Sunday Stills: Are You Ready for the Great #Outdoors?

Walking dogs on a trail

As you read last week, the northern hemisphere experienced the summer solstice and people are heading for the great outdoors. According to the US National Park Service and National Today, June is Great Outdoors Month. There are still 4 days left in June to get outdoors and of course, that door is still open next month and all year long!

I wanted to title this post: “Can you handle the great outdoors after a pandemic?” But no, enough about it! While some countries still struggle with vaccinating its populace, here in the US, most of us are out and about with few restrictions. Make no mistake, Covid is still floating around, so stay safe if you find yourself around a crowd of people.

“During Great Outdoors Month, I encourage all Americans to explore our Nation’s beautiful outdoor spaces. As we enjoy the great outdoors — from national parks to our own backyards — let us rededicate ourselves to conserving our Nation’s natural spaces for our own well-being, and for the health, safety, prosperity, and fulfillment of generations to come.”

US President Joseph Biden

Ways to Celebrate “Great Outdoors” Month and Beyond

Take a Vacation!

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere is prime vacation time. Join Marsha at Always Write for her weekly feature Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge, where “vacation” is the theme. I commented back with now that I am retired, every day feels like a vacation. Hard to get used to but I’m managing!

“A vacation helps to relieve stress and boredom, gives us a change of scenery, provides us with adventure, and helps to bring us closer to the people in our lives.”

E. S. Woods

“Life’s short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”

Lea Mishell
Breakfast in Waikiki

I enjoyed my first Hawaiian breakfast outdoors on the lanai of our beach-front hotel in Waikiki (Oahu) in January 2006.

Enjoy Backyard Birding!

Join a birding or photography group. I follow Spokane Birders on Facebook but I hope to find some fellow local birders to learn more about birds in the area.

Backyard Birdwatching
Anna Hummingbird

“Bird watching is now North America’s second most popular outdoor activity (second only to gardening).”

Bernd Brunner

Hike a Trail!

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

John Muir

Over Memorial Day weekend, we got to take my daughter and boyfriend on an easy hike to a local area along the Spokane River called the Bowl and Pitcher, in Riverside State Park, just minutes from our new home. Large blocks of basaltic rock lie in and above the Spokane River in the formation of the bowl (right) and pitcher (left).

Walk the dogs. Another trail, just 100 yards from our house, is a great place to walk the dogs. With this heat wave, we get up early to accomplish this!

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

Henry David Thoreau
Walking dogs on a trail
This tree-lined path is a prequel to Becky B’s July Squares

Stop to smell a flower. Remember the earlier quote about gardening being the number one outdoor activity? Plant a garden or simply admire flowers and plants. Sharing for Cees’ Flower of the Day.

More Ways to Celebrate Great Outdoors Month and Beyond

In your backyard or neighborhood
Throw a block party. Grill in your backyard. Start or join a walking club. Relax and read a book on your porch.

In public lands...go camping. Plan a picnic. Swim, kayak, or boat on an ocean, lake, or river. Go fishing.

Visit a National Park!

Painnted Half Dome
View of Yosemite’s Half Dome from Glacier Point

In case you REALLY need ideas, visit 125 Ways to Celebrate Nature!

Hot Blogger Links

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite sunrise and sunset photos as we celebrated the solstice. Please visit a few when you get the chance and welcome three bloggers as they share their posts for the first time at Sunday Stills!

Be sure to visit my Sunday Stills page for July’s themes. There is no challenge for July 4 as I celebrate Independence Day. But I will see you for Lisa’s Bird Weekly challenge on July 2. Get outdoors and be safe!

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: The Power of Fantastic #Florals

American Beauty Rose, "The Earth laughs in flowers." Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week, for Sunday Stills, let’s blow up WordPress and the rest of the Internet with gorgeous flowers! We all need some hope and beauty in our lives. Linking to Sunday Stills this week will be like we are sending each other wonderful bouquets.

From Hawaii Botanical Gardens in Hilo, 2019

Purple hibiscus flower
“Blue Bayou” Hibiscus hybrid

Calming Florals

If you haven’t read Cindy Knoke’s incredible photo-blog, please view her post, Pandemic Anxiety Busters, where she not only shares her stunning florals, but also her expertise as a psychotherapist.

Last spring’s hydrangea.

Blue and purple hydrangeas

Did you know that merely looking at photos of nature will calm your stress levels?

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” Luther Burbank

Flower Power

Plumeria blossom
Plumeria Close-Up
Black and White Sunflower Bud

Be as creative as possible: show us a field of flowers, or an extreme close-up of your favorite flower. Try a new angle to create a fantasy look to your flower.

These tree blossoms looked like snow after a spring storm!

Tree blossoms scatter on top of walkway

Or use your photo-editing skills to show us a fantasy flower.

Painted Plumeria

This one was created from the Painnt Filter I describe below.

Drops on Top

I am linking some of my square florals of raindrops on top with Becky B’s new April Squares Challenge, Top.

Geranium Drops
Raindrops on top of my geranium.
Drops on tops of rosebud
Droplets on my American Beauty Rose
Drops on Top
My backyard plumerias enjoy Northern California’s rain and heat
Last teddy sunflower of the summer

Digital Floral Art

I love the Painnt-Pro Art Filters (for android and apple) for editing images into something different.

Painnted Hibiscus flower

I also enjoy the digital coloring app Oil Painting by Color Planet. I LOVE photography, but I also like to color! I find this to be very relaxing.

Sunflowers Graphic
Fantasy FLorals

I use my photo editing clone feature to make the logo disappear.

You can save your creations from both apps to your devices for a variety of uses: wallpaper for devices, photo-editing, etc. Both apps can be found in the Apple store and Google Play for Android users. They are free if you don’t mind the ads.

Painnted Plumeria
Painnted Sunflower

For Sunday Stills challenge this week, it’s OK to use flowers from your media files, if you can’t get out and find new images. All of these flowers and their fantasy counterparts were grown in my backyard!

And most of these images were taken by my various Samsung Galaxy series mobile phones!

Join the flower power by linking with Cee’s Flower of the Day! She loves flowers, too!

The sky is the limit this week and I can’t wait to see what you have to share.

American Beauty Rose, "The Earth laughs in flowers." Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday Stills: #Early to Rise

Winter Sunrise

The word “early” invokes a variety of quotes, phrases, and conditions. Let your mind run wild with these concepts of early:

  • Are you an early-bird, an early riser, or just love being early to events?
  • Were you highly intelligent at an early age or naïve in your early years?
  • Perhaps you are a “later-in-the-day” person and dread the early morning hours.

This week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge theme is EARLY.

If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.

Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach

Being a very time-conscious person, in most cases I tend to be early to appointments. Ironically, every Friday morning I rush out the door at 7:45am to get to my 8:00 am yoga class. Sort of defeats the purpose! Although I am only a few blocks away from my gym, I do try to arrive by 10 minutes before the hour to get a good spot and unfurl my yoga mat.

Arriving early to something gives me time to relax a bit and breathe if I’ve had to rush to get somewhere. I am always early to get to my campus office hours and classes. I like that 10 minutes of classroom prep time to gather my thoughts and get media ready for the lecture.

University classroom
Early to arrive in the classroom

Although I don’t claim to be a morning person, I have never complained when I am up early to see these sunrises!

This lovely winter sunrise was taken earlier this month while I was visiting in Spokane, Washington. I got up earlier than everyone, started the coffee and saw THIS out the kitchen window. Despite the COLD temps, I rushed out into the street in my PJs to capture the dramatic textures and colors.

Winter Sunrise

This image was from a few years ago in Baja, Mexico on the Sea of Cortez. Always strange to see the sunrise over the water. We west-coasters are used to seeing sunsets over the water!

Baja Sunrise
Early Baja Sunrise

Back in January, I complained about the gray foggy days typical in Northern California. February tends to be a cool, rainy month, but as of today, we have had NO rain in this area. These warm sunny days are ushering in an early, dry spring which translates into early flowers.

Here is a pic of my neighbor’s poppy.

California Poppies

These California poppies normally pop out in March, but with all this sunshine, I have already seen them along the side of the highways earlier this month. The other day I went to buy some birdseed for a new feeder and found these lovely Icelandic poppies in the garden section. They provide some beautiful color to my front porch.

The poppies are submitted for Cee’s Flower of the Day

Get an early start for March photo challenges! March themes are already posted on the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge page.

What does EARLY mean to you? Show us your take on early with photos, poems, stories or music! Remember, my blog posts early Sunday mornings at 7:00 am (Pacific Time)!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Celebrate #Blue with Flowers

Blue and purple hydrangeas
Blue and purple hydrangeas

These blue hydrangeas have inspired me to share their loveliness for not only two photo challenges today, but to introduce a daily journal challenge for the month of July.

Journaling in July

Journaling has been a challenge for me most of my adult life. I did keep a journal when I was between 18-20 years old and still have the books. Nowadays I like to think of blogging as a way of keeping a journal, as I share thoughts about photography, fitness, and leisure.

With that said, I am joining other bloggers for Sue’s Journaling in July, with 31 days of journaling prompts to inspire our creative ideas. Each Saturday, you can link up with other bloggers and share your journal prompts. Please visit Sue’s post for more information.

Journaling in July

How Will I Do This?

Each week as I post for Becky B’s Blue Squares in July and my weekly photo challenge Sunday Stills, I intend to share within those posts, the journal prompts that inspired me that week. We can all use some extra inspiration, so for me, combining these challenges into two posts a week sounds like a great way to spend the month of July as I continue to (impatiently) recover from surgery.

This week I share the journal prompts that resonated the most with me.

July 3 What Makes Me Feel Happy

At our ladies retreat in early May, we also had opportunities to journal over that weekend. A similar question “What feeds your soul” had me answer similarly that I love photography and usually take a picture of something when I see it. The hydrangeas pictured above symbolize my happiness as I enjoy a bit of gardening and can see my potted flowers grow and thrive in the warm California sun. Of course, I will shoot the flowers with my phone or camera so I can enjoy looking at them throughout the day, week or month.

July 5 What I Did Today

Since I’ve committed to gardening, the simple act of watering my flowers and plants daily is gratifying while I am staying close to home. The things we do each day needn’t be glamorous or electrifying, and I am rather grateful to have this downtime. But I admit that watering the front and back yards with a hose while walking with crutches is probably the most challenging thing I did all day!

If I had been asked this question this time last year, I would have written that my hubby and I spent the weekend at the Delta playing on the water, on our windsurf- or stand-up paddleboards. I am counting the days to July 26th when my cast comes off!

4th of July Weekend 2018

If you are craving some blogging inspiration, visit Becky and Sue at their links in the post. I’ve also submitted the hydrangeas for Cee’s Flower of the Day photo challenge.

© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: A #Tropical Garden Vacation

Hawaii Big Island Hamakua Coastline

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen several of my images taken in and around the Hilo area while on the Big Island of Hawaii.

I also shared a post with some tropical images for my recent post Thursday’s #Hilo Doors with a View.

It makes sense (at least to me) that this week’s Sunday Stills theme is “tropical.”

I celebrated my spring break in Hawaii at my husband’s urging. He wanted one more week off before the summer rush begins at his work. We own a small house in up-country Hilo that needs some major repair and construction, right up hubby’s alley. Apparently working on his house is therapeutic for him.

With hubby working on the house 20 miles away, I was left to my own devices back at the B&B where we stayed. I spent two days alone working on a variety of projects, took walks, and of course, took hundreds of pictures! Did I mention the 75 degree temperatures? Hilo can be very rainy but the weather cooperated most days, with overcast skies only part of the time.

Hawaii Big Island Hamakua Coastline
View of Hamakua Coastline north of Hilo (photo was edited using Paintt filter)

While enjoying the tropical surroundings, I also had the chance to meet up with fellow blogger, Graham, from Graham’s Island. If you enjoy reading about the Big Island of Hawaii, Graham takes amazing photos while explaining something interesting about his subject.

Graham kindly offered to make the two-hour drive from the North end of the island to meet me at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.

With cameras in tow, we walked the trails and shot oodles of flowers and plant life. One of the first flowers we spotted was this purple hibiscus hybrid called “Blue Bayou.” Stunning!

Purple hibiscus flower
“Blue Bayou” Hibiscus hybrid

A tropical garden path overgrown with flowers and plants paved the way for more sites than I could possibly see!

Pathway in the Botanical Gardens
Pathway in the Botanical Gardens

We came across this Crimson Medinilla from the Phillipines hanging like Christmas ornaments.

crimson medinilla red flower
Crimson Medinilla flowers hang like Christmas ornaments

Of course, we stopped every few feet to capture these amazing plants with our lenses. A great photographer like Graham here leans in for that special shot!

Man shooting flowers with camera
Graham getting that macro shot!

We came upon the Malaysian Bat Plant, which really is this color black!

Malaysian Bat Black Flowering Plant
Malaysian Bat Plant

Another hibiscus flower, this one a peachy-orange. Yellow hibiscus is the Hawaii state flower.

Orange hibiscus
Orange hibiscus

The iconic Hawaiian flower, the plumeria, was not in bloom quite yet, but here is one just for fun! Graham has a yearly pass to the gardens and says he sees different flowers each time he visits. There is a chance we may go back to the Big Island to work on the house this Fall, so I hope to see these gorgeous, fragrant flowers!

Walking through the gardens yielded views like this if you stopped and looked up!

Pointy, spiky tropical rain forest
Banyans and Palm Trees reach for the sky

This image of the tropical forest with its spikes, spires and jagged edges is submitted for Becky B’s last day of March Spiky Squares.

I am also sharing these banyan and palm trees with Becca’s Sunday Trees!

Here is one more beautiful little flower, an orchid perhaps?

botanical garden flower
Cute little flower…no clue as to what it is!

I’ve lost count of the many bloggers I have met in person over the last few years and was so pleased to be able to meet up with Graham in Hawaii! We had an enjoyable time and ate lunch in Hilo before he drove me back to the B&B! Visiting the botanical gardens was one of the highlights of this trip to the Big Island.

Today, I am also sharing these tropical blooms for Cee’s Flower of the Day!

April themes are available for view on my Sunday Stills page so you can plan ahead. Remember you can post any time during the week for each theme.

I can’t wait to see your tropical-themed images, poems, stories, even music this week!

Aloha!

my signature w/ hibiscus

#Jagged Edges–Signs of Spring

Spiky Spring Flower

Despite Northern California’s torrential rains and flooded rivers, Spring is gradually making an appearance.

Walking the dogs around my neighborhood in between rain showers, I discovered these lovely flowers, some kind of daisy?

Spiky Spring Flower

Right outside my front door is my American Beauty Rose bush showing signs of spring after yet another shower.

Delicate Drops and Spikes

I admit this photograph is off square just a little to capture the jagged edges of the brand new leaves.

These lovelies were taken with my trusty Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone.

I am having some fun with Becky B’s March photo challenge, Spiky March Squares. I’m also sharing the daisy for Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge.

my signature w/ hibiscus

Square in September: “Painnt”-ing with #Pink

pink hydrangea

On this last Friday of Pink Squares in September, I have some images to share. Not just my standard fare, but some used with a mobile app called Painnt (available for Android devices in Google Play Store).

My pink hydrangea with an Autumn flair!

square pink hydrangia

Here are two Painnt images of the same hydrangea.

I found some lovely pink cone flowers in my neighborhood. This was a simple post-edit highlighting the pink against a black and white background.

Cone in black&white

Below is a cropped version of the above image but using the Painnt app filter.

Pink Coneflower

It makes for a fun, yet striking image!

And here is the original image of the pink cone flowers:

Pink Cone Flowers

I had some post-editing photo fun with these images. Thanks to these two photo-bloggers for inspiring me to get acquainted with “paint” apps and programs:

Carol, at Light Words, a fellow Northern Californian, takes wonderful photos and inspired me with her use of MobileMonet which is an Apple app.

Tina Schell, of Travels and Trifles, often uses a photo editor to create dreamy images inspired by impressionists and watercolor artists.

I am pleased with this app and bought the premium version for a whopping $1.99 a month! Don’t worry, I’m not selling anything, but just sharing my discovery of a new way to enhance my images. Needless to say, I am #tickledpink at discovering this!

And many thanks to Becky at Life of B for her Square in September theme of pink!

Also adding this to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (pastel). Do have a look at her gorgeous hydrangeas!

I’m sharing a few more pink images in this week’s Sunday Stills!

Terri_sig_hib1

Squares in September: Pink #Plumeria

pink plumeria

I am excited to contribute to Becky’s photo challenge Squares in September, In the Pink!

While in San Diego for my 40th high school reunion last week, we stayed at my daughter’s house. All around her neighborhood are yards and gardens lush with plumeria, my other favorite flower!

I love how this cluster peeked at me from its leaves! I was “tickled pink” to discover these, and then take multiple photos!

Plumeria are native to Hawaii, but each time I have visited there was during January, a month they do not bloom! 

My daughter has been busy with her garden and I hope to have convinced her to plant a couple plumeria!

What is your favorite flower?

Terri_sig_hib1

I Stare at Naked Ladies… and Other Flowers!

Sunflower and worm love a summer day

Sunflower and worm love a summer day
See the green worm in the bottom left?

Nothing is more distracting on my walks with the dogs than the lovely flowers I see all around me. Even in my somewhat mundane neighborhood, many folks plant some wonderful flowers. Intent on walking a large number of steps, I have to STOP for several photo ops.

Naked Ladies
Amaryllis Belladonna (aka Naked Ladies) lose their leaves in summer, hence their nakedness!

The Weekly photo challenge theme is Ooh, Shiny! “Diversions, distractions, and delightful detours.”

Sometimes I take my Lumix camera with me, but lately, while walking two dogs, I end up just taking my mobile phone. I managed to capture a lovely bouquet of flowers in this post.

Ever in the pursuit of awesome photos, I have been known to actually be talking on my phone then tell the person I’ll call him or her back so I can get that photo!

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today, Indian Proverb

August is the best time of year to see sunflowers—my favorite! August is also the best time to see the amaryllis belladonna in bloom (aka “Naked Ladies).

Enjoy the show!

Speaking of distractions, the looming total solar eclipse has done just that to the nightly news (thank goodness)! As they say, “stay tuned” for photos of the eclipse from Northern California next week!

To all my fellow US friends, while viewing the eclipse, please use proper eye-safety wear, and a solar filter on your camera!

My signature

Weekly Photo Challenge: Densely Blue

A photographic study in blue densely packed flowers.

A photographic study in blue densely packed flowers.

The month of April is a great time to photograph flowers, with the vast array of beautiful colors and floral types from which to choose. I discovered these densely-packed blue flowers in my neighbor’s yard and couldn’t resist stealing a shot (with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone).

This is submitted for the WordPress weekly photo challenge Dense.

I opened my Seasonal Sensations April Flowers link-up today and I am submitting this into the cyber-garden we can all create together. Please join!

Tuesday Photo Challenge: Spring Poppies

Freshly opened California poppy droops with recent raindrops.

Freshly opened California poppy droops with recent raindrops.

I dearly love photography challenges and just discovered a “new” one (to me!) hosted by blogger Dutch Goes the Photo! Frank posts a new challenge every Tuesday. I just made it under the wire with my submission of California Poppies, wet and dry, for the “spring” theme!

This freshly opened poppy enjoyed a spring shower as it struggled to open last week under the heavy raindrops. California Poppies are the state flower and flourish this time of year everywhere! One can find them on hills, the sides of the roads and freeways, providing pops of orange against the beautiful, fresh green landscapes we see here in Northern California.

When it is sunny and warm, like expected to be this week in late March, happy poppies look like this:

Happy spring poppies!

Top photo was taken with my Panasonic Lumix FZ300 camera in macro mode. Bottom photo taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. Both post-edited in PicMonkey (crop, contrast, frame).

Enjoy a bit of early spring from Northern California!

signature

Angles of Yellow

Vase-with-Yellow-Flowers

From Every Angle

The Weekly Photo Challenge focuses on the different angles the same subject can be seen and photographed.

During the summer, I keep vase of yellow silk flowers near a window. I love how the subdued morning light captures the yellow.

Vase-with-Yellow-Flowers

The next three photos are the different angles I photographed. I took the vase outside and let the morning sunlight perform its magic.

Re-FRESH-ing

Tuolumne-Meadows-River

River
Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River runs near the campground (Yosemite National Park). Lembert Dome in the background.

Fresh

Celebrate the first day of Spring, the Vernal Equinox. Cosmically, there is a lot going on as described in this article excerpt by the Washington Post.

At 6:45 p.m. EDT on March 20, the sun appears directly overhead at Earth’s equator, marking the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the spring equinox has the unusual distinction of coinciding with both a supermoon and a total solar eclipse. According to timeanddate.com, there has not been a solar eclipse on either the March or September equinox since 1662!

The spring equinox is one of only two days of the year when all places on Earth (outside the polar regions) see the sun rise at due east and set at due west along the horizon.  (Washington Post, March 20, 2015).

The Weekly Photo Challenge is all about FRESH this week. In the photo above, the icy freshness of the river running through the campground in Tuolumne Meadows, in the high country of Yosemite, nearly froze our feet as we tested the water. This photo was taken in July, 2011 when the Sierras experienced record snow and rain, filling the rivers and lakes to capacity. To visit Tuolumne Meadows, you must wait until late June to be able to drive through Tioga Pass on Hwy 120.

For good measure, I had to add two flower photos from my yard.

cyclamen
Macro view of my cyclamen

Fresh Azaleas
Close up of azaleas

Happy Spring! If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it!