Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nature Notes and Weekend Snapshot: Wildlife is a buzzing

Saturday I went outside into my back garden to try and photograph the colorful moths and butterflies for my nature notes/weekend snapshot post.
I have so many plants attracting the colorful moths and butterflies the it should be easy to photograph them but there are also a zillion bees.The bees are more interested in the flowers than they are in me but the quantity makes it hard to walk through them. I had a big fat bumblebee land on my shirt. It didn't sting me but it took awhile for it to move which was a little unnerving.The blackberries are starting to set their fruit and I can't wait. I love blackberries and I have a lot of them.The next shot shows the bottom part of my garden close to my house and the blackberry vines are a large mass to the left and the butterfly weed, yarrow, hibiscus, purple cone flower, orientalis, coriopsis, black eyed susan, and others are on the right although most aren't blooming yet.Facing my greenhouse and storage building which are up the hill in the back away from my house, you get an idea of how hard walking through the wildflowers and perennials which are filled with bees as well as butterflies can be.It's hard to see what's blooming until I walk through my garden and up to specific beds. The larkspur is in bloom which is a favorite of mine.A few coriopsis are beginning to bloom, although only the large ones not the miniatures.
Some of the gerber daisies started blooming quite early which I've posted about before and there are still some yet to bloom. I like it when some of the blooms are staggered although these daisies will bloom off and only until the autumn.The white yarrow is blooming although the yed and yellow yarrow aren't blooming yet.I'm pretty sure I've posted the early hydrangea blooms but they are becoming bluer and fuller by the minute. The cardinals continue to pop in and out of the trees like temporary flowers.
I'll end with a shot from my morning walk on the greenway trail near my house and boy is it green.Please visit Nature Notes and Weekend Snapshot for other participants.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Photohunters: Books

The photohunters theme this week is book(s). I took the easy route and photographed some of the books in my house.I have book shelves on either side of the fire place in my den/office. I also have book shelves over my computer table/desk in that same room.Still in the den/office, the book shelves below are over my day bed where I can lie down to proof work. One of the perks from my employer letting me work from home is that I can do some work lying down.Beside the door out to my deck I have bookshelves with more books.Moving into my living room, I have book on, under and beside the little desk.
I also have a few old books I stuck in with the china in my living room cabinet.
I also have bookshelves in the bedrooms in my house but they are even messier than the mess I've already showed you. I do have a tiny bit of pride so I'll skip the messiest of the shelves although they are all messy as you can see. For more photohunters take on the book theme, please visit the home of the Photohunt on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day Trip on the Road

This is a great time of year to drive on the North Carolina highways because there is so much in bloom. Many decades ago as a part of a state beautification campaign, the major highways were planted with a combination of flowers which return and are also replanted and maintained in some cases.
Bill and I went to Wilmington, NC for memorial day to visit the USS NC (memorial battleship). The whole way there and back I was able to practice snapping shots of the flowers. It's kind of hard when you're zipping by at a fast speed but I got the feel of the flowers.It is fun trying to shoot the flowers under the circumstance of speeding by (of course with Bill driving). I'll admit I occasionally try to take picture when I drive but mostly at stop lights. I've pretty much stopped doing it unless I'm a passenger because it's not really safe to combine driving with photography.
Usually when I'm taking roadside shots it's on the way to the mountains because the beach we usually go to takes us a different way. I was glad to have a chance this time of year to be heading to the part of the coast we take US 40 East on as there are so many fields of flowers.
In some cases it looks like the flowers go with a house or a farm but they will be on the highway side of the fence which is how I can tell they are part of what the state maintains.I also took some photographs on the USS NC memorial ship but the lighting wasn't great for the ones I took of the whole ship. Everything worked out great though for some shots on the ship of the guns pointing towards the sky with the signal flags in the picture.
Since Bill was in the Navy between 1968 and 1972 and served on a cruiser with some similarities to the retired ship, he was able to explain a lot about how it operated. I was amazed at how much he remembers, especially since he's older than I am, ha.
I was fascinated by the small plane on the ship. I wouldn't mind going up for a spin in that.I am not sure what bridge I was photographing as I leaned over the ship but it looked like a photo op to me. Of course everything is a photo - op for me. A seagull landing on a gun is a photo op for me. I'll admit that I'm a lot more comfortable around seagulls than I am around guns but these guns stopped firing a very long time ago.
I did find it interesting reading some of the information as well as seeing photographs of North Carolina servicemen who were stationed on the ship during World War II.A lot of the houses in historic part of Wilmington were decorated for memorial day although the lighting wasn't great for shooting them.This has been another of my long rambling all over the place posts, so I'll stop here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nature Notes and Weekend Snapshot - Sights of Late Spring

This has been a pleasant spring where I live. Maybe a little on the wet side but that beats the alternative. It's also been cooler than usual but now that it's getting hot, I am reminded why I like the cooler weather. There is so much going on in the natural world. This rabbit stopped in front of my neighbor's garage for an extended photo shoot.
I often meet the neighborhood cats before I meet the new neighbors they are attached to. The cat below is new to the neighborhood or at least new to my deck. It's amazing how many different cats come and hang out on my deck until I ask them to please leave so the birds can come out of the trees for a bath.
Alright little robin redbreast it's safe for you once again. Feel free to come down for a dip.
It's also nice to see the children outside playing although it makes me nervous when they skate board and ride their scooters in grocery store parking lots as these kids were doing today.
The little buggies are starting to hang out with the flowers. I enjoy finding them in macro shots where I didn't even know there were bugs until I downloaded the shots.
The bugs in both of these shots are the size of seeds and I actually thought they were seeds when I took the macro shots.The hydrangea bushes are started to form their flowers although they are a ways off from the bright blue blossoms they will have in a few weeks.
It's also nice to see my ornamental grasses beginning to grow back and form plumes. The plume below is on a variety called orientalis which I like because of it's redish almost purple tinge.I was pleased that my iceplant survived past droughts. It died back early during a previous drought but continued to return in the spring.The last shot is almost unrecognizable as an iceplant flower because they are so tiny and I got so close with the macro shot that it almost looks like a daisy. The shot above is also a macro so the actual flowers are even smaller than that shot too.To visit other participants, please go to the home of Nature Notes and/or Weekend Snapshot.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Photohunters: Plastic

The photohunters theme this week is plastic. Plastic is a popular material for playground equipment.My posts often feature the lake and greenway trails near my house. Almost all of these trails start or end with playgrounds for children and plastic is a part of the building material for this equipment. The first one is at Shelley Lake and the second one is at the Optimist Park. Both of these parks are very close to where I live which was nice when my daughter was growing up.
You may notice that the one thing these parks are missing is children. That's not always the case. I took these pictures on cold winter days. For other photohunters please visit the home of the Photohunt (posts Saturday mornings).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nature Notes and Weekend Snapshots: Everything's Happening in the Mullberry Tree

I don't remember who, but last week someone posted their mulberry vines and mentioned that the birds weren't eating the fruit. I mentioned that I had mulberry trees and that the birds loved the fruit but that mine didn't have any fruit yet.Well lo and behold the next day I looked at the tree to see if the fruit was setting and sure enough it was full of fruit. By this weekend, much of the fruit was ripe and I got a lot of shots of the birds in the tree. All the shots except the last two were taken this weekend.You may have to click inside the shot above to get the full effect, but the robin bit off more than he could chew. Talk about getting caught with food in your wide open mouth.
If the mulberry tree wasn't so leafy, it would be easy to photograph the birds feasting but but they keep darting behind the leaves. Even so, I did get quite a few shots when they came out into the open. The shot above is a case of find the birdie in the picture. If you don't spot it you can click inside and find her.
The shot below wasn't taken this weekend but I thought I'd show a range of the variety of birds that feast in this and my other mulberry tree. I shot the cardinal below early in the week when I first started checking to see if the fruit was setting.
One more shot from early in the week shows one of the top branches against the blue sky. We've been having so much rain that I felt like throwing in a blue sky shot to round off my mulberry tree feature. Naturally it's impossible to get in position to take a shot like the one below without scaring the birds so it's a birdless shot.
Other participants in these themes can be found at Nature Notes and Weekend Snapshot.