Sunday, May 31, 2009

Monochrome Maniacs

I'm cheating just a little. I'm not actually sure if this is black and white or color. I took some shots in both but some of them looked the same like this one. I thought this was really cool. It was a bug on the water of a little creek that runs through Descanso Gardens. I'm not sure what kind of but it is but I liked the depressions made in the smooth surface of the water where its feet touched the water and the the reflections of the trees in those depressions.

Not sure what kind of bug it is. I thought they were mosquitoes but they're awfully big for mosquitoes. There were quite a few of them literally bouncing around on the water.

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Today's Flowers & Mellow Yellow Monday

I was walking around Descanso Gardens yesterday when they sprinklers went off. I went a little crazy taking shots of the drops of water on a lot of the flowers. I had such a good time and I think they came out so well. Here are just a few of them.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Did You Know!?

Until I started visiting the aquarium again it never occurred to me that a starfish was an animal, a living creature that eats. Heck, it didn't even occur to me that they moved. And yep, I did say they eat. If you look at the picture below you can see the shell the starfish is absorbing.

The ones below show it eating seaweed. They have two stomachs - one for digesting and the other can be used to reach out and grab and then digest it's food. I read with some star fish, they use their vascular system to open the shell of something like a clam and then inject their stomach into the shell to eat it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sky Watch Friday

I don't think I've posted these before. I thought I'd share a couple of views that were interesting from down around my way. I can't remember exactly where the first shot was taken but I do know it was somewhere up in the San Bernardino mountains looking down over what I believe is the Inland Empire which is about, oh, 40 miles east of Los Angeles. That's not haze of fog you're looking at in the photo, it's smog. It's only when you get up this high that you really see the smog we deal with in Southern California, particularly the L.A. Basin, called that because we're surrounded by mountains.

The shot below was taken from a location up overlooking Bonelli Park and Puddingstone Reservoir that is just up the street from me, the one I visit a lot. This is looking west toward Los Angeles. Those buildings are downtown Los Angeles, about 30 miles away. You can see this was a very clear day. I don't think this was a day last year when we had a lot of fires but it might have been which would explain the color. It didn't alter the photo other than to crop it.

I'll note that a lot of times you can't see those buildings. This was a very clear day (evening). When I'm able to see downtown L.A. like this it always reminds me of the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Red Breasted and Coopers Hawks

My Watery Wednesday post is right below this one. Sorry. I wasn't going to post anything else until late tomorrow but I got these today and was a little excited about it and wanted to share.

I went to Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens not far from me. I was a little disappointed because the flowers that were in bloom on my last visit were gone so I concentrated on trying to find some birds. No luck there either. I could hear them but not see them and when I did find a couple before I could focus they were gone. But before I left, as I walked down the ramp to the lower level I could hear this strange bird call and these big birds were flying back and forth between the leaves and branches that I was eye level with.

One finally landed where I could actually see it so there I was peering through the leaves and branches and was able to zoom in, max zoom, and these came out okay. The quality isn't the best because I was zoomed out but still, not bad for photos this size.

Then it took of. They flew around some more and I waited patiently hoping one would land closer. It did! I took several photos but since they all pretty much look like this one I only posted the one. I think the first one is a Red Shouldered Hawk and I think the other is a Cooper's Hawk, shown in that order.

Oh! And did I mention that they had two hawks' nests there. This is one shot. It was so high up that again, my zoom was maxed out but you can at least see the top of the hawk's head in this one. The the other nest shot didn't come out. I couldn't get a clear shot through the branches.

Watery Wednesday #37

Can you believe it's time for Watery Wednesday? If you haven't visited my meme before; if you don't know what it's like to get cyber wet, Click Here or on the icon at the end of this post and check it out!

I went to Bolsa Chica Wetlands yesterday. I've got to say, when I took the shot on the meme's main page, I was standing beside photographers with their tripods and massive lenses. I think they were all waiting to capture the heron as it caught a fish. I felt like such a novice standing there with my little camera and built in zoom. I felt like they were shooting their cannons (Boom!), and I came in with a little six-shooter going pop, pop! I wonder if they laughed and called me a rookie after I'd taken my shots and walked off. LOL!

The birds below were really putting on a show. At various parts of the preserve, there would be about 10-15 birds flying above the water, scouting it for fish and then they would dive bomb into the water. All you could hear was them squawking and the sound of them plummeting into the water. Click on any to enlarge or you'll miss some of the water coming off the birds as they took off.

I think I spent most of my time photographing these birds. They were so fast I would never get them going into the water but I could get them coming out. Because of the delayed snap of the digital camera it took me a while before I figured out the timing and then it was on! The minute they splashed I had to snap the camera as I aimed at the splash of water. By the time it clicked, the bird was coming up out of the water. I was like a big kid. LOL! I actually got more good shots then I thought I did. I'd probably still be standing there if my batteries didn't fizzle out on me.

And you can see in the one below on the left that I actually got one coming up with a fish in it's mouth!

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Monday, May 25, 2009

My World Tuesday - The Little Bird Feeder

I couldn't figure out what to post for this meme this week so.... I thought I'd post some pics of my little bird feeder that I have hanging from my baby tree.

Monochrome Maniacs - Foggy Morning

Today is Memorial Day when our country remembers and pay tribute to those in the military service who died while in the military service. Just wanted to take a moment to mention that. My hat is off to our fallen heroes and the families who beared their loss.

This was taken at Bonelli Park several months ago. I love the effect that fog has in that the photo must focus on what is in the foreground. Nothing in the distance to distract or add to the photo.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

Have a wonderful Mellow Yellow Monday!! May your week be filled with warmth and sunshine.

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Today's Flowers

It's gotten a little easier to find something to post for the memes I participate in now that all of my photos are a little more organized. I really liked these and hope you do too.

A White Rose
By John Boyle O'Reilly (1844-1890)

THE red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Camera Critters - The Big Cat

I posted these so long ago I'm sure no one has seen them. It was back when if I got one comment it was a good day. :-) These were taken at the Los Angeles Zoo. It was a good day because normally they're laying around sleeping with their backs to the camera. They're my favorite tiger shots. To me the tiger is the most beautiful of the big cats.

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Camera Critters

Scenic Sunday - Santa Monica Beach

I thought these would be a great entry for Scenic Sunday. I took these last summer at the Santa Monica Pier here in Southern California. To me there is nothing more peaceful that standing on the beach listening to the waves and feeling the sea breeze in your face. I couldn't post just one photo. Thought I'd give you different scenic views from the pier.

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Scenic Sunday

Friday, May 22, 2009

Brown Pelican

I've spent the last few days cleaning out my hard drive that has all of my photos on it. 120 gigs and I only had 4 left. I've now got 43 gigs left and most my photos are a little more organized. I'm still working on transfering more to DVD's. It's been tiresome on the one hand but fun finding photos I'd forgotten I'd taken and never shared. I thought I'd post these of the brown pelican.

I love taking shots of the pelican and I've got enough photos to prove it. I think it has such an interesting face and it's one of the few birds I've managed to easily catch in flight. These were taken at Cabrillo Beach.