My return to blogging was fun and satisfying after a tumultuous break! Thank you for welcoming me back last week. It was great to catch up with you!
If you are confused by this week’s Sunday Stills post, we are examining the world of water droplets. In my dry, still excessively warm part of the world, if I want water, I must turn on the garden hose. Artificially produced water droplets will work!
After the few weeks of turmoil I recently experienced, I find calm and peace in my backyard garden any time of year.
During our recent visit to Spokane, a few raindrops made their presence known by the end of the week.
After a long, dry spell, my current library of water droplets is depleted, so please enjoy a few of my favorites from the past:
My plumeria blossomed last year but no blooms this year. I’m pretty sure I blew up social media and my blog with images of plumeria last summer. Here are a couple donning their droplets from daily backyard watering.
More flowers from my backyard include the Teddy Bear sunflower and the geranium in my deck garden.
Hint: I’m sure it’s no secret, but if you need an image with water droplets pronto, use a mister or spray bottle and create your own droplets.
If close-ups of water droplets aren’t your style, I included a couple of shots of suspended water drops:
Catching a wall of water drops in Baja Mexico.
I have to share this one again of Brodie romping through the river, stirring up loads of droplets.
No doubt, Spring has sprung in the Southern Hemisphere along with lots of opportunities to see water droplets in action. The calendar says that Autumn is here in the Northern Hemisphere, but we won’t see scenes like this in California until November!
As you know I also love taking part in other photo challenges and I love it when the planets align. I have been wanting to join Lisa’s Bird Weekly Challenge since I recently discovered it. Back in August, my lens captured this cute duck family (common merganser) out for a swim on Grant Lake in the June Lake loop in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas.
Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch but my Canon Sureshot managed to capture water droplets on the feathers of the adult duck, seen best in the pic below. (Best I could do, Lisa, I think their legs are short enough)!
I’m hoping to live vicariously through your wonderful images of water droplets on flowers, plants, animals, whatever! Walls of water droplets cascading down from waves and fountains and other watery images also fit this week’s theme.
This week’s theme of “wild and weird” offers photobloggers a chance to share your random photos for Sunday Stills. You know, the ones you take that you can’t classify or end up in the miscellaneous file?
I have quite the collection, but will share just a few with you today.
Take Your Medicine…
…If you can catch it. I take a daily medication each morning and sometimes if I have a headache I add some behind-the-counter Sudafed (red pills) and aspirin. One morning, as I placed the handful on the counter, they fell into this pattern.
Amazing the tiny little Sudafed even stayed on its side! Of course, I ran to get my phone and capture the weird moment. Yes, I felt better after I swallowed them.
WING Surfing? Say what now?
Wing, not wind! Most of you know we spend summer weekends in the Sacramento River Delta. Because of COVID, we got a delayed start but drove down to the County park for a day trip in early May. Hubby windsurfed while I sat in the truck bundled up against the too cool wind. Out in the water, I kept seeing what I thought was a kiteboarder struggling with his sail in the water. A moment later, I looked again and saw this:
I had my good camera with me and zoomed in and stood in awe as I watched the birth of a new water sport: wing surfing, also called wing foiling. Foiling is a newer sport that adds a special hydrofoil to a modified windsurf board or kiteboard. The foil has a propeller that pushes the board above the waves and surf for a smoother ride.
The wing is connected to a leash attached to both the wrist and ankle, so it doesn’t get lost with the inevitable crash, or fly away out of control.
“Although it was conceived to be used with a foil board, it can also be adopted for riding stand-up paddleboards (SUP), windsurf and kiteboards, and even skateboards and snowboards. It is also a lot of fun on a big touring SUP board. It’s difficult to paddle when it’s windy, especially with five or ten knots. With an inflatable wing, it’s easy and entertaining,” notes Robby Naish, the developer of the Wing-Surfer.”
Did you know that bumblebees should not be able to fly, based on their large bodies and disproportionate small wings? According to a 2005 study, high-speed photography showed that they flap their wings back and forth rather than up and down, reminiscent of hummingbirds.
“The wing sweeping is a bit like a partial spin of a helicopter propeller, researcher Michael Dickinson, a professor of biology and insect flight expert at the University of Washington. The angle to the wing also creates vortices in the air — like small hurricanes. The eyes of those mini-hurricanes have lower pressure than the surrounding air, so, keeping those eddies of air above its wings helps the bee stay aloft.”
Have you ever seen a dragon fly? Maybe not a “real” dragon–wouldn’t that be weird!
Of course, we have, but this rust-colored one that has been hanging around my backyard lately is spectacular.
Backyard Alien Bird
My backyard attracts quite a few birds when the feeders are full, including hummingbirds, crows, kites, turkeys, robins, blue jays, mockingbirds, and finches.
But this guy is one I’ve never seen before and he put on quite the show with his acrobatics on the feeder. I took a LOT of photos. Anyone know what kind of bird this is? I’m thinking some kind of finch as I look at his beak. Hopefully, they will stay away from the dragonflies!
A Neighbor’s Alien Flower
Out during my usual dog-walking, and mesmerized by a neighbor’s sunflower in April, I spotted this unusual flower.
I’ve never seen anything like it and it looks like several different parts of other flowers cobbled together. It took my brother-in-law who lived in Chile until age 9 to recognize it as a passionflower! Who knew? And how is it growing in hot, dry Sacramento? Pretty, but weird. Sharing for Cee’s Flower of the Day.
Over the Moon
And speaking of alien and spacey subjects, June 20th is the 51st anniversary of the US moon landing. Because you have seen all my moon shots, how about a weird shot of a SpaceX launch caught flying over the top of our family home in San Diego in December 2017?
Or this image of apple pie flavored moonshine to celebrate? I may feel a little weird and spacey after a couple of shots of this stuff!
I was proud to be featured on Marsha’s blog yesterday! If you enjoy photo and writing challenges, visit Always Write for more.
Here is an excerpt from her interview:
Allow me to introduce you to my friend, Terri. When I started this series on hosting challenges, the intent was to focus just on writing challenges. However, many bloggers do some of their best writing in response to photo challenges.
What prompted you to begin to host a photo challenge?
Challenges bring new readers, interest, and engagement to any blog. Challenges fit well within the framework of hobby blogging.
I always enjoyed the WordPress Weekly photo challenge early on in my blogging journey and I discovered other challenges and participated in link parties. This was during the time I was building my readership and meeting new bloggers. I enjoyed the Sunday Stills Photography Challenge, but the original host announced he was through with blogging and called it quits.
My own blog morphed into photography with an emphasis on fitness, leisure, and recreation. After a long blogging break in early 2018, I woke up one night with the idea that I could reinstate and host Sunday Stills myself. The timing was rather interesting. I jumped back in with Sunday Stills in May 2018 just as WordPress announced the end of its ridiculously popular weekly photo challenge.
Coincidentally, I will be visiting Marsha next week at her home in Central California for a mini-blogger meet-up (with proper social distancing). We have been blogging pals since 2016. We plan to take pictures and enjoy the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.
Don’t you love photo challenges? Even if you are not a photographer yourself, I’m sure you appreciate the lovely images your fellow bloggers share. Over the years, I’ve been inspired by the perspectives and stories of their images.
This week’s Sunday Stills theme is “perspective.” Yes, I borrowed the theme from Becky B’s Squares July photo challenge and enjoy promoting her challenge to others (not that she needs it)! Plus, I love to be challenged too! Remember your main photo needs to be square!
This post is chock full of images for some of my favorite photo challenges! See the end of each section for which photo challenges I’ve linked to and where you can find more inspiration.
Did you know that “Perspectives On Leisure” was the name of my blog when I first started in Fall 2014? I later changed it to Second Wind Leisure Perspectives for a variety of reasons. It doesn’t really matter. I guess that’s MY perspective (wink wink).
Floral and Summer Perspectives
“There is that in the glance of a flower which may at times control the greatest of creation’s braggart Lords.”
A summer mustard flower’s perspective of the Antioch Bridge in the Sacramento River Delta.
Spring is the time to plant sunflowers from seeds. But summer isn’t official until the sunnies burst into bloom. They bloom quickly in the warm sunshine, often in less than 48 hours.
Another floral perspective of Pinnacle Peak in Northern Arizona.
A warm summer day at Lake Natoma where I often enjoy stand-up paddling. At 9:30 am there were already many families enjoying the water.
Armed with the knowledge of the upcoming square perspectives challenge, I made sure to get several POV shots. This next one shows the same boys at play.
At least their life vests are close-by.
While out for a walk, I caught lovely shadows and geometric perspectives on the sidewalk alongside the City park.
Becky B’s July Squares Challenge has begun. Read how to join here.
Summer is here and many bloggers take a short break. Perhaps you are in a slump and need more inspiration for your blog? If you are looking for more photo challenges, take a look at Marsha’s page of challenges.
What’s Your Perspective?
I am looking forward to seeing your images depicting perspectives. Show us in your images, stories, poetry, and other creative ideas!
Since the WordPress weekly photo challenge ended a few weeks ago, many bloggers are still searching for photo challenges in which to showcase their photographic talents and images. The word “challenge” is a bit of a misnomer, as everyone is not necessarily in a photography competition, but rather, a showcase of our hobbies and talents. … Continue reading Still Looking for Photo Challenges?→
Today is Mother’s Day in the US. In our current state of the world, many mothers will not see their families in person today.
This is the first Mother’s Day I am without my own mother. Many of you know she passed away on March 3rd, thankfully before the coronavirus prevented folks from spending time with their loved ones in the hospitals and care homes.
I dedicate today’s post and theme to all the mothers who give love, time, and their hearts to their families and communities.
My mom was a giver. She loved to shower family and friends with thoughtfully chosen and unusual gifts, especially to her grandchildren. She enjoyed perusing gift shops for just that right gift. This photo shows this tiny frog that hangs on the side of a potted plant. She gave me these years ago, both the frog and a tortoise. The plants are in my kitchen windowsill where I can see these all day and remember her thoughtfulness.
Many commented on our Facebook post announcing her passing how much they enjoyed the gifts she had given them over the years.
Mom gave back to her community in many ways, most notably, her volunteer work with San Diego’s Project Wildlife. She spent 10 years from 1998, rescuing orphaned and injured ducks, nursing them back to health, and releasing them back into local lakes and reservoirs. She had a backyard full of ducks in various stages of need and health, some domestic and many wild.
I like to think that this photo of her as a teen (seen here playing with her pet skunk, while her brother plays with their pet, Lucky Duck), foreshadowed her interest in this happy endeavor.
Mom’s giving was represented in her love for recreation and leisure. She loved gardening and cultivated beautiful roses. She taught me how to create potted flower vignettes in my garden and showed me how to cut back my roses for better growth. She would have loved my current backyard garden filled with sunflowers and plumeria.
I believe her enduring legacy was that she instilled the love for our national parks and outdoor leisure spaces into not just her children, but her grandchildren and beyond.
She was continually inspired by the words of John Muir and made sure we all received a healthy dose of nature and its awe-inspiring grandeur.
Like many moms, I will not be with my daughters this year. This lovely bouquet from my daughters arrived Wednesday night!
Speaking of giving, last week was the traditional week of giving with Thursday designated as the Big Day of giving. Non-profit organizations really rely on monetary and in-kind donations to operate. I have my car full of bags ready to donate to local non-profits as soon as they re-open.
Sunday Stills is taking a break on May 17th but join us again on May 24th for our water-themed challenge.
Are you a mother, a daughter, a niece, an auntie, a grandmother or granddaughter? Please enjoy your Mother’s Day and reflect on those memories while making new ones!
This week, our Sunday Stills photo challenge is to photograph something from afar, then get close to the object or scene and take a close-up or image from a reasonable distance to show more details. Reach into your archives or take some new photos for the challenge.
This week’s challenge was inspired by the following photographs of a small grove of ornamental cherry trees on a residential street in my neighborhood. They bloomed early in February and put on a “stop the car” show.
Once I got out and took the shot, I walked closer and noticed the blossoms were alive with bees!
I am glad I took these when I did, as the north winds have since blown away the delicate blooms.
This photo was taken at 20,000 feet on a flight from Sacramento to San Diego over Yosemite Valley. Not bad for a window shot and I took the liberty of marking the main peaks for you. What is astounding to me is to be able to see the high country of Tuolumne Meadows at the top portion of the image!
As close as I can get is this shot of Half Dome from Glacier Point in Yosemite Valley. My brother and my two daughters have taken the hike up Half Dome. It is strenuous and I admire those who can devote an entire day (12-15 hours) to the hike. This is close enough for me, thank you.
Valley floor view of Half Dome in Spring, shrouded with clouds.
Ten years ago, in February 2010, was my first trip to Baja Sur, Mexico to meet my not-yet husband on his windsurfing vacation in La Ventana. We toured the area south of there and came across these lighthouses. The shorter one was in the process of being replaced by the active, taller structure. With binoculars, you can see this peninsula from La Ventana and you can make out these structures (don’t have that shot to share with you).
We were able to climb into the old lighthouse for the “near” shot you see of me!
As host of Sunday Stills, I am always pleased whenever you share your photos each week. I am always excited to welcome new bloggers who join the challenges. Please welcome and visit our five new participants who joined in February!
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.
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.
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!)
Our band of suburban turkeys always find something to feed on.
Even in February, Anna’s hummingbirds expect their feeder to be full of juice!
Before we begin with this week’s photo challenge, last week our theme was “shadows” and there were many fine examples of shadows. There was also debate and suggestions that some images were really reflections or better yet, projections, rather than a true shadow as the absence of light. As an amateur photographer, I am still learning and appreciate everyone’s feedback. A fun challenge, nonetheless.
This week’s theme is sweet, just in time for Valentine’s Day on Friday.
What’s sweet is that our gray winter is showing the promise of spring. Various trees are already boasting their tender blossoms. Although it has been cold here, it has been sunny which seems to encourage these blooms to emerge mid-February. Fine with me!
A Sweet Deal?
I am still working on my book, but I have been a bit distracted of late. Here’s why.
Some of you have heard that we plan to move out of state once my husband retires early next year in 2021. Spokane, Washington to be exact, on the eastern side of the state near the Idaho border.
Last weekend I flew there to meet a real-estate agent and visit the properties we had our eyes on. Sadly, the properties that seemed so promising online were a bust. So much for good real estate photography!
But, Friday, the day I arrived, my sis-in-law and I toured some manufactured homes, of which my hubby and I are intending to eventually buy once we have some land. Now before you ask or scoff, today’s manufactured homes are “not your granny’s double-wide.” Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Could you see yourself enjoying this kitchen and dining room?
Or this master bath?
Prices? The LOW $100,00s for 1500-1700 square feet. Yes, please.
(A sidebar here: photographing rooms in model homes or getting proper scale for land views is an art unto itself, so I don’t pretend to think these are great photos!)
Upon learning my plans, the GM told me of a deal that might interest me. As one of the premier Clayton manufactured home dealers in Spokane, he has opportunities to buy land and sell package deals. For a ridiculously low price (under $60K), he showed me a totally usable, flat ½ acre parcel with electric, city water, and high-speed fiber internet (a concern for rural folks). We will have to add a septic system, but it is ready to build! The parcel is part of a brand-new subdivision, just released in January.
Here is a look at the land.
We negotiated the price with the intent to purchase and build one of their homes in early 2021. We just need to touch up the current home I’ve lived in for 32 years and sell it.
This is life-changing for hubby and I. Not just another chapter but a whole new book! Not only will we be close to hubby’s extended family, but our 15-unit subdivision will offer a sense of community while enjoying rural living.
A sweet deal indeed!
And you thought I would be talking about love, candy and all the sweetness associated with Valentine’s Day.
You might be asking why we would move from sunny Northern California to the cold north? The two main reasons are we want to be close to family, yet live in a city where retirement is attainable. Although we have adult children living in San Diego, I refuse to move to be close to them since they are still mobile, and well, Southern California real estate is ridiculous, along with the traffic. Even staying in Northern California is expensive and we would have had to continue to work until we can draw social security in 7 years.
I never thought I would move away from my current home, but I do love an adventure and rural living. This property is situated 25 miles north of Spokane near the Spokane River. We will be a mile from a marina area and park where we can enjoy water sports, hiking and bike trails, and the great outdoors!
Perhaps this is all somewhat bittersweet, but it gets sweeter, and I daresay, definitely sweeter than this:
Chocolates anyone? Lot’s of sweet deals at the grocery stores!
Shadows. This was a theme I had been considering from my long list for Sunday Stills, then realized I instinctively chose it for Groundhog Day. This seems to be an East Coast tradition, as Punxsutawney Phil, the long-lived groundhog, makes his annual weather prediction of when we can expect spring to unofficially begin.
The end of January in the dead of winter is, well, just that…dead. Here in the Central Valley where Sacramento is situated between the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountain range to the East and the Coast range to the West, gray seems to be the predominant color.
Most everything is colored in shades of gray and white. I could take a photo and wouldn’t have to edit it to black and white! Even this flower is gray!
Descent into Foggy Light
After enjoying almost three weeks of southwest desert colors, we were immediately greeted with the inevitable gray fingers of low fog as we entered the Central Valley from the Tehachapi Pass.
Light from the Past and Some Color Infused into Gray Days
Just because I was on a bit of a break from Sunday Stills while Hugh graciously co-hosted, doesn’t mean that I don’t have a few photos to share for “round” and “old” (although I have been feeling round and old lately 😊).
Both photographs are from our day trip into Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.
These petroglyphs span over 1,500 years.
Originally occupied by the Basket Maker people and Anasazi Pueblo farmers from around 300 BC to 1150 AD, the Valley of Fire rock formations offered protection from the weather as well as a primitive form of lodging.
These formations were exposed where older rocks of Cambrian age (about 500 million years old) were pushed sideways on a thrust fault over younger rocks (Jurassic, about 160 million years old) of the Aztec Sandstone. The sandstone was originally laid down in a colossal, long-lived sandy desert much like today’s Sahara.
Of course, hubby and I had to pose in the rounded rocks near the visitor’s center.
I can’t live for very long in a gray world. I was blessed to be able to travel south for our winter road trip to enjoy the vibrant colors of the Arizona and Nevada deserts. What can you do with gray? Here are some examples to help you!
Maybe a gray sunset?
It was so wonderful seeing so many visitors to last week’s Sunday Stills post after my absence! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with for this week’s challenge, gray. You have all week to link your post to this one. Remember, I share your posts when I can!
Join me today as I share a preview of my winter road trip and where some of my walks took me. With a camera and phone in hand, I took loads of photos on my daily walks. I managed to walk over 10,000 steps a day as recorded by my Fitbit. I needed to with all the good food I ate!
We spent 18 days traveling to Southern California, Northern Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada during the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Christmas in San Diego
After an eleven-hour drive to San Diego where we would spend our first week of the trip, we enjoyed time with my daughter and her boyfriend. They graciously let us park our trailer in their driveway and hook up to electricity. We loved having our own sleeping space in our trailer and it made a temporary escape space once the whole family arrived at her house for Christmas day.
We spent Christmas Eve at my stepdaughter’s new apartment in Pacific Beach. Even the kite surfers were out enjoying a cold but sunny afternoon as we walked along Sail Bay.
We traveled on to North Phoenix, Arizona where we met up with Ingrid and her husband at the Pioneer RV Park. This time we stayed six nights and enjoyed a lot more of what Phoenix has to offer. Ah, those sunny winter days! Later in the week, Ingrid and I visited the Desert Botanical Garden and walked the gorgeous trails.
“Wild Rising” was the theme with more than 1000 sculptures adorning the park.
A Check Off the Ole’ Bucket List
While staying in North Phoenix, early Monday, December 28, we drove three hours one way to … drum roll please…the Grand Canyon!
Yes, I shed a tear as I walked the short distance to the magnificent sight of the canyon! The light from the snow provided amazing contrasts to the warm red and orange rocks. This was one of my first images!
Unlike last year’s US government shutdown of national parks, the park was alive and well with a few brave tourists bundled up for the cold, wintery conditions. Even our dogs got their walk in on the South Rim trail.
On our drive back to North Phoenix, there was snow on the ground, but thankfully no ice on the roads.
As we near Christmas and other traditional holidays, no doubt you have managed to decorate your home or yard.
I adjusted my holiday travel plans a bit which means I combined this week’s theme, Holiday Decor, with what would have been next week’s theme, Something Red or Green.See end of the post for more details.
Since being with my husband for the last 10 Christmases, I don’t decorate much since we travel to Southern California to spend time with our family, including our combined five children; four who now live there. We also travel for another two weeks since we both can easily take time off from our jobs in January. Taking down Christmas decorations in mid-January is just wrong, although I know many folks who keep their holiday décor up through epiphany 12 days after Christmas and beyond.
Even my university campus decks its halls with holiday décor. Ginkgo trees adorn many areas of campus, and I’m told their small, fan-shaped leaves fall in big batches. The campus groundskeepers and interested alumni team up to rake the leaves into interesting patterns. A red Jump bike and festive flag add to the festive scene.
This year, with Thanksgiving arriving later in November, many holiday decorations were already up and gracing the homes of friends and family. My sister-in-law hosted Thanksgiving and had a house full of people, so she put hers up early.
I took some photos of her wonderful décor to share. She has room to display her whimsical miniature villages. The key to capturing these creatively is to get very close with your lens to get the sense of being inside the village. I applied the Painnt filter to the first and third images.
These miniature toys decorated a friend’s house last Christmas. Doesn’t it remind you of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV Christmas special and the island of misfit toys?
This week, show us your creative holiday decor with optional red and green!
Due to our Winter Road Trip Do-Over, today is the last Sunday Stills post of 2019. I will be taking a blogging break beginning this week through January 17, resuming Sunday Stills on my blog on January 19. Thank you to all who have contributed to the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge in 2019!
Fellow blogger Hugh Roberts is graciously hosting Sunday Stills on January 5 and 12, so be sure to visit. January themes are posted here.
I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a glorious start to 2020!
Today we welcome the first day of the last month of this decade! Traveling back from our Thanksgiving holiday road trip to Spokane Washington, we certainly got our fill of chilly weather!
Chill December brings the sleet, blazing fire and Christmas treat.
The icy twigs you see in the above image demonstrates the chill of a foggy, icy morning. Frozen fog…”frog”?
I am used to “cold” Northern California weather this time of year with average daytime temperatures holding at 50 degrees. Although it does not snow in Sacramento, the night-time temps easily drop to freezing for most of the month. I know many of you scoff at such warm winter temps, and you should!
Fewer than 90 miles away in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the ski season got off to a slow start. With an unusually warm fall and little rain, the slopes are just now singing their siren song after a winter storm hit the west.
Technically, it is still Autumn until the Winter Solstice on December 21, but this poor leaf experienced the December chill a little early.