Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

Winter is my least favorite season, but it is a long, cold reality in Canada. I find fresh snow beautiful when it covers the trees and landscape around me, but I still struggle to enjoy this season.

It is snowing again!

It is snowing again!

This winter I have made an effort to appreciate it by cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. When I force myself out the door to go for a walk, a run or go skiing my mood immediately improves. However, when it doesn’t snow and the temperatures dip below zero I look out the window and see the dull, dirty snow in the yard I simply want to hibernate in my cabin and wait for spring. Golden Tips also likes lounging in the cabin rather than going out with his new scarf to enjoy the winter.

Tips wearing his new scarf.

Tips wearing his new scarf.

The positive news is that the deer are hanging out around our place and this is a sign that spring is just around the corner.

I spotted these deer yesterday.

I spotted these deer yesterday.

Another deer going for a stroll in the afternoon.

Another deer going for a stroll in the afternoon.

This is my take on the weekly photo challenge, and now Golden Tips is going out with me for a walk in the snow before it changes to rain – another sign that spring is on its way. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

There is never enough time to do all the things that I set out to do some days. Yesterday was a prime example. I wanted to post something for the weekly photo challenge, but I didn’t find the time in my busy day of shoveling snow, grooming a cross-country ski trail, and skiing.

Today, I have time to share photos of how I used my time yesterday. During the night, we got a fresh snowfall of about 20 centimeters (8 inches). Here is a view of the snow in my driveway at 7 in the morning.

View from the veranda.

View from the veranda.

It took a little over an hour to clean off the vehicles, and clear the snow out of the driveway.

After the clean up.

After the clean up.

Fresh, clean snow.

Fresh, clean snow.

While I was shoveling  I asked my brother to use his snowmobile and sled to make a path for skiing on a road that is not used during the winter. All he had to do was ride to the end of the road, make a loop and come back through the woods. I figured this would take him about ten minutes, but save me a ton of time. (This is my new method to groom a cross-country ski trail.)

Previously, this winter I spent two or three days making a trail with my skis and very little time actually skiing. Why didn’t I think of this earlier? Anyhow, I started from my yard and broke a path to the start of the trail.

Where is the groomed trail?

Where is the groomed trail?

Fifteen minutes later, I reached the groomed section and I was able to enjoy the winter wonderland of rural Canada.

Finally, the groomed trail, straight ahead.

Finally, the groomed trail, straight ahead.

The route continues.

The route continues.

I love zooming down this little hill.

I love zooming down this little hill.

Turn around point.

Turn-around point.

Through the woods and eventually back to the starting pint.

Through the woods and eventually back to the starting point.

After two hours of cross-country skiing, I returned home  and used the rest of my time yesterday to recover.

Enough exercise for today!

Time to call it a day!

Now, it is time for me to go skiing!

 

Photo 101: Natural World and Warmth

Life in my cubicle is quiet at the moment. The summer term is over and students are preparing for final exams and fasting for Ramadan. The good news is that I only have to spend five hours per day at work during the fasting month. The difficult part is no tea, water or snacks are allowed on campus during Ramadan. Today, I have no exams and all my work is done. All I can think about is food and tea. Why is it that when we can’t have something we want it even more?

To avoid thinking of food and drinks I am trying to can catch up on my photo 101 assignments.  I am also  desperately struggling not to open my desk drawer and get out my dried apricots for a snack.

A few months ago, as I was strolling along a beach in Salalah, Oman, I noticed an interesting pattern formed by the wind and sand. I stopped and took a photo. After this beach promenade I wandered around the city and captured a photo of a mosque with white clouds hovering above it and in the background. I have selected these two photos to interpret “natural world and leading lines”.

Lines3

Light5

There is no shortage of light in Nizwa. Cloudy skies are a rare sight, so if you can stand the heat it is easy to take photographs using natural light. There is a small oasis near my place and I often go jogging in this area. The date palms offer some pleasant scenery, a break from the dull, dusty landscape that characterizes most of the city and more importantly a shade source. This morning I took my camera and snapped some photos to interpretwarmth and quality of light”. Light1
Light3

Photo 101: Connection

I am slowly falling behind in my photo 101 assignments.  I could go through my photo archives and find some suitable photos, but that is sort of cheating. I want to photograph something to interpret the themes and techniques suggested in the present rather than using old photos.

It is summer in Oman and the temperatures are unbearable, making it impossible to roam around the city, looking for something to photograph. However, this morning while standing waiting for the bus, and thinking about this unattractive city, I took some photos of an unfinished overhead walkway that will allow pedestrians to connect with business on both sides of the road without fear of being killed while crossing four lanes of traffic. Then I spotted a telephone booth that was blocking my view. I have walked by this place hundreds of times without noticing this pay phone. So, in the end, I focused on the phone and unfinished pedestrian bridge as my interpretation for connect.

This overhead passage has been under construction since I arrived in Nizwa.

This overhead passage has been under construction since I arrived in Nizwa.

The same photo as above, but taken from a vertical point-of-view.

The same photo as above, but taken from a vertical point-of-view.

 

 

Photo 101: Bliss and Solitude

Life in my tiny cubicle offers very few opportunities for solitude. I am never alone in the office. There are teachers, students, cleaners, laborers and administrative staff that constantly roam in and out the office, some lingering longer than others, as they make their way from cubicle to cubicle. There is constant chatter in Tagalog, Hindi, Arabic and exotic versions of English that I struggle to comprehend. I make a concerted effort to avoid conversations in the office. Yet, when people address me I respond in a pleasant and helpful manner. I enjoy chatting with my students and colleagues outside of the office, in the classroom, at the canteen, or in the staff lounge, but I want my solitude in my cubicle. This way I can complete all my tasks quickly without interruptions, so that I am free to do as I please.

I usually spend one weekend a month alone. This is my solitude. I get up early, prepare breakfast and tea and I reflect about what I would like to accomplish during the weekend. Then, I write a list of things to do in my notebook and then I start my day. I work in my garden, watch a movie, do the laundry, iron the clothes, study German, go grocery shopping, prepare food, practice yoga, do crossword puzzles, go jogging or for a long walk in the evening. I do the things enjoy. It is important to have a relaxing weekend from time to time, free from family obligations, dinner engagements or other prearranged activities. This helps me to catch up on my hobbies and personal interests. I appreciate this down time with myself.

Now, here is my photo interpretation of solitude.

There is nothing like being alone in the desert. (Near Nizwa, Oman)

There is nothing like being alone in the desert. (Near Nizwa, Oman)

Or being alone in the mountains. (Marbat Wadi, Dhofar Region, Oman)

Or being alone in the mountains. (Marbat Wadi, Dhofar Region, Oman)

Finally, here is my take on bliss.

This cat makes me happy!

This cat makes me happy!

 

Photo 101: Water

Finding water to photograph in Nizwa, Oman, in the middle of a desert is not an easy task. There are no rivers or lakes. There has been minimal rain over the past few months, so the wadi that runs through Nizwa is completely dry. For this assignment I took some shots of the falaj waterway my place.

Here is a section of the falaj that brings water to the gardens and homes in Nizwa.

Water entering the  channel.

Water entering the channel.

The water looks clear.

The water looks clear, but this close up shows how low the water levels are after months without rain.

 

Photo 101: Home and Street

Last fall I signed up for Photo 101 course at the Daily Post, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, I only completed the first two assignments on home and street. So, I am going to give it another shot. I have a Canon Power Shot A3100 IS which is a basic point-and-shot camera that I carry with me in my purse. Most of the time I only use the “auto” function on the camera, but for this photo course I am going to experiment with using some of the other functions.

For almost two years Nizwa, Oman has been my temporary home. When I go to the local shop to pick up the newspaper, the cashier greets me in a pleasant manner. Taxi drivers and restaurant workers are polite and friendly. My Omani colleagues and students are kind and helpful at work. In spite of this, it difficult to feel at home because I am a foreigner and my values, language and lifestyle are so different from the locals. For example, most ladies do not socialize outside the home. They tend to hang out with family and would never be caught socializing with a group of colleagues at the corner tea shop. I often find myself walking, drinking tea, shopping, or sight-seeing with male and female acquaintances from other countries. Although I know some Omanis at work I have not made any Omani friends during my stay in this country. The reality is that I am a foreigner and this place is not my home.

My home is in Canada where I live in a small village of less than a thousand people. There I am surrounded by family, friends and nature. I have five weeks left in my cubicle and then will return to my little log home in the woods for good. The photos below were taken this past winter.

Home2

This is my home.

This is my street.

This is my street.