With the continuing fabulous extended-fall weather we have enjoyed for the last month, I feel it's safe to say that winter this year will be shorter than in the past couple of years, unless it stretches out at the other end. In 2012 we had our first snow on October 20th, and in 2013 it came on October 22nd. Both, if I recall correctly, were substantial amounts of snow that stayed until the following spring. With today's highs in the 20-25 C / 68-77 F range in most of the province and the forecast for warm and sunny all week, I don't think we'll see snow in the immediate future. I've hauled out my gelding's fly sheet yet again, since there are still lots of insects making the most of the mild conditions. Flowers continue to bloom, and even my basil is still with us, although suffering from the fact that I keep forgetting to water it. All in all, it's about as nice (and long!) a fall as a person could hope for.
I've got a lot of commitments to meet, both in the form of editing photos for clients, and of getting artwork done to supply the retail outlets that carry my work and for the upcoming pre-Christmas show and sale season. I've been logging a bit more studio time than in the past few months, but the lovely weather does make it hard to buckle down and stay indoors.
Shot one today is from the "client photo" file. I finally got the editing done on a shoot I did in September. The original plans were for a June photo shoot. That was thwarted by the endless rains of the spring and early summer. Then we got into "way too hot and buggy", followed by "wait until the grass has been grazed down a bit". Sometimes these things follow their own timetable. In the end, we got the job done. This is Magnum, a fine Arab gentleman who at 28 years old (I think that's correct!) is still in splendid shape and dearly loved by his owners.
I usually plant a tea rose in a large container by the front steps to our house. This year's rose was by no means one of the more spectacular or prolific ones, but it gets full marks for persistence. It's still flowering and producing more buds despite the late season, although as witnessed by the condition of some of its leaves, it's feeling a bit weary these days.
On the weekend I came home from a vintage sale in the country by way of the dump road, where I like to check out the corvid population. There are still lots of crows around, and the raven population is increasing as they drift south from their northern forest summer vacations. In typical fashion, the crows didn't make it easy for me to get photos. A sizeable group of them drifted along through the tree tops ahead of me as I tried to catch up, most of them always just out of range of my zoom. I did catch a few shots from the car as I was heading home. I had a friend with me who had come along to the sale--she now knows that if I'm doing the driving, chances are she'll be high-jacked at some point along the way to stop for crow or raven photos, whether that's part of the original plan or not. Luckily she's a bird and corvid person herself, so I don't think it was too much of a hardship for her.
I had an appointment downtown one day last week, and noted how wonderful the riverbank trees were in the area where I had parked. I resolved to come back on Sunday morning when things would be quiet, in order to get some shots. When I got there on Sunday, I was astonished to discover the entire area is vastly busier on Sunday morning than on a "business" day. Parking was much harder to find, and there were people everywhere, walking, jogging, sitting on benches visiting, playing with their children, walking their dogs, you name it. Despite all the action, I was able to get the shots I wanted without too much difficulty. This tree really appeals to me with the dynamic strong sculptural shapes of the branches. I think I'll have to get some more of it once we're into winter and the leaves are all down.
Today's final image illustrates a "you never know what you might stumble across" scenario. I was walking the dog one night last week. We took a short cut through the local park when I looked down to see this photograph lying on the sidewalk. It's a harvest scene, almost certainly from Saskatchewan, and almost certainly from the late 1800s or early 1900s. There it was, on the sidewalk, just waiting to be rescued, which I did. It was in the general vicinity of a dumpster that is used by the housing units across the street, and I can only assume it was meant to be thrown into the dumpster. It was getting too dark for me to check the inside of the dumpster to see if there were any other discarded treasures. It rained that night so it's a good thing I picked this one up, but not so good for any others that might have been in the dumpster as it is open to the air. Maybe I should head over there in the daylight and take another look, just in case.