Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Very Friendly Animals

We have friends that invited us for a walk and lunch. We knew they had chickens and ducks, and had recently installed a new duck pond, so we were anxious to visit and see the animals doing animal things.

During our walk, we encountered these additional friendly animals in a neighbor's yard.

Yummy Grass


After returning, we spent time at the duck pond along with its local inhabitants.

Ribbit!



The chickens were an unexpected attraction. I'd no idea how photogenic chickens could be.

Why the Face?



Here are the three ducks frolicking happily in their new pond.

Paddle Powered




Headstrong



I had to sneak in a flower photo among all these friendly animals.

Top Petals Show Off




Livin' the Life


 All photos © 2021, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.



Monday, September 13, 2021

Stepped Spillway

I've walked around the Ashland Reservoir hundreds of times, yet I only just learned the "correct" name and reason for the physical structure used for the water to leave the reservoir. It is properly called a "stepped spillway".

Furthermore, because of the shape and location of the dam used to create this particular reservoir, the designers chose to create a stepped spillway that also turns around a gentle curve to give the water a path to flow out of the reservoir. What I hadn't thought about - and thank you, Wikipedia, for this observation - is the reason for the steps, as opposed to a smooth incline, aka chute. It is to help dissipate all the "kinetic energy of the descending water." "Failure to dissipate the water's energy can lead to scouring and erosion at the dam's toe (base). This can cause spillway damage and undermine the dam's stability." Quoted phrases are from these two articles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spillway and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stepped_spillway.

On a recent walk, I noticed the spillway flow to be quite loud and dramatic, since we'd just had several days of rain. I've got one still photo, and one video below, both taken with my cell phone, to show the power of the descending water.

Roaring Spillway



Since I'm usually a still photographer, I had fun taking and post-processing the video below. I used the "slow motion" mode setting on my cell phone to take the video, then post-processed it with Blackmagic Design's excellent DaVinci Resolve software to perform essentially two modifications: add a "ramped" speed change during the clip, and remove a non-kid friendly word written on the stone on the side.

Resolve (Studio version) is used to create professional movies. Go to https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve and watch all the really cool trailers at the top of their web site. It's a very powerful tool to apply to my very low budget and limited resolution cell phone video. Nevertheless I'm hopeful you get the basic idea that the amount of water flow was impressive! And that slow motion turbulent water is kind of fun to watch:)





Warning: geeky stuff follows...

As mentioned, part of my video post-processing challenge was "removal" of a moving object. This involves cloning a different part of the scene over the portion to be removed, so that it appears the object is not present. After reviewing several YouTube instructional videos, I finally figured out how to do this. Resolve has a tab called "Fusion" which allows the user to design their processing steps using a map of connected nodes. Here is the Resolve Fusion node map I created to perform the "moving object removal" task. As you can see, this is not a simple operation. As I understand it, there's a more automated way to remove objects from videos in the non-free Studio version of the software, but that would take all the fun out of it:)



 All photos © 2021, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.



Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Carol's Garden and Akela

During a recent visit to my sister-in-law Carol's house, I snapped some photos of her amazing garden, and of her Seppala Husky dog as well. The garden is the result of an intensive project begun during Covid to revamp the front yard from mostly grass to mostly gardens. The gardens are filled with intense color blooms which make it a joy to observe and walk through. Below are some of my favorite photos taken during the visit.

Her garden contains magnificent dahlias.


Delightful Dahlia



... and some other purple blooms, much loved by several insects.

Small Yellow Flyers




Bee on Task



While not as colorful as many of the plants, this blue spruce tree has plenty of camera appeal as well.

Bristling Blue Spruce



Here we take a brief intermission and introduce you to Akela, a Seppala Husky (also called a Seppala Siberian Sleddog). Check out the movie "Togo" (2019) to learn about Seppala Huskies. They're an intelligent and amazing sled dog, now considered a different breed from other Siberian Huskies.

Seppala Smile



Akela is one of, if not *the*, most alert dog I've ever met. He is always paying attention.

Eye on the Prize



Now back to more garden photos of a much smaller animal: a praying mantis.

Natural Pest Control




Special Garden Visitor




New Dahlia




Dancing Joyous Petals 1




Dancing Joyous Petals 2




Outreach




Bee Bliss



I enjoyed the textures displayed in the large petals of this hibiscus.

Sails Up



Once again, back to the glorious dahlias.

Basking Petals




Dahlia Derriere


 All photos © 2021, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.



Thursday, July 8, 2021

Delicate Balance

It so happens today is the 20th anniversary of my marriage.

According to theknot.com, "The traditional 20th wedding anniversary gift is china, which is a beautiful representation of the delicate balance you've mastered in your relationship after 20 years together."

Here I present some images of delicate balance in the garden.

Bees atop the butterflyweed:

Bee Above




Bee Afloat




Bee Aloft


This next creature is only a few millimeters across. It is the infamous Asian lady beetle, which, sadly, is considered a pest. It is very similar looking to a ladybug, which is a beneficial insect.

Small Traveler



Shasta daisies stand proudly in the late afternoon glow.

Daisy in the Light 1




Daisy in the Light 2



A bright black-eyed Susan:

Golden Eye



 All photos © 2021, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.



Sunday, June 27, 2021

Restful Res

We are so fortunate to live near the "res." I find that the local reservoir provides welcome peace and tranquility when I walk there. Here are some cell phone photos I recently took during one such outing.

Walking can be quite meditative in a location like this. It just takes an awareness of the present to notice;)


Water Dimples




Rock Islands




Res at Rest



 All photos © 2021, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.



Echinacea Encore

Not to be outdone by the red echinacea, the nearby pink echinacea plant was getting jealous and decided to show off, and so I had to take a few more echinacea pictures. Up close:)


Echinacea 10




Echinacea 11





 All photos © 2021, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.



Friday, June 18, 2021

Eye-popping Echinacea

As promised in my earlier "Spring Collection" blog post, here I present several echinacea photos (plus one bird). This red echinacea variety is new to our garden this year.

These have bloomed out with striking red (and white) color. I had a hard time deciding which views to share, so I decided to share many.

Echinacea 1




Echinacea 2



While photographing the echinacea, this robin decided to visit. Since I had my macro lens rather than my telephoto lens on my camera, I couldn't get a close-up shot in-camera, because the robin wasn't particularly close to me. However, I managed to capture this from about 20 feet away, then cropped and enhanced with LightRoom's recently introduced AI-based "super resolution". The jury is still out about whether or not robin's care about echinacea, but I think not. It was the nearby cherry tree that held interest.

Visiting Robin




Echinacea 3




Echinacea 4


This is a different bloom than shown in the previous photo; note the thinner petals.

Echinacea 5




Echinacea 6




Echinacea 7




Echinacea 8




Echinacea 9




 All photos © 2021, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.