Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Earth Tones Near Home, Part II

I hate the Internet service here!!!  I just loaded 5 photos and only one showed up.  Ugh.  Will try again later.  Did not get a chance this morning when I was in the presence of high speed Internet service.  I'm home again where I usually enjoy myself without the Internet, but I do want to blog.
The above leafy branches are of Cascara Buckthorn or Cascara Segrada, Rhamnus purshiana.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Earth Tones Near Home, Part i

 I took ten photos within 50 feet of where I park at home, and I love all of them.  However, the upload speed I'm paying for here is pathetic, so I'm splitting the collection in two.  Will post the other five tomorrow morning at the coffee shop.  Three cheers for Midtown Coffee.  I'll be able to load the remaining five in less than a minute.  The California Black Oaks along my driveway are intriguing in their varied speeds of turning color.  A few are still green.  The one above is the most colorful at this time.  A few others have lost most of their leaves and the remaining ones are brown.  Quite a contrast from some of the ones on Cemetery Hill that are bright reds and oranges.  Then there are the two in front of the former Papa's Donuts that might actually be cultivars.  They're incredibly bright and multi-colored.
 Over the years I've enjoyed Norma Lewis's pastels of the ends of stacked firewood, or entire logs at the mill.  I decided to see what I could do with the camera.  I haven't uncovered as many bugs this year while splitting and stacking our firewood.  So, the wood itself becomes a good subject.

 The background of pines and Douglas-fir and White Fir makes the oaks stand out all the more.
In tomorrow's set I'll have some Cascara Segrada and Thimbleberry. Time permitting, I'll also check out the nature trail loop at the college.  There's still some flowing water there and that should provide some aesthetic variety.  I like Fall.  Now we need some rain.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Better late than never.

Forgot to include in my last post this "panorama" closeup of the fading Autumn Crocus surrounded by colorful leaves from the nearby trees and a sprinkling of pine needles.  Scroll back a few posts to see the crocuses at the peak of their blooming a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not seeing much in the way of fungal caps so far this fall.  I've searched in vain for my favorite on campus, the Orange Peel Fungus.  I think I'm seeing lots fewer birds, too.  Creepy feeling to have a sense of loss of diversity at the same time the news is loaded with scary and depressing wildfire experiences.  The college had to cancel football practice a few times due to smoke coming in from 100 or more miles away.

Fall Colors

As I drove down Jackson Street toward the hospital in Quincy, the many different species of red leaves along the roadside caught my eye and I regretted no bringing my camera along.  I've tried to pay so much attention to always bringing my new phone along, that I've been neglecting the camera.  So, I had to go back.  For the past several years I have taken many photos of fall colors.  Many were the conventional scenics featuring the black oaks, cottonwoods, and native maples around Quincy.  But this year I've drawn a blank so far in October.  I parked my truck on the roadside opposite the aforementioned red leaves.  When I got out of the truck, I was struck by the huge patch of Mountain Snowberry.  Fall colors?  Actually, it is interesting to compare the color terminology of the physical sciences to that of artists.  WE get into wavelengths, hues, pigments vs. reflected and transmitted light, etc., etc.  All I know for sure is that if anyone asked "what color are those berries?" I'd answer "white."  If I shot a panoramic view of this berry patch, you'd only see tiny white dots, so I've reverted to my favorite format - close-ups. 
Then, across the street I zoomed in on a patch of non-native maples.  These were low to the ground, having recovered from an August meeting with the county's weed eaters.
Half way through October, I am vowing to bring the camera with me every day.  I'll continue to look for the unconventional.  The other is readily available on post cards and online. I'm loving the cold weather. It's so dry that we're still at high risk for wildfires, but I'm enjoying the lack of frost on my truck windows in the morning.  On second thought, the frost can be quite photogenic.  I don't dare predict what the weather will be like through the end of October.  There's still plenty of fresh bear poop on the streets in my neighborhood every morning.  Can't put the trash out until daylight.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Where did they go?

 I've let a couple weeks slip by without blogging.  I've been very busy with teaching at FRC, but I've also found the month of September not yielding as many attractive subjects, at least of the sort I am accustomed to posting.  Climate change?  Recent fires?  I don't know.  So, today, by way of reminiscing, here are some from my archive.  A couple of these are six years old.  I've photographed the Oak Treehoppers, Platycotis vittata, every year since I first discovered them at a friend's place out on LaPorte Road.  Since then, I've mostly found them on the California Black Oaks lining my driveway and one big oak at the edge of the paved pathway leading to the upper campus buildings at the college.  So far this year, I've only seen a couple of them - none today - and have not got any new photos to compare with these old ones. 
In the above photos, the individual hanging upside-down at the far left is an adult, one of two color patterns the adults around here exhibit.  The one to its immediate right is a juvenile, probably the fifth instar.  Note the stripes are perpendicular to the lengthwise body.  The slightly larger ones with lengthwise red and white stripes are the other adult pattern.
 The second photo is a closer view of a cluster of juveniles.  These are around 1/4" long, very hard to spot unless you know they might be there.

I'll keep looking at the oaks for a few more weeks.  I have photographed them in mid-October in prior years.  Meanwhile, this coming weekend I need to take a long overdue nature walk with my camera.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Walking with my phone

 My wife and I took a walk into the woods above our house yesterday.  It was he last walk with the dogs before going out of town for a few days.  I came along in order to learn the nuances of successfully walking the dogs without her.  Will they mind me, or will I lose them?  I'm not a "dog person."  But our dogs are pretty darn nice as dogs go.  I didn't bring my camera so I could pay better attention to my instructor.  But, I did bring my phone in case one of our kids texted their need for a ride somewhere.  I was excited to find the False Solomon's Seal I photographed in flower a couple of months ago had produced a bunch of berries and the birds had not got to them yet.  Then I found another a few yards away.  I find these colors exciting.  And these photos are better than I usualy get with the phone.  I'm still kind of an iPhone klutz.

 On the way around the big green water tank, I spotted a Blue Elderberry bush laden with fruit.
 If I weren't so busy, I'd have picked these and tried to make a jar of jam.  I hope somebody else discovered these and does the same.  Or maybe make some wine.  Don't forget to cook them and not risk kidney damage.  And, if you're at a little bit higher altitude and run across the Red Elder, don't eat them at all.  They're pretty toxic.
Another reason for not bringing along the camera is that I was quite aware that I've accumulated several posts with pictures over the last week or two without keeping up on generating text.  All these stories are rattling around in my head and getting mixed up with my lessons plans for three courses for the coming week.  But the stories are still in there somewhere.  Maybe I can backtrack and squeeze them out before they disappear into my subconscious, or I start revising them and drifting into fiction.

Resurrection in my front yard...

Text coming soon.  9/11/17