Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 31, 2012

Ends of the Earth Photo Hunt

Today is the due date for this month’s photo hunt with the theme “Ends of the Earth”.  I just finished my own photo-taking yesterday, so here I am creating my post on the due date.  It was back-to-school week here, so it has been busy, but I have just started taking peeks at the photo hunts that have been submitted so far.  If I haven’t been over to see yours yet, don’t fret – I will definitely be coming around to see them this weekend, and I hope to have a wrap-up  post completed before the long weekend is over.

You may remember back when I first announced this photo hunt that I mentioned that Provincetown, Massachusetts is the place that I’ve always considered to be “the end of the earth”.  If you are unfamiliar with P-town, it is the town at the very tip of Cape Cod, sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean:

I haven’t been back to Provincetown since I bought my Rebel, but I found a few shots that can help give you that end of the earth feeling in my archives.  A spit of land like this ( did you know this was actually the first landing place of the Pilgrims in 1620, not Plymouth, Ma, as many think of it to be?) needs lighthouses and Provincetown has a couple.

Long Point Lighthouse

Long Point Lighthouse

Race Point Lighthouse

Race Point Lighthouse

I remember wondering once if I could travel east along a line of latitude from Provincetown, what country would be the next land that I would encounter.  In my mind’s eye, I thought England or France.  I was very surprised to find out it would actually be Spain.  Hence the title of this photo looking east across the huge sand dunes of Provincetown:

Next Stop to the East? Spain!
“Next stop, Spain!”

Since this was a photo hunt, I was not content to hunt only in my archives.  While I was on vacation in Maine, I took some photos on a cloudy day of another place that could be an end of the earth.  The beach that we visit has a set of breakwaters that contain deep water for entry into a small harbor.

Breakwater1

I’ve climbed these rocks since I was a child, and there is a certain feeling of isolation and end of the earth here.
Breakwater2

I didn’t want to leave out the other possibility I mentioned for photo hunting in the original post – extremes.  The place that I live in doesn’t have much in the way of extremes, but I’ve always thought the top of our little mountain here in town was a very pretty place.  Our highest elevation is only 910 feet, but it made for pretty pictures as the sun began to go down.

mountain1

These shots were taken on Peak Road here in town – apropos, no?

mountain2

I hope you had fun with this month’s photo hunt.  I’m looking forward to coming around and seeing your posts this weekend.  I hope you get to enjoy the 3-day Labor Day weekend.

August 24, 2012

New Visitors

My butterfly bushes have been just humming with activity lately.  I mean that both figuratively and literally.  In the literal sense, the local hummingbirds and hummingbird moths have been getting their fill of nectar.  Figuratively, it is rare that I go out to the deck and not find something happily buzzing its way through the blossoms.  When I sit outside and read, I find myself distracted by the 5 or 6 little painted lady butterflies that have been making regular appearances.  I’m ashamed to admit I don’t have at least one picture of them, since I feel sure that I took some.  Oh, wait a second.  As I sit here and type, I am remembering that I changed memory cards recently, and that it is entirely possible that I never loaded the last few shots from the old memory card on to the computer.  Could it be?  Hang on a minute while I check it out, if you wouldn’t mind too much…

Eureka!
Painted Lady butterfly 1

A few days ago, I saw a butterfly I’d never seen on the bushes:
brown butterfly2

I’m having trouble identifying this one.  It doesn’t seem to quite match any of the butterflies I’ve found on various butterfly ID sites.  It has those blue markings like the swallowtails do, but it is not as dark or as large as the pipevine swallowtails I’ve seen in the past.  Here’s an upside-down pose that gives you a look at the underside of the wings:

brown butterfly1

Anybody with an idea about its secret identity?  While I went about taking multiple shots of my mystery butterfly, I found myself charmed by the misty look the light took on when the bushes were backlit by the late afternoon sun:
misty light butterfly

Today my abundant bushes were lucky to receive another newbie.  This one I was able to identify due to its very large size, certainly the largest butterfly I’ve seen outside of a butterfly conservatory, a giant swallowtail:

Giant Swallowtail3

I hope that the size of the blooms of a butterfly bush are known well enough to you to be able to conceive of the size of this butterfly. I was astounded to see these wings flopping around my deck.

Giant Swallowtail2

I’d say its wingspan was easily 6 inches. Here’s a look at the other side of the wings:
Giant Swallowtail1

I’ve definitely been enjoying these backyard visitors this summer.  Need some interesting winged creatures in your backyard?  Plant a butterfly bush!  And if you can help me identify my mystery butterfly, please let me know in the comments.

August 20, 2012

Mainely, the details

Back before I left for my vacation, I did a post about remembering to enjoy the details.  I noticed when I went through my vacation photos, that those are what I’d most like to share with you.  This was our 6th year returning to Hills Beach in Maine as a family (I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve been there when I was the child rather than the parent of the family), and our 3rd year renting the same cottage.  Perhaps because of this, my photo total from the week is fewer than normal.  I didn’t feel the need to take a lot of the same scenery photos that I’ve taken many times over.  I would’ve liked more pictures featuring my family, but as anyone who is the parent of teenagers will tell you, that’s not always the easiest thing to accomplish!

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite details that caught my eye this year.

watersparkle
Morning sparkle on the water

rosa ragusa
Yellow beetle in a rosa rugosa

IMG_8762
Dandelion-like weeds appearing to grow from rocks

IMG_8775
Cottages reflecting on Biddeford Pool

toile shadow
The shadow of the lacey toile curtains in the dining area of our cottage

spotted from the porch
The glimpse of a rainbow, spotted from the porch when I looked up from my book…

beach rainbow

beach rainbow
…of which I of course ran outside in the still sprinkling rain to get a better shot!

afternoon warmth
The warmth of the sun reflected in the colors of the beach

happy feet
My toes in one of their favorite places on earth

Graffiti is something I would normally never photograph, but in this case I felt like the graffiti was giving me a message or a reminder:
interesting graffiti
I’m fairly sure this message was not even written by just one person, but when I first glimpsed it I read: “Life is a Gift”. “Life” is clear in black at the front then around the side in green, the lower letters looked like “a gift”. That’s probably not what was meant by those who scribbled the graffiti, but sometimes those reminders find us anyway.

P.S. I did take an awful lot of photos of the shorebirds that I encountered this year! I’m still comparing my photos to photos on my bird identification site trying to figure out the pipers from the plovers and the terns from the little gulls. When I get them as sorted as I feel that I can, there will be a post and update for the birding project.

August 8, 2012

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

It is funny sometimes how blog posts come to be.  I realized yesterday that I hadn’t updated about my proposed birding project despite the fact that I have indeed been doing a bit of work on it.  But then, I never want to post a blog post without pictures, and I didn’t have any new bird photos to share.  It was still fairly early in the morning – yeah, 9 am is early for me in the summertime, got something to say about that? 😉 – so I went out to the backyard to see if any birds would cooperate and pose a little bit.

You know what they say about sometimes forgetting to see the forest for the trees?  While I was outside trying for those bird photos, it suddenly struck me that I was doing that.  Yesterday was one of those beautiful mornings – sunny, blue sky with just a few puffy white clouds, low humidity, temperature only in the upper 60’s.  I stepped back a little bit to breathe and take it all in.  I was getting a little dizzy from looking up into the trees and trying to focus on the fast-flitting birds.

When I took the time to be in the moment, I also noticed the cool feel of the morning dew on my toes,

dewy toes

that the moon was out,

morning moon

that the lantana was coming back for a second round of blooming,

lantana

and that the squirrel that has been vigorously picking acorns and knocking them out of my oak tree was up to some morning acrobatics.

squirrel

So did I get any new bird photos to share?  Yes and no.  I saw the bright orange flash of the Baltimore orioles near the tip-top of a tree, but this underside of the belly and tail was the best I could catch:

baltimore oriole

A bird I’ve photographed plenty of times before, an American robin, stayed fairly close for a photo.

robin

A gray catbird also posed for me.  The only photo I’d ever gotten in the past of this bird was hidden among branches and badly blurred.

gray catbird

And I was able to add a photo of a bird that I’ve seen before but hadn’t been positive about identifying and had no photos of one in my collection, a northern mockingbird.  This bird was at the top of a very tall tree, so this is very tightly cropped, but I think it came out okay:

northern mockingbird

So, progress on the birding project: I have a “confirmed” life list of 59 species of birds.  This does not include many birds I’ve seen in captivity such as parrots, parakeets, cockatiels, flamigoes and penguins.  I’m never likely to see those birds “in the wild” so my list would be well over 60 if those were included.  I’ll definitely be bringing my checklist with me to Maine in the hopes of adding a few more “lifers”.

I hope you’ll remember to step back and enjoy a few beautiful moments too.  Summer is quickly passing us by – enjoy it!

August 4, 2012

Halo and Hummingbird

As many of you may remember, the deck in my backyard is my “happy place” for the summer.  With the exception of the beach, it is my favorite spot and I spend many hours there when the weather allows.  Over the past couple of days, I captured a few photos from my deck that I’d like to share.

One sunny afternoon, I ambled outside, stretched my limbs and peered around the yard.  A quick glance at the sky caused me to do a double-take:

sun halo

I pulled my sunglasses off my face and looked again.  It wasn’t there.  Was that arc around the sun really there?  Put the sunglasses back and it was indeed there.  Meghan had followed me outside, wondering what I was looking at.  She pulled my sunglasses from my face, and had a look for herself.  I stood there wondering, since I couldn’t see it without my sunglasses, could my camera see it?  Meghan said to me, “Wouldn’t that filter-thingy you have work?”  Duh!  Why didn’t I think of the polarizing filter?  I went inside to get the camera and attach the filter and took these shots.
sun halo

I knew it wasn’t a rainbow, but I wasn’t sure what it was.  I searched online and found some information about sun halos. Apparently, ice crystals from high-level (about 20,000 feet) cirrus clouds are what cause these halos to be seen.

Just yesterday, I spent more time on the deck.  It was an unusual day because once hubby left for work, I was completely on my own.  It is rare that both of the girls are out of the house at the same time, but yesterday they spent the day at Six Flags with friends.  So I was on my own for dinner.  Not feeling like going out to get something to eat, this is what I made up for myself:
Dinner on my own

Looks pretty tasty, no?  That tomato is one of the very first I’ve enjoyed from my garden – it was delicious.  I ate it with just a sprinkle of salt, no dressing needed.  I remained outside after dinner for quite a while, reading a book I checked out of the library, 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  I’m only 78 pages into this 849 page tome, but I think I’m going to like it.

I had my camera outside with me because for the past few evenings, I’ve seen my local hummingbirds hovering around the butterfly bushes and at my feeder.  The bird that I’ve seen most often, I believe to be a juvenile male ruby-throated.  The bright red throat is yet to develop, but the vibrant green of the back and wings is there.  Perhaps it is just my own musing, but the bird seems young to me in the way it approaches the feeder.  It hovers up, down, all around before taking tentative sips.  Last evening, he stayed long enough for me to take some shots.  The light was getting low, so I couldn’t have as fast of a shutter speed as I would have liked, but here are the better shots that I took:

hum2

hum1

I just love these adorable little birds!

One week from today we leave for our family vacation in Maine.  I’m sure I’ll be busy doing laundry and packing and getting ready, so I don’t know how often I will post this week, but I’ll definitely still be checking in with all of you.

This is my first post in the month of August so it seems like a good time to remind you about the August Ends of the Earth Photo Hunt.  Please pop over and have a peek if you haven’t already.