Let it snow…

There is a Winter Weather Advisory out for the Minneapolis-St Paul metro area this afternoon and evening, and we are supposed to get around 4+ inches of snow, although how much we will actually get is anybody’s guess, as the forecasters haven’t gotten it right once yet this winter. This has proved another wimpy winter by Minnesota standards, especially for those of us who were children in the 1970s and ’80s. Still, although I’m sure there are snowboarders and skiers who are excited for snow, and I must admit that snow is prettier than our current brown and drab color scheme, I am ready for spring. Sunshine, blue skies, and flowers, please: tulips, hyacinths, lilacs and peonies…If you know how I feel, here are some tulip pics to keep you going until the real thing starts growing outside.

“The deep roots never doubt that spring will come.” Marty Rubin

Have a hygge February

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Relaxing with a good book (or two or three) is quite hygeelig!

This winter the word hygge seems to be everywhere, and from what I’m reading it sounds like a marvelous idea. Although we Americans often translate it loosely as “cozy”, that doesn’t capture the full meaning of the word. In The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through  the Danish Concept of Hygge, author Pia Edberg gives her definition of hygge :

hygge (n/vb.): /HOO-gah/

the Danish concept of coziness…

…the art of creating warmth, comfort, and wellbeing through connection, treasuring the moment, and surrounding yourself with the things you love.

Flaky, sweet, pastries are hygge, especially warm from the oven, as is brisk exercise such a snowshoeing or skiing; the hygge feeling is enhanced, according to my books, if such activities are shared with friends and/or family. All of the authors I’ve been reading stress the importance of social connection and togetherness, and stress that these strong relationships and making time with each other a priority are what help them survive their long, dark, frozen winters (kind of like our Minnesota winters, yes). Pia notes that hygge is a lifestyle that feels like being “wrapped up…in a big hug.” You’ll know you’re experiencing hygge when you sense that you are really home: safe, content, happy, and grounded in the present moment.

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Hygge is a warm puppy to snuggle with….
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waking up in the morning with hot tea, fuzzy warm socks, and cosy throws…
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a vigorous hike along the lakeshore in the brisk winter air (yeah, right, sounds great in theory…)

never right the first time…

Although I love nature photography, especially on a small scale (think close-up and macro, rather than landscape), it doesn’t always come easily to me. Yesterday, for instance, . I posted a dreamy image of dying leaves that I loved, but it wasn’t quite right, somehow, in that indefinable way i couldn’t explain. So this morning I consulted with my resident expert, i.e. my TV photojournalist husband, he made a couple of suggestions, and voila! here is the final version. It’s nice to be married to an expert.

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Following his suggestion, I did some creative cropping, then I added some blur in the bottom left corner in Photoshop and added a watercolor-like texture from 2 Lil Owls (see sidebar if you are interested in purchasing some of your own–they are wonderful!) and brought out a bit of the light.

Photogs, just so you know, CC is always welcome and appreciated, just please be kind so as not to damage my tender feelings!

In other news, we Minneapolitans are finally getting our winter this week…cold temperatures (especially the windchill, such a hideous word, windchill) and Saturday we should get enough snow to cover everything, and this time, here’s hoping it will stick around for more than a day or two! I want my White Christmas!

This is how much snow cover we have now, which is pathetic for Minneapolis on December 8:

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Question: Do any photographers out there have advice for taking cold weather photos? This is my first winter with a DSLR and I am terrified of damaging my camera–or worse, one of my lenses. I’m also wondering about setting my exposure to compensate for snow glare on a sunny day. Thanks in advance!

mini-miracles

It’s so easy to get into a rut this time of year. The January Blahs, I call it. Grey, dreary skies, the post-holiday blues, temperatures dipping below zero, some of the shortest days of the year (yes, longer than in December, but not by much), nasty, dirty slush everywhere–all of these things add up to one crummy mood. So I just trudge along, each day blending into the next. 

And in the process, I completely miss the beauty in the world because I am wandering around with blinders on, unable to see the miracles happening all around me.  Because there are miracles, and beauty, even in January. We just have to pay attention.

  

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.–Paulo Coelho 

My miracles today? My cocker spaniel coming over and snuggling with me when I started to cry over the loss of my Uncle Al, who died last week. A super nice compliment from the teacher of my online still photography class. My amazingly wonderful husband who actually listens when I need to talk, and somehow instinctively knows when I need a hug. Our backyard looking fresh and pretty with a coating of new snow, and our house feeling so cozy.

What were your mini-miracles (or big miracles) today?