Friday, July 31, 2009

Rangitoto Island, NZ as seen from Devonport

Rangitoto Island, as seen from Devonport, appeared above the sea due to volcanic action a short while ago (800 years) in geologic time. It is the youngest volcanically formed area on earth and probably well worth a visit. Unfortunately, they were busily poisoning rats (a terrible predator to New Zealand's endemic wildlife) so I preferred to stay away. It just means I'll have to return some day!

High above the Clouds... En Route from Sydney, AU to Auckland, NZ

view of clouds and sky from airplane window
It amazes me what photos can be taken through the double-thick glass of airplane windows while flying along at 30,000 ft (or higher). I purposely left the wing in this for reference rather than cropping it out.

Sunrise at Depot Beach, NSW, Australia

sunrise at Depot Beach
My reward for rising early on our last day at Depot Beach... some really lovely light with low lying clouds at the junction of sea and sky. If one could see far enough... New Zealand is just across the Tasman Sea from Depot Beach several hundred kilometers (over a thousand but less than two thousand, I believe)!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

starfish and seaweed in tidal pool
Alert eyes spotted this starfish (with EIGHT points to his star) in a tidal pool as we walked along Depot Beach late Saturday afternoon.

Sunset at Depot Beach, NSW, AU... Looks better in the tidal pool than in the sky...

sunset reflected in tidal pool
Getting a decent photo of the sunset was problematic... but reflected in a tidal pool, it's a bit nice to my way of thinking.

Plover seen at Depot Beach, NSW, AU

Plover (AU), Lapwing (NZ)
Am still behind with posts... but learned today from guide on tour in NZ that the bird that Australians call Plover, New Zealanders call Lapwing. This bird is not native to NZ but apparently rode in on a wicked storm, blown here from AU a few years back.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Wattlebird in Banksia Tree, Depot Beach, NSW, AU

wattle bird in banksia tree
Am way behind on posts... unreliable or non-existent internet... but am sitting in a coffee shop in Aukland, NZ posting just this one for now... (one hour free wi-fi when purchasing a cup of coffee or tea)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Longing for Chocolate... Sulfur Crested Cockatoo looks in the window at the chocolate shop...

sulfur crested cockatoo eying chocolate
This guy was most interested in the Chocolate shop... note the reflection in the window showing what the previous occupants of the table left behind.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Three Sisters overlooking the Jamison Valley, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

three sisters with mt solitary and the Jamison Valley
Hiking around the Cliff Walks and the side trips can be very exhausting! Caught the bus to Echo Point today and kept my walks to a minimum... this is one of the views of the Three Sisters from today's adventure... showing part of Mount Solitary on the right with the Jamison Valley and distant vistas included.

The Three Sisters, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Three Sisters formation in the Blue Mountains, NSW, AU
Legend has it that three sisters were turned to stone by a medicine man who intended to reverse the spell when it was safe to do so... but he was killed in battle so they remain as stone to this day. Here they are posing for a close-up with the Jamison Valley behind them. This view was taken on my hike around the Cliff Walk today... cannot recall which lookout provided this spectacular view but it was somewhere near Echo Point on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk. (NOTE: there is more than one legend of the Three Sisters, all involve turning them to stone (either by a witch doctor or medicine man) to keep them safe with plans to return them to their natural state being foiled by the untimely death of the spell caster)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Camellia ... photographed in the Blue Mountains in Australia, New South Wales

pink camellia
It's still winter in the Blue Mountains but their winter is not quite like ours... all kinds of flowers blooming and it seems as if it is spring already here!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Aussie" Spider... in a web in the tree...

Went to a BBQ today... winter in Australia but we dined on the patio... about 3 ft from where I was sitting, this huge spider (~3.5 to 4 inches in the longest dimension) sat in his web in the tree above our heads. He didn't move the entire afternoon! (no clue what kind of spider it is)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Giraffe Portrait... eyelashes to die for...

giraffe portrait
Went to the Sydney Zoo today... giraffes are fascinating creatures and their enclosure is quite open to public view... this one was feeding very near the crowds and happy to pose.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sydney Opera House... as seen from Manly Ferry

Sydney Opera House
Who could ever go to Sydney, Australia and NOT take a photo (or several!) of the Sydney Opera House... not I! (if you want to read a bit about my trip, see my travel blog... will post a couple more photos there either later tonight or tomorrow... depending on when wake up enough to log a few notes)

White Balloon Flower... comparing Macro lens with Extension + Standard...

white balloon flower
Trying to get the hang of using extension tubes... this composite is a comparison of using an extension tube with my 70-300mm lens vs. my 105mm macro lens... both are nice... I think. :-) (ran out of time to post before leaving town and am thus posting from Sydney, Australia...)

Monday, July 13, 2009

White, white, white... Balloon Flower with Bokeh!

white balloon flower
Still working out how to use extension tubes... this was taken with the middle one of three Kenko tubes and my 70-300mm zoom on my Nikon D90. Don't know if I'll have a chance to post tomorrow or not... packing then off to Australia and New Zealand. Check my vacation blog if you want to follow the trip.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Plumbago Larpentae Blossom...

Plumbago Larpentae
Trying to get the hang of using extension tubes with my 18-105mm lens because I don't want to take my macro lens on my next trip... tricky business but think I'm beginning to get an idea how to make it all work. Must do a bit of post processing and upload this again... too late and too tired to do tonight! (it's a bit darker in the browser than on screen in my photo management software)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Weed or Beauty... In the Eyes of the Beholder... Rose of Sharon...

Pink Rose of Sharon Blossom
Hibiscus syriacus is commonly known as Rose of Sharon in the US. Apparently, we are the only ones who call this bush/tree by that name. When my current next door neighbor moved in to her house, I told her it was a weed but she loves the flowers and has trained it to grow as a tree. I have to admit, I too enjoy the flowers every year.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Butterfly on lovely blossom... unknowns all around...

butterfly on flower
We used to call these butterflies cabbage butterflies... not sure if it was because of their color or because they flitted around the cabbage plants in our garden. I'm not sure of the correct name for them... nor do I recall the name of this lovely little flower. (photo taken in a country club garden after having lunch with a friend)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coneflowers and Lavender... Perfect Partners for Pollen Gatherers...

Lavender and Coneflower
Had a hard time picking a photo from today's batch... to BEE or not to BEE... that was the question... in the end, chose this photo with nary a bee in sight... just love the hints of Lavender blooming in and all around the Coneflowers.

Windblown Impatiens... Focus on White...

pink and white impatiens
Tried something different yesterday (besides forgetting to post a photo)... took photos with plants blowing in the wind... foreground 'bokeh' is caused by the wind... plants in the background are more sheltered and hence not quite so windblown... kind of like the effect!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Rudbeckia... with strings attached! (Black-eyed Susan... Maryland State Flower)

Black-eyed Susan
Once upon a time, these were growing in my garden... they liked it so much that were in the process of taking over everything else so I ripped them out and passed them along to my neighbor. In her yard, they have spread a bit but she is much better at keeping them confined to a smallish area than I ever was. We share a driveway, so I still get to enjoy their blooms every year.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Species Day Lily... not the common kind...

species day lily (orange, double)
Many years ago, before I got interested in other perennials, I decided to try some species day lilies. Unfortunately, all the other varieties I planted didn't make it... and the name of this one is lost in the mists of time passed since I planted it over 20 years ago!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

coneflower blossom
Had a very busy day today... grabbed a flashlight and my camera to get a couple of quick shots in... realize that I could alter the exposure on this with post processing but decided to post as is... minor cropping only.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Blackberry Lily, aka Leopard Lily

Blackberry Lily blossom and buds
From Dave's Garden, I learned that seeds of this plant is poisonous if ingested as are other parts (not defined). Seeds were given to me years ago by a friend and when that clump eventually was lost due to a total garden rearrangement a few years back, I purchased another plant two or three years ago. Despite attempts (unintentional) by others to get rid of it (accidental breakage before blooming, for example), it has bloomed for me every year. Maybe this year I'll be able to spread it by sowing some seed before frost.

Family: Iridaceae (eye-rid-AY-see-ee)
Genus: Belamcanda (bel-am-KAN-duh)
Species: chinensis (chi-NEN-sis)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coreopsis wet with rain... plus ANT!

Coreopsis flower and buds with ant
Rained last night again... just like in Camelot... the rain only comes after sundown (well... at least that was true last night)... makes for lovely captures in the early morning hours. The ant was a bonus!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Helenium 'Mardi Gras' ... soaking wet with rain... and Hoverfly!

Helenium Mardi Gras with hoverfly
Was trying to capture these lovely wet flowers early this morning... the Hoverfly kept flitting into and out of the FOV and here he is roughly in focus in spite of my not even trying to capture him.