Monday, December 22, 2008

December's snow viewed from inside a warm Vancouver home

Since Vancouver's city fathers have never seen fit to clear our residential roads--ever, only four-wheel drive vehicles should be out and about this morning. It is therefore a perfect day for remaining inside, enjoying the 'winter wonderland' from the comfort of a heated home. I photographed these snow scenes through our windows because this is how I so often see Vancouver's snow, from the comfort of my desk, or while washing dishes or preparing food, or while eating, reading or working at the computer. Walking in the snow is also wonderful, but I thought this perspective was worth a try.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow fall at night in Vancouver, Dec. 21st, first day of winter

This year, December 21st marks the first day of winter and the Fourth Sunday of Advent. My concert season ended for 2008, admist Vancouver's first heavy snow storm. Although churches were not closed, they were sparsely populated. I had to dig out my car after loading it with music stands.

I took these pictures at 8:30 this evening (hand-held, -2 C), using only street and Christmas lights for illumination. The evening exuded a calmness that was soothing after days of rehearsing and singing. During the 15 minutes of shooting, neither cars nor people were seen or heard. Falling snow is difficult to photograph at night, particularly without a tripod, but several pictures at least suggest why my camera had to be thoroughly dried afterward.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Vancouver sunrise Dec 16, 2008

Moon setting during a December dawn

December provides Vancouverites excellent sunrises at a reasonable hour. These photographs were taken this morning between 7:30-8:15 a.m. by the Fraser River. The temperature was unusually cold for Vancouver, -6C with no wind. Even with the added warmth of fingerless gloves, I was eventually unable to find the shutter release by feel. Since the darker shades of sunrise eventually turned much brighter, I willingly packed the cold tripod and tromped through the snow back to the car and our icy side roads. Time for a warm breakfast with Karl.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Couples in love in Paris

Champs Elysees and parks approaching the Louvre

Along the River Seine

Park on the hill as one approaches Sacre Coeur

St Maurice

Avignon's Papal Palace

Paris is obviously a wonderful setting for couples. For more than a century, photographers have been taking pictures which portray couples oblivious to the hundreds of people streaming by. Some of the most famous of those photos were of course staged, but anyone in central Paris soon discovers that staging is hardly necessary. I have wondered what it is about Paris that gives couples such a profound a sense of security and anonymity that they can be completely engrossed in each other while the citizens of one of the world's most busy cities scurry hither and yon. These scenes are so commonplace that Parisians, and eventually tourists, either hardly notice or do indeed notice--and smile, possibly being reminded of what it was like to be a student.

These pictures depict couples in love, yet they are at different stages in life or in their relationships: the younger couples generally appear to be discovering each other with an intensity that blocks out the rest of society, one couple could have been on a honeymoon, and the more mature couples seem to be satisfied by simply being together while reading, talking or watching their children.