The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within. ~ William C. Bryant
February 1, 2018
To anyone else she is merely a philodendron but to me she symbolizes a cherished memory. My grandmother loved plants but because her apartment in Queens received limited light throughout the day she favored the hardiness of this shade loving plant. My grandparents lived in a railroad apartment above my grandfather's fish store. Basically a series of rooms that flowed one into the other front to back, there were only two sets of windows. One was in their bedroom overlooking the boulevard below, and the other was in the kitchen. This is where she kept them, on top of the kitchen cabinets, over the sink, side by side on a cart stand. The kitchen is where we would all congregate, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, chatting over Entenmann's danish ring and coffee, the limited sunlight streaming through the windows, a pot of sauce bubbling on the stove. I now have two, one on this window sill and one on the sill over my kitchen sink. They remind me of my grandmother, beloved and missed.
February 2, 2018
It snowed during the night, leaving a dusting over the trees, bushes, stone walls that surround our house. I grab my camera and start taking shots of a nondescript bush in the back garden, one I hardly pay attention to throughout the year but in the morning light sparkles with diamonds. I am already learning so much by taking a picture (or two or three) a day. I'm paying more attention to composition, with the direction of the light, with contrast. I am happy that I began this project.
February 3, 2018
We decide to go visit the land we have purchased for when we retire and are surprised by how much snow there is in northwest Connecticut. Neither of us thought to bring our snowshoes and we wish we had. On our way home we decide to stop by Bull's Bridge to see if there is still evidence of the ice jam that occurred a few weeks ago. Because of the dam the water is flowing freely and there are no longer signs of the earlier flooding.
February 4, 2018
The past two winters we have been surprised to find robins visiting our yard. When I googled 'robins in winter' I learned that most robins do not migrate but rather spend most of the winter hunkered down together in bushes and trees, their diet mostly consisting of berries and fruit. As a matter of fact, worms make up only about 15% of their diet!
I'm not happy with this shot; the robin is a little out of focus, but I promised myself that I would post even the photos that I was disappointed in. It's all part of the learning process, right?
February 5, 2018
Our house is a converted barn and still retains all the original post and beam work from 250 years ago. Most of the beams have small nooks and crannies which I have filled over the years with little bits of whimsy such as buddha statues, Santas, small jewel boxes, etc. In this nook rests a horseshoe my husband was given as a child. What I like about this shot is that I captured the rough texture of the beam as well as the way the light illuminating the horseshoe.
February 6, 2018
His name is Franklin, and is a gift from our niece who attends Franklin Pierce University. He sits on the bannister in our family room and I have been trying for a while to get a good shot of how the sunlight falls over him each afternoon. As always I am drawn to images with strong contrasts between shadows and light. In this shot I also like the contrast between the softness of his fur and the smooth beam he rests against.
February 7, 2018
On rainy gray days like this one it is hard to find a subject to photograph, so I ventured out to the backyard early while there was still frost on the garden. These strawberries continue to hold their own in spite of the cold snaps and snow. I was unsure how to keep them over the winter so I placed the pot in a sheltered spot on our back patio. So far so good.
February 8, 2016
It was late in the evening when it occurred to me that I had not yet taken a photograph for the day. We had been away all day to celebrate the life of a dear friend's mother who had passed away. Try as I might I couldn't not quite get this subject in focus; perhaps I was holding the lens too close to the subject, was trying to be too clever with the angle of the shot? It probably did not help that I had had wine earlier in the evening and was tired. I even used autofocus and my lens kept whining in and out, trying to figure out just what it was I wanted it to focus on. I couldn't blame it for it's complaining; I had approached the shot just wanting to fulfill my commitment to a photograph a day, and my impatience is reflected in this shot.
February 10, 2018
Our piano had sat silently for many years in a corner of our family room, every since our daughter graduated from college and moved away from home. Every so often I would sit on the bench and pluck out a tune on the keys...I had taken lessons for a few years as a preteen and still knew my way around an arpeggio...but for the most part its cover remained closed, its heart untuned.
Last year I attended a poetry and art workshop facilitated by my watercolor teacher and a writer, whom I discovered also taught piano to children and adults. I returned home from the workshop with a seed planted in my brain; why couldn't I take lessons? Are we ever too old to learn something new? I don't believe so. In fact, I believe that we never stop growing and learning and, as I begin to reach my 60th birthday believe more strongly than ever that the best way to remain young at heart is to learn something new.
It's so important to approach life with a beginner's mind, don't you think?
February 11, 2018
The day is gray and dreary, rain falling steadily and creating large puddles on the still frozen earth. A stream is running down the side of the house, carving out a channel to flow on our gravel driveway. I walk over to the window to look at my flooded garden and this bottle catches my eye, a reminder of a warm and sunny afternoon spent in Liwa, UAE with our oldest daughter many years ago. We spent an afternoon roaming the desert, delighting in the warm coppery sand beneath our feet and marveling at how endless the terrain appeared. At one point I dropped onto my back and made a sand angel, marveling at how soft and fine the sand was. We scooped some up and put it into a cup to take home with us so we would always remember warmth of the sun, the softness of the sand, the joy of discovering a new part of the world together.
February 12, 2018
It has been such a dreary start to February that I decided tulips were necessary to bring some cheer into the house. As much as I love winter this stretch of gray skies have put a damper on my enthusiasm and I find myself longing for spring.
February 13, 2018
I love the clarity of this shot, the beautiful contrast between light and dark, the smoothness of the crystal against the rough texture of the pinecone.
I have been taking so many still life photographs because it has been too cold and unpleasant to go exploring outside. It is supposed to warm up by the end of the week; I hope to be able to go on a field trip and work on some landscape shots.
February 14, 2018
Ah, Valentine's Day. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
This Valentine's Day I decided it was time to let my poor husband off the hook from having to take me out for a romantic dinner. He is not a big fan of the holiday but he has always indulged me because he knows how much I like it. Instead, I cooked him a lovely meal consisting of bruschetta with ricotta and sautéed mushrooms, boneless rib eye with (again) a mushroom wine sauce, roasted brussel sprouts and roasted tiny yellow potatoes and onions. It was delicious, probably because of the extra helping of love I added to the recipe.
February 15, 2018
A quiet view of my daughter's bedroom. I often spend mornings up here reading and catching up on emails because of the lovely light.
February 16, 2017
I am painting again. This week I moved most of my art supplies upstairs to our kitchen because it is too cold to work in my studio. I don't know why I didn't think of doing this sooner. I miss the light of my studio (it gets the most sun out of all the rooms in our home), but the space is poorly heated and I noticed it affected not me (some days I would be down there with a hat on my head) but also the quality of the paint. Come spring I will move all the supplies back downstairs but for now this will allow me to create a routine.
February 17, 2018
We head to New York, to the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. There we meet our daughter's boyfriend for the first time and enjoy a lunch with the couple and our oldest daughter who is in the city for a conference. We spend a fun afternoon, first having burgers at the Hope and Anchor, then visiting the wine shop next door where we pick out a number of bottles to bring home. Our last stop was to Baked, my favorite bakery in Brooklyn.
February 18, 2018
We wake up to a blanket of snow covering the earth. Normally this brings me such joy but the weatherman has warned us that the temps are rising. The snow will be gone by tomorrow, followed by rain and two days of spring temperatures. Am I the only one who is not quite ready for spring? I miss the days when winter was winter all season long. These up and down temperatures frustrate me.
February 19, 2018
Why a radicchio shot? Because of the ridges, the contrast, the shimmer of moisture all make me pause and look more closely. I see trees, a red the color of sorrow, of heartbreak, the promise of renewal. A rising up in how the branches reach for the sky. Whoever thought I would be inspired by a simple vegetable?
February 20, 2018
I venture outside and (in spite of what I wrote above) I delight in the sun on my face and a day so warm that a coat is not necessary. Looking around for inspiration, I settle on the moss scattered along the top of our stone wall. I struggle with focusing when my subject is small and the surrounding terrain is so busy but I like how this turned out. Looking at it makes me smile.
February 21, 2018
Went searching for inspiration in my backyard again today and these seedpods from my Yucca plant caught my eye. Have you ever looked at them carefully? I took a series of photographs and they made me laugh out loud; they reminded me of the musical "The Little Shop of Horrors" (what was the name of that plant again?). I plan on writing a post on this series in my blog because I was so taken by how animated these pods are. Who knew that something in decay could still hold so much life?
February 22, 2018
This was a day where I struggled to find inspiration. I imagine I will have a lot of days like this and I think I need to start giving myself some challenges. Perhaps one week only post photographs in black and white? I know that a number of people who do these 365 day challenges use prompts provided by photography bloggers. I have looked at some of those but find they don't inspire me. I'm sure as the weather continues to improve and I am out and about more that I will find new subjects to shoot. As for this photo, I do like the single shot of orange and the contrast between light and dark.
February 23, 2018
These petals are what remain from what had been a lovely bouquet of tulips. I went to freshen them this afternoon and one by one each stem released its hold on the petals. It saddened me because I had only had them for a short while, but what could I expect from grocery bought flowers? I did love how they fell alongside this book, their brilliant vermillion color vibrant against the black of the table and book.
February 24, 2018
I decided it was time to bring a little spring into the house into the house today. Purple for Lent, hyacinth for new beginnings. I love the promise of spring. I'm ready.
February 25, 2018
He is always so patient with me.
February 26, 2018
One minute it is snowing, the next it is raining. Mother Nature can't seem to makeup her mind this year and I, for one, am getting a little aggravated with her. I will admit that her mercurial nature did allow me to capture this beautiful shot.
February 27, 2018
I went on a scavenger hunt in my backyard for inspiration and came across this fungus growing on a tree stump. An acquaintance told me that it could be a Turkey Tail. Such a fitting name! I love its colors, they make me want to knit a scarf in those same shades.
February 28, 2018
The last day of February and it is 64 degrees outside. I pass a number of barns on my way to piano each week and today I decided to stop and try my hand at shooting something different. Landscapes are not my strong suit and I think it might be time for me to challenge myself a little, especially since we live in such a beautiful part of our state. I almost converted this shot to black and white but I loved the red barn against the muted tones of winter.
Original Photographs ©️GraceVanAkin2018