Category Archives: Photography

Underwater Quilting

No, I didn’t quilt these placemats underwater, but I felt like I was drowning in my work at times. Here are two finished and six not finished placemats I worked on while at the quilting retreat.

I wanted to make up the scenes as I went along, so no two placemats are the same. (The one below is finished except for the binding.)

However, you may notice a reappearance of the dark invader, my Darth Vader fish, in several of the placemats. His job is to see that you don’t eat too much at one sitting.

Miss Prissy Fishy below lets the others know that she has special protection from Darky. Who knows what favours she supplies?

So Darky concentrates on other unearthly looking fish for his supper.

And yet, he must wonder why he has no friends. Look at them scramble to get away.

“Miss Prissy Fishy,” says Pretty Boy, “why are you ignoring me?  See how talented I am. I can touch my toes. And anyway, don’t you know that good things come in small packages?”

“I heard that, Pretty Boy,” bubbles Darky, “but in the case of eat or be eaten, just remember that size matters. Oh dear, now look what I’ve done. I’ve upset Little Blue Wonderfish.”

Disclaimer via Darky: Not responsible for any fish swimming upside down.

Montana Fields

We try to get out to Montana every year in October for some bird hunting and photography and hiking. This year, we arrived to about an inch of snow. While it is beautiful, it is quite chilly. The good thing about it is that rattlesnakes don’t like cold weather so I didn’t have to worry as much about Emma and Ruby getting bitten.

You may remember Emma as a puppy four years ago. We had great hopes that she would someday become a good flusher and retriever of game birds.

She hasn’t disappointed us. In spite of being quite small, this English field cocker spaniel is full of energy and her cuddly nature takes a back seat when it comes to finding birds. Nothing gets away from her.

If you thought the prairies were only boring grassy fields, you couldn’t be more wrong. The coulees are full of prickly shrubs, birds, and small animals. A fat hare came tearing out of the shrubs here and just as I was about to snap a photo, my battery died.

But later I caught this mule deer running away from all the commotion. I traipsed along behind the Captain and Emma as they did their pheasant hunting thing, hoping for something interesting to photograph, and I saw something the deer had left behind last year — an antler shed. It was only the second time I had ever found one and I was quite happy about stumbling across it.

After the snow from the day before, the mostly clay ground was “wettish,” and while we had heavy clods of mud on our boots, Emma’s feet were getting harder and harder for her to pick up. Besides collecting many burrs in her fur, she had huge clumps of clay on her feet. Here she is getting them soaked off, just before I took the comb and scissors to her curly ears to remove the burrs.

She is usually so energetic, we weren’t sure this was our Emma flaked out on the couch after the day’s outing.

It was Ruby’s turn to go out today, but she is sick. We think she drank some bad water. This has happened one other year and we have given her some meds that we hope will fix her up in a day or two.

PS Now, two days later, Ruby is feeling much better. We are so relieved.

 

Light Play

This morning the dogs let me sleep in until about 6:00. Then Emma tapped the edge of the bed. Bleary-eyed, I let her and Ruby out and wandered around the yard waiting for them to do their business. They were more interested in what might have spent the night in the shrubs by an old tree stump. Maybe a rabbit or a raccoon? I wandered away a few feet and what I saw made me run back into the house to get the camera.

I didn’t care that the ugliest hydro pole in the world was front and center of my photo. I just wanted to record that rainbow.

The first rays of morning light were doing strange things. The hedge around our place is usually all the same colour, but when the light hit patches of it, you would think it had two kinds of trees.

These are all western red cedars with no colour variation (except today).

When the sun went behind a cloud only moments later, the sky turned dark and so did the hedge. You are looking at the same stretch of hedging in the photo below as in the photos above.

The cloud hiding the sun moved on and the morning rays went to work again.

It was a real light show out there this morning. I’m so glad I didn’t sleep through it.

Mysteries

My friends and I were out mushroom picking, looking for chanterelles in a new area. We found a few and were happily tromping through the woods when we came across other things of interest.  012

I found the remains of what I assume was a small deer. Who knows what it died of? Could have been a cougar, wolf, or bear, but the bones were lying there almost tidily. Maybe it just ate a bad mushroom, got a tummy ache and died on the spot.011

One of our party, found the remains of a much larger deer, and again, we have a mystery.

stuck

How did the antlers get stuck in this stump? Was this buck trying to rub the velvet off his antlers when he got stuck in the stump? Seems to me it would take more force to bury his tines so deeply that he couldn’t get out. Maybe this buck was fighting with another over the girl of his dreams and the dream turned into a nightmare when he got stuck in the tree stump forever. What an awful death he must have had. Good old Mother Nature! (I told you in another post I don’t think much of “Mother Nature.” If ever there was a misnomer!)

Stumped - antlersMy first reaction was to ask my friend if she pulled out the antlers and brought them along for a souvenir. She said, “No, I felt that it wouldn’t be right to disturb the scene. That deer died there….” And of course, then I could see it her way and I felt ashamed to have had such a low and selfish thought. The antlers are still there, as far as I know.

OR – Maybe someone stuck the antlers there....

THEN, the weirdest thing happened. The three of us (we called ourselves “The Three Mushketeers,” just like the ones in my novel “The Wind Weeps,”) each saw a lake way down at the bottom of a drop-off. Nothing weird about that, except there was no lake in this area, that I knew of, and I wasn’t aware of such a cliff in the immediate area. I approached carefully, not wanting to slip over the edge. The other two “mushketeers” also discussed what lake that could possibly be below the cliff.

See the drop-off just beyond the stump in the foreground?013

Turns out it was a pond so still that not the slightest ripple gave it away. We all thought we were looking at faraway sky through the trees and a lake at the bottom. A real optical illusion.

Soon it was time to head for home. If my eyes had telescopic powers, I could have seen my house on the tiny point of land sticking out into the ocean below.017

Survivors

You may remember that I had to leave the baby robins to their fate the day they left the nest and were not to be seen anymore. I hoped that the parents were keeping them hidden and were feeding them someplace out of sight of the crows who still fly regular “search and destroy” missions over our property.

I had almost given up on the young ones, but just a few days ago, I spotted them – well, two of the three, anyway. The third one most likely didn’t make it.

Here is one checking out the birdbath. Do you see the second bird? Look on the ground to the top right of the birdbath. Not bad for camouflage.

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“It doesn’t look very deep, but for now I’m safe on the ‘landing’ in the middle. Now, to test the waters….”

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 “Nice! Not too deep, not too cold. Ju-u-u-u-st right. Splash a little under the armpits. You never know who you’re going to meet.”

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“Okay, buddy! Your turn. In you go! Go ahead! You’ll feel a lot better after you have a bath.”

013I still worry about the crows catching one of the survivors, but with every day that goes by, the baby robins get bigger and stronger and a little bit smarter. With any luck they’ll continue to be survivors.

 

 

The Ups, Downs, and All Arounds of Trees

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The sun warmed a spot through the clouds for about twenty minutes this morning, very low in the southern sky. I rushed to the beach with my camera to catch the rare light. A David-and-Goliath battle was raging between two formidable contestants: the sprawling army of thick fogbanks and the solitary feeble rays of the sun. The sun stood its ground and battled bravely, but was soon overrun by the misty masses rolling in like wave after wave of gray-cloaked cavalry.

I resigned myself to making the best of a quick jaunt along the beach boardwalk and my mind was soon re-focused on trees. Though many lined the walkway, some had fallen down, roots drowned in rivulets flowing to the sea.

??????????The fallen soldiers lay here and there beside the boardwalk.

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Others stood tall, waving their arms as if to encircle me and cast a spell on me.

017Yet others, tiring of their job of decorating the seaside boardwalk, had no strength left to resist the high winter winds off the sea. The trees were no longer up, yet not quite down. They were “maybes,” the kind of trees the loggers call widowmakers.

??????????See the grandfather tree keeling over and the young whipper-snapper doing his best to hold him up?

Those were the “ups,” “downs,” and “maybes” of the tree world. On the way back to my car, I noticed one more tree that appealed to me. It was the “all around” version.

025So there you go. I hope you’ll find this post was a “tree”t. Yes, yes, I’ve used that pun before, but my bark is worse than my bite and I wanted to come up with a way to thank you for lumbering along with me. I knew it wood not be very witty. It’s really a pithy to make you suffer like that. In future, I’ll try to branch out more and leave all this fir someone else. Maybe soon yew‘ll cedar improvement. Still, you’d better hedge your bets. Thank you so much for logging in to my b-log post.