2015—Different View of Mesa Arch

Back again to Canyonlands National Park and Mesa Arch. I don’t think I had really looked at the shots I got of Mesa Arch when we spent one morning there until yesterday. I used my fisheye lens and got what I think are rather unusual views of Mesa Arch. The top of the arch, which is actually flat, is at the left in both shots, not what you usually see in the guidebooks.

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2015—And They Called It Puppy Love

I can hear Paul Anka now, singing his anguished heart out. But Rosey, my friend Peggy’s pooch, has a different kind of “puppy love” for her stuffed reindeer. And, it is far from anguished…more like satisfied, I’d say. In this shot, she spent a moment caressing her “love,” making sure she licked off all of the peanut butter Peggy rubbed on the reindeer’s eye to keep Rosey’s attention fixed on one thing. It is so difficult to photograph a constantly moving target when you have no idea where they’ll move or what direction they’ll be facing. Once again, Rosey was another photographic challenge for me. This was one of a very few successful shots.

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My friend Peggy and I always have lunch at Lucca in downtown Sacramento before we attend the Saturday Matinée of Music Circus. Yesterday was no exception. I had the salad special that featured grilled chicken with walnuts, bleu cheese, and nectarines. It was delicious and looked beautiful but it wasn’t until the dessert arrived that I was compelled to take a photo…with my iPhone since I’d left Big Nik at home. Mike, our regular waiter for quite a few years, pointed at me when he cleared away our salad plates and said, “you order dessert,” then turned to Peggy and said, “and you don’t.” He grinned when we acknowledged the accuracy of his statement. I asked which of two desserts I was considering would be his choice. One was the Chocolate-Caramel Tart, which I’ve tried before and which is deliciously decadent. The other was the White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream, Fresh Strawberries, Strawberry Coulis and Toasted Almonds. Mike knew I’d tried the dark chocolate tart in the past so he recommended I try the white chocolate bread pudding. Peggy asked for two spoons! We were neither one sorry for our choice. The bread pudding is every bit as delicious and decadent as the tart.

This is an unedited iPhone shot.

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2015—The Shadow Of Your Smile

It’s so hot here (the Instant Read Thermometer I usually use for grilling registered 106.2° about 3PM yesterday) that I haven’t thought too much about taking photographs. This morning, while reviewing photographs on my computer, I ran across this shot of a Lesser Sandpiper that I took at the Lagoon on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica in January. I haven’t published it before now because I wanted to showcase the more exotic species I photographed in Costa Rica. The shot reminds me of cool coastal waters and, of course, the movie “The Sandpiper” and its award winning song of 50 years ago. And, looks are deceiving. The temperature when I took the shot, at about 6 AM, was nearing 80° and the humidity was about 95%. At least, as they say, we have DRY heat!

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Honora and I spent Wednesday afternoon in the “wine country.” We started with lunch on the patio at Rustic, the restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola’s winery in Geyserville where I took this shot of Honora with acres of vineyards in the background. Our table was just a couple of feet away from the lovely rose and herb garden.

We had a delightful afternoon examining the huge collection of Francis Ford Coppola memorabilia, including his Oscars (I’d never seen an Oscar in the flesh – uh, gold before) and a number of Golden Globes and Palmes D’Or. There were costumes and photographs and props from the various “Godfather” and other films and even the Tucker automobile from “Tucker.” It was a really fun place to explore.

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I’m visiting my friend Honora in Santa Rosa for a couple of days and we cooked fresh salmon and corn on the cob for dinner. It was delicious but we had to laugh at one of the cobs of corn which had, instead of perfect rows of kernels, a rather random hodgepodge of kernels.


2015—And Suddenly . . .

Eggplant! I’ve been watching the flowers on all of my veggies (I know, eggplants and tomatoes are technically fruits, or berries, I think) waiting for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant to emerge. Yesterday, suddenly, a fully formed eggplant. Now I admit that the eggplant variety I have is called “Little Finger” and this particular eggplant is only about the size of a thumb…but I guess that’s saying something since a thumb is lots bigger than a little finger. There are lots of flowers on the plant and I expect that eventually one of the flowers will end up on the blog, too, but I was too excited about my first eggplant to bother with any of the flowers, as interesting as they are. I noticed a few yellow jackets buzzing around and an ant or two moving busily up and down the stems but I didn’t see any butterflies or larvae crawling around although it appears as if something has found it’s way into this eggplant. There is a prominent hole at the base of the stem. I hope there are not too many holes or pests in the eggplants. I’m looking forward to grilling these little gems.

I took this shot with my macro lens on the tripod. It was quite a challenge adjusting the tripod legs to allow an eggplant-eye view without crushing the vining ambrosia melon and a couple of marigolds next to it (well, I admit to injuring a marigold just a little), then crouching down to look through the viewfinder and determining focus while perched awkwardly on the edge of the raised bed. At least the raised bed has a bench (thank you Jesse and Lyle). The eggplant was shaded by foliage but the camera and I were in bright sun. Thanks to a magical photographer’s toy, my Hoodloupe, I was able to view the results and adjust the focus without extreme contrast or having to squint.

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2015—Wing Blur

The weather was surprisingly mild for this time of year Sunday afternoon, so I sat on my patio with my camera in my lap and enjoyed the slight breeze. When I heard the hummer’s chirp, I focused on him at one of the feeders and captured a few shots before realizing that my ISO was set to 100, too low to get a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the wing movement. When I downloaded the shots, I decided the blur of the wings was quite appealing. At a shutter speed of 1/60 though, there is still some movement of the head and the eye isn’t in crisp focus in of the shots, but I love the patterns of the wing blur.

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