Tag Archives: Photography

Sunday Morning in My Yard

Sunday yard header

All is peaceful, as it should be on an early Sunday morning.  Sam, the son, is off on a 10 mile hike with his Boy Scout troop.  Emma, the 14 year old tempest, is still up in her room and will not emerge until the morning has faded.

I wandered out to the yard and was loving the light, as it peeked over the canyon rim and through the eucalyptus leaves into my yard.  I went back in for my camera, and with my trusty cats at my side, I took photos of anything that caught my eye.  Enjoy a sunny, but chilly (for us!) January morning in San Diego.

The view into the canyon from my yard.  We have had recent rains, which accounts for all the green!

The view into the canyon from my yard. We have had recent rains, which accounts for all the green!  The hint of red on the right are leaves on a laurel sumac.

My companions this morning.  Bella is 18 and very creaky, so she likes to find a sunny spot to sit in so she can warm up her old bones.  Julius, is a male in the prime of his life.  He is lord of all he surveys, from on top of his tree stump with a funny face nailed to it.  I guess we should maybe rethink his throne decoration.

My companions this morning. Bella is 18 and very creaky, so she likes to find a sunny spot to sit in so she can warm up her old bones. Julius is a male in the prime of his life. He is lord of all he surveys, from on top of his tree stump with a funny face nailed to it. I guess we should maybe rethink his throne decoration.

A riot of reds.  A Chinese lantern, geranium, and two amaryllis.

A riot of reds. A Chinese lantern, geranium, and two amaryllis.

In the winter my succulents come into bloom.  On the left, aloe, on the right, jade.

In the winter my succulents come into bloom. On the left, aloe, on the right, jade.

A fairy, a superhero, and a glorious trophy lady all soak up the morning sun.

A fairy, a superhero, and a glorious trophy lady all soak up the morning sun.

Birds getting breakfast.  Birds are very practical creatures.  If your feeders are empty, they do not grace your backyard with their presence.  I like to give them imaginary dialogue.  "WTF lady, where's the friggin' food."

Birds getting breakfast. Birds are very practical creatures. If your feeders are empty, they do not grace your backyard with their presence. I like to give them imaginary dialogue when they show up and I have let them down. “WTF lady, where’s the friggin’ food?”

Sunlight through leaves.  Just think of all the frenetic biochemistry going on in there, as chloroplasts work the miracle of turning sunlight into sugars.  Without those little green guys, we could not exist.  And green leaves make such pretty pictures!~

Sunlight on leaves. Just think of all the frenetic biochemistry going on in there, as chloroplasts work the miracle of turning sunlight into sugars. Without those little green guys, we could not exist. And green leaves make such pretty pictures!

Burro tails and century plant leaves with water drops.  And my preacher pig, who is unfortunately getting covered in bird poop due to his proximity to the feeder.  I guess it is just his cross to bear...

Burro tails and century plant leaves covered with water drops. And my preacher pig, who is unfortunately getting covered in bird poop due to his proximity to the feeder. I guess it is just his cross to bear…

Some random photos.  A pot of plants that are coming up, but I can't remember what I planted.  Some kind of flower, or maybe catnip?  One of our little houses from the outdoor village, that is now sporting a jade plant.  The houses weren't supposed to be outdoors, and they are decaying in a very attractive fashion.   Finally, the baby's toes blooming.  Kind of a gruesome name for a plant, IMHO.  There is a seaweed called Dead Man's Fingers also.  Accurate, descriptive, but yucky.

Some random photos. A pot of plants that are coming up, but I can’t remember what I planted. Some kind of flower, or maybe catnip? One of our little houses from the outdoor village, that is now sporting a jade plant. The houses weren’t supposed to be outdoors, and they are decaying in a very attractive fashion. Finally, blooming baby’s toes. Kind of a gruesome name for a plant, IMHO. There is a seaweed called Dead Man’s Fingers also. Accurate, descriptive, but yucky.

Let's finish up with some more floral gorgeousness.  Cyclamen (one of my favorites) and yet another picture of the ridiculously photogenic amaryllis that my friend Lori gave me.  Thank you Lori!

Let’s finish up with some more floral gorgeousness. Cyclamen (one of my favorites) and yet another picture of the ridiculously photogenic amaryllis that my friend Lori gave me. Thank you Lori!

Hope you enjoyed your Sunday in San Diego.  Winter break is almost over, time to get back to work and school.  Relish these last few hours of relaxation.

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Beach Tableau: Kite and Kelp, Stones and Sea Foam

Beach header

December 26th, 2014.  San Diego, California.  A spectacular winter day in southern California.  Recent rains have scrubbed the sky and land clean, and the afternoon sunshine glazes everything with a bright, clear, yellow light.  Seeking fresh ocean breezes, we pack up the kids and head to a local beach.  Some moments from a few hours at at Torrey Pines.

The beaches in North County don't have as much sand over the winter, and instead are covered with beautiful smooth stones of all colors and sizes.  The waves make a wonderful shhhshing sound as they pull back and roll the rocks with them.

The beaches in North County don’t have as much sand over the winter, and instead are covered with beautiful smooth stones of all colors and sizes. The waves make a wonderful shhhshing sound as they pull back and roll the rocks with them.

Emma always brings a bag to the beach to collect stones and shells.  We are never disappointed with the discoveries we make.

Emma always brings a bag to the beach to collect stones and shells. We are never disappointed with the discoveries we make.

Sam found a clear stone the size of a small egg, Emma found a piece of green sea glass.

Sam found a clear stone the size of a small egg, Emma found a piece of green sea glass.

Sea foam left by the ocean waves collects on rocks, where it slowly dissolves, or is washed away by the next wave.

Sea foam left by the ocean waves collects on rocks, where it slowly dissolves, or is washed away by the next wave.

Sam takes a break from hunting to fly his kite.

Sam takes a break from hunting to fly his kite.

Kite is waggling in the sky, in front of the coast highway bridge.

Kite is waggling in the sky, in front of the coast highway bridge.

Not too much kelp on the beach, but a few of the small leaf floats were artfully arranged on the sand and rocks.  Below is a large piece of kelp, the squiggly structure in the front is the hold fast, which the kelp uses to anchor itself to the ocean floor.

Not too much kelp on the beach, but a few of the small leaf floats were artfully arranged on the sand and rocks. Bottom right is a large piece of kelp; the squiggly structure in the front is the hold fast, which the kelp uses to anchor itself to the ocean floor.

Emma's foot prints in the sand.  The sand on the northern beaches has a fair bit of black mixed in, which makes for beautiful swirling patterns.

Emma’s foot prints in the sand. The sand on the northern beaches has a fair bit of black mixed in, which makes for beautiful swirling patterns.

Heading home.  A quality afternoon's endeavor.

Heading home after a quality afternoon endeavor.

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Are Sunset Photos Cliche?

Sunset.header

I like to do a post on photos every now and then, since those who know me know I like to take photos.  A lot of photos.  So I trolled through my stuff and found many pics I have snapped over the years.  Then I went to BrainyQuotes to find a nice quote to start my post.  I saw this one from Carlos Santana, and I thought “Perfect, he grew up on the West Coast!”

Santana Quote

And then I saw this one by Catherine Opie, and she made me feel bad.

Obie quote

“Catherine Opie who?”, you may ask, as I did.  Well, she is a professor of photography at UCLA, had a show at the Guggenheim, etc, etc.  She specializes in documentary photography, which I guess is not cliche.  Probably it’s chic and important.  But, however banal, lackluster, hackneyed, derivative, and trite it may be, I am forging ahead!  Because who doesn’t like an awesome sunset photo, dammit!  Besides Catherine Opie that is.

Gualala, CA

Gualala, CA

Sunset.Gualala.Big.Sun

Gualala, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

Sunset.Shore birds

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

Anza Borrego Desert, CA

Anza Borrego Desert, CA

Near Zion, Utah

Near Zion, Utah

Racine, Wi

Racine, WI

Western PA

Western PA

Classic!  Photo of your kids in front of a sunset so beautiful it looks fake.

Classic! Photo of your kids in front of a sunset so beautiful it looks fake.

 

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Summer Photos from My Yard

It seems like every time I walk outside into my yard these days, I walk right back inside…to get my camera.  Most of the pictures in this post are recent, though a few are from previous years.  I haven’t had a chance to share them until now.  The photo of the praying mantis is pretty cool…

See, I told you it was cool!

See, I told you it was cool!

A busy bee visiting the milkweed.

A busy bee visiting the milkweed.

A blue dragonfly on Buddha's bald spot.

A blue dragonfly on Buddha’s bald spot.

Rock purlsane, aloe, and zinnia flowers.

Rock purslane, aloe, and zinnia flowers.

My favorite orange hibiscus.

My favorite orange hibiscus.

Sunny, sunny sunflower.

Sunny, sunny sunflowers.

A big, fat raccoon who invaded our yard to binge on grapes a few years back.

A big, fat raccoon who invaded our yard to binge on grapes a few years back.

Monarch chrysalis tryptych.  The crysalises get darker as the butterfly inside gets ready to hatch.

Monarch chrysalis triptych. The chrysalises get darker as the butterfly inside gets ready to hatch.  I can’t decide if it looks like an alien waiting to attack, or Batman waiting to save the day.

Soon we will have home grown cherry tomatoes.

Soon we will have home grown cherry tomatoes.

A grasshopper, taking a break from eating my tomato plant.

A grasshopper, taking a break from eating my tomato plant.

Spiders we call "Writing Spiders", because they have squiggles in their webs.

Spiders we call “Writing Spiders”, because they have squiggles in their webs.

A dove.  WHO WOO HOO HOO...

A dove. WHO WOO HOO HOO…

A newly hatch Monarch  butterfly.  The colors and pattern were so crisp and intense.

A newly hatched Monarch butterfly. The remnant of its cocoon is hanging underneath the pot lip on the upper right.  The colors and patterns on the wings and body were so crisp and intense.

Monarch caterpillar on the left, Swallowtail on the right.

Monarch caterpillar on the left, Swallowtail on the right.

And finally, Julius hiding behind the milkweed, waiting for the dove to come off of the fence so he can pounce!

And finally, Julius hiding behind the milkweed, waiting for the dove to come off of the fence so he can pounce!

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Beautiful Spring Flowers Galore!

Many many beautiful flowers are blooming in my yard and in the local canyons here in San Diego.  I’ve been taking photos, lots and lots of photos.  Enjoy!

Canyon Plants

Flowering California Buckwheat

California Buckwheat

Purple Straw Flower

Purple Straw Flower or Purple Statice

Thistle, I think.

Thistle

White Sage

White Sage

Toyon

Toyon

Coastal Goldenbush

Coastal Goldenbush

Deerweed

Deerweed

California Aster

California Aster

California Wild Rose Hip

California Wild Rose Hip (not a flower, but a former flower…)

California Fuchsia

California Fuchsia

Bushmallow

Bushmallow

Backyard Plants

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Another Hibiscus close up

Another Hibiscus close up

Flame and Yellow Milkweed

Flame and Yellow Milkweed

Jasmine

Jasmine

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Butterfly bush

Butterfly bush

Red Geranium

Red Geranium

Succulent purple flower

Rock Purslane

Squashed up Pumkin flower

Squashed up Pumkin flower

Pumpkin flower

Pumpkin flower that looks like a starfish

Orchid

Orchid

Cactus orchis

Cactus Orchid

Close up of Cactus Orchid

Close up of Cactus Orchid

Bouganvillea

Bougainvilla

Blue Flowers

Blue Flowers – Can’t remember what these are!

Iris?

Amaryllis

 

 

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A Day Spent at Chanticleer Gardens

Chanticleer blog header

Five years ago when we were visiting relatives in Philadelphia, we visited Chanticleer Gardens, which are about 30 minutes outside the city (www.chanticleergarden.org).  The gardens were originally the Rosengarten estate, which was built 100 years ago, and were turned into public gardens 20 years ago.

To say that Chanticleer Gardens are stunning is an understatement.  We went in the spring, and though it was an overcast day, everything was bursting with color and spring vigor.  The trees, flowers, and plants were all pulsing with life.  The gardens are also sprinkled with sculpture and other whimsical art, which made exploring them with three kids terrifically fun.  So let’s head in, but first, meet our cast.

Sam, Emma, and Max

Sam, Emma, and Max.

And now, off we go…

Flowering trees.

Flowering trees.

Purple flowers

Grape Hyacinth.  What an amazing color.

The big head with a little girl.

The big head with a little girl.

Running down the green carpet.

Running down the green carpet.

Let's explore the fountain!

Let’s explore the fountain!

Exploring the fountain

Yellow trillum

Yellow trillum

Fun around the stream.

Fun around the stream.

Emma in the ferns.

Emma in the ferns.

Finding treasure.

Finding treasure.

Low red tulip (I think!).

Low red tulip (I think!).

On the couch with Dad.  There's even a stone remote!

On the couch with Dad. There’s even a stone remote!

Relaxing on wooden chairs with Mom.  A little more comfy.

Relaxing on wooden chairs with Mom. A little more comfy.

That was our day in Chanticleer gardens.  If you are in Philly and have some time, they are well worth a visit.

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Big Trees, Big Snow, Big Fun, Big Bear

Mountains.carSam took this out of the car window on our way up into the San Bernardino Mountains to the village of Big Bear.  It is a very calm photo, which belies the fact that I was trying to micromanage my 10 year old son to take a photo at twilight through a car window while I was driving up a winding road near what was the end of a 7,000 foot elevation gain to a mountain ski village.  It was breathtaking to meander up that mountain at sunset, the snow and pine covered peaks in the foreground, the far away lower peaks varying degrees of misty blue in the distance.  Sam missed that photo, but I have it in my mind.  Absolutely beautiful.

Andrew worked his usual magic and found us a nice cabin near the village center.  The perfect size for the four of us, a yard for the kids to play around in the snow, a ten minute pleasant walk to the Copper Q for coffee and pastries in the morning, but by far the best thing about it was that across the street, about 50 feet from the front door, was an incredible sledding run.

Our kids are San Diego kids, and therefore are crazy for snow.  I grew up in Wisconsin, Andrew in Philly.  We grew up in the snow, and speaking for myself, I don’t have a very romantic view of the white stuff.  Our kids think of snow and they imagine Calvin and Hobbes rocketing down a perfect hillside on a perfect winter’s day on their perfect sled.  Well ladies and gentleman, this snow run we went down was pretty darn close to perfection.

It is actually an access road for forest rangers, and has the imaginative name of “Forest Ranger Road.”  But what it basically is is a groomed sledding hill.  It wanders up a hillside, has flattened snow and a defined route delineated by the edge of the road, and is incredibly scenic with tall pines, blue sky, and a view of Big Bear Lake from the top.  If you walk up for 5 to 10 minutes (the time depends on how much whining you do, and how many times you collapse, exhausted, into the snow on the side of the road), you are rewarded with a screaming run down on your sled of about 2 minutes.  Totally fun, and once Sam and Emma learned to steer with their hands and feet they had a cracking good time!

Of course I took photos of the kids sledding and playing in the snow, along with photos of trees, buildings, and whatever else took my fancy.  Kid photos are first, arty photos at the end.

Snow Play

Sam tossing snow.

Sam tossing snow.

Sam sledding.

Sam sledding.

Emma sledding.

Emma sledding.

Mom on her sled.

Mom on her sled.

Two kids, two sleds, one big tree.

Two kids, two sleds, one big tree.

Sammy snow angel.

Sammy snow angel.

Emma and her snowman.

Emma and her snowman.

Trudging up the hill...

Trudging up the hill…

Em+Dad

Emma and Dad on the amazing sledding run.

Near the top, lake in the background

Near the top, lake in the background

Snow balls, snow shovel, snow man, snow lovers.

Snow balls, snow shovel, snow man, snow lovers.

Sledding in the yard.

Sledding in the yard.

Sam and the snowball maker.

Sam and the snowball maker.

To tired to go on...leave us here...save yourself...

Too tired to go on…leave us here…save yourself…

Our Cabin

Emma on the lit up stairs leading down to our cabin.

Emma on the lit up stairs leading down to our cabin.

Hanging out after a fun day outside.

Hanging out after a fun day outside.

Sam in front of our cabin.

Sam in front of our cabin.

Buildings and Trees

Tree.base

Snowy hillside.

Snowy hillside.

Jeffrey Pine.

Jeffrey Pine.

I want wallpaper made from Jeffery Pine bark.

I want wallpaper made from Jeffery Pine bark.

White birch, blue sky.

White birch, blue sky.

Another picture of a pine tree, because I can't stop myself.

Another picture of a pine tree, because I can’t stop myself.

Abandoned cabin, snowy roof.

Abandoned cabin, snowy roof.

Front of barn.

Front of barn.

Pine cones on the ground.

Pine cone on the ground.

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