Thursday, July 19, 2018

The red peony finale for this year


The red peony kind of plays second fiddle to the white. The light doesn't hit it quite the same, and it's a deep brooding red that doesn't photograph well, especially in the blog versions. Still, the blossoms are just as nice, if much more difficult to get a backlit shot.








Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Even if you're sick of the white peony, these are the last this year so enjoy.

These are from a month ago, but they're still winners in my books.

Stepping back a bit.


After a big rain.

 Not all the petals got showered to the ground.


And the last one. Hope you enjoyed the show!

Now, of course, the white peony is busy preparing for next year, as is the red one. I'm really pleased with the shots this year, and some may be contenders for image of the year, but no one of them stood out like that shot from last year.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Calming and peaceful and blue

There are some days that's needed. I've come back to the last image any number of times over the recent month. There are things I could have done a little differently, but the big win is that I took the hose out of the water, unlike here from a year ago.



Sunday, July 15, 2018

I admire their spirit

Most of the plants are soft and beautiful in one way or another. These little plants are totally badass. The scales are obvious, and when you look closely they are covered in little spikes. It wouldn't take much of a different world to see their buds as little questing mouths full of sharp teeth.

Most of the time they keep a low profile, growing in scaly little circles. It would be easy to overlook them. Then when they decide it's time to expand, they send out this big stalk to look for new opportunities. Or something.







For total contrast, here's more of the red and white peonies.


From underneath. Not quite what I'd hoped for. A passerby was giving me the strangest looks as I was  wiggling around trying to find the shot.


I was babysitting cats this weekend. Here's a few of them.
Waiting patiently.

Not so patient, wondering why I'm standing around not feeding them.

Hunkered down, trying to give the impression of incipient starvation. As if.

Back and forth, just in case some food got put down when he wasn't paying attention. More as if.

Right here! The food is right here, come on! How hard can it be?

They were telling me many stories about what a hard life they have, with rotten human servants that leave them all alone, and trying to tell me I'm a much better human. That only lasted till their food bowls hit the floor, then they ignored me. The other cat was much more polite, paying attention to me, and trying to get me to take her home. She even left her food bowl to pay attention to me, which is a big deal for a cat. Still it's fun visiting other people's cats, even if Curtis does give me a dirty look when I get home.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

The other lilies

So finally! The day lilies came out a little while ago. Now the not day lilies are finally out. Yellow ones first. I love the deep rich colour, and I'm discovering anew how difficult they are to photograph. I like to get up close and personal, and that makes it tricky to get both the stalks and the petals in focus. Pardon me while I tune up.




Here's a few others, while you're in the lily mood.




These are the dark ones that have shown up here and here before, working on growing. Now they're opening up. Finally. Here's a peek inside.

This was a tough week and I'm glad it's over. How tough? I was at the pool Wednesday like usual, but I didn't swim. I didn't feel up to joining crush in the few lanes available, so I hung out in the hot tub for a while. Friday I was in the dive tank doing some stroke improvement stuff. Other than that it was work and try to sleep.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The last dimpled bottom

Yeah, I know what YOU'RE thinking. You bunch of perverts you.

But first, a photo to avoid revealing all at once. You have to suffer through the white peony. My heart bleeds for you. And an ant, just because.



So here we are, thinking about dimpled bottoms. This turned out to be the last Vin Blanco from almost exactly 3 years ago. It's also, I think, the last bottle of wine in those dimpled bottom bottles I don't like. Make me an offer, and 14 doz plus a few are yours. Oh, and yes, the wine was perfect with BBQ on a bun, done in a specialty Linda marinade. It was a perfect evening to sit and chat.


Stampede is in full swing. One particular co-worker came in with a hangover this morning. She thinks that was the cause of the untoward event with a Starbucks coffee, but I think it was the coffee. Another is dealing with a flight hangover from an overseas vacation. A boy's week out in Japan, if you can imagine such a thing. After being accidentally horrified by what happens to pass for entertainment on Japanese television, I am quite certain I do not. Another is enduring the whipsaw of England making it to the something round in some soccer contest, and losing. He knew it would happen, but was struggling with the tension of when.

Traffic sucks even more than usual. More and more people are driving like they are in a video game. I'm not sure how big of a helicopter it takes to lift a big car, but I'd love to see the city buy one, and install a big magnet on a cable. You know what I'm thinking. Goldfinger. We could fly it during rush hour with the pilot and crew instructed to look for someone driving like an A-hole, swoop down, pluck them off the road, and drop them somewhere. I'd say the ninth circle of hell, but I don't think we could get the airspace permits. I'll settle for dropping them into a junkyard from say, 500 feet. Not in water like the movie, we might hurt a fish.

Monday, July 9, 2018

So I blew past 50K in style

Two years ago June 16 was the day I got a real camera. I'd meant to blog on the 2 year-versary, but missed it. I've been busy. Just yesterday I clicked through 50,000 photos taken. Lots are no good, of course, and have been or are marked for deletion. Lots are learning, where I've experimented with different settings just to see what would happen. Lots are just photos of something or someone. Nothing special.

Some of them, a very few, make people perk up and go wow! That's gratifying. I've learned so much in the last couple of years, and most importantly, I'm seeing the world differently.

There's lots of times, and this morning is one of them, where I'd like to be holding a camera. Often I'm on the way somewhere, or at work, or something, so I don't get the shot. This morning I've got an appointment first thing, and that's sort of driving my schedule. Otherwise I'd have zoomed out, found some high ground looking NE, and captured a lovely sunrise with interesting clouds. What am I actually doing? Sipping coffee and defending my breakfast from Curtis, the well-fed mammal, who has rarely seen food he didn't want to eat.

I suppose I could go through Lightroom and look for photo 50k, just because. Hmmm. That was easy to find actually. Just a photo of a guy I don't know, holding breakfast. One of many. He's likely to live within walking distance of me, but that describes a lot of people.


I just poured more coffee, shooed the cats off the counter and looked at the sky. Wow! Not in the sense of dramatic bursts of colour, but such an interesting pattern of clouds. Why am I not rushing out? There's no place nearby where I could get a good photo. There are trees and houses in the way. Sigh.

Along the way I upgraded cameras to what is called a 'full-frame' camera, in that the sensor is the same size as standard 35 mm film. A camera sensor is one of the places where bigger is better, generally speaking. Though like many things, the devil is in the details. It doesn't matter how good the camera sensor is, if you're a crappy photographer. A good photographer can work with any camera to produce interesting photos, even if they aren't the best quality photos from a technical point of view.

Over the winter the old camera was mounted on a tripod, set up to take macro photos, while I used the new camera for everything else. There was a bit of a learning curve, figuring out the controls so as to operate them automatically in response to seeing a scene and deciding what I want to shoot of it. I usually still have to look at the camera to do this. The other thing is knowing where to be to frame a shot with a given lens. That took longer than I thought it would, but it's getting to be second nature now. I've had lots of practice with people running or walking past me.

I'm sure some of you scratch your heads about what I take photos of sometimes. Like this one, it probably puzzles some of you. At first I noticed the sunlight in the leaves, and their pattern. Then I realized.


The secret is the water drops. Right now that bluish background is sort of a nice artistic contrast to the sunlit leaves sparkling with dew. Now, if I'd played with the settings I could have got more of the drops in focus, but then the back ground would come into focus as well, and it's BORING! Ugly. Yet, one can get a hint of what's there through the water drops acting as a lens. Probably not in your version, sorry. I like the texture the drops give to the leaves, and seeing some of the leaf structure in the strong light.

Some more water drop photos while I'm at it.



The red and white peony blossoms are mostly done now, and certainly past their prime. Never fear, there are still a bunch more photos of them to come. And the lilies are teasing me, so close to opening!


Some other posts you might enjoy.

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