The Very Spring and Root

An engineer's adventures in education (and other musings).

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2013 photo project

Jamaica Pond in April

Some photos from this morning’s walk around Jamaica Pond for my 2013 photography project. This year seems to be rapidly disappearing. I think last I checked it was February and I’m not sure what happened. March was a joke. This morning I was still kicking myself for missing March for the project, and wasn’t going to let April slide by as well. So here it is… lovely, lovely Boston spring. It’s been SOOOOOOO HARD to get any work done with the weather as nice as it has been the last couple of weeks…

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Jamaica Pond in February

I’ve been getting behind on my 2013 photography project to document Jamaica Pond through photos every month this year. I actually missed March in the craziness of prepping for my BTR Spring Gateway, so alas you cannot see the early stages of the lovely way Boston unfurls in spring. However, I do have (belatedly processed) February and (just taken this morning) April for you!

The winter of 2012-13 was a tumultuous one for Boston, with the whole region repeatedly weathering winter storm after winter storm. In February, a vigorous Category 3 Nor’easter (erroneously called Nemo) delivered hurricane-force winds and a whole lot of snowfall to New England. Boston Public Schools declared snow day after glorious snow day as the city struggled to dig itself out from the 24.9 inches of wet snow. Here are some photos from the aftermath at Jamaica Pond.

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Jamaica Pond in January

Got a great start on my 2013 photography project of documenting Jamaica Pond month by month. It was a beautiful (though cold) morning here in Boston, perfect for heading to the pond with my friend Jeanette for a photo walk. Adventures were had. As promised, I’m posting some of my favorite shots from today.

The outer edges of the pond are sheathed in a thin layer of ice, which gives way to water towards the middle. Some of the thicker ice supports chunks of snow. This shot tries to capture the interface between the three zones (snowy ice, thin ice, and water:

ISO-200, 1/500, f/4.5, 105mm

In retrospect, I think I should have lowered the f-stop some to get more depth of field. I think I still had it on aperture priority from photographing something up close and forgot to change it (hence the visibly narrow DoF).

There were plenty of ducks out there, puttering about on the freezing water… I really liked the arc of ice leading up to them in this one:

ISO-100, 1/250, f/9, 68mm
ISO-100, 1/250, f/9, 68mm, red filter

I switched to monochrome mode with a red filter in order to darken the water — makes the contrast bolder.

Now, here’s your moment of zen for the day:

ISO-200, 1/500, f/4.5, 105mm
ISO-200, 1/500, f/4.5, 105mm

I used a wide aperture and long focal length to really try and isolate the leaf sitting on a patch of ice.

Finally, here’s a shot of Jeanette taking a shot of the boathouse:

ISO-200, 1/1600, f/3.5, 28mm
ISO-200, 1/1600, f/3.5, 28mm, no filter

So, the 1/1600 shutter speed is overkill and the wide aperture does nothing useful… I think I just took it without bothering to check anything. Despite the apparently spontaneous nature of the shot setup, I do like this one. The vertical black of Jeanette’s figure and the horizontal white of the winterized sailboats from the boathouse are an interesting juxtaposition. I also like how it looks as if I had tree branches in my face… I did.

Plenty more from today, but that’s all I’ll post for now… Can’t wait until the next excursion! I’m so glad already that I took on this project.


Resolutions for 2013:

  • Write something everyday... even if it’s just a paragraph. And I don’t mean writing that I have to do anyway, like academic writing for a class or writing a lesson plan for my teaching — those don’t count. I’m giving myself the option of journaling, correspondence (letter or in-depth personal email), blogging, or fiction. I find that writing helps me immensely, in that it forces me to organize my thoughts and solidify my understanding of what I observe and believe. Blogging is especially good for this. I write for myself and don’t particularly care who reads my blogging; but the fact that it is public and reflects on me is good pressure to be reasonable, coherent, and responsible with what I write.
  • Meditate regularly.  I’m setting a target of at least 20 minutes per day, at least three days a week, and just installed the MeditationHelper android app to help me track it. Starting with my move to Boston last summer, I lost my regular rhythm of meditation, always telling myself that I would resume a set schedule once things got more settled. Well, now is the time. I think my attention, memory, and focus suffered some degradation in the stress of the fall; being a naturally scattered person, the lack of meditation really didn’t help my personal stability. Here’s to a more contemplative spring.
  • Become conversant in Spanish. I’m working toward dual licensure in ESL, so this is something I have been working on already anyway. I am currently halfway through Level 2 of the Rosetta Stone Totale, and plan to have completed Level 5 by August. I’m also watching Destinos over on the Annenberg Media site, and have a few Spanish-speaking friends recruited to help me converse.
  • Deactivate my Facebook account. I already did this a couple weeks ago as a test. The only thing I really miss so far is the social events postings from my BTR Cohort. However, I will just have to be more proactive about staying in touch with then socially via other means. The account is deactivated, not deleted; so, while none of my information is visible or actionable online, everything can be restored simply by logging in again. The goal here is to keep it deactivated for at least the entirety of 2013.

In addition to the above lifestyle tweaks, I’m holding myself to the following two projects as creative deliverables:

  • Jamaica Pond, Month by Month. At least once a month, I’m going to take my camera to the little lake in JP just a block down from my apartment and do some photography. At the end of every month I’ll post my favorites here. Later on, maybe next year, I have vague plans of taking the best photos and compiling them with notes and essays into a sort of online (maybe print) publication.
  • Complete a First Draft Novel. Sounds ambitious, just throwing that down there. But every year I do NaNoWriMo, trying to finish a short novel (50,000 words) in just 30 days. Shouldn’t finishing one in 365 days be a much more doable goal? I hope so… Despite four years of trying NaNoWriMo, I have yet to actually complete one in 30 days. Maybe this year-long goal is the more reasonable way to finally get it done. So let’s say… 75,000 words on the same coherent storyline by December 31st, 2013.

Too ambitious? We’ll see. Anyone up for a few walks around Jamaica Pond? ¿O hay alguien que quiere hablar conmigo en español? It’s going to be an awesome year… saddle up.