Holday lights, part 1

Niagara lights

On our way out to Michigan this December, we stopped for the night in Niagara Falls, Ontario. City of lights, mist, honeymooners, casinos, and steak houses.

It’s not our usual type of haunt, but we discovered by accident four years ago, on a similar trip, when we were in search of a room and found bargain basement rates at these near-empty high-rise hotels in late January, that you can get a room, 25 floors up, with a huge window overlooking the falls.

Niagara falls - night

And from that window, you can watch all night long, as the natural light goes down and the city lights come on, watch the garish colors projected onto the falls themselves, watch the mist rise up in reds, purples, greens, blues, yellows.

If you tire of watching the falls and lights, here’s a game you can play:

Watch the right-hand lane of the road that runs parallel to the river below the falls. Count how many cars are parked illegally along that road, pulled to the railing or sidewalk, hazard lights blinking. How many cars can you collect before the police car arrives, politely pulls up behind the last car in the row, turns on its lights, and waits until the driver notices and leaves? Watch this process repeat until each car is convinced to move along and the roadside is empty. Now, guess how long it will take until a new car decides to stop and be the first to park along the now-clear edge. Use your mental powers to try to convince cars to stop. Can you capture three, ten, nineteen? Keep watching, and giggling about this with your daughter until your eyes get droopy. The game will go on without you.

If you’re sleepless for any reason, you can watch the falls lights turn off at midnight.

Horseshoe falls - night

Hours later, still awake, watch the sun creep up over the river and illuminate the mist from behind.

Horseshoe falls - early dawn

Falls at dawm

All night long, that water has been rushing over the edge. Even when you couldn’t see it. Even when you aren’t there. Even when you’ve checked out of the hotel, gotten into your car, and found the road leading west.

Horseshoe falls - dawn

Horseshoe falls

The Niagara River

As though
the river were
a floor, we position
our table and chairs
upon it, eat, and
have conversation.
As it moves along,
we notice—as
calmly as though
dining room paintings
were being replaced—
the changing scenes
along the shore. We
do know, we do
know this is the
Niagara River, but
it is hard to remember
what that means.

–From The Niagara River by Kay Ryan, published by Grove Press. Copyright © 2005 by Kay Ryan

52 Weeks ~ Choose Your Own Adventure (52/52)

RSiegel_Week52 - Choose Your Own Adventure

Here we are, at the final photo for my 2012 52-week photo project. The theme for this week was “Choose Your Own Adventure”, which the project hosts described as “take a picture of whatever you like”.

That offers a lot of latitude. A bit too much for me.

The truth is, I love having a weekly theme. I take pictures all the time of whatever I want, but what I loved about this project was the constraint of the theme, the requirement to focus my thoughts all week and train my eyes to look for things I’d ordinarily ignore, or to look at familiar things in a new way. I needed that push. I still do.

So, for 2013, I decided to set myself a new 52-week photo adventure, and my final photo for 2012 describes that adventure:

:: Once again, I’ll post a new photo every week to Flickr, and follow up with a corresponding blog post here. I’ll generally post to Flickr on Sundays, and try to write the blog post within a week of that posting.

:: Every other week, beginning with the first week (that’s this week), the photo will be of a letter of the alphabet (A, B, C, and so on).

:: Every week between the letter weeks, the photo will be in response to a word I choose at random from my Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Right now, I’m thinking of using an althethiometer to choose the random word, but, then again, I might just do it the old-fashioned way: stick a finger into a page and see where it lands.

This year, I’m also challenging myself to use my camera’s manual modes more often and I’ll be pushed to do this by a beautiful, new (manual focus) lens that M has given me. I’ve also finally made the move from iPhoto to Lightroom for organizing and editing the photos. I don’t do a lot of editing, but when I do, iPhoto frustrates the heck out of me.

So, there we are.

I’ve enjoyed every bit of the 2012 photo project, and am really excited to branch out on my own adventure. If any of you are interested in joining me, I’d be happy for the company, but if you prefer to just watch, that’s just fine, too. I’m thrilled to have you here either way.

You can see the weekly photos accumulate by viewing the 52 Weeks – 2013 Flickr set. You can get links to all of the project-related blog posts on the Fifty-two Weeks page (you can also get to this via the link on the left side of this page). And in case you’re wondering how my daily photo project (“I Snap Views”) is going, you can see that here.

Okay, now I need to get to bed. I’ve got an alphabet to start tomorrow.