Friday, February 27, 2009

late winter pond

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ice Sculptures

We have these concrete molds that allow me to make pavers and ornaments for the garden. In the winter, the Big D take them over and makes ice sculptures with them, adding color dyes, freezing them together.

This seemed especially appropriate last January. This sculpture reminded me of two-faced Janus.

There is always a variety of abstract sculptures to be had at the trailer. The curve of the airstream produces amazing shaped icicles. He peels them gently from the side of the trailer and plants them in the snow. By the end of our weekend in the woods, the area is filled with glittering ice sculptures.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Chasing Turkeys

We ran into a large flock of turkeys on our venture into the woods. I hadn't expected to see so many. I've heard of people living out in remote areas having difficulty driving out because the turkeys won't budge from their take-over of the road.

When we encounter turkeys, they flee.

And, they probably should when I come around. For some unexplained reason, I have a fascination with wild turkeys. I'm not a fan of the Thanksgiving turkey feast, but for some reason, every time I see wild turkeys I get hungry. I daydream about ways to trap and pluck a wild turkey for our Thanksgiving meal. I've never had feelings like this before. I don't feel a need to hunt, I release every dang fish I catch, but when it comes to wild turkey, I feel oddly that I want to eat one. That is just a daydream, catching one is way beyond my abilities!

We expected the turkeys to take off, to scatter in the woods. We did not expect to be chasing them down the road.

It's hilarious watching a herd of turkeys running down the road. They bounce up and down and forward, keeping to the road like some wilderness running track.

The sound of the Jeep can heard from miles away, I'm sure. Eventually these turkeys decided it was too much and took flight.

We continued down this road, saying goodbye to the turkeys, but too soon, because as we rounded the corners, we found them again.

This lasted a little while with us driving along, the turkeys repeatedly flying off and then landing further down the road.

Eventually, they tired of the chase and scattered into the woods.

Look how yummy they look! Beautiful, too!

The tracks were a crazy pattern of thin lines. It was such a delightful encounter on the path today. Made me hungry, yes, but these flocks of turkeys do also strike me as the comical figures in the woods.

Have you ever encountered wild turkeys at night? They can be quite frightening if you have no idea that they are out and about. They fly up towards the tops of the trees and crash through the branches. They are large and the commotion they create is unnerving in the dark of the woods. I can remember several nights of wildly pointing the flashlight up into the trees, praying that it isn't a treed bear.

Who knew that turkeys roosted in the trees at night? Their bodies seem too clumsy and bulky to get into a tree. Surprising and comical, I love them wild turkeys!

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Monday, February 9, 2009

February Moon

This would be the second largest full moon in 2009. Last night I managed to catch a glimpse of the moon before the clouds took over and dampened the bright light.

For this night, I did manage to get a remote shutter, something I was sorely lacking in last month's attempt to shoot the moon. Therefore, I was able to capture some of the details on the moon's surface.

Unfortunately, I encountered another problem, just another challenge in learning new aspects of a digital camera. I had inadvertently switched the focus from manual to auto. So, I managed to get one shot, but then all the others would shift the focus to the framing tree as I tried to click the shutter...

Although the shot wasn't what I originally wanted, there is a lovely shade of blue.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

W is for WHY?!

Tell me why would someone do this?

For over fifteen years we have been walking this trail through the local city park. Can't even imagine how long this rock has been sitting here in this spot. Could have been moved there after they leveled the trees. Or it could have been there even longer, from the time it was surrounded by the large oak trees that used to fill this area. Now it is forever marked by green spray paint, at least they used green. The marks go all the way around the rock.

What could be used to wash this away? When the garages get hit in the neighborhood, the owners paint over the marks and hope that the taggers don't return. But, here, with this rock, there is no way to paint over the desecration.

Nature seems to have created her own marks in the shape of letters. This W is in brown.

Strange how my questions about the marks stay the same. Who or what could have done this? Was it some bug burrowing under the bark? Does it reflect growth of the tree or a pattern of decay? The answers to these questions are far more interesting to think about.

This log was laying just a foot away from the "W log".

Such a crazy pattern. It almost seems like the work of wood carving.

Pulling in a little closer, I get the sense of crop circles. The sort of thing that gains meaning when looking down on the total design.

Pulling in closer yet, I start to see shapes that remind me of petroglyphs found in Southeastern Utah.

After spending considerable time with my camera pointed to the ground, I decided to take a look at what was up above me.

I don't remember seeing the wasp nest this past summer. It hangs right up above the paved walking path. In February the only part of the nest that remains is the top part attached to the tree branch. There was such geometric perfection inside the nest walls.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

monarch butterflies

8 natural wonders were added to the UN Heritage list. One of which was the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.

This is an image of one such beautiful butterfly resting on the wildflowers by the side of the road. A visitor in the blue hills of Wisconsin.

I hope you are enjoying the retreat to Mexico City, sweet butterfly. Have a safe flight back. The upper midwest region is gray and dismal without you!
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

playing with color

Making the jump into Photoshop Elements is daunting! At first, I was disappointed that I didn't have the budget to purchase the larger version of Photoshop, but as I started fooling around with Elements, I realized that having anything more would have been totally overwhelming. For the first few months, I gained limited skills with things I am already familiar with: contrast, sharpness, minor hue and saturation adjustments. All the while knowing there were endless possibilities that I had no idea how to tap into. Thanks to
Pioneer Woman, I have learned so much in just this last month! Although she does work with the larger version of Photoshop, her tips and suggestions led me to a more guided search of internet tutorials that allowed me to attempt her image magic.

This morning I spent a few hours playing with color. The actions required switching the color image to B&W, then brushing back selected areas full of color. Here are the results. I am so proud!

Here was a chance to take a "typical" flower shot and transform it into something that brightens the color of the peony:

After I had a grasp of how to perform these little miracles, I started searching my whole catalog of images to play with. This little lizard was on the patio of a villa we visited in Port Antonio, Jamaica.

This shot in color is gorgeous. I have a tendency to photograph my meager harvest from my front-yard urban garden each year. The images remind me each Spring of the possibilities waiting to bloom in the garden. It was fun to take this previously colorful image, and change in a way that highlights the bright red of the chili peppers.

The only problem with this morning's project is that now I miss my garden so much! After seeing his shadow, Punxsutawney Phil forecasts another six weeks of winter. Jeez louise! Winter this year seems so long!
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Monday, February 2, 2009

brief january thaw

The day was a surprise of above 40 degree temps. Neighbors I hadn't seen in months came out from their winter hibernation. Garden accoutrements that were buried by the snow were peeking through the snow melt. The neighborhood came alive and became very wet. The street corners started to flood because the snow melt had no where to go.

Spent part of the day splashing around in the Jeep, then some time on the ground, wandering around the thawing neighborhood, jumping from puddle to puddle...
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