Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Is it just me?

Or are the clouds moody, too?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

First big hail storm of the season!

I was up at the field taking photos of the dark sky when the storm began. I hurried home and then the hail began. Even with the windows closed, rain poured in the bow window due to overwhelmed gutters. It was a beautiful sight from the safety of our mostly waterproof home.

Then when the sun broke out again, we couldn’t resist a tour of the rain-soaked, hail covered Top of the World Park. Parts of the soccer field were now lakes and a little waterfall flowed from the track down the steep hill filling the lakes of the soccer field. Downed and shredded leaves were testament to the violence of the last hour.

Ahhh …. blessed humidity and blessed cool. (to see more)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Scarlet Bottlebrush or ?

I took this photo way back in January near San Francisco.  I have been too lazy to try and figure out what is.  Considering that I am a botanist, this is very lazy!  But Monterey John posted a beautiful photo today that lit a fire under me!

My first photo is of the inflorescence just opening up, while the second photo is from the same shrub but in full flower.

The third photo is a low-growing succulent that I could see was full of cobwebs when I got close to snap this picture.  And no…I don’t know what it is!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

the return of morning clouds!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

time for breakfast!

I have never figured out why kitties sometimes have their little pink tongues hanging out – but it always makes me smile!

What was Wiskerz doing?

He was waiting rather patiently on the kitchen counter for me to serve him his breakfast of canned food.

Monday, June 19, 2006

night into day

It was nearly dark and there was the strong smell of smoke in the air as I headed up to Top of the World Park. With a little light still on the horizon, I decided to try some long exposures – just for the fun of it!

With the big dark clouds and the city lights and maybe even the haze of smoke, I love the way my camera turns night into day. When I downloaded the shots – there were all of those pesky multi-colored sparkles of light throughout my images (I had seen this before on one of my moon shots). After a little research, I now know what NOISE is!! Tonight I am going to read up on NOISE reduction and see what that does.
Is there no end to the fun??

Sunday, June 18, 2006


young female pine cones

male pine cones with new growth of needles

finding his place in the sun

Saturday, June 17, 2006

ready for that 12-step?

I wasn’t going to do any photography today.  I let myself sleep-in this morning figuring that I might actually get more done if I were rested.  I spent part of the day backing up my photos and making backups of my backups.  Then this evening, I stepped outside to take out the trash and there staring me in the face, taunting me really, were some beautiful faintly lit, last light of the day, clouds.  I couldn’t resist.  But the streetlight was in the way, so I had to go up to the park.  It was nearly dark but the northern sky had some beautiful peach color to it.  So I had to walk to the other side of the park, to the edge overlooking the rabbitbrush hillside.  My pictures didn’t turn out as well as I thought they did when I took them – they would have benefited from a tripod – but I enjoyed the cool air and the subtle yet vibrant colors.  There is really no hope for me…..

friday morning thunderstorm

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pat meets Sparky!

Pat wanted to go again – so up the steps we went at a little before sunset. The park was almost deserted. That is except for Sparky. He was WAY across the field playing catch. My son coaxed Pat into the field, away from the steps. I looked around and Sparky had noticed and was homing in on Pat. Pat was nervously looking back at the steps, not aware of Sparky. Then suddenly Pat grew double in size. Sparky came at Pat in a run and Pat was out of there in a flash. Sparky’s humans were yelling at him to stop. Andy and I were just laughing because we knew that Pat would have no trouble getting away. They disappeared down the steps but Sparky was back within 5 seconds.

He celebrated by standing over a sprinkler head. What a ham!

We headed back down and there was Pat, waiting behind the safety of a neighbor’s chain link fence. I know this experience would have traumatized some cats – but Pat will go back tomorrow – just you wait!

fresh catch

Our cool down is much appreciated. After 100º temperatures on Wednesday, we are having cool and relatively humid weather. I woke to LOTS of clouds and decided to head to Addenbrook Park to see the geese! Much to my surprise, there was a pair of American White Pelicans working the lake for what looked like many-a-good-bite to eat.

I tried to get close but they were very busy moving about catching their meal. They were the only meat-eaters on the water!
Then off they flew – quite a sight.

It was dark and cloudy for the time I was there – but several people commented to me how beautiful the clouds were as they took their morning walks. I could not agree more.

Pat at Top of the World Park

Pat likes to follow me up to the field – Top of the World Park.  It is a busy place in the evening at sunset.  There are kids kicking soccer balls and moms & dads strolling with their babies, runners, joggers, and dogs playing catch.

Pat is scared of all of these things but still wants to join me.

So last night, I actually spent more time watching Pat watch the dog, the sprinklers, and the kids on a motor scooter.  Pat was definitely on ‘alert status’!!

The sunset was not spectacularly colorful but the sky was FILLED with beautiful dark and intricate clouds.  I like to say, “it was beautiful but hard to photograph” But every time I say that I hear my older son answering, “you have a professional quality camera, you can take a good photo in ANY situation!”   I scoffed but deep inside I know that is true – NOT EASY but all you need to do is open up to your ‘vision’ and man the dials and buttons on your camera and do it quickly!  (**A little luck helps, too**) As I was getting a few last shots, the light faded very abruptly and instead of a sharp clear image, the last visible clouds of the day had a beautiful soft focus – not my camera – but that is the way it looked.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the return of Sparky

Last February, a dog appeared suddenly in one of my photos, posing like a pro. I called him my sunrise buddy. The last few evenings, Sparky (as I now know) has been playing up at Top of the World park. He ran up to me and greeted me with enthusiasm. His owner said, “It is almost as if he knows you.” Indeed – he does! Now if I could just get him to be my sunset buddy.

Through the Trees

It seems that all photographers have their own idiosyncrasies. I met one recently who loves to take photos of dark, moody, cloud-filled skies. And he can’t stand to have any buildings on the horizon or in the field of view. It is a distraction to him. On the other hand, I have no problem with having these signs of daily life in my photos. One of the things I enjoy is documenting my world – and whatever I see in it. But I do have some obsession with having trees in my photos. I love to frame a shot with trees or have a tree off to the side or look at the sunrise or sunset through trees. This brings to mind the music of a friend of mine, a musician and fellow blogger. When I am out photo hunting, sometimes I hear his song, The Sun Through The Trees* in my mind. For some reason, it feels right this way.

* cursor down the page just a bit

all in the same night

I have been busy photographing both sunrise and sunset the last few days. The problem with posting is:

I can’t make up my mind which photos to post.

The sky has been so beautiful, filled with clouds and color that I just keep snapping away. Then after downloading, I keep flipping back and forth through each set. I can’t post 20 photos; yet that is close to the number of photos I want to post.

I need my own committee of judges

How do you make up your mind?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

fortuitous light

Ptelea spruces up the place in anticipation of a visitor from afar. I love my flowers so much that they even work their magic on me in the evening under the porch light. Turning around, the moon casts a numinous light on the clouds as the sweet fragrance of the mock orange fills the air in gentle waves.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday cat confidence

Friendly from the beginning, Wiskerz came from the Denver Dumb Friend’s League more than a dozen years ago. DDFL has been around for MANY years because when I was a child, I used to call it the Denver Dumb Friendlies.

Wiskerz carefully surveys his back yard from the kitchen window.

Is he squinting in the sun or one just very self-satisfied cat??

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I love the way the sunrises and sunsets change from season to season. I am still completing the cycle of my first year under the influence of passion for photography!! Right now I find the sunsets more compelling than the sunrises. The last days have been a feast of clouds. Tonight it seemed as if there might be too many clouds to see any pink colors. But there almost always seems to be some hole for the sunset to poke its glow through, allowing the sun to lavish its colors on my eager eyes. (like a little kid, I think this show is for me!)

Looking at one huge white cloud for tinges of pink – instead I see pure sumptuousness. The beauty was so ethereal that my camera lens zoomed in and out, trying to find focus while I reveled in the blurred periphery.

ESCAPED the lawnmower!

cool at the end of the day

The heat of summer seems to have arrived suddenly without time to get used to it. The grass at Top of the World Park is already crispy despite daily watering. But the clouds are making for some beautiful sunsets announcing the welcome coolness of the night.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

lost my way

It is one of those days when I have lost my way. It started out fine with a leisurely sunrise walk to take photographs. I ventured down the hill from Top of the World, lured by the spikes of yucca, Yucca glauca, flowers standing tall, bathed and glowing in the morning sun. I set about getting an interesting or good shot of the yucca flowers when I noticed that every spike was covered with aphids and a few large ants and ladybugs. That seemed to be the point at which I lost my way. I kept seeing things and then looking closer for the details. Some days this works fine and is a pleasure of discovery. Other days, this seems to be a way to avoid making it from point a to point b on the list of things to do!

Wild licorice, Glycyrrhiza lepidota (on the right) and a cobweb-enshrouded seedhead (above) from last year!