Archive for the ‘Flowers’ Category

In The Merry, Merry Month of May: Day One

10 May 2009

The area around New York City is beautiful in early May: everything seems to be blooming at once. That will not be reflected in this post.

I just got back from my nominally annual trip to NYC to visit my sister for her birthday. We took a hike in a different part of Westchester County each of the three days I was there. On the first day, we went to the Cranberry Lake Preserve. While the gardens and grounds of the homes in that area are beautifully landscaped, not much seemed to be blooming in the woods.

This was one exception:


Wild Geranium [Geranium maculatum]

A Jack-in-the-pulpit is a Jack-in-the-pulpit, right?

Ha! Apparently, there are three types of Jack-in-the-pulpit, and I didn’t have my book with me to make a positive identification. But this looks like the variety sometimes known as Indian-turnip:


Northern Jack-in-the-pulpit [Arisaema stewardsonii]

We never did make it to the second lake, because the trail markers for one whole end of the preserve were nonexistent. They ran out at the same place on two different trails: the old quarry left over from the building of the Kensico Dam. The one quarry pond we found was a nice place to have lunch, though.


Quarry pond at Cranberry Lake Preserve

There was lots of wildlife. At the quarry pond, we spotted a water snake I was too slow to capture with my camera. We also saw what might have been a redheaded woodpecker, although it was too distant for positive ID. Later in the hike, my nephew with the young eyes spotted this guy sunning himself beside the trail:


Northern Black Racer [Coluber constrictor constrictor]

Despite not getting to see the whole preserve, we had a pretty good outing. Next up: Day Two.

Update: I’ve added a link to the Cranberry Lake Preserve’s website (just click the name of the preserve either here or at the top in the original body of this post). Not including it earlier was an oversight on my part, now corrected.

Is It Safe To Come Out Of The Storm Cellar Yet?

4 April 2009

Another day, another excuse from the guy who has over 1100 of my dollars for a new cap for my new truck. He still hasn’t driven down to Massachusetts to pick it up. The upside is that I now have the time to post some stuff I shot a few days ago.

I think I’ve figured out why I get so depressed in March. That’s when, at the end of a long, hard winter, I figure out that I still can’t afford to retire to Florida and I’ll have to spend next winter here, too. Even with that in mind, this past one was particularly bad. Several injuries have left me limping and depressed. In the midst of it all, the 95-year-old whose property I maintain fell and broke his hip. Between hobbling to the hospital every day with his mail, trying to shovel snow using only one arm, and watching my retirement fund fly out the window for a new truck after the old one died of cancer, I’ve been functioning at a very low level.

The good news is that most of the snow has melted and the temps have gotten high enough that I can put out the garden hoses and start spring cleanup. A few days ago, as I was surveying the damage to the trees out back, I came across a little patch of color in the woods. As I couldn’t decide which shot to post, you get two.


Crocus, unknown species or cultivar.

These crocuses were poking their heads out of the mess of leaves on the far side of my canoe. The colors remind me of a children’s book I had when I was a kid, “The Color Kittens.”


Same crocuses, different shot.

I didn’t even notice that I was crawling on my belly in the mud until I brought it into the house with me.

And a couple of nights ago, as I was walking home, I thought the fog rolling in to Memorial Field was pretty neat. But by the time I got my camera and got outside, the fog had completely rolled in and there was no contrast between clear air and fog. Some interesting shots, anyway.


Deering High Memorial Field at night in fog.

The lacrosse players were taking a break on the left side of the picture. They’re pretty hard to see.


Deering High Memorial Field at night in fog. This view is from ground level.

Back to working on my attitude…

Update: Well, crap. I just noticed that for the last few posts, Worpdress hasn’t been automatically making each image a link to its full-size self. Now I gotta go in and hand-edit all the images. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Update 2, now with more bookly goodness: Here’s the cover from the book. I found it at Wikipedia.


The Color Kittens

That takes me back about sixty years. That’s scary. And sad.

Cram It!

26 September 2008

My bookmarks file is a bloated two megabytes. I save bookmarks that look interesting, and then forget them. A few days ago, as I was browsing some of the photography-related links, I found some good stuff.

One of the links was to I originally found the link at Reflections By Kris, but this time I took the time to read it.

I found a link there to an article by a Michael Brown, titled “The Art of Abstract Macro Photography.” I haven’t been a big fan of macro photography, mainly because my attempts have turned out to be mostly boring. In the article, he discusses a technique he calls the “Cram It” method. It looked interesting, so I tried it out.

Some of the stuff I got was pretty crappy, some of it was okay, and some of it I really liked.

This rose wasn’t, strictly speaking, “crammed,” but I like it anyway, so I’m including it here:

Rose <em>Carefree Beauty</em>

Rose Carefree Beauty

Some of them came out looking like the sorts of things Georgia O’Keeffe obsessed about:

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens

Some were, indeed, filmy and abstract:

New Guinea Impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens

Pink Petunia

Pink Petunia

Rose <em>Carefree Beauty</em>

Rose Carefree Beauty

And some were so vague as to defy analysis:

Purple Petunia

Purple Petunia

I really like this one:

Rose <em>Carefree Beauty</em>

Rose Carefree Beauty

I think I’ll do some more.

Day of the Triffids

13 August 2007

I just spent a week surrounded by cows ‘n corn and not much else. After the first 3 days, I more or less got over my internet withdrawals. The lack of people helped a lot. This is what it looked like first thing in the morning:

Morning mountain mist

If you look closely, you can make out the house over the hill about a half mile away.

This is the view in the other direction (no houses there):

Morning river mist

There’s a river in front of the mountain, just beyond those elms in the middle of the picture. While I was tramping around near the river the next day, this alien-looking plant was pointed out to me by my brother-in-law:


It was six feet tall and looked like something out of a John Wyndham novel. My book of wildflowers of the Northeast failed me, but after much googling (clustying, actually, since Google is evil) I found that this plant really is alien. According to the National Invasive Species Information Center the Common Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum L.) was accidentally introduced to the U.S. in the 1700s.

Seems a long time to hold a grudge, but there you have it. Apparently, these plants never bothered to wait in line to become legal immigrants, instead secreting themselves amongst legal seeds. I, for one, have no problem uprooting such invaders, as long as they can’t blind me.

I have more pix from the trip. I’ll put ’em up soon.

When Ya Got Nothin’…

29 July 2007

Ya go with the cheap macro shot. Because most anything is interesting when viewed from 1/4 inch away.


Hemerocallis (daylily)

I finally got my CCD cleaned again, and I ran a few test shots to see what the doubler would do to my macro lens. It doubles it. Duh.

Complementary Colors

5 June 2007

The sort-of orange of the azalea and the sort-of blue of the forget-me-not:


A closer look at the forget-me-not:


I never noticed before that the forget-me-not have little yellow suns with white rays in the middle of the sky-blue flower.

Intermittently In Residence

6 May 2007

I was offline for most of yesterday. I thought that it was finally the senile dementia catching up with me, but after I pulled the PCMCIA card out of the lower slot and plugged it into the upper slot, my connectivity problems disappeared. That’s not to say that they won’t come back. I am here for now, though, and I hope to have more stuff up this evening.

In case I don’t get back, tho, here’s a place holder:


My filing and cataloging habits are so good that, while I know when and where I took this, I don’t have a clue as to what it is.

It Doesn’t Rhyme With “Waco”

1 May 2007

I had to travel to the VA Clinic at Saco (pronounced SOCK-o) today, and the brain damage cleared away long enough for me to remember that Laurel Hill Cemetery on Beach Street is known for its masses of daffodils. This being daffodil season around these parts, I took the old Nikon and tripod with me and shot some more daffodils (as if you hadn’t had enough).

Lots of mommies pushing baby-filled strollers, some parking the kids in the middle of the flowers for cute photos. It was a nice cap to a task-filled day that had no space in it for my afternoon nap.

I wanted to post more pix out of this shoot, so I made ’em smaller. If they strain your eyes, lemme know and I’ll make ’em bigger and just take the account quota hit.

Path leading down to the Saco River, which at this point is a tidal estuary:


There are lots of granite memorial benches, like this one:


The daffodils come in several colors:


These are nice:


There’s even a bit of salt marsh. The wind wasn’t blowing especially hard, but it didn’t let up much. Because I was going for the depth of field, I was shooting at slow shutter speeds and had to time the shots for when the flowers were relatively still:


This is the slope down to the river from the road where the less active people park and watch:


I could swear that I heard little daffodil voices singing, “Neener, neener, neener” to the marble reminder of mortality in their midst:


And here’s Captain Jack:


St. Paulia Saga Sequel

29 April 2007

I gotta learn some better literary devices than alliteration.

This is the African Violet (St. Paulia) that I posted about here:


Please note that in the first image, the entire plant covered less than half the surface area of the pot. It’s now big enough to force me to move back to get the whole plant into the picture. Any bigger and I won’t be able to use the macro lens.

I’ve taken to calling it “Monstro, the Mutant African Violet.” It was an 81st birthday gift to someone who threw it away after she thought she killed it, like all her other house plants. It’s going to be an 82nd birthday gift to her next week. And I didn’t even buy it for her the first time around.

Is that cheap? No way, man. I’m green! You wanna buy some carbon offsets?

Yeah, I’m Still Alive

28 April 2007

I’m about a month behind in spring cleanup around the grounds because of the late snow. I had scheduled a much needed day off today while it rains, but the rain stopped. So here ya go. I couldn’t look at the stuff growing without hauling the camera outside and crawling around in the mud.

Daffodil; I forget which cultivar:




Same kind o’ daffodils: