Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Santa Cruz

We visited Santa Cruz in May. This particular set of photos were all taken the same day. The weather was quite unpredictable most of that day: we got rained on more than once. Yet it kept clearing as well. For this photo set I sometimes left the skies gloomy, but I also experimented with brightening things up a bit during post processing on some of the photos.

The "world famous" Santa Cruz Boardwalk provided enjoyable sightseeing opportunities. I visited it many times in the past when I used to live in California. It appeared more colorful than I recall. At the time we were there most stores and all rides were not open.

I've ridden this roller coaster before. It's great fun!

Coaster Heights

Typhoon in the Sky

This is one of those rides that keeps circling around. Apparently it needed some maintenance.

Fixing the Ride

Colors of Fun

As we walked along West Cliff Drive away from the Boardwalk towards other coastal views, we passed this bloom.

Sidewalk Sight

We saw these words of wisdom just adjacent to one of the stairways that descend down to the water as we walked along the Steamer Lane surfing area.

Good Suggestions

Surfers Below

Rock Topper

Powered by Nature

We strolled along Lighthouse Field State Beach just north of Lighthouse Point.

Standing Beyond the Arch

Rock Formations

We stopped to admire the Surfing Sculpture.

Looking Right

And another view:

Monument to Santa Cruz's Favorite Pastime

All photos © 2019, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Wild Kingdom

This post is all about animals doing their normal daily activities. My camera captures them in their natural habitat,... perhaps they're searching for food, or perhaps just whiling away the afternoon.

This painted turtle is soaking up the sun resting on a log. Must be time for afternoon sunbathing.

Show Off

The turtle is looking directly at me where I stand on the shore. Still, it seems largely unconcerned about my presence. I'm about 20 feet away and there's water between us. Smart turtle.

The Look

All turtles come aboard! This appears to be the log to sunbathe on. It would seem that turtles are social animals. Maybe some of them are siblings?

Party Time

I was amused by the stance of this robin. Sort of looks like she's looking around something to see what new danger lurks.

Robin on Patrol

Does this duck have any idea what beautiful golden water he's gliding through?

Water Glide

Baltimore Orioles are not commonly seen in our yard, so I was delighted to see this one gracing our hawthorn tree, even for a quick visit.

Oriole Peek

Red-winged blackbirds love to stand on tall skinny objects like these cattails on Farm Pond.

Balancing Act

This one found a different perch to survey the situation on the pond.

Deciding the Next Move

All photos © 2019, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Garden Reds

"Reds" often inspire thoughts of red wine. Here are some tulip reds and a sand cherry.

These first three photos are all of the same tulip. It was Deb's idea to pose it against our purple wall for the first photo. The second and third photos are also taken indoors against a neutral sunlit window backdrop.

I found a fascinating site all about shades of red here: https://turbofuture.com/graphic-design-video/Shades-Red-Greensleeves. This tulip explodes with red at varying brightnesses depending where you look. There are darker reds and a color approaching ruby red (which is more of a "purple-red" according to that site).


Curl Up for Joy


This last photo is of a sand cherry taken outdoors in our garden. It's not exactly "red"; perhaps its leaves are more of a "claret" (wine) color.

Sand Cherry in the Light

All photos © 2019, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Spring Color

Summer has arrived, yet some of my recent spring flower photos haven't been blogged. This post begins to rectify that.

Below I present some favorites.
As is my usual custom, photos are taken with natural light, hand held, most with my 60mm (120mm equivalent) Olympus macro lens, unless otherwise stated.


This first shot was taken with my 12-40mm lens at 40mm. Taken in the morning after some rain the night before.

After the Rain

Here I'm experimenting with using my telephoto lens for shots of nearby flowers. This focal length is 258mm (516mm equivalent). To take this I have to stand at least three feet away or more due to the minimum focus distance requirement of this lens.

Blue Jester

Another shot with my telephoto at 240mm (480mm equivalent):

Bleeding Heart Arch

The rest of the photos are taken with my 60mm macro. This lens proves itself time and again to be my favorite for all close flora and fauna.

Yellow Licks

Top Down Fun

Sunlit Yellow Repro Center

Simple Elegance

While this may look like a specimen on a slide, it is actually a shot taken at extremely close range of lungwort (pulmonaria) just beginning to bloom. The item pictured is roughly one quarter inch across. I've learned that the odd name "lungwort" comes from the leaves of this plant (not shown), which appear similar to lungs.

New Life Forming

Six-sided Symmetry

Look at the natural checkerboard petals on this guinea-hen plant:


Here's a crop of the above photo to get a closer view of the anthers carrying pollen on the stamens.

Pollen at Checkerboard Center

All photos © 2019, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Visiting Finch

Our friend, Lisa, gave us a "thistle sock" bird feeder. We never had one before. We filled it with thistle seed and hung it on a tree in our back yard and waited and waited. It is supposed to attract finches but none ever came. In fact, it just hung there idly for weeks and weeks. Finally, we decided, after a squirrel or the wind knocked it to the ground, it was time to either give up or try another location. Deb moved it to our cherry tree in the front yard. There was still no activity for the longest time, then one day, amazingly, finches showed up. I tried to take some photos of them through the window, but the results were not satisfactory. Then the finches disappeared for several more days. Finally, they returned. This time I was able to capture a few photos with my telephoto lens from just outside the front door, after tiptoeing outside as quietly as possible.

Finches are quite small birds, and ours seem very timid; at least from my experience they disappear quickly the moment they detect a human even some twenty feet away.

You can see the growing cherries, orange (not yet red), in the background of both of these photos. Though cherries are popular among many other larger bird visitors such as blue jays and robins, these small finches prefer thistle seed.

Bashful Goldfinch

Food Inspection

All photos © 2019, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Rock Garden

Gretchen, the president of the Ashland Garden Club, invited Deb to create a raised rock garden as a special demonstration event for members. Deb installed it yesterday at members' Hilary and Peter's place. This was attended by members and friends. Except for the focal point holly, most of the plants are succulents. Deb has experience with drought tolerant rock gardens, both at our home, and at one of the Ashland traffic islands (near Shaw's on 126), where she created another raised rock garden six foot across atop the existing concrete triangle last year.

Deb's creativity, experience, and perseverance were on display as she created the new garden in two hours plus. Some of the rocks were "native", having previously been residing across the street in the woods or in the backyard. The Ashland DPW supported this event by letting the homeowners collect rocks from the DPW junk piles. Under Deb's direction, observers stepped in to assist as the garden formed before our very eyes.

The rock garden was a complete success as you can see from the photos below. Audience members cheered and clapped at the finish.

Not to be forgotten, I want to also give a shout out to the host residents, Hilary and Peter, who were very accommodating.  Peter introduced many of us to Pimm's, a cordial drink served mixed with ginger ale, apparently often served at Ascot, or so we were told; delicious and refreshing on a warm summer day!



Placing Rocks

Finding Humor

At Times, You Can Get Two Plants from One

Sharing a Lesson

Group Effort

Showing Where

Rock Please

Using Cocoa Husks to Support Plants in Pockets

A Welcome Visitor

Let's Discuss

Leaning In

Floating Signature

Into the Wild



Wet Rock

Rock on a Cliff


Deb took this next photo on her cell phone after she decided to stop for the day. She thinks it will be completed after a layer of smaller rocks are added on top of the exposed dirt to help with erosion issues.

Complete Rock Garden

All photos (unless otherwise noted) © 2019, all rights reserved.  Contact philslens@gmail.com for licensing or to order prints.