Sunshine’s Macro Monday: Moth Orchid

Sunshine’s Macro Monday #43

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orchid
Orchid

My newest plant is an easy-to-care-for Phalaenopsis or “moth orchid.” The directions indicate watering every 2 to 3 weeks. Indirect sunlight. I think I can handle that.

I am hoping this orchid…which does kind of look like a moth…or human kidneys or a face or one of those Rorschach tests…joins the small group of long term survivors amongst the elderly plants I have nurtured through the years. So far, so good.

Fresh, local and ready to go

Left behind by the tide, this mass of twisted swirls caught my eye a couple of months ago. A week before the beaches were closed to the public.

Looks like an artisan salad to me.

I’d just add chicken.

And balsamic dressing.

seaweed swirl

Or not.

I miss my walks on the beach. But the good news is they will be back open on June 1st for walkers and runners. And hopefully photographers too. 🙂

citysonnet photo a day challenge: Twisted, swirl

SixWordSaturday

Lens-Artists Challenge: Pastimes

Lens-Artists Challenge #97: Pastimes

With so much time being spent at home, many of us have been looking for new pastimes or taking up old ones in order stay occupied or even sane. So that is my theme for this challenge – Pastimes. It could be something that you are trying for the first time or a hobby or interest that you have enjoyed for many years. Feel free to dig into the archives or take a picture to illustrate a current pastime.

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Trying to stay sane…that can be a challenge all on its own.

However…

The days begin with one of my favorite pastimes since I’ve been retired and empty nested. Coffee and the local newspaper. The paper itself is getting thinner by the day. Less ads with businesses shut down. No current sports to cover.

“Letters to the Editor” are ramping up though. Almost as much as during the presidential primary. I find them entertaining but I am also intrigued at the drama people thrive on and perpetuate.

I also read the obituaries. I always have. Some may think that’s odd or morbid or depressing. However, the obits often tell the fascinating – and often inspiring – stories of lives well lived…details of places visited, accomplishments and family. My favorite discoveries are the glimpses into sweet memories or personal quirks that make me think…I would have enjoyed meeting this person…

Of course not everyone’s obituary is like that. Some (probably due to the expense of listing) are brief and sum up the life of a 90 year old citizen with no details whatsoever. I wonder about them.

My late mother-in-law used to claim she read the obits faithfully every day to make sure she wasn’t in there. Sounds like reason enough for me.

The paper may still take half the morning to read while I sip and enjoy. Who knows…maybe eventually I’ll find some positive news.

morning coffee

 

A new pastime due to the pandemic has been a work-in-progress jigsaw puzzle. It waits for completion on the end of the dining table near the window…helping take my mind off the latest crisis. Perhaps fueled by my return to watching the evening news…just in case there is a breakthrough in testing or research or something hopeful.

We just finished our second puzzle (this one full of dogs looking very relaxed). We will admire it for a few days and then plan to move on to the next one.

puzzle

There is a patch of woods behind our condo building, which I have mentioned before in this blog. Many of my macro shots originated there. It has a few paths as well as an unpaved access road for the utility company. It borders a state highway, so it is not as quiet as I would like.

However it’s still a place of refuge during these days.

woods path

When all else fails – go outside! Walk! Sometimes I plug my white earbuds into iTunes and listen to one of my many playlists. Perhaps “Energy Dance Mix” or “Motown Choices.” There’s nothing like Aretha belting out R E S P E C T or Diana’s soaring Ain’t No Mountain High Enough to lift your spirits or quicken your step.

With my camera close at hand, I keep an eye out for potential Eureka moments when the sun is at the perfect angle in the afternoon. The golden hour that photographers get excited about.

And then at the end of the day…

I find that I have returned to a pastime that originated a very long time ago. When writing was my default – especially in troubling times. During my childhood I wrote feverishly in diaries (I say “feverishly” because the handwriting often had that look to it) about everything I did…down to the most mundane listings of television shows I watched. Emotions and opinions jumped out every so often too. Much of it is boring as sin to read now, but it served its purpose back then.

When the pandemic hit, I started writing at night again. Usually in bed before turning out the light. Just summarizing the day…and eventually the statistics. At first I thought…this is silly…but then did it anyway as it felt like the most natural thing to do. Perhaps to make sense of what was going on…or something.

I feel like I sleep a little better too.

I dug out a diary from 1965 to show here with my current one.

I wonder what the children of today are writing in their diaries…about how they are passing the time.

Time will tell.

Bits and Pieces of the Past

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #95: bits and pieces

SixWordSaturday

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ticket stubs

 

I saved these ticket stubs…scraps of paper…bits and pieces from my past. I found them tucked in a drawer, old jewelry boxes and a business card case. Ancient rubber bands barely held some together. I smiled as I arranged them for this photo.

Allow me to share a few ramblings…

I remember…seeing Whoopi – my comedy idol – and waiting in the theater’s back parking lot afterwards hoping to see her.

There was the night we saw Bruce Hornsby and his heartfelt tribute to Jerry Garcia who had died a few weeks earlier.

A concert I never thought I’d attend had been #1 on my bucket list for years: Barbra Streisand. Tied for #1: Carole King. And there was Bonnie – could never get enough of her. And Bruuuuce…you know who I mean. Amazing.

When we took the kids to see the one-of-a-kind Harlem Globetrotters – back in the days of the basketball and Chicago Bulls craziness that consumed our family.

When You’re A Jet….a local professional theater did this fabled Broadway musical justice beyond our expectations. Again, a favorite.

And…Writers! Anna. Elizabeth. Joyce. Sonia. Atul. Inspiring and captivating…they welcomed us all into their world for an hour that went by much too fast.

I shared most of these events with family and friends. In theaters and concert halls both large and small. In New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington, DC. Singing, laughing and can’t-help-but-get-out-of-my-seat dancing…ain’t too proud sweet darlin….

I attended a few of the writer’s talks alone and will admit there was no singing and dancing, but laughing…yes.

Unique memories of a time gone by.

As far as I know, all of these once packed venues are closed for the foreseeable future. I hope that someday we all have another chance to collect more bits and pieces like these.

 
This song has been going through my head ever since seeing V.J.’s prompt. So in the spirit of live concerts please enjoy…

 

Lens-Artists Challenge: Cropping the Shot

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #96: Cropping the Shot

This week’s challenge is a chance to explore a photo editing technique and the benefits of cropping the shot.  Show us how cropping helped to improve an image and create a desired effect.  Include the shot “before” and “after” so we can see the difference.

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I often call this time of year “fun with flowers” since I am always gifted with beautiful bouquets on Mother’s Day and my birthday. Yellow blossoms…my favorite flower color…are usually in the mix.

This year was no exception. A bouquet of tulips arrived from my son…and I had a great adventure yesterday chasing the sun as it crept around the room streaming through the windows in our corner condo unit. I moved the vase from window to window as the afternoon wore on. Crouching…bending…balancing…catching the light from as many angles as I could.

Fifty four shots later, I happened to glance at the clock…oh wait I should make dinner....

Here are a few samples from “Fun with Flowers 2020″…

For this shot I stood above the bouquet, but wanted to highlight the yellow tulip…

yellow tulip orig

Which I did…after the crop…

yellow tulip crop
I captured this next shot crouched on the floor looking up. Unfortunately it also included the corner of the window…

tulip full

I still wanted to salvage the image, but obviously without the distraction of the window frame in the corner.

Cropping proved to be more of a challenge than usual.

These are two different cropped versions. Each emphasizing different aspects of how the light plays with the petals. As much as I enjoy cropping as a way to create, I really didn’t want to eliminate too much in this case.

Which do you like better?

tulip crop 1
Tulip Crop #1

 

tulip crop 2
Tulip Crop #2

Any ideas and suggestions welcome!