Happy Easter! Our backyard rabbits celebrated by doing the bunny hop (literally!)Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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! :)
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!
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
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
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
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
It looks like midnight in the backyard and it is only 6:30!! :-/ Posted from my iPhone
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!
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:
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…. :)
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
The sunsets on these longer spring evenings are so pretty.
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
The neighborhood bunnies wish everybunny a Happy Easter!
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!
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
More pictures coming in a few days when I can use Photoshop to align layers…
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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!!!
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. :)
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
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
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
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
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
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!
I had my long lens with me when Rich and I walked last week, and the sunset was gorgeous.
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
Hey Peter and Aaron, we think we saw Toadsworth on our walk last night! (Or is this Teeny all grown up?)
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
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!
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!
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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 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?
Rich and I stayed up to watch the last scheduled nighttime launch of a space shuttle. The moon was beautiful, too.
This oleander moth was happily nectaring on my zinnias and Goldy was happily watching, so I had to break out the camera…
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 after an afternoon storm… Keep doing that rain dance, Squirt, because the roses need the extra water and nutrients!
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).
Mmm…time for Rich to practice his cat's meow again, the bananas over at Peter and Carla's are starting to ripen!
This dragonfly was buzzing around with its mate in our front yard, then did a nose-dive into my rosebush and posed for me.
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.
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 visits him every night on the bay windows. Squirt sits on the windowsill inside, batting at the frog and squeaking with excitement!
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…
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. :)