Tuesday, December 22, 2015

If this is winter solstice, can spring be far behind?

I breathe a little easier once Winter Solstice occurs - the days will now get longer, and within a few weeks we'll be seeing signs of spring her on the island.

In celebration of the solstice, Bessie (a visiting dog, in case you missed Sunday's post) and I headed down to the beach to watch the sunrise.  It was cold out, and the thin coating of black ice on the roads and sidewalks made for challenging walking - especially with one hand grasping the leash of a dog that pulls like a certain team of reindeer, and the other hand tightly clutching my precious camera. One fall and disaster could occur to the contents of either hand.
But we made it to the Seawalk (though the seawalk itself was too icy to walk), and for the next hour Bessie and I awaited the sun.  Why is it that when I spot the beginnings of a good sunrise from my backyard, there is no way I can reach the beach before it is over, but when I purposely get up early to shoot it, it takes forever to rise?

A low, thin bank of clouds covered the low spot on Salt Spring Island through which, on a good day, one can see Mount Baker.  And the winter Sun, low in the sky, managed to first stay behind the clouds and then behind the mountain.

But just as I was about to give up, I saw a touch of red dusting the tops of  the clouds:

First hint of red - look closely! 

And while it never developed into the riot of colour we so often get at sunrise, it cast enough red and gold to make the wait worthwhile.

Low clouds over Salt Spring Island

A bird flies in the sunrise

Golden morning

Sunrise over Osborne Bay

I was distracted, sadly, by the black lab with blue and white eyes that a person living near the seawalk lets out unsupervised morning and evening to roam the town and do his business wherever he pleases, mostly in the little park near the ferry terminal.  That dog, appropriately named Bandit, attacked Mitzi on one occasion and relentlessly stalks and follows us despite my calls to Animal Control.  Today, Bandit bounded out of his home and down to the parking lot where he immediately spotted Bessie, and she him.  Fortunately, another person did his best to distract the dog and encourage him to move in the other direction, but it still meant I missed a few good shots - sunrise colours change so swiftly, and distraction is not a photographer's friend.

Bandit! Go Home! 

Still, I got a few shots, and then Bessie and I hied over to the other side of the docks to watch the cargo ships and tugboats at work,  and the seals, kingfishers, and various ducks searching for their morning feast.

Cargo ship in first morning light

Tug boat in the harbour

Kingfisher Silhouette

Soon the sun will rise earlier, and set later, and we shall be hunting snowdrops and crocuses and daffodils. And I can hardly wait.


Ellen Nickerson said...

Spring comes to you, nice and early, not like here in Nova Scotia. I love seeing all your photos and enjoy your blog. Looking forward to the coming year and many good reads. Thank you.

CarolineA said...

Breathtaking! I saw the first red before you said to look closely.
Such a wonderful way to wake up, thank you for sharing with us.

Merry Christmas to you and your furries!

Brigid said...

Worth the early rising, Jean! Like you, I breathe a little easier once I know we're headed back into more light. Happy Solstice to you!

Anonymous said...

Lovely pictures Jean. I'm am glad Bessie is able to join you on your morning walks. It's to bad Bandit had to spoil it for you.


Wendy said...

Nice pics. I've met blue eyed Bandit... years ago. Did he ever get neutered?.. Too bad about dogs with irresponsible gaurdians...They can get into trouble-- & wind up suffering for it.