Sunday Stills: Celebrating #Pets and #Kids

Aero in sweater

Monday, April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, so let’s share our favorite images of kids and pets. Last week I hinted at some ideas to get you thinking:

No kids or pets? Improvise! Images of other’s kids or grandkids will work, as well as any kinds of images of animal, bird, reptile, fish or critter. Anything goes, so have fun with this theme.

My kids are all grown up, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t celebrate them. Now that we live two states away, I miss my daughters, but we talk regularly.

For my only photo of little kids, I captured my grand niece and nephew last fall playing joyfully in the garden in grandma’s front yard. They gleefully unearthed roly-polies and made little leaf houses for them, at least the ones that didn’t flee. I used to love playing in the dirt, how about you?

My “kids” nowadays happen to be our sweet dogs Aero and Brodie. They love carousing around their new half-acre backyard chasing balls and sticks.

Aero prefers his sweater when visiting our nearby relatives.

Brodie on alert in this image taken in Bend, Oregon, where we got the good idea to eventually build a rural or pine-pole fence around our place. Five to six feet high fences are designed to keep the dogs in and the deer, coyotes and moose out!

Aero sort of photobombed this shot of our new welcome mat sent from my brother.

A “painted” version of Aero enjoying a warm RV a couple of months ago.

Brodie remembering the good times playing in the river at the Sacramento delta.

Wind blowing dog's ear

Are Backyard Birds Pets?

For years, while living in Sacramento, I enjoyed a wide variety of birds that regularly visited my backyard. I enjoyed several generations of kites, members the hawk family, for more than 20 years. The kites nested in the huge pine trees in our yard.

Bird of Prey Kite

Every once in a while I would get an unusual bird like this black-headed grosbeak, a “fake finch,” which surprisingly belongs to the cardinal family. Sharing for Lisa’s Bird Weekly, Birds with letter F.

Black headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak

By far, I enjoyed generations of Anna’s hummingbirds that fed and nested in my backyard. They got quite tame and “let” me take their pictures! I put out some bird feeders in our new backyard, but no hummers yet! I miss these little guys!

The Lens-Artists challenge invites us to explore the relationship with those things that are dear to us and how they affect us. As you have read, my dogs are an integral part of our lives. The birds I have photographed over the years are beloved to me as well and I thank God for nature and this beautiful world in which we live.

House Happenings

Since I’m still struggling along without wi-fi in the house, my photography has slowed down. I managed to upload these two images of our home using the WordPress Mobile app then edited on the laptop using the hotspot. This process works for now. I have 100s of images that need to be uploaded and edited and I need to hang out at a neighbor’s house to use their wi-fi. Soon.

Today I share two quick pics of our finished dining room and a view from our back deck into the house.

Aero managed to photobomb yet another picture. All about pets, right?

View from dining room, and living room from back deck

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. I sure enjoyed catching up with everyone last week! I was so thrilled to see so many purple/violet/lavender images shared by you all.

“No Shrinking Violets” from Last Week’s Links

May themes are listed on my Sunday Stills page. May 2nd’s theme is water. If you followed my blog long enough, you might remember that May is Water Safety Month, and my former identity as an aquatics director rears its head as I still enjoy promoting water safety. Water in any form, from droplets to oceans will be welcomed.

Sharing for Becky B’s Bright Squares

Looking forward to seeing your images of kids and pets! Have a great week!

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© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge: Spring #Green

hummer on wire_spring green

Just in time to celebrate the spring equinox and last week’s “wearin’ o’ the green” for St. Patrick’s Day, this week’s Sunday Stills theme is all about the color green. Not just any green but “spring” green as seen below. Think of fresh, lively greens as dormant plants and trees open their sleepy blooms to the sky (northern hemisphere).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Everything is so green it hurts my eyes.”

My remarks when we would visit my cousins in East Texas in spring or summer.

Terri Webster Schrandt

Green is the fresh emblem of well-founded hopes. In blue, the spirit can wander, but in green, it can rest.

Mary Webb

Spring green does not have to be about plants and trees, although I have a few! Spring green is everywhere as you can see in my gallery. (Click images to see in full size).

A Green Gallery

One More B&W Image

I had a lot of comments and questions on my image-compare photo of the hummingbird last week, showing the difference between the same photo in color and in B&W. Here is another hummingbird image shown in image compare, to share for Lisa’s Bird Weekly challenge. Image Compare can be found in the block editor.

hummer on wire_spring greenHummer shades of gray
Spring green or black and white?

I’m Linking this Post to…

Two New Ways to Share Your Amazing Photos

WordPress Stories
Have you tried WordPress stories yet? I posted two this week; one was a preview of today’s post. This is done through your mobile device (currently through Android). I had to upload the most updated WordPress app version, so do check it out. If you’ve shared stories through Facebook and Instagram, you know those only last 24 hours then poof into the netherworld they fly only to be seen by you if you remembered to download them. These seem to serve as quick mini-posts and will stay on your blog’s home page, another great way to share. I don’t see ways to link back to the host’s post, but WordPress Stories seems like another fun way to share our talents within WordPress. Here is mine if you missed it! See full article.

Too Busy to Write a Post for a Photo Challenge? Try Sharing in Comments
Last week, I took a page out of Hugh’s Views and News and Joe’s Easin’ Along by sharing an image in my comment section. Sometimes we don’t have time to write a whole post, but sharing an image in the host’s post is almost as productive. Others will likely view the image and visit your blog. Here is how to accomplish this simple task: Sharing image In Comments or Hugh’s Tutorial.

The Good News and Bad News

Lots of major items were checked off the new house last week. The carpet and septic system were both installed. You guessed; this was the good news.

So what pray tell could be the bad news? We’ve been given the green light (ha!) for the impending walk-through, and move the RV onto the property while they finish. Now, how is this bad news, you ask, scratching your head? Well, we will have no Internet until March 31. Oh yes, and I will be in full-on unpacking and moving mode. So, I will be on a two-week blogging break while I get my act together!

Back to the good news! Marsha Ingrao of Always Write will host Sunday Stills on March 28 and April 4. March 28 is “Respect Your Cat Day,” instead of Emerging which is postponed to April 11. April 4 is “volunteering.” The themes will be updated on my Sunday Stills page, with a link to Marsha’s blog. The remaining April themes will be posted soon! Please feel free to follow our moving progress on Facebook and Instagram, and I may be able to share a WordPress story or two!

The RV park sign shows the color of spring green nicely in its logo. We’ll say goodbye on March 24 as we begin to move into the house!

RV campground sign

Thank you to all who shared your stunning black and white photos this past week. Many commented that B&W photography was not their “thing,” yet everyone shared at least one amazing image. I was truly inspired by YOU all and aim to explore more black and white photography.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

An Expressive But Colorless Collection

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…view the spectacular and inspiring images in black and white last week shared by your fellow bloggers.

I look forward to your spring green images this week. Please visit my Sunday Stills page to see the latest updates.

Have a wonderful week and “see” you back here on April 11th!

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills Color Challenge: A #Rosy Outlook

Rosy Quince blossom

It is time for another Sunday Stills monthly color challenge! This one is rosy red. Just in time for Valentine’s Day (if you celebrate), you can show us your favorite things that are rosy red. “Rosy” implies a little pink in the red, but the range can be dark pink to deep burgundy for this challenge.

Here’s an actual rose to get you started!

Rain-soaked rose glistens
Rainy rosebud

Rosy Florals

All the years I lived in Sacramento, mid-February was the time that many species of trees would bloom, breaking up the dreary, gray landscape with the promise of spring, and thus providing that rosy outlook. Few, if any were red in color, except this one of a Flowering Quince blossom that I took two years ago in February.

Rosy Quince blossom

Living here in Spokane, WA, where winter holds on tight, I won’t see many blooming trees until April or May.

In the meantime, I will share some of my favorite florals from past posts. Bougainvillea are beautiful climbing plants that thrive in warmer climates. Just about any time of year, I would see them while visiting San Diego.

Pink and white bougainvillea
Beautiful bougainvillea

Two years ago, I bought plumeria stalks to plant at home. The pink one flowered within three months of planting (almost unheard of!). I enjoyed its rosy pink blooms for several months, taking endless photos of them.

Rosy pink plumeria

I was quite proud of the plant and the seemingly endless blooms it produced. Last year, the same plant did not flower at all but grew nicely in its pot. As our pending move to Spokane loomed, I re-homed the two plumeria plants, the other a yellow one that never bloomed, to my daughter’s home in San Diego. Plumeria LOVE it there and the plants, especially the pink and yellow variety, thrive in the temperate climate.

All florals are shared today on Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Riotous Red Leaves

“Rebellious leaves going out in a blaze of glory, setting trees aflame in riotous color.”

John Mark Green, Taste the Wild Wonder: Poems

I had a beautiful Japanese Maple planted in my front yard in my former house in Sacramento. The tree never failed to impress me with its magnificent, rich rosy-reds. I will miss this tree I planted 20 years ago.

Red Maple Square

But I have stunning maple trees to enjoy once we get into our new home and can begin landscaping. This one lives in my sister-in-law’s backyard.

Red Maple
Red Maple

Maples, aspens, and pines are my trees of choice and will do well in the various climates here in Eastern Washington.

My Birdy Valentines

I’ve been remiss in joining Lisa’s Bird Weekly lately. This week, her challenge is “birds you love.” So of course I have to share one of my Anna hummers at the red feeder …

hummingbird ready to feed

I dearly loved this little family of hummingbirds. They stayed around all year (in mostly mild Northern California) and nested in the trees with the promise of new generations to visit the neighborhood feeders.

… and while we are on the theme of rosy red, I had to share this redheaded woodpecker from my archives. Captured when I was learning to shoot with my Lumix!

Redheaded Woodpecker

A Rosy Outlook

Despite the bitter cold snap we are having this week, and managing to do so in our RV, a rosy outlook is at hand!

Rosy sunset RV park

As we settle in to accept the slowness of the building of our manufactured home, we have an appointment with an engineer from the local power (electric) company this Monday. Hopefully, this next step to get power officially connected to the home will go swiftly!

I’m also linking this to Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme.
  • Title your post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week. Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

I like to think Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links on the following post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…

New Bloggers to Sunday Stills I Failed to Welcome:

A Fallen Round-Up

Please visit and connect with other bloggers who participated in Sunday Stills last week.

I hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend here in the US, or at least Valentines Day today. I’m looking forward to your creative ideas for rosy red!

have a good week

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Kinda Backyard #Birding

Hummingbird ready to feed

This week’s Sunday Stills’ post is partially inspired by Lisa’s Weekly Bird Challenge. What kinda birds live or visit in your backyard?

As you read in my post last week, I have enjoyed my backyard as a happy place. Not a huge backyard, but it does the job with the 5 redwood trees I planted which attract a variety of birds. The sunflower seeds and various bird feeders also attract a nice variety of birds and offer a treat to boot!

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Bluejay contorts to get some yummy treats!

The Backyard Hums

My hummingbird feeders sing their sweet siren call to the local hummers who nest here most of the year and offer a syrupy sip.

Hummingbird ready to feed
Hummingbird quartet at feeder

In the above image, four thirsty hummingbirds manage to share the feeder.

I tried my hand at the image compare feature of the block editor to show that the squared version for Becky’s KindaSquare challenge doesn’t look as good as the original as seen above, since it cuts out one hummer.

Hummingbird enjoying his shower
Hummer after the rain
Puffed up hummingbird enjoying the rain

Do Kites Fly?

Kite on a wire

Our redwoods are home to nests of White-tailed Kites, a bird of prey from the hawk family.

As recently as the 1940s, this graceful hawk was considered rare and endangered in North America, restricted to a few sites in California and Texas. In recent decades, it has increased greatly in numbers and spread into many new areas.

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/white-tailed-kite
Kites sharing the top of a tree

Each day at twilight they gracefully circle the neighborhood on the hunt for abundant small rodents! The first family of kites moved here 20 years ago.

Kites Birds of Prey

These birds are large, with a wingspan of 35-40 inches! We’ve seen several generations of them over the years and our moderate climate in Northern California keeps them here all year long. I’ve seen as many as 20 filling the skies at sunset as they hunt. Quite a sight.

My images are a tad fuzzy since the sun was setting and the birds are in the branches 300 feet up!

Other Visitors and Other Backyards

Swallow

I’ve kinda considered the Sacramento Delta as our backyard these last 11 years, as we maintain a campsite there all summer. Swallows nest in the spring here and sometimes think it’s OK to nest in our sail shed.

You may remember this cutie from July. A blogger told me that it is Black-headed Grosbeak!

Black headed Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak

Some of these are square images inspired in part by and Becky B’s KindaSquares Challenge. Bird treats and eye candy were also inspired by the Lens-Artists Challenge theme “Quite a Treat.”

I like that Lisa has her weeks planned out with the theme for each type of bird. If you enjoy birding as much as some of your fellow bloggers, please visit her page for more inspiration. How I wish I could capture all these types of birds on her list with my own lens! I’m still holding out for the American Bald Eagle.

Some of these birds have been nesting in some old blog posts and image files. They are happy to be viewed today! I would love to see what kinds of birds visit your backyard and while you are at it, do link to Lisa’s weekly bird challenge!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Kinda #Dry

Dried and gone to seed

If you haven’t guessed it, this week’s Sunday Stills theme is DRY. I’m using the literal version of dry, as in lack of water, to share my version of dry.

This post marks my first entry to Becky B’s October Kinda Squares Photo Challenge. Many of my photos today are square, some are not.

Last week’s images featuring water droplets displayed my yearning for cool temperatures, less heat, and an end to smokey skies caused by wildfires. This time of year in Northern California is very dry, usually through mid-November. Most people’s lawns are dry, a choice many make to save water.

In this image below, taken during our drought in 2015, even the public parks were rarely watered. Parks crews did make sure that trees got some water due to the need to maintain the Sacramento area’s urban forest.

Dry Park during droubt

The surrounding mountain ranges including the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada Range are also notoriously dry in summer and Fall. The excessive dry underbrush acts as dry tinder to fuel wildfires.

In the mountain and foothill areas, the wildfires tend to spark due to dry lightning from stray thunderstorms that form from monsoon moisture coming from the south and southwest.

Now that you have had a dry lecture on geography and weather, let’s get started with my images depicting our dry area.

Many of the plants in my backyard have withered in their natural cycle. My once glorious sunflowers have gone to seed from this stunner…

Macro view of sunflower

…to this withering bloom…

Drying sunflower

…to this bounty of seeds…

Sunflower gone to Seed

…and finally, to this…completely dry, but starkly beautiful.

Dried and gone to seed

The birds love those sunflower seeds. I harvested loads of seeds to be used for planting next year and to send some to my daughter for her garden.

Speaking of birds, Lisa’s bird weekly challenge is macro or close-up birds. This close-up of one of my loyal backyard hummingbirds is seen perched on a dry twig of our California Redwoods.

Closeup view of Hummingbird
Hummingbird close-up

In another close-up, this fella seems to be yearning for liquid refreshment in the dry bird feeder. Oops!

Hummingbird and Dry Feeder

As I said, Northern California is dry everywhere. The last of these dry grapes in nearby Apple Hill will not yield any wine. Raisins, anyone?

dried wine grapes
Dried grapes AKA raisins

Further south in Mammoth Lakes located in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas, the desert shows its dry heart along the shores of salty Mono Lake.

Dry desert around Mono Lake

With dry weather, comes dust! We quickly raised our car windows when we slowed down for a sheep migration on highway 395 returning from the Mammoth Lakes area.

Sheep Crossing Dusty Highway

This week’ images are inspired and submitted for the following blog photo challenges:
Cee’s Flower of the Day
Lisa’s Weekly Bird Challenge
Becky B’s October Kinda Squares

Is it dry where you live? Share your dry images and other creative ideas or your dry sense of humor with us at Sunday Stills this week. Remember, you can link all week.

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Let’s Get Something #Straight

Hummer Straight Beak

Straight is this week’s theme for Sunday Stills photo challenge. Thank you to Graham of Graham’s Island for the theme idea!

Straight conjures up endless meanings in phrases like “Let’s get something straight,” as my post suggests. Or “on the straight and narrow”…you get the idea.

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

Helen Keller

Getting it Straight

In photography, straight is an ideal when it comes to lines and perspective. One example, when photographing water landscapes, is to be sure your horizon is straight, or it looks like the water is pouring off the Earth.

This is easily achieved in your post-editing process whether you use your phone’s software, mobile editing apps, or your computer’s software like lightroom or other online editing programs. I use PicMonkey for most of my edits and Lightroom for the complicated ones.

In this example, someone took this photo of me windsurfing. The old boat listing to the side really emphasizes the tilt to the horizon. When you straighten the horizon as shown in the next image, be aware that you may lose some of the image while editing.

For landscape photography, straightening the horizon is one of the first items I edit, in addition to cropping and adjusting exposure.

When working with horizontal and vertical lines, I recommend straightening the lines as shown below in the hummingbird image. The lines of the building in the background are somewhat off vertical.

image example

In this image, I relied on several post-editing technics such as cropping, straightening, exposure, saturation, and sharpening.

Perched Hummingbird_2020

In this case, I used a filter (Painnt) in post-editing which emphasized the vertical lines.

Post-edited hummingbird

Which one do you like best?

Some Examples of Straight

“Straight is the path and narrow the road that leads a wandering soul back home.”

Linda Poindexter

These examples are from images I took at Sacramento State University over the last few years.

Climbing Straight Up

Climbing straight up. In a perspective shot like this, notice the right side of the climbing wall is straight, skewing the other lines in the image.

Walking the straight and narrow along the Guy West Bridge.

Along the straight and narrow bridge
Staying straight with games

Taken at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center, there are so many intersecting lines in this image. Do I straighten the students on land or do I straighten the water on the horizon? No matter what, something in this image will not be straight. In this case, I straightened the horizon but cropped the photo to emphasize the students using teamwork as they try to stay straight on the path.

I couldn’t resist adding this little hummingbird’s vertically straight beak. I wonder what he was looking at?

Hummer Straight Beak

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

Maya Angelou

June themes are available to view on my Sunday Stills page.

What does the theme “straight” mean to you this week? Show us in your photos, music, poetry, and stories.

TErri Signature

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Sunday Stills: For the #Birds

hummingbird ready to feed

What’s up with the expression “for the birds?” Easy enough to google…it’s an expression that “became army slang for anything that was pointless, ridiculous, or simply without value to any but the most pathetic or least capable.”

Someone who announces, “that idea is for the birds” is saying the idea is useless or meaningless. A very negative connotation indeed.

Last time I looked, the birds I’ve seen are more than capable of surviving, feeding, and flourishing.

All negativity aside, did you know that February is National Bird Feeding Month? Yes, it’s really a thing!

The month was established in 1994 by Illinois Congressman, John Porter .

According to Feed the Birds, February is recognized as one of the most difficult months in much of the U.S. for birds to survive in the wild.

https://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2019/02/february-is-national-bird-feeding-month.html

I thought we could all enjoy an early spring or at least dream about spring as the birds gather for feeding.

Feel free to dip into your archives or add any new images of birds, waterfowl, any feathered friends will do.

Your posts, photos, and creative ideas may be all about birds this week, but certainly won’t be “for the birds.” If you are lucky to already be enjoying birds visiting your neighborhoods and backyards this month, share the love and FEED them.

This guy was all over this feeder last year. I have to be careful in my backyard because all the trees attract large birds of prey like the kite below as well as owls and hawks. Apparently, the feeder attracts the pesky squirrels too.

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Bird of Prey Kite
Neighborhood Kite Waiting

Several years ago, while in Baja, Mexico, I took this photo of a falcon that had just captured a fish from the Sea of Cortez. I watched in amazement as the bird wrangled the still flopping fish onto the cactus and prepared to feed! (Taken in 2013 with an older cell phone so photo quality is not great, but you get the idea!)

Falcon feeding on a fish
Falcon feeding on live fish

Our band of suburban turkeys always find something to feed on.

Neighborhood turkeys feeding in front yards

Even in February, Anna’s hummingbirds expect their feeder to be full of juice!

hummingbird ready to feed
Ready to eat!
Hummingbirds' quest for food
Quest for food
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?

If feeding birds brings you joy this week, cheer someone up by sharing photos of our feathered friends by linking with Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy Challenge.

Woman and parrot
My daughter enjoying a bird display at Balboa Park in San Diego

Feel free to dip into your archives or add any new images of birds and waterfowl. Any photos of our feathered friends will do.

I am looking forward to your capturing their feeding antics or perhaps some close-ups of our bird visitors with your talented lenses and other creative ideas.

Have a great week!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Is Anything #Scarier than a Two-Headed Hummingbird?

two-headed hummingbird

This week’s theme is all about “something scary” since Halloween is right around the corner. Aside from the requisite ghouls, ghosts, witches and other scary things we associate with the season, I admit that there are scarier things!

To answer my own question, “is anything scarier than a two-headed hummingbird” I would have to answer…probably!

Out in my backyard recently, this little hummer was trying in vain to guard the feeder. She perched in the pine branches near the feeder and flitted around when the male would fly in. She even puffed her tiny feathers to make herself appear larger. But she usually lost the battle as she seemed to be more scared than he was.

Hummer puffed up

These Anna’s hummingbirds are pretty tame and will fly very close to me even if I’m standing near their feeder. This image was hard-won since when they do feed, they seem to hide from the prying lens.

Later, she gazed down at my dogs as if to say “I’m not scared of you.”

Male Allen Hummingbird

In my attempt to capture it all, I set my camera to “burst” and got a strange set of images. Yes, I am still working to figure out these settings, but the resulting shots gave me multiple images layered in one.

SQ 2 headed hummer

Are you scared yet? No? How about the Halloween version?

two-headed hummingbird

I’m also scared of this!

candy closeup

What else scares you? Tell us all about it this week with your photos, poems, short stories and other creative ventures!

Just a few days left to join Becky B’s Lines and Squares Photo Challenge. My scary hummingbirds are lined up to play!

Next month’s themes will be posted on my Sunday Stills page shortly!

Enjoy your Halloween!

© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Creatures and Critters with #Wings

Pink Lady Butterfly

This week’s Sunday Stills photography challenge is all about creatures and critters, big or small, insect or mammal, bird or reptile, ugly or beautiful.

I’m choosing to add creatures with wings to my selections today, well, just because. They need to tell their stories.

Pink Lady Butterfly

On a recent trip to the Sierra Nevada Gold Country to visit my dad (so happy to get a change of scenery!) I mistakenly thought this butterfly enjoying her sweet pea nectar was a monarch. A sharp-eyed Facebook friend said it was a pink lady, very similar to the monarch. I was just so thrilled to capture her in my lens close-up; I didn’t really care.

Birding in My Backyard

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

Bernd Brunner

In April, enjoying spring in the Sacramento Delta, I used the fabulous 25-600 zoom lens of my Lumix FZ300 to capture raven perched on the edge of a tree overlooking the Sacramento River. Framed within the blue sky, raven fills the bill for Becky B’s Blue Squares in July photo challenge.

Creatures and Critters

In my suburban neighborhood, (Sacramento is Tree City USA), I enjoy backyard birding observing the owls, kites, turkeys, and hummingbirds. Although I cannot boast about capturing owls with my lens, the others have put on shows over the years.

Bird of Prey Kite
White-Tailed Kite

For years, we’ve had large flocks of birds of prey that nest in the tall trees in our neighborhood. They hunt at twilight and fly all over the neighborhood. At first, I thought they were seagulls, then I pulled out the binoculars and saw their masked faces. I had always assumed they were ospreys, but a friend clarified that they were white-tailed kites, as he watched them one evening!

“In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”

Robert Lynd
Kites Birds of Prey
Kite family loves our redwood

Sorry for the grainy images, but they fly at dusk and my camera was still set to auto!

One evening last October, I happened to look through the sliding door and saw several wild turkeys perched on the roof of the house behind our backyard! I counted at least 20 of them! These two flew up to the telephone pole to have a look around. These are the same ones that placidly stroll around the neighborhoods the day after Thanksgiving.

roosting turkeys

Of course, I had to include another pic of my resident hummingbirds who live here all year long.

Hummingbird feeding

“I don’t feed the birds because they need me; I feed the birds because I need them.”

Kathi Hutton

What sorts of creatures and critters can you share for Sunday Stills this week?

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Sunday Stills: #Stillness of Summer

Molten Delta Sunset

If you reside in the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice arrived on Friday, marking the longest day of the year. I acknowledge my friends in the southern hemisphere as midwinter has arrived!

Is the notion of stillness even possible during the summer? For most of my adult life, summer was constantly go-go-go, with work demands in aquatics and public recreation and leisure, family vacation time and just being outdoors enjoying the sun and long days.

Stillness, our Sunday Stills theme this week, seemed appropriate during this month of June.

These days, I’ve had more opportunities to enjoy stillness as I work from home all summer preparing for Fall classes and writing my next e-book. I have found myself rather isolated, which is OK after all those years of frenetic work schedules and overtime. But in that isolation can I find true stillness?

I’ve never been one to meditate, and I do try to pray and give thanks to God daily, if briefly. But to truly commune in stillness seems so difficult as we are surrounded by constant distractions, noise, media, the urge to “do,” … and the list can be endless.

Next to our campsite at the delta, my husband’s friend longs for peace and stillness. So much so that he built a temporary cabana tent next to his trailer, which closes him off from the very reason to be there, to enjoy the social aspects of camping and windsurfing with friends. I suppose people will go to great lengths to create a sense of stillness.

For some folks, stillness may equal boredom, but it takes a little effort to appreciate the early morning quiet once in a while. If you are a multi-tasker like me, you know what I mean!

“When everything is moving and shifting, the only way to counteract chaos is stillness. When things feel extraordinary, strive for ordinary. When the surface is wavy, dive deeper for quieter waters.”

Kristin Armstrong
Ghostly Cruise Ship
The stillness of a ghostly cruise ship in Hilo Bay, Hawaii

Many of us find stillness in a magnificent sunrise or sunset that marks the beginning or end of our day, a common time to reflect or to meditate and appreciate the beauty of those moments.

Molten Delta Sunset

Lately, I’ve been spending more time in my back yard (thanks to recent foot surgery, which keeps me closer to home). In addition to my little sunflower patch, I’ve created a small garden at the corner of my deck.

From my bedroom office window, I can see the flowers and greenery along with the hummingbird feeder that attracts our resident Allens and Annas. Ironically, as they busily flit around, their very presence a bundle of energy, I find their actions soothing amidst the overall stillness of the setting.

Hummingbird and feeder

Surgery Update

I got my cast this week, which I will have to wear until the end of July. Five more weeks! Because of the pins inserted into the metatarsal to keep the bone from its inevitable subluxation to form another bunion, I cannot bear any weight on the left foot. And here I naively thought I would get a walking cast, but I am getting more adept at using the knee scooter.

Guess what? This gives me more opportunities to search for stillness and continue to stay close to home. What was it that Dorothy said to the Wizard of Oz, “there is no place like home?” I will take this advice to heart and spend the rest of June and July keeping weight off the foot, following the surgeon’s advice and continuing to seek stillness!

“Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.”

Morgan Freeman

Sunday Stills Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme.
  • Title your post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week. Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

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Sunday Stills: Show Us Something #Green

Island Gecko

Tis the season for showing us something green, if you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Even if you don’t, the color green is all around us. If you want to get creative, you can use and interpret green idioms as in “green with envy,” “going green” (environmental), “sure as God made little green apples,” “giving something/someone the green light,” or “green thumb.” You get the idea!

Since I am all about my favorite color green, my images for this week’s Sunday Stills theme focus on things that are green.

As you read this week, you may have guessed that I am visiting on the Big Island of Hawaii. We are on the Hilo side, enjoying some R & R and working on some construction details of our little house. Hubby bought the house years ago but only recently has had the time to do the work needed to make it habitable. Meanwhile we are enjoying the amenities of the B&B on Hilo Bay.

These photos were taken last year in January 2018, when we were there last.

This green gecko is very small, only about two inches long, but he let me get a nice close-up with my phone! They are all over the place and eat pesky bugs.

Island Gecko

Akaka Falls State Park is found 11 miles north of Hilo and boasts the 442-foot tall Akaka Falls. A short hike gets you surrounded by green!

Akaka Falls near Hilo

Within a short walking distance from our B&B, is a path that takes you out onto the bay as you walk gingerly through the stilt root palms.

Palm trees on Hilo Bay
Stilt Root Palms

Closer to home (in my backyard) is my favorite hummer family. The little female contemplates her next sip perched on this new green feeder, surrounded by my California Redwoods.

Hummingbird on Feeder

Both images, the palms and hummer are submitted for Becky B’s Spiky March Squares this week and the Stilt Palms are for Becca’s Sunday Trees. I adore photo challenges!

Be patient with me for comment and pingback approvals when you submit for the Sunday Stills photo challenge this week, as I expect to be out and about enjoying the warm temps and green surroundings. No daylight saving time here, so it gets dark around 6:30pm. I still take the time to share your posts to Facebook and Twitter when possible.

I am looking forward to your interpretations of green! Mahalo for playing along!

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Sunday Stills: #Macro or Close-Up Photography; Is there a Difference?

Macro view of sunflower

This week’s Sunday Stills theme is “macro-anything.” Now what does this mean exactly?

Macro photography is also considered close-up photography. However, using a true macro lens yields the sharpest, tiniest details whereas a closeup may not show each detail.

I got a close-up shot of my resident Anna hummingbird perched after feeding. She was quite tame!

Photograph of hummingbird

I don’t have a macro lens on my phone or camera, but I do manage to fill the frame. This time I cropped the photo for a macro effect.

Closeup view of Hummingbird

Sometimes a macro image takes on new characteristics in an abstract way. My backyard windchime featuring a brass dragonfly looks different in its close-up.

Even the mundane becomes an abstract study in geometric shapes. This is the lobby floor of The WELL of Sacramento State University. See captions.

According to SLR Photography Guide: 

“If the subject you are photographing is small and you want to make it look big, you end up with a “macro” view of a “micro” subject.

Close up photography, is the act of photographing objects such as flowers or insects in close range so the subject you are photographing fills the frame.”

Susan at her blog Musin’ With Susan hosted the Macro Moments challenge a while back. Here she gives an example of macro vs close-up.

I’m also adding these shots to Live, Laugh, RV Wandering Wednesday Photo Prompt.

Experiment with your camera, mobile phone or tablet. Take a before and after shot and share your results.

Remember to title your blog post something different than mine!

 

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A Peek at Creatures Great and Small

Whale shark also plays peek-a-boo

What is lurking just below the surface of the water?

Whale shark also plays peek-a-boo

Why, a gigantic whale shark, of course. Would you like to play Peek -a-boo with the largest animal on planet Earth?

C’mon, there’s nothing to it! Almost two years ago, I had the opportunity to swim with whale sharks on our vacation in Mexico in the Bay of La Paz. You can read more about my experience in What Swimming with Whale Sharks Taught Me.

As you can see by the photo below in my peek-a-boo with the whale shark, my presence didn’t even phase him. When I saw it, though, and knowing ahead of time what I would see, I still screamed into my snorkel because I didn’t think they would swim so close to the surface.

Terri peeks at a whale shark

Not convinced, huh? Maybe a smaller critter?

How about a game of peek-a-boo with nesting, feeding swallows? I must have taken 100 shots with my camera and barely got images that were not blurry.

Swallow nesting season

A swallow impatiently peeks from her nest waiting for her mate to bring some goodies. She appears not to be too disturbed by my presence.

If you are not able to contort your body under a bridge and wait for photo ops (because the swallows flit and dive crazily if disturbed), perhaps taking a quick peek at a hummingbird as it feeds is more your style. You’ve got to look fast, though, a few peeks is all you might get!

A quick peek under the eves you spot this hummer.

I suppose all creatures play peek-a-boo regardless of their size!

These photos help illustrate the theme PEEK for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. Come take a peek at what other photographers shared this week.

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Triple Satisfaction

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!

Nothing satisfies a hobby photographer more than capturing great close-ups of birds feeding.

Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life. Linus Pauling, Scientist

Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?

 

Nature holds the key to our...satisfaction. Quote

 

“Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want; it is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.” Unknown

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Macro Moments Challenge: Week 30–Birds

Hummingbird enjoying his shower

Hummingbird enjoying his shower
Hummer after the rain

A few weeks ago, as the never-ending much-needed rain trickled to a drizzle, my resident hummingbird enjoyed fluffing his feathers after a well-deserved feeding.

We are all used to seeing hummingbirds in flight, we may forget they actually perch!

Submitted for Musin’ with Susan’s Macro Moments Challenge

Photographed with my Panasonic Lumix FZ300 in full zoom. Cropped and framed with PicMonkey premium. I have also taken great macro shots with my Samsung Galaxy S5 phone, too, so don’t be afraid to play along!

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