Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween...2014...

The thinning of the veils is taking place, and the pagan New Year is about to begin. Samhain, Halloween, All Hallows...whatever one wishes to call my favorite of the holidays. Autumn has fully settled in, and the spirit of the season is at it's strongest.

Unfortunately, I seem to be coming down with something, so I wasn't up to "going out among them" (as my dad would say). We had planned to head up to our local watering hole to observe whatever festivities would be going on. I haven't been up there in quite awhile, so it would have been nice to go. Glenn made a solo appearance, and the report I got when he returned was that the scene there was dead. Meaning there were hardly any people there. *grin* It seemed I didn't miss anything, so that alleviated some of my disappointment.

I did run errands as today was a day off (gotta love feeling ill on a day off). The stores were packed with people buying last minute Halloween supplies. Cart loads of candy, mostly. When leaving the market, I saw a couple of costumed kiddies. A pint size Spiderman, and a mini-War Machine. On my drive home from there I saw other 'Trick or Treaters' that seemed to all be heading to the same place. Don't know where or what that place might be...I just know they weren't headed to the condos here. We never have anyone ring our doorbell asking for candy. Children do live here. They just never seem to make the rounds.

I did expend some of my low supply of remaining energy to take a few pictures of the All Hallows sky. By the time I got home the orange glow coloring the clouds had diminished a bit. The sun sets on the far side of the trees, so I don't usually get to see it in my neck of the woods. The crisp air felt great.

The moon was visible as it made it's way through it's celestial paces. The 'fingernail' appearance of several days ago had changed to what resembled half of a breath mint. As I was taking a few shots of Luna I lucked out as a number of herons flew overhead. I managed to get this shot of four of them, their large wings beating the air in tandem.

Tomorrow I report back to the mine, but even though I will be hard at work the Samhain spirit will be strong. To the pagans, a blessed Samhain to you all. To everyone else, Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Coffee, Autumn & The Harvest Moon...

(A cup of hot coffee & blogging)
I think I can safely say that Autumn is definitely a strong presence here on the southern Georgia coast. A presence that is growing in strength. Cooler temperatures are overpowering hotter ones with each passing day. The crispness of the breath of Fall can be felt in the subtle breezes blowing lazily through and around the marsh. The equinox presented itself on September 23rd, and Autumn's official return had been declared. After that glorious day Autumn stepped closer, but Summer didn't appear to be ready to let go. Not right away. The heat and humidity of my least favorite season wasn't finished. Apparently. Now Summer's fingertips are slipping away. Buhbye, Summer. It's Autumn's turn now. 

There is a filter that Autumn brings with it on its yearly visit. A special autumnal gel that it slides into the holder of that massive Fresnel lamp known as the Sun. Shining on the stage of the northern hemisphere, the mood is changed. Actually, the change is 'mood'. Autumn is moodier...more ethereal. Colors become deeper, and the world begins it's renewal. For me Autumn is more thoughtful...more introspective...more creative. The natural world that I enjoy photographing so much shifts. The richness of color, and the revealing aspect of flora dropping leaves and going to seed make my world here on the marsh look like a painting. After all, Gaia is one of the great masters. Foggy days that seem to be much more plentiful during the Fall months, make sound more compressed like it's being pushed through cotton. The sounds of my neighbors going about their business becomes secondary to the hushed murmurings of the spirit of Autumn. Even though I know there is a vast world out there stretching in every direction, my world here on the marsh feels smaller, cozier, more isolated. There is a comforting energy that emanates from Autumn. One that makes me think of a warm fuzzy sweater and a hot mug of coffee (but then I usually think of coffee).
I am thrilled for Autumn's return for a number of reasons, a main one being the aforementioned creativity it brings. Creativity is important to me, mainly for my state of mind. Creativity is an essential element of my core. An extended period without engaging in creative activities is not a good thing. Not for me. Autumn will afford me the right atmosphere conducive to my creativity. 

Summer is always sticky and hot, so it doesn't really lend itself to a desire to make a big pot of soup or stew. Those are dishes best made during cooler weather. Weather like today. Tonight I have created my first big pot of cool weather fare, chili. I can smell it simmering in the kitchen. 

Another aroma hanging in the air is the scent of candles. 'Pine' (I stocked up on these when they went on clearance last Yule), and 'Pomander' (one of the Fall scents I picked up at work). The green musky-sweet scent of pine trees, and spicy orange-clove scent of pomanders, are so calming. Tree scents are always numero uno with me, and the clove-y spice of the other candles is a nice addition. I stuck a 'Pomander' candle in the Halloween themed holder pictured. Another item I picked up at work. I'm a big fan of vintage scene lamps, and this looked to be in that vein when I saw it on the shelf. I think it looks pretty cool. Another reason to love Autumn...Halloween.
(Darkness over the condos)
One of my regular rituals each month is to take pictures of the Full Moon, this months being the "Harvest" Full Moon. I have always loved the Moon. Do I always capture it in pictures as I see it with my eyes? Yes, and no. On the night of October 7th, the Moon was bright. Out here on the island where streetlights and most other forms of man-made lighting are few when out of doors at night, the Moon is even brighter. Couple that with the size of the Moon. Impressive it was. A huge shining orb. I first saw it during my drive home from the mine (work), and it was extremely distracting. My eyes kept get pulled towards it which isn't really a good thing while driving. I forced my gaze to the road, and focused on getting home to my camera.

I have stated many times in posts of my photos that I am in need of a new camera for more clarity and definition when taking night time photos. I have caught an image here and there where the dark areas covering the Moon's face are featured. Those pictures are usually attainable when there is a higher measure of cloud cover. On Harvest Moon night the sky was fairly clear. The size and brightness of the orb was also a factor in it appearing as a burning celestial spotlight.

There is my camera's "version" of the Moon as seen through one of the many trees here. The extremely bright nature of October's Moon appeared as a large amorphous ball of brilliance, any leaves or small branches in the way of its face causing its shape to morph a bit. At times I wish this camera would take clearer, truer shots of the Moon. There are times where I appreciate the abstract quality this camera's lens gives.

On the night of the 7th things were very quiet in terms of any encounters, meaning I didn't cross paths with any other people. Many times a car will pass by, or a resident of one of the neighboring buildings will venture out to walk their dog. No, that night was devoid of encounters. Until...I felt something bump up against my leg...

I was looking through my camera's lens in it's place on the tripod, and something bumped into my shin and rubbed slowly past. Now, this is kind of alarming here on the marsh. We have raccoons, opossums...wild creatures. They lurk around here all of the time once night falls. I had been standing fairly still framing up shots through some tree branches. I froze for a second, and slowly looked down. It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the darkness at ground level...I had been looking at a very bright Luna up to that point. As my eyes adjusted, I could make out the form of a four legged creature swivel around and take a run at my other shin. It looked up at me with two shining eyes and I could make out the faint sound of purring. Hello, kitty. I scratched his back and he decided it would be worth his while to stick around. Slinking to the asphalt of the empty parking space next to my car, he sat for a second before flopping onto his side and cleaning his fur. Normally, I stay away from a camera's flash. Even when I photograph the Moon. With the unknown cat I decided to break tradition and use it. The results are the dark photos above. Rather eerie, they capture the initial feelings I had when he first made me aware of his presence. I scratched his head a bit more before he got bored with me and wandered off. Nice kitty.

In terms of timeline on the photos in this post of the Moon, these two (the one above and the one below) were taken before the others. The Moon was still rising over the marsh. The line of lights starting at the right edge of the pictures is the headlamps of cars crossing the causeway from Tybee Island, the only road to/from Tybee. My photos don't capture just how illuminated everything was under the Moon's beams. It was abundantly clear why this Moon is connected with the harvest, and farmer's being able to work later into the night under it's light. Beautiful.

As for the Lunar Eclipse, I really wanted to witness that. Alas, the large number of trees around here prevented me from being able to see to both horizon lines, and to see the presence of both the Moon and the Sun...which is celestially impossible, and only achievable via the world of illusion. I know it would have been magical.

In less than two weeks is the next stop on the 'Wheel of the Year'...Samhain...

The veil continues to thin...