Wednesday, December 28, 2016


In Autumn the late-blooming Asters mark the boundary between forest and field. In the tag end of December all that's left are brown husks. They may be without the white and yellow decoration, but there is an austere beauty to these husks of Calico Asters along the Dykeman Walking Trail.

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas to all my family and friends!

In this time of trouble, division, and strife, keep in mind the person whose birth is being celebrated today came to be known as the Prince of Peace. And peace is certainly the theme of this post today. As I usually do, I'll pay tribute to the Christmas Truce of 1914, when soldiers on all sides of WWI pur aside their weapons and came together in No Man's Land to celebrate Christmas together, by posting John McCutcheon's classic "Christmas in the Trenches". And this year I'll add "Let There Be Peace on Earth". Keep peace!

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Feast of Lights

Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening's forehead o'er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.
Clash, Israel, the cymbals, touch the lyre,
Blow the brass trumpet and the harsh-tongued horn;
Chant psalms of victory till the heart takes fire,
The Maccabean spirit leap new born.
– Emma Lazarus, The Feast of Lights 

Chanukah starts this evening at sunset, and to all my Jewish friends (and new additions to the family) I send a hearty chad sameach! Here's some music to celebrate with - Peter Yarrow's "Light One Candle"; the late, great Theo Bikel singing "Chanukah, Oh Chanukah", and a much beloved classic by the poet Bialik, "Lich'vod Hachanukkah". Enjoy!

Prose text © 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Winter Solstice 2016

O Winter! ruler of the inverted year, . . .
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fireside enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturb'd Retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted evening, know.
William Cowper

A Joyous Yule to all my family and friends!

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ice Storm

I love Winter. I love snow and bracing temperatures and fires in the fireplace and hot chocolate. Unfortunately we're getting hit with the ugly side of Winter - sleet and freezing rain. Really, Mama Gaia, there's no excuse for this mess less than a week away from the Winter Solstice!

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December Color - Paper Birches

Despite the fallen leaves, there's still a lot of color in the December landscape. There are several Paper Birches in the Dykeman Spring wetland area, and my eyes are always drawn to them when I walk through. And particularly this time of the year, when the white of their trunks contrasts with the gray of the other trees and the red of the Barberries and the Asian Bittersweet berries. They seem to anchor the scene with their stark whiteness; the rest of the landscape focuses around them, and the picture is complete.

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

First Snow!

We got this Winter's first snow this morning! Not much, just barely a dusting, but there were snowflakes in the air and I needed to get out in it and into the woods to welcome the Winter.

Entering the Dykeman Spring Nature Park on the Dykeman Walking Trail
Following the trail through the wetland
A slight dusting of snow along the trail
Where the trail runs beside the creek
The bog pond next to the north duck pond is frozen
Following the Dykeman Walking Trail back out of the park
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Random Shots

Out doing errands this morning, I dropped by the Dykeman Spring Nature Park. We had some rain overnight, and a lot of the twigs and branches in the park still had droplets clinging to them. There were also some other things that caught my eye on my way through the park.

Rain droplets in the Dykeman Spring wetland
More droplets
I found this feral cat stalking along the Dykeman Walking Trail
Multiflora Rose hips in the Dykeman Spring wetland
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Monday, December 05, 2016

Yesterday's Walk in Black & White

As I said in yesterday's blog post, I had set out to do a black & white photo shoot but got attracted to the subtle colors revealed by the subdued lighting. But four of those photos also worked well in black & white, so here they are.

Branch Creek at King St.
A Dykeman Spring wetland scene with Purple Martin house
The creek in the park seen from the red bridge
My favorite corner of the north duck pond
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Perfect Light

This morning the quality of light was perfect. A total overcast, but it wasn't dark, it was what I'd call subdued. And in that subdued light every nuance of color and texture was visible, nothing drowned out by too much shadow or too much light. I found myself totally caught up in what I was seeing in the camera's viewfinder. I had gone out with the intent of shooting in black and white, but I was too entranced by the subtle colors I was seeing. I did process the shots in b&w, and I'll post the ones that worked tomorrow. But today is a day for reveling in the subtlety of subdued light. Enjoy!

Branch Creek at King St.
A section of the Dykeman Walking Trail
The Dykeman Spring wetland, with Purple Martin House
The creek from the red bridge
My favorite view of the north duck pond
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Burd Run

I went up to the Burd Run streambed restoration area this morning. The water level is down some, but the area is looking healthy nonetheless. Leafless trees and shrubs have their own kind of beauty; I hope I've captured that beauty here.

Looking down the creek floodplain
Burd Run in the restoration area
Another view of the creek; you can see how low the water level is. It was a very dry Summer and Autumn!
A stairway of Shelf Fungus climbing the tree
A feral cat stalking prey
© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Bleak December

December begins today, the first day of meteorological Winter. The leaves are all down; the bare deciduous trees contrast with the deep green of the Spruces and Firs in the woods. And the turbulent gray skies form the perfect dreary backdrop for the inherent bleakness of early Winter. Now we wait for snow.

© 2016 by A. Roy Hilbinger