Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 29-Abstract Fish

Another hour at Tumwater Falls: I photographed spawning chinook (king) salmon in the fishery pens shifting through water, making them appear like an abstract painting.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 28-Chinook

Chinook or king salmon returned to the Deschutes River and the Tumwater fish hatchery this month. I stopped by Tumwater Falls this evening. The light was flat and the small fish were jumping the falls. The big ones - some close to 3 feet long - were mostly back in the hatchery.

I will head there later this week now that the sun is returning. In the meantime, photographs from the past four years can be found in my Fauna gallery.

Tumwater Falls is always a wonderful respite any time of year. Each season brings something special. Tumwater Falls Park is located just off I-5 below the former Olympia brewery.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25-Woodland glow

Early fall in western Washington can be called Golden Glow Season. Right at sunset, everything glows golden. After the sun slips past the horizon, spectacular hues of red, purple, pink and orange paint the sky.

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24-Katze, chat, gato

When Padme was a young dog, we lived in a townhouse complex with a cat under every car. Most were feral. Occasionally the homeowners association would catch a few and take them to the Humane Society. Padme knew where they all were and thought it was great sport to herd them (she didn't know about how impossible it is to herd cats). Once in awhile she would encounter a feline that would challenge her. We didn't stick around to see how that would turn out.

There is a new cat in the neighborhood that is hanging out at the edge of the woods where there are chipmunks and birds to catch. She has a flea collar on so someone owns her. She clearly doesn't like dogs and is starting to challenge Padme on our walks. We shall see how that turns out.

We met a new kitty today that watched Padme for awhile, and then decided she wasn't a threat when there was a flying bug to catch.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23-Nisqually Delta

I don't ever seem to get tired of photographing the Nisqually River delta. Here is tonight's view from the perimeter trail below The Home Course.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22-Equinox glow

With a week or so of rain, the moss and ferns are popping up on trees on the Puget Sound side of the woods. I manage to get there right as the sun is slipping behind the Olympic Mountains to the west. This glow is fleeting. I managed to knock off a couple of shots and it was gone.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21-mushrooms

Every day there are more and different mushroom in the woods, in lawns, along the road.

Here is a favorite patch from last night (in available light at 2500 ISO) and tonight (fill flash at 400 ISO).

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20-Sky and water

© Kate Lynch - Rainbow ends at Hoffman Hill (via Anderson Island)
The sky and water were magical last night from the south side of the Nisqually Reach - the part of Puget Sound where the Nisqually River delta stretches out to islands and peninsulas. I attended the Nisqually Land Trust's annual salmon bake at Odd Fellows Park in Olympia.

© Kate Lynch - Anderson Island, Washington
I couldn't stop gazing at the changing moods of the sky and water. The food was wonderful too! Salmon caught not far from this spot.

When I looked at a map of the area tonight, I realized that the rainbow is directly over my neighborhood.

I will be adding photographs to my DuPont Nisqually online gallery this week. 

Good people doing good work - purchasing land to preserve salmon habitat, water quality, and this incredible slice of heaven.

© Kate Lynch - Key Peninsula and Anderson Island

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19-Sun breaks

The sun broke through several times this morning. Each time I got ready to explore, I was stopped by more dark clouds and rain. Finally, a sun break lasted more than a few minutes, so Padme the wonderdog and I headed out for the woods.

I was in search of that magical light when sun and rain intermingle. These are my favorites. The first image is photographed with a macro (close-up) lens and the other with a normal lens - both at 75mm. The Nikkor (Nikon) lens I use is one I bought 15 years ago. It is a 28-105 telephoto with a macro feature. I don't think Nikon makes the lens with a macro feature anymore. At least, I haven't found one. The auto-focus controls are very touchy in close-ups. The focus couldn't decide what I was looking at, so I switched the focus to manual.

The small lights that show up behind the web are actually raindrops on a second spider web. You can see the web in the background of the second image. Both images were photographed in available light without flash.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18-Rain respite

It has been raining almost every day this week. The good news is the grass is green again. The bad news is that my tomatoes are still green. It always surprises people who have never been to Washington state that it hardly rains at all in July, August and September here. Most of us water lawns at least a couple of times a week to keep them alive. Some of my compulsive neighbors water all the time and, of course, have picture-perfect lawns.

In Phoenix, we let our lawns go golden in the winter, when Bermuda grass is dormant. In Washington, a lot of us do the same thing in the summer. Early this morning, we had a brief period of sun, then the clouds rolled back in. The weather forecasters call them "sunbreaks." The fence was steaming so much from the sun warming a very damp surface that I thought there was a fire on the other side.

Both of these images were photographed in available light (no flash) with a 75mm macro lens at 400 ISO.

I wonder if my neighbors think it's odd to see me in my pajamas photographing raindrops?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 12 in the birdie spa

There were new visitors to the front yard birdie spa. For the past couple of weeks there have been lots of juvenile birds, mostly finches but an occasional evening grosbeak, black-headed grosbeak, and mourning doves. A flock of pigeons (rock doves) flies in once in awhile. This weekend, I thought a flock of starlings had discovered the feeders, and then I realized they were juvenile red-winged blackbirds. They are as skittish as starlings. Often, the finches don't fly off when I am outside watering.

Also spotted the first eastern gray squirrel I've seen in the past five years. I don't think this guy is a native squirrel, although he's a bit smaller than other eastern grays and has a thinner, shorter tail. I have seen a couple of chipmunks and a native tree squirrel but not often outside the woods.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11-remembering

In the 20th century, we remembered where we were when Pearl Harbor was bombed, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, or the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered.

For the 21st century, we remember where we were when the new millennium began and when hijacked jets brought the World Trade Center towers down and killed hundreds at the Pentagon. I was in Tacoma for my first New Year's Day in 2000 and I was on my way to work when my feet froze in place, keys in hand, as I watching television news - live - in horror. On my way to work, cars of service men and women were lined up for miles at the entry gates for McChord Air Force Base and Fort Lewis.

I was numb and sad all day. At lunchtime, I visited the Sesame Street website for a break away from the news that inevitably surrounds those of us who work in communications for a state health department. Because our state is a border state and has at least one highly visible landmark - the Seattle Space Needle - we were on high alert.

This morning I remembered and cried like I have every September 11th. At sunset, I lit two candles in memory of the two towers and the two cities - New York City and Washington DC - that are forever changed.

I will never forget.

Dona nobis pacem.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 9-nature transforms

It really is magical how a couple of days of rain transform a lifeless tree into a canvas for new life forms. Here are my favorites.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8-baby barn swallows

Fledgling barn swallows - Barn & Tree Swallows Gallery
Historically, mosquitoes have been plentiful in the Nisqually Delta. Swallows return to our area in April, dive-bombing, swooping, sometimes flying inches above the ground. Most of my neighbors hope the barn swallows will avoid nesting on their homes. Their mud nests do not damage walls but people don't like the inevitable droppings. I'm fascinated by these birds. So, of course, I photograph them. I have created a gallery with the images I photographed today, along with favorites of barn and tree swallows from the past four years.

Purple finches
The images I photographed today are recently fledged barn swallows who are growing up in a rock wall above a retention pond a couple of blocks from my house. A couple of young purple finches (distinguished from house finches by the red at the base of their tails) also joined the crowd.

Most of these were photographed with a 300mm lens so I could stay a good distance away. The parents were not thrilled that I was paying so much attention to their offspring, especially since I had a dog (Padme the wonderdog) with me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6-Labor Day photos of the day

Padme the wonderdog and I spent a few hours this afternoon in Sequalitchew Creek Canyon. I posted several photos from our outing on Facebook. My favorite is this one of a plant called entire-leaved gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia). I photographed this salt marsh native in what is called the brackish marsh where tidal waters from Puget Sound meet Sequalitchew Creek. We walked down the bank to the marsh for a closer look just as it started to drizzle, making the marsh come alive.

I just started scanning slides from another long-ago adventure on a Labor Day weekend to another incredible canyon: Havasu Canyon in Arizona. Havasu is an offshoot of the Grand Canyon, formed by Havasu Creek. It is also home to the Havasupai Indians - Havasu ’Baaja (the-people-of-the-blue-green-waters) who live in the canyon. The Hualapai Indians live at the top of the canyon. And, yes, the water really is that incredible turquoise.

Mooney Falls
One set of falls is Mooney Falls and the other - with all the people - is Havasu Falls. All of those wonderful turquoise pools were washed away in a flood in 2008 and there are new falls in the canyon as a result.

Havasu Falls

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5-Irish-American contrasts

Abandoned cottage on the Ring of Kerry, Ireland - See Celtic photo gallery
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. Bordentown was founded in 1682 by Quakers, noted for tolerance and commitment to social justice.

This little town drew many Irish immigrants escaping the potato famine in their native land in the mid-1840s. I remember my Dad talking about the social divisions in Irish society that followed my ancestors to their new home.

"Shanty Irish" or "mud Irish" were the most impoverished. Most had no skills and worked at anything that would put bread on the table. "Lace curtain Irish" were fairly well off, often wealthy.

Malahide Castle - Dublin, Ireland - Celtic Gallery
Catholic Mass was held at the home of my great-great-grandfather Cornelius Joseph Lynch and other Irish, now Americans. At least, according to a Bordentown history book written in 1932 by James Magee, publisher of the Bordentown Register News. According to information on St. Mary's website, there was already a small church that was built in the area where my family lived, a full decade before they arrived. Regardless, my great-great-grandfather was a founding member of the first church.

St. Mary's Catholic Church, Bordentown, NJ

The current St. Mary's Catholic Church was dedicated in the 1872. My great-great-grandfather was a cobbler by trade and was probably somewhere between "shanty Irish" and "lace curtain Irish." In my hometown, many of the Irish lived in the "2nd ward" of the town close to the railroad and "hilltop."

Camden & Amboy rail line circa 1980
My great grandfather, also Cornelius Joseph Lynch, was an engineer on the Camden & Amboy Railway before his untimely death at age 27. Family legend is that he had a heart attack after hitting a woman crossing the tracks when he was driving the train. The August 1879 Bordentown Register simply says that he died.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September 4-Berry good

"Berry good" is a companion image to "Life is." See my July 31 blog entry.
Sean and I took the dog for a walk and picked blackberries along the way. We saw a few other families out doing the same thing, carrying bags and buckets.

There are a lot of blackberries in DuPont. The invasive (but very tasty) Himalayan blackberries have huge berries and huge thorny vines. The native blackberry is smaller but equally tasty.

I found a recipe for lavender berry crisp from a 2004 issue of Sunset magazine that I have to share. It is really good. This is a modified version and is now lavender berry cobbler. I bought some Louisiana cobbler mix on sale a few weeks ago and used that on top instead of the streusel in the recipe. Yum!
Lavender Berry Cobbler

2-3 T culinary lavender buds.
2 T quick-cooking tapioca.
1/4 cup + 2 T Splenda blend (or 3/4 cup sugar).
2 tsp. cinnamon.
4 cups blackberries or raspberries, rinsed.
4 cups blueberries, rinsed.

Layer berries in shallow baking dish. Whir lavender and tapioca in a blender or coffee grinder (found this to be a critical step, otherwise the tapioca doesn't soften). Mix dry ingredients and sprinkle evenly over berries.

Follow directions for Louisiana cobbler mix and pour evenly over berries. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes.

For crisp topping instead of cobbler mix: 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter cut into 1/2-inch chunks, 1/2 cup chopped almonds, 1/2 cup sugar. Combine all but almonds in food processor or blender. Stir in almonds. Squeeze handfuls of mixture together, then crumble over fruit mixture. Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes.

Serve warm topped with ice cream. Double yum!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 2-view from the front door

Often the most spectacular sky colors happen right after the sun slips below the horizon.

We walked across Chief Leschi Park in DuPont in a beautiful evening. Red sky at night...sailor's delight.