Thursday, November 8, 2018

Elm Bank

Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley is 175 acres of woodlands and fields adjacent to the Charles River. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Deb and I have walked there many times. The photos in this post were taken during one such recent walk. It was a cloudy day. This tended to give the fall colors in the photos a slightly muted (pastel?) look. These were all taken with my 60mm lens.


Charles River Glass




Groundcover




Red Silver Shine




Fireworks on the Charles




Deb Isn't the Only Tall Thing Around




Encircling Space




Peeking Through


All photos © 2018, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bike Refresh

My Univega hybrid bicycle is circa 1993 or 1994 and was due for a refresh. Since it is some 25 years old, I considered buying a new bike, but after riding a couple of new Treks and a Bianchi, I decided that I didn't love them as much as I'd hoped I would, and that perhaps I'd be happier updating my old bike.

All updates to the bike were to get it working properly again, keep it safe to ride, and improve my comfort when possible.

I find shiny metal parts to have a certain engineering and artistic appeal; this provided my motivation to capture some photos of my new and improved bike.

Note that I'd gone on three or four rides after installation of the new parts, so you'll see some road grit here and there in the photos. This adds a sense of realism :)  I didn't want to "photoshop away" these marks of distinction.

Chainrings


The main reason for keeping my old frame is the ride comfort. Chromoly (steel) frames are more flexible and absorb road bumps far better than aluminum or even carbon fiber. Most new bikes sold use aluminum or carbon which are extremely rigid materials; they're popular primarily because they are so very lightweight. I find these materials give a ride that is way too stiff; I can feel almost every nook and cranny on the road compared to my smooth chromoly ride. While chromoly may weigh a pound or two more than the other materials, the ride comfort is hard to beat.

Double Butted is a Good Thing




Rear Cassette




Rear Wheel Drive




Shiny Holey Teeth



My Selle SMP seat's design helps men and women to ride with more comfort on their sit bones, giving riders happy bottoms, compared to more traditional designs.

Made in Italy




Cable Housings



Check out the blue paint job. Most new (non-custom) bikes don't have anything like this.

25 Year Old Paint Job



In this next photo you can see the old rear derailleur along with the new rear cassette, new chain and new rear wheel.

Old and New




Planetary Momentum



Though the new crankset is labeled "Hyperdrive", it turns out this only becomes a reality if you pedal very, very quickly.

Crank and Friends




In Gear




Derailleur Picks Up the Slack



You can see here that Univega was very proud of this product when they built it 25 years ago, and rightly so!

Product Placement




Through the Wheel



All photos © 2018, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Flower Piano

By happy coincidence we visited the San Francisco Botanical Gardens when they were having a special annual show entitled "Flower Piano".  We learned that this is the fourth year they've done this. It is a special summer event, lasting 12 days, where they have 12 pianos placed all around the Botanical Gardens. Anyone can sit down and play! When we first heard about this, we weren't too sure what to make of it, but now that we've seen and heard it, we think it's quite brilliant. Most of the presumably "amateur" pianists that sit down and play these pianos turn out to be highly talented! Everyone played quite beautifully. No duffers. The setting is gorgeous. As we walked away from one piano and its surroundings, the sound would die away and we'd begin to hear another piano in a different area of the Botanical Gardens. This ebb and flow of the music as we walked among the flowers was quite delightful.

Here's a Stellar's Jay we spotted while walking over to the Botanical Gardens from the Conservatory of Flowers. What a rich blue color this bird has! I happened to have my 12-40mm lens on my camera but wished I'd had my telephoto on instead. Birds move way too fast to allow a lens change. I still got a decent capture, albeit with some post shot cropping.

Stellar's Jay



This stacked piano object is one of the first things one sees when walking into the Botanical Gardens. Seeing this, we knew we were in for an unusual treat.

Stacked Pianos



 A closer view:

Altered Piano




Barefoot Concert




With a Feather in his Cap




Fronds in the Sky




Musical Duo with Audience




Playing Under Red Hair



I don't remember what kind of trees these are, but their flowing reddish "hair" was quite remarkable. Below is a wider angle shot of the same scene. After the fact, I wished that I would have used an even wider angle and included the talented musicians, seen above, in this second shot.

Rapunzel Tree



It wasn't *all* about the pianos. The Botanical Gardens had many enjoyable flowers to look at.

Delicate Life




Popping Out All Over




Gorbachev



Some of the pianos had larger groups gathered around, many having brought their own instruments.

The Band's All Here



This guy was playing Beatles music in a classical arrangement! He was phenomenally good.

Creative Setting



I noticed that most all the piano players had no sheet music and often had lengthy pieces fully memorized. They were often completely "involved" in the music, fully "in the zone" as they played.

Beatles in the Garden




Piano in the Round




Fire Needles



At one point this dragonfly decided to rest on Deb's finger. He/she remained there for several minutes even while we walked further. This photo was taken at a close distance with my faithful 12-40mm lens, not my macro lens.

New Pet




Iris Flows



All photos © 2018, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Conservatory of Flowers

Deb and I visited San Francisco in June to meet my new grandson. (Yay! Very exciting.) While there, we also did some local sightseeing. The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park was a joy to visit. Neither of us had been there before. The interior is kept very humid. The tropical environment keeps the plants happy. All flora in the Conservatory of Flowers are quite stunning. Witness these examples below.


Deep Pocket




Hanging Pouches




Inner Space




Jaws




Among the Lily Pads




Extended Fingers




Purple Water




Volcano Inside



Yikes! Look at the fangs on this plant:

This Thing Bites



Many of the orchids appear to have faces.

Little Skier




Googly Eyes




One Drop Below the Tongue




Scowl Face




Surf's Up




Unfurled Grace




Cones and Whiskers




Alive and Abundant


All photos © 2018, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.