Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pink Cattleheart or Transandean Butterfly... December, 2010

pink cattleheart butterfly on Pentas blossom cluster
After quite a bit of "googling" around, I believe I've identified this as Parides iphidamas whose common names are Pink Cattleheart or Transandean. As near as I can tell from having studied several different web sites and images, this is a female of the species.

There seems to be quite a bit of variability in the coloring and markings of this species and I'm by no means an expert! So I trust someone out there will correct me if I've misidentified this one. :-) It is resting on a Pentas blossom cluster... and I do know that Pentas blossoms are a favorite of butterflies everywhere they bloom so have vowed to have more of them in my garden in 2011. (Unfortunately, they are an annual flowering plant and are fairly expensive but I simply must find ways to attract more butterflies to my garden and don't have the room for a butterfly bush!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas baking... a family tradition!

holiday treats
I've been making two of the four cookies pictured here (slightly smaller than actual size) at Christmas time (missing a few years here and there for some reason or another) for over 50 years and others of my family also make these annually. The recipes date back to when my mother discovered some recipe suggestions for Christmas baking, tucked into a bag of Gold Medal flour. She thought a couple of the recipes sounded like fun and would be delicious so we set out to make them.

My mother suffered from eczema and could not do the "hand mixing" that was required of both recipes (in the time before food processors came along). From the time I can remember, I was Mom's kitchen helper, doing most of the chores requiring "hands on" when she could not do those chores. So until my siblings were older and could help, Christmas baking fell to me with Mom assisting with chores that didn't require her to touch the ingredients.

Pictured above are Cherry Coconut Bars, Cream Wafers, Chocolate Truffles, Spiced Pecans and Russian Tea Cakes (or Mexican Wedding Cakes). The Cherry Coconut Bars and Cream Wafers are the two "family" recipes that I've been making off and on ever since I was a young girl... and once I discovered that the "hand mixing" could be done better and more efficiently using a food processor, I've been making them almost every year since. The other items are more recent additions with the Russian Tea Cakes being made for the first time this year.

Recipes for the Cherry Coconut Bars, Cream Wafers, Chocolate Truffles, Spiced Pecans and some other holiday treats not pictured here may be found on my other blog starting with Holiday Baking - Part 1 and I share ALL my secrets for simplifying the recipes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Greetings of the Season... Winter, 2010

collage of (clockwise from top left) Poinsettia, female cardinal, male cardinal, robins in Holly tree (all birds in snow storm)
Here's hoping everyone has a joyous holiday season ... whatever holiday you celebrate! This is my first experiment at creating a photo collage. (next experiment will be to figure out how to make "live links" to allow you, if you are so inclined, to click any one of the images in the collage to show a "full size" of it in a new window)

With thanks to Ginnie of In Soul for the hint to use Picnik to create photo collages. :-)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Three views of a Leopard Lacewing butterfly...

Leopard Lacewing with proboscis curled
It would be very nice if the folks at the American Museum of Natural History would post the names of the butterflies on view in the Butterfly Conservatory. That said, there is a certain satisfaction to be had in poking around on the internet to compare my photos with others out there and to see if I can find an ID on my own... in the case of these three images... mission accomplished! It took the visual guide downloaded from the Pacific Science Center plus a search of Wikipedia for Lacewing to find the common name of Leopard Lacewing and the species name of Cethosia cyane for this beauty.

I captured quite a few images of it trying to find the "sweet spot" for drinking nectar from these tiny Pentas blossoms the one above is during a pause in the action with the proboscis tightly curled up. (and note the ladybug on the leaf below the butterfly... not the point of focus but definitely visible once the image was out of the camera and viewed on a big monitor!)

Leopard Lacewing, wings folded
This view shows the underside of the wings... in this species... the underside is perhaps more beautiful than the top side of the wings.

Top view of Leopard Lacewing
Another topside view... and another miss while trying to find the flower center!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Atlas Moths mating... Do not disturb... Butterfly Conservatory at the National Museum of Natural History`

Atlas Moths mating
I'm a bit laid up with a bum ankle so am posting this as my apology for not visiting your blogs as I'd promised. I hope you all are having a better week than mine has turned out to be after falling yesterday and banging myself up… the sore ankle is making it quite difficult to do much of anything other than lay around! (although I may lay around WITH my laptop this afternoon and see how that goes because it could work to allow me to keep my feet up while on-line via wireless)

The Atlas Moth Attacus atlas) is believed to be the largest species of moth with wing spans that may reach 25–30 cm (10–12 in). We were told by one of the guides at the Conservatory that they mate for hours... they have no mouths so cannot eat... they do nothing except mate, lay eggs and then die. The female is the larger of the species and is mostly hidden behind the male in this close view that shows the lovely, feathery antennae of this species. Refer to Wikipedia for additional information.

I visited the Butterfly Conservatory of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, NY twice to get this picture... the first day we were there, they were mating on a glass window too far away for capturing and I didn't have my macro lens anyway. The next day, they had relocated (maybe it was even a different pair) to a MUCH better location AND I had my macro lens with me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Excuse me... I was here first! Sparrows at my feeder... December, 2010

It's kind of sad that the sparrows have mostly driven away the other birds that used to visit my feeders... and this morning, this feeder was the only one with any seed left in it before I went out to refill all of them. There were at least 30 sparrows sitting in a neighbor's rose bush and taking turns at the feeder... some were more polite than others but mostly it was a feeding frenzy!

I know this isn't the best in terms of sharpness of the image... in addition to the motion of the feeder due to the sparrows fighting over perches, there was a fairly stiff breeze blowing things around.

I'll be mostly off-line for a few days but will visit soon. I'm enjoying comments and promise to return your visits soon if I haven't already!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A trio of Hydrangea images... which one do you prefer?

antique effect on Hydrangea blossoms
I love my Hydrangea blossoms when they are in bud, or bursting into bloom... and even when they are faded at the end of the blooming season. I keep hoping for frost so I can get some images of the faded blossoms kissed by frost.

In the meantime, I use iPhoto on a Macintosh computer for simple editing when I'm too lazy to do anything complicated with Photoshop. I upgraded recently to the very latest version... while poking around to see what new items were available for tweaking images, I discovered "antique" and "boost" effects, both of which were used to give interesting effects to the Hydrangea blossom you see above with the "antique" effect applied. Scroll down to see the SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera) image followed by the image with the "boost" option at 2. I like them all ... which one do you like best?!

unretouched Hydrangea blossom
SOOC image of faded Hydrangea blossom.

Hydrangea blossom with color boost set at level 2 (using iPhoto on a Macintosh).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Late fall visitor to late blooming Blanket Flower... November, 2010

sweat bee in blanket flower
Because I was expecting visitors for Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to go out and do some garden cleanup (dead/dying tomato plants and some other dead growth) so I wouldn't be embarrassed at the condition of my garden. Imagine my surprise to find this charming sweat bee exploring a Blanket Flower in search of pollen.

The weather has finally turned colder so I doubt I'll have any more opportunities to photograph insects in my garden until spring!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two Confused Camellia blossoms for your viewing pleasure...

white camellia with a touch of pink
This time of year, thoughts turn to the weather because the garden goes dormant and we have to wait until spring for color in the garden. BUT, our weather this fall has been unseasonably warm and my spring blooming Camellia has decided to bloom now instead of waiting until spring. It's quite lovely with white, bi-color pink and white (as you see here with just a splash of pink, but sometimes much more pink than white) and even a few solid pinks now and then. I fear this means I'll have no blossoms in spring so I've been out photographing a few this past week to have the images to enjoy now and again in spring.

pink camellia with a touch of white
I don't normally post two images but as I was typing the above image caption, I realized maybe you'd like to see the mostly pink blossom as well as the white and I have WAY more images than I have time to post them! The pink image is a touch out of focus because those blossoms are in a spot where I have to balance precariously in order to photograph them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A life well lived... portrait of a great lady!

lady in red
Since I'm not real sure I should be posting full names here... I will just tell you that this image is a candid photo of a friend's mother, whom I met this past week. She is here visiting her son who hosted us and some other friends to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday. She is an amazing woman at 99 years young... friends in her home town of Memphis have told her that they didn't celebrate her 99th birthday because they plan a big party for her 100th! There is an article available if you would like to read more about her.

In the meantime, I don't normally post images of people and almost never take "posed" pictures... but this struck me because her dress almost perfectly matches the chair and I love the attentive look on her face as she is paying close attention to the lively conversation and chiming in often!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Balloon Flower Stigma... floating above rain water... Summer, 2010

balloon flower stigma
This is for Ginnie... along with a bit of a story. Earlier this month, I posted an image that shows an entire Balloon Flower blossom. And Ginnie left a comment about knowing who to come to if she needed help learning how to use her macro lens... so this is for her.

When the flowers turn their faces up, their "bells" catch water when it rains. I snapped this image after heavy overnight rains using extension tubes along with my macro lens. I think I used the 36mm Kenko extension tube with my Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 lens on a Nikon D90 body for this shot. ((I really MUST start taking notes... the other possibility would have been with the 12mm AND 20mm Kenko extension tubes together instead of the 36mm tube.) Using extension tubes allows for really tight focus on a very little bit of the field of view... leaving the rest as a dreamy wash of color. The stigma is about 1 cm (3/8 inch) in diameter.

Oh... before I forget... Ginnie is someone I'm getting to know through her marvelous blog... you should check it out!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Yarrow blossoms... shallow depth of field... Summer, 2010

yarrow blossoms with bokeh
I think I've mentioned before that I've been experimenting with extension tubes when shooting some of my flower images. One thing about using extension tubes is that there is less light coming in to the camera compared to using the same lens without any extension tubes. (Stick with me, I don't speak "technical" when I talk about shooting pictures!)

Shooting with the aperture wide open results in the very shallow depth of field you see here. (The alternative is to use flash which isn't something I like to do when shooting flowers in a natural setting.) Yarrow is a perfect candidate for shooting with extension tubes because the cluster of tiny blossoms is nearly all in the same plane, making it easy to get a nice sharp image of the flowers with everything else "fuzzed" into the background bokeh.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Round Two Image for Photography Slam competition...

Mammoth Hot Springs
The previous five posts qualified me for the Final Round in the Photo Slam competition described in this post. This image, entitled Mammoth Hot Springs... surreal landscape of the travertine terraces... is the one I chose for the final round where we were judged on a single image. Some of you may recall having seen it before when I posted it over a year ago after our September, 2009 trip out west.

The top three contestants in the photo slam will be featured in a gallery show at Glen Echo Park in November, 2011. I will definitely post more about that as the time draws near.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fifth of Five in Round One Portfolio for Photography Slam competition...

hoverfly on blue flower
As I've been typing the titles for these images, I cannot help but think of Star Trek: Voyager and Seven of Nine (the Borg character played by Jeri Ryan). (OK ... so I like sci-fi on television... but I like to read sci-fi too!)

Anyway, this imge, Tiny dancer..., is of a hoverfly on a balloon flower petal and is the last of the images in my winning first round portfolio in the contest described in an earlier post.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fourth of Five in Round One Portfolio for Photography Slam competition...

raindrops on Hydrangea blossoms
This image, entitled Hydrangea wet with raindrops... is one from a year or more ago that somehow never got posted here. It is the fourth of five included in my winning first round portfolio in the contest described in an earlier post.

And I'm still floating on a cloud for having done so well in the contest... placing in the top three means that some of my photographic images will be in a gallery show during FotoWeek DC 2011 (about a year from now).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Third of Five in Round One Portfolio for Photography Slam competition...

bumblebee in coneflower
This image, entitled Bumblebee in Coneflower... may be a repeat of a post from 2009... but I'm sharing it anyway because it is one of the ones included in my winning portfolio in the contest described in an earlier post.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Second of Five in Round One Portfolio for Photography Slam competition...

pink rose macro
Pink Petal Perfection... dew kissed... is the second of five images from the round one portfolio entered in the Photography Slam competition run by Photoworks (a photography resource and education center based at Glen Echo Park) as part of FotoWeek DC 2010 (an annual photography event in Washington, DC).

I'm quite excited about having taken second place in a field of 40 photographers entered and will be posting the images here over the next few days. The prize for the top three entrants is participation in a gallery show at Photoworks during Foto Week 2011 (about one year from now).

If you have ever been to a poetry slam competition, you might guess that a Photography Slam is modeled after a poetry slam... The forty entrants were judged in 4 rounds of 10 photographers each with the top three in each round advancing to the final round. Audience participation was encouraged as well as bribing of the three judges (tongue in cheek). It was an exciting evening and I was thrilled to do so well.

Photography Slam 2010 Results... Second Place in a field of 40!

hoverflies on a wildflower
Sharing..., three hoverflies on a wildflower, is the first of five images from my round one portfolio. With apologies to those of you who know this already and are probably bored by the news... I'm quite excited about having taken second place in a field of 40 photographers entered and will be posting the images here over the next few days.

If you have ever been to a poetry slam competition, you might guess that a Photography Slam is modeled after a poetry slam... As part of FotoWeek DC 2010 (an annual photography event in Washington, DC), Photoworks (a photography resource and education center based at Glen Echo Park), sponsored a Photography Slam competition.

Photographers entered a total of six images; five images made up a portfolio for the first stage of the competition. The images were projected and judged in four rounds of 10 entrants in each round. The top three entrants from each round advanced to the second round where one image alone was judged against the other finalists. My portfolio of five macro images took second place in the second round and advanced to the finals where my Mammoth Hot Springs image impressed the judges enough to give me second place overall. (missed first place by 0.6 point) The prize for each of the three winning contestants is participation in a gallery show at Photoworks during Foto Week 2011!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

African Daisies... backlit and beautiful after the rain...

purple african daisy flowers
Last year, I had three different varieties of these in my garden. They are described as tender perennials in our area... but they did not survive the winter of "Snowmageddon" or "Snowpocalypse" as many in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area referred to our record breaking winter of snow in 2009/2010. This year, I bought one plant LATE in the season and planted it in one of the flower boxes on my deck (which is where this picture was taken). One day I went out to see how it was doing and found it on the ground, dead! I'm pretty sure it was done in by one of the rascally squirrels who had been digging in my flower boxes earlier in the summer. At least I got this one image before the plant was so brutally mistreated!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wild Clematis, beautiful garden volunteer or weed? Flowers are lovely...

white wild clematis blossoms
This wild Clematis, botanical name Clematis vitalba, is a garden volunteer and was growing in a very weird spot when I first moved into my home almost 30 years ago. I kept it because of the beautiful fragrance when the tiny flowers burst into bloom in late summer. After a while, I finally had someone dig it up and move it into a better spot and now train it to climb a trellis and provide a lovely show every year!

While searching for the botanical name of this plant, I found an article explaining that this plant is not native to North America, is extremely invasive, and is therefore considered a weed!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yoda... Bumble-bee in Plumbago larpentae... October, 2010

bumble-bee in Plumbago
The rear view image of this fat bumble-bee, wings upraised, immediately brought to mind Yoda, from the Star Wars movies, when I saw it appear on my computer monitor after uploading it. I hope this sight amuses you as much as it did me and that you are having a wonderful weekend wherever you are! (The very next image I tried to capture had no bumble-bee because he had taken flight.)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Platycodon grandiflorus is still blooming in mid-October, 2010

balloon flower
I love everything about these flowers EXCEPT for the need to deadhead them if you don't want them to overtake the entire garden! They spread everywhere because I'm lazy about trimming the spent blossoms before they have gone to seed. Common names for this member of the Campanulaceae family include Balloon Flower, Chinese Bellflower and Japanese Bellflower.

If one DOES remember to cut them back once in awhile, they will continue to bloom into October and some of mine were blooming in the first week of November!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Something different for today... a view of fall colors from the inside looking out... November 1, 2010

fall colors through a window
Sometimes I post the month and year... sometimes the entire date that an image was taken. It all depends on my mood at the time... so don't be confused if the post date is different from the date in the title of an image!

This is one of the images from a photo shoot during a class given by David Luria, founder and director of Washington Photo Safari. We were "on location" at Strathmore and spent time in the classroom i the Mansion and then on the grounds experimenting with various techniques, looking for the best light and angles for our images. The rest of the images I like best from that outing may be viewed in less than a minute as a slide show. I didn't include the macro images that I took in the slide show but will add at least one of those to this blog in the next few days. (For readers not familiar with Strathmore, check the link and remember for any time you visit the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area in the US... the Strathmore Music Center is a premier place for hearing marvelous music (fantastic acoustics) so keep it in mind in case you ever have the opportunity to hear music there.)

David had many excellent suggestions which we tried to follow in capturing our images... it's always nice to learn new things and be reminded of things once known from years of shooting with my first REAL camera which was a Nikon DSLR with a metal body. I loved that camera (cannot recall the exact model number) which I used for 12 years before it and all my lenses were stolen from the house into which I moved in 1981!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mr. Bumblebee having a chat with a Spotted Cucumber Beetle in Basil... October, 2010

bumblebee and beetle in basil
I first saw a Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) in my Korean Chrysanthemum 'Apricot' blossoms last year... they seem to enjoy flowers and munching on their petals quite a bit! Imagine my surprise, though, to discover one in my Basil while trying to get up close and personal to a Bumblebee! The imagined conversation goes something like this (from bumblebee to beetle): "Hey Beetle... what are you doing in MY Basil?!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pentas lanceolata... revisited after the cluster had fully opened...

Pentas cluster in full bloom
The previous post showed a single blossom in a Pentas cluster with the rest still in bud... a few days later... after a rainy night... this is what the plant blossom looks like. Enjoy!

I'll try to remember to occasionally publish the shooting information but generally shoot all my macro images with aperture priority, adjusting ISO to allow me to shoot with a fast enough shutter speed (in the case of shooting insects) to prevent motion blur and to give an F stop that gives me the desired DOF. I'm not a super geeky photographer and can never remember from one time to the next what I was shooting so always have to rely on pulling up the EXIF data after the fact.

My equipment includes a Nikon D90 with a 105mm VR Nikkor lens for the macros and Kenko extension tubes when I want to get super close. I'll try to remember to tag/label when I use extension tubes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pentas lanceolata... also known as Egyptian Star Cluster or Star Flower... Summer, 2010

pink Pentas blossom
Pentas lanceolata is not winter hardy in our zone so this is the first year that I've tried it in my garden. Apparently, butterflies and bees as well as hummingbirds LOVE this plant... but I cannot vouch for that since I planted it in an area of my garden that is surrounded by Plumbago larpentae ground cover which has blue blossoms that are a real attractant for all manner of pollen gathering insects. Perhaps next year, I should plant more of this in a different area of my garden... and also plant different colors since pink is not one of my favorites! However, this tiny, perfect, first blossom caught my eye... later on... the entire cluster of tiny buds opened for a very nice display!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Skipper Butterfly series... From my garden... 2010

Earlier (just a few seconds ago) I published a sunrise post from a camping weekend in Virginia. Since I'm SO far behind posting to my blog, I'm going to include a series of shots of a Skipper butterfly drinking from one of the many flowers of my rampant Plumbago larpentae ground cover in this post. When viewed in the order in which they were taken, they sort of tell a story. Here he is drinking nectar...
skipper drinking nectar from flower blossom
There simply MUST be more nectar all the way at the bottom of this flower!
face planted in flower blossom
Well, I think I got ALL the nectar there is here so it's time to stop drinking from this flower...
skipper pulling out of flower
And it's time to move on to the next flower...
skipper finished getting nectar from flower blossom

Early morning rising has its benefits... Sunrise at Douthat State Park, Virginia... September, 2010

As always, I have good intentions to post an image a day... but somehow that just doesn't happen. For today... I'm going to post several to catch up with some of the backlog.

sunrise over Douthat Lake
First a sunrise from a camping weekend at Douthat State Park, Virginia in September.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A sure sign that fall is on the way... and now it is here!

Coneflower blossom fading away
Once again, I seem to have fallen WAY BEHIND on posting here... not sure why but things do seem to get in my way. This Coneflower image is from the end of July when our unusually hot summer had taken its toll on my garden... causing the Echinacea to finish blooming earlier than usual. This fading blossom struck me as photo ready so here you see it!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Something different for today... wild horse from the Pryor Mountains... Spring 2010

wild horse close-up
The Pryor Mountains, which span the Wyoming/Montana border, are home to a herd of wild horses. Although I grew up in Wyoming and Montana and have visited numerous times since heading east years ago to attend college (and staying after that until the present date), until this past June, I'd never visited the wild horse preserve. Now that we visit annually due to our ownership of a house in nearby Red Lodge, Montana, I spent a day with a high school classmate (an accomplished photographer) searching out the horses and photographing them. This is just one of the many images from our adventure... and I'm quite proud of it!

Friday, August 27, 2010

A dreamy image of tiny flowers... Summer, 2010

Plumbago larpentae blossoms
Another extension tube experiment... these are Plumbago larpentae blossoms... it is a lovely ground cover that, once established, may spread to areas where you'd rather not have it! BUT, the fairly shallow root system allows for easy removal. The tiny blossoms are about 20 mm in diameter and appear starting in mid to late July and continue their display well into late fall. (every year, I swear I'm going to note when it starts to bloom but time has a way of getting away from me rather easily)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bumblebee on Blanket Flower... Summer, 2010

bumblebee in blanket flower
I've been experimenting with extension tubes paired with my 105mm macro lens. The trick is to follow bugs and snap a shot without using a tripod... hand holding a heavy lens with the added extension tube(s) is quite tricky but every now and then I get lucky! Hope you enjoy viewing this image... I was sure happy to see it once I got it onto my computer.

Update on Spam jerk who keeps trying to post comments on my blog: Blogspot finally has it set up so we can flag jerks such as this one by clicking the "Mark as spam" link in the message received when comment moderation is turned on. And I've followed up on a few of the reports I made by trying to find the jerk and his account generally disappears in short order. So I'll keep clicking the "Mark as spam" links and MAYBE one day he's going to give up completely.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dawn's Early Light on a Field of Sunflowers, July 2010

early morning light on a field of sunflowers
Rising early in the morning has its benefits. This image is another one from a photography workshop given by Blue Ridge Workshops on July 11, 2010. If you are in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area and interested in a truly marvelous early morning workshop, this is given every year in July and well worth the money!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hoverfly on Sunflower Petal... July, 2010

hoverfly on sunflower
Another image from the Sunflower Workshop given by Blue Ridge Workshops on July 11, 2010. If you are in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area and are not averse to being an early riser, I recommend this workshop for the excellent advice you will be given and the many opportunities for spectacular pictures as the light changes throughout the morning. The workshop is given annually in July.

Although I could have cropped this image closer to concentrate more attention on the hoverfly, I like the bright yellow of the petals against the dark background bokeh and am rather pleased with how this turned out.

ATTENTION fellow bloggers who are getting spammed by the person unknown who repeatedly tries to post comments with embedded links to multiple undesirable sites. I hope you have already turned on comment moderation for your blog so that you don't get these nasty comments showing up for others to see. This morning, I discovered that clicking the link that includes, in part, takes you to the jerk's profile. IF he has a blog listed, then click the link to the blog (nothing will be on it, he changes ID over and over and over again) and then click the "Report Abuse" link at the top of the page to report him. (The link to click is the first link IN the email you get asking if you want to Publish or Reject (yes REJECT) the comment from this jerk.)

Google is aware of this jerk and repeatedly deletes his Google accounts and all pages associated with him... he just comes back in another guise and continues his naughty ways.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunflower blossom... not yet opened... Summer, 2010

sunflower blossom beginning to open
It's been awhile since I've posted here... partly because of travel and generally being quite busy otherwise... also because of frustration with the nasty troll who keeps trying to post inappropriate comments on my images (has already tried a dozen times or more on the previous image). Guess he keeps hoping I might slip up and approve one of his tedious comments once in awhile... NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

Meanwhile, this image is from a photo workshop led by Blue Ridge Workshops... held Sunday July 11, 2010 in a field of sunflowers near where I live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. We were at the field shortly after 5 AM to take advantage of the early morning light. I learned a LOT and have WAY TOO MANY Sunflower images to post here without boring you all to tears. (all 23 of my somewhat regular followers plus whoever else shows up from time to time) I particularly like this one for the graceful way the bloom is starting to unfurl.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mr. Froggy with plenty of 'thyme' for sunning himself... Spring, 2010

frog sunning himself in thyme
Visited my brother and family in Easton, Pennsylvania over Memorial Day weekend... Robin has a lovely pond in his garden and Mr. Froggy is just one of the residents. He could be heard more often than he was seen but I did manage a few photos of him sunning himself in the bed of thyme planted near the edge of the pond.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Extension tube experiment... Orange Gazania center... Spring, 2010

orange gazania center
Must confess to being a bit discouraged about posting here as a rather NASTY troll has been attempting to post comments on EVERY image I post. (each comment he posts is filled with links to MANY pornographic sites) I do have comment approval turned on so nothing makes it to public view but it's extremely discouraging to post and then get a porn filled comment after doing so!

That said, I've been experimenting with using extension tubes and my 18-55mm Nikon lens to see if I can get adept at the combination in order to get macros without lugging my HEAVY 105mm Nikkor macro lens when traveling. Think I'm FINALLY getting the hang of it and realize that I simply MUST use my tripod in order to reduce blurring that occurs when shooting with extension tubes. Meantime, here's an image taken today that, in spite of blurring, I rather like and hope you enjoy too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Forget-Me-Not... the real thing! Spring, 2010

A little over a month ago, I posted an image of False Forget-Me-Not that had been photographed in my garden. A couple of weeks later, I happened to be touring a lovely garden nearby and found she had planted "true" Forget-Me-Not. If you scroll down the page, you'll be able to see the earlier post (assuming you see this shortly after I publish it) and will maybe note the difference between the two plants... the most significant difference is the white (False Forget-Me-Not) central feature vs. the yellow (true Forget-Me-Not). I don't know what caused the brown spotting on some of the petals of this plant but that is not normal.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fading glory... gorgeous tulip in a showcase garden... Spring 2010

multicolor tulip blossom
Seems that spring has overwhelmed me with gorgeous color and I've been so busy looking at images that I've not found time to post... this is from a few days ago when I visited a showcase garden in our area. The owner opens her gloriously landscaped garden to the public once a year in spring. Spotted this beautiful tulip as the blooms were on their way to being done for this year... hope you enjoy seeing this as much as I enjoyed capturing the image.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Queen's Wreath Vine in Amonoka Villa gardens, St. Croix, USVI

purple tropical flower
Petrea volubilis (Queen's Wreath, Sanpaper Vine)is a high-climbing vine with rough surfaced dark green leaves and clusters of lavender-blue or white flowers. From a posting on Flickr, I learned the name of this plant and that it produces graceful clusters of short-lived purple (or white flowers) enclosed by much longer-lived purple or violet calces.

The tiny flower that appears to have been sunburned about the edges falls off quite easily and led to one of the funniest things I've seen in nature... As I was focusing with my camera on one of the tiny blossoms that had fallen onto a leaf, a bee decided to visit in search of pollen (or nectar) and landed on the fallen flower... at which point... both flower and bee tumbled off the leaf!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Oleander? ... Don't know my tropical flowers very well!

tropical flower blossom
This is blooming right outside the door to our villa in St. Croix. We also have bougainvillea, lantana (I think) and numerous other tropical plants on the grounds of our villa. We're here for a nephew's wedding and spending some time with family.