Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great Horses


Not only does starting a new year indicate an opportunity for new beginnings, but it also lets us reflect on the year that’s been and what we have left behind.



I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to an equine companion that passed this past month.



Like all our animal connections, each one teaches us lessons in life. We form bonds and learn more about ourselves through the patience, and unconditional love found in these relationships.






But as most of us have experienced, whether it was a childhood bird, hamster or even a family dog, that we have to say goodbye and remember the love God’s creature brought into our lives.



To Ronan.












                                   
"Somewhere… somewhere in time’s own space.

There must be some sweet pastured place.

Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow.

Some paradise where horses go.

For by the love that guides my pen.

I know great horses live again.”



-Stanley Harrison




Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Gratitude



Tis the Season.
The season for what?
To be Jolly?
Wow, that could put on the pressure.



I’m looking around at the faces I see, and I don’t see a lot of “jolly”.
Is it the stress caused by having to be jolly?
Meeting deadlines?
Consumed by commercialism and possible debt?

I have to admit, I do love the holidays – but yes, the magic is lost sometimes.



As I tried to refocus on what is important at this time – I decided to go for a walk. The day was cold, but sunny with a layer of snow on the ground. It was quite beautiful.


I realized that the biggest gift this time of year, and throughout the year, is the gift of nature.


The beauty of peeling bark from a birch tree.


Nature’s pinecone ornaments.


An abandoned house wren’s nesting birdhouse.




Empty bird baths.


Mysterious animal foot prints in the snow.


It’s amazing the little tableaux that you find when you seek and look.



As we rush around from mall to mall, do yourself a favor. See the gifts that are provided for our pleasure – for free, from our creator. The gift of nature. Take it in, give thanks.

Best Wishes to All!

Friday, December 18, 2009

German Christmas Crafts



The German Traditions surrounding Christmas is the experience you get strolling through an authentic German Christmas Market.



With its romantic charm and festive atmosphere, the market will inspire a feeling of tradition through the hand made crafts: from smoking figures, candles, pottery, gingerbread, Advent stars, blown glass and other ornamental treasures.


Here you can take a piece of this old world tradition home with you! Many are difficult to resist, along with a mug of delicious mulled wine or the baked apples that are so tempting on a crisp winter day!



German Smokers are wooden figurines with the insides hollowed out. A metal pan inside holds a piece of incense.

When lit, the incense smokes, through the mouth of the figurine, making it look like it is smoking through a pipe, or its mouth. Often replicated to represent working class occupations or recreational sportsman and often jolly rotund characters for sure. I have seen bakers, farriers, chefs, hunters, hikers, skiers, merchants, and many others.


The nutcrackers originated not only as practical tools, but were totems said to protect families from danger. Their big wooden teeth were designed to scare away evil spirits, and their ability to crack nuts symbolized the circle of life:
 A tree drops a seed (nut), which becomes a tree, out of which the nutcracker is born. The nutcracker, by design, also was a form of satirical political commentary. Nutcrackers made in the image of high-ranking officials, kings and soldiers were a way to force high-status men to “serve” the people.


Unique wooden figures to hang on the tree make for a whimsical addition to any holiday d├ęcor.



It’s hard not to walk away with a little Christmas spirit or traditional German craftsmanship during a Christmas Market visit.


Frohes Weihnachten


Friday, December 11, 2009

Christkindlesmarket of Germany


Yes, it's that time of year for the annual German Christmas Markets.



They seem to pop up on the all the streets of major towns, villages and cities of Germany during the Four weeks proceeding Christmas Day.



They are also known as Christkindlmarkt and Christkindlesmarkets.



Generally held on the town square and adjacent streets, the market sells food, drink, seasonal crafts and wares all from wooden open air stall. (Often resembling little chalets)



Much singing, dancing and spectacular ornamental decorative holiday displays are also part of the attraction that draws in local residents as well as visitors from around the world.


Usually, the Christmas markets were held around the city’s main church to attract church goers.


However, they were so enticing that a priest in the early 1600’s complained that he could not hold the afternoon service on Christmas Eve because no one attended!



I love visiting the markets atmosphere in the chilly month of December, especially in the evening.



Inviting people to bundle up, dress the children and enjoy the season outside in a very social setting.


The lights are lit, and there is a glow in the air.

The experience is further enhanced by the aromas of hot chestnuts, grilled sausages and other tasty treats.


One of the most popular stalls are the ones selling Gluwein.



A traditional spiced wine served in a commemorative mug and steaming hot!



What a wonderful sensation – on a cold winter’s night.





I find no better way to get into the spirit of the Holiday season than making a trip to the German Christmas Market and absorbing the spirit and energy found there.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Strike a Pose



I really like the look of the black and white Film Noir Portraiture and Hollywood Glamour Photography that came out during the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.
The high contrast of light and shadows convey such emotion.


One way to achieve this look is with a High Key dramatic portrait. High Key is bright with a stark white background.
To create a high key image you need to set your exposure to high values.
And strike a pose.....

Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Deitrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine

 Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rodgers, dance on air

They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face
Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
Bette Davis, we love you.

 Ladies with an attitude
 Fellows that were in the mood
Don’t just stand there,
let’s get to it
Strike a pose,
there’s nothing to it

Vogue!






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