afternoon or early evening when the sun’s burning rays are much less intense.
Many of the beaches along the east coast of the US are classified as barrier beaches. The largest and most famous of these is Cape Cod, a long peninsula extending line a bent arm off the coast of Massachusetts.
A barrier beach is are typically a narrow strip of sand between the ocean and a tidal lagoon or marsh behind it. It is formed by wave action. The waves roll up the shoreline and desposit sand. Eventually it builds up to form a dune.

The two beaches I visited this year are both barrier beaches. Revere Beach is the gem of its namesake city and the oldest public beach in the US. Good Harbor Beach is a small, community beach in Gloucester, a city known for its fishing industry.

Even with much development around each beach, the aerial photos reveal the classic barrier beach configuration of a narrow sand bar.

Here are a few pictures from my trips to the beach.

Above: Revere Beach

Below: Good Harbor Beach

Above: View of the town of Nahant on a peninsula off the coast of Revere Beach

Below: A house, typical of fishing communities (complete with widdow's watch) built on a rock cliff overlooking Good Harbor Beach

Below: a small island offshore from Good Harbor Beach.

Below: Views of the dunes at Revere Beach (left) and Good Harbor Beach (right)

Below: Sunset at Good Harbor Beach (here I am, standing in shallow water, risking a water-soaked cell phone if a big wave breaks on me!)

Above and below: Sunset at Revere Beach. Time to go home.