Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Color Of Spring

A quick glance at the calendar tells me that spring is nearly one week old. Well, as of today, I still can not see it in the sky or feel it in the air. I did however find an ornamental cherry tree beginning to sport it's colors. Maybe that's the best we can do for the last week of March 2009!

Oh how I envy you folks who live in the southeast and have been posting photos of beautiful spring flowers. My envy will end abruptly when your temperature reaches eighty degrees; then you are on your own!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Begins On Friday?

Boy, as I look out the window, it's difficult to believe that spring actually begins tomorrow! At the present moment, the skies are dark and it looks as if a torrent of rain will be unleash at any moment. The temperature is also a balmy 45 degrees.

A sure sign of spring will be when my neighbor's rose bush begins to produce foliage. A few weeks ago when I made this image of a gigantic rose hip's shadow, the new buds were begin to swell. Sadly, when the foliage finally appears, the wall of the house will be obliterated and so goes my opportunities for shadows. On the other hand, as long as the sun shines, there will always be another shadow somewhere!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saint Patrick’s Day On The Coast

Not being Irish, I never really understood St. Patrick’s day and all things green, but why let a little thing like understanding ruin your day. So in honor of St. Patrick, I decided to see if I could find something green to photograph in honor of the patron saint. As it turned out, today was not the day for color of any sort because the skies were shrouded in deep overcast. At times, the overcast was broken by periods of intense showers which even included hail. A great day for photography!

The photo was taken from the banks of the Columbia River about thirteen miles east of Astoria. I seriously doubt the patron saint ever wander in these parts. If he did, it’s unlikely that he saw much in the way of green during mid-March.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Pi Day

Just in case you are looking for a reason to celebrate, be sure to mark Saturday, March 14th on your calendar. In the world of mathematics, it's known as international pi day.

Pi, not to be confused with a delicious desert, instead it is one of the most important mathematical constants known; countless formulas are dependent upon its value. Simply stated, pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. For you non-math types such as myself, pi is a number which is equal to 3.14.

My first introduction to pi was not in a math class but surprisingly at Boy Scout camp in the summer 1966. We were camped at Butler Beach on Cape Cod and while huddled around the camp fire, someone noticed a blinking light in the evening sky. Immediately a couple of the older scouts proceeded to the beach to scan the sky, free of the campfire’s light. After a while my curiosity got the better of me and I proceeded to the beach to see what all the fuss was about. Alpin C. and a few of the other senior scouts had decided that the light was most definitely a UFO and they were discussing signaling the space craft using Morse code via a flash light. As I listen to the discussion, the consensus of opinion was that the message must be a series of numbers. So without missing a beat, Alpin grabbed a flashlight and began signaling deep space or as deep as the light from a flashlight might reach! Out of curiosity, I interrupted Alpin and asked what he was saying. He turned to me and announced that he was sending pi; my next question was what the heck is pi. When he finished signaling, he politely explained more than I ever wanted to know about pi. I suppose it goes without saying that Alpin was brilliant and graduated high school at the top of his class. He later attended both Brown University and MIT majoring in mathematics and computer science. I have to admit, the man certainly knew his pi!

But now back to 1966, Butler Beach, and the UFO. Even at that point in my life I had little appreciation for anything extraterrestrial. I walked away wondering why pi was the message chosen on that August night. While taking modern math in junior high a few years later, I came to learn that mathematics is considered to be the “universal language”. OK, so maybe if the blinking light actually was a UFO, presumably they would have understood the message. Years later, I still think that maybe a more neighborly message might have been to simply say hello or to invite our intergalactic friends to stop by our camp for a meal. The food as I recall was very good and we even had pie and ice cream most evenings. Surely such a treat would be fit for an intergalactic traveler!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring Is On The Horizon?

January and February were always two of the gloomiest months when I worked in the woods to earn my living. By that time of the year, all of the annual vegetation such as the pearly everlasting or the thistles had long since died and turned brown. Frequently, the conifer trees would also begin to exhibit their displeasure with winter. Their foliage would begin to show the signs of damage from the desiccating force of the winds. Limbs, that had been ripped free of the tree’s trunk would also be scattered about the forest floor. All this would bear witness to the destructive forces of multiple winter storms along the north Oregon coast.

Pearly Everlasting

Thistle, it may be dead but it still bites!

In just a few hours we will “spring forward” into daylight savings time, assuming I can successfully reset the clock on the microwave. Oh that it would be as quick of a transition from winter into spring!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stuck In The Shadows

I frequently find the shadow of an object more interesting than the thing its self. I was recently fascinated by the shadows cast by an overgrown rose bush onto the side of a house. I made a number of images as the sun's light progressed along the house but I found these two to be the strongest of the bunch.

Many thanks to my neighbor for providing the rose bush and the side of his house for use as a photographic project. He is also aware that the siding is in desperate of a paint job!