My Own Private Penguin


2016’s nine favorite stateside phone camera shots include nine geese-a-flying, six ports, four seasons (heavy on autumn), three states, two sunsets and sunrises, and one heart-shaped bivalve immobilized by the weight of burnished sand.

At the center of my array is a moonless super moon. I caught a single sailboat in its immense silvery shimmer long after the eager ocean photographers had captured their more traditional images and headed home.

(I think Jim would have stuck around in the quiet dark as well, though he would have had a tripod and the right lenses and his shots would have been crisper.)

Only two interior shots, and not a human in sight.

You’d have to know my own interior thought processes awfully well to discern what you can’t see in these pictures: I wasn’t crying when I took any of them (though there was some light weeping on the way to the spiral staircase, but that’s a long story having to do with the last time I had been in Damariscotta, Maine); the autumn tree is in a stunning cemetery in which I walked in work heels through ankle-high crunching fallen leaves; one was the first sunset I sought out in what is now one of my favorite secret sunset spots. And the lighthouse stairwell shot didn’t look quite right going up, though objectively it was nearly identical to the shot I took looking down towards the roiling sea. (“The moments when you’re in so deep, it seems easier to just swim down,” sings my earworm.)

Or maybe it’s my traditional no-one-in-sight landscape photographs, when I’m alone at the lens with my thoughts, which are my interior shots.

Even when outside on New Year’s Eve, packed and pressed by the movement of thousands of people with, let’s say, more traditional human companionship, I feel I’m alone in the dark and inside some weightless barrier.  I’ve looked at others’ photographs from New Year’s Eve: crowds hundreds deep looking towards fireworks, hatted heads and red-cheeked faces poking into frames, selfies miniaturizing seasonal displays.

My shots were different.

I slipped through the maze of a boisterous crowd at least six deep around barricades protecting newly-carved ice sculptures. Alcohol vapor already lingered in the air, and appalling unpleasantries floated from across the street, where a handful of men sat on a curb in a swirl of cigarette smoke.

I found a spot where the crowd melted away into the night and a street-level spotlight became a perigee moon over the shoulder of an ice penguin it turned into mottled gold.  If it’s possible to make eye contact with an ice sculpture, I did.

I get you, little penguin.



Among my nine photographs I also see myself in that one goose who’s a little off-kilter, a little nick in the spearhead formation as his brethren resolutely hurtle forward.

I was surprised to have culled any interior shots among 2016’s favorites, and more surprised still to discover this year that I was not alone–uber alone, given my proclivities for rising far too early and wandering far too deep and away–when taking every one of them.

The scalloped lemon and gold glass bowl, rimmed in rust (with the somewhat heavy hand of my beagles’ natural eyeliner), was in an art museum I visited with a friend on his birthday.

It’s a start.

Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school near the the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water; she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2023 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

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