Winter. Snow. White. Cold. Words that symbolize this time of year. A park bench covered in winter snow; red ribbons reminiscent of the season. It seduces the imagination and speaks of what winter should be. I should leave it at that.
But I won’t. Six years later…today…I look out my window at the warm sun. Morning temperature is 40° and will continue to rise. This winter season has been unseasonably warm and even though my body (and my electric bill!) loves it, I miss the beauty of winter. I miss the beauty of snow. I am concerned about how this will affect the upcoming spring and summer. How will the land respond? How will the crops fare? Will our insect population explode? What does this mean? I hope that in the next couple of weeks our winter will shape up and be what it is supposed to be.
But until then, I have this photo to remind me of what winter once looked like.
I apologize for not keeping up on my photo blog posts! I got sick with some kind of flu and that threw me off my game. Then the hectic season preparations claimed my time. I was able to maintain a simple upload to my Flickr account on a daily basis, so I have kept my personal goal of posting a photo a day, thank goodness! Anyway, I have curated the last 12 days into a slideshow. I like to think of this as my 12 Days of Christmas collection. (p.s. I can’t control the speed of the slideshow. If you want to view any of the photos, you’ll have to use the pause button.)
You can also see all the photos on my Flickr set “365 Days Journey Through the Past.”
Aw, man! I know. Here they are again, the inflatable outdoor decorations, except up-close and personal! How could I NOT include one in my 365 day project?! I like how the elves are wrestling over a package. Please, someone, save me!
This time of year is a visual delight. People go all out in decorating their homes with lights so that the night dazzles.
When I was a child, I loved the night dad announced, “Let’s go look at Christmas lights!” My siblings and I rushed to bundle up in our winter coats and ran out to the old Buick. I loved driving in the cold with mittens on my hands, snuggled in the back seat with my brothers. We frosted up the windows with our breath as we searched out some of the most beautiful (and probably outrageous) Christmas lights. Dad always knew where to go. My eyes grew big as we slowed down and passed by the colorful lights strung around eaves and windows and wrapped around trees. We especially ooh’d and ah’d when we’d see deer ‘grazing’ on the lawn. What a delight! They weren’t lit up back then like they are now and were rather scarce, so it was always a treat to “catch” sightings of deer on the lawns.
Once we exhausted all the decorated houses, we then went home where my mom turned on the stove and heated up milk for hot chocolate (this was also pre-microwave era).
I carried on the tradition with my kids. We wrapped ourselves up and drove around town at night to see how others decorated their homes. Many times we ended at a park where we drove slowly along the winding roads and marveled at the twinkling outlines of moving Santas and “flying” reindeer, at the green lights of the Grinch smiling his grinchy smile, and at the simple glow of the Nativity in the dark night. There was even a dragon at one park!
Nighttime is magical at this time of year. I love it tremendously!
But then something happened. Someone came up with new decorations, decorations that were clunky and tacky and unsophisticated. Decorations that took their cue from the rounded, colorful, and safe baby toys. The inflatable lawn decoration was born. At first I shrugged it off, thinking they would go away. But over the past couple of years they have been taking over, like a fungus.
I ignored them until one day while driving, I was assaulted by a slew of these things stuffed into the backyard of a house. (The backyard faced the road.) I travel by this place constantly and every time I pass by I wrinkle my nose and shake my head. Then I smile. Whatever possessed them? Finally, I had to document the absurdity of this place, so I stopped and took photos. These photos don’t do it justice. These photos look small, but the house is actually large and these things are enormous.
Curious, I drove into the subdivision looking for the front of the house. I wasn’t disappointed. I stopped my car, grabbed my camera, rolled down my window, and…well, I had to wait while a car drove past before I took the photo. Aaack!!! That car drove into the driveway! I debated about taking photos with the owner knowing I was stationed in my car with a camera, but the debate was short-lived. I figured since they put that crap out for public display, I can take a photo of it. I wondered what they thought of me sitting in my car, grinning, and taking photos. It didn’t matter. I snapped away.
Later, ON THE SAME DAY, I passed by THIS place! I turned onto a side road across the street and noticed that a couple of other cars did the same thing. I pulled over, the other cars made u-turns. I pulled out my camera, the other cars turned back onto the main road and drove back by the house s l o w l y. Yep, others were just as dumbfounded as I was. I got out of the car and tried to find a decent angle to take a photograph (I wish I had my wide-angle camera with me!) As I did, more cars drove by, slowing down. I was curious. Were they impressed or amused? I saw one woman stifle a laugh as she drove by. Amused. We looked at each other and grinned.
I am not a woman of excess. Too much clutter makes me nervous; I can’t focus on what’s important and therefore I don’t focus at all. My stylistic tastes are different. So when I see things like this, I turn…no…run away. But then I smile, because oddly enough, it lightens the moment. Laughter does that. And so, even though I am glad I do not live next door to these folks, I do appreciate the smile on my face every time I pass by their stuffed yard. But I still hope that one day it will all go away.
I used to attend a church, not because I’m religious, but because I love the rich, complex music that I only find in a church (and only in the traditional worship services). This particular church loved flowers and they loved their Christmas tree. At Christmas-time, no matter who you are in the Western traditions, the sentiment is about love. I wanted this to be softer than the the usual vibrant reds and greens. I wanted gentleness. I wanted to surprise so that, when viewed, “Love” becomes meaningful—if only for a moment.
I should have known better. Designing is not as easy as it seems. I am quite capable of creating something within a short time frame. I gave myself boundaries…or, at least, I thought I did. I told myself, “Design something that has to do with Christmas.” Hah!
I should have known better. Even that boundary is too broad. You wouldn’t believe the various concepts I have worked on regarding this. And I eventually trashed them. Finally, I stopped and said, “Look, Dezra, give yourself some boundaries. What do you want to accomplish? What CONCEPT are you working towards?”
I thought long and hard about what direction I was working towards and in the end, I decided that for the next couple of days, since I have no photos from which to draw, I would follow my initial post from December 4th and create postcards. I don’t have the time to go deep into a design and yet I want something that has some meaning to me. Therefore, postcards, or something along the lines of greeting cards. Something that could possibly be sent to family and friends at this time of year.
For the next three days, I will continue along this concept. Then I will once again revert back to the photos. So I hope you follow along for just a couple of days. Thanks!
I found this photo. It is white against a black background. Tiny holes have been drilled into it, and there is writing stamped on it. It looks like a microphone, but it isn’t. It is boring, whatever it is. But this is the best I can do for today…and for the next FIVE days!!! I have nothing in my photography stash for the next five days!
I must have been busy during the first weeks of December over the years, too busy to take photos. Perhaps I was attending holiday parties or perhaps the weather wasn’t cooperating. For a number of years, I know I was busy with end-of-semester projects and finals as I worked through my graduate program, which leaves my photo imagery unimaginative. Because of this, for the next couple of days I will break with the photography and instead engage in my other love; design. I will use photos from anytime throughout the year and turn them into some kind of design that celebrates this seasonal time of year.
With that in mind, I took this rather boring image and played with it in Photoshop. Nothing fancy, just an inversion of color and then saturating some colors and desaturating others to get the bronzed look. I like to think of it as an ornament getting ready to be hung on a tree.
P.S. I know, this isn’t a design, but it can be a design element. Who knows? It may end up in an upcoming design.