Monday, October 31, 2011


It's that time of year again, when my favorite seasons - Fall and Winter - and their signature celebrations - Samhain and Yule - roll around. This year's post will be simple. If you want to read about Samhain (pronounced SOW-wen or SAH-wen for those unfamiliar with the holiday), its history and its relationship to Halloween, then click here. For this year, I offer some played-with images fitting the season and the mood, and of course - MUSIC!

As always, my favorite Samhain music - Loreena McKennitt's "All Souls Night".

Another Samhain tradition that morphed and adapted to the Christian celebration of All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day is the soul cake. There are lots of songs about this tradition, but my favorite version is the classic one by Peter, Paul, and Mary - "A Soalin'".

Photos © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, October 30, 2011


That's what we got from Mama Gaia yesterday; a big surprise - a snowstorm in October! And it was the heavy wet stuff, with lots of trees down and power outages because the trees took power lines with them when they went. It was so wet that I used an umbrella when walking to work. I went out this morning to get some shots.

Fall foliage and snow make an interesting contrast.

The unfortunate result of heavy wet snow on trees who still have all their leaves.

Autumn leaves on snow.

And last but not least, late Fall flowers wearing a snowcap.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looking Back

It's raining and the temperature is dropping like a rock; the Summer-ish weather is finally gone for the year. To commemorate the end of Summer, I looked back at a favorite scene and made it "nostalgic" via Photoshop and Exposure 2.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.

Tao Te Ching #11 (Stephen Mitchell translation)

Music: "Etoiles..." by Pascal Gaigne, from his 1996 CD Solisterræ; check out his YouTube channel here.

Photo © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Walk

Today I walked up Earl St./Newburg Rd. (Earl St. becomes Newburg Rd. just north of Shippensburg University); the goal was to visit the Middle Spring Cemetery, a historical burying ground associated with the Middle Spring Presbyterian Church which I visited last Winter, and then to wander down Fish Hatchery Rd., a very scenic lane which has views of both South Mountain and Blue Mountain, which bound the Cumberland Valley to the north and south. After that I stopped down Bard Rd. to look at that renovated barn with the solar panels again. Heh, heh! There was a bit more color there than when I visited it in January. Enjoy the walk!

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Color Walk

I'm off for a four-day stretch this week (transitioning to a different schedule since I got upgraded from a temporary to a regular employee at work), so I'm doing some hiking this week. Today I focused on Fall color. I went down Possum Hollow Road into town, wandered around in the Dykeman Wetlands and the duck ponds, and then came back up Possum Hollow Road to home here on Timber Hill. The photos below follow that sequence. Enjoy our color!

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


... and tide wait for no man.

... is of the essence.

... is, time was, time always will be.

... has come today!

Photo © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sight & Sound - Plumes

There used to be a flock of Peacocks here on Timber Hill years ago. They seem to have disappeared over the years, either due to the climate, predators, or the Amish farmers' kids, who seem to like to shoot anything with feathers. But my sister-in-law made a habit of collecting the feathers and made displays with them throughout the house. This is a detail of one of them enhanced in Photoshop - the saturation and contrasted amped up, brightness tweaked a little, and a moderate amount of posterization applied. I liked the effect.

And music to match, although it's a bit of a linguistic pun. "Plumeria" is from jazz/new age violinist Steve Kindler's 1990 album Across a Rainbow Sea. Now Plumeria is the botanical Latin name for Frangipani, but the name comes from the same source (the flower is named after someone named Plumier, which comes eventually from the French word for feather - plume). So here's the second, musical half of the pun.

Photo © 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quiet City

I recently heard Aaron Copland's Quiet City - for Cor Anglais, Trumpet and Strings again, and got inspired to put together a slideshow based on it. The Newport, Providence, and some of the Boston photos are mine; the rest I collected on Wiki Commons. Enjoy!

Photo © 2009 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Autumn Color Starts

I got these shots on the way to work yesterday. This is the hill we live on. Mama Gaia is starting to brush a little color on the trees.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Happy Birthday, John!

John Winston Lennon, 10/09/1940 - 12/08/1980. We still miss him!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Out and About

I went walking today and gathered this collection of Fall flowers and one mystery bird.

I'm stumped. A Warbler? A Junco of some sort, or maybe a relative of the Gnatcatchers? There were two of them, about the size of male House Sparrows, gray head and back, chestnut throat and chest, white belly, and that eye ring. I saw no bars on the wings, and I never saw the other side of the tail. Anybody have any ideas? [Update: I've been getting all kinds of feedback from here, on, and in my email. The response is unanimous - it's a female Eastern Bluebird. Thanks folks!]

Spotted Knapweed

Swamp Aster

Calico Aster

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, October 07, 2011


Some ornamental critters outside the house, filtered through my eye and some Photoshop tweaks.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Insanely Great - Goodbye Steve Jobs. AND Bert Jansch

I got home from work last night a little after 10 and booted up my Mac, only to read that Steve Jobs had finally passed away from his pancreatic cancer. This was not unexpected; after all, the man had been ill for years and had recently resigned from his position of CEO of Apple for health reasons. We knew it was coming. Still, it's a sad day, and his death literally exemplifies the old cliché "the end of an era". It truly is.

I've been using Apple computers since the pre-Macintosh days of the Apple II. Yes, children, I'm an old ancient from the days of the Apple II and the Commodore 64 (both of which I've used). Remember the old days of Kinko's, when it was more a funky printer with computers on site so you could design your flyers and pamphlets right there and send them directly to the printer, instead of the soulless corporate giant merged with FedEx that it's become now? Ah, those were the days! And they used Apple computers exclusively; they didn't add Windoze PCs until well into the '90s (at least that's when it happened in Newport). That's where my love affair with Steve Jobs' brainchildren started, and I've never looked back.

And let's not forget that Apple actually fired Jobs back in 1985, only a year after he launched the Macintosh. Steve went on to found NeXT computers, which didn't do so well, and then on to lead and develop Pixar Studios, which did very well indeed. Meanwhile, Apple computers had degenerated into generic beige boxes not much different, except for the Macintosh operating system, from most of the other personal computers on the market.

Jobs came back to Apple when the company bought NeXT in 1996, and by 1998 Jobs was back in the CEO seat. He re-energized the place, ending the generic era and reintroducing creativity, innovation, and uniqueness with the iMac and the new slogan: "Think Different". And from that point Jobs and Apple never looked back. Now, in addition the the regular Apple computers running OS X, we have the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, all industry standard-setters.

I've been using the results of his genius since pretty close to the very beginning, and I'm using them still. I'm putting this post together on a Powerbook G4 running OS X 10.5.8. This is borrowed, and when I'm back on my own I'll be working on my eMac again (G4 1.4 GHz processor). I have an iPod Shuffle, and while I don't own an iPhone (only because my wireless carrier doesn't carry them yet), I have an LG Optimus S, which wouldn't exist if the iPhone hadn't been created. And I'm surrounded my Macs here. Mt sister-in-law uses a Powerbook (although my fuddy-duddy brother still uses a Windoze laptop), and there are two iPad 2s here in the house. And when their Verizon contracts end later this year they'll both upgrade to iPhones. And since the new iPhone 4S is now running on the Sprint network, and since my own carrier - CREDO Mobile - uses the Sprint network, I'm sure I'll be upgrading to an iPhone in about a year and a half when it's time to renew my contract.

Added to all that, my late Dad was a dedicated Mac user. What makes that interesting is that he was a microelectronics engineer; he created computer hardware systems for the aerospace industry, including many of the systems used on the Apollo missions. The myth goes that engineers use IBM/clone computers while artistic airhead hippie types use Macs; PCs are for serious computer users while Macs are for dilettantes. Obviously Dad busted that particular myth!

In any case, here are some videos included as a tribute to one of the great innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries, the man who literally changed the way we interact with the world. The first is the great TV commercial announcing the Macintosh in 1984:

And then there's the "Here's to the crazy ones..." to push the "Think Different" campaign; this one moved me profoundly when I first saw it. It still does.

And then after I read about Steve Jobs' passing, I also read about Bert Jansch. For those of you not familiar with the man, he was one of the great guitarists out of Great Britain's folk revival of the '60s and '70s. Born in Scotland, he mastered the finger-style playing style by listening to recordings of Big Bill Broonzy and Brownie McGhee. He teamed up with fellow guitarist John Renbourn for gigs and a record - "Bert and John" - and then added singer Jacqui McShee and formed the group Pentangle, which was the premier group of the British folk revival movement. On his own he was sometimes referred to as the British Bob Dylan. He was a talented man and a great musician, and he'll be sorely missed.

An old girlfriend introduced me to Pentangle back in '74, and I've been a fan ever since. The first video is Pentangle on BBC in 1970. Bert's the acoustic guitarist (John Renbourn plays electric) and the guy who announces the song.

And here's Bert on his own in 2008 with "High Days". Goodbye Bert; we'll miss you!

Text © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, October 03, 2011

Rainy Day Amusements

The weather sucked here again - still chilly and damp - and ruled out outdoor activities. So I fooled around with photography and a little Photoshop™ magic.

A little still life in the kitchen window turns into "Still Life with Teapot a la Pierre Bonnard".

And this little owl statuette on the back deck had a little Exposure 2 treatment and a tweaking of the layer blend to come up with this art print look.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, October 02, 2011


We're in a contest at work, competing against the other Lowe's stores in our district to see who can create the best Fall display. We're pretty sure we're gonna win (the prize is money for a pizza blowout).

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger