Photo Blogging Challenge – ‘Tis the Season (December 2016)

For most of December, the holiday spirit eluded me. Perhaps it’s because our kids are grown up (I remember how contagious their Christmas excitement was when they were young). It could be that the choir I sing with starts rehearing Christmas music in September, so the season goes on and on. For all I know, it’s because I got grumpy about the fact that holiday decorations started popping up on store shelves before princesses and storm troopers rang our doorbell for Halloween. Maybe surviving almost 2 weeks of deep freeze temperatures beginning December 5th sent my Christmas spirit into hibernation. Or possibly it’s because we didn’t decorate our Christmas tree until December 23rd.

But some days this month were merry and bright. And I particularly enjoyed the few days we shared with extended family (so much so that I forgot to take any family Christmas photos).

Here are the five photos I took in December that most strongly show ’tis the season:

To observant eyes, snow tells many stories, mostly thanks to the tracks it preserves, including animal tracks, boot prints, wind patterns and elk beds. I framed this shot to isolate six elk from the larger herd of about 50, which included 4 bulls. In the Bow Valley, December is well after rutting season; the bulls showed almost no interest when we walked past them along the nearby trail. In fact, it was one of the cows that got up to look us over. Two of the bulls in the herd had antlers with about the same number of points, while the other two were obviously several years younger.


This is the fifth year in a row that Mr. GeoK has surprised me with at least one Lego holiday set. Last year’s gingerbread house tops the cute list with the 2014 elf workshop a close second. One afternoon this month I opened set 40223, a Santa snow globe with a secret drawer in the base. I posted a short “video” of this one coming together over on Twitter. My one criticism is that I think the four clear quarter-cylinder pieces that make up the sides of the “globe” should be moved 22.5 degrees so that there’s no join right in front of Santa.


Grandma and Grandpa GeoK don’t like the cold. But they pulled on extra layers and their heaviest coats to join me for a winter walk on Christmas Eve. We headed to the woods to get out of the wind and ended up exploring the very east end of the Highline Trail, where we spotted squirrel and deer tracks, fat bike tire tracks and lots of interesting textures and shapes highlighted by the recent snow.


For almost two weeks beginning December 5th, temperatures in Calgary were well below normal, with daytime highs of -20 C or colder (below zero degrees F). One morning during this extended deep freeze, I looked out my home office window and noticed a cloud of exhaust coming from almost every furnace chimney stack on the street just behind/below us. I opened the window just enough to stick my camera lens through to make this photo, which shows just how much we depend on fossil fuels to stay comfortable in the depths of winter.


Finally, holiday lights are one of the most visible signals that ’tis, indeed, the season. The first Thursday in December, after dropping K at SAIT so he could attend a robotics workshop, I headed to the Lions’ Festival of Lights with my camera and tripod and came away with a half-dozen particularly pleasing photos. My wish each holiday season is to experience and inspire joy, so this seems a fitting final image.


That’s a wrap, for both the month and the year. Please visit A ‘lil Hoohaa to check out the season as experienced by the other participants.


I consider the photo blogging challenge to be a month-long photo assignment, which means it’s pretty low stress. New participants are welcome to join the photo blogging challenge any time. Won’t you join us in 2017? The January theme will be posted here tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “Photo Blogging Challenge – ‘Tis the Season (December 2016)

  1. I know what you mean about Christmas decorations being on sale too early, and lets not mention Christmas music being played in shops before Halloween as well. Love all your pictures but especially the one of the chimney smoke – I can’t begin to imagine what a high of -20 feels like but this picture really captures the idea. Keep warm, and have a wonderful 2017.

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