Posts Tagged Flowers

Back in Paradise

I arrived back in my soul’s home the other day. The red rock country is my true home and it is so good to be back. A group of photographers from a workshop I took recently has been planning this trip for months and we’re all converging on the desert to share some good times and fellowship.

I was waiting for Phil to arrive at Moab international airport, so took a little drive. I spotted some white blossoms and knew I had to record one of my favorite flowers, the sacred datura, or, as it’s known in other regions, jimson weed.

If you’ve read the Carlos Castañeda series of books, you know datura is the plant they used to induce visions. It’s a pretty significant hallucinogen, but must be handled carefully or it can kill the person who ingests it. Being a coward, I tread pretty lightly around the jimson weed, but because it has the most spectacular flowers, it’s always an attractive target for my camera. Here are a couple images I made from a respectful distance (as always, click on the images to see the full size and correct color):

 

Sacred Datura 1

Sacred Datura 1

 

Sacred Datura 2

Sacred Datura 2

 

The adventure is beginning and I’ll share some images of the most beautiful country in the world and the week progresses. Check back often.

More to follow,

Bob

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The Jewel is in the Lotus

When we were at the zoo a couple weeks ago, we came across a pond of water lilies. Lotus if you will. The lotus has a lot of meaning to Eastern religions. The Lord Buddha sits on a Lotus Throne. The flower is so complex that it requires a lot of contemplation. It’s very symbolic because its roots are in the mud, yet a beautiful flower is the end result. The Jewel is in the Lotus. That’s the basic meaning, as I’ve been told, of the Mani mantra: Om Mani Pedmé Hung. I’ve read that this is the favorite mantra of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet. When one chants that mantra, one is supposed to realize that no matter what his or her origins are, the potential for inner beauty is there. Our true nature is not in the mud but in the realization of beauty. Not a bad thought to carry around.

Here are the lotus I found in good old Billings. The backlighting was a challenge, but I think Lightroom helped me control it (click on the thumbnails):

 

 

The Jewel is in the Lotus

The Jewel is in the Lotus

 

And the true nature of the lotus may be as a Black & White image. Who knew?

Pink lotus

Pink lotus

 

I’d better go meditate for a while.

More to follow.

Bob

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Brought to you in Glorious Monochrome!

Well, you know me. Still trying to make a good Black & White image. I’m showing improvement and some of the images I’ve done lately I’m pretty happy with. It’s funny how I can be looking at a brilliant green scene and see monochrome written all over it. I guess that’s my preference, so I lean that way. I’ve been up in the canyons lately and have done a lot of wildflower photography. And I’ve noticed the non-floral scenery. While I still can’t understand mountains and trees as well as I can the desert, I think I’m getting there.

Here are some monochrome scenes I’ve seen lately (as always, click on the image to see them full size and with the right color. Oh, no color this time):

 

Here’s my boy Gandalf, The Gray Cat. He was sitting thinking about the birds at the feeder, so he held still for a while. Not a bad portrait.

 

Gandalf the Gray Cat

Gandalf the Gray Cat

 

This False Hellebore or California Corn Lily (I’ve been told) just called to me, saying, “Monochrome.” It was right.

False Hellebore

False Hellebore

 

And these are, to all intents and purposes, weeds. I don’t have a clue what family they belong to, so I’ll take the lazy way out on the naming.

Weeds, Big Timber Canyon

Weeds, Big Timber Canyon

 

I’ll keep working in this old-timey mode, I think.

 

More to follow.

Bob

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More Big Timber Flowers

I went back up to Big Timber Canyon today. I’d heard the flowers are blooming big time, so decided I had to catch them in the act. There were a few that I thought looked photogenic, so I pulled out the macro lens, got up close and personal and clicked away.

While I knelt in the rocky soil with sore knees two things dawned on me. First, I need to put my kneepads back in the camera bag. My cat Spike used to steal them from the bag and chew on them, so I put them where I figured he couldn’t get at them. Now he’s gone, but I keep forgetting to put them in the bag. And if I go do it now while I’m thinking of it, I’ll likely forget to complete this post, so it’s a matter of taking chances.

The second thing is that I need to get a wildflower identification guide. I always say that I know two wildflowers by name. One is Indian paintbrush, the other isn’t. The two you’re seeing here may be bluebells and an LWF. LWF is little white flower. That may not be a very good means of identifying, so I’ll start to study up on them.

Here’s what I saw today (click on the thumbnails to see them full size and properly colored).

 

These are pretty small and they’re mostly white. Hence the name.

 

LWF, Big Timber Canyon

LWF, Big Timber Canyon

 

 

My department head said the bluebells are blooming up there, so these may be those. Or something else. I saw some other blue bell-shaped flowers, but I think they were too big.

 

Blue Bells Maybe

Blue Bells Maybe

 

 

That’s all for now.

More to follow,

Bob

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Two Lips

My daffodils are slowly giving up the ghost. I was pretty smart, though. I planted a row of daffodils and behind them a row of tulips. Seeing as the tulips mature just a little later than the daffodils, I’ll have a good month and a half of pretty flowers, then the nice greenery of their leaves as they absorb sunlight and store up energy for next year in the bulbs. Of course, nobody told me that the daffodils were going to be taller than the tulips, so the Dutch flowers are kind of hidden. Maybe I’ll relocate them for next year. It helps that the bulbs multiply, too. This year I’ve got about twice the flowers I had last year. And this year, the tulips are changing color. I wanted red, but got orange. This year, about 1/4 of them are purple. Nice color. So I cut a couple flowers and brought them in. Here’s what they look like up close and personal. Click the images for a better view and correct color.

Purple Tulip macro

Purple Tulip macro

 

Orange Tulip macro

Orange Tulip macro

With any luck, I’ll have some nice cactus blossoms to share with you later this month. More to follow. Bob

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Another one of those days

Well, it was a day to remember. Lots of stupid stuff happened, but some good to offset it.

I decided to go to the Procession Panel today. I had it in my mind to do a panorama of the whole glyph. That is, take three or four images and merge them together. I haven’t seen anyone do this yet, so figured I’d be the first one to publish it.

Off to a bad start. I forgot to set my odometer to tell how far I’d gone and identify the right parking place/trailhead. I knew I had gone much too far, so decided to explore (exploration means never having to say you’re lost) and get the panel tomorrow. I pulled into a parking area and decided I must be close to one of the more famous ruins in the area. The parking area looked familiar, but there were benches there, something I had never seen in the area.

Along with the benches were signposts, pointing the way to whatever was up there. (More on that later.) I headed out to see what I was going to see. About 1/4 mile down the trail my boots started to eat my heels. These are boots that I’d broken in already, so I thought they just needed to warm up. Besides, I had already put bandaids on the spots these boots used to bother me. It just got worse. Of course, I hadn’t brought a spare pare because these were broken in. And it only really caused a problem when I was going uphill. The last half of the hike was to be downhill. (That’s a lot different from what happens when you hike with Tom. With him, the first 95% of the hike is uphill and the last 95% is uphill.)

So I followed the cairns and realized that things looked familiar. Continuing on, I saw that I had inadvertently found the right parking place, and was on the way to the Procession Panel. Wow! Now here comes something odd. All my whining and sniveling in the past about not being able to find the panel must have been heard on high, because there was a BLM sign with an arrow pointing to the trail to the panel. What the…

So I got there and got the shot. On the way I found (Ma Nature strikes again) some flowers blooming and saw a lizard scurrying under a rock. It’s way too early for either of those phenomena in my estimation. There’s still snow on the ground up there!

Anyway, here’s the flower, actually larger than lifesize:

LPFs, Procession Panel

LPFs, Procession Panel

And, of course, the Procession Panel isn’t the only glyph in the area. Here’s a dope playing with a snake:

 

Snake Dancer

Snake Dancer

And here’s the Procession Panel panorama. I am not sure how this will come across on your computer, but I just had to try it. You may need to scan left and/or right to see the whole thing.

Procession Panel

Procession Panel

I gotta run and pour some beer on my blisters. From the inside.

More to follow,

Bob

 

 

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Alaska, Day 3

We faced every kind of weather except snow today. Sun, hot, rain, cold.

Went back to Denali for a short drive (private vehicles are pretty well banned from the park) and a quick hike. Hot and sunny.

Drove to Trapper Creek through rain and we encountered the brightest rainbow I’ve ever seen. Added bonus: it was accompanied by a full double. Then we found some interesting flora, so broke out the macro lens.

Here’s what we saw today:

Hiked up the Savage River and found some nice reflections in the braided stream. It cried for black-and-white.

Savage River, Denali NP

Savage River, Denali NP

And then rain and cold, but we were rewarded by this:

two rainbows

two rainbows

Of course, the rain leaves other clues that it was in the area:

Rose Leaf, Alaska

Rose Leaf, Alaska

potentilla fruiticosa, Alaska

potentilla fruiticosa, Alaska

That’s enough for now.

More to follow,

Bob

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I see, I see

Well, I’ve been absent for a while for a number of reasons. First, my hard drive failed and it took a while to get it replaced. Kudos to Western Digital for being prompt and honest with the warranty replacement. I’ve not got all my fotos back alive and am ready to make new ones. But you probably already knew that.

Assuming #1 is resolved. I had a situation where the vitreous in one eye detached and tore the retina. In order to avoid a retinal detachment, I had a laser procedure last week wherein the doc basically spot welded the retina back in place. That should avoid any nasty follow-up pathology. The floaters will always be there, but the black dots that cut the light hitting my retina should dissolve. Apparently they’re red corpuscles.

So today, after following doctor’s orders and not reading or working on the computer, I got the camera out. Spent some time calibrating my lenses (one was off in its focus) and taking a few fotos of the local flora and fauna. Mostly the flora.

I wasn’t totally happy with my macro lens’ focus, but now I think I’ve got a good adjustment set up and I think this image of a little yellow flower should show that. My landlord’s grandson got sick of looking at the patch of dirt in front of my house and went crazy sowing flower seeds. It has taken since June, but I’m finally getting a couple blossoms here and there.

Here’s one:

Christian's LYF

Click on image to enlarge

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Another Round with Ma Nature

Well, Ma Nature is cooking us here in Wyoming. It was 86° when I got down from the Mountain. And, of course, she fiddled with me while I was trying to do some photography, too, so all-in-all, she’s not being very nice.

It dawned on me earlier that even with my hard drive crashed and trashed and unresponsive and dead and kind of zombie-like, that I would need to continue making photographs. Heck, if my next step doesn’t work I will have to rebuild the thousands of images I had on there. Better get after it.

So I went up to the mountains. After falling in to icy runoff from a snow field (not that dramatic, really, just got in up to my ankles), I found some flowers that seemed to need to be photographed. As is usual with Ma Nature, as I approached the flowers, the air was calm and clear. After I set up the camera, set the exposure and got ready to make the image, Ma turned on the wind machine. Never fails. Perhaps it’s to teach me patience, but that’s something I already have most of the time.

Maybe it’s just to be mean. That’s more likely: she always makes it rain when it should be clear, makes it clear when it should be raining, and she’s left the oven door open lately. grrrrr.

Anyway, here are a couple flower shots that aren’t too bad. Both flowers are on stems from the same plant, but as you’ll notice, the second one seems to have been treated more roughly than the first. I like ’em, anyway.

LYF 1

LYF 1

LYF 2

LYF 2

Yes, they’re LYFs. Little Yellow Flowers. At first I thought they were Arrow Leaf Balsam Roots, but I don’t think so any more. They’re simply those yellow ones I saw today. (Remember, I told you I knew two kinds of flower by name: one is Indian Paintbrush, the other isn’t.)

More to follow,

Bob

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Well, since the rapture didn’t happen

I decided to go out and get some evidence that Spring has sprang. I was going to walk along the Laramie River Green Belt, a trail along the outskirts of town that can be pretty pleasant, but it didn’t happen. When I got there I found that someone in the City decided I was too stupid to avoid flash floods or rapidly rising water, so they closed the trail. Just another example of people in authority being overprotective. Yes, we’ve got a lot of water to come, the snow pack is almost 3x what it usually is (if the people who write the stories are accurate with their math. They say it’s 187% higher than normal. That means, in real math, that it’s almost three times as deep as usual). (God, I love parentheses.)

Anyway, it’s been pretty cool in the high country (cool enough to snow) so, while the water is up to the stream banks, I didn’t feel much of a threat for the trail that runs above the river. But, being a law-abiding citizen, I moved on. The University of Wyoming campus has a pretty decent landscaping program, so I went there looking for flowers that would stand still in 24-mph winds with gusts over 30. Found some, too.

I’ve always loved daffodils. They’re bright, cheery, interestingly shaped and a sure sign that Winter is going to give us our usual 3-month hiatus from blizzards. I like to brag that I’ve been snowed on every month while living in Wyoming except August. I’ve seen snow in May (my graduation day had over a foot of snow), June (18 inches on June 6th a couple years ago) and have been snowed on at the 4th of July rodeo. September is a transitional month and snow often falls then. Actually, last August Tom and I were hiking in the high country and got pelted with white stuff, but I think that was ice pellets, not snow, so I’ve got to try again this year.

Anyway, here are some of the daffodils UW staff and students get to admire every day.

 

Daffodil UW Campus

Daffodil UW Campus

I really prefer the all-yellow versions of the narcissus, like the one above. The others are pretty, to be sure, but I guess you could say I’m a traditionalist.

Here are some of the multi-colored variety:

Three Daffodils, UW Campus

Three Daffodils, UW Campus

Well, that’s it for Spring. It will undoubtedly snow tonight.

 

More to follow.

Bob

 

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