Soon the solstice moon will be full. I shall be in Johannesburg, not here to see it. More’s the pity. Somehow the solstice and equinox full moons have always meant more to me than the events themselves… perhaps literally it is the turning of the tides, even though I sit at 1400m (4500ft) and 300km from the closest sea, and over 1000 miles away from the sea I know and love…
In the above photo, taken from the arboretum at 5.30 this afternoon in the growing dusk, you can see the Big House and to its left Trailertrash Cottage.
I love winter. (Mostly. Last night it depressed me.) I particularly love this view in winter, the view from The House that Jack Built’s big window. (More or less – this was taken from the terrace under the Water Oak.) The traceries of trees are reflected in the water, some late colour coming from a swamp cypress, and for the rest the palette is reduced to dark greens and neutrals. The angles of the earth, overlaid all summer, support the vertical trunks of trees. Light and frost will now play on these surfaces, and I will only tire of them at the end of August, when all starts to change anyway.
This afternoon the dogs and I went on a walk, our first real walk in 12 days. We took along my new camera to test especially its low light potential. We were not disappointed. Whilst on Samaria one of the plates connecting the batteries on the old camera was irretrievably lost in the dust. It will take weeks in Johannesburg to repair. I thought a cheap and compact point-and-shoot was the solution – one which could take low-light snapshots in a way my bulky 12x zoom (and rather ancient) Canon S2 can not. I bought the entry level Canon A490 and took it on its first real outing…
This photo, taken in the gloom of the steps up from the bridge – always a difficult place to get enough light – proves that it was a worthwhile choice. Besides having a much shorter lens which lets through more light, the camera can go up to ISO 1600, 4x as much as the old S2. This I think was taken on ISO 800, but strangely it is not indicated in the properties of the photo.
This photo of Mateczka – now seven months old and a lovely animal – is clearly shot at high ISOs, and there is no detail to her fur. But it is the kind of snapshot I would never have got in the poor light with the S2, and a rather lovely snapshot it makes. I look forward to less self-conscious photography with the new camera!
Here is The House that Jack Built as seen from the bridge. With a little imagination you can see the moon reflected in the right hand gap between the trees. I could see it clearly, but you will have to accept my word on that one!
Silver-grey fur can be both a memory of glories past and a promise of beauty to come… wisteria seedpods and magnolia buds.
We spend a happy hour or more in the garden; Mateczka dashing through fallen leaves with all the joyful indulgence of the young when making a noise, Taubie and Stompie – our two old ladies – plodding along contentedly, and Monty (who believes himself the alpha-male of the valley despite his six-inch legs) dashing off to investigate before running back and jumping up against me adoringly.
And thus, as the chill becomes more and more noticeable, we reach home and heat…