Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Autumn Leaves After the Rain

All photos in this post were taken the morning after a night with rainfall. The cloudy weather added a pleasant ambiance to the mood. Several of the photos are of spiraea (also spelled 'spirea') and smoke bush (aka 'smoketree').

Wet Spiraea #1

Wet Spiraea #2

Garden Clump

Single Smoke Bush Leaf #1

Single Smoke Bush Leaf #2

Single Smoke Bush Leaf #3

Smoke Bush Leaf Tongue

Fall Curve

Yellow-Green Veins

Smoke Bush Leaf Team

Wet Spiraea #3

Wet Spiraea #4

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ornamental Grass

We have several varieties of ornamental grass in our garden. The particular "clump" I am highlighting in this post was itself highlighted rather strongly by the late afternoon sun on a crisp fall day. I found this display lively and colorful. This variety is called Ruby Ribbons switchgrass.

We like our ornamental grasses very much!

Grass That Isn't Greener

Lit Tops

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Sunday, November 3, 2019

Autumn at the Res

During the same walking event of my last post, I took several other pictures, presented below. It's almost impossible for me to let the fall season pass without taking pictures of the local color. In my photos, I'm always striving for yet another way to capture the joy of the changing leaves.

From Above

At Water's Edge

Through the Y

While there were actually four cormorants on this rock, I slightly prefer this composition containing just three, mostly because the rightmost cormorant's head is nicely in the same line, and I can zoom in a little closer within the same frame. I had to wait to just the right moment to catch them all relaxing and not self-preening.

Let's All Look Left

For reference, here's a wider view. You can see that the lowest cormorant also enjoys looking left, while the rightmost one has become slightly distracted from the sun salutation.

Four on a Rock

Abstract Surface

Yellow Planes

Many Flecks


Autumn Wind

Chlorophyll be Gone


I was done with my walk and returning to my car when I couldn't resist snapping a photo of this venturesome duo out on the res also enjoying the day.

Hats and Sunglasses

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

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Swan Lake

I love fall in New England. The colors are just so spectacular; we are lucky to get to see the brilliant natural foliage display this time of year.

Not only are the leaves colorful, so is their reflection in water.

While enjoying a recent walk around the Ashland Reservoir (aka the "res") - one of my favorite haunts - camera with telephoto zoom in hand, I spotted a pair of swans gliding along. I've seen these swans at the res before, however on this occasion they managed to enter the fall color zone just as I was rounding that particular corner.

I must emphasize that the gorgeous color you see in the water in the images below is primarily from reflections of the leaves on the nearby shore, *not* from the time of day being sunrise or sunset. Also, the color saturation you see below is largely untouched from the original photos, as taken.

There were two swans, but for some reason my favorite captures only show one of the pair.

Swan Life


Golden Ripples

For reference, here's a quick shot of the overall scene, just *before* I took the above pictures. You can see the swan gliding towards the colorful water.

Swan Entering Fall Color Zone

And here's what one of the swans looked like in "un-foliage reflected" water. I took this after rounding the cove, when the swan had moved and where the sun's rays were also in a different direction.

Color of Water

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Walden Pond Visit

The mid-October weather and fall foliage inspired us to go for a walk around Walden Pond. I used to go to Walden Pond frequently when I was growing up. In those days it was a quiet place to explore and get some solitude, perhaps as Thoreau himself might have done.

While still a lovely spot, in the last several years it has become extraordinarily popular. Many times, during the summer, when we attempt to visit for a walk and swim, it is so crowded we cannot get a parking spot.

On this recent visit, on a lovely fall day, it was crowded yet again, yet thankfully still with available parking spots. Walden Pond, as always, remains a very special place.

That said, I have only a few photos to share from the day, shown below; only the first one shows any water at all;)

This cormorant was giving us a nice display of his/her "pebbled" wings, a technique called "wing-spreading". The feathers of Cormorants' wings are not waterproof, so they hold out their wings to dry their feathers after a swim. The photo was taken through an opening in the trees from 85 feet away.

Drying Wings

Thoreau Leaves


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

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Alpaca Faces

We arrived at this year's Dragonfly Festival just after it ended. While that wasn't our original intention, at least we got to meet up with some good friends as they were packing up.

The alpacas were headed home from their day in the children's zoo petting area. I had just a few quick moments to grab some photos. It was around 6 pm (dusk), so the light was dimming as well, not ideal for photography. I had my 75-300mm telephoto lens on the camera and snapped a quick series as the alpaca caretaker was strolling by with his animals.

I was quite close to the alpacas so that I had to use the lens at its shortest focal length, in fact having to step back slightly. Fortunately, at 75mm this lens performs admirably, taking sharp photos, at least within the depth of field of the focal plane.

Alpacas are similar to llamas in appearance, except that alpacas are smaller. They have very soft hair; alpaca hair fiber is used to make a variety of clothing not unlike what is made with sheep's wool.

Lost in Thought

Chewbacca's Cousin

While the (admittedly crooked) teeth in this next photo aren't precisely in focus, I thought I'd share this alpaca smile with you:

Smiling For the Camera

Bangs Need Trimming

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

Sunday, October 6, 2019

GPU Boost

It turns out that my camera can take pictures of man-made objects, not just flowers and animals in the natural world.
Who knew?

Here are a few quick pictures of my new PNY nVidia Quadro P400 board I put in my homemade PC. For those that aren't familiar with the world of PCs and electronics, this is a graphics board add-on. This particular one has a form factor that is referred to as "half-height". It is quite a small board being only a few inches high, and thus merited being photographed with my macro lens.

It is a low-end graphics board (not so great for gamers), but one capable of supporting (up to three) 4K monitors. Despite it being "low-end", it has a GPU, or Graphics Processing Unit, capable of processing many simultaneous instructions at the same time, and thus can also be used to solve modern neural network artificial intelligence modeling problems far more quickly than in a computer without this type of GPU.

Parenthetically, this board is also capable of displaying true 10-bit color, rather than 8-bit color, on my monitor, so that color gradients can theoretically display as appearing to be truly continuous when using appropriate software. This feature turns out to be mostly about bragging rights, and has little benefit in day-to-day use.

My PC is designed to be quiet. Thanks to the more modest specifications of this board, it consumes relatively little power and has a fan that runs smoothly and nearly silently.

Silicon Valley Offspring

Lots of Zeros

GPU Boost

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