Thursday, July 29, 2021

Hot and Stuff

This is just going to be about things I've seen over the past week including things of beauty, things that make me curious and things I photographed just because.

Wednesday's storm front. I was on the way to CrossFit when I saw that I was driving into the heart of a huge cell. The closer I got to town, the meaner it looked. According to the weather service it was to go northeast of us. 
I don't like storms, I don't like to be in storms. 
I've been in two tornadoes and one really exceptional storm in 2007.

I pulled over to the side of the road and grabbed my camera. I only had my IR camera with the 850nm filter. It really only captures stark black and white and really highlights details in clouds. We had some winds when the front came through along with rain but thankfully no damage.
Other areas had hail and up to 3 inches of hard quick rain.

Shot of the neighbor's cattle pasture at dawn. Yes, the cow in the middle of the photo is pooping. 

Dogwood. I found some! 

Wild Grapes! They look plentiful and I wonder about making grape jelly.
That would take a LOT!

Sumac. It looks like it wants to start turning colors! Heat and drought stress?

Elderberry flowers. Most are done flowering now and the berries are turning dark. This one had a tiny bee on it.

Queen Anne's Lace in the meadow across the fence to the east of us.

Chicken of the Woods? I saw it, I didn't pick it because it was too beautiful. However I would like to have an expert by my side to try something like this. 

Apparently my soldiers will keep an eye on it. It was too bloody hot and stormy to continue wandering around the woods with the heat and 'thick' air. But I will get back to it!

Indian Pipes! Generally they grow near an old oak's roots especially those oaks that have 'health' issues. Interesting to note that so many life forms are so intertwined with the forest like that. I mean I knew it, but I didn't KNOW it.

Moving right along. 

Last thing. 
The storm Wednesday night. Uffdah. The winds were pretty nasty so it looks like today is my day to go see if trees fell on the fence. Our corn was flattened and I found branches this morning down by the stock tank which is over 100 ft from the trees in one direction. Branches were down in another direction too and some found way out east of the house. No damage to buildings but small branches on top of the shed too! Interesting. You may be able to guess what I will write about later!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Double Exposures

Double Trouble.

That is me. 

The photo method that I described before intrigued me. And of course I went off on a tangent from there.

Lo and Behold I decided to try some more double exposures 'in' camera. Now, mostly I am not a fan, but I think it is a fun diversion. Just like the Pep Ventosa Technique which will be a project I work on the next few days as the heat indices are to be around 100+ degrees F.

In camera double exposure of Charlie and random ox eye daisies. Double exposures really need better planning than this.

I like this one I did of my son's dog in his backyard but it feels too ghostly.

Subject one should be isolated more to include a second exposure. So I tried this one. There is the color version and black and white version to see the image within the image better.

So what if I took a photo of a vase of hosta flowers and made the hosta plant the backround? I used a white board that I should toss out as it has seen much better days. 


That was fun.

So I then thought I'd try about 7 exposures 'in the round' of my little meditating dragon.

Here is the edited color version attempt...
It is sort of interesting as it appears that the dragon is thinking inside of himself?

I thought the colors were too distracting. I decided to try a black and white version.
Hmmm. I kind of, sorta, think...sorta, that I like it?

Then I took shots with the Infrared camera of the neighbor's playground and simply stacked them all at 40%.
I added a bit of contrast and that was it.

Certainly the dragon is sort of growing on me.
The playground resembles the Pep Ventosa method a bit better and I think it would work for abstract artsy stuff.

I may have to try it again. 

While doing a bit of research I found a lot of sites that offered classes in this and other 'painterly' effects. I didn't sign up for classes, I like experimenting on my own.

By the way, the weather this morning was incredible. More about that non Artsy Stuff tomorrow. A Heat Advisory has been issued. 

So I am doing other crafty things like dying Queen Anne's Lace and drying it in hopes I can use it as Christmas or Fall *Decorates*.

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Buck Moon provided

The photo above was at 3:30 in the morning when I had to get up and help hubby with a few things.

I went out just before dawn to check on my mules and see if there was a fog moving in. There usually is after a hot humid day and a cool but damp night.

I think the Buck Moon was tired, so it rested on my dead pine tree.

The sun is still blood red in the mornings or orange depending on the smoke, clouds, and haze.

But the valleys provide for mists and fog which make it interesting.

And then...

This Buck showed up as the fog began to move across the pasture. Another young buck wandered into the area too, but I couldn't get a clear photo of him. They look like the ones I've been catching on the trail cam.

A doe jumped the line fence and stopped. She obviously saw me but it must not have bothered her much as she went on to graze and wander off into the woods.

I glanced towards the woods and...
there was a hawk watching over the meadow.

I had promised to let my neighbors' dogs out into their fenced yard for a potty break. I walked up there and took another walk out the ridge.

I guess it was my morning for wildlife.

I watched the moon fade away to the western sky and headed back home to start my day.

That's it. 

The Buck Moon.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Garden Garden

I do have a small veggie garden. Here is a photo of it this spring. We cut the size way down from all the past years to about half. 

What you are seeing below is the area we use for a garden. On two sides it has hot wire for the mule's pasture. The red gates are what we call a 'catch' pen. Mules are sorted there for riding or trimming. When I pick one, they all want to come.

Out in the field is a round bale feeder from the days of long ago. I still use it to put hay in during the winter to keep them from trampling on it in muddy or damp weather.

The tree line in back is my upper neighbor's pasture for her goats. Notice! NO weeds!

This photo is also just before Justin came to till the garden. 

After tilling. I planted squash, cukes, some odd flowers, and corn very late. A huge concern was the heat and dry June we were having.

July 3rd
So I'd done some watering in the evening and wrung my hands. This corn was NOT knee high by the 4th of July. To the left of the garden, I keep trimming the weeds with a scythe.

July 13th. I have free range tomatoes coming up from last year. We have had rain here and there to the tune of 3 inches at a time. 

July 22

Believe it or not, the yard was just mowed a few days ago here. Yuck, looks like I have to do this by hand today. Siera is the mule in the field. 
The corn is much taller and we have hopes for sweet corn! The cukes are just budding and so are the squash.

I had squash last year, lots of them. So many that some began to turn and I had to toss them. I rolled those mushy ones out into the pasture where about 10 plants are flowering. So, I will have more than one kind of squash.

Here is the north of our house. Nice and tidy looking. The 4 wheeler is my trash hauler, weed hauler, and fence supply hauler.

Here is the part I usually don't let anyone see. The ugly crushed garage and... piles of projects that 'were' going to get done. In the weeds rests a camper that someone was 'gonna' take apart and recycle and take the stove out and put it ... um, somewhere. It simply has sat in the weeds for many years. The garage was to be torn down and he was 'gonna' salvage 'stuff' that was in there.  
To me, it is nothing but a huge eyesore and I have looked into hiring someone to come and tear it down to the foundation and clean the area up.

There is a nice concrete pad under the garage that would make a great spot to set a tiny building on as a studio or summer guest room.

The Boss keeps telling me he will 'get to this' pretty soon. 10 years later? 

So I create my own pretty spaces where I can enjoy color and beauty and ignore the ugly as I can do nothing about it without causing a huge problem. 

My house is my castle and so are my little gardens. 
Next year, I will go back to having sunflowers a gazillion zinnias, and cosmos. I just need places to put them!

I do love gardening. I love creating pretty spaces.

I'll catch up on the Forest Garden aka by the kids as the Secret Garden later.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Photographic Techniques

That I have never heard of:
Pep Ventosa Technique

Shooting in the round.

So the theory is to 'create' a painterly scene by walking around a subject and taking multiple shots to create a painterly effect once you put all the layers together.

Below is a first attempt with only 4 photos. I used flowers in a vase and put the camera on a tripod with the settings all set up manually. 

For each photo, I slightly turned the vases by hand. 

I dropped them into an old photoshop program as layers and changed the opacity and blend. Truly, I had NO idea of what I was doing. I used Soft Overlay at 40%, Harsh Light, Lighten, Screen...I tried them all. This was sort of cool....

It felt very odd working this up but I went through with it anyway. Experimentation is fun.

Okay, the results are sort of meh. What if I try it again?

In this one I made the bottom original layer opaque.
Much more 'painterly' and satisfying. I like the BW version as well as the soft colored version.

Maybe I'd try some more.

Goodness, I stopped editing at around 9 layers. I cannot imagine doing 20 or so. I think my computer or the old CS2 would blow up and crash big time. 

I sort of like this one of the garden dragon. It feels as if I were taking photos of it while it was moving around. Something like double exposures combined.
[Hey that is an idea!]

Here is the Dragon on his own in the yard. 

Apparently the Pep Ventosa Technique can include up to or about 100 frames while walking around the subject.

I would like to explore this method more. I have some creative ideas stemming from this method that I may try with Still Life. I've looked up some tutorials and like some of what I see. Not sure it is really my cup of tea, but I can try! Some of the still life suggestions make more sense.

I've also heard it called: Impressionist Photography.

"What grows is a unique new narrative space that never actually happened, where the whole world has traveled mysteriously further than what the camera documented. Part memory, part imagination. Not unlike the way we see."  Pep Ventosa

I think it may be a fun project for those days that I don't have outdoor work to do. 

Pep Ventosa Link...

In the mean time...
I'll be out mowing the yard and doing all those other fun things....

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


So I just wandered the other day. Well, I didn't wander OFF. But I just took random deer trails through the forest with no destination in mind. I would walk a bit and then stand still. 

Listening, looking and observing. 

I wonder if a daddy long legs is considered wildlife.

I stood above the creek and just listened for a while. The water was barely moving from the west side of the fence. It pooled below me and then disappeared into the grass and jewel weed that grew in the creek bed.

The afternoon sunlight filtered through the green leaves and I just stood there thinking how beautiful the light and various shades of green were. So calming.
I think I may even put this photo on a large mounted board. I usually print a favorite shot each year and put it up. I think during the cold winter months, this photo may just bring me back to that very peaceful 'green' spot.

In an unexpected place in the back pasture I found a Monarch caterpillar. 

There were the hideously ugly looking brown prickly looking caterpillars too. They were interesting. I'd seen them over the years but had never bothered to figure out what there were.
Until this year.
[Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars]

The reddish insect is an asparagus beetle. It probably has a long scientific name, but I like it fine as the red insect with black polka dots.

Monday morning found me out wandering the pastures again. The morning light was really quite bizarre.
I'm pretty sure these types of photos are flooding the social media because of the wildfires and the smoke in the air.

[I don't think the air quality is good for Rich to be outside doing work right now. So maybe the broken lawn mower is a good thing. I spoke with Mark and he'll pick it up and fix it along with a nice overall maintenance job on it.]

My thought was the sunrise seemed sort of like a Hollywood scene from some sort of Armageddon type movie.

It just felt creepy as all get out.

Most of the day was odd too. The sky wasn't blue, but more of a pale washed out color. 

I went out to move the pony and put the goat in his pen after supper. The clouds had left and there was this orange washed out odd color to the sky again.

Skies like this give me an uneasy feeling.

On a happy note....I chased a Monarch yesterday for a while. It was so shy! 
It played hide n' go seek!

Tuesday promises to be a busy day.