I’ve been spending money like a drunken sailor the past few days. The biggest purchases were a wide angle zoom for my camera (to replace the one that got smashed) and a laptop to replace my beloved but aging Powerbook.
The worst part has been deciding what to buy as my decisions changed on an almost daily (if not hourly) basis. I finally settled on Canon’s 17-55mm EF-S lens to replace the smashed 24-85mm lens and Apple’s 15″ MacBook Pro to replace my 15″ Powerbook. I went down last weekend to get the MacBook Pro but the store was out and didn’t get their shipment from Apple during the week.
In the meantime I changed my mind and decided to get the regular MacBook instead of the Pro. If you’re reading this post faster than normal, it’s because it’s being written on my zoomy new white laptop instead of the old slower silver one.
And the lens? I changed my mind at the last minute on that one too and ordered Canon’s 24-105 L lens. That should be here on Tuesday (along with a circular polarizer, an 8 GB CF card, a remote release, an extension tube set, a card reader, a 2GB stick of memory for the MacBook, and a partridge in a pear tree).
Blame the drunken sailor.
And in case you’re wondering, the picture has nothing to do with this post, it’s just a picture of Templeton from last year that I finally got around to editing. He’s zonked out beside me at the moment but I’m sure he’d approve.
When we moved into the house a few years ago, the plants in the yard were overrun with weeds. Things are in much better shape now, although we still need to figure out exactly what we want to do with the backyard. In the meantime, I’ve been moving or dividing plants from other parts of the yard into the back.
We had a few purple coneflower plants out front that I’ve since moved to the back. The coneflower has thrived back there which delights me to no end, as it’s one of my favorite flowers. We’ve already had the tulips and other bulbs bloom, the roses all exploded with flowers a few weeks back, and now the daisies are starting to bloom.
The coneflower is growing well and will be blooming soon, but it’s hard to be patient. Every day when I come home from work, the cats and I head out into the backyard and I look to see if any little petals are starting to grow. This picture was taken last year on July 3rd, so I shouldn’t have much longer to wait.
I can be patient. I can.
But c’mon c’mon c’mon and bloom already!
That’s no moon, it’s a space station! — Obi-wan Kenobi
I’m so used to seeing nutria here in the Northwest that it always catches me by surprise to see another rodent swimming through the water. I was at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens here in Portland and had actually seen a nutria a few minutes earlier, but even at a glance realized this rodent had a different profile in the water than a nutria would.
I snapped off a few pictures while it swam off, and started to question whether I really saw what I thought I saw. A saw a nutria shortly thereafter where my so-called beaver had gone, and was a little disappointed and confused at my mistake. But then another large rodent swam from the area and headed in my direction.
It soon submerged but was easily visible in the clear shallow water, and as it swam below me and under the bridge, it’s large flat tail was clearly visible.
Turns out my first instinct was right after all.
I was delighted when I first saw ruddy ducks in the wild when we moved to Oregon. They were so different from the ducks I was used to, tiny little things with the males decked out in a brilliant blue bill during breeding season. My first attempts at photographing them were almost comical, the ducks were a long ways away so they were hardly visible in the pictures.
Undaunted by my early failures, I’ll photograph them every chance I get and am always delighted to find one at close range.
Almost always — but not like this.
While this male appears to be doing the backstroke, the reality was not so pleasant. It was struggling mightily just to swim around, listing heavily to one side and going in circles, so my first thought was that a leg had been caught by something from below. Sometimes it would roll completely over as it did here, and there was nothing obviously wrong with it.
I’m not sure if the problem was psychological or physical, but it was hard to watch, as the little duck was spending a lot of energy just to swim around and even just to keep its head above the water. It was still able to dive although it was impossible to tell how well it could swim underwater.
I didn’t see it on my next visit to the refuge a week or two later, so I’m not sure if I just missed it, if the duck got better, or if it died on its own or at the hands of one of the bald eagles.
I hope your suffering was brief little one.
One of my goofy self-portraits may have angered the gods, resulting in the sudden gust of wind that tipped over my tripod and smashed my camera lens.
This may have been the one.
It’s one of the first ones I took, me pretending I’m falling off the mountain. It’s perhaps not something to joke about since it does happen to people from time to time. There’s a golden rule that if you’re photographing somewhere where the footing is treacherous, you don’t move your feet with the camera to your eye — it’s too easy to think you can move a few more inches to frame things just right, and find yourself falling off a cliff instead.
But I’m scared of heights and get a strong dose of vertigo even within a few feet of a dropoff, so the picture was more to make fun of myself. I’m actually nowhere near any cliff edges, and in fact am next to the big rock I’m standing on in this picture.
The thing I was most disappointed in with the pictures (apart from getting my lens smashed up) was that the self-portraits look a little fake, like I used Photoshop to slap a picture of myself across a real picture of Mount Hood, thanks to the different light that was hitting the peak of Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain and Mount Hood (which is still a ways away from where I’m standing).