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

water

Ducks in Diamonds

mallard ducks on water
mallard ducks on water

Ducks in Diamonds

Brilliant sun for once, and somewhat mild temperatures brought out all the wildlife on my walk to Main Street. The mallard ducks who live on the creek came out to have a little swim. The sunlight was so bright on the water but it also brought out all the colors reflected on the water from the sky to buildings and even vehicles.

. . . . . .

The Christmas Moon copyright ©2011 Bernadette E. Kazmarski. 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.


A Good Traveler

black and white, lao tzu
black and white, lao tzu

“A Good Traveler”

“A good traveler has no fixed plans,
and is not intent on arriving.”

~Lao-Tzu in Chapter 27 of the Tao te Ching, tr. Stephen Mitchell

It doesn’t mean you make no plans, just that you allow them to change.

These geese look like a bunch of tourists ambling along, and yet on that day, July 10, 2013, we had had heavy rains and our creek, their home, had nearly topped its banks. They had fled the water and the banks and were up in the parking lot and on the streets for safety, yet they were being calm and collected, for a bunch of geese, while the humans were racing around predicting a flood that was not likely to arrive, though it looked imminent.

But aside from that lesson, I’ve always liked the photo of the geese.

. . . . . . .

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

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


The Sun and Water

man and child walking by water
man and child walking by water

The Glow of Light and Water

I was enchanted by that big yellow ball in the sky and what it did to the scene of people and pavement and water; this is another in the series of photos from the Three Rivers Arts Festival. The photos above and below were taken through the spray that blew off the fountain over the water, and the sun is refracted through all those flying droplets, some of them landing on my camera lens. The blending of color from white hot to pale yellow to orange to red in the sun is pulled apart into a pattern that I didn’t notice at first until I started playing around with the RAW photos. I ended up not modifying them at all, I liked them just as shot, including a few others that are kind of abstract, shot through the fountain spire and fans.

The photo above shows a man and a little girl walking hand in hand, and I took a few shots as they walked past the yellow path on the water made by the glowing sun. The little girl stopped to point at something and the man paused.

The photo below is blurred, and that was unintentional—it was the first one I took as the two walked toward the path of light and my camera was finding its focus on the droplets of water flying around me, but I like the softened effect, and also the fact they are just stepping into the path.

man and child walking in sunlight by water

Entering The Sun’s Path

In the photos below, I intentionally shot with the sun shining into the fountain, trying to capture the little gold droplets as the water fell from the spire along with just tiny hints of the landscape beyond.

fountain spray

Fountain Spray

Catching a few droplets falling, and one person through the opening.

Below, a little more abstract as the sun touches one thing after another.

fountain spray

Fountain Abstract

. . . . . . .

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

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


The Same Stream Once

rippling water
rippling water

The Same Stream Once

Water

slips over

a tiny pebble

each ripple a moment

each ripple

now.

© 2014 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

. . . . . . .

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

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Gateway Clipper Fleet

gateway clipper
gateway clipper

Gateway Clipper

Pittsburgh’s Gateway Clipper Fleet reflecting on the calm Monongahela River in early morning.

Too bad the guardrail got in the way at the bottom!

. . . . . . .

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.


Not Your Coffee

photo of water
photo of water

Not Your Coffee

It does look like coffee but it’s actually very fast-moving water carrying silt running over the edge of a sloped waterway.

. . . . . . .

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.


Geese and Ripples

canada geese on water
canada geese on water

Geese

A sunny winter day with big clouds can offer interesting lighting; in this case a huge cloud traveled over the geese and me, while all around the sky was bright and the hills were lit by winter sun. All the light in this image is comes in at an angle and reflects onto the geese and water, cool winter light enhancing all the shades of blue as the geese calmly paddle along on Chartiers Creek in Carnegie.

. . . . . . .

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.


Patience

water droplet
water droplet

Drop 1: Just About to Let Go

Remove ego before photographing. This photo is nice, but it’s not the one I wanted. Why fuss and fret when you can’t catch the drop as it falls through the air as you wish? Turn away, let go of your intention, and there it will be.

To awaken to a morning where ice coats the world—and nothing is damaged, nor do you need to travel—is truly a creative gift. I put aside other activities to photograph this rare opportunity in my own yard, and possibly drive around later for more photos. But it was dark, too dark to enliven the ice to its magical translucent quality, and already the air was warming so it had lost its perfect glassy reflectance. And I didn’t really want to run around and photograph ice this morning. I really didn’t feel like driving around or walking the trail looking for photos, I had other plans I’d been looking forward to. I’d photographed an ice storm almost every year for the past ten years, and I really didn’t feel I had anything new to say with an ice storm this morning.

But as I filled the bird feeders I decided I could find some interesting close-up photos of tiny icicles, ice coating a patterned basket, and possibly those little twirlies from the grapevines growing on the pussy willow branches completely encased in ice, and I didn’t even have to go outdoors—I could just open the windows and use my telephoto lens for those photos. This would take a few minutes and I could go on with my morning as planned.

I worked my way around the windows and did get some nice photos, ending up at the second-floor window in the bathroom where the ice coated the grapevines and pussy willow buds. I photographed those, and then saw one long graceful branch arching over, steadily, slowly releasing a drip of melted ice water. I love drips and droplets. I’ve photographed plenty of those as well, also from this very window, but today I wanted something different, to make all the effort worth it—I wanted the drop just after it had released from the end of the branch and was falling through the air.

I could do this, no problem. I watched its pattern, set my camera settings, steadied it against the window frame, focused, and waited, and snapped. No luck, just a fat drop. Photographed again, three shots in quick succession. Fat drop, two wet branches. Moved a bit so my finger had easier access to the shutter button, began photographing just to set the pattern before the drop was even ready to fall. Drop increasing size through four or five frames, then three wet branches.

Easy, right? There were more tries, and I was tired and cramped and getting cranky and feeling bad I’d not only wasted my time but lost the momentum for the project I’d wanted to begin first thing and felt unfocused. I looked back at the early shot of the elongated drop and knew I really, really liked that shot, the only thing keeping me from liking it completely was my will to get the shot I probably could not get without a ton of luck using the camera I was using. I let go of all the angst and decided I’d gotten a really nice shot, and I’d share it today, and I had actually enjoyed those moments of deep focus, fine tuning my creative senses for the day.

But I’d had the luck to get the elongated drop, and what if I’d hit the shutter just a portion of a second later totally by chance? That could happen too. I was overplanning this, too confident, wanting the bend the force of light and time and weather and gravity and physics and shutter speeds to my will. I decided I’d try once more without all the pomp and circumstance and ego, knowing I should be able to get this shot. I wuld just leave it up to chance, which was how I got most of my favorite shots. They are gifts, not highly planned projects. I checked my camera settings, turned around, manually focused on the drop just in time, hit the shutter four times and got my precious photo.  My day was restored.

water droplet

Drop 2: On Its Way

 

. . . . . . .

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.

 


A Candle on Thin Ice

candle on ice
candle on ice

A Candle on Thin Ice

A votive candle in a drinking glass reflects on the ice and marks the edge of the safe area on a frozen pond.

When the winter is cold enough and the ice freezes thickly enough for safe skating, we gather at Wingfield Pines for a day and night of winter fun. The site is a conservation area that was once a golf course, and the ponds are shallow, part of the course, and usually freeze as smoothly as if a Zamboni had cleared them. Snow is swept, ice is tested by weight, and skates are pulled from closets, basements and attics. At night we light a bonfire, and to the right of the candle above you can see the orange bonfire and several lanterns in the trees. Of course it’s a Feast Day celebrate so warming libations are also in order. The ice is only solid enough to be safe by this time of the year, and even then it’s not safe enough every year. One memorable year we had had heavy rains and as this site is a flood plain it had flooded over a portion, then froze, and I remember skating under a full moon among the tall and silent pines that give the site its name.

February 2 is a significant day in the turn of the year. It is the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, a cross-quarter day, the day the first stirrings of spring are felt in the Northern Hemisphere, the time when life really begins to return to the frozen earth. Difficult days are still ahead—the full moon in February isn’t called the “Hunger Moon” for nothing, as there is little nourishment in nature and winter stores may be depleted already—but the slow slid to spring and sprouting greens and longer, warmer days has truly begun.

It is also known as “Imbolc”, one of the eight sabats and four main festivals in Wiccan tradition, taken from the Welsh term for ewes beginning milk production, as apparently they do, as do other mammals who have gestated over the long winter months around this time. It is derived from “ewe’s-milk” in Welsh and variously from other Gaelic terms, but I haven’t ever found enough reliable information on others, such as “in the belly” from Old Irish, and it was often said that the weather for the remainder of winter until the equinox could be predicted by this day.

Also from Celtic traditions it is the celebration Brigid, or “Brigantia”, feast of the Celtic goddess of many things in in what I’ve found of her over the years, fields and fertility, and by extension human creativity, associated with Brigid, Ceres and Artemis, celebrated on this day as she enters the cycle of power as the season turns from fallow to early fruitfulness. It is the original festival of lights, for even though the solstice is six weeks past and the days are noticeably longer, those weeks were some of the most difficult to survive for early humans; at this point spring was inexorably beginning and they could celebrate the beginning of another season of fruitfulness.

And finally it is also “Candlemas”, the day for Mary’s ritual purification after the birth of her son, Jesus, and the day Jesus is presented at the temple, both in Jewish tradition, likely adopted from a myriad of pre-Christian customs on this date which involved carrying candles and celebrating the return of the light and so it is also the day that candles are blessed for the year, thus bringing together all the traditions of cleansing, reproduction and birth and the festival of lights after the most difficult part of winter.

I have more information about this significant day in “February 2: Not Just for Groundhogs, Well, Ever…”

. . . . . . .

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.


States of Matter

ice melting back into stream
ice melting back into stream

States of Matter

The ice that was water becomes water again, melting back into itself, to return, and return again.

. . . . . . .

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.


Holding Pattern

Holding Pattern

Holding Pattern

A songbird nest, filled only with cold snow, is snugly held not only in the reaching twigs of Japanese knotweed along the creek but also in the overall crisscross pattern the branches make from a certain angle.

Right on both sides of the solstice, the days seem uniformly short and the nights long, and often the weather, however it chooses to express itself, is incessant as we take on a holding pattern as well.

. . . . . . .

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.


Foggy Bend

fog at a bend in the creek
fog at a bend in the creek

Foggy Bend

I’m not sure what caused this blanket of fog to lie just above the water of the creek. I think the creek is cold still, yet our weather the past few days has been in the 50s and 60s, very warm for December, and it rained heavily this morning, drizzling all day. In any case, it was a real treat to photograph on the way back from the post office.

The photo may look a little tilted. The trees on the hill to the left are leaning outward, away from a nearly vertical highwall above a railroad track.

I needed several tries to get this right—the lighting is just dim enough, and the fog softened the edges enough that the camera complained. I had to use the railing of the bridge I stood on as a tripod.

The photo below may give you a little more idea of what the fog was like.

creek with fog

What the creek looked like from a distance; the area I photographed is slightly right of center.

. . . . . . .

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.


Magenta Meander

walkway lit with pink lights.
walkway lit with pink lights.

Magenta Meander

A walkway to the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, under the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

I was at the Convention Center for the Pet Expo over the weekend, and when I left Saturday night after a long day, I heard water and thought it was raining. As it turns out, there was an area to drive through between the two sides of the building, and this pathway between the lanes with a waterfall, the water flowing down the vertical walls then down the stepped area next to the walkway, lit with magenta lights. It was totally enchanting! This couple had also been taking photos, one figure walking all the way down below the catwalk I was standing on, then walking back up to the person taking photos.

. . . . . . .

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.


A Sunday Morning Trip to the Grocery Store

The Goose Family

The Goose Family

I fabricated the need to go to the grocery story, on my bicycle, with my camera and art materials. It meant I didn’t have time for a day on the trail, but I had a real need to ride my bike and do some art and just kind of poke around and find what was interesting in my town. I did take a roundabout way to the store and waded in the creek and did a few paintings and followed a great blue heron and photographed wildflowers and saw both lovely neighborhoods and well-used alleys. Here’s a slideshow of the events in order.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Spring Patterns

water flowing over dam
water flowing over dam

Spring Patterns

Water flows over a poured concrete low-head dam, the pattern of pebbles and sand in the concrete and flowing white water a contrast to each other, yet it almost looks as if the water is magically formed on the top of the dam.


Geese and Ripples

canada geese on water
canada geese on water

Geese

A sunny winter day with big clouds can offer interesting lighting; in this case a huge cloud traveled over the geese and me, while all around the sky was bright and the hills were lit by winter sun. All the light in this image is comes in at an angle and reflects onto the geese and water, cool winter light enhancing all the shades of blue as the geese calmly paddle along on Chartiers Creek in Carnegie.


Poem for Sunday: Things I Found in the Woods

fern frond in the woods

A delicate fern frond reaches for the sun from last year’s dried stems.

Every year the winter opens up to a few days of warm intoxicating sun and mud in January or February, and I’ve run outside to celebrate the day. In 2012 it was February 5, two days after my 20-year-old tortoiseshell kitty Cookie died, and as I enjoyed the warm day and remembered this poem, I knew exactly what I wanted to create as a dedication to my faithful heart cat, my best friend.

I originally wrote this poem in 2006 for another senior Kitty, Moses, as I knew her body was failing and she had little time left, and in 2012 was glad to dedicate my first recording of one of my poems to Cookie, leading me to a new means of expression and sharing my creative efforts. I have a link to the recorded poem with slideshow at the end of this article along with a few notes about creating it. You can read and listen to the poem and also more about Cookie, Moses, and the creative inspirations of my feline muses in this post on The Creative Cat; here on Today I have only the poem and the recording.

Things I Found in the Woods

Dedicated to Moses, the most gentle, loving being I have ever encountered.

Tiny rivulets of water released from thawing soil
flowing beneath last year’s debris, trickling and gurgling all around
hurrying down hillsides before the freeze returns.

A cup-shaped fungus holding a tablespoon of snowmelt
for a song sparrow to sip, practicing its vernal melody
for the time when spring arrives in earnest.

Ferns, newly-green, draped on cliffs,
fluttering like garlands in the mild, caressing breeze
gathering a little nourishment to last the rest of the winter.

Fallen trees blanketed with bright green moss,
thick and lush already in the brief January thaw
filling a span of life in but a few days.

Four young white-tailed deer, capricious as the gusts,
feeling the flush of their first spring as adults
cavorting as if winter might not return tomorrow.

An understanding that life and love are cycles,
and that the moment must be taken for what it offers
even if what it offers is not what we expect.

The strength and courage to show as much dignity as you,
and to walk this last precious part of your path with you
and when I can walk no more beside you
to let you go.

“Things I Found in the Woods” © 2006 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I had never before experienced the spring thaw in such wonderment at the transience of life—still winter but everything that lived was taking advantage of the moment.

So was Moses. So should I.

So I resolved just to let her follow her course and she would let me know what to do.

Listen to the Poem

I have always enjoyed reading my poetry to others, and had always wanted to try a little multi-media project including a slideshow of photos with narration. In February 2012 I lost my 20-year-old kitty Cookie, my best friend from practically the day she joined my household as a rescue and who spent many long days and nights over those years staying by my side as I found my creative life; I created this first recorded presentation in honor of her.

There are no photos of Cookie or any other cats in this; though I wrote it for Moses and dedicate this project to Cookie, it is what I found I feel about love, loss, and letting go. I was led to this knowledge, of course, by my cats. Thank you, my feline muses, as always, for showing me the way.

It’s also not timed quite right as some of the groups of images are shorter or longer than the stanza. Some of the photos I included at the end are from significant moments, for instance, the asters on Cookie’s picnic table bench from a morning Cookie and I were in the yard last October, the “Wolf Moon” in the bare tree and the sunset with the evening stars references to my mother who also passed last year at this time. Coordinating, more or less, with the second verse, the forsythia with the tiny song sparrow in the middle of it is actually from the morning of February 2 as I held Cookie on my lap and knew her process of dying had begun; it was the day of transition from winter to spring and all the birds were singing their spring songs, and a song sparrow landed very near to us and sang for a while.

I could have gotten a better microphone too, but I will stop explaining and making excuses, and I hope you enjoy it. Watch the video below or click here to see the video on YouTube, “Things I Found in the Woods”.

“Things I Found in the Woods” recording © 2012 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I read this poem as part of my 2008 annual poetry reading and art exhibit, “Winter Twilight”.

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.


poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA

People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two
poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.


Reflections Before the Rain, 2011

reflections on water
reflections on water

Reflections Before the Rain

More reflections. As the sun’s angle drops farther toward the horizon and the days grow shorter, reflections are also more clear on reflective surfaces such as water and glass. Even a small puddle will hold a reflection in the darker portion of the year where the sun farther overhead would have shone directly on the surface and either faded or eliminated the reflection.

This was the last bright flash of sun on Chartiers Creek near where I walk.


Moving Water, 2010

moving water
moving water

Moving Water

The water is shallow at this point in the year and at this point in  Chartiers Creek, and I was on a gravel bar, the sun down behind a hill and just the glow of twilight and the shadows of dusk to illuminate the surface. This is not black and white, but the natural coloring of that time of day.


Abstract Pattern, 2011

abstract water pattern
abstract water pattern

Abstract Water Pattern

This is actually very shallow water running down a concrete channel on a bright sunny day.


Poolwater

pool water
pool water

Poolwater

I went swimming today, so welcome in the heat. And I have always been mesmerized at the patterns of light and shadow from the surface of the water, which basically looks clear to me.


Undecided Geese

group of geese in water
group of geese in water

Undecided Geese

The Canada geese were paddling along on Chartiers Creek as I made my late afternoon errands and they generally move with grace and composition, but they got all bunched up as they were going under the bridge—I think it was because the bridge has a pier in the center and some of them decided to go on the other side…and these guys just couldn’t decide what to do.

Then some goose took the initiative and everyone got in line. Geese like to know where they stand, or paddle.

geese swimming in a line

Decided Geese


Like Magic

sun sparkles on water

Sparkles

The sun sparkles like magic on my humble Chartiers Creek.

I used my cross-screen filter, which doesn’t fit my new digital camera, but then it didn’t really fit my old camera lens either. Just hold the filter in front of the lends and turn by moving your hand.

I can almost hear the little stars, they are so real.


Water and Bridges

water and shadows of bridges

Water and Bridges

A bright sunny, windy day, it’s a very abstract view. I let the camera lens tell as it wanted.