Clusters of red berries in the white snow

Clusters of red berries in the white snow

Day 38 outdoors.  (you mean it hasn’t even been 40 days yet??)  I have nothing to report.  No exhilarating activities, no sprightly skiing, snowshoeing or hiking in the woods.

Instead it was more like:  slow step….step…..step.  Looking upwards at the trees and branches and listening to birds squawking and calling overhead.  Slow step….step….step…..

Yes, I was hurting and still a little bruised after yesterday’s cross-country ski tumble.  Nothing too drastic.  There’s no huge black-and-blue bruises.  Just a few mild slightly darkened bruises.  It’s challenging getting up and down, but not devastating.  The old tail bone’s still intact.  The moans are almost gone.  I’m….almost….contemplating the next ski.

So what do you think of the above photo?  Aren’t those berries gorgeous?  They weren’t taken today, unfortunately. I’m leveling with you….they were taken in Hancock last weekend during Heikinpaiva.  (see previous blog  from Saturday if you haven’t read about the traditional Finnish mid-winter festival.)  I fell in love with the clusters dangling amidst the white snow.  Something about red and orange colors with their power to shock us out of our January whiteness.  Stunning.

In contrast, please examine carefully the next photo:

Look closely.  What do you see?

Look closely. What do you see?

Doesn’t look like much of anything, does it?  But lean in closer towards that photo.  Can you see the sweeping wing-prints of small birds?  I love it when the snow reveals bird wings.  Etched in the snow, one can almost see the individual feathers fluttering against the ground as the birds meandered and pecked for seeds beneath the feeder.  I always feel a sort of tenderness when seeing bird wing-prints.  Even these smaller varieties of probably chickadee, junco or finch.  A hawk or crow wing-print is like finding gold, and just as elusive.

Speaking of colors of snow, we need to have a discussion.  I was talking with a dear friend yesterday who is a phenomenal photographer.  She began to share about a certain setting on the camera which adjusts the whiteness.  I haven’t figured out where it might be yet, but you go on “menu” and travel around the settings until you find “White Balance”.  (I have discovered this in the Sony Cyber-shot manual.) 

You aim at something….say, white snow, and the White Balance function measures and adjusts the color tones.  If it were operational it would view the snow in the above gray-skied photo and say, “hmmmm,  not enough white!  Time to adjust!” and wa-la….the bird wings would suddenly appear on a stark white surface which probably more accurately reflects the actual snow.

Except.  I am sorry.  So sorry.  If you all want white snow pictures (such as the top berry-cluster photo) you must find another blog in which the photographer has discovered White Balance or lives in a continually sunny clime.  I have a confession.  I am in love with Blue Snow photos.  My favorite photos all winter are the ones with blue snow!!  (except maybe the berry photos….)

I am convinced we live in the Land of Blue Snow.  Perhaps it’s just a fairy tale I’m telling myself, but the snow on cloudy gray dismal days does NOT look white.  To adjust balance or Picasa-edit them into cheerful whiteness seems somehow wrong.  The snow is perhaps not as blue as the photos suggest, but it’s not white either.  It’s some magical in-between color.  And I love it.

Therefore, I am not searching the camera for the correct settings and adjustments.  I am stubbornly clinging to the blue tones.  They are somehow making the winter more beautiful, more appealing, more magical.   And anything that can make the winter more magical is what counts on these long cold January days.  Right?  🙂