First Bloom

It has been a long wait to see some colors in the yard. Lantern Roses flowered in February, but they were distressed in the rainy and chilly weather. Happy to see Sun even for just a few days.

Hellebore grows with her face downwards. It’s a bit challenging to photograph right out of the plant. I cut the flowers from the stem and she became droopy not long after.

Ever since I began to use Lensbaby, I don’t see beauty in perfect sharpness anymore. These two images were taken with Macro lens and I intentionally toned them down with a bit of texture and filter.

Birds, Birds, Birds

Spring is not complete without both flowers and BIRDS. It was my lucky day that I saw 15 different kinds of birds at a 2-hour walk along Delta Pond that include a Heron perched high on a tree limb, a noisy Killdeer in distance, a chickadee and a Hummingbird buzzing on a tree top that I ignored. ( I counted 13 at first, but actually the total count is 15.)

When so many birds are flying around, their calling and singing often make me anxious and gradually become desperate. I want to find out where that beautiful voices come from and who they are.

Swallows are usually flying high speed and circling in the air. They sound like marbles hit each other. It is almost 20160416-E25A54142impossible to take a decent picture firing into the air. This cute tree swallow heard my plea and stopped on a tree for a shot. The iridescent blue looks gorgeous in the sun.

Red-wing black birds are everywhere, but I have not been able to catch one shot with both of their red wings fly. These are as close as I can get. With black eyes, black head and black body, it is not always easy to get a clear picture of them. I have taken many of their sideview profiles. This is probably the first time I actually shoot from the front. He looks like a mini King-Kong here except that his eyes are not as clear as the shot on the left.

God so love the birds and flowers that they are created in vast varieties and they are well protected. How much chance would you actually realize the existence of these two birds: yellow-rumped warbler and tree cripper? If both of them are not moving, I would not take these two pictures. The camouflage feather tones are amazing and they seem to know where to hang out to be safe. Bushtit is small and sleek. They go around from one tree to the other so briskly that a clear shot needs luck. I have seen them come to ‘attack’ my suet feeder in a flock of 12 or more. The small creatures are just drops of an ocean, but the pleasure they bring me is un-measurable.

Below two shots are my favorite. Unfortunately, it occurred so random that I did not have my setting ready to get clear shots. Both images turned out blurry. But I like them so much, I figured out a way to at least show the silhouette. The first image shows the warbler chasing after a bug and ready to gobble it down. The second image shows two tree swallows perched on the end of a tree branch. You can tell me if they are brawling or singing to each other. I am happy that I was able to capture such precious moment and it is rewarding to be aware of the world beyond human sphere.

Woodpeckers are usually pounding on the tree trunk and making their needlework. It was the first time I saw them clinging to the leaves. The moment when he stuck his red tongue out, I then realized that he was sucking something from the leaves.

Towhee is common and I can often hear their simple hissing sound. However, they are often hidden in the bushes or on the ground blocked by limbs and leaves. Call me ‘Lucky’ this time, he landed right in front of me and posed for a shot. And, of course, my Old Faithful sparrow is a unnamed hero who contributes its singing at all times.

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Osprey is there and everywhere, but they are up high, inaccessible. It came a bit closer than usual, but still way high before my humble lense. Bright light has helped me to get a clear shot and made cropped image acceptable. Next time, I just need to capture one shot with fish in his mouth.

Spring is baby blooming season. When I looked at this geese family, I thought about ‘Exodus’, don’t ask me why.  I do believe though that they are heading towards the Promised Land full of milk and honey.  On regular days, I passed by Turtles without giving a second thought. But this lovey dovey scene caught my eyes and I could not help but to snap a shot.

How can we have a beautiful spring without birds?

 

 

“Street Photography”

I like Street Photography because I love to capture candid shots. To me, Candid pictures are as precious as the images we can capture in Nature. However, I am just not that daring individual who can be so easily break the ice among strangers. I’ve tried to ask people’s permission to take their pictures and most of them are happy to be photographed except that I am reluctant to share their pictures without their consent.  Besides, people are not the only subjects in the street.

Strolling down the street solo with my camera early in the morning, there were barely people around. DSC08898-Edit1Great. I love solitude and peace.  Not knowing what my subjects will be is fun. Not expecting anything dramatic is relaxing. A cup of Starbuck’s coffee has refreshed my sleepy soul and excited me with high spirit to start a day.

Temperature here in California is about the same as Oregon, but there was blue sky, cozy sunshine and I smelt early spring and felt the temptation of flowers.

At home there is desolate brown and blah , here I was surprised to see early bloomers and colors. Cycleman has various varieties and colors. DSC089501White and deep pink are common, but I have never seen a pink/white two-tone like this one. If I look at them as they are often displayed, straight up, I would not have the chance to peek the secret hidden on their rear end.

I’ve decided to go on Natural diet and dairy product is a No to my new shopping list.  It was the first time in my life that I actually ordered something Non-Fat. I cannot believe myself. On regular days, I would go in and get a French pDSC08867-Edit-Edit-Edit1astry but not today. Getting a photo of the bakery’s storefront is all I desired and I seriously did not feel deprived.

I saw a Japanese lady with her cute baby in the stoller. and background was the green and golden DSC088811sun. I was tempted to raise my camera, but she was sensitive to the existence of my camera and kept moving away from me. I left her alone. I want peace myself, why bother her?

Smile on the bronze sculpture is as candid and natural as that from a real person. How an artist can make the unnatural (man-made statue) looking natural? It is the magic of art and the talent that many were born with.

If I was not in my morninDSC08866-Edit1g fresh mind, I may have walked into this mural and bleed myself. This is a mural !!! I was almost decepted by its realistic facade with curves, door openings, window cases, and balcony . The only add-on’s are the flower pots and awnings which cast shadows.

You may be out-dated if you don’t own either an Apple Iphone (smartphone) or Ipad (tablet) these days. Check out this Apple retail store and the countless devices inside the fancy glass window/doors. Instead of shopping in the jammed electronic stores in the past, we are now shopping in the art gallery.

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PS: People perceive Iphone as higher value and status. I however insist on using an Android phone because Google Now is simply smarter than Siri. I enjoy technology, but I certainly don’t want my hands being tied by that single Home button…

Spring Is Here in Willamette Valley, Woohoo!

Said to drift along and tossed the anchor whenever and wherever, and I did exactly that in the past week. I have to admit that without my Wednesday regular blog post, I feel odd and have urge to pick up my pen again. I don’t like pressure, but the relief after pressure is amazingly fulfilling.
I began to feel the boredom because I am confined inside a box where a certain blog format and content exist. Searching a break-through point, but I have no clue what that will be and when I will reach that point. Bear with me while I am roaming without aiming specific targets. Life is a working progress and the happenings are within the journey.

Lantern Rose, Magenta Blush

Believe or not, spring is here, in February! I am seeing soft green buds everywhere and some flowers have popped to breathe in the cozy air. Just when I was thinking to do some rainy day photo projects, that lovely sunshine sneaked into my window and dwelled on the breakfast table.

Sunny Day, dream
Finally finished my yearbook 2014 under the gun just before the groupon expired. It is so enjoyable to flip through the pages of a yearbook and I know, it will become even more precious in another 20 years when I won’t both to haul heavy camera equipment and just want to sit around and think about good old days… Looking for ‘stuff’ around the house to shoot some stills, this porcelain bowl was found, the first porcelain piece that I did with my daughter Laura, a memorable piece for me. 
Vacation Day, relax
Flower is no doubt my most favorite subject. Often times I crawled on the ground to get the best focused image I can, but end of the day, I still like the soft look better. Lantern roses (Hellebore) are gorgeous, but they grow with faces down and it is hard to photograph them. I thought it looks interesting to display the flower in three sections. Imagine they are displayed in three picture frames on your wall.
Lantern Rose, Spotted Lotus, framed
It is this early spring lifted my spirit and prompted me to get out of the house… I saw a small herd of animals running ahead of a four wheeler. Thought they were cows at first, but cows do not run as fast. OMG. They are sheep, the tamed and soft looking animals who are usually lying down on the grass and now ‘galloping’ in front of me. Fun.

Spring March

From what I read, sheep usually give birth to their babies in spring between March-April when the green grass starts to grow and mothers are provided abundant food to produce their milk. Now spring comes early and we see the early arrival of the lambs as well.

Lamb

A Salute to Spring

Spring is literally here. She brings in sunshine, new life, color, cheer and energy. Blue sky, white cloud, sage mountain, green acres and multitude of colors.  Flowers are the primary source of colors. It is not just the varieties of colors. Multi colors are displayed on one single type of flower, too.

It is now the blooming season. After many months of cold and wet weather, it is so refreshing and energizing to be surrounded by flowers and colors. They are surely the secret potion to rejuvenate our spirit and carry away our winter dismay. 

This is the first day that we are able to dine on our patio with seatings surrounded by trees and greens. 

Sunset light shines on the white cherry tree, it is golden and it is hidden among cherry blossoms. Our red wine is bitter sweet, slightly fruity and aromatic. The cozy, fuzzy warmth just down the throat. A salute to spring! 

Heaven-on-earth is here at Wooden Shoe tulip farm on a breezy and sunny day. I  have been here three times. This is the first time that I actually bring home some pictures. My first visit was two years ago. I then just began to use a DSLR and did not have clue about aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Everyone was shooting, so I did. I brought home about 100 images and downloaded them to my computer. Then I deleted the files from memory card without knowing my download job was not successful

Later, I learned that the files can actually be recovered from memory card using some sort of rescue software. I tried, but too late. I did not get anything out of the card. Not a big deal. I did not think they were too exciting any way. I went back the second time last year with friends and children. We got 

there late. It was a sunny Sunday. Double jeopardy. Lots of family fun events, but too much sun and overwhelming crowd. Shooting flowers with a remotely clean background was impossible.

Efforts are required to create good opportunities. Going with the flow does not do the justice.

Was determined to take some pictures this time, I was there before sunrise and before sunset. And yet, many other photographers had been there before me, had their spot claimed and tripod on duty…  I don’t have another 20-30 years to play, I better work harder. I have to become an early bird.

Sun came up briefly after I’d waited in morning chill for more than an hour. I was thrilled to be able to have some shots to portrait this beautiful sunny day. It is irresistible to ponder on it. It brings me the light, the heat and the photo opps that I have been longing for.

Wooden Shoe is such a well-cultivated and maintained tulip farm. The blossoms are large and rich in luster. Single color patches create beauty in unity and mixed patches invite excitement in diversity. They are absolutely gorgeous either way. I seriously did not know where to begin at first. Once I got rolling, I had hard to stop.

Deep colors are looking splendid and magnificent while pastel ones looking delicate and elegant. So many flowers can be used for subjects in different degree, and so easily to look beautiful. If I have used ‘beautiful‘ too many times here, my other option will  be ‘speechless‘.

Bright yellow and orange have never been my favorite colors. But while the orange is a papaya orange and it is brushed into the yellow. They are so seamlessly engaged. Awesome.

The contrast blend of white, yellow and screaming red is outstanding. I am surprised that my humble camera has actually captured the exact red color, the romantic and poetic red. The red that makes you scream and want to embrace. And, of course, my favorite purple or you like to call it violet which has its regal gesture and outlook.

I grow up in a small island where there is one single mountain range. Plenty of giant and ancient trees, but the varieties of flowers are very limited. Green is the dark and hazy green. Flower colors are sporadic and scare. In a dense community, people can only hope for some colors from flower pots. However, air quality is questionable and flowers are not thriving in pots.   It is surely the big quality improvement of my life to live in a spacious and natural environment with abundant fresh air and colors.

Spring is the time for animal world to expect their new babies. I have heard birdie’s sound around and seen the flapping wings. The little ones know how to attract mommy’s attention to get fed. They are afraid to get caught because they cannot fly too fast and too far, and yet they are drawing attention with their juvenile behavior. It is fun to watch.

There was a college Crew race at Daxer Lake last weekend in a misty day. I knew it would not be a good photo opportunity, but I went for it out of curiosity and for the fun. Walking by the lake, I heard this high pitched Kill-Deer sound which led me to the bird, a mother bird with three freshly laid eggs.

Their calling sound is how they get their name as Killdeer.  Killdeer usually hang out close to the water

on the ground.  On a regular day, this place is calm and isolated, killdeer can have their home party here without any threat.  But it was the racing day with large crowd and that sent the alarm to the mother.

She sent out her emergency alarm repeatedly, but no second bird came around. I guess her man was out watching the race and drinking beer. She was all alone trying to protect her unborn babies.

I wanted to come closer to take pictures and she watched me like a hawk. I was under her intense scrutiny as I came around to find a good angle to shoot. Deeply feel her fear and anxiety, I stayed away from her.  Mother’s love prevails and danger recedes by itself. Lovely scene in lovely spring.