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gardencat

Member Since January 2011, 2345 forum posts, 172 public projects

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January Thaw

It's not unusual for us to have a January thaw. A lot of years, in January, we will have a string of days when the temperatures go a little above zero and any accumulated snow begins to melt and we all leave the scarves at home and go around with our coats open. Then, winter reasserts itself, the puddles that the thaw left, here and there, turn back to ice, we get another dusting of snow and we all return to winter, as usual.

This year though the thaw has been more extreme than usual. The temperature was the highest on record for the date and the warmth was accompanied by two days of relentless rain. The back yard is a sea of water and mud, and every branch and leaf is dripping.  All I can do is hope that it doesn't do my favourite plants too much damage when the inevitable sub zero temps return, and the soil once again freezes up like rock...that and pull out my macro...if you can't beat the rain and wet you may as well take pictures of it. 

 

 

 

 

1/31/2013 8:03:11 AM | Comments (3) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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From Sparkle to Splatter

Over the weekend we had snow and then some more snow and everything was covered in a sparkling white coat then, on Monday afternoon,  it started to rain, and all day yesterday it rained and today it is raining and the temperature is the warmest on record for January 30th here, and the white snow is all gone and the garden is a sea of mud.

Just after the rain started but before all the snow was gone I caught this little visitor to my garden. He hopped in, sat for long enough to let me get one shot of him then hopped out again. 

 

Later as the rain kept falling my male Cardinal came back sitting amidst all the water drops dripping from the branches. 

 

Today is still the same grey rainy weather, so look for more wet pictures here tomorrow.

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Hot Soup

Cold weather combined with cold symptoms, coughs, sniffles, all-over body ache etc.  made it seem like a good idea to make some nice hot soup. 

A healthy eating photo challenge made it seem like a good idea to take pictures of it. So here is Spicy Chicken Soup with Lentils

 

 

I can see that , from the pictures, it looks more like carrot soup with grease globules, but it can't be helped...it seems the chicken and green lentils like to sink to the bottom while the fat from the chicken rises to the top....the carrots? okay, to be honest,  I had some carrots I wanted to use up, so I did kind of overdo the amount of carrot I put in. 

Still it tasted pretty good, according to my family. I had to take their word for it because with this blasted cold I can barely taste anything. 

1/29/2013 1:07:41 PM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Northern Cotton ?

We had lots of snow, over the weekend, the big clumpy sticky  kind. It stuck to the tree in the neighbour's yard, which still has some dried up flowers or seed heads on it and made it look sort of like a cotton plant. This morning the snow changed to first sleet, then rain and now all the 'cotton' puffs are gone but I still have the pictures.

 

1/28/2013 11:21:32 AM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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A Learning Process

My new lens arrived yesterday so, sadly, did a really bad cold or the flu so I have been taking shots looking out, from inside the house only, so far. The overcast skies and ongoing snow flurries may not have helped the cause.

I can see that this new lens is going to take  some practice and getting used to, in order to get the most out of it but here are a  few beginning attempt shots I took with it. 

 

 

 

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Winter in a Bottle

One thing this photo a day project has taught me is that I need to do a better job of putting my garden to bed in the fall. 

Usually I do some sort of cleanup, although I've never been one for cutting everything back to the ground, as some like to do. Usually I will pick up litter, pull out dead annuals and bring in the garden ornaments but this year, being off on vacation in the first half of September, the fall became so hectic that even that clean up was given short shrift. 

 

I've seen the results as, in this last cold snap, I've been looking for things to photograph that are not far from home ; a gargoyle left out to be semi-covered in snow, a window basket emptied of it's flowers but left to fall down onto the patio, and today's offering, a clear plastic jar, used to collect water from the fountain, left half full to freeze. Certainly a sloppy untidy winter garden, to be sure.

On the other hand, without these items left out, to deal with the wrath of winter, I'm not sure what I would have found to take pictures of  these last few days so maybe, just this once, procrastination did have a good payoff. 

 

 

 

 

1/25/2013 9:13:13 AM | Comments (5) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Inside and Outside

It's been cold here the last few days, kind of cold to venture too far from home with my camera, and I'm getting a little fed up taking backyard pictures.

Today I have one shot that I took outside as night was falling yesterday and one that I took inside in the cozy warm comfort of home.

 

 

I call this, 'You do know that it's my dinnertime, right?'

1/24/2013 9:56:46 AM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Annoying.

 

So yesterday started out as a happy day,  then turned into a frustrating and annoying one. Luckily for me things worked out in the end and, apart from a knot of tense muscles in my neck, ended up pretty okay..

The happy was that, after yearning for a while now, for a longer lens, yesterday was to be the day I was finally going to order it.

As a result of a  combination of saving some pennies, finding a great deal on line, and my husband offering to top the kitty up to the required amount as my birthday gift, I was finally in reach of that longed for lens! The immediate purchase was also encouraged by the fact that my two local photo shops had, just a few weeks ago, raised the price of this particular lens by a hefty amount so, when I found the deal on line I was eager to jump on it. Hooray, happy day!

 

Then began the next part of my day....since I live in Canada the lens has to come across the border and I had a few questions about how this would be handled so, instead of just ordering on line, I called to ask a few questions about the cross border shipping and various costs involved. 

The sales person I got seemed like a nice enough person, as soon as he heard the lens I was after he suggested I could save a few bucks by going with a demo, of the same lens, that he had available. Now, I am not against buying used equipment to save some money but, since the new lens was on sale and had an instant rebate, the demo lens wasn't really that much cheaper and since shipping back and forth to Canada, in the case that I wasn't happy with the lens, would be a bit of a hassle, I was hesitant so he offered to throw in some filters at a cheap price and since the lens came, he said with a two year warranty and a 30 day no hassle return policy, I decided to take a chance and go for it. I should add that he was one of those sales people who seem always to be in a hurry, and, while he doesn't refuse to answer questions, always seemed to answer as quickly as possible and then jump on the next step in the transaction and conveys the impression that your questions are not really welcome....silly me, I should have just said thanks, I'll think about it and called back later. 

Anyway to make a long story a little shorter, when I received the e-mail order confirmation, I noticed a lot of things that made me uneasy; the lens was listed as 'used' not demo...okay, maybe they just called anything that wasn't still in a sealed pack as used.

Then there was a charge for a third party 2 year warranty...maybe I'm wrong, after all I haven't bought a ton of lenses, but in my experience with other products, a demo usually comes with a manufacturers warranty, and I expected this one to have a Canon warranty.

Lastly, the 'deal' on the filter kit was just a filter kit that was freely available on the site for the same price. In other words I could have bought the new lens and got those filters for exactly the same price. 

 

Thereafter followed nearly a whole day of me, emailing their customer service person, to find out that the lens he was sending me was actually a used lens, rated as an E+ in their system...not probably a bad lens at all, but not something I would have chosen for the small price difference. This person before she understood the whole situation had also informed me that if I had purchased a demo it would indeed come with a manufacturer's warranty. 

Then another conversation with the sales person, who tried to tell me that, he had meant to send me a D lens not an E+  but that someone must have got things mixed up and added the wrong E+ lens to the order and, any way D and E+ were all the same and were all demos.  

The customer service person was very nice and got to the bottom of things for me, she even went back and listened to my first conversation where I ordered the lens and agreed that I had been told I would get a demo lens. But I spent the whole day pretty well glued to my desk wanting to get it settled and if necessary cancel the order , before they could tell me it was already on the truck and I'd have to take delivery and return it if I didn't want it.

The happy finish was that I canceled that order and ordered a brand new lens, at the same price, from the other big on-line photo company...so far that looks like everything is fine. .however, with everything else going on I didn't get much time for photography so I have only a couple of unrelated shots to post today. 

In July, this was full of flowers sitting on the window ledge

 

 

On the road last night at about 5:30 with powdery snow blowing around and icy slippery streets, I noticed this cute little car. The lights from other headlights, and traffic lights, and one of those yellow sodium street lights added an interesting glow. 

 

Sorry about the long post today...normally I wouldn't have gone on so long about a personal annoyance but, since it was sort of photography related, I thought some might be interested, as a cautionary tale, if nothing else. 

1/23/2013 9:32:18 AM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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In Your Face

My son's girlfriend has a very expressive face, which makes her fun to photograph. Last night the two of them were having a discussion of where to go to for dinner, on her birthday and I snapped some photos, during the conversation. My son is not nearly as photogenic, or interesting a subject, most of the time but, I did get a fun one of him too. I shot these with a 200mm lens so, while they were aware that I was taking the occasional picture, I was down the hall a bit and not right in their faces.

 

 

 

 

 

I got a few funnier pictures of her too but since I'd like to remain on friendly terms I'm not going to post them on any internet board. 

1/22/2013 8:01:20 AM | Comments (7) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Beach Weather ?

From a weekend walk down at the lakeside. It was pretty cold and grey but there were still several people taking their dogs for a walk or just enjoying looking out at the water. 

 

 

 

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Yea Or Neigh

Out for a drive yesterday I got more pistures of icy streams and cold geese but also came across a few horses out in fields. Most looked like they had their shaggy winter coats on and some an extra blanket to protect them from the wind. 

I like horses; their big soft eyes and the warm horsey way they smell when you get close. 

 

 

 

1/20/2013 10:37:30 AM | Comments (2) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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White Balance ?

I was out early yesterday and took some pictures at the nearby park area. Since it was early the sun was low in the sky with that warm gold tinge that you see at sunrise and sunset. The SOOC shots have that warm gold toning which I think I like of course, with the use of technology I can bring them back to a more neutral tonning, but should I? 

I think I like the warm early morning tones.

 

 This one has the colours balanced back to eliminate the golden glow:

 

I love the two geese I've marked in this shot. The one in the back looks like he is skating, the one in front looks like he just took too big a step and is fighting to get his balance back.

This shot that I took in the back of my own garden before leaving really demonstrates the colour difference. The tops of the trees behind, are being hit with the direct light from the rising sun while the garden is just in the cool indirect light.

1/19/2013 10:11:43 AM | Comments (1) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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All that Glitters

I went around purposely looking for something to meet this months colour challenge, 'sparkle and shine', and came up with these.

 

A votive candle in front of a glossy red background.

 This is a gift bag from Christmas with a sparkly, shiny design on Mylar. The sparkly part gives a rainbow like reflection, similar to what you get from holographic images. 

1/18/2013 12:02:58 PM | Comments (2) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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This and That

Here are some more pictures which I actually took yesterday but just got around to processing this morning. No particular theme just this and that from here and there as I wandered around yesterday.

The first is a picture of the green man, on one of the planters in the garden. I've always had a soft spot for this particular pagan design, representing the spirits of trees and plants.

 

The baseball field looked deserted and sad as I went by.  Still a lot of winter to get through before it comes alive again with the crack of the bat and the noises of anxious and/or proud parents cheering their kids on. 

 I caught this just as the sun was going down and a last few rays hit this old lantern and lit it up from the outside.

1/17/2013 9:10:43 AM | Comments (2) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Just an Ordinary Day

Took my camera with me today and just took a few shots in different places. 

From just outside my front door early this AM

 

A little later at the park

 

Over grown corner with a bird bath and a ball hockey ball... different family members detritus form different interests .

 

 

It was a great day for birds...they were everywhere. I really need to get a longer lens....for now I keep taking shots with my 200mm one and cropping them down...not satisfactory!

 

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It's Cat Day!

Busy day and  not much but mud and brown grass outside so looking inside for inspiration I managed to get two cats to co-operate...sort of.

 

 

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Boring but Necessary

Todays photos I fear are going to be dull  and boring to anyone who isn't in to photography ( and even to a lot who are, I have a feeling) but it has to be done.

I'm not expecting to get great photos everyday but I am hoping to improve my skills during this year long photo adventure. So, since nothing terribly scintillating presented itself as a photo op, so far today, and since it is 'Macro Monday', I decided to take out my macro lens and take the opportunity to practice my live view focusing skills, on something that has proven, in the past, to be quite a challenge for me...a transparent plastic water bottle. 

Here are some of the results.

 

 

 

I don't think any of these are shots that I'll want to frame and put on the wall but they were an interesting experiment and the practice is something I hope will serve me well when I have something a bit more exciting to photograph.

Since I had the tripod and everything out anyway I decided to play with my lensbaby too and use the blur effect to bring a feeling of motion  to the stationary bike.

1/14/2013 12:28:51 PM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Intensely Focused

Looking for a picture for my daily photo today, I passed my son doing a fantasy draft on line and thought that the intense look of focus, on his face, might  go with a shot with a blurred background to put the photo focus intensely on him too.

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Saturday Morning

We went shopping at Whole Foods this morning ( or as some around here call it, Whole Paycheck). Okay, it is expensive but lots of interesting things and everything so beautifully displayed, just walking around there rekindles my desire to cook!

They have a little area with lots of really cute organic, pure, yadda yadda,   baby things too...fortunately that doesn't rekindle my desire to have another baby.

1/12/2013 12:50:58 PM | Comments (1) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Rainy Day - Sad Cows

It's been a cold, rainy, miserable day here so far. When I passed this field early this morning  it was  pouring down rain and the few cows out there looked pretty dejected. When I went by the second time (with my camera) the rain had let up but the cows still don't look too happy trying to graze on the soggy land. 

 

This shot from my own back yard gives the feeling; everything is either dripping or soggy.

1/11/2013 1:49:27 PM | Comments (2) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Everyday Life

I saw a prompt, this morning,  for a Daily Photo project that gave 'everyday' as the word for today.

Since I had just taken a picture last night, while waiting to pick my son up at the train I decided to go with that and add a shot from the morning drive, back to that same train station., something that we do, just about  everyday of the week.

 

In the winter the days are so short that it seems like the trip to and from is always done in merky, half light .

 

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Red Barn

We live in what ,I guess, you'd have to call suburbia with little houses ( and some big ones) all in a row. But we do live near the outer edge and so, with just a few minutes drive, you can get out to where there are still some  barns and fields with a few horses or cows.

I like being close to that and every now and then I just get in the car and drive away from the suburb to get the peaceful  feeling of looking over an open field, with a big sky above it, or to watch the cows lazily grazing. 

This morning I had to drive someone to the airport and, on the way back, I decided to get off the highway an exit early and take the back roads the rest of the way home.

 

This is a scene I passed on the way.

 I

 

 

I fooled around in photoshop and turned it into this which is sort of weird but which, for some reason, I like. Yes, some of those dreaded photoshop effects, but I don't care how I get there, if I like the result. I'm certainly not of the SOOC or nothing school!

1/9/2013 12:52:41 PM | Comments (7) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Silly Birds

I've noticed, the last few weeks, there have been a couple of big beautiful blue jays that come to our back yard almost every morning so, today, for my picture of the day, I thought I'd try to capture a shot of them sitting in the bush across from my kitchen window. I got everything set up and kept my eyes open while cleaning up breakfast dishes and sure enough the birds did show up. Unfortunately, this morning, they decided to sit at the very top of the tallest tree in my neighbor's yard pretty much out of reach of the longest lens I own right now (200mm) I took a couple of shots anyway,  and what you see below is an extreme crop, fixed up as best I could with photoshop but still not really worthy of posting.

I began looking around for something else and found this. A very disgruntled looking garden gargoyle who I usually bring in before the first snow, but somehow forgot this year. His expression matched my mood, at missing the blue jays so, he is now my photo of the day. 

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Something Fresh

Today I finally found that fresh feeling I was looking for at the fruit and vegetable store. I went a little overboard picking up cabbage and snow peas and bok choy and broccoli.  After the rich heavy food of the holiday season the green veggies seem like a much needed relief from fats and starches. 

 

ISO 640,  f 10,  s 1/13 with Canon 24-105 zoom

 

ISO 640, f 8, s 1/15 with Canon 100mm macro 

1/7/2013 3:16:45 PM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Grey Winter

Grey winter, grey skies, grey branch,  that about sums up my search for inspiration today. 

Believe it or not I went off today looking for something 'fresh ' to photograph for a photo challenge but I found just the opposite.

Grey skies, slushy, melting, brown stained snow, even the vegetables at the grocery looked limp and tired. So I decided to stop fighting and go with it ,and I ended up with the soft greys and textured surface of a dead branch against a grey sky...it's not a photo that will get anyone's heart pumping, but I think it does have a quiet beauty of it's own.

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Some Assembly Required

It's Football night so this will be fast.

Resolutions for increased fitness lead, to the purchase of a couple of stationary bicycles to start the new year. Apparently fitness too, comes with some assembly required.

1/5/2013 8:46:32 PM | Comments (0) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Yesterday, today.

Yesterday I took more than one photo, of more than one subject, and so I was thinking today of just editing and posting one of the 'other' photos from yesterdays batch...till my son told me that would be cheating and the object of the exercise was to actually take a photo everyday.

So I put on my big girl pants (well more like my big girl coat and boots) and went outside to get some of those rose hips that I had intended to shoot yesterday. 

I hope you are happy Alex, your mom is not a cheater...well not today anyway.

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January 3rd - One picture turns into more.

Story of my life either I don't do something at all or it turns into a whole production.

Today I was going to go out to take some pictures of some pretty red rose hips in the garden but the calf high snow, freezing temperatures, and gusting wind made that less than an appealing prospect and the rose hips will still be there tomorrow and even next week so I decided instead to throw some fruit in a bowl and take a picture of that... but that seemed a little dull so I hit on the idea of taking a few pictures of that fruit bowl, using a few different lenses, just to see the difference. Of course that turned into three  different lenses, each with a few different settings. then, one of my cats jumped up on the table and decided to get into the act. So one and one half hours later, I had my photo of the day and a whole lot more.  

 

These are three of the photos taken with different lenses, a 100mm macro lens, an 85mm portrait type lens and a 50mm quirky and fun lensbaby lens.

 

 

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New year, new ideas.

 

 

Well here we are in 2013 and I have plans to do a lot of things this year. Probably more than I'll accomplish but I'm going on the "a man's reach should exceed his grasp or what's a heaven for" philosophy here. 

I had been thinking about joining in one of those picture a day, for the year, groups but after trying to sign up at one and running into problems with having my password recognized etc. I decided, for now, just to use this blog to keep track of my 365 day photos. 

I don't have a particular plan as far as subjects or themes go, for the year yet, I just intend to try to post a photo for everyday, even if they don't all get posted on the right day I hope to end the year with 365 photos.

To start, I was thinking about the new year and what I hope to do. One of my fond wishes for the year is to reorganize my crafting spaces so, I decided, for the first day of this year to take a photo of my craft table as it was left after the Christmas rush of card and gift tag making.

 

 

 

I'm not exactly proud of how this looks but it's how it is for now and hopefully may serve as motivation to get moving on the tidy up.

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