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gardencat

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

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Easter Weekend

It has been a beautiful weekend so far, two warm, sunny, lovely days had me out working in the garden and also tempted me over to the park with my camera to see how the geese were doing. They looked a lot happier, to me,  than they did in all the ice and snow a just a few weeks ago.

I felt a lot happier out there too so I brought my tripod and spent some time trying for some close up shots with my longer lens.

 

This guy seemed to be working on his ballet moves. I played around with editing on this one and added a texture from Lost and Taken, just for fun. 

 

3/31/2013 10:05:31 AM | Comments (5) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Feathered Mystery

A few weeks, ago I caught a glimpse of a large bird sitting on our six foot back fence, in the far corner of our garden. It was dusk, with dim light, and a lot of the bird was hidden by the tangle of branches that you've probably all seen frequently, in my other shots of birds. As I turned to pick up my camera he flew off and I never got a shot or a really good look at him. My gut feeling was some kind of owl or hawk but I was surprised to see him in our garden since we are pretty suburban and I don't usually notice those larger predator birds around.

Since then I've caught fleeting glances of a similar bird on ocassion but never got a good look or a shot till about ten days ago when I got this really bad picture.

Yesterday, once again around dusk, I looked out and saw this guy sitting in the tree on the other side of the yard.

 

He seemed pretty comforatable and settled and I was able to get a few different shots. Now I'm wondering what he (or she) is. After some searching on the internet, I'm thinking maybe a Cooper's Hawk? But if anyone with more bird knowledge than me has an idea I'd love to hear it.

 

 

Funny thing is, when I look back at my first bad photo, I'm don't think  this is the same bird. The pattern on the chest seems kind of different.

Could I have two hawks frequenting this suburban back yard? 

3/29/2013 12:42:29 PM | Comments (6) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Once Again with Feeling

Well, once again anyways, you will have to decide if these capture the feeling. 

Two more HDR attempts.

 

 

It is certainly fun working with this processing and I think it can get fabulous results, used in the right circumstances, but I also think it is easy to get carried away with it, and end up with some plasticky, over processed looking shots. Guess a lot depends what you are going for.

3/28/2013 8:17:31 AM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

Waterfront

I finally managed to take a little time and head out somewhere for some photos, instead of just roaming my back yard.

I didn't go very far, just down to that little park on the lake, where I've taken some shots before but, this is a sunnier day than last time, and the low in the sky sun had that warm gold tone that can make pretty effects. 

This time I also took some bracketed photos and then tried some HDR processing that Susan (Deragirl) was mentioning on her blog a couple of days ago. Only had time to take and process a couple but here they are. 

 

 

I went more dramatic on the first one, to take advantage of that interesting sky, but kept the second one softer.

3/27/2013 1:02:06 PM | Comments (2) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

Spring is in the Air

Only two pictures today, and not great ones either, I have to say, but today, for me,  is more about finally feeling spring in the air than about photographic excellence.

Yes, the snow is almost gone and the temperatures are above freezing, but more noticable  than all that is the fact that the place is full of tweeting and cheeping and chirping and most of all, birds in pairs. Everywhere I look, the birds that I saw singly, or in groups, during the winter months seem to be pairing up. 

I saw these two doves sitting together on the fence;

 

These two kept doing laps of the yard, soaring and intertwining in their flight, with their white tail feathers flashing in unison as they curved and banked. (Sorry about the really poor quality of the photo, wrong lens at the right time. LOL) 

 

I also saw my male and female Cardinal sitting in the same bush, but too far away to even attempt a shot.

Ah, yes, spring is in the air and the young bird's fancy is turning to thoughts of love!

3/26/2013 12:16:23 PM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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And now, for something completely different...

Today, I  move away from flowers, fields, barns and such and go for a walk in the heart of the financial district, in downtown Toronto.  When I was there I had a challenge, for photographing reflections, on my mind so I took advantage of the shiny glass skyscrapers to help with that. 

 

 

It's an interesting, and slightly disorienting,  sensation, tilting your head way back to try to see the tops of the buildings, while standing in the canyon created by these skyscrapers on either side. 

 

 

 

When I got home and looked at this last picture I was puzzled...the building could not possibly be a thin as it appeared here. I've been in the building and it has a huge lobby and  is full of offices that could not be fit into such a narrow building. it took me some research and looking at other pictures of this area before I figured out that the building is actually almost triangular in shape and the back wall slants away enough that, from this angle,  it is hidden behind the facade we see here. 

3/25/2013 8:30:47 AM | Comments (6) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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The Big Show

Yesterday I took myself off to the big flower show that happens every year, in March, in Toronto. Nurseries, landscaping companies and florists all come together to create an early spring, in the huge indoor space, and vendors of wonderful and weird plants, bulbs, seeds and contraptions also arrive to peddle their wares. 

 

Sadly, from a photographer's viewpoint, the lighting is lacking...maybe that helps the plants on display last longer but, for those of us who like to do available light photography, it does mean high ISO settings and increased noise, kind of like shooting in a dim church interior. But, what the heck, I haven't seen this many flowers in months so I did my best to capture at least some of them.

 

 

 

 

3/23/2013 9:23:36 AM | Comments (3) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Same old, same old.

Not much new today. Still blasted cold out there and still shooting from my back door across the yard. 

Not the quality I would like but until it gets warm enough for me to stand outside for half an hour or so till the birds get used to my being there and settle down, it's probably about the best I'll do.

 

 

 

3/21/2013 10:20:33 AM | Comments (2) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

Cat as Vase? Or...

I have to admit that the commitment to take a photo a day, for my 365 Project, sometimes creates a certain amount of stress.  Even though I am cutting myself some slack by sometimes  posting a photo from a previous day, I'm still trying to take at least one photo a day, even if I don't get it edited and up on that same day.

A couple of days ago I was out of ideas and short on time so, when I saw the cat sitting next to the vase of tulips I thought, good enough, grabbed the camera and shot. The result was okay as a cute snapshot but not terribly well thought out in composition or angle but, without time to catch anything that seemed more appealing, it became my shot of the day.

 

As I was posting and making a comment about how the cat, in the picture, looked sort of like a vase with flowers in it, I got a funny feeling, a sort of deja vu, and I remembered that a few years ago I had bought a vase, in the shape of a cat ( and with the colouring of a calico cat as well). I think I used it a couple of times and then put it aside, feeling that, maybe, having a cat vase was treading too deep into "weird cat person " territory.

After I searched through the back of a couple of closets I unearthed it and couldn't resist, next day, putting some of the (by now too old) tulips in it and photographing it on the same table that the real cat had been on the day before. 

 

I'm not really sure what all this proves; that art imitates life? or maybe that life imitates art? or maybe, likeliest of all, that some people will do almost aything in order to avoid getting busy with the housework. 

 

 

 

 

3/19/2013 11:06:29 AM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

Country Time

Still on a rural theme today, and working through some of the photos I took in Wellington county last Friday.

I have a couple more barns. One is here now but, from the looks of it, may not be for too much longer. The other is in better shape and, if I needed a barn, would be much preferable to the first one but somehow is much less photographically appealing to me.

 

 

And, someone else who was hanging around one of the barns. I think Amigo is just the brand of horse blanket, but I kind of like it as a name for a horse too so, in my mind, this horse is now registered as Amigo.

 

I posted one of yesterday's pictures on my 365 project and someone suggested a letterbox crop, which I tried and, I think I have to say, she was right. Getting rid of some of that boring grey sky improves the picture.

3/18/2013 8:39:58 AM | Comments (6) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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The Barns of Wellington County

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure these were all in Wellington County but I think so.

Took these on Friday when we had to drive to another town to drop something off for repair. The countryside still seems to be held in the grip of winter. Nothing a few good warm sunny days couldn't fix in a hurrry but so far we don't seem to have too much of that warm and sunny in the forcast. Still it was nice to drive out there and see some fields and open sky in place of back to back houses, houses and more houses. 

 

 

 

3/17/2013 12:53:50 PM | Comments (3) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Back to the Tulips

I'm back to the tulips today. Got to get my money's worth from that bunch I bought, and today's weather is less than exciting for outdoor photography so, I've tried  another round of some flower shots with some artsy fartsy pp and texture. 

 

3/15/2013 9:15:48 AM | Comments (5) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Morning

Just about every morning I drive one of  my sons to the local train station to catch the train downtown, to work. 

Often at that time of day there is a beautiful sky or lovely lighting but we are always, it seems, leaving  in a rush and don't have time to stop and capture the moment. By the time I drop him off and go home for the camera the light has changed entirely and the shot I had in mind is gone.

Yesterday was a similar situation as, while driving to the station, I noticed a lovely sunrise shinning through the trees but this time I had my point and shoot in my purse and, after dropping him off, headed right down to the waterfront to capture these shots with that camera. 

Even so, by the time I got there, the light had changed and the more vibrant sunrise colours, that had been there a few minutes before, had faded to softer, paler tones. Still, the pastel skies and silent swimming ducks gave a nice tranquil feeling to the scene which I tried my best to capture. 

 

 

 

3/14/2013 7:37:38 AM | Comments (5) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Out of Synch?

I  like the idea of having an illiterative title for my blog,  like 'Macro Monday' or 'Floral Friday' or something along those lines. Unfortunately I always seem to have the wrong photo subject, on the wrong day, to be able to do that.

Today, I guess, is Floral Wednesday or, if I am really stuck on illiteration I guess I could call it 'Weedy Wednesday'...but that might insult my poor tulips which are not weeds. In fact they are highly prized blooms, for which I paid $8.00 the bunch, so I guess I'll have to forgo the illiteration and just get on with the pictures. 

 

 

It's another grey day here, with more light snow flurries, which could be a bit depressing but with buds in the garden and a bunch of tulips on the table I think I'll be able to remain cheerful. Hope you all have a happy day too. 

3/13/2013 8:10:53 AM | Comments (5) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Peanuts Anyone?

So I was out again looking for those eagerly awaited signs of spring and I happened to see this Jay coming from a couple of backards away and snapped a few pictures as it flew past and alighted in a tree. 

I'd heard that Bluejay's liked peanuts but I'd imagined them with the smaller, shelled nut, this one however seems quite willing to take on the whole peanut and shell it himself when he gets where ever he is going. Makes sense I guess as he'd be unlikely to find shelled nuts in the wild. 

 

 

3/12/2013 9:02:59 AM | Comments (3) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

Feline Line Up

When I get desperate for subjects I often revert to taking pictures of the cats. Some days they all seem to be in a conspiracy to avoid looking at me, at all, and on those days I may as well just put the camera away and forget it. 

My black cat is especially difficult beacuse he is old and sleeps a lot and, with his eyes closed, he is not a very interesting subject. At least not for me, maybe some better photog than I could make a riveting study just of the different shades of black in his, fur but I haven't been able to manage it. 

Yesterday I walked into the house with my camera in my hand and my old black cat looked up and stared right at me.  I took that as a sign that maybe this was going to be a day for feline co-operation  and decided to make an attempt. While he didn't keep his eyes open for long I did manage to get a shot of him and then, when he laid his head back down amd closed his eyes, I moved on to the other two who were loitering about. 

 

 

 

 

3/11/2013 10:57:52 AM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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At last!

Today finally there was a smell of spring in the air and the snow in the garden has pulled back enough to make a tramp around the area seem more appealing. So I grabbed the camera and headed out in search of signs of spring.

In a very protected spot, under a bush and close to the wall of the house I found a few snowdrops. The things that protect this spot from the worst of winter weather also make it hard to get in close for a shot but I did the best I could.

 

 

 Then, since the first things that usually bloom in my garden, after the snow drops and crocuses, are the tree peonies I went to take a look and see what they were doing and, sure enough they are coverd with buds. Most are still pretty brown and dry looking but they are getting fat.

 

And some of them are taking on that hopeful pink hue.

 

And one of them was even begining to peak out and wave to the world !

 

Yes, finally, signs of spring!

 

3/10/2013 2:27:29 PM | Comments (3) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Blog Post

It's for the Birds

Back at the park again yesterday. The geese, who disappered when the weather was really cold, have returned in droves   and since getting there doesn't involve too much walking or climbing  it seemed like as good a place as any to take the camera. Still I am getting tired of geese and more geese and snow, and I'm waiting hopefully for signs of spring to photohgraph instead.

 

 

3/9/2013 9:03:13 AM | Comments (2) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Time Flies

Yesterday was my son's 26th birthday. It's hard to believe that 26 years have past since he was born. Seems like just last week he was filling the house with friends and sports equipment and I was worrying about homework getting done and chauffering to and from arenas and fields. 

We took him out to dinner  last Saturday, to celebrate, but last night we just had a cake with candles, at home, to mark the actual day. And yes, I made him a cake with pink icing. I think he is secure enough to handle that.

 

 

I'm not happy with the last one as it is on the blurry side; too slow a shutter speed for someone  so prone to movement but, as the cook, the server and the photographer, I guess I should  just be glad I managed to snap a few pictures before  having to move on with serving the cake. 

3/7/2013 9:31:50 AM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Tea in the Garden?

Or the garden in your tea?

I have a number of mismatched china tea cups that belonged to my mother and, even  though I seldom use them anymore, since they are delicate, and don't hold very much, they sit there in my china cabinet,and I still enjoy looking at them for the miniature works of art that some of them are, to me.

I especially like this one which looks fairly simple and serious from the outside but, the inside, as you drink your tea, reveals a riot of old fashioned roses and other tiny flowers. 

 

I've used a texture on this photo too (this time from Lost and Taken). If I seem to be suddenly going overboard on the editing, I should point out that, I've been doing more editing and less outdoor photography the last few days because, my knees have been a litttle under the weather.

I started taking some yoga classes a little while ago and it seems I did something  that my knees disliked. On the positive side, the doctor says it is a condition they usually see in 18 or 20 year olds who take up a new sport so I have the satisfaction of knowing, at least my ailment is youth oriented, even though I am moving like a very old and decrepit person. 

 

3/5/2013 1:21:59 PM | Comments (5) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Snow Scene Re-visited.

This is a picture I already posted in my Saturday blog but over the weekend I decided to go back to the raw,  re-work it and add a couple of textures from Flypaper Textures. Scientist tell us that dogs do dream although, how or what they dream, is a closed book to us.   My slightly off kilter imagination sees the reworked photo as something a dog may see in his dream. LOL

 

The Original:

 

The 'dream' version;

3/4/2013 12:30:49 PM | Comments (4) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Winter Romp

When I was out enjoying the fresh snow I came across someone else who was enjoying it as much, if not more, than I.  From his exuberance I thought at first he was a puppy but, talking to the owner, I learned he is 5 years old, a Lab/Jack Russell  mix. I'm guessing that, although he looks mostly Lab, the Jack Russell is contributing a lot to the high energy level. 

 

 

After about fifteen minutes of that he calmed down a little but I had a feeling that a thrown stick or ball would have still elicited another playful frenzy. 

3/2/2013 12:10:39 PM | Comments (1) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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Picture Book Winter

I didn't post yesterday, not because I didn't have pictures but, because they were more slushy, grey, underside of winter type pictures, and I couldn't stand to depress myself ( or anyone who might check out this blog), by looking at them anymore.

Then, just when I was asking myself why I once thought it a good thing, to live in a climate with four distinct seasons, winter pulled one of those magical days out of it's...well you know, and gave us a day with fresh fields of snow, trees iced in soft white, and patches of blue sky.

 

 

And just added, not the best composition, but one of my first attempts to really play with adding a couple of textures.

3/1/2013 8:02:42 AM | Comments (6) | Send a Message (PeaMail) | Vote for this Blog Post

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