Snow-link fence

No, it didn’t snow in Newton over Thanksgiving: to the contrary, it was clear and cold. I revisited the above photo, which I took this past January, while reviewing my 2008 photos in order to choose the twelve I’ll include in next year’s photo calendar.

Courthouse

This is the third year I’ve made a photo calendar for family and selected friends at Christmas time. It’s an easy way for me to give a little something to family members with whom I don’t normally exchange Christmas gifts, and it also gives me a way to share a month-by-month glimpse of my life here in New England to family members who have never been here. I also enjoy the process of going back and reviewing the photos I’ve taken over the preceding twelve months and choosing the most “calendar-worthy” among them. The whole calendar-creation process is basically a good excuse to revisit photos I’ve blogged but haven’t otherwise looked at in months.

Waban wonderland

In revisiting this past year’s photos, I realize that my criteria for “blog-worthy” differs from my criteria for “calendar-worthy.” In 2008, I blogged (or at least posted to Flickr) a lot of photos I wouldn’t include in my calendar. First, I eliminate from consideration any photos shot in portrait rather than landscape orientation, and then I mentally cross off the list any photos that are just too odd or quirky. I have a lot of sports photos, for instance, that I know only my dad would appreciate, and as much as I like the various photos I’ve taken of the graffiti-covered walls of Cambridge’s Modica Way, I know my mom just wouldn’t “get” why I’d include graffiti in my annual calendar.

Solomon's seal

My mom, in other words, is the main audience I have in mind when I choose my calendar pictures, so I automatically discard any photos I think she wouldn’t like. Graffiti is out, as are images that are just plain weird. No pictures of shadows, reflections, or mannequins: they’re too “odd” and “arty.” Even picturesque New England scenes that wouldn’t make sense in Ohio are out. Among the photos from my first calendar, for instance, was an image of two sugar maple trees tapped to collect springtime sap. Because my mom in Ohio had never seen sugar maples tapped with tubes leading to plastic barrels to collect sap for syrup, she had no idea what the picture depicted and imagined the blue barrel and tubing were marking off some sort of construction zone. “Why would you show a picture of that?” she asked.

Clock

Because I give these calendars to family and friends, in other words, I get feedback as to which images were good and which were so-so. In my 2008 calendar, for instance, the crowd favorites featured animals: my dad particularly enjoyed my April turkey and March draft horses, and everyone oohed and ahhed over August’s frog. This year, all I have to offer in the animal department are a couple of butterflies…but there are plenty of flowers to please (I hope!) my mom.

The prime criteria for calendar-worthy photos seems to be “pretty,” so I had to do a little bit of cheating to find a full twelve months’ worth of photos. Because I created the calendar now in November, the December image comes from last year, and because I had two October images I particularly liked, I used one for November. I’m content to chalk both of these tweaks up to “artistic license” and move on. While I wait for my 2009 calendars to arrive in the mail, I’ll continue to snap photos that are odd, artsy, and occasionally pretty, trusting that next November, I’ll have another twelve to share.

Click here to see the twelve photos I chose for my 2009 photo calendar, and click here if you’re interested in buying a copy of your own. Enjoy!