Sunday, June 26, 2016

Flower Power

The water lilies are flowering on the pond at Innovation Place. The trick is to find ones close enough to the edge to get good pictures, often they're floating out in the middle.

water lily

And at home, the flowers in the garden are blooming as well.


Black-eyed susan


This flower was definitely past its peak, but I liked the shapes made by the shriveled petals.

dead flower

I used my macro lens (Nikon 85mm f/3.5 VR)  for these shots, which meant when I spotted some insects I could get closeups. But holding the camera steady for closeups is almost as hard as for telephoto shots so I got out the tripod and ball head. This insect was the one that prompted the tripod. Unlike many insects, it hung around for me to get set up. (I didn't have to rush, it was still there the next day!) This was a small flower, the insect was only a few millimeters long.

insect on flower

This fly showed up as I was taking photos of the flower. It had almost a metallic sheen to it. And big compound eyes. I'm guessing maybe Brachycera?

fly (Brachycera?) on flower

I also encountered a couple of Harvestmen (aka daddy long legs), identifiable by their long legs, single pair of small eyes, and fused body (as opposed to spiders which have 3 or 4 pairs of eyes and separated abdomen and thorax). They are omnivores and don't have very good eyesight so they use their longer second pair of legs as antenna or feelers. Both of these were missing legs. (as arachnids they should have eight)

Harvestman spider

Harvestman spider

There was a bit of wind which made getting sharp photos a challenge. Some of the time I boosted the shutter speed to 1/500th to try to freeze the movement. But I was also dealing with the shallow depth of focus inherent with a macro lens, so other times I was closing down to f/16. Mostly I just took lots and hoped some would be sharp. If you don't mind "bugs" it's worth viewing the images larger (by clicking on them) to see the details.

For more of these photos, see all 28 as a slideshow or overview

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Shelley was driving and we'd just come through a construction zone so we weren't going too fast when I spotted a bear climbing the hillside beside the road. I grabbed my camera, pulled it out of the case, took off the lens cap, unlocked the zoom, turned it on, rolled down my window, and managed to do all that quick enough (the benefits of practice) to still catch the bear. It was interesting to see it climb the steep hillside. The photos aren't great since I was shooting a moving subject from a moving vehicle on a bumpy road. But it was still nice to get something.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Revelstoke Sunset

I happened to look outside, saw the sunset, and grabbed my camera to see if I could capture a bit of it.



You can see the range of the 18-300 (27-450 equivalent) lens. The previous shot was fully zoomed, whereas the next one is almost as wide as it will go. You can just see the same peak at the bottom.



See all 7 photos as a slideshow or overview

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


On our way home we stopped in Summerland hoping to connect with a friend there. Unfortunately that didn't work out, but we did luck out with a half price mid week deal at the Lakefront Hotel, which happens to be next door to Local, one of our favorite restaurants in Summerland. The Lakefront Hotel is also relatively eco-friendly, using geothermal for heating and cooling, and with a small natural wetland between the hotel and lake.

In the morning I was planning to walk around the wetland with my camera, but it started raining so instead I set up my tripod, gimbal head, and long lens on the balcony which was sheltered from the rain. It was a little far from the wetland, but it was fun to watch the ducks and the red-winged blackbirds. I also saw what I think was a muskrat swim by. (One of the staff told me there was a "baby beaver" but I suspect muskrat.)



duck in the rain

Red-winged blackbird

I also couldn't resist a few shots of the rain falling on the hotel swimming pool.

rain on swimming pool

After the rain stopped we went for a walk around the wetland. That let me get some closer shots, but the vegetation blocked a lot of the view.

Red-winged blackbird


These were taken with the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary which I've been pretty happy with. Since it focuses quite close, in a pinch it'll do for other subjects like flowers.

flowers in the rain

At supper at the Local we had a couple of glasses of wine that I chose by my usual scientific method of: local (in this case Summerland) and something different (Gamay Noir). We really enjoyed the wine so we stopped by the winery (Okanagan Crush Pad) on our way out of town. Unfortunately, they were sold out of that one but we picked up a few others.


I also took a few pictures wandering around town, including this California quail in someone's front yard. They are such humorous birds.

California quail

And this tiny flower in a ditch, which turned out to have wonderful details.


For more of these, see all 31 photos as a slideshow or overview

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rainy Day

The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.
- Eeyore

We woke up to a wet world, and the rain kept up most of the day. After an extended coffee shop visit (at Good Mood Food - recommended), we weren't sure what to do. I loved the look of the clouds swirling around the trees on the mountains, but I didn't want to stand out in the rain with my camera. So we drove around for a while, first west on highway 2 along the Wenatchee river, and then south along Icicle river. When there was a place to stop Shelley would pull over and I'd shoot photos out of the car window. I kept a towel handy to dry off the rain that got in the open window, and a lens cloth to wipe off the lens when it got rained on. I wouldn't say it was the ideal setup, but I was happy to capture a bit of the scenery.

clouds and trees

clouds and trees

clouds and trees

cloud, forest, creek

raindrops on tree

For lunch we went to Anjou Bakery in Cashmere. It had been recommended to us last time we were here but we hadn't managed to get to it when it was open. It's worth a visit if you're in the area.

For more of these, see all 18 photos as a slideshow or overview

Monday, June 20, 2016


Our plan was to rock climb and paraglide in Leavenworth (WA). The paragliding part didn't work out, but we got in a few good days of climbing. The first day we did a couple of three pitch trad routes. The second day we did some single pitch sport routes. Granite slab climbing with no holds takes some getting used to! There is lots of climbing around Leavenworth but it is spread out over a bunch of different locations so both days we climbed we had the sites to ourselves.

Shelley climbing

Shelley leading a trad route

Shelley rappelling down

We also visited Silvara Winery, where we enjoyed the wine (particularly the unoaked Chardonnay, Meritage, and Malbec) and the tons of flowers in their gardens. When it rained all the next day we went back and enjoyed the live music (and more wine, of course!) There are lots of tasting rooms in Leavenworth, but it's much nicer to visit the wineries. It's a hard life being dirtbag climbers :-)

Shelley read her book while I took photos of the flowers. Don't worry, I still managed to drink my wine :-)

Shelley relaxing at Silvara winery



The bees were enjoying the lavender: (check out the load of pollen)

bee on flowers

I'm not sure what these interesting flowers are:


I love nature's intricate designs and small details.



(two handheld shots focus stacked)

For more of these, see all 32 photos as a slideshow or an overview

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Jacksonville 2

We stopped in Jacksonville again on our way north. (Before Smith Rock, posted out of order.) We made another attempt to paraglide at Herd Peak. This time it was quite calm at the bottom and we were hopeful. But when we got to launch it was too windy again. The next day we hoped to fly at Woodrat but it was raining :-(

Indian paintbrush

Jacksonville has a number of parks and trails. These photos are from Forest Park.

path though trees

peeling bark


bee on flowers


For more of these photos, see all 15 photos as a slideshow or overview

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Smith Rock State Park

On our way north we stopped in Bend to visit Smith Rock, a well known climbing area that we had never visited. It was midweek so we thought it would be easy to find somewhere to stay. But the nearby campsite was full and so were the next few hotels we tried. Eventually we found a motel with a room. We asked what was going on, but no one seemed to know why it was so busy. Waiting for supper we hung out at the Patagonia store, where I picked up a copy of Tools for Grassroots Activists. When we went to leave we found the store had been closed for some time.

Smith Rock State Park

Climbing areas aren't always very scenic, but Smith Rock certainly was. There are a ton of climbs here, most of them well beyond our level. But with the help of Smith Rock Select we found a few fun routes to do. (For simplicity we stuck to bolted sport routes.) The climbs were quite busy, despite it not being a weekend.

climbers on the wall

Shelley climbing

Smith Rock State Park

See all 6 photos as a slideshow or overview