Dec 222014
 

From my afternoon walk, in which I got very damp.  In the chilly air and steady rain, I photographed these watery wintery worlds along Piney Woods Church Road.

 

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Dec 212014
 

Day 355, and I pause to acknowledge the Winter Solstice.  I had planned to begin my project on this very day in 2013, but ended up postponing it to begin instead with the first of the year.  Having nearly completed my round of the seasons, I appreciate the arbitrary nature of our Western calendar, and am delighted to say that my next project (more about that on January 1st) will begin with the Spring Equinox of 2015, rather than the start of a particular month.  This is the shortest day, and as I type this, it has already grown dark though not yet 6 pm Eastern Time.  Tomorrow, the days will grow longer once again. On the occasion of this turning of the year, I offer these two images of turning tendrils, taken on today’s ramble through the dreary gray along Piney Woods Church Road.

 

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Dec 202014
 

Some much-welcomed rain showers arrived overnight, and the air felt moist and full of promise as I set out on my afternoon exploration of Piney Woods Church Road today.  The water that had covered the leaves and branches of the roadside plants had mostly dried up, except for individual tiny droplets lingering on the tips of a loblolly pine sapling.  I had tried photographing them before, with little success.  Today’s efforts were rewarded by the photograph below.

 

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Dec 202014
 

Along Piney Woods Church Road earlier today, I noticed that many of the Chinese wisteria pods had already opened, releasing their round, dime-sized seeds.  One of the pods I saw still held one seed, waiting for the right moment to be released.  I photographed it in color; in black and white, the image becomes an intriguing, abstract form.

 

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Dec 182014
 

As winter nears, many of the remaining leaves on the trees and shrubs along Piney Woods Church take on an increasingly weather-beaten appearance.  I am intrigued by the ones that carry so many scars — marks where they were chomped on, methodically chewed, shredded, and otherwise diminished.  The leaves that remain carry a rich array of stories inscribed in their uneven, discolored edges.

 

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Dec 182014
 

As winter approaches and the Piney Woods Church Road landscape becomes more sere and barren, I begin to notice the naked branches of the trees and bare tendrils of the vines so much more.  Today I found yet another enticing tendril image, a flourish of woody muscadine on a cold and cloudy mid-December afternoon.

 

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Dec 172014
 

Every so often on my daily rambles, I encounter shapes in nature — usually leaves — that evoke some other image, such as an animal or human figure.  This happened many months ago, when I photographed a dark image that I titled, at my wife Valerie’s recommendation, “Strange Leaf”.  And today, as the seasons have swung back around into the months of shriveled, brown leaves, it has happened again.  Today I offer two such images, which I am calling “Leaf Puppets”.  The first is a pair of dried wisteria leaves evocative of human figures, both suspended by their stems along the road bank.  The second is a nearby sweetgum leaf, conjuring in my mind an image of a swan in flight.  If you do not imagine the same, that is OK, too.  The folds of the leaves and the patterns of light and dark, focus and blur, are inviting by themselves.

 

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Dec 162014
 

This time of year, the green leaves stand out along Piney Woods Church Road, when most every plant has withered to some shade of buff brown.  In this case, the plant is likely Japanese honeysuckle — a truly nasty invasive that is slowly choking my (former) flower garden and shrubs.  Still, I find this single leaf, illuminated by afternoon sunlight, entrancing.  I nearly overlooked it completely — I took just two photos of it, one of which was out of focus.  I had every intention of choosing to highlight something else from my walk.  But reviewing the images at home now, this is the one that most captivates me from my daily journey.

 

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Dec 152014
 

I was feeling a bit down and disconnected as I took my afternoon journey down Piney Woods Church Road.  My mood seeped nto this image and its title, I think.  There is a touch of melancholy to this image of a half-eaten pecan nut (left behind by a gray squirrel, no doubt), resting on a fencepost at the edge of a roadside horse pasture.  An old mule barn provides a blurry blue-gray geometric form in the background.

 

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