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!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

I can't help it

I have a dental appointment first thing Monday. No, I'm not stressed about that. My teeth are in pretty good shape, a bit of staining from coffee and wine aside. Plus my dental hygienist is awesome! I've been seeing her now since some time in the mid-90's, and I'd bear her children if she hadn't already done that for herself. Best hands in the business. I'm going to cry when she retires.

No, I'm flashing on the last dental appointment I had, when working for my current manager. That was the day Penn West spilled it's guts all over downtown, demonstrating they had not one effing clue about what they were doing. That was traumatic for all involved, even me.

Now they've moved on, as have I. Still, I can't help thinking of it. I hope I haven't triggered anything for my manager. If so, sorry, and I'll buy lunch next time. I've no reason to think a repeat is remotely likely, but then, one never expects the Spanish Inquisition either.

Unless you live in the USA, they're firing up their own version of the inquisition. Instead of heretics, they're looking for women, people with anything other than pure white skin, people who go to the wrong church or none at all, people who seek to cross the border going in, and people with enough functional brain cells to string together the endless stream of lies from the Trump kleptocracy and decide to vote against them, if there's another election. All those people are being assaulted in any number of ways, mainly to soothe the egos of those who have been running things since forever (mainly old white men) and who are terrified of sharing the pie.

I digress. I've been trying not to follow the news from the USA, but it makes me nervous. What happens there will happen here, unless we stop it. There's a foothold of stupidity established in Ontario. The voters were rightly pissed at the Liberal government, but I think they cut their nose and head off to spite their body. Or something.

Here, we have Jason Kenney. I saw him in action on the weekend. I first saw our local councillor, Diane Colley-Urquhart. She showed up at the pancake breakfast, flipped pancakes, and settled in with the rest of the volunteers. The wind was making it hard to keep the pancake griddle going, and they were working with tables and foil wrap trying to shelter the burners. She was right in there working as part of the team. She stayed till after the event's published end time. I saw her working on a coffee with one hand, spatula in the other, but I didn't see her eat.

Kenney showed up with an entourage, flipped a few pancakes, posed for photos, shook a few hands, worked the line up a bit, and disappeared. That is exactly what we are getting from him as an elected rep, the 'Leader of the Official Opposition' no less. Except he doesn't participate in debates and yanks the whole caucus out. Recently he complained about funding for police, yet voted against the NDP increasing funding substantially. He is only in this for himself. I think he's biding his time while Trudeau is in office, figuring it would sully his image to oppose him.

But opposing the NDP, and restoring the "natural order of things" in Alberta, that seems to be something he can tackle. He's done better than anyone has expected, but then, he's not actually a stupid man. He sees where the opening is, and what buttons he can push to motivate a group of people into becoming his base. And boy, is he good at pushing buttons.

As one of the volunteers asked, when they saw me getting some photos of Diane, had I managed to get any of Kenney? "No," I answered, "I didn't want to risk corrupting my camera sensor."

On to happier things.

The first day lilies are out! These yellow ones were glowing in the morning sun.

The roses were doing pretty well in the morning sun too.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Working hard

Still hot. Worked a photo gig for the community association and you can be sure I was well slathered in sunscreen. You can see the results over on my other blog, if you should want to look at some hard working volunteers, a city councillor pitching in, and lots of people enjoying themselves. There's a few shots I'm really pleased with.

I might take the camera downtown one day and look for Stampede photos. It's probably best if I put some thought into what I'm looking for. There are some things you can't un-see, and that's liable to happen if you wander around aimlessly.

In the meantime, there's still some flower action happening here. Lots of it. These are all from almost a month ago. Like I say, sometimes you get photos from earlier today, sometimes it's from a while ago. I wouldn't want you get bored.

I didn't quite get the white centered in the purple, but it still worked out the way I wanted it.

Celina, of course. This photo made it Facebook a while back, but I'm sure it will just kill you to look at her again.

I've no idea what this is.

Somehow this makes me think of that Star Trek original series episode with the giant domesday machine that ate spaceships.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Still waiting

Some things are slow this year. Spring and summer, for a start, and everything that relies on them. Our flowers are blooming a month later than last year. I'm beginning to worry about the Dahlias just beginning to bloom as the frost comes. That would be so disappointing for the bees. They love the Dahlias like nothing else.

This lily has been working on blooming for months. It looks dark and gnarled, almost burned, but Linda says that's the way it should be, and all is well. the other lilies are budding, but I think we're a ways from seeing blooms. At least there's been no lily beetles for a while.

The pink peony in the back. It puts on a big show as well, and is even more ruffled than the white one.

One rose bush, blooming like crazy.

One rose bloom, backlit by the sun.

OK, this was an accident. There were some pelicans (some of you are smiling because you'd know why I was interested in photographing pelicans), and I got this. A bit of dressing up and I've got another abstract I kind of like. There's a certain mood to it.

The pink peony again in different light. I sent this one to my mom. I hadn't known that she was getting some of my photos from the blog and there's an app that creates puzzles, and you time yourself. I sent her this as a nice quality photo, better than what you see on the blog, and that was a half hour she'll never get back.

It is smoking hot in Calgary today. The thermometer in the back said 38 C. At least it's a dry heat. I mowed the lawn first thing, trying to beat the heat, and I was a bucket of at the end. I'm glad I'm not trying to run in that. The rest of the week isn't much cooler. Linda is watering morning and evening trying to keep the plants from shrivelling up and dying. Stampede grounds will be an oven.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ok Susi, warn the people around you

So my dear friend Susi has recently had a thing about bee bums. Sure, they're kind of cute, but I find their little faces so much more photogenic, and a much more difficult target.

There were a few of them posted for Susi here, if you missed them.

Here's another couple more of them. Now, Susi, before you scroll down to the second one, warn your neighbours to don the appropriate hearing protection. You might want to tape up your windows to prevent them from shattering.

I'm not kidding Susi, prepare yourself. Prepare those around you.

Spacer. Not sure if she reads on a laptop or what.

More spacer. Maybe I should put something else in.

Maybe I will.

Here's a lovely peony for you. Just to build the suspense.

And ta-da!

Now I need to worry about the bee pervert police showing up for taking naughty photos.

Some other posts you might enjoy.

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