Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Unexpected Surprises

I almost didn't take my camera with me on Monday when I met my friend for a morning walk. I decided to take it, mostly so I could take some shots if I got there before she did. I did get there ahead of time and was taking some shots of the stream and was heading back to wait for her at the road when something caught the corner of my eye. It was such an unexpected surprise and I was so glad that I had my camera.
At first I only saw one web that was partly complete and then I realized that there was another which was joined to the first. At one angle it struck me as a portal to an enchanted world and then the other was almost like a CD.I was so excited about the webs that it made me forget the heat and humidity. Even meeting for an early morning walk before work, it's not ideal. It does help though to walk in the shade. I had another surprise photo opportunity that I almost missed. Not quite as dramatic as the webs but one I don't usually get on the trails I walk on. First I spotted a reflection when we were almost done with our walk and cooling down. Although I frequently do shoot reflection shots, I said I wanted to stop and shoot it if HB didn't mind. She was also cooling down and didn't mind stopping.
After I took the shot above which is why I stopped, HB commented on all the little fish swimming straight below. I hadn't even noticed them and I don't think I've ever photographed fish at this stream but I gave it a try.
The water was clear but the bottom was murky and the only way to photograph the fish was to zoom in since they were so small. The other issue was the reflections in the water made it hard to get them except at certain angles but it was still fun to have an unexpected fish photographic shoot.Now that I know where to look for them I'll have to try going at different times of day and see if there are better light conditions for shooting them.
The next shot wasn't a surprise as I'm always interested in the rocks but I think it's so amazing how this one has a little cut out. It almost looks like someone cut a spot for their coffee cup out of the rock.
The last shot makes me think of a hobbit hole. I can almost see someone in their vest with a pocket watch hurrying inside for tea.I am glad that I brought my camera. Although I always have my cell phone with me, I'm not able to get very good shots with the camera phone. Therefore, I'm glad that I had my good old trusty digital camera.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Snapshot: Number 47

I was so pleased to begin to have enough fresh produce out of my garden to fill up a bowl that I did just that on Saturday and photographed it.
I also took some shots of my sunflowers. I spotted my first one around Tuesday and then the multi colored variety bloomed later in the week. Saturday I took the shots of each type in bloom.The one above is a variety I've never grown before and I like it but I think the old standard one below will always be my favorite.
The next shot could be titled the hummingbird I missed. If I'd been 1/16th of a second faster, I would have caught a shot of a hummingbird that was feeding on the lantana.
To view other WS posts you can go to technorati here - and on monday you can go to the home of WS where people post here - Weekend Snapshot.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Photohunt: Hanging

The photohunt theme this week is hanging. If you watch someone being given a piggy back ride or being lifted in a ballet pas de deux , they will often be hanging on, in order to avoid falling. Below is a piggy back ride or perhaps a pas de deux in the insect world and one insect is hanging on to the other.
Next is the same pair at a different angle where you can't see their faces but it shows one hanging on to the other, a little more clearly.
The last shot shows what happens when the partner isn't hanging on quite tightly enough. That looks like an oopseedaisey to me. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I know what I'll be doing this weekend. Cleaning that dirty French door shown in these photos.

You can find other photohunters on technorati here - and on Saturday at the home of the hunt, here -

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wish they wouldn't mow on the slope

I wish they would stop mowing the grass on the dam at Shelley Lake. There is something rather lovely about that sloping green, freshly mowed, hill with the runner on the dam path. What bothers me is I've seen it when they used to have tall grasses and wildflowers and other plants. That was not only beautiful but a great habitat for the many water birds and other wildlife that live there.I accept the soccer field being mowed. That field is also used for yoga in the park, occasional summer concerts and other purposes. I get that. Also, there are many side trails which are more natural and the vegetation is dense and the wildlife have more protection.I like the mixed used where you have parts of the greenway system with parks and recreational opportunities and then there are the trails which are more natural and secluded both for the wildlife and the people who want off trail hikes.
I think, overall, my city has done fairly well in terms of managing the parks and trails. I'm not complaining in general but the way the dam is mowed at this point bothers me because no one walks down the slope toward the lake or the slope on the other side of the dam towards the creek. That's almost exclusively an area where the ducks, geese, heron and egrets hang out, at least when it's not mowed to the quick.
The shot above shows the bottom of the hill (bottom of photo) and at least they keep the vegetation at the bottom for the wildlife. The part I don't understand is that it's not mowed so people can have access to the lake there. The lake access is readily available but that's not one of the places for people. It's steep and no one walks down there. I can't think of a single good reason why that hill isn't naturalized. Particularly since I've seen it when it was and it was such a great habitat.
I guess I could have stood in front of the city employee as he headed towards the dam and shouted, please don't mow. I didn't do that because he had a hot morning to be out there working and it's not like it was his fault. I suppose I could write a letter and ask why they don't let the grasses and wildflowers grow there anymore.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend Snapshot: Number 46

This was the perfect weekend for photographing clouds where I live. The minute I wrote that I thought, wow, what an exciting life you live Carver when the weekend highlight is having great clouds to photograph.It may not be very exciting but I do love clouds and we had plenty of them all this weekend. The morning each day this weekend began with mostly blue skies. Then the clouds became more dense, afternoon showers, then some clearing by sunset.
Saturday when I pulled into the grocery store parking lot I could see people moving a little faster as if they were trying to beat the storm. I on the other hand stood in the middle of the parking lot shooting the clouds before I even went into the store to buy my groceries.
Even taking the time for a parking lot photo shoot, I managed to get home, unload my groceries, and shoot some more clouds in my back yard before the rain.
It seems like a bonus when the rain stops just in time for the sunset to fill up the sky before dark.
It's so pleasant too for the cycle to begin again the next day. If it's going to be as hot as it has been this summer, having frequent showers makes a huge difference to the vegetation. So far we have had enough rain this summer to keep the reservoir, which provides my city with water, from being depleted again.

You can find other participants on technorati, here - and on Monday at the WS Home here - Weekend Snapshot.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Photohunt: What IS That ?

What IS that?; happens to be the photohunt theme this week. So without further ado: What IS that? chirps the goldfinch with a piercing look from the safety of the redbud tree. What IS That ? squeaks the squirrel as he faces off with a fighter's stance.
Editorial Note - Thanks to Patricia, I fixed the next one. I had the catbird mixed up with a teenage mockingbird. I do need to stop guessing about what teenagers will look like.

What IS that ? squeals the catbird in it's scariest voice.
What IS that ? mews the neighbor's cat awakened from his nap time visit.
What IS that ? clicks the wren from the safety of the mulberry tree.
What IS that ? inquires the rabbit on it's way to the delicious stand of weeds.
What IS that ? inquires the robin as she prepares for her leisurely bath.

What IS that ? barks the dog with a slightly worried look.
What IS that? asks the alien with antennas quivering.
Clomp, clomp, bam, bam, then it stops and click, click goes the metallic instrument in the scary purple big foot's hand. No one sticks around to find out what it IS, if they had I would have answered, I come in peace.
I hope everyone has a great weekend. You can browse other photohunt support posts on technorati here - and at the photohunt home on Saturday here -

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July Garden

I'm not sure if I've mentioned lately that in spite of intense heat, we have had a break in terms of rain this summer. Meaning we've been getting intermittent rain throughout the summer. Wooohooo! That is worthy of celebration, particularly after almost a solid year's drought before it ended with significant rain this spring.
I've managed to keep my vegetable garden going with a little extra hand watering. I am only watering with a watering can. Even though some of the restrictions on watering have been lifted I'm glad that permanent ones are also in place so people can't go back to the waste of years gone by.
I can hardly wait to pick my first tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. The macro of the cucumber below is a bit on the abstract side because it's really tiny but some of the tomatoes are close to being ready to pick.
I wish I knew how to tell the difference between poisonous and edible mushrooms but I guess I won't chance accidentally killing myself.
You will probably have to click inside the next shot, which will enlarge it, to find the three birds. I was trying to photograph one and didn't even see the other two until I got the picture on my computer and looked at an enlargement. It's not a great shot but I like the way the different birds are hanging out together.I can't stop photographing my crepe myrtle. It's changing daily. Just when I think the blossoms are at their peak they seemed to get even more dramatic.
I am getting a lot of pleasure out of my garden in spite of the heat. Early mornings and evenings are the best time to be outside, where I live, this time of year.