Autumn cosmos: cosmos here in Albuquerque really come into their own in the fall. They are beautiful in their own right. In addition, goldfinches, finches, and even humming birds like them. More than that, butterflies, bees, and other pollinators like them. Also, they come in a wide variety, and many reseed themselves. More than that, they grow in poor soil. Therefore, they make a great annual in the high desert for many reasons. Yesterday they seemed to sparkle.
Every now and then I see a package of seeds for a variety new to me. This year I tried “Seashell Mix.” As a photographer, I love them! As a gardener, I must note the germination rate was rather low. Will they reseed themselves? Although I do not yet know, I do plan to plant them again next year.
I am continuing to have fun playing with a new program. I first tried it with Autumn Roses. Here is something with the seashell variety.
For friends here in New Mexico, enjoy this beautiful autumn weather and *rain,* and the flowers so abundant at present.
Autumn roses seem especially sweet. Maybe that is because they will soon disappear until Spring. This past spring I had too many distractions and demands to take good care of the roses then. But, the monsoon season was good to my yard. That inspired me to get out and work to get a few things in better shape. I was happily surprised with the roses available to photograph this weekend. Also, I’m playing with a new program, so I feel a bit like a kid with a new set of finger paints. Thank you for indulging me.
We are supposed to get more rain in the middle of the week. I put a few pansies out this weekend, and rain would be good for them as well as for the long-standing roses.
ARS Rose Notes
For my rose friends who read here, the final ARS Guidelines for Judging Rose Photography includes a National Challenge Class that will first be offered at the ARS Spring 2018 Convention. This is a heads-up, because photographing bloom cycles requires some planning. I do think this is a worthy national challenge class.
Monday Morning Thoughts, a Long Digression
I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ The Viet Nam War. Throughout, I have thought about people I’ve known, and where they are in life and in their heads today (for those still alive). Last night was a little different. The episode covered the Tet Offensive to the assassination of Robert Kennedy. That is, Spring 1968, when Martin Luther King was also assassinated. I remember watching Lyndon Johnson’s speech, and many other things that had slipped into the deep recesses of my mind.
I was a student at the University of Chicago in the Spring of 1968. The University is on the south side of Chicago. I had come from a university that might consider tearing down a library if necessary to expand football. The University of Chicago had torn down the football field and was in the process of building a new library. I lived in a 12th floor apartment, that looked south. I could see Rockefeller Chapel, the Museum of Science and Industry, and a tiny glimpse of Lake Michigan. The university had its own bus for students, a bus that continually circled through Hyde Park to shuttle students to and from classes and back home. Most days I had the same bus driver.
Chicago When Martin Luther King Was Assassinated
Martin Luther King was assassinated on a Thursday. Friday morning was calm on the south side of Chicago. By the end of classes Friday afternoon, the tension was palpable. I caught the bus to go home. I was the last person off. The driver, who had gotten to know me over the year, said, “I’m going to drop you off at the door to your building today (instead of about 1/2 block away). Don’t go out tonight. Stay in your apartment.”
That weekend, first of all, and for days, I could look out and see the south side of Chicago burning. As a result, the heavily armed Military, not just police and National Guard, were patrolling the streets. Most of all, I remember looking out and seeing the Army camped on the grounds of the Museum of Science and Industry. Military tents completely covered those grounds. Maybe that is what I have remembered most of all.
I watched the helicopters hover over the meeting between the Blackstone Rangers and police, as they tried to work out a truce.
I have not thought about these things in a long time. What stood out to me from last night’s episode was the Marine, who had fought in Viet Nam, who was ordered to go to one of the cities with civil unrest. He refused an order to go, which essentially ended his military career. He said in essence, “I thought we would be sent for regular police work, protecting buildings, that kind of thing. Then they started issuing the same equipment we had had in Viet Nam: flak jackets, the same bullets, all the same things. I said I was not going.”
That was 49 years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The first day of autumn in New Mexico is always exciting. Chile roasting and the State Fair are almost over, but the Balloon Fiesta, Marigold Parade, arrival of the cranes and other migratory birds, and gorgeous days with cool, crisp nights are still ahead. This is how the day began:
While I grew Mexican sunflowers many years ago in Arizona, this is the first year I have grown them in New Mexico. I had forgotten how much I liked them. Because I now know, I plan to grow them in subsequent years. In addition, the pollinators like them, too.
Other flowers that bloom well up until frost are cosmos. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Pollinators like cosmos also.
The first day of fall 2017 began beautifully. I was reminded of this quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
Even as a child visiting the Southwest on vacations, I understood there was something special about the light here. Rather than growing tired of it with now-constant exposure and age, I appreciate it even more. While this morning was a little nippy and the arrival of Fall is not far behind, sunrise was spectacular (even without crepuscular rays 🙂 ))))))))) )!
ARS Rose Photography Update: the American Rose Society’s Board of Directors has approved the final version of the First Edition of Guidelines and Rules for Judging Rose Photography. Editors are completing the final editorial review. The text will appear shortly on the website of the American Rose Society. Members will be able to access it by going to “Resources”and scrolling down. In the meantime, members may see and download six PowerPoint programs explaining use of the Guidelines. The PowerPoints appear alphabetically rather than by topic, so be sure to scroll through.
Because some readers may not be ARS members but still interested in the PowerPoints, I’m posting links here. Click on the links to view.
While those are the current six, watch for additional ones in the future. In addition to these, planned are One Bloom, Macro Photography, The Enhanced Sections, What’s New in the 2017 Guidelines, and People, Not Cameras, Create Images.
Albuquerque sky in 30 minutes? Well, yes. Especially regular readers here know I love the skies in Albuquerque and New Mexico and all of the desert Southwest. I see something worth noting almost every day. Because late yesterday afternoon was especially noteworthy, I want to share a few images. Most of all, these all occurred within 30 minutes. Maybe this happens every day, but this time I happened to catch it. 🙂
Sexual cannibalism in the cosmos, praying mantis style. You know all the stories you have heard about the female praying mantis biting off the head of her mate? I guess I never gave it too much thought. I had no reason to disbelieve it, but I never expected to witness any part of that ritual. However, I have seen some amazing things in my tiny Albuquerque yard, so I should stop being surprised at what I do see. I frequently go out in the morning to photograph flowers before the sun strikes them. Not too long ago, I found this sexual cannibalism in the cosmos:
I went out that morning to photograph flowers. But I learned long ago, that, if you keep your eyes open, you might get the opportunity to see some things most people don’t see often. Sexual cannibaism was about the last thing I was expecting to see or have the opportunity to photograph that morning! But, there it was. She was a voracious praying mantis!
National Geographic has posted a video about the praying mantis, which you might enjoy. It gives a scientific explanation for this behavior, also noting that “a well-fed female mantis is a well-behaved female mantis.”
Anticrepuscular rays are a phenomenon that occurs opposite a rising or setting sun. I first became aware of them on the weekend of autumnal equinox, 2013. After dinner, looking down from Los Alamos across to Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo mountains was something I had never seen before, and it was spectacular! To the west were huge, roiling, golden clouds, remnants of a storm I had driven through earlier. They were also precursor to a new forming storm. But the view to the east was calm. The sky was blue, and soft pink rays seemed to emanate from the middle of the Sangre de Cristos. It was breathtaking. At the time I did not know what I was seeing, but I knew I was fortunate to be seeing it. Camera? It was in the motel.
Anticrepuscular Rays in Albuquerque
Fast forward to Albuquerque, summer 2017. Those of you who read here often know that I have discovered how frequently crepuscular rays occur here. I just have to look for them. As an early riser, I can prepare for what looks like a promising sunrise long before it happens. I watch for it to develop, and have the camera with the right lens handy. One day I had “hit the wall” and overslept until 6:30am. Bright orange light coming through the blinds and curtains awakened me, heralding a colorful sunrise. By the time a sunrise is orange, it is almost over. I had no time to waste. Grabbing the camera, which still had a 100mm lens in place, I ran out. No time to change to a landscape lens, I thought. It should be more or less OK for the typical shot east from my back yard.
Then I turned and looked west. You never know what you might see. This is what I saw. I thought it was pretty, but I did not yet realize what I was looking at.
I went into the front yard to pick up the newspaper, and this is what I saw. Was I kicking myself for not changing the lens before I went out? Yes.
I returned to the back and took another shot looking west. Note how much lighter the sky has become. Total time elapsed from the first sunrise image to this last one? 5 minutes, 6:45am-6:50am.
More in the Future?
Many of you have seen the variety of crepuscular rays I have posted here. Now that I have seen anticrepuscualr rays here, I’m hoping that all it requires is an awareness to begin to see them more often. And, if not, well, I was fortunate to see them for a second time.
29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show, During the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The 29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show begins with a reception October 6 at the Old San Ysidro Church. The show will be open daily, October 7-15, 11am-5pm, except closing at 4pm on Sunday October 15th. The show opens after the morning’s Balloon events, and closes in time for you to make it to the evening’s Balloon events.
I love showing in this venue. The building itself is historic, and part of old New Mexico. The light in autumn is beautiful. A portion of the proceeds from the show go to maintain the structure. The show consists of paintings, sculpture, photographs, textiles, and other arts. It is as varied as New Mexico itself. The show is juried by artists.
This year I am showing three pieces:
The show is free, as is parking. All items are available for purchase.
If you live in the Albuquerque area, or are coming to visit for the Balloon Fiesta, plan to visit the 29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show.
Smoke from a distant fire, in this case, multiple fires in the west, has made its way into New Mexico and Albuquerque. The sky has been hazy for several days. My eyes have burned a bit. I knew the smoke was here, but had not paid too much attention. Until last evening, that is. When I went out to change the water in the hummingbird feeders, I caught a glimpse of the moon rising over the Sandias. The moon seemed huge, but rather than the bright silver I’m used to seeing, it was a muddy red. By the time I got my camera, the moon was already up, but the same color. When I plan to photograph the moon, I generally use a tripod. This wasn’t planned and I didn’t have time. Such is life.
From 7:30pm MDT:
With thoughts for all the people affected by the fires burning in the west, the firefighters, other emergency responders, as well as those affected by Harvey and those facing the threat of Irma.
This old song always comes to mind when fires are burning and smoke is in the air: