Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31 photo of the day

Life is. Need I say more? Rainier cherries (sometimes called Queen Anne cherries) are a special treat in the Northwest in the summer. Nature's candy and no cherry juice stains. Time to savor what's in the bowl.

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 30 photo of the day

The end of July and early August is Lughnasadh - Gaelic harvest festival and celebrated in ancient times as the festival of the Celtic god Lugh. It is the beginning of the harvest season, time for ripened berries, and the turning of the season wheel toward autumn. It is one of the fire festivals, celebrated with dancing around the fire and maybe jumping over it.

Here is a contrast from a Lughnasadh celebration at my house in 2005 and a foggy morning crossing the Nisqually delta headed for work. The art piece on the fence is by Phoenix artist Joe Ray.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29 photo of the day

All of my friends have posed for photographs, some as snapshots, others as portraits. For still others, I'll say "wait! Don't move!" I have very tolerant friends. My friend Suzette was sitting across the table from me at lunch. She offered all of us strawberries. I loved the way her hand looked holding a berry while she carefully savored it.

July 28 photo of the day

Sacred space. Sanctum. Where I tune-in, reconnect, enter the zone. I like to add filters in Photoshop to some images. I like the image the way I photographed it. The filter gives it a more ethereal feel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27 photo of the day

TOMATOES! The first of the season and what a surprise! Washington is not known for tomatoes. That would be my home turf: Jersey. Even though we have a long growing season here, it is cool much of the year. Tomatoes like heat. I have a heat island in my teeny tiny backyard and tomatoes do well there. We usually don't see first tomatoes until mid-August or later. I will still be picking tomatoes in early November if the rains come back gently. These are cherry tomatoes on a plant that is about a foot tall. The other tomatoes are "early girls" and are just starting to flower.

July 26 photo of the day

Most days I drive or ride in a vanpool to and from work. No van today so I had an excuse to ride to work in my friend Sandy's little red bug - with the top down. It was 88 degrees on the way home with not a cloud in the sky. But lots of traffic which gave us an excuse to take a detour through the Nisqually valley. These are the days that I feel truly blessed to live in this incredibly beautiful corner of the world.

July 25 photo of the day

I think at least one of my guardian angels is a hummingbird. I am fascinated with these fearless aerial acrobats. They are the only birds that can fly backwards and the sound of their wings was the inspiration for the light saber sound effects in Star Wars. I am delighted they call my tiny yard home. This hummer is a female rufous who daily visits the crocosmia outside my kitchen window, the fuschias in the backyard, and the petunia baskets on the front porch.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 24 photo of the day

Back to the garden...always a source of inspiration.

July 23 photo of the day

Tumwater Falls Park on the Deschutes River is just a couple of miles from my office. It is a delightful place to take a picnic lunch, then walk off the cookies on the trail that is accented with falls that drop into the River below. There is a set of fish ladders built in the 1950s to get king salmon upstream to spawn in the fish hatchery and allow fry to head downstream.

More photos are on my website. Photos of spawning salmon and the old Olympia brewhouse in winter are on my ImageKind gallery.

July 19 photo of the day

Ok, it's the only photo for July 19, so I wanted to include it. This is the new birdhouse I bought at the Sequim Lavender Festival.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 16 photo of the day

I have been visiting Sequim on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula almost every year since moving to Washington in 2000. Even though the western portion of the peninsula is one of the rainiest spots on earth (Hoh Rain Forest gets 140-170 inches each year), the north is in what is called a "rain shadow" along with nearby San Juan Islands. That makes for a prime environment for lavender growing, like Provence, France, with less than 20 inches of rain a year. During the Sequim Lavender Festival in mid-July, many of the farms are open for tours, cutting lavender, and enjoying. Even though I have a few lavender plants in my garden, sitting in the middle of a field is - in a word - heavenly. Sequim's lavender farmers even station lavender-painted chairs and benches throughout their fields for that reason. These are my favorites from this year's experience. There are a few more posted on Facebook (you don't have to be a member to view them). Later this weekend, I'll get them posted to my website.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15 photo of the day

My fuschias are finally blooming. I bought starts in April. They finally started budding about a week ago and will bloom through mid-November. The flowers always remind me of the Disney animation Fantasia. I imagine them as ballerinas. This variety is Dark Eyes.

July 14 photo of the day

I love farmers markets! The Tumwater Farmers Market is right across the street from my office. It is such a treat every Wednesday at lunchtime to pick up the three B's: berries, broccoli, and brownies. There is a really dangerous bakery that has my number. But hey! It's all organic!

July 14th is Bastille Day. July 14th is also the day my Grandmom Lynch was born 119 years ago. She lived to be 93 and in her later years supervised - from her wheelchair - planting her garden with an acre of Jersey (the best!) tomatoes, corn, peppers, eggplant, onions, wax and green beans, and cantaloupe. I don't think she ever planted what I photographed at the market though!

July 13 photo of the day

My dog Padme is half Australian shepherd and half something Large. I think huskie or malamute because she has a curled tail and a coat like a huskie. She's about the size of a Labrador and has the personality of an Aussie. She talks ALL the time, mostly yelling at the neighbor dogs for crossing her street. She loves to reconnect with her humans with a strong round of howling about once a week. Yes, we howl with her. She ends every howl with a vocalization that sounds (I swear it does) like "I love you." She is a dear sweet soul and always underfoot and we dearly love her.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12 photo of the day

I love the woods here year round but in summer everything is in transition. Some plants are blooming. Others producing fruit. Still others have leaves that are changing. So here are two because I couldn't choose.

Blackberries are blossoming everywhere. These flowers are the Himalayans that are really invasive but still really tasty. The plant in the background is a native shrub called oceanspray. The berry photograph is a thimbleberry - a native berry throughout the Northwest.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 10 photo of the day

Always lots of drama in the front yard birdie spa. I have two bird feeders with black sunflower seeds in my ornamental plum tree, and two hummingbird feeders on the porch right outside my studio window. Mostly finches - gold, house, purple - pine siskins, evening grosbeaks, an occasional mourning dove. Last summer, I looked out to find a dozen red-winged blackbirds cleaning out the feeders. There's also a neighborhood cat that knows that the birds get complacent and feed on the ground below the feeders. One gets picked off about once a week.

I attribute the tree's job of hosting dozens of birds a day to its healthiness. Most of the houses on my street have ornamental plums in the front yard. Mine is the tallest and has the largest diameter trunk of any of the plums planted in 2005 when these houses were built.

This guy getting a drink (and very aware that I am watching him) is a purple finch. They look almost identical to house finches but are more of a rosy red, have a splash of red at the base of the tail, and almost a crest that pops up on the top of their heads. He blends in with the wine & roses weigela surrounding the birdbath.

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 8 photo of the day

So, does it count as a photo a day if I shoot it but it takes me a day or two to get it out of my camera? Ok, I actually have missed two days this week. I'll make up for it this weekend. It has been unusually hot here in western Washington. It was 95 yesterday and 91 today. I waited until almost sundown to walk the dog. I had to douse myself with bug spray to survive the mosquito onslaught. Ridgeview Trail in DuPont has an official on-the-map section and an unofficial section that hasn't been fully developed to get rid of all of the things that trip people up. Everybody uses the trail anyway because it has spectacular view. An example is on my website - a panoramic of sunset over the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound. That image was photographed almost one year ago to the day from the one I am posting for my July 8 photo. This is photographed from the "unofficial" section of trail which is on the perimeter road for the former DuPont explosives factory, now a golf course.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6 photo of the day

Young mallard pretending to be a pterodactyl. Anything for a handout! This was at Tumwater Pioneer Park where visitors are discouraged from feeding ducks, which have plenty to eat in the Deschutes River anyway. Others in the series are on Facebook.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5 - a perfect rose

The rest of the rose plant doesn't look so great and this is one of two buds. I love roses but seem to do better photographing them than growing them. I tried several views, including one where both the rose and the garden ornament are in focus. I liked this one best.

July 4th-get up close

This is the first time in a very long time that I wasn't actually working on July 4th. I took the dog for a walk in the woods before the boomers started (fireworks are allowed for three days over July 4th weekend) and found a few close-up opportunities.

The first is a common wildflower called "candy flower" or "Siberian miner's lettuce" (Claytonia sibirica). My favorite lens is a 28-105 zoom that also has a macro feature. The macro sometimes sticks, which is probably why Nikon doesn't make this lens anymore...or at least I haven't found it. I bought this one about 20 years ago. I photographed this image at 640 ISO at 75mm with a fill flash. Here is the full frame.

When I pulled it into first Adobe Lightroom, and then Adobe Photoshop to edit, I decided to crop tight to the leaves and flowers. I corrected the color balance but a bit too far to the warm end of the color spectrum Then I spotted a dewdrop that I didn't see when I photographed the flower. I corrected the color balance again and sharpened the image a bit more. The graininess comes from shooting at a higher ISO in low light.

Later in the walk, I spotted some insects on a blackberry blossom. This time I used the macro feature on the lens at available light, but still at 640 ISO.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Photo a Day

I was inspired by NYC (formerly of Phoenix) photographer Bob Carey to post a photo a day. Since I'm a few days behind in my editing (aHEM!), I'm going to post my favorite images from the past four days.

OK, I'm cheating a little. The baby house finch and sunset photos were both shot the evening of June 28, 2010.

The crocosmia and lavender were photographed early morning July 2, 2010. The honeybee on the flower was photographed July 3, 2010.