Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Fittest (while wishing I still had the rental camera with macro lens)

Last year, when I first saw a dragonfly exuvia (think "shell" or discarded "skin") on a daisy about fifteen feet from the water, I was surprised.

Today I was astonished.

At least twenty feet from the water -- over mud and dirt and stones and rocks, up a hill, and under a tree -- a Common Baskettail scuttled and then latched onto a grass stem to begin the arduous, tenuous task of becoming an adult.

No wonder, I thought, these insects have lived for millions of years, and I watched, and watched, and watched.

the dragonfly is below the evergreen in the shade
 the dragonfly is in the first row of grass below the tree

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Warning: Shutterbug On Board!

I brake for blue flowers, green mountains, blue sky, and bugs!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Favorite Garden

It's the time of year when I go the long way into Winchester, right through the heart of Cowan, (in)famous recently for a child pornographer who passed himself off as a reputable town benefactor, but I prefer to think on what lies across the street from the railroad museum and behind the bank, especially in the neatly tilled, planted, and tended rows behind the white fence: the first blousy blooms of almost-summer.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Panasonic Lumix GH3: Day 7

or, Why I Am Still Undecided though Leaning More Toward Than Away

Pros/Joys in
1/ discovery
2/ the Borrowers' perspective
3/ the challenge
4/ technology
5/ potential for growth in my work

Cons/Irritations due to
1/ awful EVF
2/ squirrely LCD, though I think I may have solved it today by learning a trick

Gratitude to
1/ Nick Coury of Dury's Camera in Nashville who showed me the GH4 and who encouraged me to rent before buying. I cannot thank him enough for his kindness, professionalism, careful listening, and investment in my needs and desires. As a friend wrote me last night, "Hoping your photosalesman can stay available as a trusted advisor. Being emotionally invested in your work is definitely not out of the question for people you ask to help you." Yes, me too.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Do not underestimate the cleverness of a cat

when it comes to plucking,
the one desired item
from among many
in the trash.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Panasonic GH3 Day 4: The Quotidian

& every day,
& a world away, 
suffering is.
But so too 
the quotidian.

On that beauty
I shall think.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Panasonic GH3: Day 4, or Big Eyes

My friend and I saw the movie Big Eyes tonight, and though both of us remember those kitchy waifs and all the press they earned, the back story escaped me entirely. I'm not sure that Margaret Keane cared what art critic John Canaday said about her paintings. She said, or the actress playing her said, several times in the film that the paintings come from inside the artist.

I tried photographing some big eyes today, not very successfully. A 90mm macro is no match to a Fragile Forktail's three-quarters of an inch to one inch. I kept creeping closer and closer and more and more plant material kept getting in the way. In fact, I finally gave up and grabbed the superzoom. 

What you see isn't always what you get: a lesson from my frustrating photowalk this afternoon and the movie tonight.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Panasonic GH3: Day 3

1/ so many options
2/ deliciously light and beautiful lenses

1/ LCD screen problem when manipulated (it goes blank); could be that this is a well used rental, could be a problem with the camera at large (will investigate)
2/ viewfinder still bugging the heck out of me

Best shot of the day
Not taken. Conversation with a Sewanee gentleman who has the camera, and our discovery that we know camp people in common. Green Cove meets Merrie-Woode and it was delightful!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Panasonic GH3: Day 2

1/ up close and personal portraits of dragonflies
2/ the pleasure of learning something new
3/ the pleasure of meeting another person who uses the camera
4/ manageability in heat and trekking

1/ missing the sandpipers right in front of me because of the macro
2/ golden hue (must color-correct)
3/ viewfinder (the smearing is the result of the coating having worn out, and as it turns out this is a frequent complaint among those who have purchased the camera)

This last con may well be the deal breaker.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Panasonic GH3: Day 1

1/ familiarity with Panasonic Lumix menus
2/ good camera feel with sound grip
3/ lightweight even with a macro lens
4/ fast 
5/ beautiful bokeh

1/ the rubber ring around the viewfinder will destroy my glasses (I couldn't see through it within half an hour because of smudging)
2/ fixed focus will take a long time to learn to use (just as the macro option on the Canon G12 did)
3/ hard to find the little Odonates through the viewfinder or on the screen
4/ expensive
5/ I missed being able to just snap pictures at different focal lengths (this surprised me)

Today's Results
Best shots of totally still Lancet Clubtail and flowers. 

Worst shots of dragonflies in typical plant positions and windy web.

The jury's out.

Monday, April 20, 2015

More Like April Than

by Richard Kenney

Sky a shook poncho.
Roof   wrung. Mind a luna moth
Caught in a banjo.

This weather’s witty
Peek-a-boo. A study in

Blues! Blooms! The yodel
Of   the chimney in night wind.
That flat daffodil.

With absurd hauteur
New tulips dab their shadows
In water-mutter.

Boys are such oxen.
Girls! — sepal-shudder, shadow-
Waver. Equinox.

Plums on the Quad did
Blossom all at once, taking
Down the power grid.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Windows Are Like Poems

through the glass
the glass
reflection on the glass:
all of it

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Long Time Coming

Everything conspires to make me revel in the joy of company:



Lady's Slippers

and neighbors.

I love them all!

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Wish Fulfilled

When I was little, I wished on every first star: I remember none of the wishes, consequential or otherwise.

But I have been wishing that my bluebirds would move in to their box, noting the arrival of Mr Bluebird on the deck or the satellite dish, hunting, or wing waving.

This morning Mrs Bluebird poked her head out of the box hole and stared, first, right at me in the kitchen, and then all round, checking out the accommodations she has apparently accepted.

Later, when I saw the Shooting Stars on Texas Avenue, it was as if my wish had come true.

May yours be realized, too!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Family Stories

Over lunch, shopping, cocktails, dinner, and afterwards, my youngest first-cousin and I talked, and talked, and talked, and we kept returning to family, specifically, our shared one.

I dizzied from new news and old news, fact and innuendo, difference and similarity, shared and separate sorrows, as if sliding sweatily like condensation down a slippery glass or circling madly round the ribs of a glowing lantern.

What a strange thing, family: missed, missing, messy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April Is Poetry Month

In Perpetual Spring

Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies   
and trip over the roots   
of a sweet gum tree,   
in search of medieval   
plants whose leaves,   
when they drop off   
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they   
plop into water.

Suddenly the archetypal   
human desire for peace   
with every other species   
wells up in you. The lion   
and the lamb cuddling up.
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,   
queen of the weeds, revives   
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it.

or a bluebird or lady's slipper

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Survival of the Fittest

This morning's Common Baskettails and Blue Corporals are the lucky ones, despite the rain and wind, making their emergence tricky. 
They spent the winter underwater and successfully managed to avoid being eaten. If only their airy introduction were more welcoming.

Addendum: This crippled Baskettail cannot fly.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Scratching the Itch the Only Way I Know How

from inside the dadgum car. 




Sunday, April 12, 2015

First Flight

From the moment I saw the Common Baskettail to the first flight, I waited and snapped about forty-five minutes or so.

10:24 am

10:25 am

10:36 am

10:51 am

11:01 am

11:06 am

11:07 am

Video shot at about 11:13 am (shivering wings to warm up the flight muscles and then first take-off):