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On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

Brass Horses
Today is the eleventh day of Christmas. Tomorrow is the twelfth, and the Epiphany. That word, like the concept of Christmas itself, has been so twisted and abused by a century of American commercialism that it's a wonder any of the real meaning of Christmas is left. According to English tradition I'm supposed to give/get eleven pipers piping, but I've never gotten anywhere close to that, and I probably never will (unless I travel to Scotland some future Christmas). Instead, I get these four brass horses near a Publix on S. Hiawassee Road and Westpointe Blvd (mustn't forget the 'e'). And it's not exactly four horses, either. It's actually a pair repeated twice. I guess they saved some money when this was installed back during the height of the housing bubble here in Orlando.

Normally I'd leave our outside Christmas decorations and lights up until tomorrow, but weather calls for rain this Sunday so I pulled them down today while it was still dry and warm, if a bit cloudy. We've still got the artificial tree up inside the house, and that'll stay up all through January. That's a tradition my wife's family practiced when she was a girl living in Harrisburg Penn. Back then they did it because Januaries were cold, cloudy, wet, and depressing. Having the tree up kept the depression tamped down a bit, and made life a bit more festive. I do it now because I'm tired of walking into stores and seeing all the Valentine's Day items that started to appear the last week of December. I figure if they can lean that far forward with Valentine's Day, I can sure hang back with a bit of Christmas.


All things go in cycles. I'm back to the E-PL2 and the M.Zuiko 45mm. As much as I like the images that come of the NEX 5N, I prefer the petite size and handling of the E-PL2 with the 45mm. And I like the look I can get out of the 45mm without really trying. Unfortunately, when it comes to subject and composition I'm sure there are many who will say it looks like I'm not really trying. And unlike some critics of handling technique, while I didn't use the VF-2 EVF to frame the photo, I didn't look like I was holding a stinky diaper when I made this photo either.


  1. Interesting photo Bill - ice, (decorated) brass horses, and then - palm trees? What a strange contrast, can only be Florida ;-)

    1. Not ice. The 45mm is wide open at f/1.8 and the E-PL2's shutter speed is 1/4000s, so that the water from the fountain in which these horses are sitting is frozen in time, not temperature. And yes, those are palms in the background.

      Palms in general, particularly these palms, are not native to Florida's interior. And these palms in this photo are not native to Florida at all. Instead queen palms are imported. The queen palms are very tall, skinny, and unattractive (like the examples in the background) and many people are allergic to their pollen. Their roots do not spread out, so every time we have a hurricane many get knocked down by the high winds.

      Florid's state tree is the sabal palm (also known as the cabbage or palmetto). It can grow fairly tall, up to 16 feet or so, but its trunk is much thicker, its crown much broader, and its root system much thicker and hardier. It's highly salt tolerant and can handle frosts and short freezes. It naturally grows on the cost and around larger interior waterways.

      Just about everything you see in that photo is non-native to Florida.

      And now I suppose I should find some examples of the sabals. I've seen them around, artificially planted about as well.


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