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Lytro Dreams

>> Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I have heard about this camera for a while, but just recently got to see some of its amazing possibilities here.  Check it out!  A camera you can focus AFTER you take the picture!  I just added it to my wish list.  What a fantastic toy that would be to add to my camera collection!  That, and a macro lens.  And a really bright zoom...

Sigh.  More dreams than I have money for.  But still.  At least the Lytro isn't that expensive.  It's far less than some of the lenses I want, so it remains in the realm of possibility someday.  But only after I rebuild the back stairs, put hardwoods down on the stair case inside since the pets have ruined the carpet, get new brakes on my car, and buy a new dryer.  The list never ends.  But hey - a girl can dream!


Friendly Katydid Katydidn't

>> Saturday, August 11, 2012

I was standing in my kitchen when I looked over and noticed wee little Wednesday staring intently at the floor with her ears swept forward.  Sensing she might be up to no good, I leaned forward to see what she was looking at, and lo and behold!  I had a very large katydid strolling across my dining room floor!

I quickly scooped her up and took her outside.  Insects don't last long in my house - Sneakers usually gets pretty violent with them.  While that's great when it comes to the horrifying house centipedes that I have a phobia of (slinky! fast! creepy!) I generally hate that cats kill for the fun of it.  For good measure I ushered the male cats inside to give my katydid a fighting chance.

I adore bugs (aside from the aforementioned centipedes), but am not great at identification.  I need some good field guides and to really spend some time working on it.  Beyond knowing she's a katydid, and that her long ovipositer makes her a female, I can't get more specific.  Any bug lovers want to tell me more?  She was nearly 4 inches long - big enough that I considered calling her Big Bertha.

She sat on the railing on the back porch for ages and took a bath.  I love the shots of her washing her antennae.

I want a macro lens soooo badly.  It's on my wish list.  I want to get good close-ups of buggy eyes!



>> Sunday, August 5, 2012

I have no good explanation for why, but I got inspired to check out the Canalfest in Rome, NY on Saturday.  We'd never been, but saw it was free (big motivator).  I was tempted to go to a beach somewhere-or-other since it was in the mid 90s and the air was viscous with humidity, but I wasn't in the mood for a crowded beach, somehow.

It was a good time.  Rome Canalfest is sort of like a county fair without animals.  There were horticulture and photography and quilt contests, and of course a midway.

This "flower arrangement" is just... weird.  And creepy.  Reminds me of Ophelia.

There were also some water skiing shows and all sorts of vendors and a fireworks show at the end of the evening.

I am not certain how much you should take my word for its being enjoyable and worth the trip to Rome, though.  I've discovered that so long as I have my camera along, I can pretty much always enjoy myself!

I find carnivals to be a wonderful place to play with different shutter speeds, particularly at night.  I love all the bright colors and lights, all the faces of people enjoying the fair, all the commotion.  Next time I go to a carnival I'll be taking a tripod along, I swear.  I could have had more fun with one, and could have taken far better pictures.  But even without I enjoyed the interesting effects, some of which I think are rather haunting.  I certainly learned some new tricks I will be applying again, perhaps at the New York State Fair midway (with tripod, damnit!).  My favorites are the funky portraits, where faces appear in the midst of the chaotic swirling motion.

Hope you enjoy the show!

I love how ghostly the riders appear in the next few.


A Chase Lake Escape

>> Thursday, August 2, 2012

I just had the fortune to spend an absolutely wonderful week in the Adirondacks with my family.  My father and his friend S have friends who own a beautiful home on Chase Lake, which is a small, private, motor-boat free lake.  The home owners were away for a few days and generously invited us to use their home.  So my husband and I found a pet/house sitter (God bless her for putting up with all seven of them!) and joined my father, S, my sister, brother-in-law, and seven year old niece there for the better part of a week.

Depending on whom you ask, it could be considered a "camping" week.  My niece has had the most wonderful world traveling experiences.  If you ask her what her favorite city is, she answers, "Paris.  But I liked Amsterdam a lot."  Yet her travel experiences invariably involve room service and museums, not nature.  So my sister decided it was time to introduce her to the woods and lakes.  My Dad's friend S also considers Chase Lake camping.  But to my husband and me who regularly sleep in a tent in the middle of nowhere, a gorgeous home with two full bathrooms, a kitchen, and wi-fi isn't quite "camping", though it's considerably closer to nature than our own home.  In fact, it's pretty much my ideal home - comfortable and peaceful, surrounded by nature and on a lake.  Perfect!  I need a driveway like this:

Regardless on the definition, it was an absolutely splendid time.  We swam and canoed and sat on the dock.  My niece and brother-in-law caught a whole lot of sunfish.  My niece and I got dive bombed by humming birds and caught bugs to put in a mesh bug house to examine, including this bumpy elm sawfly larva.

My husband got lost on long rides on his mountain bike. I slept late, took photos, went for runs while being serenaded by wood thrushes, and ate desert twice most days.

We even had a few piano recitals by a splendid pianist who lives on the Lake and comes to practice on the baby grand in the house.  She was practicing some Romantic pieces for a recording and provided us with some deliciously peaceful interludes.

While we spent plenty of time hanging around enjoying the Lake, we also took a day trip to Old Forge to play on the water slides at Enchanted Forest, where I got a sunburn, a water slide burn, and a nasal enema.  I can't even guess when I last had that much fun.  My Dad and husband even raced each other in go carts, and soundly beat the rest of us at mini golf.

The time away was so badly needed.  I love spending time with my nutty family, and with my husband having been working two jobs we haven't had many breaks lately.  I am incredibly grateful to the generous souls who let us take over their home for a week.

Anyway, as usual, I took a ton of photos.  Hope you enjoy them!

Flopsy very much enjoyed watching nature from the indoors.

I seem to have had a major theme with light and shadow throughout the trip.  I guess that's not unusual for me.

This sums up the weather for most of the trip.  Absolutely glorious.

 I made quite a number of amphibious friends, which again isn't at all unusual for me.

This is a fantastic name for a road.  And I did indeed get quite lost on it.

Any of my plant loving readers know what this is?  It was growing throughout a wonderful bog my husband and I found.

I love how disorienting the reflection is in this.

Woods after a rain.

 My Dad and I could only guess that this is some kind of juvenile sparrow.


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