Friday, September 30, 2011

Where Did I Put It?

This Time?

I seem to have misplaced these pictures when I processed them for the first time yesterday. So here they are, re-done for posting.

What I also misplaced was the text and narrative that made them relevant, (as if relevance is of paramount importance to the thread that runs through these posts).

Here it is, the last of the month, (if one is measuring their time by the Gregorian calendar), and the flowers that remain, remain beautiful in their fascinating shapes and colors.

I sometimes wonder about the people who get all worked up and worried about the numbers in calendar dates, or numerology for that matter. There are some people who actually take that stuff seriously, even though the birthdate numbers are from an arbitrarily concocted calendar made up to please one of the Popes.

Or, there are the 2012 Mayan calendar, end of the the world, age of Aquarius, invisible killer planet, believers who’s basic premise is based on a miscalculation of when the Mayan, stone calendar needs to be replaced.

Most archaeologists, and anthropologists who actually have studied the Mayan culture have concluded that it’s more likely a version of a calendar developed by the Toltecs, (or some earlier civilization). Either way, long count calendars run out of space on the circular stone they are chiseled upon, and I am guessing that Borders doesn’t offer the new 5,000 year Mayan calendar. Thus it clearly means the end of the world on December, (or November), 21, (or 23), 2010, (give or take 30 to 50 years), unless you read some history,  anthropological journals, or study any peer reviewed scientific reports.

Temperatures have been pleasantly warm here in Redding this past month, with the exception of Rubber Ducky Derby day, when it plunged down into the mid 60’s.

The improved, technologically advanced component air conditioning and heating units arrived during September, and a few days ago our new Treehouse maintenance man, Tony,  replaced my old, not particularly energy efficient unit with one of the new ones and a smarter digital LCD readout thermostat.

This new one delivers a fast, powerful blast of arctic air periodically that quickly brings the temperature into compliance with the setting on the new thermostat. It doesn’t need to run as long. or as often as the older model. I will know more next year when I can compare my utility bills, but I find the new A/C to be much less intrusive.

Next on my appliance wish list; A quieter, and more energy efficient, refrigerator.

Hatchet Ridge Turbines

This, (above), is an attempt to roughly stitch together a panoramic image of the wind turbines that decorate the ridge line out past Burney so as to show the scale of the project. People near the wind farm no longer suffer fearfully under the misconceptions that they were told by the voices of the fossil fuel industries. It seems that they haven’t killed all the cattle, slaughtered thousands of migrating birds, or driven the people insane with the noise of the wind blown blades. In fact they are generating power, bringing in tourist dollars, and actually look pretty good on the ridge.

I found a couple of pink lilies out by the mail room/office door. I wasn’t expecting anymore lilies this year. What a nice surprise.

There was even a determined hollyhock blossom that popped up on the end of a stick full of dried out husks. I had best get out and check out this last day of September, (according to Gregory), and see what other wonderful surprises this beautiful day has in store.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

World Of Wonders

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



Slightly enhanced duck image

The temptation to use digital photo editing toys is even greater when you can see how an average image comes alive with a little time, talent, and the right combination of software programs, (Apps).  The original duck picture, taken Sunday at the Rubber Ducky Derby, was dull and muddy, losing the personality of the duck that was swimming around checking me out as I stood on the boat dock.

The original is upper left

Altered versions were made using Color Splash Studio, HDRtist, and a very handy app called LinesmART. Then ImageTricks Pro was used to blend combinations of those 4 images with additional variations and transformations into one final image.

Then it was time to ‘pump up’ the image to blog publishing quality with Preview, finally resizing all the images for this post with another little App called ResizeIt to make them a suitable size for uploading to Google Docs. After writing, editing, doing the page design, copying and pasting it into the Blogger editor, making a few formatting changes, and publishing to Blogspot, we have the perfect duck picture at the top of the page for you to see.

More Image Fun

This plant by the Treehouse sign has been the subject of many pictures this year. I found it attractive today as the balls on stems reached out of the shade toward the bright blue sky. I did a little adjusting here and there to get the image to convey how it looked to me when I took the picture.

Natural Is Good, Too

One of my favorite moments in viewing the results of a shoot, is when the light, the settings, the depth of field, and the colors form a perfect picture that requires little, or no adjustment. This little rose is today’s example of everything working together to produce the ‘perfect’ picture.

More Artistry

There are 5 blended altered images used to get the look I wanted in this picture of Mt Lassen and the ridges of rising foothills leading to it.

Wary Jay

This blue jay had an attitude that is better illustrated now that the image has been altered by a hand full of Apps. Just a few Apps were blended to get the scrub jay to stand out.

These flowers looked pretty good just plain, but I thought I would see what a little playing around would produce, an I am glad I did.

Subtle Enhancement

The first image, (left), is the original. It’s a nice shot, but with a little help, it could be a good portrait. 3 different Apps were used to create the center image. The first 2 images were then blended to create the more lively final image on the right.

Oleander Extract Abstract

Then there are some pictures where I see just a portion that somehow speaks to me and asks that I take it to another dimension, so I crop it and transform a piece of leaves and blossom into an image that engages my eye and imagination.

The song today is in black and white, but it is relative in it’s own ways.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Many Viewpoints Blended

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just Ducky

Derby Day

Picture at the end of the countdown

I often forget that I can set the camera to do sports bursts of 5 shots a second when I am taking a shot of a fast flying jet fighter, or a frisky puppy, or even the end of the rubber ducky release countdown.

If I had used the burst mode, or even video, I would have compensated for the slight delay in dumping the ducks, and we would be looking at 7,ooo, (or so), yellow rubber duckies spilling out of the container in the above picture. Next year, maybe.

Come On, Number 26338

A Kenyan duck led the pack within seconds of hitting the water. He was followed closely by a Nigerian duck, and another Kenyan duck. Luckily, 4th place is also considered a winner in the Redding Rubber Ducky Derby and will likely be won by a Colorado duck who happens to be in town visiting his relatives.

If one looks to the right of the leaves, you can see that number 26338 has floated up to 5,433rd place. I still have a chance if a school of hungry trout strike and eat all the ducks in front of good ol’ 26338.

Happy Levitating Children

“The winners will be announced in front of the recreation center”, says a bullhorn amplified voice. This sets the crowd in motion and excited children begin to skip and fly.

Better Than Santa’s Lap?

This rubber ducky event had surprise visitors from Star Wars. It was every bit as awe inspiring for some of them as seeing Santa, or the Easter Bunny.

I thought of putting speech balloons with the thoughts emanating from these wonderfully expressive faces, but it’s better to just let every one of them speak to you personally as you look at the picture.

Seeing her very first Star Trooper

The parents of the twins kept trying to get them to look at the camera. They called them by name, said, “Look over here”, and yelled, “Cheese”. Nothing could take their rapt attention off the white plastic suit guys. Finally, their dad came and led them away, but as they walked off hand in hand, they never looked away from the magical space troopers.

The winners were announced and 26338 was not one of them.

It was a wonderful way to spend part of a Sunday afternoon. The weather was in the cool mid-sixties, and I am certain that the guys in the Star Trooper suits were really glad it wasn’t 111° like it has been on some Redding Ducky Derby weekends.

The clean up of the 7,000, or so, losers, (including number 26338). I am glad I didn’t bet the farm on that rubber duck.

Back Home

The weather was cloudy and cool enough that I could wind down and roll up the heat shields on the balcony, and even open the windows! I took a quick look at the flowers in Dorothy’s garden and saw a couple that were picturesque.

Some of the design structure of flowers is fascinating. How did I not notice these things before? I guess I was saving up some things to discover later, when I get older.

Spider And Web Pic

Interesting layers of different weaves

I have been keeping an eye open, and a camera handy, for one of those perfect orb spider webs, glistening with dew in the morning sunlight, but that hasn’t happened yet. Probably because I would have to be awake and taking a lot of morning pictures so as to increase my chances of finding such a web. It’s an idea. I will sleep on it.

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;


Saturday, September 24, 2011


Beyond Containment

Jordan becomes part of the Air Show

How I see it.

There is this infinite and timeless entity of which all things are part.

Whether a rock, a bug, a star, an atom, or a thought, it is all one thing.

This thing does not need my ego, (self defined awareness), to exist.

It, (God?), just is.

Soaring birds are part of the Air Show

The universe as defined by my ego, doesn’t actually exist in the big scheme of things.

This A-10 Warthog was part of the Air Show

Operating in both ego described life and conscious contact with God simultaneously, is how I like living.

I am getting better at letting the duality simply happen instead of trying to hang on like I am afraid I might lose what is already lost.

Klaatu Barada Nicto

This lenticular cloud was part of the Air Show

I spent an hour watching the Redding Air Show with Stuart and Sandi Taylor, in Sandi’s mother’s backyard. There were sisters, cousins, Mom’s, Dad’s, kids, dogs, birds and a barbecue by the pool while the Air Show entertained from the airport, a quarter mile away.

On the drive back, I saw the flying saucer from The Day The Earth Stood Still, hovering over Mt Shasta, (Well, a lenticular cloud that looked a lot like it, anyway).

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

Flights Of Fancy

Fall Has Fell

And The Satellite, Too

I followed on line, and outside staring at the starry, though somewhat hazy, sky. I probably wouldn’t have been able to see it through the smoke from the fire over in Trinity county even had it disintegrated directly overhead, but it was fun trying.

Pie Quest

A slice of Raley’s bakery apple pie.

The search for the perfect apple pie continues. So far, I keep coming back to the Raley’s that is just an arrows flight from my balcony, (no need to quiver, I am just guessing).

Two people suggested I try Marie Calendars, so I did.

I will be returning their pie tomorrow, uncut and uneaten. I went to take the pie out of the box, only to get my fingers greasy where I touched the bottom of the pan.

I put the pie back in the box, washed the grease off my hands, looked at the clock, saw it was too late to return the Marie Calendar pie, so I went over to Raley’s and got a non-greasy apple pie that I could eat.
Just writing about the slime on the bottom of the pie pan is making my finger tips feel greasy. I think I will take a quick break to wash my hands and wipe off the keyboard.

The flowers around the Treehouse were colorful and delightful as usual. Dottie has been doing some renovation and improvements to her garden in preparation for planting the winter and spring bloomers. She is also making the topsoil layer deeper for next years  vegetables.

Whatever she has been doing, it has turned out nice for me and picture taking.

Driveway Rose Still Blooming

Air Show Preview

One of the aircraft that have been flying over Redding.

Tomorrow we have the Redding Air Show. I will be going to a barbecue to watch the Blue Angels perform. Sandi Taylor’s mother lives right next to the airport so they watch the show from the comfort of their backyard. We will have the additional activity of the fire fighting tankers that may be needed to quell the fire burning in the marijuana plantation area of Trinity county.

Going To Seed(s)

The sunflowers, that I have been chronicling with images this season, are just about done. Once they have completed their cycle, I will string together the series of pictures I have been taking of them growing up, looking good, and growing old. I will probably write and record a song to play under the slide show/movie and see how it turns out.

You might remember the following Bach piece was played by one of the violists that is heard playing in the John Harrison viola e-book that I have almost completed. Here, Bach’s Suite No. 3 is performed by a young viola player I have been following on YouTube. (I wonder how she would sound playing the John Harrison viola?)

Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;

As It Is