I'm home today; it's one of my days off this week. I'm not going anywhere, though; it's gray, gloomy, and overcast, and I have a nasty cold. But I went out on the deck to see if there were any critters about, and this bit of scenery caught my eye. I call it "Ivy, Moss, and Wood".
When searching my iTunes library for appropriate music, I came across A Produce's "The Far Shore (solo version) and realized I hadn't done a tribute to him yet. Barry Craig, aka A Produce, passed away September 4. I've always been a fan of his music, so it was a sad surprise to read of his passing on John Diliberto's Echoes blog. This particular piece of music since Barry wrote it as a tribute to fellow ambient musician Pierre Lambeau on the occasion of his death back in the '90s. As one person commented on John's blog - flow in peace, Barry.
I'll be at work tomorrow for the Autumnal Equinox, so this is my blog post for that event. There aren't as many signs of approaching Fall here in central PA as there usually are back in Newport at this time, but there are some. For instance, the harvest is winding down and there are still goodies for eating popping up in the countryside...
There are two Chestnut trees in the front yard, and they actually do produce nuts.
Of course, pumpkins are everywhere.
And acorns are underfoot in the woods, waiting to be scooped up by the Squirrels and the Groundhogs.
For me, Fall and Winter are the most Pagan of the seasons; I feel closer to the earth then, and the holidays associated with the "dark side" of the wheel of the year - Samhain and Yule - are closer to my heart. The cooler temperatures, the colors, the snow, fires on the hearth, candles, evergreens... For some reason this atmosphere warms me and I feel closer to the earth, and that in turn makes me feel more Pagan. There's music that I usually play around this time of year, as well. In the past I've usually posted music from Loreena McKennitt here this time of year, but this year I'd like to post something different. Jethro Tull's Songs from the Wood album was the first music I ever heard that was overtly pagan and seems to go so well with the season (even though there are songs about Beltane and other Spring/Summer celebrations on the album). So here is the entire album for your enjoyment.
The Green Man is a mythic figure in cultures all over the world, representing the Nature Spirit. This still life shot today is my tribute to that spirit. And what more fitting musical tribute than Jethro Tull's "Jack-in-the-Green"? Enjoy!
Welcome to the Crazy Loquat Club in the town of Szegerely on the Balkan Peninsula, which is where this motley crew of musicians holds forth every Friday night. Who are they? Why, it's 3 Mustaphas 3!
I used to listen to these guys a lot back in the '80s and '90s. They're not really Balkan, they're a collection of British musicians who create multicultural music, and who created a mythical backstory to make the trip even more fun. They've since broken up but still get together from time to time, in various iterations, to recreate the magic. I won't get into the details here - it's far too complicated for a mere blog post - but you can click on the link above to go read the Wikipedia article on them. I just wanted to take you to the Crazy Loquat Club to have some fun. Take it to the fridge!
Click here for more Mustapha madness. And make sure you wear your fez!
Some of the shots I took Sunday worked really well in black & white. They worked especially well in Exposure 2's selenium warm/cool emulation; they end up looking like archival prints made in the early 20th Century. I'm really surprised by how well the Hummingbird shots turned out. I guess I had the lighting just right!
Today is one of my days off this week, and I went out this morning seeking photos. We've had a week's worth of rain and the air is very wet; this has had a dramatic effect on the views of South Mountain, especially the views I got from Possum Hollow Rd. and Olde Scotland Rd.
[Note: When I first posted this a week ago I made a mistake; I stated that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were different from other birds in that it's the female who's more colorful while the male is more drab. I was wrong about that; it's the male who has that gorgeous red throat. It's Belted Kingfishers who defy the rule; the female has both the black collar and russet vest while the male only has the black collar. I had been chasing some Kingfishers - unsuccessfully, as usual - that day, so the two species' specifics got mixed up in my head. I've edited this post to fit the facts. Sorry about that, chief!]
I'm off today, and the weather is overcast and humid, which can lead to some great lighting for photography. So I walked down to the Dykeman Wetlands Park and Walking Trail to take advantage of the light. I got some great macro shots of the encroaching Autumn wildflowers, which I'll show you tomorrow. But the real treat today was the crowd of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds hanging out in the swamp meadow just below the duck ponds.
This section of the swamp is full of Jewelweed and Moth Mullein, flowers that Hummingbirds just love to sip from. They were flitting around from plant to plant, sometimes chasing each other in play, and occasionally sitting still on a cattail stem to give me a chance to get a portrait. It took my telephoto and manual focus to get the shots, and out of the 30 or so shots of the birds I got, these two pass quality control.
This is a female, sitting among the cattail leaves.
And here's a male in all his Ruby-throated glory!
Stay tuned tomorrow or at least in the next couple of days for wildflower portrait macros. I got some good ones today; the flora are very diverse around here!
There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born. It is serene. Empty. Solitary. Unchanging. Infinite. Eternally present. It is the mother of the universe. For lack of a better name, I call it the Tao.
It flows through all things, inside and outside, and returns to the origin of all things.
The Tao is great. The universe is great. Earth is great. Man is great. These are the four great powers.
Man follows the earth. Earth follows the universe. The universe follows the Tao. The Tao follows only itself.
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 25 Translation by Stephen Mitchell