Thursday, October 25, 2012

The butterfly bush...

I have a dear friend Marie who has a beautiful butterfly bush in her yard.  She has enjoyed watching numerous butterflies all summer long.  I absolutely needed one of these butterfly bushes.  After all, what a great way to create photo ops.  So, at the beginning of the summer, I planted one and waited...and waited...and waited.  Flowers bloomed and died off and bloomed again but I saw no butterflies...until last weekend when I went out to cut everything back in preparation for winter.  There it was...one butterfly and a companion.  I was thrilled and even more thrilled that it waited around for me to get my camera.  I managed to shoot more than several photos and, with a slight breeze, they are certainly not as sharp as I would have liked but I did get to document a 'first' in the garden.

Now, can anyone identify these creatures?  I pulled out and dusted off an old insect guide and believe it might be a Painted Lady.  Could the companion be a young butterfly or is it just a moth along for the ride.

Pardon the repetition of photos but I just could not resist!  I had to wait until the fall for this event!

 

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A walk on the wild side...

 

I am notorious for taking a vacation day and planning, in my head, that I’m getting up early to take advantage of the golden hour. I’m going to get out there and shoot some unbelievable photos.   And then I hit the power button on my laptop, with coffee in hand, and begin surfing blogs, photo sites, and the like to enjoy everyone else’s unbelievable photos.  The last time I followed through on the ‘golden hour’ idea was spring 2011 when I managed to catch a sunrise…I was oh so proud of myself.
 

My vacation day last Tuesday began with the push of that power button followed, several seconds later, by the horrible beep and immediate shut down of my laptop. After three unsuccessful tries, I pulled all the cords out of the laptop and began, one by one, replacing and rebooting. No problems…until I plugged the last cord in, the cord belonging to my port replicator. At least I found the culprit and, since the manufacturer is on the West Coast, I resorted to corresponding through their web site.

 
With high noon an hour away, I got my act together and headed out to Davidson’s Mill Pond Park and the woods…not the ideal time to photograph but, with a mix of clouds and sun, I was hoping for the best.
 
 
Needless to say, the late start wasn’t the best but being out hiking around for 3 hours was wonderful. I didn’t see any wild ‘things’ but I saw lots of wild flowers and some docile ducks. And the port manufacturers…after their solution failed, they opted to replace the replicator, sans original invoice. It’s all good.




 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Game over...

 
 

With the big ‘R’ (that’s retirement) lurking around the corner, I’ve had several people (already retired) remark to me that I’m so lucky to have something I’m interested in…my photography. They could not be more right. But I’m lucky even now, while I’m still working. This ‘passion’ has saved my sanity in many instances. Granted, the house doesn’t get cleaned that often, the windows could use a washing, I need to scrub the mold off the deck, etc. but I could not be more satisfied. It’s extremely fulfilling…I don’t get that feeling when I wash the kitchen floor. Hmmmm, is that what those retirees are doing? Ugh!

 
 
So with crazy ‘stuff’ going on around me over the weekend, I headed out and walked around a local pond looking for some sanity and some color; camera and tripod in hand. It was late, the sun was setting but what a great way to test long exposures. And there was a baseball game (love baseball) just ending under the lights at an adjacent field.

 
 
I didn’t catch any baseball action but I did hear the final crack of the bat and the cheers as the game ended. And as I turned away from the field, there rose a full autumn moon. Sigh…all is right with the world.

 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Power to the cup...


(A Weekly Top Shot entry)

Years (many years) ago, as a young person, I would often wonder what was so important or sacred or even cherished about that cup of coffee my mother (or any adult) would cherish every morning or after every meal.  What was the big deal?  What was the 'draw?'  I have to admit, that ritual...that early-morning, after-dinner cup of coffee was so revered, I came to almost view it with disdain.  Thinking back, one could almost consider this 'habit' equal to that iconic cigarette after 'whatever.'  Actually, revisiting my point of view at that time, you could equate this coffee addiction with a drug.  The whole thing drove me a little nuts...it was annoying.  What was so important  about that cup of coffee?
 

Saturday morning toolbox with wonderful coffee courtesy
of dear blogger friend, cracker jack photog, and safekeeper-of-children-on-busses
Marge Bloom.  Go visit her at The View From Right Here.

Fast forward (many years), as an adult, I've come to realize the significance of that cup of coffee.  It's a powerful thing...and I'm not talking about the power of caffeine.  I referring to the event itself...although it can't be denied, caffeine does a lot for many.  Personally, I'm primarily a decaf person (thank you Dr. T.) although I do sneak in the 'drug' on Saturday mornings and those other weekdays that warrant a kick start.
 
Perked...it had to be perked...NOT from a Mr. Coffee!
 
What's in that cup?  That cup of coffee, that 'event,' can draw conversation out and bind people together.  It can give you a warm feeling and comfort you with familiarity.  It can give you an excuse to meet people face-to-face, get you up and out of your desk chair and make you move.  This 'event,' this simple cup of coffee, is a powerful thing.  Who knew?!

5 minutes...only 5... and that 5 can seem like an eternity!
 
Needless to say, over the many years I've learned a thing or two about and from that disdained cup of coffee.
Most importantly, I've learned that mom was right.
 
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...
 
And, by the way, it's a great excuse for eating a donut.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shell game...

I recall, as a child, collecting shells on the beach. It was the ‘thing to do’ when you went ‘down the shore.’ For some reason I remember buckets of shells, not handfuls. And these shells were large and visible in the sand. And we used to paint them with rainbow colors…how wonderful that was!


There were times when the beach was so littered with shells, you had to hop and skip over areas to get to the water. This year I actually had trouble finding any shells; let alone shells of a respectable size. Why is that? Was it because I couldn’t see them? Yes, the eyesight is not what it was at the age of 10. Was it the location? It’s the Jersey shore! Was it my timing? I’ve looked it up online and it seems I’m not the only one who can’t figure this out but then there’s that CNN article listing the top 10 beaches for shelling; albeit from 2007.

And what about those wonderful stones that Diane Keaton collected in the movie ‘Something’s Gotta Give?’ Hmmmm, they had to be ‘planted’ there but I sure would like to have a jar of them…and one black one, of course.


 I do so hope the tide turns so we can fill a bucket and paint again!

She sells seashells by the seashore.