Monday, November 30, 2015

The Mag 296 - The Feast

Kitchen Scene by Joachim Buekelaer
Visual Prompt by Tess Kincaid

The manor house
filled with guests.
The kitchen
full of produce
and game.

The staff
tending to the guests.
The cook

All the recipes and menus
lost in his head.
to cook
for the feast.

J. Binford-Bell
November 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Week 47 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 323
Ice house door
 New Mexico weather is fickle even in the high mountains. My father used to say about the weather here, "Wait ten minutes or drive ten miles and it will change."

The week these were taken Hurricane Patricia hit the western coast of Mexico and funneled tropical moisture into the mountains. It was met by a polar jet stream and became snow. As I write this it it is raining thanks to moisture from Hurricane Sandra. It is melting the last of this snow in these pictures before changing to snow late tonight.

I like the early snows. I know they will leave. And they are new. They cover, sometimes just briefly, the dried grasses of fall. And it must be said, they bring moisture. But for a photographer it is even more important that they bring new views to capture. I am especially fond of the ponds which seem to linger between ice and liquid, turning themselves into highly polished mirrors at times.

Day 324

No photo manipulation required for the reflection above. And the pond is mostly iced over but very, very thinly. A slight wind resulted in the frozen mosaic look. Only the half circle in the upper left is unfrozen. That unfrozen part and the grasses to its right will be featured in another photo. The same pond, on the same day, is the subject of the next two photographs also.

Day 325
 Standing in almost the exact same spot on the pond but looking to my right I captured this reflection. It had begun to snow again and I hoped the flakes would snow up against the dark trees. I generally do not flip reflections but snowed in later I was in a playful mood. I used a brush stroke filter, intensified the color just a bit and flipped. Monet.

Day 326

And Day 326 is the pool of unfrozen water from another angle. Closer it reveals another strip of unfrozen water along the shore. The highly reflective ice captures the rows of tall grasses in the snow. And what series of snow photographs is complete without a black and white of aspen trunks.

Day 327

Day 328
 Summer and fall are often too busy to play a lot with my photographs. But a cold winter morning is perfect to sit before the computer with hot coffee and a lap robe and play. Day 328 is a detail of a sculpture in a greenhouse. I was trying, and again failing at minimalism. In fact, I finally reached the conclusion that I just do not fit with that group so quit. My attempts, however, did give me some different perspectives on familiar territory. And it seemed to have sparked a certain sense of rebellion in me. I had posted Day 326 in the group on Facebook and was found wanting. Day 328 passed through my computer as a black and white with blurred edges and then got trashed for this rather over the top treatment.

The minimalism version of Day 329 fell to the same fate. Heavy brush stroke filter and tweaking the saturation and a Cezanne.
Day 329

I like black and white. Day 323 and Day 327 are naturals for black and white. But bold black and white. I am just not a minimalist.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Let Them Eat Cake

Magpie by Rubens Peale
Visual prompt by Magpie Tales: Mag 295

Let them eat cake
if you must,
but never
drink wine.

A drunken magpie
is a silly thing
rolling about
with his inebriated flock.

They will stuff themselves
on fermented
in the cider house.

They know no restraint
on cake or wine,
but after cake
they can still fly.

Feed them cake 
if you must,
but withhold hard cider
and leave no rotten apples about.

J. Binford-Bell
November 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Week 46 - 2015 in photographs

Day 316

A whole week of horizontal image. And four out of seven images are animals in the neighborhood. And water, ice and snow. Sometimes a week of photos is not an exercise or project but just what presents itself when you have the camera in the car.

Day 317

These two rams made an appearance on the route I take to my dentist. They stopped traffic and posed. Quite a gift. They were guarding the ewes in photograph Day 320.

Day 318

The deer were up the street. And the iced over pond on a friend's land.

Day 319

Day 320

Day 321

The rains this year made for marvelous tall golden grass this fall. The snow this week covered it up.

Day 322

But snow makes for great photographs. It lends itself very well to black and white. So do big horn sheep.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Cat Kitchen
Image provided by Magpie tales


So much
to explore.
To slip around and in
and under.

her route carefully.
for the step
of the cook.

She knew
she should leave
go back upstairs
and pretend

So much
feline temptation
was hard to ignore.
which pot first?

J. Binford-Bell
November 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Week 45 - 2015 in Photographs

Day 309
The house down the road

They built it several years ago. It is a vacation home but as near as I can tell they never take vacations any more. While it is the newest house on my little country lane it seems to be the most haunted. And I seldom noticed it until this year. For reasons I cannot explain even to myself it does seem draw me these days. As it is at the end of the road it is where I turn around with the dogs on my morning walk. But I took this walk expressly to take this photo.

Day 310
Trick or Treat

As I have mentioned before the selfie with a DSLR camera isn't easy if you do not employ a tripod. I like reflections. Took this one around Halloween.

Day 311
Frost  on the Snow Fence

We have been enjoying Indian Summer weather with a tease about the approaching El Nino winter here and there. Sometimes I wish it would stay as just teases.

Day 312
Fall chores

If you have to put a color to Indian summer it is gold or yellow. Backhoe yellow? And the frosts make the ponds perfect mirrors some days. Not sure where the backhoe operator is. Maybe taking a break basking in the autumn sun. You really have to take advantage of such days.

Day 313
How tall does the grass grow

The wet summer made the grass grow. And the years of drought before this summer made me forget all the flowers and grasses and even weeds that grow on my property. I definitely forgot this grass which is as tall and taller than the snow fence. New Mexico plants are opportunists. The El Nino forecast means this grass will be back next year.

Day 314
The leaves of the flowering plum

When I first moved into my house almost twenty years ago I planted a flowering plum. It is probably marginal for this area and it has springs when the buds get frozen off before it flowers. And I planted it too close to the then little blue spruce which is now as tall as my two story house. But the conifer shelters it from the approaching winter winds. This year it has yet to lose its leaves which have been frost burnished to a wonderful patina.

All the photos this week are close to home. There was this book we had growing up that was about an adventure in the backyard. I guess it affected me more than I knew because there are weeks I and my camera can find all the entertainment we need without getting into the truck to take a trip. But the, as a friend pointed out, I live in paradise.

Day 315
Clouds on the hill

This photo was literally taken from my front porch. I live in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains and wind currents rising over the crest of mount mountain ridges often engage in cloud formations which are astounding even if you have studied clouds.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Week 44 - 2015 in photographs

Day 304

 I will begin and end this week's review of photographs with Old Mike. Most everyone thinks it is Wheeler Peak but in truth Wheeler is not visible from Angel Fire. It hides behind Old Mike. I was complaining in a board meeting recently that I was tired of Wheeler Peak being featured in every logo and banner in town, especially since you cannot see it in town. You have to drive toward Eagle Nest for it to be visible.

That said I have taken a lot of photographs of both mountains, probably more Old Mike, because of perspective. And because it is true of all familiar objects photographers photograph I am always looking for the perfect, but different, take on the subject. I particularly like the lead photograph because of shroud of clouds. And if I am correct you can actually see a tip of Wheeler in this shot. It is at the left between the two bigger mountain tops.

Day 305

Another look at an oft photographed subject, the full moon. Before the ducks resting on the pond flew off it had a very distinct outline. But the ripples altered the reflection. I particularly like the wavy aspen trunks in this photograph.

Speaking of a different view of a familiar object Day 302 is definitely that. I was even asked what it was. It is a Christmas tree stand on a wood pile.

Day 302

And below is another reflection, but on a different pond, and in black and white. The "horizon" or shore line is at the classic 1/3 position unlike the other reflection which does not have the shore line included. I like this composition partly because of the rocks which are reflected to accent the division.

Day 303

Day 306 taken the same morning as 305 is a more classic full moon photograph. I say morning because I have discovered after many failures it is easier to take a full moon shot in the morning. More light. The moon rises when the sun sets but I live in a valley between two ridges of mountains and the sunsets earlier and the moon rises later. More light means more definition of the surface of the moon without setting up a tripod. And I was able to catch two early birds in flight.

Day 306

Day 307 is a new take on an old subject, fall colors. Got this wind battered last gold leaf on an aspen tree before it fell.

Day 307

And I close the week with another look at Old Mike. There is still some gold in the foot hills, and rising fog wraps it loosely. I think it gives it more depth than a totally clear day.

Day 308

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Would you wear a rabbit - Mag 292

Rabbit by Elaine Usdin
Prompt provided by Magpie Tales

Would you
if it were on the cover
of Vogue
a white rabbit?

Would you
if it matched
 your culottes
a bright macaw hat?

Can you
see yourself
in peacock lipstick
tea straps?

Would you
in a see thru
no bra?

But why
would you
retro curl
your do
and accent
your hips?

Silly you.

J. Binford-Bell
November 2015