Category Archives: Nature

A Trio of Mushrooms

We had some wet weather recently (finally!). I found this trio of mushrooms at Anthony Chabot Regional Park at the start of a walk. I managed just two quick shots before we set off, and this one turned out nicely. I only know one type of mushroom, and this isn’t it so I can’t say anything more about these. I really like the subtle colors around the edges and the contrast with the wet leaves on the ground.
Mushroom Trio



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Filed under Nature, Something Interesting I Saw, Walk

Kayakers on the Bay at Sunset

Kayakers Sunset Bay by CatDancing
Kayakers Sunset Bay, a photo by CatDancing on Flickr.

We’ve had a few pretty sunsets lately, but most of them I haven’t been able to get out and photograph. So Sunday I decided to go down to the marina and hope for a few nice pictures. It’s always fun and calming to explore the bay shore at sunset. Many people gather there, especially when the weather’s nice, as it was last night. A lot of them will just park at the edge of the water (many places available for that) and watch the sun set and the planes come in at the Oakland Airport. I’ll usually park somewhere and then walk and take pictures from different vantage points.

There are always birds on the water and they look especially nice when the water is so calm. The sky didn’t have any clouds so, as sunsets go, it wasn’t very exciting. However, the golden color lasted a long time; it hung on to the Bay as if it wasn’t ready to go to bed quite yet.

A trio of kayakers were out on the Bay for the sunset and they made a nice addition to this picture. Here’s one of my favorites from the evening.

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Spider with her egg sack


Spider with egg sac

We have many of these cellar spiders in our house—too many, in fact. I feel that it’s partly my fault because I don’t like to kill them. I will catch and release spiders outside but more often than not I just let them be. Which means they’re left to multiply and build more messy webs. The other morning I found two in our kitchen and one had an object that didn’t look like a meal. I was getting ready for work so considered just leaving them alone, but I was fascinated by the object and thought it might be an egg sack. Ooooh! I’d love to photograph that. Long story short (errrr… sort of) I did pull out my camera, macro lens, flash and a large corning ware dish. I caught each spider and put the female in the dish. They can climb walls and many things, but have trouble with glass and ceramic. The white casserole dish made a decent photo studio and kept her in one place.

Close up of spider and egg sac

Close up of spider and egg sac

She was holding onto an egg sack and here are some pictures. I thought the pattern on the eggs was really something; they were certainly not what I’d expected. In many ways, these are uninteresting spiders. They don’t have much color, are extremely common, and leave their messy webs everywhere. As is often the case, however, there can be something interesting when you look very closely.

two spiders

Female and male cellar spiders

The second was definitely a male, possibly her mate although she wasn’t particularly interested in him. She seemed pretty upset to be in the dish. After I snapped several shots I released them both outside.

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Filed under Nature, Photography, Something Interesting I Saw, Spiders, Uncategorized

Calm Ocean at Dana Point

Calm Ocean

Small fishing and sport boats can be seen on the ocean just off Dana Point, California. We were there in January on an especially warm weekend. I almost feel bad showing this while thinking of the folks dealing with blizzards in most parts of the country this week. I love California!
The sea was so calm and flat that day – rather unusual, even for California.

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Filed under Nature, Trip, Uncategorized

Colors of the Season

Colorful tree

Multicolored tree

It’s autumn. That means the trees are showing some of their best colors. Although I live in an area that isn’t known for spectacular fall colors like in the east, we still get to enjoy some. This year I’ve noticed a bit more color for some reason. Perhaps I’m just more observant.

The tree above is near my work place and I’ve been watching it for some time. I haven’t been able to get a picture of it with the light just right, but this one, taken on a partly overcast day, at least shows the variety of color. It tickles me that one tree can have every color from green, yellow, and orange to red in the leaves. The next couple of trees next to this one haven’t been nearly as spectacular. The picture was taken about 10 days ago, and it already looks much sadder with half the leaves left on it.

Fallen Leaves
Here’s where most of the leaves end up – on the ground. These are from a different tree. I loved the glossiness of these leaves, and they weren’t even wet.

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Filed under Miscellany, Nature, Something Interesting I Saw, Walk

Flowers Flowers Everywhere!


Deep pink Zinnias

My husband sometimes goes overboard, especially when it comes to flowers in our yard. We don’t have a large yard, but he likes lots of flowers and right now we have LOTS of flowers. I’m happy that he enjoys taking care of them because I’m definitely not a gardener and I do enjoy the color from them.

White cosmos

White cosmos

Flowers also make nice photography subjects and last weekend I spent some time collecting pictures. Some of my favorites are the cosmos which we have in orange, lavender, deep pink, and even white. I don’t know why I like these flowers, but I do have a fondness for them. The orange ones have been alongside our driveway for the last several years and I’ve spent many hours in the past shooting them and the bees that like them.

Sleeping Bee

Sleeping Bee on Cosmos

There weren’t many bees when I was out the other day, but I did find one that seemed to be sleeping. Her head was tucked under and she was still except for a slight movement from her breathing. I took a few shots but then in a few minutes she woke up and flew away, legs full of pollen. I guess she was just taking a 10-minute break from her work day.

yellow zinnia

Yellow zinnia with color splatter

We have in zinnias in the yard this year, which we haven’t had before, or at least haven’t for a long time. Some are deep cerise and some are lighter with a paint-splattered look. This yellow blossom with red seemed especially interesting.


Lobelia, the original deep blue version

We both have a fondness for lobelia, the small, deep blue flower that grows close to the ground. We learned about it on our honeymoon and both liked it. I discovered he has three colors of lobelia in our yard! I didn’t even know it came in other colors. We have deep blue (almost purple), white, and a pink. Neat!

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Shoreline Walk at Sunset

Shoreline walk

Bay shoreline path

A couple of weeks ago I took a short walk along the San Leandro bay shoreline. It always leaves me feeling good when I can spend some time exploring an area with my camera. I also wanted to get more time with my new camera (more on that in a later post). This area is near the approach to the Oakland airport and I enjoy watching and snapping the planes coming in.


Plane emerging from clouds on approach to Oakland Airport.

The shorebirds are always visible in this area. Sunset may not be the best time to shoot pictures of the birds because of the fading light, but I always try for it, anyway. Here’s one sandpiper and tracks.


Sandpiper along the bay shoreline.

One last picture… flying into the sunset.

plane sunset

Flying into the sunset

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Filed under Nature, Photography, Something Interesting I Saw