an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

halloween

November Poles?

ghosts dance around tree
ghosts dance around tree

November Poles

Not sure, but they are kind of like May Poles, but it’s not May, and they aren’t pretty girls dancing around the trees. Virtual ghosts dancing around oak trees is definitely right for the season!

I could pass up a “diffuse glow” filter to the photo, above. Below is the original photo, still pretty cool.

ghosts dance around tree

The unfiltered photo.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Enter: Three WITCHES

THREE BLACK CATS WITH LAMP AND PUMPKIN

ENTER; Three Witches

When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Guess the kids have been getting into my literature textbooks again. I thought my Riverside Shakespeare was too heavy for them, but there is no getting in the way of a determined reader. Now that they’ve mastered Act 1, Scene 1 of MacBeth, I can’t wait to see how they interpret Scene 2.

Maybe reading to them as kittens really did work.

Actually, Mimi, Mewsette and Giuseppe were gathered around the lamp “to keep warm” as they said, because the temperature was all of about 65 degrees. Time to get out the cozy beds!

. . . . . . .

You many not know that I have five rescued black cats, just by chance–they are all related. Right now I also have two foster kittens who are also–black! Halloween is a great day for us. You’re going to see a few more photos, and you can also join us on The Creative Cat for more every day!


Madame Mewsette Will Tell Your For-tuna

madame mewsette

Madame Mewsette will tell your for-tuna!

This card, “Madame Mewsette Will Tell Your For-tuna” features Miss Mewsette, who has a strong sense of the dramatic and arranged herself in this living still life, then looked at me as I walked through the room at night, probably preparing dinner. Where’s my camera?! And my tripod for this one, a difficult shot with the lamp contrasting with the very dark areas around, but Mewsette was patient. Here is what I included in the post adapted to the back of the card:

This is what Mewsette is dressed up as to celebrate this evening’s events. And she didn’t even have to put on one embarrassing garment or accessory.

When I attended Catholic grade school, we were to dress up as our patron saint for All Hallow’s Eve, and dressing up as St. Bernadette was pretty easy for me as I already tended to wear peasant-style clothing and St. Bernadette didn’t suffer any dire injuries or horrible torture like some of the other saints, she just lived to be very old, despite Lourdes.

Well, I think Mewsette is dressed up as one of her patron kitties—she is quiet and introspective, unlike her brothers, and I can just see her in the role of a familiar or a gypsy fortune-teller!

. . . . . . .

You many not know that I have five rescued black cats, just by chance–they are all related. Right now I also have two foster kittens who are also–black! Halloween is a great day for us. You’re going to see a few more photos, and you can also join us on The Creative Cat for more every day!


Mewsette’s Minions

black cat with pumpkins
black cat with pumpkins

Mewse4tte and her minions.

You many not know that I have five rescued black cats, just by chance–they are all related. Right now I also have two foster kittens who are also–black! Halloween is a great day for us. You’re going to see a few more photos, and you can also join us on The Creative Cat for more every day!

. . . . . . .

Awake, my minions, it’s Halloween! You know the plan—world domination by black cats via Halloween pumpkins! For every pumpkin a black cat! Now, go forth and find homes, and at midnight you will each become a black cat waiting in a shelter for a forever home!

We could only wish finding homes for black cats was that simple and fun. But tomorrow, you could go out and adopt a black cat from a shelter or rescue, even if you don’t have a pumpkin in your yard tonight! Think of the beauty of Mimi and her children and Emeraude, and consider adopting a black cat for your Halloween treat!

. . . . . . .

I first published this in 2010 under the title “Help, Mom’s Gone Crazy” because Mewsette and all the other beautiful black cats couldn’t figure out what I wanted them to do with the pumpkins!

I just can’t figure out what she wants me to do but it has something to do with these pumpkins! Sometimes mom gets these crazy ideas and she chases us around the house and tries to get us to do things that we don’t understand, and she’s been after us with these pumpkins for days. I can’t wait till Halloween is over and mom gets back to normal!

Yesterday while mom was working on her computer I saw a few kitties wearing silly costumes. It’s just a really good thing she didn’t try that, and that’s all I’ll say on that subject.

You many not know that I have five rescued black cats, just by chance–they are all related. Right now I also have two foster kittens who are also–black! Halloween is a great day for us.


Bonfire Blue

bonfire
bonfire

Bonfire Blue

I liked this one too, just as it grew dark.

What is autumn without at least one bonfire? The crisp air nearly asks for the sharp scent of burning wood and the crackling of kindling in the cold night air, the sparks rushing upward to disappear just overhead. Perhaps with bonfires included in these autumn celebrations we are expressing that primordial fear of the coming darkness, the long nights growing longer, and the rituals of our ancestors that held the night at bay until it began growing longer again.

“Bonfire” is derived, in short, from “bone fire”, an annual ritual of Celtic peoples who burned animal bones at Samhain to ward off evil spirits, and of later European people who burned the oldest bones in crowded churchyards or cemeteries to allow space for new interrments and to ensure that those disinterred would not haunt them at All Hallow’s Eve, when uneasy spirits were known to come calling.

This particular bonfire burned only scrap lumber, wooden pallets and downed trees at the Nightwalk on the Panhandle Trail.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Warm

bonfire flames
bonfire flames

Heat

The bonfire at the weekend’s Halloween trail walk was built from wooden pallets which created a criss-cross pattern as they burned down, like little windows of warmth for the flames to escape.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Woooo-oo-ooo, it’s Howwl-o-weeeen!

face in tree branch
face in tree branch

Everything comes alive on Halloween!

Beware the walk in the woods tonight, you never know where you might see a face that’s not human!

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Woooo-oo-ooo, it’s Howwl-o-weeeen!

face in tree branch
face in tree branch

Everything comes alive on Halloween!

Beware the walk in the woods tonight, you never know where you might see a face that’s not human!


We Have Arrived

We have arrived.

Our shadows long as night falls and jack-o-lantern eyes begin to glow, Rayni and I make our entrance at the Night Walk. Look out everyone for the Punk and the Jester


Main Street Lights

photo of main street with holiday decorations

Main Street Light Up

Carnegie’s Main Street features new holiday decorations, lit for the first time on this Light-Up Night in Pittsburgh, which I couldn’t approach for all the extra traffic the previous evening.

The photo’s not so great, but it was a little difficult to convince one of Carnegie’s finest that I was neither involved in something illicit nor bowing to pray to the railroad crossing sign. Well, it was Saturday night.

And why would I take such risks to get a good image of Carnegie? Read about my current exhibit of photographs of Carnegie.

Any photographer will tell you that you usually don’t get the best shot standing upright and focusing the camera normally. Sometimes you need to climb a tree, run into the middle of traffic, ford a small stream or hang sideways off a bridge to get the shot you’ve got in mind.

Before digital I cruised the trails, woods and streets with up to four film cameras, each with a different lens and film. You can change all these settings and lenses now, but with film cameras you’ll ruin an unpredictable amount of film if you remove a lens or take out one roll before it’s done and replace it with another. Needless to say, all this camera gear was heavy, especially if I was also packing art materials.

grasses and sun

Grasses and Sun

A few years ago in autumn I was enchanted by the nodding heads of various grasses trailside, and seeing the big clear blue sky with big bright sun overhead decided to try to get various shots of the grasses with the sun and sky behind. I laid down next to the trail and took my shots, moving around as need be, then sitting up, my heavy backpack hindering me so that I had to push myself up from the ground.

A bicycler was watching, uncertain, and asked, “Do you need some help?” in a tone that indicated physical help wasn’t what he had in mind.

“No, I’m fine,” I said, “just getting the best shot I can, it’s a little difficult to get up with all this stuff.” I laughed and thanked him. He looked unconvinced, and kept his eye on me as he moved away.

carved pumpkin cat and figure

Cat Pumpkin

More recently, I was photographing Jack-o-Lanterns along the trail at the Panhandle Trail Night Walk by lying flat on my stomach on the trail and setting my camera on a little three-legged thing that’s handy for photographing items close to the ground. I was careful not to do this when people were headed for me since, even with the bright moon, they’d never see me before they’d trip over me.

I heard, “Oh my God, what happened?!” “I don’t know, is that someone laying on the trail?” “I can hardly see!” The voices were rapidly approaching, and I really wanted to reassure them I was okay, just taking photos, but I also wanted to focus and get my shot before the candle in the Jack-o-Lantern went out. So I compromised by not moving anything but my mouth but saying cheerily, “I’m fine, just photographing the pumpkins!” They, too, seemed unconvinced, and perhaps a little upset that someone would try to frighten them that way, perhaps thinking I was going a little too far and really didn’t need to lie flat out on the trail in the dark to get the good photo.

So on Saturday I was walking home from a performance at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library Music Hall some time after 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night. I always carry my little camera and often carry a small tripod for evening and night shots, but didn’t have it with me. I tried setting the camera on the street, but got a lot of the street in the bottom of the shot and still not a good angle of the lights.

I walked a little farther to the Main Street Bridge which has concrete railings along the sides and at a right angle at the end because railroad tracks cross right there, hence the railroad crossing sign, just a little reminder to pedestrians not to walk in front of a train. This hip-height concrete wall was just the right height to set my camera on and get the perfect angle down Main Street.

I turned on my little camera and set it on the wall, then knelt down behind it, clicking away with different exposures by focusing on different things in the image.

I heard a car coming up on the street, and realized that I was dressed in my long black wool dress coat, black walking boots (even with my dress) and a big long shawl wrapped all around my head and shoulders to keep warm in the night air. I either looked like a garbage bag leaning against the wall, or perhaps a terrorist in a burqua or a long black robe and headpiece lurking and pointing a gun at unsuspecting motorists or who knew what. I thought briefly of a few innocent people who had been arrested or even shot for appearing suspicious, decided one of the shots I’d taken had to be good, stood up quickly and turned a little holding my little camera where it could be clearly seen.

The officer rolled down the passenger window. “Everything okay here?” he politely asked.

Most of the officers know me at least to see my since I’m involved in many things around town, but I was so bundled up I might not even recognize myself.

“Just fine, officer,” I said brightly, trying unsuccessfully to remember his name, “just getting a shot of our holiday lights and the new decorations. I was using the wall as a tripod.”

Unconvinced again. “Okay, I just thought I’d check and see if you were…okay.”

“I’m fine, officer, thanks for your concern, and have a good night” I said as I turned my camera off and dropped it into my pocket.

Until the next adventure…read about my two photo exhibits at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, “Carnegie Photographed, 14 images of Carnegie” and “Of Harps and Fig Leaves, photographs of Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall”.


Woooo-oo-ooo, it’s Howwl-o-weeeen!

face in tree branch

Everything comes alive on Halloween!

Beware the walk in the woods tonight, you never know where you might see a face that’s not human!


What is it About Black Cats and Halloween

Three Black Cats

Ever wondered why black cats appear with witches and demons and skeletons at Halloween? The reasons are numerous, and when I studied English literature in college the story was that persons who had been cast out by their community for practicing non-Christian beliefs, including traditional healing, literally lived on the edge, in the woods, just like the witches in old fairy tales. And cats, preferring to live in more secluded places like this, tended to stay with these outcasts. Whether cats were considered, in part, evil because of their personality or evil because they tended to hang with suspected evil people isn’t really clear, but cats gained that connotation and were just as persecuted as the humans they accompanied.

But there are other stories, too, and not just about Halloween. I’d like to share with you an e-newsletter from a fellow member of the Cat Writer’s Association and author of 22 books on animal care, Amy D. Shojai. If you look on many books on ntural or standard pet care published by Rodale Press, or collections under the Chicken Soup for the ________ (fill in your favorite) label, you’ll see her name.

Please read through her valuable tips on animal emergencies and keeping animals safe at the holidays as well, then scroll down to the bottom for truly fascinating information: http://community.icontact.com/p/amyshojai/newsletters/petpeeves/posts/pet-peeves-issue-14! Keep those precious companions safe inside and away from the candy!


Scenes From a Movie

Scenes from a Movie 3

Scenes from a Movie 3

I was photographing those pumpkins and happened to look up the trail, and the eerie light from the spotlights and the fire truck parked at the next entrance up looked like a scene from “Paranormal” or “Blair Witch” or any other movie shot in the woods at night and scared the heck out of me. Here are the first two. I’m not sure you can see the detail in the trail at the bottom of the photo.

Scenes from a Movie 4

Scenes from a Movie 4


Sparks

Sparks

Sparks

What is autumn without at least one bonfire? The crisp air nearly asks for the sharp scent of burning wood and the crackling of kindling in the cold night air, the sparks rushing upward to disappear just overhead. Perhaps with bonfires included in these autumn celebrations we are expressing that primordial fear of the coming darkness, the long nights growing longer, and the rituals of our ancestors that held the night at bay until it began growing longer again.

“Bonfire” is derived, in short, from “bone fire”, an annual ritual of Celtic peoples who burned animal bones at Samhain to ward off evil spirits, and of later European people who burned the oldest bones in crowded churchyards or cemeteries to allow space for new interrments and to ensure that those disinterred would not haunt them at All Hallow’s Eve, when uneasy spirits were known to come calling.

This particular bonfire burned only scrap lumber, wooden pallets and downed trees at the Nightwalk on the Panhandle Trail.


Pumpkin Faces

Welcome Pumpkin

Welcome Pumpkin

Every year our local Friends of the Panhandle Trail in Walker’s Mill and Rennerdale host a Nightwalk on the trail.

Happy Pumpkin

Happy Pumpkin

Youth groups carve around 100 pumpkins, which are lined up along the trail and lit with tea lights.

Spider Pumpkin

Spider Pumpkin

The trail is lit at two entrances for this event, but is dark between. It was a rails-to-trails project and because rail lines tended to run on the outskirts of things it’s far from street lights or any other ambient lights, surrounded by woods.

Cat Pumpkin

Cat Pumpkin

The pumpkins look like shimmering faces in the dense darkness of an October night.

Werewolf Pumpkin

Werewolf Pumpkin

Because the pumpkins are on the ground and I want to get a face-on view, photographing these pumpkins involves either setting my camera on the ground or on a low tripod, then either crouching very low or nearly reclining to frame and focus. Plenty of concerned people stopped to ask if I needed help, lying on the ground like that!

Too bad most of them had burnt out by the time the crowd thinned enough to take photos! I’ve seen some really fantastic glowing faces on the night walk.