Photographic Thoughts—02/14/2021 to 02/20/2021

“If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.” — Jay Maisel

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

Sunday 02/14/2021: Posted photo—Snow on Swing.

Settings: Samsung SM-G930V (Galaxy S7), ISO 50, f/1.7, 1/198 s, 4 mm

It in St. Valentine’s Day today. “St. Valentine is the patron saint of love, young people, and happy marriages. He died in 269. Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a third-century Roman saint widely celebrated on February 14 and commonly associated with ‘courtly love.’

Although not much of St. Valentine’s life is reliably known, and whether or not the stories involve two different saints by the same name is also not officially decided, it is highly agreed that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome.

In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine from the General Roman Calendar, because so little is known about him. However, the church still recognizes him as a saint, listing him in the February 14 spot of Roman Martyrolgy.” — Catholic Online

I did not post a photo about St. Valentine’s Day today. Too many people on the site in which I do my photo project did and I wanted to be different.

We are currently in a snow cycle. If it snows on a Tuesday, it will snow every Tuesday for a few weeks before changing days. I went out snowshoeing on our property and like the look of the snow on the swings. This is not the greatest photo of snow on swings that I have taken, but it will be a memory of this day for future reference.

One of the swings in our back yard

Monday 02/15/2021: Posted photo—Hiking Buddies.

Settings: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, ISO 100, f/9, 1/125 s, 50 mm.

Lost Lake is a relatively small mountain lake located near the much larger Saint Mary Lake in Montana. Despite the name, Lost Lake is very easy to find. It is just off the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

We hiked along the Lost Lake Trail in Glacier National Park, part of the time with these travel companions. The trail is a 2.8-mile (4.5-kilometer) loop trail that begins and ends at the same trailhead, or segments can be done as there-and-back. The trail had a deep covering of snow at some locations. Something you cannot tell from this photo. One of the great things about national parks is that wild animals can be wild. Most people respect the animals, and they respect most people.

Mountain Goat Hiking Companions

We were on our way to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada as part of our northern national park tour a few years ago.

Here are a couple more photos from Glacier National Park for your enjoyment.

Lost Lake, Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park
Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lakes National Park

Tuesday 02/16/2021: Posted photo—Ice.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/30 s, 55 mm.

Today was an interesting day. When I was going to my car this morning to start it up, the ground looked like it was just wet. One step on our walkway and found out it was ice. I did not fall, my foot slipped out a little from under me. I gingerly walked to my car to start it and then to the woodshed to get some salt to place on the walkway and driveway. When I started my car, I took out my “junk” microspikes to walk on the ice and to put the salt down safely. I drove to work carefully and keep my microspikes on when I walked from my car to into the office.

Many other people in the office were surprised by the ice. I most cases, it was a very thin layer of black ice. The roads were not bad since they were treated well. I was thinking on my way to work that it is a good thing that I have my snow tires on in these conditions. If it were earlier in the season, late November, or early December, I may not have changed out my tires and would not be able to make it up the hill to work.

One good thing about the ice, and being a photographer and outdoors person, is that the ice forms a great layer on trees and bushes. Not great in most cases because ice buildup could lead to power outages as it did in the Winter of 2008, but wonderful to look at.

Bush covered with ice

Today’s photo is one of ice buildup on a conifer bush. I hope you enjoy.

Now it is time to clean up the mess the rain and freezing rain has left behind. Need to destroy some ice dams on my roof so that water does not get into my house.

Wednesday 02/17/2021: Posted photo—Winter at Dusk.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/7, 1/99 s, 55 mm.

Wachusett Mountain from Round Meadow Pond.

As noted in a previous post, there is more sunlight in the evening now. On my way home from work, I stopped by to see how the mountain looked at this time of day. I did not know if it would be too dark to take this photo. It was not, so I took this photo.

Wachusett Mountain from Round Meadow Pond a dusk

It had to be a fast photo today because I needed to get home for Ash Wednesday mass. Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God and marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season.

Thursday 02/18/2021: Posted photo—Snowshoes.

Settings: Samsung SM-G930V (Galaxy S7), ISO 160, f/1.7, 1/30 s, 4 mm

“Snowshoeing is known to have been practiced in present-day central Asia about 6,000 years ago. It is believed that as these ancestors to the Inuits and Native Americans, migrated from Asia to North America, they brought the snowshoes with them, which were modified slabs of wood. It was not too long before this evolved into the white ash framed snowshoes with the raw hide lacing that we associate with snowshoeing today.

Until the 1970’s, snowshoes were used primarily for employment and survival rather than recreation, and the primary materials utilized in the construction were wood (white ash) and rawhide. The wooden snowshoes are generally categorized in three different styles or shapes. The oval shaped bear paw was designed for use in forested conditions where maneuverability was most important. The truly long (46+ inches) Yukon snowshoe was developed for traversing deep powder-covered open areas, common in the Northwest. The beavertail seemed to take advantage of the best features of both the bear paw and the Yukon, and has been utilized in all types of snow conditions.” — United States Snowshoe Association

My well traveled snowshoes

These snowshoes have many miles on them and have made me travel safety over many mountains. They are considered backcountry snowshoes. Many hikers have smaller, lighter, snowshoes, but I need these snowshoes for my weight. If I were to have the smaller, lighter snowshoes, I would need to have outriggers on them when I am using them in fluffy, deep snow.

Friday 02/19/2021: Post photo—Footprint in the Snow.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/640 s, 55 mm

Needed a photo. Dusting of snow on a cleared driveway. One foot. One photo.

My footprint

“For I found her when the snow was on the ground. I traced her little footprints in the snow. I found her little footprints in the snow, Lord. I bless that happy day that Nellie lost her way. For I found her when the snow was on the ground. I dropped in to see her, she was a big round moon.” — Bill Monroe – Footprints In The Snow

Saturday 02/20/2021: Post photo—Application.

Settings: Samsung SM-G930V ( S7), ISO 64, f/1.7, 1/60 s, 4 mm

Servicemens Readjustment Act (1944)

While World War II was still being fought, the Department of Labor estimated that, after the war, 15 million men and women who had been serving in the armed services would be unemployed. To reduce the possibility of postwar depression brought on by widespread unemployment, the National Resources Planning Board, a White House agency, studied postwar manpower needs as early as 1942 and in June 1943 recommended a series of programs for education and training. The American Legion designed the main features of what became the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act and pushed it through Congress. The bill unanimously passed both chambers of Congress in the spring of 1944. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on June 22, 1944, just days after the D-day invasion of Normandy.

American Legion publicist Jack Cejnar called it “the GI Bill of Rights,” as it offered Federal aid to help veterans adjust to civilian life in the areas of hospitalization, purchase of homes and businesses, and especially, education. This act provided tuition, subsistence, books and supplies, equipment, and counseling services for veterans to continue their education in school or college.

This is a copy of my father’s application for Servicemens Readjustment Act. He served in the Navy in World War II from 11/30/43 to 02/26/46 as a Fireman First Class.

My father’s application for the GI Bill

My father used the money from the GI Bill to purchase the house that my mother still lives in.

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Photographic Thoughts—02/07/2021 to 02/13/2021

“In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.” — August Sander

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

Sunday 02/07/2021: Posted photo—Wood.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/160 s, 29 mm.

I posted a similar photo about a month ago. Today it is snowing. I moved our cars to their snow configuration, in line, and took a photo of this seasoning wood pile in case I do not get out again today. Once the snow melts and we get into spring or early summer, I will split this wood to get it ready for the new burning season.

Fire wood

Monday 02/08/2021: Posted photo—Blue Sky.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/400 s, 55 mm.

A camera’s senor dictated the quality of the image the camera can produce—the larger the sensor, the higher the image quality. Bigger image sensors have bigger pixels, which means better low-light performance, reduced noise, good dynamic range, and the ability to obtain more information.

The best way to see if there is dust on your sensor is to take a photo of a light solid color to see if you can see the spots. Most people take a photo of something white to do this. I looked at the sky today and it was bright blue, I needed a photo of the day, so I took this photo to both check my sensors and to have a photo to post.

Nothing but blue sky

Tuesday 02/09/2021: Posted photo—Cold Sun.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/500 s, 55 mm.

We received six inches of new snow today. Before the snow, I looked up and liked the way the sun was shining in the clouds. It is not often you can take a photo of the sun without a filter. Like other photos, the scene was calling to me to photograph it00000.

The cold sun in the sky

Wednesday 02/10/2021: Posted photo—Aunt Connie.

Settings: Not applicable, scanned photo.

My Aunt Connie passed away today due to COVID. She went into the hospital for some other reason and contacted COVID. She was my mother’s older sister. Aunt Connie was 97 years old and my mother is 95. My mother called her a second mother to her. There were eleven children in the family so when the younger ones were born, the older ones took care of each other. Aunt Connie was the second oldest child, and my mother is the fourth oldest.

Aunt Connie

COVID is real! Wear your masks, wash your hand, social distance, and get your shot.

Thursday 02/11/2021: Posted photo—Falls at Sunset.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/30 s, 27 mm.

It has been getting brighter every day when I leave work. No longer am I going to work when it is dark and coming home from work when it is dark. I was driving around after work looking for something to photograph before the sun was under the horizon. I passed this spot and took this photo.

The dam at Round Meadow Pond

Friday 02/12/2021: Post photo—Snow People.

Settings: Samsung SM-G930V (Galaxy S7), ISO 200, f/1.7, 1/60 s, 4 mm

My grandniece 0wanted to play in the snow with my wife, my son, and me. I am not home from work when she is here so that was great to hear. When she was out playing with my son, she wanted a snowman. The snow was not the greatest for that so my made some small ones with her. She wanted a big snowman, but the snow was not “snowman” snow. My wife took out the ice pick and cut squares out of packed down snow and made the big snowman in this photo.

Snow people

Saturday 02/13/2021: Post photo—Icefall.

Settings: FUJIFILM FinePix XP70, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/2500 s, 46 mm

Today was my second hike of the week. This one was a little longer than the one I took Wednesday night. Today the hike was with my son and one of his friends. The three of us hike often during the week. We attempt to hike three times a week. This month it was hard to do this since there was snowstorm on the days we normally hike.

My son and his friend hiking along the Midstate Trail on Wachusett Mountain

This icefall is at the junction of Harrington and Link trails on Wachusett Mountain. I took a photo of this icefall a few weeks ago. During this hike, I was reminded on why I like to hike at night, there are fewer people to run into.

Icefalls on Wachusett Mountain

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.

COVID is real! Be safe out there.

Photographic Thoughts—01/31/2021 to 02/06/2021

“Photograph takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” — Dorothea Lange

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

Sunday 01/31/2021: Posted photo—Mount Flume.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/320 s, 55 mm.

Today I went hiking with an old college roommate. We hiked together last year for the first time in a long time. This was the second time we hiked together and the first time in the winter. On the accent, I as faster then he was. On the descent, he was faster than I was. On the descent, I am a cautious hiker, especially in the snow. The hike was about 11 miles long and took us about 8 hours to complete.

When we started the hike, it was -4° F at the trailhead and the snow was very crisp. The temperature rose to about 18° F on the decent. On the decent the snow was softer and more slippery. I wore my microspikes on the accent and my crampons on the descent. If you stepped off the trail, you sank into about 2 feet of snow.

It was a wonderful hike, and I am looking forward to more hikes with this college friend.

We did two mountains on this hike. The first one we summited was Mount Liberty.  Mount Liberty is a 4,459-foot-high mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Overlooking Franconia Notch, it is part of Franconia Ridge, the second highest mountain group in the Whites after the Presidential Range. The second mountain we summited was the one in this photo, Mount Flume. Mount Flume is the southernmost and shortest of the five peaks on the very popular Franconia Ridge. The Flume Slide — a rockslide through the trees which you will need to climb up — is shown in this photo. The rock here is very solid and angular with good holds even in the rain. The slide lasts for 0.7 miles after which you will reach the Franconia Ridge Trail junction just 0.1 miles south of the Mount Flume summit. The general rule is that you never go down the slide, only up it. It is very difficult to climb in good weather and impossible to climb in the winter.

Monday 02/01/2021: Posted photo—Mounts Lafayette and Lincoln.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1.0, 1/640 s, 55 mm.

Mount Lafayette is a 5,249-foot mountain at the northern end of the Franconia Range. This is one of the mountains that I have climbed in the past during the spring. Mount Lincoln is a 5,089-foot mountain in the Franconia Range. I also have summited this mountain in the past. I took these photos during yesterday’s hike up Mount Liberty and Mount Flume.

I was not able to get out today to take a new photo, so I posted a photo taken yesterday.

Tuesday 02/02/2021: Posted photo—Falls Under the Snow.

Settings: FinePix XP70, ISO 400, f/4.9, 1/30 s, 18 mm.

If hiking 11 miles on Sunday was not enough, I snowshoed into work today. It was a shot 3-mile hike in the morning and a 2.5-mile hike after work. I took the safe route to work and broke trail on the way home. During my afternoon hike, I passed the dam at Round Meadow Pond and took this photo. If you have been following me for a while, you know that I photograph this place often. We received 19 inches of new snow overnight and it was a wonderful hike home in the woods along the Midstate Trail.

Wednesday 02/03/2021: Posted photo—Hanging On.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/500 s, 55 mm.

One of the effects of a large amount of snow is snowdrifts on buildings. This is a drift hanging off a building waiting to fall. This was up on the building for a few days because the weather was cold and we have little to no wind.

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Thursday 02/04/2021: Posted photo—1759 Philip Bemis House.

Settings: Samsung SM-G930V (Galaxy S7), ISO 80, f/1.7, 1/60 s, 4 mm.

This is one of the historic housed in town. I pass it on my way to Round Meadow Pond and have photographed this house in the past. Today I decided to take a photo of it since it called to me when I was on my way to photograph the falls.

It is getting lighter every day after work so I will be taken more nature photos in the future.

Friday 02/04/2021: Post photo—Red Sunrise.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/50 s, 51 mm

The sunrise caught my eyes at work today. I was going to drop something off is someone’s office I noticed the red sky. I walked quickly back to my desk to get my camera, went up to a window and took this shot.

Every sunrise is different.

Saturday 02/06/2021: Post photo—Droplets.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/2500 s, 46 mm

Icicles are melting fast around here. After a cold week, we had a warm day today and things are melting. The water was almost running off the icicles so I took out my camera and took this shot.

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.

Photographic Thoughts—01/24/2021 to 01/30/2021

“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.” — Anonymous

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

Sunday 01/24/2021: Posted photo—Junction Before the Climb.

Settings: Samsung Galaxy S7 (SM-G930V), ISO 50, f/1.7, 1/379 s, 4 mm.

Went on hike this afternoon on Wachusett Mountain. Wachusett Mountain is so close to my house that I plan on hiking it 2–3 times a week towards my goal of 100 summits this year. This is the trail junction to one of the difficult trails on the mountain. It was more difficult this week because of the cold temperature and the ice that was had to climb up. The trail has a 19% grade near the summit and is rated difficult.

Trail Junction on a very cold day

Here is a chart with the difficulties of hiking trails:

Easy: walking with no obstacles and low grades
Easy/Intermediate
Intermediate: 10% grade, small rocks and roots, easy scrambling
Intermediate/Difficult
Difficult: 15% grade, large obstacles, possible scrambling or climbing
Extremely Difficult: 20% grade, 15+” obstacles, many harder sections

Monday 01/25/2021: Posted photo—Moon.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/13.0, 1/125 s, 1050 mm.

I needed a quick photo today, so I took a photo of the moon. The moon is my go-to subject so I set up my “moon lens” and took some photos.

When I take photos of the moon, I use the process of focus stacking to develop my photos. Focus stacking helps with making my moon photos sharper. Focus stacking is a digital image processing technique which combines multiple images taken at different focus distances to give a resulting image with a greater depth of field than any of the individual source images.

My favorite subject—the moon

Tuesday 01/26/2021: Posted photo—Morning Sky.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/1250 s, 55 mm.

Every sunrise is different and wonderful. This morning, I missed the sunrise but saw a glowing sky. I just like the way the red glow was reflecting off the sky and clouds.

Hope you enjoy it.

A glorious sunrise

Wednesday 01/27/2021: Posted photo—Snow on Bush.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 800, f/4.5, 1/1600 s, 35 mm.

After a winter with not much snow, we finally had a little. There is a bush at the entrance of the place I work that always looks interesting after a snow. Today I decided to take a photo of it. Today would be a wonderful day to go on a night hike. I did not go hiking today since I needed to go home from work to clean up after the snow. The plan it to go on a hike tomorrow night.

Snow

Thursday 01/28/2021: Posted photo—Black and White Birch.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 1600, f/13, 1/400 s, 55 mm.

I am lucky to work at a location that is on a large property that is mostly woods. We have wild animals on campus. We have had turkey, black bear, deer, crows, turkey, ducks, turkey, and large snapping turtles. Did I say turkey? We have a rafter that has been on the property almost year-round.

Back to the tree—after yesterday’s snow, the trees are still covered. My eye caught the textures and colors of this birch tree, so I had to head towards the tree to take this photo.

White birch tree

Yesterday I said that I was going on a hike today. I did go on a hike. Here are a few things you need to know about it. The moon was full, the trail was steep and icy, there was a fresh coating of snow on the trail, and I was doing a solo hike since the other people that were going could not make it. Just to let you know, never hike alone. Nothing happened to me on this hike. Just to make things more interesting, I did the entire hike without turning on my headlamp. I just love hiking in the winter during a full moon. The moon is very bright and lights up the trail.

Here are a couple of cell phone, low light photos of my shadow and the view of Boston from the summit.

“Yes, I’m being followed by a moonshadow
Moonshadow, moonshadow
Leaping and hopping on a moonshadow
Moonshadow, moonshadow”
Cat Stevens

Friday 01/29/2021: Post photo—Writing on the Wall.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 400, f/5, 1/60 s, 38 mm

These are words on the wall at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC and are in the US Constitution. Everyone in the three branches of the US Government should follow the first line. Many of them forget that were elected for us and not for them.

Words to live by on the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC

That is all I am going to say about this photo.

Saturday 01/30/2021: Post photo—Transition.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 1000, f/4, 1/40 s, 27 mm

This is the transition between the rug and my mother’s room and the rug in her hallway. She is having her house renovated and is changing out the rugs. I stopped in today to see the progress and to take photos to show her.

Teal Feather and Mauvette carpets

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.

Photographic Thoughts—01/17/2021 to 01/23/2021

“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.”—Unknown

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

Sunday 01/17/2021: Posted photo—Summit.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/200 s, 69 mm.

Designation: WACHUSETT 2 RESET
Marker Type: Bolt
Setting: In a boulder
Stability: May hold, but of type commonly subject to surface motion.

Benchmark vs Reference mark

A benchmark is a reference point that helps one to calculate something. A “benchmark” associated with surveying can be referred to a permanent mark created at a recognized height which is used as the basis for measuring different altitude of topographical point.

A reference mark is a disk with an arrow on it that points to the benchmark. Many people incorrectly refer to a reference mark as a benchmark. About 1913, a flat-top Reference Mark disk was produced and first used. It contains the lettering: “U.S. COAST & GEODETIC SURVEY, REFERENCE MARK; FOR INFORMATION WRITE TO SUPERINTENDENT, WASHINGTON D.C.; $250 FINE OR IMPRISONMENT FOR DISTURBING THIS MARK.” There are three reference marks on Wachusett Mountain that point to the summit benchmark.

There is also a different benchmark that was moved during construction of a hotel that was on the summit a long time ago. Partial NGS log from 1/1/1844 “IT WAS ALSO REPORTED THAT THE ROCK BEARING THE STATION MARK WAS MOVED TO BE USED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE HOTEL, BUT, SUBSEQUENTLY ON LEARNING THAT IT WAS AN IMPORTANT MARK OF THE COAST SURVEY, AN ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO RESTORE IT TO ITS ORIGINAL POSITION. THE MASSACHUSETTS TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY COMMISSION HAVING OCCASION IN 1895 TO USE THE POINT, AND LEARNING OF ITS REPORTED REMOVAL AND REPLACEMENT, DETERMINED THE POSITION OF THE COPPER BOLT AS FOUND AND CALLED THE STATION WACHUSETT 2. THEIR FINAL COMPUTATION INDICATES THAT WACHUSETT 2 IS 0.3 METER S AND 0.2 METER E OF THE ORIGINAL STATION.” Here is a photo of that benchmark. This benchmark has been marked as destroyed but is still on the summit. Its location is slightly off the trail near one of the firepits.

Monday 01/18/2021: Posted photo—Oregon Coast.

Settings: KODAK EASYSHARE C613 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA, ISO 80, f/8.5, 1/296 s, 18 mm.

The view from Sea Lion Caves in Florence, OR.

Sea Lion Caves is America’s largest sea cave and the year-round home of the Steller sea lion, but sea lions are not always in the Cave. They are wild animals, and Sea Lion Caves is not a zoo, so these protected animals come and go as they please, as is their nature. Winter months will usually find hundreds of sea lions in the Cave and when spring arrives, breeding and birthing time, the sea lions will move from the Cave to the rookery areas (the rock ledges out in front of the Cave) and will remain there through the summer.

Tuesday 01/19/2021: Posted photo—What Do You See?

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/1250 s, 33 mm.

Besides a cloud, what do you see? I see an ink well or a feathered cap.

From the EarthSky web page: “Maybe you’ve seen the proverbial bunny in the clouds on a warm summer day, or the face of a clown in a mud splatter on the side of your car? Seeing familiar objects or patterns in otherwise random or unrelated objects or patterns is called pareidolia. It’s a form of apophenia, which is a more general term for the human tendency to seek patterns in random information. Everyone experiences it from time to time. Seeing the famous man in the moon or the canals on Mars are classic examples from astronomy. The ability to experience pareidolia is more developed in some people and less in others.”

Wednesday 01/20/2021: Posted photo—White House.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 400, f/13, 1/400 s, 28 mm.

The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. president since John Adams in 1800.

Time to bring democracy, freedom, and civility back to this country.

Thursday 01/21/2021: Posted photo—More Clouds.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/1250 s, 135 mm.

Altostratus is a middle altitude cloud genus belonging to the stratiform physical category characterized by a generally uniform gray to bluish-green sheet or layer. It is lighter in color than nimbostratus and darker than high cirrostratus. Altostratus clouds often form ahead of a warm or occluded front. As the front passes, the altostratus layer deepens and bulks out to become nimbostratus, which produces rain or snow. As a result, sighting it can usually indicate a change in the weather is on the way.

These altostratus clouds were in front of a snow flurry.

Friday 01/22/2021: Post photo—Driftwood.

Settings: KODAK EASYSHARE C613 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA, ISO 80, f/5.4, 1/431 s, 8 mm

South Jetty area provides day use access to the beach and dunes, with separate areas for off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and non-motorized use. Walkers and hikers can enjoy miles of open beach and explore dune formations above the Siltcoos River. This driftwood was found in the sand at South Jetty Beach in Florence, OR.

Living on the east coast, when your right side is near the water, you are looking north. Traveling to the west coast, when your right side is near the water, you are looking south. Takes some time to get your orientation correct.

Saturday 01/23/2021: Post photo—Bryce Canyon Amphitheater.

Settings: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, ISO 200, f/10, 1/200 s, 42 mm

The Bryce Amphitheater area is the most visited section of Bryce Canyon National Park. And it is popular for good reason, since it contains many of the most famous structures in the park. It is also one of the most convenient areas to visit. It is located just southwest of the park visitor center and North Campground. The Bryce Lodge and General Store sit near the canyon rim above this amphitheater. The Sunset Campground is within easy walking distance to the west. That is where we camped for a couple of nights.

We hiked the Navajo Loop Trail as one of our hikes. The Navajo Loop Trail also drops down into the amphitheater. It passes through “Wall Street”, a narrow slot between sheer cliffs, with towering Douglas fir trees growing along the trail. It provides outstanding views of much-photographed Thor’s Hammer – a tall, narrow pinnacle with a narrower neck, supporting a large hammerhead-like rock. We had Bryce Canyon clay on our boots for months after that hike since it was in the rain.

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.

Photographic Thoughts—01/10/2021 to 01/16/2021

“If the photographer is interested in the people in front of his lens, and if he is compassionate, it’s already a lot. The instrument is not the camera but the photographer.” — Eve Arnold

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

Sunday 01/10/2021: Posted photo— Trial Junction.

Settings: Fujifilm FinePix XP70, ISO 100, f/3.9, 1/34 s, 5 mm.

This is at the junction of Administrative Road and the Harrington Trail on Wachusett Mountain. I took my son and one of his friends up the most difficult trail on the mountain, in my opinion, Harrington Trail. The trail was steep, rocky, and icy close to the summit. On the way down, it took them on their first bushwhacking adventure on the mountain. Bushwhacking is to force one’s way through a forested or overgrown area where no path exists.

Trail Junction

Here is a bonus photo of some icicles on the mountain. This is one of my favorite locations for photographing icicles.

Icicles

Monday 01/11/2021: Posted photo— Sunrise.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 400, f/5, 1/500 s, 48 mm.

The lighting during this morning’s sunrise was playing tricks on my camera. This on just looks strange. Every sunrise is different.

Unique sunrise

Tuesday 01/12/2021: Posted photo—Turkeys in a Distance.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 400, f/7.1, 1/100 s, 135 mm.

I was out for a walk today and saw turkeys out in the distance. I took a shot of them just in case I did not find anything else interesting to photograph today. I did not find anything else.

Since this was just a quick shot, I decided to postprocess the photo so that it looked like I was looking through a lens to see them.

A small rafter of turkeys

Anything to attempt to fix a bad photo.

Wednesday 01/13/2021: Posted photo—Bare Trees.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/200 s, 48 mm.

A little Ansel Adams today. Not sure if this is the correct photo for it but I need to practice.

Ansel Adams, Photographer, Conservationist

“At one with the power of the American landscape, and renowned for the patient skill and timeless beauty of his work (see Ansel Adams Yosemite black & white photographs & original prints), photographer Ansel Adams has been a visionary in his efforts to preserve this country’s wild and scenic areas, both on film and on Earth. Drawn to the beauty of nature’s monuments, he is regarded by environmentalists as a monument himself, and by photographers as a national institution. It is through his foresight and fortitude that so much of America has been saved for future Americans.”

President James E. Carter
Presenting Ansel Adams with the
Presidential Medal of Freedom

These are the steps that I modified for my Ansel Adams style. These are the steps for Photoshop. I use Paint Shop Pro and GIMP for my postprocessing after RAW conversion:

  1. Open your desired image. We are going to convert this image into a high-contrast Ansel Adams Style, black and white image.
  2. Go to the layers palette and from the “Adjustments layer” pop up menu, at the bottom of the layers palette choose “channel Mixer”. When the channel Mixer first appears, click on the “Monochrome” check box. This changes your output channel to grey, giving you a black and white photograph.
  3. Drag the red slider to the right until it reads +60% as an initial starting point.
  4. Drag the green slider to the right until it reads +90%. This blows out the image giving extreme highlights. Please note that these percentages are dependent on the image. You may need to move the slider to see what is best for the image you are modifying.
  5. Drag the blue slider to around +30%. Again, depending on the image, you might want to turn the green channel down to +140%, or move the constant slider up or down 3 or 4 % to change the brightness.
Black and white

Thursday 01/14/2021: Posted photo—Trail Junction at Night.

Settings: SM-G930V, ISO 800, f/1.7, 1/10 s, 4 mm

The junction of High Meadow and Bicentennial Trails on Wachusett Mountain.

Tonight, I took my son and two of his friends on a night hike. It was sprinkling, foggy, wet, icy, and dark but a good hike. The hike was about a three miles loop on the mountain. My goal this year in hiking is to summit mountains 100 times. I attempted that goal last year but did not achieve my goal due to COVID. I will be doing at least two hikes a week on local mountains.

Night hike trail junction

Friday 01/15/2021: Post photo—Monticello.

Settings: KODAK EASYSHARE C613 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA, ISO 80, f/3.8, 1/110 s, 12 mm

From the Monticello website: “The vegetable garden evolved over many years, beginning in 1770 when crops were first cultivated along the contours of the slope. Terracing was introduced in 1806, and by 1812, gardening activity was at its peak. The 1,000-foot-long terrace, or garden plateau, was literally hewed from the side of the mountain with slave labor, and it was supported by a massive stone wall that stood over twelve feet in its highest section.”

Monticello is the home of Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was an author of the Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, third president of the United States, and founder of the University of Virginia. He also has a very good vanilla ice cream recipe. It was a wonderful place to visit. Great history and some wonderful inventions throughout the house.

Thomas Jefferson’s vegetable garden

Saturday 01/16/2021: Post photo—Louisa Lake Dam.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/16, 1/30 s, 135 mm

On my way to visit my mother today, I stopped by Louisa Lake Dam at the junction of Louisa Lake and Huckleberry Brook. This is on the Upper Charles Trail in Milford MA. The Upper Charles Trail is a proposed 25-mile trail that will incorporate the communities of Milford, Ashland, Sherborn, Holliston, and Hopkinton, linking the towns via an abandoned CSX rail bed. Some day I will walk most or all the trail.

Slight flow over the dam

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.

Photographic Thoughts—01/03/2021 to 01/09/2021

“Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease.” — Anonymous

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

Sunday 01/03/2021: Posted photo—Church Organ.

Settings: SM-G930V (Samsung Galaxy S7), ISO 200, f/1.7, 1/17 s, 4 mm.

The organ began making its way into churches around 900 CE. Exactly how and why remains an enigma, but it appears that the organ was first used for ceremonial purposes. By the 1400s, the use of organs was well established in monastic churches and cathedrals throughout Europe. Large organs such as the one installed in 1361 in Halberstadt, Germany (the first known permanent installation), began the development of our modern church organ. From this time on, the organ, especially in northern Europe, began to play a more prominent role in liturgy.

This is a photo of the organ at St. Denis in Ashburnham. It is a simple organ, yet it still enhances the liturgy. Music in churches should only enhance the service and not be the focal point of the liturgy.

Monday 01/04/2021: Posted photo—Western Tanager.

Settings: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/320 s, 300 mm.

Hiking along the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, I saw this very colorful bird in the trees. I liked how its color was a wonderful contrast to the green leaves of the bush, so I took this photo. This photo is one that captured many people’s attention during my gallery showing at a local library.

About the bird: The western tanager is a medium-sized American songbird. Formerly placed in the tanager family, other members of its genus and it are classified in the cardinal family. The species’ plumage and vocalizations are like other members of the cardinal family.

Adults have pale, stout pointed bills, yellow underparts, and light wing bars. Adult males have a bright red face and a yellow nape, shoulder, and rump, with black upper back, wings, and tail; in non-breeding plumage, the head has no more than a reddish cast and the body has an olive tinge. Females have a yellow head and are olive on the back, with dark wings and tail.

Tuesday 01/05/2021: Posted photo—Samples.

Settings: SM-G930V (Samsung Galaxy S7), ISO 50, f/1.7, 1/64 s, 4 mm.

There is a renovation project going on in my family is this is a sample of rug colors. When I went to the house tonight to take photos, I did not know that all the outlets and plugs in this area of the house would be covered. The plasterers were coming the next day to mud the walls and ceilings. My intentions were to take a photo of the samples. I took out my cell phone in the dark, focused on the sample and took this photo.

There were also sample of flooring, paint, and countertops to view. This could not be done properly in the dark. They will have to be picked out this weekend.

Wednesday 01/06/2021: Posted photo—Epiphany.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/65, 3.2 s, 26 mm.

“Epiphany” means “manifestation.” It comes from Greek roots that mean “to show, to display” (phainein) and “on, to” (epi-). The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. The magi, representatives of the neighboring pagan religions.

Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after Christmas on 6th January. Epiphany Eve (also known as Twelfth Night) marks the end of the traditional Christmas celebrations and is the time when you were meant to take Christmas decorations down.

This is the nativity scene, or creche, we place under our Christmas tree every year. A creche is a representation of the scene of Jesus Christ’s birth. It is the nativity scene that is displayed at Christmas, with the manger, Mary, Joseph, and the three wise men.

This is a traditional annual photo that I take to note the end of the Christmas season. As a Catholic, my family leaves our tree up to the weekend after Epiphany.

Thursday 01/07/2021: Posted photo—Majestic Maple Tree.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/80 s, 33 mm

On my way back for the doctor’s office, I stopped into the High Ridge Wildlife and Management Area. I drive this location and never stopped in to see it. I just went into the parking lot and saw some maples. As I was going to photograph one of them, people pulled in and parked in front of it. This is the tree next to that one. Still majestic. I will go back some time and hike around High Ridge.

High Ridge Wildlife Management Area is a 3.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Westminster, Massachusetts that features beautiful wildflowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and nature trips.

From the Leafy Place website: “Maple trees are beautiful deciduous shade trees with leafy foliage. Maple trees have dark brown furrowed bark, small, winged fruits, and narrow reddish-brown twigs. Maple trees commonly have green lobed leaves that change their color to red, yellow, orange, and dark burgundy in the fall. The most identifiable feature of maple trees is their lobed leaves. Maples trees grow up to 150 ft. (45 m) tall.

The most famous product from maple trees is the sweet maple syrup made from the tree’s sap. Although you can make syrup from any maple tree, it’s only the sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum) that produces quality syrup.

Maple trees are also prized for their quality timber. Maple wood is a type of hardwood that is used to make baseball bats, bowling pins, pool cue shafts, and hardwood flooring. The decorative wood grain makes maple tree wood popular for making beautiful furniture.”

Friday 01/08/2021: Post photo—Being Torn Apart.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/400 s, 135 mm

This flag is a symbol of America today. There are people that take joy in the events of Wednesday and there are people that are horrified that the events of Wednesday would ever you allowed to happen. There are people that have posted positive comments about Wednesday and say they condole violence. I do not know how you can have it both ways. Maybe it is the leadership of the country, maybe it is the liberal media, maybe it is the conservative media, maybe it is the current culture of our world. The great thing about this country is that people will forget the events and peace and prosperity will again be brought to this country.

There has been talk about invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This amendment is about Presidential Disability and Succession. It was passed by Congress July 6, 1965 and ratified February 10, 1967.

The first paragraph of Section 4 states: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

The 25th Amendment has been invoked six times. Only three of these invocations were related to presidential succession (Section 3). Most notably, the 25th Amendment, Section 3, was invoked when Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush underwent minor medical procedures. Both Reagan and Bush transmitted letters to Congress delegating authority to their Vice Presidents temporarily for several hours.

Will it happen this time? I do not think so because it is too close to the end of the current presidency.

For your information, Section 3 states: “Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.”

Our country is strong and will survive this time. This flag symbolized that the extremes of this country are being torn apart, while most of the country is standing strong.

Saturday 01/09/2021: Post photo—Paradise Pond.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/1250 s, 75 mm

On my way to my mother’s house today, I stopped by Paradise Pond in Leominster State Forest to take a photo. There were other areas of the State Forest that I normally take photos, so I wanted to try a different location.

Geology lesson from the Massachusetts Paddler website: “The receding of the ice sheet ca. 15,000 years ago resulted in the formation of a knob and kettle landscape in which melting boulders of ice formed kettle holes that are fed by freshwater springs. Crows Hill Pond and Paradise Pond are examples of kettle holes.”

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.

Photographic Thoughts—12/27/2020 to 01/03/2021

“The camera has always been a guide, and it’s allowed me to see things and focus on things that may be an average person wouldn’t even notice.” — Don Chadwick

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

This is the last blog for the year 2020. Happy New Year to all. Here is wishing that oddness of 2020 is passed and greatness is ahead of us all.

Sunday 12/27/2020: Posted photo—The Great Conjunction.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 3200, f/7.1, 1/8 s, 300 mm

‘Great conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn formed a ‘Christmas Star’ on the winter solstice. This year, the solstice happened to converge with a “great conjunction” that some have christened as an early “Christmas star” because of its occurrence hear the holiday.

I took this photo tonight due to weather and time constraints. The bright star is Jupiter and Saturn, and the lower star is Pluto (according to all my sky apps).

From the space.com website: “When these two planets converge on Dec. 21 they will be the closest they’ve been to one another in the night sky since 1623, according to Joe Rao, instructor at the Hayden Planetarium in New York. But that conjunction wasn’t visible to skywatchers on much of the Earth because of its location in the night sky. The last time the event was visible from most of the Earth was in 1226, according to Virginia Tech astronomer Nahum Arav.”

A few days after the “Great conjunction”

This is one of the good things that happened in 2020.

I am also posting a photo of the moon I took while photographing the conjunction.

A day before the cold moon

Monday 12/28/2020: Posted photo—Controls.

Settings: SM-G930V (Samsung Galaxy S7), ISO 64, f/1.7, 1/50 s, 4 mm.

The control panel on my replacement generator. Our last generator had a malfunction so I needed to replace it. Since the malfunction we lost power a few times. Since I purchased this new generator, we have not lost power.

I live in an area in which I have a well from my water. When power is lost, I do not have water. I need to prepare for a storm by filling up my bathtub. This generator will power my well pump along with some key electrical outlets in the house, such as the refrigerator and the blower on our wood stove. I heat with wood, so I will always have heat.

The controls on our generator

Some days everyday items get photographed in my project.

Tuesday 12/29/2020: Posted photo—Hidden Anchor in Wood.

Settings: SM-G930V (Samsung Galaxy S7), ISO 160, f/1.7, 1/60 s, 4 mm.

I would like to start out by saying that I cannot believe it is only Tuesday.

Sometimes you just see items in nature that make you think. Today I was gathering wood to bring into the house for our wood stove and I noticed that one of the logs had an image of an anchor in it. Do not know how it was formed, but here it is.

When I am out hiking, I notice different shapes in different items. The way a tree is bent to make a letter or a bench, the way that wildflowers sway in the wind, the way that the hawks dance with the wind. Nature is such a relaxing and calming thing to observe. It amazes me when people are not interested. Maybe because I am a photographer, hiker, camper, and generally like to be outside that I see the little details in nature.

What do you see? I see an anchor.

Today I tested out my generator by plugging the house into it. The generator did not strain at all.

Wednesday 12/30/2020: Posted photo—Oranges.

Settings: SM-G930V (Samsung Galaxy S7), ISO 50, f/1.7, 1/189 s, 4 mm.

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you going to open the door?

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana who?
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Banana. Banana who?
(repeat a few more times)
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

Don’t know why I posted these jokes. I just seemed right at the time.

Orange is associated with meanings of joy, warmth, heat, sunshine, enthusiasm, creativity, success, encouragement, change, determination, health, stimulation, happiness, fun, enjoyment, balance, sexuality, freedom, expression, and fascination. Orange is the color of joy and creativity.

http://www.victoriaadvocate.com states: “Ripe oranges are orange, aren’t they? Fact is in most warmer parts of the world, especially around the equator, ripe oranges are green, never orange. As an orange matures, it is full of chlorophyll. If exposed to cool temperatures during the maturing process, chlorophyll will die off and the orange color comes through.”

Oranges are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C, thiamine, folate, and potassium.

Enough about oranges, I took this photo when I was out shopping this morning. I need to get out more!

Only one more day left in this crazy year.

Oranges

Thursday 12/31/2020: Posted photo—Town Pound.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/80 s, 33 mm

When I was thinking about my last photo for the year, I thought about the Town Pound. Why? Because it seemed like a good place to leave 2020.

The Town Pound from 1810. The placard states: “Years ago animals were restrained here until the owners claimed them and paid their fine.” I do not know of many people that will claim 2020 and pay its fine.

Westminster Town Pound

Friday 01/01/2021: Post photo—Welcome 2021.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1250 s, 300 mm

Happy New Year to all! Wishing everyone a safe new year.

For the past seven years or so I have been hiking, with a group of hiker friends, to the summit of Mt Watatic to view the first peak of the sun for the new year. This year’s sunrise just happened to be over the city of Boston. It was in the high teens at the summit. An average temperature day. We have been at the summit with temperature from -20° F to 40° F. Every year and every sunrise is a little different.

Mount Watatic is a 1,832 foot monadnock located just south of the Massachusetts–New Hampshire border, in the United States, at the southern end of the Wapack Range of mountains. It is only 1,831 feet high and has a prominence of 502 feet. Not a very big mountain. It is about 400 million years old and they do say you get shorter as you get older. The term “monadnock” is used by geologists to describe any isolated mountain formed from the exposure of a harder rock as a result of the erosion of a softer one once surrounding it.

The first view of the sun for 2021

Here are a few more photos from the hike.

Saturday 01/02/2021: Post photo—Next Year’s Fuel.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/400 s, 135 mm

We had a mixture of sleet and snow last night. Made it great for photography, not great for driving. I had to shovel the slush off the driveway before we had a freeze and the driveway, and the walkways became solid ice.

To season firewood properly, you need to stack it in a place where the sun can warm it and the wind can blow through it. A single row exposed to the sun and prevailing winds is best—as the sun heats and evaporates the water from the wood, the wind whisks it away. The process of seasoning allows moisture to evaporate from wood, yielding firewood that burns safely and efficiently. Seasoning only requires time, typically from six months to one year.

Stack of fresh cut firewood

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.

Photographic Thoughts—12/20/2020 to 12/26/2020

“There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” ― Ansel Adams

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

One more week left in 2020! Did you know that the year 2020 has 53 weeks in it? That is because the first week of the year is the week that has the first Thursday in it. Once again an oddity to this wonderful year.

Sunday 12/20/2020: Posted photo—Ready to Let Go.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/100 s, 92 mm

I had a couple of other choices to post today. I am posting them below. One of the things that I attempt to capture during the winter is droplets off icicles. I did note this in one of my last blog posts. To get this shot, I set my camera up to “rapid fire” mode and started to take photos of the icicle dripping. I normally set my shutter speed on my camera to a very high speed to attempt this shot. Today I wanted to set my aperture priority and then take the shot to see how it came out. More practice is needed.

Droplets forming on icicles

“The True Vine” stained glass window.

John’s gospel, Jesus describes himself as the true vine and his father as the vine dresser. Any branch that does not bear fruit will be cut off. … As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, so this kind of relationship should also exist between Jesus and his disciples. This stained glass is on the wall as you ascend to the choir loft.

The True Vine stained glass window at St. Denis Church

Glory and Praise

Glory & Praise, Third Edition—available with or without assembly readings for the three-year cycle—features music for a variety of seasons, solemnities and feasts throughout the year as well as a contemporary psalter with nearly 100 psalms and canticles and musical settings for morning and evening prayer. This is the hymnal that is used in our church.

Glory and Praise Hymnal

Monday 12/21/2020: Posted photo—Double Arch.

Settings: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, ISO 100, f/5, 1/125 s, 85 mm.

Off the internet: “Double Arch is an incredible formation of arches within the Windows area of Arches National Park, an area with the largest concentration of natural arches in the entire world. Double Arch takes its name because of it consists of two arches that share the same stone as a foundation for both of their outer legs. Double Arch was formed by downward water erosion from atop the sandstone, rather than from side-to-side water erosion. Double Arch is the tallest (112 ft/34 m) and second-longest (144 ft/44 m) arch in the park.”

Double Arch, Arches National Park

I was incapacitated today so I was not able to go out to get a photo. I am posting this photo of Double Arch from Arches National Park in Utah. I am recovering well.

The one thing I had to do to this photo was make the sky blue. When I took a photo of the arches, the sky was all blown out. I took the photo of Balance Rock on the same day and about the same time as I took this photo. If you look closely, the sky is the same. I posted a photo of Balance Rock two weeks ago. I am posting it again this week so you can compare the two.

Balance Rock, Arches National Park

Tuesday 12/15/2020: Posted photo—Angel on the Tree.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 3200, f/5.6, 1/25 s, 106 mm.

I am still recovering from my procedure, so I did not go out on this wonderful day to take a photo. This time of year, is great for photographing items on our Christmas tree. We have many memorial ornaments on your tree for family members loss. This little angel is for one of them. It is very emotional decorating the tree and it great to remember those lost this time of year.

Memorial angel on our Christmas tree

Wednesday 12/16/2020: Posted photo—Gardner City Hall.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/800 s, 18 mm

Today’s photo is of Gardner City Hall. Gardner is a neighboring town to the town that I live. I went there this morning for my yearly physical examination.

City of Gardner MA City Hall

From the City of Gardner website: “In 1774, the area now known as Gardner, consisted of several land tracts in Ashburnham, Winchendon, Westminster and Templeton, which were connected by three roads. Access to those surrounding towns, via one of the three roads, was difficult in good weather and all but impossible in inclement weather. Citing the inability to worship or purchase supplies during the winter months, the original inhabitants of the area petitioned Congress to make that area a separate Town. In 1785, a petition was written, enough signatures were gathered and Township was granted. The Town was named for Colonel Thomas Gardner, who was fatally wounded in the battle of Bunker Hill. Seth Heywood, one of the signers of the petition, fought alongside Col. Gardner at Bunker Hill.

In 1888, an employee of Gardner’s largest furniture manufacturer, Edward G. Watkins, created a time recording device to keep track of the hours worked by the employees. It was so easy to operate, that he named it Simplex. As a result of the adoption of this time clock, the phrase “punching the clock” became a standard of American lingo. In 1901, the Simplex Time Recorder Co. was opened. Mr. Watkins continued to work for Heywood Brothers as well as for his own company, until 1918, when he left Heywood to devote all his time to Simplex.

On January 1, 1923, the Town of Gardner officially became the City of Gardner. The City Seal was designed by a local artist by the name of Harrison Cady. The center is a drawing of Col. Thomas Gardner with a view of Crystal Lake in the background. The four letters around Col. Gardner are representative of the towns from which we received the land to create Gardner.”

Thursday 12/24/2020: Posted photo—Star in Tree.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/15 s, 72 mm

This is one of the many ornaments that we have on our tree. This little star has a hole in the back of it to place one of the lights in. We have a number of these stars on our tree. One of them has a white light in it and is placed over the nativity.

I like the way the red light in this star makes it glow. Merry Christmas eve to all.

Illuminated star of our Christmas tree

Friday 12/25/2020: Post photo—Handmade Ornament.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/20 s, 106 mm

Hand made ornament made a few years ago

Merry Christmas to all! This is a homemade ornament on our Christmas tree.

Saturday 12/19/2020: Post photo—Mount Monadnock.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/320 s, 135 mm

The is the view of Mount Monadnock from the end on North Road on Wachusett Mountain. I took my first hike, post procedure, today to see have my body would hold out for my New Year’s Day morning sunrise hike. I was sore after the hike and now I think my hike was too long and/or too difficult for my first hike. I did a 4.1 mile loop on Wachusett Mountain summiting by the most difficult trail on the mountain. I will recover quickly and will be ready for the New Year’s sunrise hike (weather permitting). There is a prediction of rain and I am not ready to hike in the rain yet. On any other year, I would be good to go.

Mount Monadnock

I may have posting this before in an earlier blog: “Mount Monadnock, or Grand Monadnock, is a 3,165 ft mountain in the towns of Jaffrey and Dublin, New Hampshire. It is the most prominent mountain peak in southern New Hampshire and is the highest point in Cheshire County. It lies 38 miles southwest of Concord and 62 miles northwest of Boston.” The prominence of Mount Monadnock is 2,149 feet. To re-educate people: In topography, prominence (also referred to as autonomous height, relative height, and shoulder drop in US English, and drop or relative height in British English) measures the height of a mountain or hill’s summit relative to the lowest contour line encircling it but containing no higher summit within it. Here are a few photos from my hike.

Usual statement: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.

Photographic Thoughts—12/13/2020 to 12/19/2020

“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” — Andy Warhol

Thank you for all the new views and likes from last week. It helps keep me going. Enjoy my blog post!

Sunday 12/13/2020: Posted photo—Advent.

Settings: SM-G930V (Samsung Galaxy S7), ISO 200, f/1.7, 1/60 s, 4 mm

Looking down at the altar from the choir loft at St Denis. This is the third week of Advent or Gaudete Sunday. Historically the pink or rose candle is called the Gaudete candle, from the Latin word meaning “rejoice.” It is an important reminder in the Advent season of preparation, of the joy that is ours in knowing the power of love in our lives. The colors for the other weeks of Advent is purple.

St. Denis Church, Ashburnham, MA

Sorry about the poor quality of this photo. It was taken by my cell phone in low light.

Monday 12/14/2020: Posted photo—Dusting.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/200, 57 mm.

A dusting of snow is defined as a light covering of snow. To me, a dusting of snow is anything less then an inch of snow. Today we received a dusting of snow. I a couple of days, we are to receive about a foot (12 in.) of snow.

Dusting of snow

The Geminids meteor show is happening tonight with a peak rate of about 120 meteors/hour. I am hoping to get out to photograph the meteor shower is the clouds go away. The sky is predicted to be clear tonight. Just do not know what time that will happen.

Tuesday 12/15/2020: Posted photo—Big Dipper.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 3200, f/5, 16 s, 18 mm.

My attempt at photographing the Geminids did not work out well since there was too much light. Even at 2:00 am when took this photo. I did see a spectacular light show of meteors as I observed the night sky.

I focused around the area of the Big Dipper, or Ursa Major, because there were many meteors in that area. Also, if I did not get any good meteor shots, I would be able to post a photo of the second constellation that I have captured.

The Big Dipper is an asterism in the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear). One of the most familiar star shapes in the northern sky, it is a useful navigation tool. Asterisms are prominent groups of stars that form patterns but are smaller than, or even part of, a constellation.

Big Dipper

I have highlighted the Big Dipper so you can see it better. The photo looks very dark on a my laptop screen and not so dark on my desktop monitor.

Wednesday 12/16/2020: Posted photo—Wachusett Mountain.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/320 s, 55 mm

Wachusett Mountain as seen from Academy Hill in Westminster. Two weeks ago, I posted a photo of the 1815 Rev. Cyrus Mann House and said that the crest for my town was taking from a view from this spot. Here it the view.

Getting ready for the big snowstorm predicted for tomorrow. I will be snowshoeing into work. Picture to follow.

Wachusett Mountain

Thursday 12/17/2020: Posted photo—Snow on Bush.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 200, f/5, 1/640 s, 45 mm

We had over a foot of snow today. I snowshoed into work and walked home from work through the Midstate Trail. I had a little extra weigh in my pack on the way home since we received our Christmas ham at work today. During the day I took this photo of snow on a bush. I took it during the day because I walked to and from work in the dark.

Snow on a bush

Here is a photo I took on my way home showing me walking out of the dark. Sorry for the reflection of my cell phone. I turned my head so my headlamp would not shine too brightly on the snowshoe prints.

Snowshoe footprints in the snow.

The walking distance from my house to my workplace is 2.5 miles.

Friday 12/18/2020: Post photo—Round Meadow Pond.

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 400, f/29, 1/20 s, 33 mm

This is a photo taken at one of my favorite locations, the dam at the outfall of Round Meadow Pond. A few years ago, I took a photo at this location the first of each month to see how the flow of water has changed over the year. The location is a little out of the way for some people, so it is often very quiet and peaceful. As you may have noticed from the photos settings that this was a long exposure photo. I set my camera on shutter priority and took the show to get flow of the water without overexposing the photo. Round Meadow Pond is 54 acres in size.

The dam at Long Meadow Pond

I have also posting to this blog a photo of Wachusett Mountain as seen from Round Meadow Pond.

Wachusett Mountain from Long Meadow Pond

Settings: Canon EOS 60D, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/640 s, 28 mm

Saturday 12/19/2020: Post photo—Duplicate Location.

Sometimes you need to take photos at the same location for practice. This is one of those locations. I just like the look of this lonely tree in Crows Hill Pond. I was hoping that there would be more snow on this tree but the wind has blown it off.

Lonely tree in Leominster State Forest

Common statement at the end of my blog: That is all for this week. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts and constructive criticism is always wanted. I do not take criticism personally, just an opportunity to better my photography and writing skills.

For more photo of other project I have work, visit my website: https://photobyjosephciras.weebly.com/ or visit me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhotobyJosephCiras/.

Be safe out there, keep your social distance, and remember to always wear your mask.