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Sunday, 06 November 2022


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Count me as one who firmly believes that changing the clocks is a good idea.

In our society, what vanishing percentage of people would use the extra daylight on a June morning? Would we really want the sun to rise at 4 and set at 7?

And in the winter, we have two bad choices, because the day is so blastedly short.

Changing the clocks is a momentary inconvenience, far less difficult than overcoming jet lag. And if it disappeared, we'd still have winter, so some other event would become the obvious marker for the onset of the drear…

You may call them "Miserable" but some of us love the winter. Snow & ice. Blowing and ice frozen 40 inches and more on the lakes. Sundogs and hoarfrost and Aurora displays at night.
The stark winter landscape is both a great opportunity and a challenge.

The best modern photographer on Youtube I have come across is a Spanish guy called Adrian Vila who has a youtube channel called aows. He is an exclusive B&W/square format photographer and a real artist with a minimal interest in gear. Adrian is at his happiest in the rain, snow and fog where he makes his best pictures. Perhaps your miserable months are really your photo opportunity with the right mindset.

He has a strong sense of the graphic in his work and he uses terrible weather to suppress unwanted fussy detail that lets the graphic elements purr. I think not only is he the best photography Youtuber I've found, he's my all time favourite photographer at the moment.

Adrian's blog https://aows.co/blog

How does your photography fare in the grayer months, Mike? As a protanopic + deuteranopic colorblind my eyes never really register any differently throughout the northern year, and I'm just as happy shooting in winter as in summer. Would love to know if your seeing in b+w is more, or less, "useful", in these coming months!

Nature rambles on, unaffected by man made clocks.

I agree with you - the change of the clocks is a bad time. Though my worst time, in terms of frustration, is early spring - it never goes quite fast enough! March is torture for me - all those buds, so few leaves, and the weather still so changeable. At least at the end of March we suddenly get that extra hour of daylight in the evening.

And we live at a latitude of 53° North, compared with 42°N at Keuka. Which means that the days are shorter, the nights are longer and the sun is lower where we are than we you are! On mid-winter's day here in Sheffield the sun will reach a maximum of about 13° above the horizon.

Still, it helps with photography. On the all-too-rare sunny winter days the sunlight is always very directional, the sun is never 'overhead'. Actually that's partially true in summer, too - on mid-summer's day the sun reaches 60° above the horizon in Sheffield, never any higher. That still makes it reasonably directional, even at noon.

I vote split the difference

It isn't whether Daylight Saving Time is better or worse than Standard Time. So many of us live in the northernmost 65% of the U.S. and the further one is from the Equator the more pronounced the sun's light angles are, shifting from the summer to the winter solstice positions. Fewer complaints along the lines of "Egads! It's dark at 5:00 PM!" come out of Orlando, Baton Rouge or Tucson, because it doesn't get dark at 5:00 PM there. Ever. On December 21st, those fair cities will have a transit time (the period between sunrise and sunset) longer than ten hours. Contrast that with what our neighbors in Winnipeg and Calgary, north of the border, experience when the transit span is fewer than eight hours. That's a big difference. So it may come down to how we manage to cope with what we know will confront us every year: do the long days outweigh the short days? Can we "store up" enough reserves of sunny to tide us over the cloudy? Can or will we adapt? We can't change the weather, and we can't change the dance between the sun and the earth. What we can do is make choices. Live with what is, or go somewhere else. We can adjust our day schedules and during the yuck months step up our inside work. We can tie flies, do research, try new recipes, catch up on correspondence and broaden our circle of friends, read more and better, watch more and better movies, listen more and find/share new music, edit our digital image files, learn a new skill, stretch, reflect, plan, anticipate life. We can adapt.

"Gray days, gray skies, brown land, not many people around (my old farmhouse is surrounded by summer homes, closed up and slumbering in Winter."

Go look at an Andrew Wyeth book and think about what he did with those conditions. I'm not a big Wyeth fan, but still...

If you want year-round Standard Time, try Arizona. You might dislike many thing about Arizona (I certainly do) but not changing clocks and using Standard Time is something this state got right.

There is only one correct time: Standard Time, in which 12 noon occurs at the sun's zenith. Rationalized to the center of each of the 24 time zones around the world, of course. And, naturally, with local eccentricities regarding the exact borders of the time zones.

Considering the fact that Europe has had 4degreesC higher temps than ever before, with London hitting an unprecedented 40 of them; with your own national wildfires worse than ever before, and with Kilimanjaro losing its snowy white crown and the European glaciers mostly folklore, the source of the Ganges running out of steam, why bother being concerned with such minor inconveniences as artificial time measurement?

You can measure the health of the world without tools: this summer and autumn my verandah has been pretty much out of bounds due to mosquitoes, unless I do what I have discovered works: wear a pair of mechanic’s overalls whenever I want to use the place and have lunch out there. That entails thinking of my ankles and feet as sacrificial lambs, but hey, that’s the payment for seeing the garden. It would appear that wearing earphones, even of the tiny bud type, discourages bites to the side of the head. Maybe they dislike rock’n’roll? I protect my neck by pulling up the collar à la Elvis.

Most summers I see a lot of bees and wasps enjoying the warmth and inspecting my table as I eat; hardly a one this year. Bats. Every summer’s evening used to offer a display of airborne acrobatics as those beautiful little creatures swooped, spooked and scooped the millions of insects in the field beyond the hedge. I haven’t seen a bat in two years. The flowerpots that border that verandah have gradually been filled with variations of stronger cactus to replace flowers in order to provide some green, some sense of life, freshness. The two remaining pots housing hibiscus plants seem to have lost their rhythm, as have the three bougainvillaea ones, with their colours coming together hardly ever now: one pot will have blooms, the others not, then another takes over, or its buds just drop off, never to open: nature seems no longer to know if it is coming or going.

Yet, many of our politicians lie and pretend all is serene, life is as ever it was. Maybe in an air-conditioned city tower, but not out in the world it ain’t. I wonder if Putin’s endgame is little to do with the Ukraine, and everything to do with laying the plans to create buffer zones and food supplies for the coming famines and the marching hordes looking for survival? Don’t let’s forget: his own tundra is collapsing… he’d have to be blind not to read the runes. Unlike many of our self-styled leaders, I tend to think he is far from stupid.

Same here in SE Michigan where we are surrounded by the Great Lakes and the winter sky is a perpetual cloudy slate gray. By February I am ready to jump off a bridge. I bought one of those certified lamps for treating seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which I read in front of with my tea every morning for 20 minutes, and it really does seem to help. We also try to get away to sunnier climes a few times each winter.

Ah yes, Winter. Twenty years ago when the kids left for college and we sold our company, we lived in Boston. When winter set in and even walking down the street was dangerous because of the ice, we decided our aging bones had had enough of NE winters after 30 years.
We knew we were not interested in Florida where the state bird is the mosquito and the state animal the crocodile (maybe now the python), so we headed west. Bought a small hobby farm in Southern California.
We called it "food chain farm" since it profoundly illustrated the food chain!
It was a photo paradise! We were surrounded by beautiful mountains. had 50 species of birds and animals of all varieties, from tarantulas and black widow spiders to bobcats and pumas with a smattering of rattlesnakes. I averaged nearly 10,000 shots per year, creating the "Food Chain Farm" calendar for friends each year from those photos.
Within a few hours drive were mountains and deserts that outdoorsy people brag about. BIG SKIES! Also near big cities with all that entails.
Did I mention the fresh fruit and veggies year round?
Around New Year's, when the winter blahs set in, buy a ticket to San Diego or start driving (with the dog). When you get to San Diego, follow the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) North for ~1,000 miles.
Then maybe you will do what we did.
But maybe you prefer beautiful Fall foliage of Upstate NY and hibernating for the winter.

Well count me among the winter haters, cold short daylight,baah! However strangely my outdoor photography improves in this hated season. The directional light previously noted is probably a contributing factor, but it’s still ‘winter Bah Humbug’.

I hear you, Mike. Living in BC just north of the 49th parallel, the grey and short days get to me too. But despite a life of loving summer best, I now find myself looking forward to the winter.

Where summertime used to mean easy living, it now means uncertainty and stress. Each spring my wife and I pack our irreplaceables into a few totes in case of wildfire evacuation. For the last few summers, smokey skies settle into our valley for some weeks making work outdoors unpleasant and perhaps even dangerous. We invested in a heat pump last year not to be 'green' (although it's great to be more efficient and to be helping the planet); we got it to stay cool during heatwaves. We now get several days above 40 degrees Celsius every year.

I used to think the cold was hostile, but now it seems way less life threatening than the heat. It's easy bundle up in the winter. Keeping one's body temperature down during a heat dome is trickier.

In the winter, I shovel snow in fresh air, read by the fire and sort photos. I never thought I'd be a winter person, but now I am. Thanks Exxon! [sarcasm]

[The Union of Concerned Scientists published an article suggesting that Summer should be renamed "the danger season" to help us adapt to the new realities. Here's the link.



At least you get...water where you live. Don't knock it.

Out here in CA, we might have a rainy day in the Winter, or if we're lucky, two days of rain.

The latter half of October, I drove up to Washington state to look around and visit friends. Passing through Lake Shasta, I've never seen the lake so low before....it was shocking. The boat launch areas are closed because...there is NO WATER with which to launch your boat.

I personally have two people close to me that lost virtually everything they have to California wildfires.

So, be thankful for the water you get during the Winter months.

[If Lake Shasta shocked you, don't look at this:



When we moved to Arizona five years ago, I wondered why the state says on Standard time. I asked around, and the consensus was that it was because in Arizona, you want the sun to go down earlier in the summer. True or not, it makes sense to me.
It does get dark earlier here in the "5 months"; sunset today will be about 5:30pm, with six weeks to the solstice. But "Daylight Savings" doesn't save anything, and we should get rid of it.

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