First Snow Hits Santa Fe

First Snow In Santa Fe
These sculptures on Canyon Road in Santa Fe receive a small dusting from the snow that fell last Saturday night, photo by author

Warm Autumn

The unusually warm autumn temperatures that we have been experiencing in the nation’s highest state capitol abruptly came to an end last weekend, when temperatures took a big plunge and little white flakes of frozen precipitation came floating down from the sky. The snow soon melted, but early birds, who were up and about on Sunday were witnesses to a visual treat – a dusting of snow.

light snow in Santa Fe
Light snow and cold temperatures make for bas relief images all across town, photo by author

Bas Relief

The cold crisp mountain air combined with early morning lighting conditions created ideal conditions for creating photographic images that looked with bas relief prints. Here, dry powdery snow on top of a blacktop parking lot created these striking results.

Graphic design in the snow
A dusting of snow had an intriguing effect to these words that were applied to the road surface with white paint, photo by author

Wintertime Graphic Design

The snowfall created strange visual effects to letters and words painted to the asphalt road surfaces.

abstract art in the snow
This manhole cover takes on a whole new appearance after the overnight snow fall, photo by author

Abstract Art In the Snow

Many of the NY abstract painters of the post war (WWII) era, enjoyed working in black and white and shades of gray that fell in between. This snowfall gave me a chance to make an image that resembled an early Pousette-Dart painting.

Sculpture on Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico
This cool cat is one of the many sculptures that can be found along Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico

On Canyon Road

Santa Fe is one of those scenic western towns that has seen an explosion of art galleries within its city limits and much of this displayed art can be found on the trendy Canyon Road.. Canyon Road is a long winding narrow lane that is filled numerous art galleries and studio spaces. The outdoor sculpture made for an interesting artistic element amidst the freshly fallen snow.

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Winter In The Soul, A Cool Appraisal of Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Charles River
looking towards towards Cambridge, winter on the Charles River

“It is a world of bleak twilights and tortured souls. A world of cold dawns and dour sleuths. A world of frozen lakes and repressed detectives.”        Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune.

So writes Julia Keller in a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, as she shares some thoughts  on the rise of the popular genre, most obvious by the rapid success of  Stieg Larsson’s trilogy and subsequent movie deals both in Europe and America.

There is an interesting blog located right here on wordpress that is solely devoted to the subject of Scandinavian Crime Fiction. This would include any writer from the nations of Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. There are as many as a dozen names, few of which would ring a bell with American readers or the American public. You can go to this blog and find out who is publishing what and where. Also you will find some interesting  comments and insights on why this part of the world has become the hotbed of the genre, because the perceived image of Scandinavia is that this is a place where a crime fiction writer would fine little inspiration because the murder rate s so low. But just like crossing a frozen lake on a cold winter’s day, there may be more trouble ahead than one realizes for there may be a current underneath the ice or a spring creating a thin spot; and if you fall through the ice in the middle of February in Northern Sweden you chances of survival are grim.

winter light
snow and shadows

But just as northern Minnesota was a great setting for a murder mystery in the film Fargo, so has Scandinavia merged to provide the setting for quite a few murder mysteries.  Although not really known as a crime fiction writer, Peter Hoeg may have set the scene for the emergence of this popular genre with his murder mystery Smyla’s Sense of Snow. He may have also opened the door to the reality the life in Scandinavia may be overrated a bit, for there are real conflicts between industrialization and the search for a comfortable life, a point that is very well underscored at least in the film.

So on these long January nights, while your curled up on the sofa next to the warm glow of a wood fire in the fireplace, you might want to pick on of the many offerings that are now being translated into English. But don’t forget that this part of the world has a summer time also and one with very long days and short nights; so short that in some places the sun only sets for a few hours each night during late June, when the summer solstice occurs.

As a subtle reminder of the summer warmth here is a picture of a fence that borders a park in Copenhagen, Denmark. The fence has been painting with all kinds of colorful and joyous animals. Of particular note is that the park is located just across the street from Christiana, an unique part of the city that was taken over and homesteaded by hippies in the 1970’s.

So long forom the snow-covered rocky coat of Maine,

Truly,

Everett Autumn

forest graffitti
animal graffitti in Copenhagen, Denmark

Happy New Year

my self-portrait
Self-portrait of myself at work with the camera

As I write this we are getting hammered with a pretty intense snowstorm. I expect by this time tomorrow we will have a foot of the white stuff covering the ground and transforming our landscape into a snowy, white plain. Further north along the coast or “Down East” as the eastern most counties are referred to, the snow totals may be even greater.  So many of us here in the Pine tree State may have had a green Christmas, but it seems like we are in for a very white Christmas.

I thought I would take a few minutes and share a few images with anybody, who may be thumbing through these words. I’d like to tell you about my New Year’s resolutions, but I haven’t made any, unless you count promising to cut down on my caloric intake. Though I have to admit that I do this every year an it lasts a few weeks, but it doesn’t last much longer. Still somehow I make it through the years holdin my own.

Snow People
Snow People in South Portland, Maine

Here’s another picture from the past year. Snow gnomes is what I call them. Just piles of snow on top of some outdoor electrical boxes. This picture is just from over a year ago.

And then finally here’s a good way to light up a winter’s night when you’re thinking of taking a Jimmy Buffet-style holiday in the Caribbean instead of slogging your way to work through four-foot snow drifts. No here’s another Happy New Year to you (I think that’s two) and I’ll get back on tract next week, when everyone, including me, returns from our winter recess and goes back to doing what we were before the holidays swept through our lives.

Best wishes and good tidings,

Everett Autumn

Toucan with mugs of beer
snowbird

First Snowfall

December snow Shadows
Shadows from a December snowfall

Our first snowfall arrived Saturday night and when I awoke on Sunday morning Mother Nature had left us with several inches of the white stuff. It pretty much covered everything and since the sun came out bright and shiny on the day after, I ventured out with my little compact digital camera to see what I could do with the shadows. Here are the results.

Photographing freshly-fallen snow on a sunny day can be a daunting task, if you don’t take some time to access the overall conditions and study the lighting when can be quite intense in contrast. Often it is better to make pictures in the early morning light or late afternoon, when the sun is not so intense.

For an interesting picture it is nifty idea to study the shadows and let the long black lines that go zigzagging across the white surface be the main compositional element of your picture.

Walking around your local neighborhood or even your backyard can be a lot of fun, even after a small snowfall. Here is what i shot on our first snow event of the year, which left us with a few inches here in Portland, Maine. All in all it was a relaxing diversion from my writing.

December Snow Shadow
First Snowfall Leaves Portland Area Covered In White
December snow Shadow
Shadows in the snow