Sea Blue Lens


16 Comments

Photo-Heart Connection: May 2013

raindropsRain, Rain

Do you remember the old children’s rhyme that goes:

Rain, Rain, go away!

Come again some other day.

As I looked through my photographs taken in May, searching for the one that resonated most with my heart, I realized that I’d photographed smoke in the sky from three different wildfires during the month. And it’s not even summer yet.

Before I moved here I looked up climate statistics for the area and learned that the average annual rainfall was between 8-1/2 and 9 inches. Pretty arid, right? Well, yesterday I looked up some recent actual rainfall statistics. In the year before I moved here, only 4 inches fell. And in the year since I came, we have had only 2.03 inches. That’s right, two inches of rain for the entire year.

It’s no wonder the squirrels and rabbits are eating every green thing they can reach in the garden, even things they normally don’t care for, like sage and lavender. There’s not much for them anywhere else.

So you can understand why, when I woke up on the morning of May 6 and saw raindrops suspended from the tips of the pine needles, I grabbed my camera to memorialize the occasion. We got a grand total of .06 inches (1.5 mm) that day. There’s been none since. It looks like it’s going to be a long summer.

Rain, Rain, come, I pray!

You are welcome any day.

Linking with Kat Eye Studio for the May Photo-Heart Connection. Anyone is welcome to join in — come check it out.


27 Comments

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 . . .

IMG_0797-2

. . . 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.

IMG_0816

DSC_1712

DSC_1705

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.


21 Comments

Sunday Scavenger 5.5.13

I’ve just realized that this is my first Scavenger Hunt Sunday this year. (And the year is one-third gone already. How can that possibly be?) When I read this week’s list for SHS, I had ideas for every item. That doesn’t happen often, so I decided it was a Sign and I’d better take advantage of it. The topics are: Background, Spotted or Dots, Weather, Motion, and Sweet. Let’s go hunting!

Background:

Spotted Emu BushMystery Bush

Actually, I learned that it’s called Spotted Emu Bush. I have no idea why — I don’t see any spots or emus, just hairy yellow flowers. To get this photo I set the camera on macro, held it under the bush and pointed it in the general direction of the flowers. I had no idea what the background would look like, but I liked the way it turned out. This is the full frame shot.

Spotted or Dots:

Ladybugs-2Ladybug, Ladybug

I spotted these dots on our artichoke plants in the garden. There were several varieties of Ladybugs ranging in color from orange to deep red, with differing spot counts and patterns. Some people know these as Ladybirds, but in our family they were always “bugs,” not “birds.”

Weather:

Flying highFlying High

How do you photograph the wind? Our weather has been sunny, warm, and windy for days. I mean Official-Wind-Advisory, high-vehicles-be-careful-on-the-highway, scary-fire-danger windy. The kind that makes me edgy and gives me a headache. Not my favorite kind of weather.

There have in fact been several wildfires in Southern California this week, though none near enough to be a danger to us here. Friday afternoon and evening, the air was filled with haze and the smell of smoke from the large fire near the coast in Ventura County, about 75 miles away. I think of the firefighters and those whose homes and businesses are threatened, and am glad that a change in the weather is helping to bring it under control. Fire is always a worry when the hot, dry Santa Ana winds blow from the desert.

Motion:

Blue Bird BathBathing Beauty

This may not be a perfect bird photo, but I love the water drops flying in every direction from those fluttering wings. He’s a Western Bluebird. I don’t know who loves this bird bath more, the birds or me! It’s more entertaining than watching television, for sure.

Sweet:

Bullock's OrioleWishful Thinking

Hummingbirds aren’t the only ones who like sweets. We’ve had at least two pairs of these Bullock’s Orioles around our place for the past few weeks. They stop by the hummingbird feeder now and then, attempting hopefully to poke their beaks into the tiny holes. You don’t have to feel sorry for them, though. We put out cut oranges for them at their own feeding station.

Linking with Ashley for Scavenger Hunt Sunday. The best part is seeing how differently each person interprets the prompts. Come join in the fun!