Category Archives: Something Interesting I Saw

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

Spider with her egg sack

spider

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

Learning to Say “No”

1798 Stop in Your Tracks
My son says I’m too nice. That’s part of my problem. I want to help out others and have a hard time saying, “no.” Last night I did say “no” and still feel bad about it. It’s a project that I’ve done for a few years off and on (the layout of an event program book).  I enjoy doing the layout and am proud to be able to do a good job with it, but the job also comes with frustrations. One of the biggest issues is the stress that grows as I have less and less time to work on it as I’d like.

I’d really like to help out but know that it would not be good for me in the long run. I wish I had the time and resources to be able to volunteer my time for many organizations. Since I don’t, I have to say no to some of them, even though I’d enjoy the work. I think most of us have a part of us that wants to please others. We feel good if we’re able to help someone out. Volunteering our time can do as much for us as it does for the recipient, unless it gets to be a burden. So we have learn when to draw the line.
The photo above was taken a few years ago near my work. The stop sign had been planted in the middle of some unused railroad tracks. I’m sure it was a warning in case a train accidentally ended up on those tracks. Notice the tracks behind the sign.

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

Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice

moon

Moon partially eclipsed

I’ve seen quite a few lunar eclipses, but this was the first that also coincided with the winter solstice. Not that they really have much to do with each other, but they’re both “astronomical” events, I suppose.

I didn’t expect to see it as we’d had predictions of rain and cloud cover for some time. When I left my clogging class in San Jose for home, the clouds were very thin and we could see the full moon through them. By the time I got home there was a nice big hole in the clouds and the eclipse had started.

So I hauled all my stuff into the house and grabbed my camera, 200mm lens, tripod, and heavy coat to spend some time outside. One nice thing about a lunar eclipse is that it can usually be viewed from your own back  yard. It’s nice to have a warm house with other comforts close by on a cold night.

lunar eclipse

Lunar eclipse in totality.

Back to the photography… The 200mm lens really isn’t long enough to fill the frame with the moon so these shots have been cropped considerably. It can be hard to focus at night but I recently learned a cool trick. I turn on my camera’s live view, enlarge the image, and then fine tune the focus manually. It works really well! These moon shots still aren’t as sharp as I’d like, but I think that’s more a limitation of my optics. Still, it’s nice to have some of my own pictures of the eclipse.

During a lunar eclipse, the moon appears red because the light is reflected from the earth and must pass through our atmosphere, particles and all.

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Filed under Night, Photography, Something Interesting I Saw, 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

Ice

Melting ice cubes

We had a bag of ice cubes in the freezer that had solidified into one chunk, so I pulled it out and put it in the sink. My son sprayed some hot water on it and then commented that it looked like an interesting photo subject. I set it on the windowsill to get some backlight and snapped a few shots. I liked this square crop the best. This is a color photo, by the way.

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Filed under Miscellany, Photography, Something Interesting I Saw