Monday, October 31, 2016

End of October Photos

Here are some of the photos that didn't get posted on the blog this month. We've had a lot of rain (5x the monthly average). The upside is that we saw plenty of rainbows. We even got to see this surprising Reflection Bow.

Rainbow and Reflection Bow

One of the brightest rainbows we've ever seen

Skypool close up

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday: A Rainbow

I wanted to show my mother a rainbow. I told her that I knew where to look for them. It was lightly drizzling on Monday when sunlight burst through the clouds. I told her if there was going to be a rainbow it would be opposite the sun, "Come out and look." She loved it!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Self-Portrait and Other Things

I am not photogenic. I don't know why, but whenever I see photos of myself I cringe. Either I don't know what I look like or the camera always manages to capture me in some weird moment. I remember reading once about people who always seem to get photographed in some way that doesn't capture their best features, assuming they have any. Hah! So, anyway, I decided to play the other day, trying to photograph myself in the mirror. It was fun. I'm a total goofball. Here's what I came up with. Do I look like any of these? Maybe. My mom likes the middle one, and Roger and I like the last one. The first pic is the first pic when I was trying to figure out how to get me centered in the photo and have the camera to one side and not have me looking at the screen to see what was going on. I think I captured that moment pretty well. What do you think?

The fall weather and light has truly transformed the skies here. We've even seen part of a parhelic circle and a sundog. I can't tell you how happy this stuff makes me. Oh yes I can, and I know you already know!
 There have been beautiful sunrises and stunning sunsets. (I'll post those in the end of the month photos.) I even got to show my mom her very first 22 degree halo. She loved it. I photographed it a short while after this photo with a beautiful display of iridescent clouds, but I can't seem to get the iridescence to show up in the photo as I saw it with my eyes. I'm working on it.

There have been some cloud formations that struck me as utterly beautiful. I've been running outside every five minutes to take a look. I couldn't imagine what it might be like to be indoors when something like this is going on right over our house. To me it is the very essence of awesome!

We're in for more rain over the next few days. I'll be looking for rainbows and surprises in the sky. We're in for two more weeks of election season antics. I'll keep looking for rainbows!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Time For Reflections

We finally had some time on a sunny Thursday to head out to the marsh for a nice long walk and reflect on the times we are living in. Lucky for us, the marsh said, "oh you want reflections, how about these?"
I didn't watch the debate on Wednesday night, but I did read about it and heard some of the one-line zingers. My mom and Roger watched it. The debate upset my mother so much that it took her hours to finally fall asleep, and when she woke in the morning she literally felt sick to her stomach. Roger and I walked and talked about what's being said by friends, by headlines, by fellow bloggers and in-depth reported news stories. We are overwhelmed by all the words, the passion, the fear, but then we noticed that the sky was perfectly reflected in the bay's rising tide.
Cell phone photo

We walked quietly on, noticing in each pond a different perspective of sky. We saw ripples with barely a hint of wind, and we started to sing out loud the Grateful Dead song, Ripple. We had a good laugh about that. We came upon some dabbling ducks sleeping in the reflected sky. They looked like they were floating in air. It was such a trick of light and water. Roger and I both tried to photograph how they looked suspended like that between sky and water, but I don't think we captured it. Ah well, it was really quite a sight.
Camera photo
We walked and walked and saw the sky everywhere; it was above us and below us. It wowed us with its beauty.
And the drama of the political world slipped away, as it should... as it should.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Time Flies Too

Roger and I are celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary today. I wrote a post about our wedding day and anniversary here. It's always easy to remember this date because it is the 27th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Our first earthquake together. Oh yes, there have been others since, but none like Loma Prieta.

To celebrate this year, I put on the blouse I wore on our wedding day and Roger put on the tie he wore, and we posed together for this photo. We have always been goofballs. I don't think that's ever going to change. I wish I had smiled more for this photo, but I had just learned how to use the timer on the camera. And even after three tries, running from behind the camera to stand next to Roger and pose, I just couldn't get a more relaxed look. I laughed afterwards, take my word for it. Hah!

It's been raining here for three days. We've already gotten 3.5 inches of it, and it's still pouring. It creates the perfect mood for this election season. Dark, gloomy, blustery, and dreary. We know it will end, the rain and the election, and we can hardly wait.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Time Slips Away

Sometimes called "flying saucer clouds"

So, it's been almost eight weeks since my mom first arrived here on the north coast. We have been settling into a routine. It's not always easy, but we all work at it and have good intentions and high hopes. What I have noticed, though, is that time slips away. I want to post something here on the blog, but by the time I have free time I can't remember what I wanted to write. I'm sure it was great and everything, but what it was about I cannot tell you.

We are having our first storm of the rainy season here. Rainy season begins on October 1st. It has been crazy windy all day. I have no photographs to show you, but I did see a crow fluttering and flying in the high winds. It circled and flew; it circled and flapped and flew. I was glad to see it and be reminded of other lives in the face of adversity. I heard a Hermit Thrush the other day. Its song is so beautiful, it pulls your heart and makes you glad to be alive and in this bird's winter range.
An example of birefrigence

We have a crazy man running for President here. It's true, in case you haven't turned the news on or read any newspapers or checked the internet. It is mind blowing to have such a person be so close to the White House. I almost can't believe it. How can such a thing be true? What does it say about our country's citizens? I would write about it, but time slips away and my mind wanders.

Next week there are doctor and dentist appointments everyday. We may be having our house roofed, but we're not sure. The roofer called more than a week ago to confirm the start date, but hasn't contacted us since about the particular shingles we requested. We should probably contact him, but time slips away.

Night arrives earlier and earlier these days. Soon we will play with time and turn the clocks back an hour. Such a funny trick we humans play with the sun. We are such silly creatures. I have so many things I want to write about like lenticular cloud formations, birefrigence, and swallowtails on teasel but time it does slip away.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dead Heading

I've been doing regular dead-heading of our cosmos and dahlias lately, wanting to keep them blooming for as long as possible. The way they look in the front yard is just so summery and beautiful. I was inspired by this cartoon. We get an email regularly from a wonderful nursery that we visited often when we were still living in Grass Valley. This is what they sent in an August note.

Then, just the other morning I noticed out the window some activity in the cosmos. Something was rattling around in the flowers making the stems move and shake.

I opened the front door to get a better look, and these two Lesser Goldfinches took off and flew into the red maple out there. I was lucky the light was so beautiful that morning, and they hung around for a few photos.

It didn't occur to me that these birds might like it if I would let the cosmos go to seed, rather than dead-heading them all the time. But that is just what they preferred. I was so glad to accommodate them. Makes my life so much easier!

Friday, October 07, 2016

Auto-Editing a Photo

I was out photographing the sunset view in the eastern sky. It was lovely, I could look into the hills and see the brilliantly sunlit windows on all the houses facing west. Nothing fancy in the clouds, just a warm pink glow as the sun descended. I zoomed in and clicked the camera a few times and headed back inside. The next day I thought I would play with one of the photos to see if I could get it to look like the sky I actually saw. I used some of the auto features on Photoshop and was so surprised by the wacky response, I thought I should post them here for your amusement and edification.

The original untouched photo

Auto Color

Auto Contrast

Auto Curves

Auto HDR Toning

Auto Shadows and Highlights

Auto Tone
The only one that comes close to looking like what my eyes saw was the auto curves feature. I was surprised by how crazy bizarre some of these colors are and not at all what the sky looked like. I often wonder if I can trust my brain to remember what I think I saw. I will say that these auto features at least confirmed that I know what I absolutely did not see.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Four Conversations and an Explosion

We had our first real rain of the season, and according to our little rain gauge it was almost an inch. That's significant rain for our neck of the woods in early October. We were so happy about it, Roger turned off the irrigation drip timer to our little garden. That rain will take care of things for several days.

The best part of the rainy season besides all that wonderful rain water is the stunning array of clouds that are ever-changing across the sky. They move in from the west and change the light and shadows in every direction. And then the sun comes out for an hour and everyone who has been waiting, goes for a nice long walk.

So, when the skies were blue and clear to the west, we headed out for our neighborhood 2.5 mile walk. We got to the very first corner and ran into our wonderful neighbors who were walking home. We had a nice five minute chat about the weather,  Roger's finger (which is really starting to heal), and my mother's ring which needs a little repair. Then we waved goodbye and kept on walking. That was the first conversation.
Roger and the mirage in August 2016
We walked down the road heading north. There are cow pastures on the west side of the road and the very edge of small town suburbia on the east. It's the road we take when we want to photograph Roger in a mirage because we can see long and far. Here we walked past the church and the charter school, and then turned the corner heading east. That's when we heard it. BOOM! An explosion. We both turned and looked back toward the church and caught the sight of a flash of light and a crazy puff of orange smoke that looked to be coming off a high-tension wire transformer. We had read about another explosion in town just the other day that had been caused by a mylar balloon. We were rather shocked by the sound and sight of this and kept on walking. We were glad that we had run into our neighbors because if we hadn't we would have been much closer to the wires that had sparked wildly and loudly.

We turned the corner and headed south. That's when a jogger came running by. She was heading in the same direction as we were. She took off her ear-buds and said, "Did you guys hear that explosion?" We told we had. Then of course we talked about how weird it was to hear such a thing. And she saw the orange puff of smoke as well. It was good to confer with someone and have a reality check like this. She put her ear-buds back in and waved good bye.

We kept on walking and stopped to say hello as we always do to the little pigs that are in a fenced off part of a larger cow pasture. That's when we met a man walking his beautiful old black lab. He told us that he had come upon these pigs just the other evening and that they were all sleeping in a row lined up by size from the smallest to the largest. There must be thirty pigs in that pen, and he said it was the cutest thing to see. He also told us that the pigs have gotten used to people coming by who feed them, and it makes them a bit ornery with each other to get closer to the humans. Then we asked him if he heard the explosion. He said he had, and then he shared that his house was without power for 24 hours because of the transformer explosion that had occurred on Friday. We agreed that it seemed very strange for there to be two explosions like this. Then, we bid him good day, and moved on.
Pileus Velum
We were now back in the small town suburban part of town. It was quiet there. It was likely that no one had heard that explosion that was a mile away. (We didn't hear the explosion Friday that was a bit more than a mile from our house.) An older man was walking to his car parked in his driveway and noticed us walking by. I noticed his mother watching him from the window, as he talked to us. He said with an accent that we could not identify, "My mother she loves the rain. She loves the rain we had today. She loves what it does for the garden." We agreed. Nothing is quite like rain for keeping a garden healthy and green. We've walked past their garden many times. They grow lots and lots of fava beans. The man said, "I like the sun, like right now, this sun how beautiful this all is." He spread his arms out and looked at the sky. We agreed, we told him we like the sun too. It's why we were out for a this walk. Then he looked at us so warmly and said, "Namaste." I smiled and put my hands together. We walked on.

When we got home we saw that the house had lost power briefly. All the clocks were blinking blinking blinking with the wrong time. It was a very brief outage and a very interesting outing.