A Few Minutes Observing…Brookside in the Rain

Photography in the rain is always a challenge….and best done quickly before the camera gets raindrops on the lens! I had two rainy days that I was at Brookside Gardens before my Wings of Fancy shift and took a few minutes to photograph a few things near the conservatory.


On the first morning – I photographed the stream as I crossed the entrance bridge. The rain was light, so the water was not high…but the color of the rocks normally dry above the surface of the water is more vivid since they were wet from the rain.

There were flowers in pots along the way.

I turned to take a picture of the rain garden area near the conservatory entrance before I went inside.


On the second morning, the two buckeye trees that are at the edge of the parking lot were shedding their flowers. The flowers retained their color on the pavement as the water rippled and moved them into clusters.

It was raining a bit harder this second day and the water droplets were accumulating on the flowers…and rolling off. I was juggling my umbrella while I took the photos!

Zooming – April 2019

The accelerating change of the seasons in Maryland and Texas…so much to see and do. I’ve picked a few of my favorite images captured with the zoom on my camera. There are insects in at least two of the flower images (maybe a third)….the little critters enjoying the spring bounty. Enjoy the April slideshow!

Zooming – February 2019

So many pictures captured with the zoom feature of the camera:

  • The framing of a sunrise so that no post processing is required

  • Birds photographed only because my presence was not detected

  • Documenting an oddity like a unique squirrel tail

  • Plants filling the frame…but the bit of background a blur

I estimate that most of the pictures I take use the zoom on my camera. The advantage of positioning myself at the right angle but not needing to be overly close is not to be underestimated. Before modern lenses, sensors, and autofocus photography was much more challenging. Now it is much more about composition and that is the part I enjoy more than anything else anyway. Being at the right place – and fast enough to use the technology – is the remaining challenge.

Macro Petals and Leaf

The last hurrah of some flowers I bought over the holiday was after it was spent – just before the stems and petals and greenery went to the compost bin. I experimented with my macro lens clipped to my cell phone – particularly the 60x one.

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After some trial and error, I discovered that putting the specimen (a petal or a leaf) on a window provided good backlight and I could easily stabilize the lens too. I zoomed a little – just enough to take away the vignetting around the edges.

The petals looked almost white to the eye, but subtle colors of the veins and cell walls came out at the higher magnification. The petals were desiccated and fragile. Some cracked as I held them. Fortunately, there were plenty more to try. 

In general, I like the lower magnification macro (15x) better than this lens…but the 60x was great for this project.

Zooming – July 2018

This month the zoomed photographs are dominated by flowers and insects…no birds (which is a little unusual for me but just reflects what I’ve been doing and the large number of rainy days that I haven’t gotten out at all). I’ve chosen 14 photos from over 1,000 that I’ve taken this month. I like to have a lot to choose from. I would guess that over 50% use at least some amount of ‘zoom’ on the camera. Enjoy the slideshow for July 2018!

3 Free eBooks – March 2018

So many books…so little time. I’m still working my way through the Japanese Illustrated Books from the Edo and Meiji Period. My favorite this month was a series with three volumes:

Kacho shasin zui. Published by Nishimura Soshichi, 1805. Available from Smithsonian Libraries here. I like the images of the birds and flowers as art and snapshots of nature through the lens of Japanese culture of the time. The scans appear a little smudged but that adds to their charm – there were books that were enjoyed again and again!

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The other books I’m highlighting this month were both written about the same time – the 1920s – and about scenic highways along rivers. The first one is from the west coast…the second is from the east coast. Both highways still exist…although is renovated/modified form. These books were probably produced as souvenirs with annotated pictures.

Oregon’s famous Columbia River Highway. Published by Lipschuetz and Katz, Portland Oregon. 1920. Available from Internet Archive here. Scenic routes have been popular since the beginning of the age of automobiles! Even with the lower speeds of those early cars, there were still turnouts – places to stop to see the river or walk a little way to see waterfalls.

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Storm King Highway and the Historic Hudson River. Published by J. Ruben, Newburgh, New York. Available from Internet Archive here. A lot has happened along the Hudson River in the last century and not all for the better. I found the highway on Google Maps and the first ‘street view’ was one with graffiti (not the artistic kind) all over the rock wall and rocks beyond. I didn’t look further. It’s depressing to see something that was once scenic turned into a prime example of ‘tragedy of the commons.’

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Winter Flowers

My husband bought roses for our January wedding anniversary…and the baby’s breath and greenery that lasted longer than then the roses prompted me to buy a general bouquet of flowers last week at the grocery store. I’ll probably buy another two or three before some of the spring emergence begins with the trees and bulbs in our yard.

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Adding color to the breakfast area table is something to savor in the winter when the dominate color outside is brown…and the days here are mostly cloudy. Color lightens my mood – whether it comes from flowers on the table or birds seen through the window!

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We have so much growing around the outside of our house that I’ve never grown houseplants. They would fill the gap in color I am feeling right now….but I’d also have to care for them for the rest of the year. I’m sticking with the purchased cut flowers for January through mid-March!