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A Winter's Eve

I took a trip downtown a few nights ago and walked around with my camera until my fingers went numb. I realized it's been months since I shared anything on this site, and that I should be more active in posting about my creative efforts. So, I've updated my theme, and below I have a few photos I especially liked, and I'll write a bit about what I was thinking as I took the photo/approached it.

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This photograph was taken through the window of a Starbucks. I'm generally hesitant to photograph people, but as I was peering through windows I couldn't resist -- there's something so intimate about looking in seeing another person's world.

I was drawn to the similar poses of the subjects in the foreground and background, the stabling presence of the table, and the reflections of lights from the street to snap this one.

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When I walk by it, this sandwich shop, located in what was once Ann Arbor's red-light district, never seems busy. This time it was closed, and empty. The white lighting inside the Coca-Cola fridge makes a nice contrast with the warm lighting emanating from the back of the shop.

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It turned out less sharp than I would want, but I was crossing the street, so had to be fast! I just had to get a shot of the lights, the colorful sunset, the cars in motion. Everything is in motion.

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There's a lovely tradition of artists painting on windows during this time of year in town. With a wide aperture, you can get the art, and the rest fades into bokeh. It has a beautiful effect in the evening.

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Here's another example where I was really taken with the light. The table lamp's light reaches across the painting to its left but not much farther. It reminds me of a fire trying to stay lit. This moment reminded me of an old polaroid. So I shot it.

One More Net

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Credit to: Patrick Barron // MGoBlog

You saw it on their faces in the way they looked at each other; it's written on their bodies in the way they jump up and down together as they celebrate; it's in the words they say. In a season where this kind of success was unimaginable two months (and especially three and four months) ago, you can find yourself asking, "How?"

The answer is the oldest answer, the purest answer, the truest answer.

Teamwork.

"Everyone on this team has a great relationship with each other," Michigan point guard Zavier Simpson said. "It's like a brotherhood we've built. That separates us (from others).

"We don't have small cliques here. We're a team."

We're a team.

“I feel like we all believe in one another, but that is the special thing about this group of guys,” Charles Matthews said. “We don't get caught up in the win streak that we're on. Like most of the guys, we didn't even know we were on a 13-game win streak. We just take everything one day at a time and we stay connected through it all. When you have guys like that who are truly your brothers, anything's possible."

We're a team.

On Saturday night, there was one snippet of net left to cut down. Beilein told Moe Wagner to cut it down. "Are you sure?" Wagner could be seen asking.

Yes, Beilein was sure.

We're a team.

"Coach B just told us that seeing us jump up and down here with our teammates, that's what it's all about," Matthews said. "It's not about who gets this stat or that stat.

"But winning for each other."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjv2iDxiGBI

This team has been through so much together: ugly losses, teammates transferring to rival schools, a near-plane crash. And it's that last one, occurring just before the Big Ten Tournament last year, that I believe laid the foundations for what this team is today: the plane skidded off the runway on the way to the Big Ten Tournament. They held a vote and decided to still go, though no one could have blamed them for staying home.

But they went and won four games in four days. They learned how to win that way.

Then they did it in this year's Big Ten Tournament.

And they're still winning.

Who could deserve it more than a team that plays as a team? Who else could deserve a championship more than John Beilein, who runs the cleanest program in college basketball, teaching his players how to be better people, how to be teammates? He admitted himself he's "no spring chicken." There's always another year.

But this is the year they're here.

Two more games. One more net.

Go Blue.

Trail Review: Matthaei Botanical Gardens

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fleming creek

Despite having lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, most of my life, I'd never found my way to one of the most well-known and loved natural areas in town until this weekend. Matthaei Botanical Gardens, owned and operated by the University of Michigan, consists of a gorgeous botanical garden and 3.2 miles of trails. Perhaps because it sits on the northeast side of town is one reason I haven't been (west side for life!) but that's certainly no excuse now that I've seen what I've been missing.

I only peeked in at the gardens today; the trails were the focus. As we walked from the parking lot to the trailhead with two other groups of people I worried the trails would have more humans than suitable for the real nature escape we were going for, but as soon as we hit the first marker our paths diverged and we barely saw another soul.

The terrain here is markedly different than I've seen at other Washtenaw County nature areas: usually there's woods with little undergrowth or wetlands, but at Matthaei the trees are spaced further apart and green vegetation surrounds them.

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the blue trail

Trails were either dirt, mowed grass, or wood chip; they were clearly marked but my desire to "get lost in nature" prompted me not to look too carefully at the posted maps and so we did indeed end up a bit lost (though with Fleming Creek never too far away, there's always a way to find your way back).

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great white egret

Last note: BIRDS! I didn't have my longer range lens with me, but I spotted a Great White Egret (above) and a Great Blue Heron at Willow Pond, next to the parking lot. I definitely will plan to return and see if I can't spot some avian friends.