Simple Pleasures

American Robins kick off our regular morning with their cheering and rich voice ever since spring was here. Every now and then, I heard the crispy chirps from house finches and goldfinches right by the bedroom window. They may all come a bit too early for me, but I would rather be called by them than the alarm clock.
I have been spending most of my time handling cameras and working on photos in front of the computer. My desk pile is heaping high and my house is getting cluttered.  I started feeling guilty and the words of addiction, indulgence, and procrastination were pounding on me. I finally dropped everything photography-related and spent a good whole day cleaning my house.  Oh, mine. Nothing is more relaxing than sipping an iced lemonade in a room with a shining floor and fresh smell.

It was a glorious day. We took an hour’s bike ride to a wooded area early in the morning. I did not touch a bike for 16 years. When I finally got on my bike again,  I  fell from it the next year and injured my left shoulder, but that did not stop me. I  am on my bike again and feel better than ever.  
It is also fun to snap a few panning shots of other bikers on the trail.   Eugene has great bike trails along the river and into the woods.  It is always invigorating 
to see people on the bike than behind the car wheel. This natural path of exercise is appealing.

Energized by the bike ride, we worked hard to re-organize the shrubs and flower plants in our yards.  The new arrangement is based on the ‘less is more’ theory. So glad to get rid of overgrowth and stringy mess.  I feel great when all are trimmed and look tidy and tight.

There was no single bird coming by this spring till early May. I planted three hummingbird-loving plants in April, but they did not show up till about four weeks ago.  There are two regular hummingbird visitors, but I can never be ready enough to get a good shot. I could have aimed at one spot by the feeder and nailed just that perfect shot, but that is not what I want. I prefer to photograph hummingbirds sucking nectar from a flower and I thought they will be on the three targets that I had planned. But no, they have been flying all over the place and tasting everything. I am chasing after these two little guys without much success. I love to see both of them around, but then they would fight each other off and I ended up with no one.
the little guy with a sharp eye
This image was taken in a late evening under low light conditions. Not super sharp because I had to bump up my ISO, but the little guy was ready to taste Verbena and was in motion that I really like.  A plant behind Verbena happened to provide a nice background from the angle I was shooting. It is quite colorful as a whole, so 
I painted the flowers and added the texture. 

I found out that I really like painting though I have not been able to do a lot. It is a new adventure for me and the experimenting process is exciting.

It seems to me that not all photos make good ‘digital’ paintings and not all work I tested turned out to my expectations. Some turned out to be disastrous and some were so unexpected that therefore, so interesting to me. It is not a snap, edit and finalize the process. It is more of an artistic journey that I have no clue what I am getting into it till I really got there. Without any formal schooling in arts, I used my instinct and heart to paint. The process is slow and lengthy, but I truly enjoyed it. It is good training for my patience, my sense of colors, and further understanding of the making of art.  
I took a few corn flower pictures. The flower is pretty, but I feel my shots look homely. I did not like the fact that the colors are all so bright and overpowering, but they are the true colors I did not want them to be deceived by the texturing. Instead, by painting, I got to keep all real colors and shapes. Most of the time I like the image to look dream-like, but this time, more realistic and only has slight brush touches.
Corn Flower
Besides Humminbird, Nuthatch is one of my favorite backyard birds. They just showed up a couple of weeks ago. I like their curvy gesture and unique personality. They came, grabbed a bite, and left. Quick and sleek. They are also not too afraid of people. They must have figured that they can get away fast enough and they know, I like them so much that I won’t ever hurt them.

Nuthatches are creepers. They like to hang on the tree trunk, in many cases, hanging themselves upside down.  It is entertaining to watch them. Their eyes and body are very coordinated. When they are staring at people, their bodies signal, too.  I like this shot for the way how IT grabbed on the bark and curved its beak looking up. Except that its bluish-gray body seemed to disappear among the multi-brown background. So I added a filter. With the blur effect on top and bottom, it looks like the nuthatch has just landed…

curious nuthatch
My eyes have been on hummingbirds. One day I saw one hummingbird stopping on one cornflower and sucking nectar from the other. It was such a rare scene, but I was not ready to capture the shot. So I waited and waited, but I have not seen that again since.Though cornflower blooms seem to last, the color is fading. I hate to see them go without keeping myself some memories. So I brought them into the house and place them in my favorite vase.

live and yet peace

Still shots are growing in me and I particularly like the feel of softness and subtlety.  I am not big on home decors, but I have a special liking for white flower vases. Intentionally I used a beige color backdrop for the sculptured shape vaguely shown.

And, instead of showing a perfect full bloom, I chose to focus on a smaller portion. A slight texture was intended to cover up the blemish on the fabric and it unexpectedly added the ambiance to the frame.

Action, color, excitement, and fun would eventually come down and be replaced by peace and quietness when dusk comes and silence embraces the night.

A cheerful morning call, a relaxing bike ride, a squeaky clean house, a few visits from my favorite birds, and a few attempts to paint my flowers have made up a wonderful week for me.  Simple and easily satisfying.

2 thoughts on “Simple Pleasures

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