Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wild Flowers

I found these flowers from the back of my house as you can see on the 2nd photo. I'm not sure what's the name of these flowers, maybe you could. I always think these flowers came from the weeds, and never get close enough to inspect them. Also, we have some rain in the past 2 days, and I'm ready to go out to shoot some Bluebonnet flowers this weekend.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A most curious floating bush


I found this interesting bush growing along side of Quatse Lake... Of course I had to turn the picture on it's side to make it look like this! The lake was very still and reflective at the time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Firing up the fleet

With all these natural disasters in different places lately I figured I should have a look through some of the bits and pieces I have put away for just such an emergency and make sure everything is ready. Tonight after I cleaned and refueled the lamps I lit them all up, it was such a pretty sight I had to get the camera out and take a picture before I packed them all away again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

MAY BLOOMERS

" Q " brought up Wildflowers in his last post, so thought I would just show a couple from last year! First one is an 'Antelope Horn' that I found at the East entrance to the Refuge by the Information Pullout. This plant belongs to the milkweed family.



This large yellow flower is the bloom of the Prickly Pear Cactus.

The Wildlife Refuge has flowers blooming all thru the spring, summer, and up until late fall. Some months are alot more 'showy' than others. To be able to capture all the varieties you must visit the refuge monthly and sometimes weekly. Even doing that, weather conditions can alter your best laid plans. I have even noticed where the controlled burns have happened, I will see flowers that are new to me!

So 'Q' . Even if its a drought year there is usually a flower of the wild variety in the Wichitas that will put a smile on your most able lens! May is usually the showy month (for me) but some of the less frequent seen varities appear in different months.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Unseasonably warm weather looms for North Texas in April

The National Weather Service (NWS) - Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said last week that the April outlook indicates a probability (but not a strong signal) of above normal temperatures inside the 33 percentile line for much for the North Central and South Central Texas climate divisions stretching from the Red River south to the Rio Grande and gulf coast. However, the CPC suggests above normal temperatures inside the 40 percentile line for the far western counties of the two regions and "equal chances" of above normal, normal or below normal temperatures for East Texas.

The CPC forecast of "equal chances" for above normal, normal or below normal precipitation is painted statewide. There were no clear climate signals for precipitation variability across Texas beyond climatological probabilities.

"Statistical and dynamical ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) forecast models maintain La Niña conditions through April. Increased chances for above normal temperatures are predicted from the southwest through the southern Great Plains," said forecaster Ed O'Lenic.

NOAA spring outlook:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated that aspects of the spring outlook for April through June include above-average temperatures in much of the southern half of the U.S. Additionally, drier-than-average conditions are expected through Texas.

"Drought has been spreading and deepening since the winter and is forecast to persist in spring. Wildfires will be an increasing threat, especially when humidity is low and when winds are high," said Susan Buchanan of NOAA.

"(Temperatures) are expected to run around 10 degrees above normal into (late March). This will increase drying of soils, but also help speed early season vegetative growth," stated meteorologist Joe Harris of the NWS in Fort Worth.

Last week's U.S. Drought Monitor report illustrates moderate drought conditions across the western half of North Texas from the counties south of Dallas to the Red River. Severe drought is indicated in the eastern half with extreme drought in the southeastern counties of the region and spreading into East Texas. Moderate-to-severe drought persists in South Central Texas.

How will the lack of rainfall affect the upcoming Texas wildflower season?

"Little rain last fall in much of Texas means bluebonnets and other early spring wildflowers will not be as impressive as last year's display," according to Barbra Rodriguez, senior botanist at The University of Texas at Austin's Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

John Krause, co-host of Living Natural First on WBAP-AM (820) told NewsWatch Dallas, "The lack of moisture will definitely decrease the amount of wildflowers we see this year. It's been about 30 days since any measurable precipitation and this in when wildflowers need it the most."

The precipitation departure from normal for 2011 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is -3.34 inches. Since Jan. 1, 2010, rainfall is 6.37 inches below normal.

FOGGY MORN


Many of the rock formations in these Ancient and well worn Granite Mountains have been given names that assimilate images that resemble common objects! APPLE&PEAR , works for me!
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN


OLD CHAPEL AT DARLINGTON


Short 'Road trip' to Western Canadian County to see how the restoration was coming along on the Chapel.

Front door was locked so looking in the side windows decided to try taking a few pics thru the panes, of the stained glass upper windows on the other side.



Ended up with some shots of the stained glass, plus some neat reflections of the trees behind me!


Not much progress was made thru the Winter on the restorations. Spring is finally here so I suspect work will start up soon.
Hope they have an Artist capable of re-doing these hail damaged windows!
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Shooting prairie dogs with the Bigma

Which way did he go? Which way did he go?

I got my eye on you!

Wow! That's a really big lens!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Better late than never!


Well I see that everyone else had the same idea as me, but I went a little different direction with my Supermoon photos. The clouds were streaming by the moon here at a high rate of speed after a storm front had moved through and made for a interesting photo shoot at 2:30 in the morning.




More moon

Although I did get some clear shots of the moon, for the most part this is what it looked like most of the night. I shot through a tree to give the photo a little more character.

One of many


You guys beat me to the punch on the moon shots but I had to work last night! Yea, I know, wah, wah, wah.

I would have loved to have gotten a few photos of the moon reflecting off one of the lakes with the mountains in the background but I was stuck in one place and could only shoot the moon. This one was taken with the "bigma" set at 500mm.

I took several shots and I even used the tripod but....

Just in honor of Q, this one was taken hand held! LOL

MANY MOONS


Just couldn't seem to get my settings worked out last night in the short time I had to work with. To much noise in the pics! So will post a Collage of small shots making a lot of noise!

All was not lost though because it was a nice 70F evening to be outside and I found an easy way to make a 'Collage on Picasa 3 !
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

'Supermoon' rising this weekend



As the sun sets in the west on Saturday, the biggest, brightest moon in about 20 years will be begin peeking over the Eastern horizon.

The so-called "supermoon" will appear about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal, according to NASA.

Because the moon's orbit is oval, there is a point where it is the closest to the Earth, known as its perigee. The farthest point is known as its apogee.

On Saturday, the moon's closest perigee of the year happens to occur within one hour of the monthly astronomical phase of the full moon, which together will create the rarely seen spectacle of illumination and size, said Geoff Chester, an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C.

"It will be the closest full moon we've had since 1993, so if you want to wait another 19 years or so for your next crack at it, then do so," Chester said. "But it's a great excuse to go out and look at the moon."

Those who hope to maximize their viewing experience should set their sights on the distant horizon with objects, like mountains or buildings, in the foreground. As the moon rises behind those objects, it creates an optical illusion that makes it appear even bigger to the naked eye, Chester said.

"I often say the moon is looked over and overlooked. People don't take that much time out of their busy lives to appreciate it," Chester said. "It's an extraordinary thing."

However moon-gazers in the Los Angeles area may be out of luck, as rainstorms will begin working their way into the region late Friday and through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. With a 40% chance of rain in the evening, the clouds may obscure even a giant shining moon.

The "Bigma"

I felt really bad, I really did. Here I was with the Sigma 150-500mm "bigma" lens and all Q had was his measly little ole Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 lens.

I don't know what kind of bird this is but he (or she) was trying to get the scraps of food that the tourists were throwing to the prairie dogs, something they aren't supposed to do because it will literally kill the prairie dogs.

Prairie dogs don't drink water, they get all of their moisture from the plants they eat so when a tourist throws them cheetos or potato chips they are depriving the prairie dog of the much need moisture. They are dehydrating the prairie dogs from the inside out.

Selection Control Point On NX2.


Ron, this is an example to select one particular color on the photo, and the remaining photo in B&W. This is very easy to do, just let me know if you want me to refresh your memory how to do that.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cookin' with gas!

Actually, it was charcoal and not gas and Q was doing all of the cooking. I was just standing around waiting for the food!

If you ever get a chance to have Q cook for you, trust me on this, don't pass it up!

Asian style pork chops and sausage. Throw in a salad and some rice and we were good to go!

Q used the recipe he posted on the blog a few months back as a marinade and if you like spicy asian food then I highly recommend it.

Flexible on RAW file!


This is one of the example why I like to shoot RAW! As you can see I just need 30 sec. to adjust this photo by using Quick Fix tool in NX2. See the table on the right for the adjustments. The picture on the right is the after result.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pairie dog.






After our trip to Mount Scott, Ron took some extra time to show us this Prairie dog town. After we came back to our camp site, my 8 yr. old son start digging a hole, and hope one of the Prairie dog would come to see him.... Also, Ron have mentioned about the treasure hunting in the area, he wants to add that on the to do list when we come back to camp Doris. I told him you need to ask uncle Ron or Parker to teach you how to do that. Hopefully, he could find something that I don't have to work anymore!

Light photo bag...


My photo bag is a little lighter this past week or so as I finally got around to sending my Sigma 120-400 in for repairs. As I sent it off I wondered to myself how many good bird pictures I would miss out on...
Then yesterday I was out and this young Eagle lands nearby on the beach so I go back to the truck get my camera with the 18-135 Nikon lens on it. Cautously I creep to within 30 feet of the young bird, brace the camera and myself against a tree trunk and take a few pictures. After I was finished and back in the truck I see this "Tacky Tourist" with a "Point and shoot" walk boldly up to within 10 feet of the young Eagle and take a couple of quick tourist type shots and walk away, The bird didn't budge!
What is this world coming to I wonder to myself as I drive away laughing at myself! LOL

My versions

This one is just for Q. Although I know very well it should have been shot using a tripod, as usual, I didn't have mine with me. Go figure! LOL

This was shot at 1/8 of a second, F36 using a number 8 neutral density filter. Did I mention it was shot hand held? LOL I did use a fence post to steady my hands with though.

A different angle than Q but he did pick the spot!


How'd I get the sky so blue????

While Q was here he was gracious enough to spend a little time with me showing me the ins and outs of NX2. Although I have already forgotten a couple of things he showed me (I'm old) I will figure them out again soon enough. I will also say that now that I have the basics of NX2 stored in my brain I think I like it more than I do the Elements program I am using. Putting more blue in the sky was a simple and quick fix with the Nikon software, no layers or difficult steps required.

I also have to say that I have learned you can't use just one photo program. I still am using Elements to make the frames and a few minor adjustments I haven't figured out in NX2 yet but I will be doing the majority of my post processing in NX2 from now on.

Q has also convinced me to shoot in RAW. Something NX2 makes simple for working on and converting to other file types. Shooting in RAW does give you a little more wiggle room for fixing those not so perfect shots and I seem to take a lot of those!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mount Scott.











Obstruction!



If he wasn't my tour guide, I would kick him out of my frame.

It's not Hawaii...

It's not Hawaii, it's not warm, the sun isn't out in fact it's cold windy and wet and those arn't real surf boards but these two fellows were having a great time "skim boarding" in the shallow water at the beaches edge.

In fact this isn't even a very good photograph as I took it though the windshield of my pickup truck between swipes of the wiper blades... But it is a nice frame! LOL

Tracking a rare species


It wasn't an easy task and it took almost three days but after watching my subject for hours I finally got a shot of the ever so rare "two legged Q". This species is usually known for having five legs, three in the front and two in the back but on this one particular day I got lucky and was able to photograph the ellusive two legged version!

Q without a tripod, who would have thought! LOL

Q and his family spent a few days here in the campground and I got to take an afternoon to show them some of the sites and get a few photo tips from the master himself. And just in case you are wondering, he did chastise me for not bringing my tripod! If you look closely you will see Q's tripod in the bottom left hand corner. I think he took one, maybe two shots without it. He is definitely a disciplined photographer.

I'll have several photos of this afternoon trip to post and a few just to show Parker the food he missed. Man-0-Man can Q cook!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

THE LONG VACATION


Spring and Summer will be here soon enough. This young family from the great State of Texas were visiting Quartz Mtn. State Park in SW Oklahoma last year at the same time as I.

Quad Cab Truck--Triple Axel Trailer--Water Craft on Back

Friendly Folks and well mannered children all. I asked ' How long will You'all be here?' We got here yesterday but will be leaving this afternoon!

Short Stay, Long Vacation!
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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dallas Arboretum










Before I'm heading out tomorrow for a camping trip at camp Doris, I just want to post some of the Art structures photos in Dallas Arboretum. Hopefully this time Ron, and I have some free time to go shooting together. Also, I would love for Parker to join us this time. By the way, the first photo shot with ND filter -6 stops to make the water falls milky.