I’ve been reviewing the photos I took in New York City in September and I keep finding gems that I’d forgotten. On our third day in NYC, Michael and Sonia took us to the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art located in Fort Tryon Park near the northern tip of Manhattan Island. The medieval artwork is housed in what was once a French monastery. On our way into the monastery, we spent some time enjoying the beautiful gardens. The flowers were stunning and the bees and butterflies that flitted about only enhanced their beauty.
This male Anna’s hummingbird may look like he’s resting but looks can be deceiving. He is laying in wait for a small lesser goldfinch that was trying to get some nectar from the feeders. The finch would land near or on a feeder and the hummer, about the same size as the finch, immediately zoomed over from his post to harass the other little bird until it finally flew out of the yard. I never was able to capture the drama. I had Big Bertha poked out the open door but I was too close to gain focus at one of the feeders and the action happened all too quickly so I never managed to get either bird in my viewfinder in time to take a shot. I gave up soon because it’s a nippy outside and I had on just a thin bathrobe and flip flops so after ten minutes of standing in the open door way, I was frozen solid.
The leaves on the little volunteer Japanese maple that I planted in a bonsai pot to keep it small are starting to show their fall colors.
I was looking at photos from my trip to NYC in September and ran across a shot I really liked from our first evening in New York. My nephew walked us to our rental apartment after dinner and we stopped at West Harlem Piers Park to look across the Hudson River at New Jersey.
I’m calling it the Smith Nebula because this shot makes me think of the Milky Way and other astral phenomena in the night sky. It is a mysterious shot and I’ve included two versions, one edited only slightly in Lightroom and the second, edited with Topaz Star Effects, creating even more of the illusion of an astral phenomenon. What is it, you ask?
Well, here’s a hint. I took the shot using my macro lens (ISO 800, f/22, 6/10 second shutter speed) in my garage as the late afternoon sun streamed through the open side door. Can you guess? Another hint. The major spot in the photo is less than 1/4 of an inch in diameter. It was such an odd thing to photograph, I had great difficulty getting sharp focus, even using my tiny tripod and I don’t think much of this is in focus.
Well, dear reader, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. This is a photograph of a tiny chip in the windshield of my car with the light refracting off the minuscule cracks emanating from the center of the chip. I had the chip filled Monday morning so hopefully I won’t have to worry about the entire windshield cracking.
The other day when I took photos of the persimmons, I took one shot with a single persimmon setting on a mirror. I took the photograph in a vertical format and the reflection was quite vivid but it seemed odd and not balanced so I didn’t use the shot. Later, I rotated the photograph 90° and liked it much better. It looks more like two persimmons perched side by side than one persimmon and its reflection.
When I was a little kid, I had only one favorite stuffed animal. It was a small panda bear I immediately dubbed “Freckles” because I thought he had freckles on his snout. Of course, the dots on his snout represented whiskers but the name stuck. The paint on his black nose has rubbed off (I think the snout is made of rubber or vinyl) and he looks a little wall-eyed, but Freckles is still quite dapper in his pale blue sweater. He didn’t come with a sweater. When I was six years old, I had a brand new pale blue wool sweater that I actually remember wearing once in the first grade. By mistake, my mother put it in the washing machine then into the dryer so it shrank to fit only Freckles after that. Freckles has worn that now moth eaten sweater for more than 60 years.
I brought Freckles home with me a few months ago. I found him while we were cleaning out my mother’s house. She’d saved all my dolls and all my stuffed animals. I rarely played with the dolls and I didn’t even name any of my other stuffed animals. My dad would bring stuffed animals home to me when he returned from a business trip so over the years, I accumulated quite a large menagerie. My personal zoo consisted of a snooty-looking French poodle with a blue sweater and a music box inside; a black rooster with a felt comb and a plastic face that looked a little like Betty Boop; a Smokey the Bear, complete with blue jeans, a badge and a yellow felt ranger hat; a bearded Steiff gnome who arrived with a name already sewn to his jacket (Pucki); a brown and white dog looking suspiciously like Zipper, the English Springer Spaniel my family had when I was about 3; a white cat; and others too numerous to describe. Except for Freckles, though, the entire menagerie went to the Santa Rosa Hospice Thrift Store, hopefully to find homes with some kids who might play with them.
Since I brought him home with me, Freckles has lived peeking out of a wooden box setting on a ledge at the top of the stairs. I will probably eventually get rid of him, but I was feeling a bit nostalgic Sunday afternoon so I decided to photograph him and make the photos look old. I edited them in Topaz Texture Effects, using the 1950’s Print texture and adding some additional scratches to the prints.
Jim and Shirley brought Hachiya persimmons from their tree to the Placer Camera Club meeting the other evening. I came home with a dozen persimmons that are now ripening on my kitchen counter. They’re mouth puckeringly tart until they’re ripe and then they become a luscious mouthwatering addition to breads and cookies. I edited the photos in Topaz Texture Effects and added the same “color burst” filter to both shots.
Friday morning, I was attracted to a flock of goats grooming a field behind the CVS Pharmacy on the way to the gym. Of course I pulled into the lot to take some photos. Immediately I heard a deep “woof!” then another. Advancing toward me with merely a nylon fence between us, was a pair of large white dogs, tails wagging, curious about my presence, but making sure I didn’t bother their charges. I had never seen dogs like these before. I didn’t think they were Great Pyrenees but didn’t know what they were. Google came up with one possibility: Anatolian Pyrenees, a hybrid of an Anatolian Shepherd and a Great Pyrenees.
I stopped by again on the way home from the gym and found someone had posted a sign “DANGER: Electric Fence. Keep off-Keep away” that wasn’t there earlier. I’m glad I didn’t touch the fence!