Sunday, June 26, 2016

Beach Inhabitants in San Diego
I have always thought that seagulls are such characters, and the ones in San Diego didn’t disappoint! 
Here’s Looking at You
Yep, definitely a character!  I loved this guy, just daring me to come closer to get the shot.  Of course, if I had done that, he would have flown away!  Still, I love the character of this guy!
There’s Always One
These four would pose in perfect alignment until they noticed my camera.  Then, one of them would look up, down or around!  It reminded me of little kids when you want to photograph them!
Flyin’ Free
I watched them carefully, and managed to capture this shot of one of them as they took off just over the surf.  For as corny as they sometimes look on shore, they sure are graceful once airborn.
Flyin’ Free II
I just kept following him with my camera and got him as he soared over the water.  I loved the artistry that they portray when they fly, and the sense of loneliness of this image.
Flyin’ Free III
Now, image doesn’t convey loneliness to me it says freedom..and joy.

San Diego Beach Waves
When I was in San Diego the other week, one day we went on a walk down the beach.  We had sort of thought about not going, because it was a “June gloom” type of day, with overcast skies and no sun.  But, then I thought it might make for some interesting mood shots, so we decided to give it a go!  Was that a good decision?  I’ll let these images speak for themselves!
Rollin’ In
The waves were rather rough on this day, and I couldn’t resist capturing a close up of the wave action.  There were some surfers out there, in their wet suits.  We had on some light fleece type jackets when there’s no sun, it’s a might chilly at the beach! 
Rough Surf
Here’s a better shot to give you an idea of how rough the waves were.  I tried to take my images so that people generally didn’t appear in them, but don’t be fooled.  There were quite a number of folks there enjoying the beach despite the surf and the lack of sun!  Still, my friend told me it was far less crowded than it typically is.
Rollin’ In and Out
I loved the sense of motion that this image gives you or at least, that it gives me!  The waves were being drawn back out into the ocean, and I can sort of feel that by looking at this image.  The next couple of images are of the same theme rolling waves in or out!
I really was taken by how the retreating waves left their “mark” on the sand kind of like a piece of abstract art.
Lines in the Sand
In this image, the waves are sort of at that “in between” stage between rolling in and being drawn back out again.  I was fascinated by the design of it all!
Into the Surf
As I said, there were plenty of people on the beach, and this little girl was so sweet, I had to capture her in a watercolor like image.  She would run as close to the surf as she could get, sort of chasing it as it rolled out.  She then sat in the sand until it began to come back in, waiting until the last minute before she raced back up the beach, laughing all the way!
Formation Flight
This image is actually a compilation of 3 images the base is actually a photo of some cloud formation that I took back home in New Mexico a while ago.  However, the image of the seagulls flying and the surf pounding the shore is from San Diego!  The seagulls were flying over sand, not water, but thru the magic of PhotoShop, they are ow flying over the water, where they look best!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Beautiful Blooms at San Diego’s Botanic Garden
A couple of weeks ago, I visited some friends in San Diego.  One afternoon, we visited the Botanic Garden there, and there were so many varieties of beauty to see.  In this blog post, I’ll share some of the floral blooms.
Gold Star
This flower is named Gold Star – for obvious reasons, I think!  It’s originally from Mexico, but is flourishing at the botanic garden in San Diego.  I especially like the reddish detail on the inside of the petals.  It sort of draws you into the heart of the bloom.
Hard at Work
This flower is called a Globe Artichoke – I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an artichoke blooming, but now I can add that to my list of new experiences!  I can’t tell you how many shots I took of this bloom with bees hovering around it before I got this perfect shot!  Thank goodness for digital cameras – saves me a fortune on processing prints!  I love the detail that I was (finally!) able to capture on the bee.
This image struck me because of the lighting.  I love how the sun cast a wonderfully soft spotlight on this bloom.  It makes the flower seem like it’s glowing.  Altho it was early afternoon and the sun was at its strongest, I think its rays were diffused by some trees overhead.
Perfect Petals
It’s not often that I see a truly perfect bloom, with all the petals intact and so symmetrical.  The other thing that drew me to this bloom is the coloring.  The deep center, and then the variation of color on the petals.  It almost looks fake, like some florist did some magical coloring on it, but all the magic of this bloom was provided by Nature!
Rich Red
One of the best color combinations in nature is red and green.  Yes, I know – Christmas colors – but they also serve to set each other off so well in nature.  The red of this bloom is perfectly balanced with the green leaves of the plant.  When the lighter color stalks are added in, it’s a nice soft place to rest our eyes and a great offset for the rich colors on this plant and bloom.
Red Top Thistle
Generally speaking, thistles aren’t that pretty of a plant…..except when it’s blooming!  Then, the rich red top seems to be the perfect counterpoint for the spikey thorns and pale coloring on the rest of the plant.  Almost makes me want to reach out and touch it…..almost!
Stark Beauty
I have never seen this flower before.  I’m not certain if the color is red or purple, or something in between.  But between the dramatic markings on the petals, and the contrast between the pale and bold colors, this flower is quite stunningly beautiful.

Succulents at the Botanic Garden
As a stark contrast to the thin leaves and blooms of “regular” flowers, the succulents seem almost plump by comparison.  Succulents can go a long time between watering, and that’s because they store water when they do get it in their leaves.  You’ll see what I mean when you check out some of the images below!
Altho the leaves on this cactus are thick, what I truly noticed about it were the sharp points at the edges of its leaves.  No, I didn’t touch it to see if they were as sharp as they look – I let their appearance speak for themselves!
I love this sort of bunch of different succulent blooms.  They were actually structured so that they formed the skirt of a young woman.  I have to admit, I wasn’t all that taken with the “sculpture” created, but I did like how these looked so closely grouped together, so I decided to just focus on one part of the overall sort of statue.
Golden Succulents
Here’s an image where you can really get an idea of how thick and plump the petals or leaves of the plant are.  And, the color is just so luscious!  I just had to get in close for this image, so that you just feel sort of immersed in the color and texture of it!

A Category of Their Own – at San Diego Botanic Garden
There were many different types of plants and flowers at the botanic garden, and some just didn’t quite fall into a category that I could easily identify.  So, I say, they are in a category of their own!  Check them out –
Mysore Fig Tree
The Mysore Fig Tree is from India and is a member of the ficus family of plants.  It’s said the tree is prized for its leaves, but I was primarily impressed by the above-ground root system!  I did include the leaves in this image, but my focus was on the roots – so cool!
Narrow Leaf Tea Tree
What a different looking tree this is!  It’s a pine tree with the fuzzy “blooms” on its tips.  This tree is from Australia, and is a member of the Myrtle family.  The oil from the tree is used to make antiseptics, deodorants, shampoos and lotions. The tips reminded me of a sort of duster!
Shades of Red
I couldn’t find any sort of identification for this plant, but it reminds me of a coleus plant – except I’ve never seen those with red leaves!  I love the detail on these leaves, and the variety of red coloring.  I just had to get up close to fill the frame with these beautiful leaves.

Shades of Green at San Diego Botanic Garden
Since we were at a botanic garden, you’d expect to see a lot of green, and this garden didn’t disappoint!  Some of these plants were brand new to me and not anything I’ve seen before……
Palm Variety
This was a familiar plant to me and probably almost all of you – a lovely palm plant – not tree, tho.  It was obviously happy growing here – this plant was huge!  One of the things I loved was the near perfection of each of the leaves.
Red and Green
I always love it when I see red and green together in nature.  This coloring was a bit subtle – you have to look rather close to see the red on the edges of the leaves of this plant.  For whatever reason, I thought this plant looked happy – and I love the alternating pattern the rows of leaves formed!
There was a small section of the garden where there was a small grove of bamboo growing.  I love walking among the bamboo.  Instead of hearing the wind rustling the leaves of the trees, I hear the very soft, subtle groan of the bamboo slightly bending with the breeze.  It’s an amazingly peaceful sound.
Light Shines Thru
The leaves of this variety of palm was more yellow than green.  However, what caught my eye was the way the sunlight shined thru those leaves.  They took on a bit of a translucent quality, which sort of surprised me, because I thought the leaves were too thick to have this happen.  How lucky I was to get to see this!
Falling Stars
This was one of the plants that I’ve never seen before – I don’t know what the name of this plant is, but it reminded me of falling stars.  You can see the leaves below the star blooms, and then the string of what looks little pearls until you see the star bloom at the very tip.  Perhaps each one of those “pearls” is a bud that had yet to bloom.  I don’t know, but I do really like this plant.
I love this image.  It’s so rich with the color green!  And I love the off-center point of interest.  I would like to claim credit as it’s my artistic eye, but the plant just sort of presented itself to me this way!
Standing Tall
My friend and I stopped for a bit by a pond in the botanic garden, and we both noticed this very different type of plant.  I loved the sort of frilly top – it looks sort of wispy!  You can see a waterfall in the background. (More about the waterfall in another post.)
Intimate Portrait
Closer to where we were sitting was this lovely little portrait of nature – an intimate portrait.  I love the soft green that acted as a background for the delicate white blooms.

Pond Life at San Diego Botanic Garden
I guess I’ve saved my favorite for last – the pond blooms and wildlife.  I admit it – I’m a sucker for waterlilies, so they are taking a bit of front and center in this post.  But, there are other things to see as well!
Floating Beauties
There were several small ponds around the botanic garden, and each had some lovely waterlilies blooming.  These three are set off by the pads they are seemingly resting on.  I also love the detail of the moss covered rocks under the water.  Did you notice that?
Freestyle Swim
I did notice a couple of turtles swimming in what I think of as the main pond.  This little guy is enjoying an afternoon swim.  I really got a bit of a chuckle at the position of his back feet – so straight out, perhaps making the most of his glide!
Watercolor Waterlilies
I did love these waterlilies and I decided to sort of convert them to a bit of a watercolor effect.  However, I elected to not make them soft, or a bit blurry.  Instead, I went for a bit of sharper definition on the edges to make them pop.  And, they do!
Pretty in Peach
This waterlily was peach colored, a bit different from the mostly pink blossoms I had been seeing.  I worked to enhance the detail in this image, so you can almost feel the wetness of the stem of this bloom as it rises out of the water.  And the pads almost seem like they are 3D, don’t they?
Peaceful Waterfall
The main pond had a beautiful cascading waterfall.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to capture its beauty due to the high contrast conditions.  However, thru the magic of computer software, I was able to combine 3 different images together to create an image that looks like it did to me as I stood there.  Makes me truly appreciate how our brains work to sort of balance things out without our even being aware of it!
Taking a Breather
As we walked around the pond, I noticed another little turtle taking a bit of a breather, and just relaxing on a rock on the pond’s shore.  The sunlight was softer here, with the trees branches and leaves dappling the light.  The result is a nice, quiet restful image of nature.

Foto Art Friday – Past Lifetime
When I took the image of the deserted cabin, I was struck by how lifetimes change – what life was like when this cabin was called home to a family is vastly different from what I now know as life.  I’ve heard the phrase, “that was a lifetime ago”, and the image that serves as the foundation for this piece brings that to mind.  The handwriting in the background is an old ledger page.  I imagine that those types of ledger records were the norm back in the day this cabin was home.  A subtle background of wood texture also adds to this piece – again, so much was based in wood, back in this lifetime – home, furniture, toys.  People often say times in the past were a “simpler” time.  When I think of the hardships faced on a daily basis by whoever used to call this home, I don’t think they would have used the term “simple” to describe their lives.
Past Lifetime

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Backyard Treasurers
Earlier this month, I sat out on our back patio and just enjoyed the views from there looking out on what one could call our backyard.  It was nice to relax and enjoy these simple pleasures after a few months of traveling.
Storm over South Mountain
As we looked out on what seemed to be a very nice, sunny skies, with just a few white puffy clouds floating around, I noticed a storm over the mountain just north of our home.  One of the things that I love about living here is that we can be enjoying wonderful weather, and get to watch rain falling from the clouds about 20 miles away.
Tiny Daisies
Much closer to home, and beneath my feet, some tiny, tiny daisies were growing.  Daisies always seem like such happy flowers to me.  I decided to convert this image of them into a painting type effect, just because it seemed to accentuate the happiness.
Yellow Petals
In another area of the area out back of our patio were these yellow daisy like flowers.  They, too, were very tiny, and seemed like little gems brightening up the grounds.
Petite Purple
The theme of my wandering today seemed to be small natural treasures.  These small purple blooms appeared in bunches.  Interestingly, as the blooms fade, they become more blue than purple. 
Double Bloom
Closer to home, and sitting on the patio, are these wave petunias as they sort of flow over the ceramic pots sitting along the edge of the patio.  Their color is incredibly rich, too, and sets off nicely against the turquoise of the pot.
First Rose
When we lived in the Midwest, I just could not get roses to grow.  I’m not certain why – I followed all the instructions I had been given!  However, these roses are incredibly happy growing here, just off the edge of our patio!
Prickly Pear Bloom
There are a couple of patches of prickly pear cactus growing in the area off our back patio.  They grow as sort of wildflowers, altho I have a hard time thinking of cactus as wildflowers!  Come mid-spring, the cactus do sprout these lovely blooms, always yellow.
Garden Beauties
I really love this view – yellow columbine, purple salvia and South Mountain in the background.  This is one of my favorite view perspectives when sitting on our patio.
Storm Passing
I thought I would end this post as I started it, with a view of that storm cloud.  This time, tho, I stepped out from under the patio, so that I could capture more of the cloud in the image.  Impressive, isn’t it?  And, no, this rain never did reach us.  We just got to watch it from afar.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Foto Art Friday - Formation Flight

For this week’s piece, I looked to last weekend for inspiration.  I was visiting friends in the San Diego area, and on one day, we went to walk along the beach.  Unlike what most folks think of as typical southern California weather, the area was experiencing typical “June gloom” weather.  The skies were overcast, which created some moody images.  This piece incorporates 3 images.  A background image is one I took quite some time ago of some wonderful cloud formations we have here at home in New Mexico.  I merged it with an image of a gloomy beach scene of the rough surf, and another of 3 seagulls flying in a natural formation.  Underneath it all was a Citra Solv background and the icing on the cake (so to speak) were various specialty brushes.  Coffee ring brushes were complements of On Thin Air.
Formation Flight