Friday, February 02, 2007

Happy Midwinter!


(I initially tried to post this on Friday morning, but Blogger was having technical difficulties.)

According to my We'Moon calendar, February 2nd marks Imbolc, the Midwinter celebration in the Celtic calendar: "celebration, prophecy, purification, initiation." It is also the Christian Candlemas; the Jewish Tu B'Shevat (Arbor Day); and the Tibetan, Chinese, and Iroquois New Year.

The collage above (done with MS Paint and MS Photo Editor) began with a photo of me that was taken on my 14th birthday. After cropping the shot, I added watercolor and edge effects and tweaked brightness, contrast, and gamma. I then reversed the colors. In Paint, I replaced my reversed face and hands with those from the non-reversed, tweaked shot.

I added a 9-day-old moon that I'd photographed in October 2006, rotated. Back in Photo Editor I smudged the borders of the birthday shot.

The birthday shot is one of many pictures I found in a box unearthed during my latest round of studio clean-up....

The cardboard box, half eaten away, contained items ranging from intact photos to those resembling Swiss cheese. Fortunately, I had a plastic box in which to transfer them, but more plastic boxes are now on my shopping list.

Front Cover, 1939 World's Fair Postcard Booklet

Included was this collection of postcards from the 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. I'd been to the 1964 World's Fair held at the same location, but my mother had been to the 1939 Fair as well. The full set is here.

This next shot may well be over a century old.

My Maternal Grandmother's Family

Hannah, my maternal grandmother, is third from the left. There is no date on this photograph, which was likely taken either at the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th. I never knew my grandmother's real age (partly because she lied about it to get work when she was a girl) or her real birthday. Rather, I began to doubt her birthday had really occurred on the day we celebrated it, after I read Elana Dykewomon's excellent novel Beyond the Pale. Set in Manhattan during the height of immigration from Eastern Europe and chronicling the deplorable conditions of sweatshops (including the Triangle Shirtwaist fire), the book also details the assignment of birthdays to Jewish immigrants. Seems at least some immigration officials at Ellis Island, unfamiliar with the Jewish lunar calendar, simply recorded Christmas Day as the immigrant's birthday. In my home, we'd always celebrated my grandmother's birthday on December 25.

When the sky was still clear, I'd spotted this from my front porch:

Tethered to the Sunset

A large red balloon about a quarter-mile from home catches light from the setting sun. The balloon was part of an automobile sale held at a strip mall parking lot outside the supermarket. I used a 1/640-second exposure at f/8, then enhanced brightness and contrast a bit.

The balloon shared space with a waxing gibbous moon seen at the other end of the sky.

On Opposite Ends of the Sky

At the time the moon was 89 percent of full. I again used a 1/640-second exposure, this time at f/6.3.

I'd spotted both when I went out to wrap the pipes due to a freeze advisory. Sure enough, what passes for grass in our yard turned brown overnight, though since then the temperature's climbed with the onset of thunderstorms, including a nearby tornado (mild as tornadoes go, F0 on the Fujita scale). I was awake a bit after 3AM, listening to constant wind and heavy rain.

(I had written the above paragraph before I'd seen the news reports about tornado deaths here in Florida. Unfortunately, even an F0 can be devastating.)

Meanwhile, someone's gotten into our scheduling software. Not to jump to any conclusions, but the paw prints and kibble dust on my keyboard provide a bit of a clue. I'm just sayin'.

Feline Priorities


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is everyone alright?

I LOVE the birthday photo. It's poster worthy.

I have some photos from about the same age, the late 1800's with the women dressed like that. My grandmother was about 20 and her aunts are much older. They'dre all posing (with men and children) by the canons on Castle Island South Boston.

I saw a clip of a dog who could open the fridge and eat what he found there on TV last night.

9:21 AM  

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