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


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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

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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

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Creatures Among Us

Here's a small sampling of creatures seen in our yard. While we go about our daily business, so do they.

I wonder if this creature likes crocosmia as much as I do?


When reviewing my shots I found four that were similar but had slightly different areas of this next insect that were in focus, so I decided to try a focus stack, even though that wasn't the original intent of the series. Near 1:1 macro shots always have an extremely narrow depth of field. Focus stacking, when successful, manages to get more of the subject in focus.

King of the Hill

I spotted this next long legged friend while eating my lunch outdoors. After taking only this one photo, it jumped away.

Railing Jumper

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Dragonfly - Study in Four Views

This particular dragonfly was quite small, with (at most) a two inch wingspan. It wasn't particularly colorful, nor were its wings complete. Nevertheless, it stayed in our garden just long enough for me to get a few shots off with my macro lens (handheld, natural light). The lens was just a few inches away from the subject.

Here I present four different views.

Dragonfly View 1

Dragonfly View 2

While this next view is very similar to the prior one, I took this photo from a slightly higher perspective. I also post-processed this with an "artistic" filter that added a different tone to the photo, introducing, in particular, some blue hues.

Dragonfly View 3

For this shot, I was finally able to make my way around to the side of the dragonfly. The subject flew away immediately after this capture.

Dragonfly View 4

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Blooms Speak

Here's a post with yet more flowers. Nature creates some amazing structures for us to appreciate.


Light Effects

Not a Purple People Eater


Cell Tower

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Saturday, October 5, 2019

More Crocosmia

Here are several more crocosmia photos. What an alive colorful plant this is!

When lit up in the sun, I'm drawn to photograph it.

All photos taken handheld with my macro lens using natural light.



Against the Green

Three Skis to the Wind

Hot Hues

Singing in the Red


Vantage Point

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Friday, October 4, 2019

Beautiful Crocosmia

Crocosmia is a flowering plant in the iris family. That said, it doesn't look like any other kind of iris I've ever seen. We have some crocosmia that delightfully, and somewhat unexpectedly, manages to bloom in our garden year after year. I always call it our "tropical" plant. It does not look like the type of plant which will survive in our northeast coast climate, but ours does quite well.

It is a really fun name to pronounce too!

I plan to blog more pictures of crocosmia in future posts. This particular capture should give you the basic idea of why I call it "tropical", and, perhaps, why I like it so much.

Warm Gesture

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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Four June Sights

The photos in this post were taken mid-June. It is a "themeless" blog entry, unless "variety" is a theme.

In the Sun

Critter on Guard

Folded Heart

Mustard Test

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