Friday, June 22, 2018

Bee bokeh white

There, a title that tells you everything that you're going to get in today's blog.

This bee really liked the Columbine, working it over and over. Good thing, as it took about 60 shots to get one I liked.

Here's another where I saw the shot and it worked out the way I had hoped, though it took a bit of tweaking in Lightroom.

And your white peony of the day.

Oh, and in answer to a question my faithful reader SPD asked, I've had one go at focus stacking, and might come back to it, but there are other things I'd rather work on.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

If not now, when?

There are 44 photos from the last 30 days, edited and ready to show the world, that have not yet made it onto the blog. Why? Just lately I've been taking photos faster than I can display them, short of dumping them in a huge batch and overloading my faithful readers.

Here's some of the oldest that you haven't seen yet.

That gets me up to another white peony extravaganza. There are 17 shots of it ready to go and wow your socks off. Maybe I'll do a white peony of the day for the next 3 weeks or so, and see how far behind I am then. Or would you rather see one post overflowing with fluffy, gorgeous white peony shots, some with water drops, in a variety of light, from lots of angles?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What goes with peonies?

Ants! If you want macro shots of ants, setting up on any random peony bulb with good light is all you need to do.

I got this little guy by accident. This is the remnants of a clematis bloom about 7 feet off the ground. The idea was to capture the silky strands, but the ant stole the show.

I've got a bunch of white peony photos happening, since it's putting on a great show just now. I might be late for work tomorrow, getting some more sunrise shots. Here's one example just to whet your appetite. Yes, there's an ant in there.

The red one has some blossom action happening as well, but this is for the ant. You might need to look for it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Mindfulness. Or not.

My manager and I had this conversation this morning. No, not the one that leads to packing up your things. We were talking about making notes to ourselves, documenting what we're doing, and then leaving it behind. Both of us are learning how much context is needed before asking, "So how is task x coming along?" because there have been blank looks on both sides.

We are all focussed on our tasks, scurrying to meet deadlines. Concentrating hard. Everything else slides out of our minds. Like Sherlock Holmes and his brain attic full of useful facts, I like to think, though I'm likely to remember the earth goes around the sun. I'm not likely to remember what was in an email I sent 5 minutes ago. In fact, I've proved it any number of times.

This photo is an example. I know it was taken in our garden. I just can't find those plants again. I have no idea where I was standing. I look at the photo, and all I can think is that I should sell the image to a puzzle manufacturer.

Monday, June 18, 2018

They remind me of Moya

If you haven't seen Farscape you've missed the joke. Perhaps if I tell you they look a bit like a Bussard Ramscoop. No? Enjoy the pretty flowers, and don't think about what my imagination is up to. 

 Plus some more Iris for good measure.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sometimes, you HAVE to get the camera.

Some mornings, no matter how loud the call of the pool is, you have to go get the camera.

No matter how much the cat is glaring, or how quick the BBQ is warming up, you have to get the camera.

No matter how much the peony is calling, there are other flowers that deserve attention too, and you have to get the camera aimed at them.

No matter how good the cup of coffee, or how comfortable the cat is in your lap, you look outside and see lovely morning light sparkling off the dew, and you have to go get the camera. Where are these ones, you ask? Stay tuned, that was this morning.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The naked butter tart

There are a great many things happening today. The most important of which for me is sleeping in. This doesn't actually mean I slept till noon or anything. Don't be silly. I actually slept till 4:30, which is much later than usual. Then I snoozed some more, not quite awake, not quite asleep, but mainly not having to get up and be somewhere. I find I do some of my best writing in that state. Earlier this week I woke up knowing another chunk of my novel, which is getting written in between other things.

Most of the week it's get up and head to work, and a couple of days it's pool first, then work. I'm getting back in the groove of full time, and it took me longer than I thought it would. Most of the time going to bed I'm out like a light.

Other things happening include Chinook Triathlon. I'm glad I'm not doing it this year. It's cloudy, rainy off and on, and cool. The race to Millarville is happening in conjunction with the market opening. A buddy of mine did it this year, her comment was "soooo windy and hilly and chilly". I did it a year ago, and don't remember it being especially hilly, but then again, there's lots of things I don't remember anymore.

Linda was out to Millarville for the first day of the market. She was hoping to get more of the nice big flower baskets, but even though she got there right at the opening bell, they were nearly sold out. There were other treats though, mainly butter tarts. The Canadian Butter Tart Factory was there with their awesome tarts. Best ever! This is one of their basic ones.

Meanwhile I've been out taking peony shots. This is an experiment with HDR that ever so slightly did not go as planned. There's lots of other nice shots that I will work into the blog along the way. I wouldn't want you to see them all at once and get bored or something.

The red peony is still working on showtime.

I'm almost not sure which part I like more, the plant stalk, or the bokehlishious background.

Friday, June 15, 2018


Lately I've been thinking about the texture of flower petals, trying to capture it. Lighting seems to be the key, to get enough light on it, from the right direction, but not too much, to show the grain and structure. If it's cloudy then the flat light illuminates things really evenly, but you don't get the shadows that help define texture. If it's a bright sunny day, there's probably too much light and the subtlety is blown out.

I tell myself that if it was easy, everyone would do it and it wouldn't be fun anymore.

Capturing texture on white is tough, this is my best so far.

There's only a few spots where I really like the texture, but the dangling petal just did it for me.

I've spent some time looking at this in Lightroom, big, just to enjoy it all the different textures.

Data has a texture, and patterns, and structure, and a flow. I was working with lots of data today. One of my buddies was just diagnosed with IBS recently. Do not think about how all these things are related.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A semi-random collection with a feeble segue

Here is a semi-random collection of colour for you to enjoy. There is a thread connecting them all, aside from being pretty, and being in the garden. Feel free to guess.

One of the things I did at a previous job was to build a simplified entity relationship diagram for a pipeline database, to make it easier to connect the threads between tables. Usually it's straightforward to sort out the keys between tables, but not in that database.

I am seriously thinking I need to do the same in this job, if I get the time. The last place I was querying Maximo data, there was mainly locations, assets, and attributes, with a side of location hierarchy. This one I'm diving into considerably more arcane stuff. If you've ever had to do anything with Failure Codes, and Use in Description, and ensuring sets of attributes were congruent, you know what I'm going through. There are a lot of really similar table and field names. I'm quite sure that ease of use by SQL users was not top of mind for the Maximo designers.

Yes, the garden is doing well. The tulips are mostly fading, but the roses are coming on strong. The clematis all seem to be doing one, and one is producing enormous beautiful blooms. The lilies are a ways from blooming yet, but we haven't seen very many lily beetles lately, so we hope they've got the idea they aren't wanted here. And yes, the white peony is exploding!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The white peony!

I almost want to play hooky from work the next few days and hang out with the white peony. Why? From this,

to these two, in just a day. I've  been singing 'Anticipation' to myself for a week or two now.

Even better, there are about 3 dozen blossoms to come. It's telling me that runner up was all very well, but it's gunning for the top spot this year.

It's all WIP

Normally I don't think too much of the annuals that get spucked into the various planters. I'm more on about the perennials, especially lilies, peonies, and dahlias. You can be forgiven for thinking I've got a thing about tulips as well.

But I was coming around the corner into the patio and saw this in the evening light. Good thing I was carrying my camera.

This is from about a week ago, showing some of Linda's work in progress. These are finding more permanent homes. Well, some of them are, like the peonies. One planted they're staying there forever, essentially. The annuals, well, you know...

Yes, HDTU, (see yesterday) but trying to smell the flowers along the way. The white peony is THAT close to bursting into full bloom. I'll be out there with camera in a few minutes. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Going into HDTU mode

Here I go. Last weekend was a lovely quiet domestic weekend, with photo stuff, wine stuff, BBQ, writing, relaxing, all that good stuff. This week at work is starting hectic and is probably going to stay that way, as are the next several weeks. I'd like to go to the Global Petroleum Show, but I'm not sure if I'm going to get time.

Next weekend is booked up. The weekend after is really booked up. I had always thought time was invented so everything wouldn't happen at once, but the June 23 24 is crazy. I'd have loved to go on Neil's Central Alberta tour, but I have my own photo gigs to do. Yes, plural.

The rest of June is going to disappear in a blur. I was already behind on getting photos into the blog now, and it's likely going to get even worse. In fact, if my blog doesn't appear for a few days, don't despair, just send energy and time, if you have any to spare.

The mint is coming along very nicely, but then, I think it could come along nicely in anything short of a huge asteroid strike. I was kneeling down to get this shot, and didn't think anything of it. Curtis, however, went crazy sniffing at my knee. Then he tried to eat it, which was a huge surprise. I guess his sensitive sniffer caught the mint, and it is the same family as cat nip.

Oh, and HDTU stands for Head Down, Tail Up.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


A long time ago we were out for a walk around the neighbourhood. One house had some hens and chicks that I liked to look at growing near their steps. Then one day it had all been dug up, leaving a bunch of them high and dry. We rescued them and planted them near the dread Alberta rose, and they've been happily growing ever since, slowly taking over that area.

They're the sort of plant you don't notice much, but they have amazing detail when you look closely. The first time I did this I was astonished at the fine white hairs in the centre. I thought it was a white patch. These are all with the 100 mm lens, but I've been meaning to get out there again with the 65 mm 5x macro. I did that a bit last year, but have some ideas for better shots this year. In the mean time, here they are at a normal scale.

Oh, and I did some updates on my photo blog.

Some other posts you might enjoy.

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