Monday, December 28, 2009

Should I stay or should I go? Decisions...

carpet beetle on daisy flower
This is another image that will be included in my gallery show in February, 2010. At the time that this photo was taken, I'd gone out to the garden to photograph flowers... but this carpet beetle just HAD to be captured on camera and I'm so happy with how it turned out. (another image that hadn't made it onto the blog yet because it was taken before starting this blog... the previous image is quite chilling (temperature wise) so thought I'd post a warmer one to counteract it)

Robin in Holly tree... December snowstorm...

robin in holly tree on a snowy day
Another image from the "great" snowstorm of December, 2009... at one time... I counted 12 (or more) robins going after the berries on my holly. Since we had the tree trimmed last year, this year the crop of berries was HUGE and there are still many left for the birds to continue their dining.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

View to the southeast out my kitchen window... SNOW!

snow storm scene
This image is from the "BIG SNOW" of December 18/19 and was taken through my kitchen window during the height of the storm. I like this image for several reasons... one of which is the TV antennae attached to the neighbor's chimney... thought everyone had cable these days but I'm in an older neighborhood and with a high enough antennae, one can still get the main channels for viewing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Female Cardinal in Dogwood... December 2009 SNOW!

female cardinal in snow
Another one from our record breaking snowstorm... birds visiting my garden included cardinals, house sparrows, house finches, starlings, Carolina wrens (saw three at the same time), blue jays, robins, juncos, mourning doves, chickadees, red-bellied and downy woodpeckers... think that is all. Some came for the holly berries and dogwood berries (although most dogwood berries were gone) and some came to the feeders and cleaned me out!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Holidays Everyone... Holly in sunlight and snow!

holly berries in snow
By the time I dug my way out to the holly tree in my back yard, snow had already been flying off it... I took quite a few photos but like the effect the sunlight had on this one... the lights on the right give this a holiday feel to my thinking!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Woodpecker stopping by my bird feeder today...

woodpecker in snow
So far, we've had about 19 inches of snow in the past 22 hours... it's not often I see a woodpecker at my bird feeders but this one kept stopping by today to help himself to the safflower and sunflower seeds. Between the wind and his weight, the feeder is not hanging straight up and down. I feel lucky to have managed to capture him on camera!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pink Petal Perfection... another summer bloomer for you...

pink rose close-up
It's been snowing for a couple of hours now and the world is white outside my window... maybe tomorrow I'll have a chance to get some snowy photos... but tonight I thought I'd post a lovely pink rose!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Shall we have a threesome? Spring bloomers wet with rain...

daffodils wet with rain
Another image from spring that will be in my photography show. These flowers were planted in my yard YEARS ago by my great Aunt Alice who lived in this house from 1937 to 1981. When she had to go to a nursing home, I was fortunate enough to be in a position to buy her house because she didn't want it sold to a stranger! Every spring I'm reminded of the good fortune I had in knowing her for many years because she was able to tell me many stories about my grandmother (her sister) who died when I was an infant.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spring beauty... Dogwood blossom beginning to open...

dogwood blossom
Just realized I never posted this spring photo of a dogwood blossom starting to open because it was taken well before I started this blog. This image is already framed and ready for my photography show in February... now if I could just figure out the rest of the images! (counting this one, 12 down and another 20 to 25 to go)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Big Sky Country... Absaroka Mountains near Fishtail, Montana...

Absaroka Mountains near Fishtail, MT
Just finished an Adobe Photoshop Elements class so have been combing through my photos to find some that need work... want to practice skills learned before I forget them all! This image is from a couple of years ago and was taken with my first digital camera... a Nikon Coolpix P1... and shot through a quite dirty car window. So I used tools to clean up the smudges... cropped the photo to get rid of the hood of the car... and wound up with this "panorama" of the Absoraka Mountains outside of Fishtail, MT.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Panorama of Pilot and Index Peaks of the Absaroka Mountains... Wyoming

Pilot and Index Peaks in the Absaroka Mountains
Am not at all sure how well viewing a panorama in this blog format will work... but we shall see. This was assembled from several images (about 14) and then cropped down to include only the central, most interesting (to my eye) portion of the panorama. I've learned a few things since taking and assembling this first attempt at a panorama and hope that future efforts reflect what I've learned. In the meantime, I'm quite pleased with this first effort!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Aloha Rose (that's its name) in snow... my December Bethesda, MD garden!

pink rose in snow
I have a closer crop of the top rose on Flickr... but I decided to post this view to show that I still had two roses blooming in my garden... after Thanksgiving... in growing zone 6B (min temp as low as -0 to -5° F)... the wet snow we are having made for some lovely photo opportunities so of course I grabbed my camera and headed outdoors... may have to go back out before the day is over! (bird photos didn't turn out as well as the flower photos... those rascally birds just don't hold still for me like the flowers do)

Stanley Idaho... Sunset from the Bridge Restaurant...

sunset over the Salmon River, Idaho
We were the only diners who chose to sit on the rooftop deck at the Bridge Restaurant in Lower Stanley, ID... we had spectacular views of the Sawtooth Mountains... and the setting sun provided lovely light for this view across the Salmon River. The food was great too!! (from September, 2009... still working on image selection for my February gallery show and finding some I'd forgotten to post here)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Calibrachoa 'Caloha Orange' still blooming... Dec 3, 2009

tiny red-orange flower blossom
Our hardiness zone is 6B which means our winters can be as cold as 0 to -5° F ... yet this flower is still blooming. Million Bells is one of the other names this flower is known by... because of the many tiny, bell-shaped blossoms all varieties of this plant produce. This particular variety is actually more red than orange in spite of the variety name of Caloha Orange. (am still working on photo images for my February, 2010 gallery show and this is one image that I was experimenting with Adobe Photoshop Elements to clean up the image... it probably won't be in the show but I like it anyway)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Delicate November Bloomer... African Daisy revisited!

African Daisy blossom wet with raindrops
Hope you aren't tired of seeing these flowers... they are still putting on a show in my garden and I simply cannot resist sharing this one... taken earlier today while the rain of the past couple of days was still misting down on the garden... flash photo because it was too dark to do otherwise without the tripod and I was too lazy to go get mine and set up in the rain for this shot. (This blossom is the exact same one as the photo below it... overnight cool temperatures cause the petals to curl up... this one won't fully open again today unless it warms up more than it has already.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Delicate Beauty... November and my African Daisies are still blooming...

pale purple African Daisy blossom
This is the first year I've planted African Daisies... I have three... this one plus one that is dark pink (magenta) and a white one. The white one has a half dozen buds and the dark pink is also blooming here in my Bethesda, MD garden. Wikipedia says African Daisies are half-hardy perennials so they may survive the winter here unless we get a particularly hard freeze. The blooms just BEG to be photographed!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunlight on Gazania center... with ANTS and ???

ants and others on Gazania blossom
As always, once the image (taken with a Nikkor 105mm VR macro lens) was uploaded to my computer, I saw much more than the brilliant sunlight on this Gazania blossom. I'd noticed the ants, but the fat little insects are unknown to me, and until the image was on the computer, had also been unseen. Perhaps a bug expert among you could provide an ID for the fat guys!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sunrise on my last day at Depot Beach, NSW, Australia

sunrise at Depot Beach on the Tasman Sea
Still finding photos not yet posted here from my July/August trip to Australia and New Zealand. I particularly like this one for the presence of the sea kayaker in the dawn's early light. Shortly before I snapped this particular photo, a HUGE (to me anyway) male kangaroo hopped up over the dunes and startled me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Reflections of beauty... Mt. McGowan reflected in Stanley Lake, Idaho...

Mt. McGowan reflected in Stanley Lake, Idaho
Still working on image selection for my February, 2010 gallery show... cannot believe I haven't posted this one previously... from our September trip out west to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. (OOPS... and now that I've posted it here, I can see it would benefit from a little straightening in post processing... LATER!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Glowing Gazania... fall blooming beauty!

Gazanias are marvelous annuals to plant for a spot of color in window boxes. Mine are still blooming in November in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The other flowers in the window boxes are fading and didn't provide a nice backdrop for this beauty... so I stuck a soft lens case behind it to give a somewhat dull background and make the flower stand out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November bloomer... wet with rain and not yet fully opened!

half-open African daisy with raindrops
This year, my garden has been graced with African daisies from three different plantings that may or may not return in the spring. According to Wikipedia, some varieties of Osteospermum are half-hardy perennials and those that are hardy have purple centers (as this one does). So maybe at least one of mine will return in spring. I planted a deep purple one, a pale purple one (this one) and a white one; all of them stopped blooming in August but started a new round of blooms in late September/early October. (this photo was taken using a shallow DOF to deliberately blur the unfolding petals and focus on the center of the flower)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sun lights up this green beauty... resting on Lemon Balm leaf...

green bug on lemon balm leaf
This image will be included in my gallery show... the owners say people like bugs... and I love the way the light hits this guy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Magnolia Splendor... revisited...

white magnolia blossom
Thought I'd posted a Magnolia blossom earlier but cannot find it! Maybe it was posted to Flickr but not here... in any case... here it is for the first time? or again? (another image that might make an appearance in my photography show)

Jeweled Heart of a Yellow Chrysanthemum...

yellow chrysanthemum close-up
Working away at gathering images for my gallery show in February... found some photos from awhile back that might be good for the show so will be posting a few over the next several days. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall is here... my Dogwood shows the promise of spring to come!

dogwood bud and fall colored leaves
I started a dogwood project album on Flickr in the spring... then summer came... and travel happened... and I didn't shoot many pictures of my dogwoods over the summer. Now that fall is here, the leaves are changing and I'm once again inspired to capture the changing moods of my dogwood trees. I like this shot because of the brilliant orange-red of the leaf in the foreground and the slightly shadowed bud that will bring spring beauty in the form of the lovely dogwood blossom!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

River running at Great Falls on the Potomac River...

red kayak running rapids at Great Falls on the Potomac River
Went to Great Falls National Park on the Maryland side of the Potomac River the other day... wandered out to Great Falls Overlook to try to capture some fall color along with the rapids... found some kayakers running the river and got quite a few shots... here's one... I've posted an album which you may view as a slide show of this guy and one other kayaker running the rapids.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Busy beetle type bug... not sure what he is...

beetle dining on daisy mum
But he clearly has been eating away at my daisy mum leaves as evidenced by the holes on every flower he has already visited... here he is making a fresh hole in an otherwise perfect flower... dining!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mr. Lincoln... lovely red rose in my garden...

close-up of Mr. Lincoln rose blossom
Thought I'd posted an earlier version of this a couple of months ago but just discovered I had not. Mr. Lincoln, one of the best of the Hybrid Tea roses, grows in my garden (it's a struggle because I'm very bad about doing what the roses need in this area) and is probably my favorite rose... both for the lovely, rich red color and the incredible fragrance... a fragrance so marvelous that one cut blossom can spread a lovely smell throughout the entire house!

But, I digress... in getting some of my images ready for my photography show (see sidebar at right) I've discovered minute flaws (white flecks on the petals of this rose, for example). So I've been working with Adobe Photoshop Elements to correct some of these minor defects and this is the result.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall brings the promise of spring to my Dogwood...

fall colors, flower buds, dogwood
I started a "Dogwood Project" in the spring and posted daily photos of my dogwood on Flickr as the buds gradually opened, flowered fully and then faded away as the leaves appeared. But as spring turned to summer, other interests intervened as did a lot of travel and I neglected photographing my dogwood until recently when I noticed that the fall colors were turning the leaves... and buds promising spring beauty had already formed!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Face plant... Bumble-bee going after pollen in Aster...

bumble-bee in aster blossom
Couldn't resist taking a few photos with my macro lens today... am so far behind everywhere that I had no business doing so! But fall is in the air, the asters are blooming and the bees are busy doing their thing...

Since I'm quite far behind with posts going back as far as my Australia and New Zealand trip in July/August, I will TRY to post more than one photo a day to this blog...

BUT no promises since I must also concentrate on choosing images and getting them printed and framed and all the other details that go with having a photography show at a local gallery in February, 2010... which will creep up on me before I know it I'm sure!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crabapples against a brilliant blue sky... Red Lodge, MT!

crab apples and blue sky
While wandering around Red Lodge with Mike's cousin Tom and his wife Helen, we saw this crab apple tree (at least I think that's what it is) and I couldn't resist capturing the red and green against the brilliant blue Montana sky.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Scenic Sawtooth Mountains reflected in Lake Stanley near Stanley, Idaho...

Sawtooth Mountains reflected in Lake Stanley
I've been remiss in posting of late... on our return from our western trip, a local Bethesda, MD gallery invited me to have a show of my photography in February, 2010. I'm alternately excited and totally stressed... excited about the honor of being invited and stressed about figuring out which photos, how to crop, how to print, etc. I have been going through everything I have trying to narrow down to 30 to 40 BESTS and have neglected taking new photos... except when we traveled Oct 1-5, 2009 for the Walkway Over the Hudson Bridge Opening ceremonies in Poughkeepsie, NY... there will be more on that on my vacation blog when I find a few moments but I haven't even finished the saga of our western trip on the vacation blog!

In the meantime, here's another view of the majestic Sawtooth Mountains reflected in Lake Stanley... looking at this photo makes me want to return to Stanley, Idaho and visit this lovely spot once again!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mount Rearguard stands above the Hellroaring Plateau... near Red Lodge, MT

Mount Rearguard on Hellroaring Plateau
Mount Rearguard at 12280 feet elevation exceeds the approximately 10,000 feet elevation of most of the Hellroaring Plateau... it's possible to hike to the summit but we didn't as we weren't properly prepared for such a hike... this year! (refer to the previous post for information on accessing the Hellroaring Plateau) NOTE: I do realize that the rule of threes is not followed in this photographic image... but we love the Montana vividly blue sky so much that I couldn't bear to crop this!

Road to Hellroaring Plateau as seen from the Beartooth Highway near Red Lodge, MT

road to Hellroaring Plateau as seen from the Beartooth Highway
When we were in Montana in June, 2008, we failed at reaching the top of the Hellroaring Road in our attempt to get up onto the Hellroaring Plateau (most of which is around 10,000 feet elevation) due to snow and further up, downed trees making the road impassable at that time of year. As a child, I'd heard stories about my aunt and uncle going there every year to camp and fish in the lakes near the top and on the top of the plateau. Now that we've finally managed to reach the top (in September, 2009), I wonder that my aunt and uncle ever made it at all in a regular passenger car. The road up to the top of the plateau is rough, rock strewn and requires a high-center vehicle and a driver willing to travel at speeds that rarely (if ever) exceed 10 MPH on the 7 mile Hellroaring Road. Once reaching the top, the views are spectacular and I'll post some of those in the coming week. (my posting has been somewhat sporadic due to all our travel and other obligations)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A view of Pilot and Index Peaks from Pilot/Index Lookout on the Beartooth Highway...

Pilot and Index Peaks, Wyoming
This photo is from a few days ago and shows the view we had when stopped for lunch en route to Red Lodge, MT from Mammoth Hot Springs. In all the years I've traveled this road, I don't believe I've EVER seen the sun shine on Pilot and Index Peaks... but I have seen other photos where the sun has been shining on those mountains so I know it does!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I just like this plant... some sort of desert plant growing on Red Lodge Mountain, MT

desert plant
My guess is this is a member of the agave or yucca (are they the same?) family of plants... I just liked the leaves and shadows...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rock Creek Valley near Red Lodge, MT as seen from the Beartooth Highway...

Rock Creek Valley near Red Lodge, MT
Every year we go to Red Lodge, MT... we simply must go up the Beartooth Highway at least once... and I always take LOTS of photos.... here's one showing the valley with Rock Creek Road alongside Rock Creek down in the valley with the Beartooth Mountains in the background.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sunflowers at Café Regis in Red Lodge, MT

sunflowers against a blue sky
Our day's adventure for September 8, 2009 included a stop at Café Regis in Red Lodge, MT for lunch before heading up the road to the Hellroaring Plateau... they invited us to visit the garden (where they grow much of what they serve) while we were waiting for our sandwiches to be made... the sunflowers against the clear blue sky caught my eye... our adventure up Hellroaring is detailed (with more photos of the spectacular scenery) on my vacation blog for those of you who might be interested!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Antelope on roadside... Yellowstone National Park, WY

antelope male
There were three antelope... young bucks... by the side of the road closer than I've ever seen antelope before... just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful day! Here's one for your viewing pleasure...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mammoth Hot Springs... alien vista in Yellowstone National Park...

Mammoth Hot Springs view
We arrived too late to properly explore the Hot Springs at Mammoth in Yellowstone National Park... but we did have time for a brief look at the lower terraces nearest the lodge and dining areas... I will be posting more photos from this amazing place on my travel blog (some are already there) but am trying to keep to one photo a day from each day of our journey on this blog... (may weaken in that resolve by the time I do my next post... having too much fun on this vacation to post with any kind of regularity!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Spectacular Sawtooth Mountain Scenery near Stanley, Idaho...

Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho
After dropping Mike off to do a mountain bike ride, I headed back down the road to spend some time at Stanley Lake... but first simply had to stop along the way to take some photos of the Sawtooth Mountains... the countryside is simply spectacular everywhere you look!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

View of Sawtooth Mountains from Redfish Lake, Idaho...

Sawtooth Mountains with boat spray as seen from shuttle boat on Redfish Lake
Took the shuttle from the main dock on Redfish Lake to Redfish Inlet and hiked to Lily Pond... this view is looking back toward Redfish Inlet while returning after the hike... boat spray with mountain backdrop... more photos and details of the day's adventures are available.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Somewhere in Idaho... Spectacular Colors... Lovely Scenery...

mountains, sky and and flowers, roadside view near Ketchum, ID
We landed in Idaho Falls, ID earlier today and drove to Stanley, ID where we will stay for three nights. We took the route that takes one through Ketchum, ID and saw this lovely view from route 75 between Ketchum and Stanley.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bumble-bee in Plumbago Larpentae... in my garden!

bumble-bee gathering pollen in Plumbago larpentae
It is so intriguing to watch the bumble-bees gathering pollen from the tiny blossoms of Plumbago larpentae... an excellent ground cover with a spreading habit that will quite literally take over your garden if you let it. The bumble-bees wrap themselves entirely around the blossoms as they make their way around gathering pollen. (A bit more about the spreading habit of this plant... ONE tiny plant put into my garden some years ago has now spread over half my front garden and well down the way toward the back of my house in my side garden. If it does grow where you don't want it, it's quite easy to yank up... but it grows by underground runners and spreads everywhere as long as it has enough sunlight.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sydney Harbour Bridge during rush hour...

Sydney Harbour Bridge traffic
The bridge carries cars, buses, trains, pedestrians and cyclists across the harbor... and maybe even streetcars... I forget. I took this photo because of all the traffic lights.

Setting sun on Sydney Harbour... bridge, boats and city skyline..

setting sun on Sydney Harbour Bridge
This view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge was taken from the Sydney Opera House... some of the best views of each of these two famous Sydney sights are taken while opposite the one from the other...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cows... watching and wondering... Roadside Vista en route to Waimangu Volcanic Valley near Rotorua, NZ

cattle, somewhere in NZ
Stopped by the side of the road on my way to Waimangu Volcanic Valley because the cattle where RIGHT next to the fence. As soon as I approached... they scattered back 30 to 50 feet from the fence and turned to watch to see what I would do next.