Sea Blue Lens


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Summer Miscellany

A few random images of the summer just past, and random thoughts on the season to come….

IMG_1789From Stackpole Bridge

As I begin writing this, it is Labor Day in the United States, and for me this holiday has always marked my personal end-of-summer. Here in Maine, the three-day holiday weekends of Memorial Day near the end of May and Labor Day at the beginning of September bookend our “official” summer tourist season.

IMG_3961Summer Rain

While I’m reluctant to see summer go, I do love fall. The crowds are gone and there are a couple of months of warm sunny days and cool nights to enjoy before winter descends…and of course there are the glorious leaves to look forward to.

IMG_4436Between Cities

When I was growing up, school used to start — always — on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Though school days are (thankfully) a distant memory, September still feels like a time of new beginnings. Maybe it’s just old habit, or maybe there really is something in the air that triggers the urge to clean things out, get my “nest” in order, and embark upon self-improvement projects.

IMG_4059Johanna’s Garden

One thing I’ve been wanting to do for a long time is blog more regularly. I began this blog four years ago as a photo journal for an online photography course I was taking. Without the class to hold me accountable, and to “tell me” what to photograph and write about, I haven’t really known what its purpose was/is.  But I do like having a place to share some of my photographs (which otherwise just sit in my computer) and I enjoy writing about them. I also treasure the friendships I have with people I’ve met online here, many dating back to that first “Find Your Eye” class.

IMG_3948Summer Sky: Scarborough Marsh

Last week I pledged to one of those friends — and to myself — a commitment to publish at least one post a week during the months of September and October. After that, we’ll see! I feel that I need the structure and discipline. I also need to do something with all these photos I keep on taking, or what’s the point? I hope by the end of October to have found a purpose and direction for the blog. Perhaps it will just be my own personal photo journal, pretty much as it has been all along. Perhaps I’ll discover that I really don’t want to keep doing it at all.

IMG_4504At the Farmers Market

So…come along, if you’d like, on my journey of random exploration. Welcome!

IMG_5334Season’s End

And welcome to you, too, Beautiful Autumn!


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Summer’s End

IMG_0936-2evening starEvening Star (August 8)

Wow, August is almost over and didn’t it go by fast?! Though I haven’t been posting, I have been taking photos.

I have to admit that I’m not a particularly disciplined person. I don’t like schedules and routines, particularly self-imposed ones. But I felt that I needed something to prod me out of my lethargy, so I set myself a little challenge to take at least one photo every day during the month of August.  To make it as easy as possible, I decided to use my iPhone for my pics of the day, simply because I knew I would always have it with me. Also, the photos automatically stream themselves to my computer every time I plug in the phone to charge. No excuses, right?

I did better than I expected. I captured an image every day, even if some of them were not particularly inspired. A couple of times I forgot until almost the last minute, and it shows. But most surprising to me, I enjoyed it very much. Here’s a sampling:

IMG_0903 onion seedGoing to Seed (August 3)

This is what happens when you don’t eat your vegetables.

IMG_0914 Thai iced teaRefreshing (August 5)

Thai iced tea, enjoyed at lunch during a shopping outing with my sister. It’s a special treat, one of my favorite drinks.

IMG_0930 Sky treeSkeleton (August 7)

This small eucalyptus died a couple of years ago, but the birds love to perch there. It’s far enough away from the house that even if it came down in a storm, it couldn’t hurt anything.

IMG_0970 kittyGarden Kitty (August 11)

I met this lovely and friendly tortoiseshell cat at a nursery my sister and I visited.

IMG_0996 thunderheadThunderhead (August 18)

Lots of interesting skies this month!

IMG_1044 rainFlash Flood Watch (August 26)

That wall of rain arrived about five minutes after I took this photo. It rained for about 20 minutes and did flood some small local roads, though there wasn’t any serious damage. The temperature dropped by 20 degrees in those 20 minutes and after the rain the damp ground and air smelled delicious. I wish I could have captured that scent to share with you.

IMG_1049 Ave VDriving Home (August 28)

This is the “avenue” I live on. This was taken a couple of days after the rain and there’s been some traffic, but you can still see where the water ran down and across the road.

IMG_1011 sunset gazeboSunset Clouds Over Moonrise Mountain (August 20)

Moonrise Mountain is my own name for this hill, for just the reason you might guess: from the perspective of our property, the moon comes up right over it. Therefore we’re looking eastward in this photo. I love it when the clouds pile up there and are illuminated by the sun setting on the opposite horizon. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s pretty spectacular when it does.

I know it wasn’t a big goal, but I’m proud of myself for setting it and doing it. Now I’m committing myself to the big one, a 365, starting September 1. I still don’t know if I can do it, but at least I’ve become willing to try. And that’s a good thing.

I’ve uploaded my entire August set to Flickr, so if you’d like to see the rest, you can go here to check it out.


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Photo-Heart Connection: July 2013

DSC_2252_BlueRoseSummertime Blues

It’s been over a month since I last posted here. Last month, I missed (skipped, actually) the Photo-Heart Connection linkup altogether. I just couldn’t get myself inspired by any of the images I’d taken, and I’m still having the same problem. I’m in a slump.

The image above doesn’t exactly make my heart sing, but it says something about my world this July. This was taken mid-month. I looked out the window from my desk and saw an odd spot of bright blue in the yard. I went out to see what it was and discovered this stunningly fake rose blossom lying on the ground. Where did it come from? I have no idea. No doubt the wind dropped it there.

You can see in the photo how dry the ground is. In July, our well went dry for the first time ever. The well serviceman who came to check the pump gave us the bad news and said it’s been happening all over the area. Now we’re having water delivered by truck. I wash my dishes in a bucket so I can pour the water onto my plants afterwards. And I dream of rain.

I do have some real roses, planted in pots and set up on a bench where the rabbits can’t get at them.  Unfortunately, something else could, and did. Every leaf, every bud, gone — stripped down to bare stems. Almost everything we plant gets its own little fence to keep the rabbits out. Yesterday, I saw a ground squirrel inside one of those fences, lunching on my portulaca. Again, every bud and flower, gone. Maybe I should try planting blue silk roses.

In July, wild things began invading my personal space. I discovered a tarantula in the hallway near my bedroom door. My brother-in-law caught it and released it far down the hill. Birds kept flying or falling into the exhaust pipe for my stove hood and getting trapped. We set them free. Something began bumping around in the attic space over my head. Squirrels, we thought. So we put up a trap and after several days caught the culprit — not a squirrel but a big fat rat. Can I just say, UGH! OK, at least it’s gone. Except after two days . . . the pitter-patter of little feet is back. So is the trap.

I’ve been feeling as out of place (and out of sorts) as that crazy blue rose. But . . . I know this will pass. The last few days have brought cooler, fresher temperatures, a whisper of fall-to-come. We even got a few drops of rain, see?

DSC_2313_Raindrops

Literally, just a few drops, but welcome. I’m going to try to look up, to appreciate the wild visitors to my birdbath and feeders rather than focus on the invaders. I will count the blessings of sunshine, fair weather, and the beautiful blue of the summer sky. It’s a new day and a whole new month.

DSC_2298_Clouds

Linking with Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection for July. I always (well, almost always!) enjoy this monthly chance to review my photos and muse about the one that speaks to my heart in a special way.


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Terrible Beauty: SHS 6.2.13

It’s a different kind of Scavenger Hunt Sunday this week. We don’t have any prompts except “Photographer’s Choice” — we’re meant to choose our five favorite photos of the week, of any subject we like.

Late Thursday afternoon, heading home after a shopping trip, I saw smoke rising beyond the horizon and pulled over to snap a photo with my iPhone.

IMG_0794-2Uh oh.

As soon as I got home I checked the television news to find out what was happening. A wildfire had begun about an hour earlier in the Angeles National Forest, about 16 miles northwest of here as the crow flies. (We are not in danger.) It’s being called the Powerhouse fire.

About ten minutes later, I took this photo from behind the garage . . .

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. . . and then over the next hour and a half I watched in horrified fascination as smoke spread across the clear blue sky, first casting shadows on the hills and then blotting out the sun.

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Colors were changing moment by moment,  morphing from the yellow-green of an old bruise to brilliant red-orange, washing everything in a red glow.

DSC_1724

DSC_1703

By sunset, the smoke cloud had covered nearly the entire sky.

DSC_1727

I woke up during that night and the wind was calm, the smell of fire heavy in the air. By morning, a breeze from the opposite direction had cleared away the sight and scent of smoke, though the fire continues to burn even now.  Every change in the wind brings more or less smoke over and around us.

Tonight (Saturday) the setting sun was tinting a few puffy clouds high in the sky, while a shift in the wind was bringing the smoke back, this time across the northern sky.

DSC_1732

So far over 5500 acres (Update Sunday morning – almost 20,000 acres now) have burned, including some structures, and three firefighters injured. I’m praying for the protection and well-being of the firefighters and the people, animals, and property that are threatened. I’m praying for rain, though that isn’t likely. I’m praying at least that the winds be calm.

I’m praying that soon there will be nothing in the sky to photograph but birds, clouds, and beautiful natural sunsets.

Even though I’ve cheated a bit (too many photos), I’m linking with Ashley’s Scavenger Hunt Sunday at Ramblings & Photos.


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Scavenger Hunting 5.12.13

Yay, it’s Sunday and time to join in Scavenger Hunt Sunday. I’d forgotten how much fun this is! This week’s topics are Perspective, Golden, Bloom, Dark, and Local.

Perspective:

DSC_1421-2Lines

Our garden club had its monthly meeting today under this patio cover at the home of one of the members. I like the radiating lines, zigzag shadow pattern, and slices of sky and trees.

Golden:

DSC_0757Twenty-four Carat

This is a Rufous hummingbird. His throat changes from bright gold to copper as the light hits it from different angles.

Bloom:

P1030828-2Abundance

Take time to stop and . . . well, you know. Photograph the roses, right? I found these lush apricot roses growing along the fence that surrounds our community park. And they do smell delicious!

Dark:

IMG_0772-2Ominous

When I went to yoga class on Thursday evening, it was a shock to see these dark clouds in the eastern sky, coming our way fast. I took this shot with my iPhone from the parking lot at the gym. There was a bit of lightning and thunder, but, sadly, barely enough rain to dampen the pavement.

Local:

P1030860Please Be Courteous

A bit of cowboy humor at the local barber shop. Oh . . . I just noticed there’s a tiny selfie in the bottom of that shiny barber pole!

Linking up with Scavenger Hunt Sunday, with thanks to Ashley at Ramblings and Photos for hosting this every week.


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Scavenger Hunt: April Already?

Another week gone by — another month, too! I should be packing, but instead I’m playing with photos for Scavenger Hunt Sunday. I’ll go fill some boxes as soon as I’m done here, OK? OK! This week’s items were Clouds, Sun Flare, Seven, High Angle, and Low Angle.

Clouds:

An Ordinary Morning

I took this with my iPhone as I was walking from my car to the office, just because I loved those clouds.

Sun Flare:

Room With A View

Taken on impulse through my living room window. There’s a bit of moisture between the dual panes that adds to the flare effect. I’m going to miss my strange industrial water view when I leave here.

Seven:

And Then There Were Six

I was trying to think of what to do for this prompt. I went into the kitchen a little while ago to put away the eggs I’d hard-boiled, and suddenly thought, Hey, seven eggs! Unfortunately, one of them had already been breakfast. Oh, well.

High Angle:

Between Posts

Standing at the end of the dock, looking down and outward through these posts. They make me think of fingers, or the ribs of some giant, long-ago creature. I loved the ragged heights and odd angles and tried several shots. This was my favorite.

Low Angle:

Coming Attractions

This hillside will soon be covered in bright yellow. It will mean spring has arrived for sure!

So that’s me for another Sunday. Now, off to those boxes. Right after I call my sister. And maybe have some lunch.

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Scavenging at the Beach

Another Sunday and time to go scavenging! Yesterday friend Susan and I went on a photoshoot at a popular summertime destination for visitors and locals alike. I much prefer it off-season . . . or at off-hours in season . . . when I’m likely to have it mostly to myself. I’m not a great one for crowds, which will come as no surprise to anyone who’s been reading this blog for any length of time.

Anyway, this week’s Scavenger Hunt Sunday items are Strike a Pose, Footwear, Hobby, Shiny, and Color Me Green. It may be a bit of a stretch, but I’m using some of my beach shots for all of them.

Strike a Pose:

Ready, Aim, Fire

This gentleman didn’t know he was posing for me. He was totally absorbed and I am very quiet. He didn’t even know I was there. How could I resist?

Footwear:

Be Prepared

Please note what the well-dressed, early-morning, ocean-sunrise photographer wears on his feet: waterproof waders that go all the way up. Later we saw him under the pier, photographing the waves as they rolled in, and he was in the water all the way up, too. But he was dry!

Hobby:

Wings

One of my hobbies is scavenging the beach for real — looking for sea glass and shells. (My daughter calls it “shopping at the beach.”) Sometimes I bring them home with me, but sometimes I just take a photo and leave them for someone else to discover. I loved the colors of this shell and the way it lay there in the sand and ice. My first thought was that a tiny angel had shed its wings. Or perhaps it was a fossilized butterfly. In any case, I took the photo and left the shell where it was. It didn’t seem right to move it.

Shiny:

Greeting the Dawn

It was a beautiful shiny sunrise, until it started snowing on us. Only on our little piece of beach. Even then we could see sunshine on the beach to the north and south of us.

Color Me Green:

Diamonds and Jade

It’s hard to find any green around here this time of year, and I didn’t feel like taking a picture of my recycling. I thought maybe this wave backlit by the sun would do the trick.

So that was our morning in a nutshell. By the time the snow flurry started, we were cold and about ready to pack it in anyway, so it was off to breakfast to warm ourselves inside and out. It was a great way to start off the weekend and felt like a special reward after a wicked hard week.

Be sure to check out what everyone else has posted over at Ashley’s linkup!

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