Showing posts from December, 2010

Day after Xmas

I went down south for Christmas this year. Like usual.

In the wee hours of Friday morning I drove down to my father's place in SC so I'd get there before holiday traffic ramped up. It was still pretty quiet on the roads when I rolled into Dad's place at 7:45am.

The picture over there is from Xmas evening. It didn't snow here until pretty late---around 5pm, I'd say.

Earlier in the day I was at my brother's house near Atlanta. My Dad and I drove down there for Christmas. All 3 of my nephews were home for the holidays and that doesn't happen very often anymore now that two of them are out of school. And so we wanted to get together for the day.

We might have stayed longer except for the bad weather outlook. Snow on Christmas, the first time in 17 years for Atlanta, and more snow expected on Sunday. Driving in snow in the south isn't a good idea---people can get a little weird.

So we unwrapped presents in the morning, then sat around and talked a bit, then went …

Foreground versus Background

I took these two pictures on Saturday during a short but pretty snowstorm that rolled over the area.

In both pictures I was using a foreground subject with snowy details against a low contrast backdrop with less detail.

This first picture I used sharp focus to bring out the crystalline quality of the snow against the somewhat blurred backdrop of trees in the background. The different contrast levels also helps make this distinction.

I didn't use Photoshop but if I had, I'd drop the contrast even more in the trees to simulate fog. There was so much cloud cover along with the snow that the atmosphere naturally gave the impression of fog even though there wasn't any present.

In the second picture I have my lovely model standing in the falling snow, with trees in the background to help make the snowflakes stand out better. There's too much detail in the dormant grass in the midground. I should have blurred that part somewhat in Photoshop but I was too lazy to bother.

It wasn&#…

Snowy Hike on Sunday

I went on two hikes in the snow this past weekend.

The picture to the left was from a late breakfast. I prepped the sausage and Carrie put the croissants together. They were quite tasty though most of the cheese leaked out.

One of the hikes was on Saturday when it was snowing fairly heavily. The snowfall didn't last long but we did end up with somewhere close to two inches. I must admit though that it was quite fluffy stuff.

The second hike was at Occoneechee Mountain on Sunday. By then the snow was melting but still pretty. It's very unusual to have so many snow days here in NC in December.

The temperature on Sunday was still pretty cold, not much above freezing, but the sun was bright enough to warm the ground. The three pictures below were taken on Sunday at Occoneechee.

Cute as a Bug

More snow today. December isn't being nice to us.

Isn't this thing as cute as can be? It's my rental while my car is getting repaired. I'll probably have it another 3 or 4 days.

As you can see, I was in the midst of snow removal when I took the picture. Since it was rain/sleeting while I was out there I didn't expose my camera to the weather for very long.

My attempt to drive into work was short and ill conceived. It was so slippery out there that the traction control light on the dashboard kept coming on and I never got moving faster than 30mph, most of the time I was under 25. I just drove 5 or 6 miles and ended up back home.

If nothing else, it's not a good idea to drive in conditions like that in a car you're not used to. :-)

What a Difference...

Sometimes you don't know when you have a good thing.

Sure, we had a very long and very hot summer. And autumn was pretty damn warm too.

But still, how could I have complained about the cold two weeks back just because we were having a few nights of below freezing weather?

Now we've had a week in which it was often below freezing all day long and the next week isn't a whole lot better---and right now it's 17f outside and still dropping. Supposed to get down to 13f!

The weather in December is a lot different than what we had been having. That's for sure.

I turned on the light I have under the house, am dripping a couple of faucets, and have turned up the temperature in the house to 68f. All this just to keep my water pipes from freezing. These southern homes aren't built for temperatures in the lower teens. :-(

In a Pickle

I was involved in a car accident on Saturday so in a way I'm in a pickle.

But I'm really referring to these nasty things.

My girlfriend insisted on stopping at a diner the other day just because she loves their breaded pickles. Me? Not so much.

I'd never had one before and I strongly suspect there won't be any follow-ups for me. This is a form of cuisine that I want no part of.

The main event, so to speak, is a dill pickle slice which is then breaded and deep fried. I'm no fan of dill pickles to start with and I certainly don't care to have them deep fried. That's just nasty.

Look at that picture to the left. Now does that look appetizing to you?

Damn thing makes me shudder. And then it's served with ranch dressing on the side. That's even nastier! The entire ordeal was enough to make me shudder. But at least I found a solution.

As you can see in the photo below, if you put enough catchup on the breaded pickles they taste a lot better. Thank god for ketch…

Cold Weather Making you Sluggish?

As you might guess from the pictures in this post, I am using the cold weather this week as an excuse to post some pictures of a slug.

I guess to be accurate I should call it a snail (molluscan class Gastropoda), but that doesn't work as well with my post title.

I doubt the little fellow is alive anymore since we've had a lot of sub-freezing weather since these pictures were taken on November 27th.

I noticed the little guy moving across some leaves (quite slowly, as you might guess) on the ground near a stream in Duke Forest. To get a better bead on the head parts, I put the snail up on a tree branch.

The new location didn't seem to bother it one bit and he (she?) was merrily moving about in no time at all. The hand shot was taken during the transfer and is being used to give scale to the critter. It was small, true, but had loads of personality. Small things often do.

Snowy Weekend

Here in NC we got 1 - 3" of snow this past weekend, mostly on Saturday afternoon and evening. Where I live it was 3 inches!

On the left is my car soon after the snow began to fall. Since it'd been cold for a while the snow began sticking almost immediately.

Within an hour of the first flakes spiraling down, the ground was covered and the dirt road on the other side of my car was covered as well.

I was at Carrie's house so I didn't get my usual pictures of my house covered in a blanket of snow. We did make a run to my place later that night since we needed some supplies for dinner that I had in my fridge and pantry. Carrie has a big truck so that made it easy to scoot over to the next county where I live.

After picking up some pork cutlets and wine from my fridge, and taters and applesauce from my pantry, along with a ricer for making the mashed potatoes we got back to Carrie's place before the roads froze over.

There were a lot of suicidal deer on the road that night. …

Cold December

Here in NC we've had a very mild season so far. But December first seems to be bringing new weather to town.

As you can see in the picture over there, we've got a lot of nights of below freezing weather about to hit. I can't say that I'm happy about that but at least it waited this long to arrive.

The weather has been very mild with the exception of a few nights here and there. My electric bills have been almost pleasant to see. Hell, my heat didn't turn on even once all last night---but that's about to chance with the sub-30 degree temperatures that are coming in.

In other news, Thanksgiving last week was unusual for me.

For one thing, I didn't spend the day with relatives. This is the first Thanksgiving in over 20 years that I didn't spend with my family. Instead, I spent it with the family of my girlfriend.

And to celebrate this change in venue, I got a puffy eye. The picture there to the left was taken around 10 minutes after my girlfriend's daughte…