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    The Bunny Hop!

    The Bunny Hop! - April 2017

    Happy Easter! Our backyard rabbits celebrated by doing the bunny hop (literally!)Read More


    My Latest Feather-Brained Idea – A Bird Blind!

    My Latest Feather-Brained Idea – A Bird Blind! - July 2014

    My dad helped me build my backyard bird blind this weekend. It doubles as a trellis for hummingbird vines. I can't wait to use it!Read More


    Feed the Squirrels (Tuppence a Bag)

    Feed the Squirrels (Tuppence a Bag) - May 2014

    I didn't really intend to feed the squirrels at my bird feeders...at least my cats are enjoying their new playmates at the window!Read More


    Total Lunar Eclipse – Total Photographer Insanity!

    Total Lunar Eclipse – Total Photographer Insanity! - April 2014

    The last time we had a total lunar eclipse, it was a few days before Christmas and I photographed the moon using my old 40D camera and my 400mm lens.  A few days later, Rich surprised me with the Beast!  Ever since then, I've been waiting for the next eclipse, so that I could get better shots with my 500mm lens. When we read that a lunar eclipse was going …Read More


    Colorful Water Droplets, Part 2

    Colorful Water Droplets, Part 2 - December 2013

    In my last post I wrote about photographing pansies under a hose.  After I finished playing with the flowers, I was inspired to try a different take on my Colorful Water Droplet experiment.  With my first colorful water droplets, I focused close on a single water droplet as it dripped from my kitchen faucet.  The setup was surrounded by colorful cloth, which reflected in the water droplets.  Well, I decided …Read More


    It’s the Great Pumpkin, Goldilocks!

    It’s the Great Pumpkin, Goldilocks! - October 2013

    Happy Halloween! The cats and I convinced Rich to carve a cat-o-lantern again this year.  He does such a good job with them!  Goldilocks says the pumpkin is orange, just like her.  Whiskey wanted to call it a jack-o-loopy.  Squirt just sat on the grill and supervised. I experimented with my flash in order to get a good shot of the jack-o-lantern.  I ended up on a low ISO and …Read More


    Here Comes Santa Claus

    Here Comes Santa Claus - December 2012

    Tonight was our city's annual Santa Claus visit. Accompanied by police and firemen, Santa rides his sleigh up and down all the streets. His helpers throw candies to the kids on the sidewalks. It was fun to walk out and see tons of people in the streets to wait for Santa. Carla had to work, so I made a little video so that she wouldn't totally miss it. Ho ho …Read More


    Sunset Walk

    Sunset Walk - October 2012

    A few nights ago I had my wide-angle lens with me on our evening walk.  Our neighborhood Sandhill Cranes decided to cross the road and walk right in front of me.  They made great silhouettes against the setting sun.


    A New Day

    A New Day - October 2012

    I've been having fun playing with some post-processing effects and filters. This is my latest experiment, using an image of a half-open Mexican Sunflower. I blurred the background a little bit to make the flower pop, then I played with the colors a little to darken the background. I learned something, too - these effects programs are addictive! :)


    Precarious Perch

    Precarious Perch - September 2012

    I photographed this dragonfly in my backyard a few days ago when it was really windy. I was amazed at how well he held on! There are tons of dragonflies in the backyard these days. They are relatively easy to photograph (when it's not windy) because they always seem to fly back to the same perch. So find one, focus, and wait. You'll get your shot!


    Experiment with Textures

    Experiment with Textures - September 2012

    I took this image of the late afternoon sun shining through my window. (Note: next time I need to clean the window first!) I found that it wasn't warm enough or sun-shiney enough for my liking. I also didn't like seeing every scratch on the window (thank you Whiskey!) So I decided to experiment with adding a texture and blending it with my original background. I also did lots of …Read More


    Blue Moon

    Blue Moon - September 2012

    Last night's Blue Moon was the second full moon in the month of August, and it's the last Blue Moon we'll have for a few years. I had hoped to walk down to our neighborhood lake to photograph it as it rose, but the clouds were thick and the picture would have been bad. So I took a shot of the moon alone, and I added some blue effect to …Read More


    Happy Mother’s Day!

    Happy Mother’s Day! - May 2012

    I spent yesterday afternoon with my parents in their backyard.  We had a fun time planting and transplanting, trying to make sure there's enough nectar to satisfy Mum-mum's visiting hummers.  When I saw the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers eating oranges in Dick's backyard, though, I couldn't resist going to get my camera… These silly birds will land carefully on the branch above the orange, sorta hop-skip-flap their way down to actually stand …Read More


    Something Different

    Something Different - January 2012

    Rich has been very interested in astronomy lately, and while I was on Christmas break, I went out and tried The Beast on a few planets.  I was amazed to find that I could see the bands on Jupiter, along with several moons!  This is a highly cropped image taken with The Beast and a 2X teleconverter.  I used my remote cable release to minimize motion.  I could see the …Read More


    Boo to standard time

    Boo to standard time - November 2011

    It looks like midnight in the backyard and it is only 6:30!! :-/ Posted from my iPhone


    Red Next to Yellow…

    Red Next to Yellow… - August 2011

    This tiny snake surprised us on our walk the other day. He couldn't have been more than six inches long. I snapped a quick picture and moved on. I don't mind snakes, but I don't really like them, either!


    Cloudscapes

    Cloudscapes - August 2011

    The sunsets in the last couple nights have been pretty, with the clouds from the afternoon thunderstorms making pretty cloudscapes in the fading light. I played with HDR and came up with these images:


    Lots of Clouds Lately

    Lots of Clouds Lately - August 2011

    Not that I'm complaining…clouds help cool things down in the hot summer weather, and they give me interesting photographs! Now if only Emily could manage to dump about 10 inches of rain on us….at night! and then there be a nice cool, clear morning afterward…. :)


    Summer Sunset

    Summer Sunset - July 2011

    The sunset a few nights ago was just gorgeous. There was a lot of rain around, so plenty of good clouds to add color and texture to the sky. The first image below is a stitched panorama, and the others are interesting cloud formations.


    Sunset Colors

    Sunset Colors - July 2011

    Now that we're fully into the summer rainy season, it's harder to do evening walks, and even harder to get good sunset pictures. These were taken by the Lakehurst pond. There is an Osprey nest on a cell phone tower on the other side of the road, and we heard the juvenile Osprey calling as he ate his dinner. When I saw Mom flying in and out of the nest, …Read More


    Backyard Rainbow

    Backyard Rainbow - July 2011

    We didn't get much rain tonight, but we did get a rainbow!  I noticed it and ran to get the wide-angle lens.  When I went outside, I was happy to find that I could see almost the full rainbow, and it was actually a double rainbow.  I worked quickly, because the light was changing very fast.  My wide angle lens on my 7D body didn't have a chance of capturing …Read More


    Bunny Hour

    Bunny Hour - July 2011

    We've started seeing rabbits during our evening walks again. They seem to like the golf course behind Lakehurst. Some are fairly tame and let me approach them. This guy was a little dubious about me, but he allowed me to kneel in front of him to take this picture. I tried several camera angles, and I liked this vertical pose best.


    Meet Murphy!

    Meet Murphy! - June 2011

    I have to introduce you to one of our neighborhood's newest and cutest residents.  This is Murphy, one of the little dogs we often meet when we're out for walks in the evening.  He's adorable, and so full of energy! He was about three months old when I took this picture.  Now he's over five months, and he's just about gained the ability to raise both ears.  Who would have …Read More


    Moonrise Teleconverter Fun

    Moonrise Teleconverter Fun - May 2011

    Last week we had a nice full moon.  Rich and I were returning from a walk as we watched the moon start to climb in the sky.  I thought the Moon would be a good subject for experimentation with various teleconverters.  Here are the various combinations of lenses and TCs that I tried: - 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II + 2x TC - 500mm - 500 + 1.4x TC - …Read More


    Stoneybrook Sunset

    Stoneybrook Sunset - May 2011

    The sunsets on these longer spring evenings are so pretty.


    Silly Squirrels!

    Silly Squirrels! - April 2011

    I promised to share a picture of our crazy neighborhood squirrels with the two little girls who live across the street.  They've been watching my bird feeder waiting to see birds.  I told them that we have a squirrel who comes and hangs upside down to reach for the food.  Wouldn't it be funny to eat your dinner upside down every night? :) Click here to see another picture of …Read More


    From the Easter Bunny…

    From the Easter Bunny… - April 2011

    The neighborhood bunnies wish everybunny a Happy Easter!


    Full Moon

    Full Moon - February 2011

    There was a full moon tonight, and I couldn't resist trying out The Beast on it. I attached my 1.4x teleconverter, which with my 1.6 camera crop factor yielded me 1120mm of focal length. The moon was full-frame!


    Photographing the Lunar Eclipse

    Photographing the Lunar Eclipse - December 2010

    Last Monday's lunar eclipse was special because it occurred on the Winter Solstice.  To Rich and me, it was special because we didn't have to work the next day, and we could stay up and watch it.  Despite the freezing cold weather, I got the bright idea of taking pictures of the moon at 10 minute intervals and stitching them together using Photoshop.  It was a fun little project, and …Read More


    Lunar Eclipse

    Lunar Eclipse - December 2010

    More pictures coming in a few days when I can use Photoshop to align layers…


    It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas!

    It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas! - December 2010

    Santa visited tonight!  Winter Garden always sends Santa around with a fire truck escort.  Santa and his sleigh go up and down each street, and his helpers toss candy to onlookers.  It's a great tradition! Ho ho ho!  Merry Christmas! Inside, we assembled cookie plates for family and friends.  This year Rich outdid himself, with over ten varieties of cookie.  I blew my resolution and ate far too many! :) …Read More


    Fall Colors…in Florida!!

    Fall Colors…in Florida!! - December 2010

    The cold temperatures of the past few weeks have caused some of our trees to put on a more impressive color display than usual. Rich drove along the 429 highway this afternoon and I took some pictures out the window. They were surprisingly clear given that we were going 65+mph!


    Hummingbird Moth

    Hummingbird Moth - October 2010

    Mum-mum and I have been talking about these hummingbird moths, so I tried out my new flash cord and took a picture of one tonight. They are hard to photograph because they do not come out until dusk, then they don't sit still for long while they are nectaring. They seem very fond of my plumbago bushes, although one totally surprised me the other day and started nectaring on one …Read More


    Squirrel Alert!

    Squirrel Alert! - October 2010

    We've never had many squirrels in the neighborhood, probably because the area is an old orange grove, and the oak trees planted by the builder haven't grown very tall yet. Last spring we saw a family of three squirrels together in our front yard a couple of times. But we haven't seen any squirrels for several months…until this one decided to pig out at our feeder this morning. I know …Read More


    First Pansies of the Year!

    First Pansies of the Year! - October 2010

    It's the most wonderful day of the year! Squirt has been dreaming of this day for the past six months, ever since he took his last bite of pansy back in the early spring. He's been getting pretty desperate, too. I found this note in my car after work this afternoon: So we stopped at Lowes this evening, and they already have pansies! I think they're about a week early …Read More


    Not an Anhinga

    Not an Anhinga - October 2010

    On our walk last night, we passed the pond and thought we saw our regular Anhinga diving for his dinner. We saw his two wings emerge from the pond…then we realized this was not acting like a bird…so I focused with the camera, and snapped the shutter just as a diver looked up, right at me! I wonder who was more surprised, me or the diver…I guess he was diving …Read More


    Mmmm…Strawberries

    Mmmm…Strawberries - October 2010

    The strawberry plants from Mum-mum are fun to watch. The flowers turn into tiny strawberries seemingly overnight. Only about 10 days till pansies for Squirt!!!


    Strawberries

    Strawberries - October 2010

    This is a cool set of stacked pots and some young strawberry plants. I can't wait until it's covered in berries! Thank you, Mum-mum and Dyeyo. :)


    Papitos Backyard Birds

    Papitos Backyard Birds - October 2010

    Mum-mum and Dyeyo are enjoying the return of the warblers to their backyard. Dyeyo and I took our cameras outside this afternoon to photograph some of the customers at Missy's Diner. The hummingbird didn't show herself, but the sparrows sure did! I was a little concerned when I saw the pictures of this House Sparrow, who always had his eyes closed. I'm wondering if he has the eye disease like …Read More


    What were we thinking?  Part 4

    What were we thinking? Part 4 - October 2010

    By 5:00 all the sod was out. We have a front yard again! It's so much more attractive than our big brown mud pie. :) Rich did a great job resodding the area between the sidewalk and driveway. There are lots of cuts because of the shape of the driveway and because of the utility boxes. We accumulated quite a bit of yard waste this weekend, too. :-p It was …Read More


    What we were thinking?  Part 3

    What we were thinking? Part 3 -

    This one is definitely "what were we thinking?", not just "what was Jess thinking?" It's so much cheaper to put the sod out yourself…but you sure work hard to do it! The sod company seemed to have lost our order, so after several phone calls, our sod was finally delivered at 10am. (Right when it was getting hot!) I stood next to the pallet, realizing that it was almost as …Read More


    What was Jess thinking!?  Part 2

    What was Jess thinking!? Part 2 - October 2010

    Well, the sod never showed up, but we did get the new sprinkler valves all in. They even work. I dug up the pipes and the area for the new valve box, then Rich did all the pipe plumbing magic while I moved around the mulch. Then we got it all filled in. Thanks again for the help with the leaking compression link, Pete! The front yard looks pretty pathetic …Read More


    What was Jess thinking!?  Part 1

    What was Jess thinking!? Part 1 -

    Rich made me revise the title. Originally it was "What were we thinking!?" but he says it's all my fault! The smell of fall in the air and the slightly cooler temperatures made me very ambitious to do yard work. This weekend we are installing the valves for our new microjet sprinkler system, and we are also having a load of sod and a load of mulch delivered. Soon our …Read More


    Bunny

    Bunny - September 2010

    We haven't seen a bunny around Stoneybrook West for several months. It was fun to see this one tonight and realize that they are still around!


    Sunset

    Sunset - September 2010

    I had my long lens with me when Rich and I walked last week, and the sunset was gorgeous.


    It’s raining, it’s pouring!

    It’s raining, it’s pouring! - August 2010

    When the lawn guy said that we needed to water in today's fertilizer treatment, I'm not sure he was talking about inches and inches of water!!  It poured tonight. I guess Squirt's rain dance was pretty effective! Go on and shake your tail, Squirt We need ra-ain! This whole drought thing is such a pa-ain. We need water for the grass and the roses to-oo Go on and shake your …Read More


    Toadsworth?

    Toadsworth? - August 2010

    Hey Peter and Aaron, we think we saw Toadsworth on our walk last night!  (Or is this Teeny all grown up?)


    Snail

    Snail - August 2010

    We noticed a snail crawling across the window this morning.  It was a fun opportunity to play with my new 7D.  I attached the 70-200mm lens (for nice telephoto bokeh) and then added a 25mm extension tube to let me focus closer.  I was amazed at the 7D's autofocus.  My old camera never used to focus well with extension tubes on - it went in to "hunt" mode or just …Read More


    Turtles at Stoneybrook West

    Turtles at Stoneybrook West - July 2010

    We haven't been seeing very many turtles at the Circle B Bar Reserve lately.  But Rich found a kindred turtle spirit living a few blocks away from us.  We had to laugh when we first saw this yard statue of a turtle with his golf gear.  It felt very appropriate for Stoneybrook West!


    There are two sides to every story…

    There are two sides to every story… - July 2010

    We've had an unusual number of snails in the backyard this spring.  I've been trying to get close-up pictures of them, but by the time I get them focused, they move out of good range.  So tonight when this snail was posing on the window, I had the unique opportunity to get a two-sided view of him!


    Summer Moonrise

    Summer Moonrise - July 2010

    I took this picture of the moon rising over the Stoneybrook West golf course a few weeks ago.  At the time I didn't think it good enough to post, but it's been a slow photography week, and when I saw it in Lightroom today I liked it better than before. We've had several new bird visitors to the backyard:  a Brown Thrasher, and three Swallow-tailed Kites that have been circling …Read More


    Our neighborhood squirrel population is growing

    Our neighborhood squirrel population is growing - June 2010

    One little, two little, three little squirrels… Rich says I should stop there - or better yet, we should have stopped with one! Last fall we had our first squirrel visitor move into the backyard. He was always by himself, and he had a pretty regular pattern, so we were fairly confident that it was just the one squirrel. Last week I saw him with a friend, and then today, …Read More


    Sunset over the pond

    Sunset over the pond - June 2010

    Rich and I have been enjoying our evening walks at sundown.  I love the extended daylight hours in the summer!  Tonight we saw a pretty sunset over the pond.  I took some bracketed exposures to play with HDR again, but I didn't like the result.  I did like my original 2 stop underexposure, which captures the sky beautifully and throws the rest of the scene into silhouette.


    Frangipani and Bunny!

    Frangipani and Bunny! - May 2010

    This afternoon I helped my papitos plant their new Plumeria plant, better known as Frangipani. I got the tree at Lukas on Friday and we got it into the ground this afternoon. Aren't the flowers pretty? I took several pictures, using several different filters, and I decided that I liked this diffused one best. It seems to catch the feel of the about-to-rain hurry that we were in as we …Read More


    Bunny!

    Bunny! - May 2010

    On our third bunny walk with camera we finally saw a bunny!  He was farther away and the light was fading, so the picture isn't great, but here's the proof that we saw him.


    Dragonfly close-up

    Dragonfly close-up - April 2010

    I was out trimming the hedges this afternoon when this dragonfly (or dragonbird, in the Goldilocks vernacular where everything that flies is a bird) came to land on a shepherd's crook nearby.  The dragonflies always seem to perch high when they are searching for their food, and after they dive after a bug, they come back to the same place while their search continues.  So it makes it easy to …Read More


    Squirrel

    Squirrel - March 2010

    The runner-up in the Fluffy Tail Contest found our feeder in the oak tree. I'm sure I'll find squirrels very annoying as more of them find our yard, but for now, this guy is still a novelty and he's cute. First he ate like a civilized squirrel, then he was scared off, and rather than getting back on the feeder, he chose to eat possum-style. Squirt watched!


    Spider and Eggs

    Spider and Eggs - March 2010

    This spider has been hanging out for the last few months inside our garage door pad console. I decided that I needed a picture before the eggs hatch.


    Visiting Squirrel

    Visiting Squirrel - December 2009

    This morning I heard some rustling in the crape myrtle, and looked up to see a bushy tail disappear up onto the roof. When I went outside to investigate, this squirrel was running around on our roof. Squirt wants! You might think it's strange to list a squirrel as a new visitor to our backyard, but since our neighborhood is an old orange grove and the houses are only about …Read More


    Fountain at Night

    Fountain at Night - December 2009

    Rich and I took my lens out on our walk this evening to take this picture of the fountain in the little pond by our neighborhood. It's really pretty when it's lit up at night. Thanks again for the remote shutter release, Vicki and Rich!


    Squirt’s opposum is back

    Squirt’s opposum is back - October 2009

    Squirt's friend the opossum came back tonight. He climbed up into the lugustrum, stayed there for a while (not hanging from his tail, unfortunately!) and then he climbed down to feast on bird seed. Both Goldy and Squirt were entranced. So do we call this an opossum-bird, Goldilocks?


    Shuttle launch

    Shuttle launch - August 2009

    Rich and I stayed up to watch the last scheduled nighttime launch of a space shuttle. The moon was beautiful, too.


    Oleander moth

    Oleander moth - August 2009

    This oleander moth was happily nectaring on my zinnias and Goldy was happily watching, so I had to break out the camera…


    Rainbow

    Rainbow - August 2009

    There was a double rainbow in the backyard tonight. You could see the full arch of the main rainbow, and most of the double rainbow (to the right).


    Rainbow

    Rainbow - July 2009

    Rainbow after an afternoon storm… Keep doing that rain dance, Squirt, because the roses need the extra water and nutrients!


    Space shuttle launch

    Space shuttle launch - July 2009

    Finally! Endeavor was finally able to lift off and we could see it from the front yard. It's hard to believe that there are so few flights left before the shuttle is retired. We'll have to find another excuse for impromptu get-togethers with the neighbors while we all gawk at the sky! I thought it was cool that we saw the separation of the solid rocket boosters (right).


    Meow!  Bananas!

    Meow! Bananas! - May 2009

    Mmm…time for Rich to practice his cat's meow again, the bananas over at Peter and Carla's are starting to ripen!


    Nose-diving dragonflies

    Nose-diving dragonflies - May 2009

    This dragonfly was buzzing around with its mate in our front yard, then did a nose-dive into my rosebush and posed for me.


    Backyard puddles

    Backyard puddles - May 2009

    It's raining, it's pouring…Squirt must have been snoring! Our rain gauge shows that we've had 12.5 inches of rain in the last two days!! Our backyard is becoming a swimming pool. At work, the puddles are deep enough that the ducks are swimming in them.


    Froggy Fountain

    Froggy Fountain - April 2009

    Mieu! This guy hangs out a lot on our fountain, so Squirt doesn't get to bat at him through the window. Lucky frog!


    Squirt’s buddy the Frog

    Squirt’s buddy the Frog - April 2009

    Squirt's buddy visits him every night on the bay windows. Squirt sits on the windowsill inside, batting at the frog and squeaking with excitement!


    Frog

    Frog - April 2009

    Apparently I'm not the only one who's impressed by the freshly cleaned fountain. This little frog took a break from bug-catching to pose for me…


    Happy Pi Day!

    Happy Pi Day! - March 2009

    I think I know now who went around Carnegie Mellon on Pi Day enumerating the digits of Pi on the sidewalks, correct down to hundreds of digits… With very little sidewalk space outside our house, Rich had to content himself yesterday with baking a few pies. :)