Ice Falls

Ice Falls

The world has become white. Snow covers everything and the temperature never reaches above freezing. Water has become ice. There is no boundary between the sky and the Earth; the vista is monochrome. Each step taken is a precarious one as we must relearn how to walk.

Winter is cool 🙂

New Year in the Carpathians

New Year in the Carpathians

Last night, New Year’s Eve (or Silvester as they call it locally) was beyond cold. The thermometer broke so I’ve no idea just how cold it got but in the morning it was minus 17 Centigrade.

We spent several hours preparing wood from old planks and beech and oak logs, then made sure both the living room fire and the bedrooms’ traditional brick and tile pec were stocked. We went through a honking amount of wood battling the cold. We treated ourselves to a few luxury foodstuffs for symbolism – ruby port, fine cigar, Swiss chocolate, Stilton cheese, pistachios, Italian Panetone, non-alcoholic German Sekt for the kids… At midnight we set off fireworks in the back garden.

I hope 2015 will be a good year for all of us. I’ve entered it with no pre-concieved plans, which is unusual for me, and will await the Muse. New Year’s Eve was a challenge we overcame and which resulted in successful enjoyment. I hope that set the tone for the entire year

Happy New Year to everyone!

Ukrainian Rangefinder FED 5 (1981)

Ukrainian Rangefinder FED 5 (1981)

This is the old Soviet copy of a Leica with an Industar 61 LD lens. It was my wife’s father’s and under Socialism it was a bit of a luxury item. I really would like to do a series of photos with it to capture that vintage look.

There’s something about the feel, weight and smell of it which seem right and are missing in modern cameras.

Frozen town

Frozen town

Just over a week ago I wanted to take Feisty out for a ride but couldn’t get her to start because of the battery. We’d had a cold spell but it had cleared up and it was warm enough to comfortably ride. Now, we’ve been plunged into Arctic temperatures and more than a few minutes outside is painful. The forecast for New Year’s Eve is so bleak that many towns in Slovakia have, for the first time, cancelled their celebrations.

There has been snowfall but nowhere near the amount seen in the Alps. Instead, the weather went from mild to frostbite-cold almost overnight. There is a dark, Gothic beauty to the landscape, though. Dusk brings with it plummeting temperatures but also, as seen in this photo of Svidnik, a certain noire mystique.

One-eyed Wild Cat

One-eyed Wild Cat

This mean old Wild Cat (Felis silvestris silvestris) was stalking through the field behind my house. It’s obviously been through some battles as its lack of right eye shows. I’ve encountered them on a few occasions, once when one was brave enough to get in the garden when my bull mastiff was there. They’re not like normal domestic pussy cats and they’re definitely not friendly. I’m still hoping to photograph a lynx at some point as they also live in the forest surrounding the village.

Church on an Autumn lake

Church on an Autumn lake

This evening I drove around Lake Domasa on the way home. Due to the early onset of night now, the light wasn’t the best but I still felt mesmerised by the colours of the Fall trees and their reflection on the water of the lake. This little church is one of a couple which sit on the banks of the lake and it looks both ghostly and serene, alone as it is. I love that I can still be hypnotised by a scene, enough to make me stop my car and just look for a while. It’s important to absorb fleeting beauty as it reminds us we are alive and that the world can still please and amaze.