More Floral Whimsies

These floral whimsies are creations made on a phone. The first step is photographing a flower. After that it is pure fun seeing what I can make of it on a phone.

Fire Breathers was created from a sunflower. It seemed so appropriate in this summer of drought and wildfires.

Floral whimsies

Women and Children was created from a cosmos bloom.

Floral whimsies

I don’t know how long this obsession with whimsies will last, but I have learned a lot about photo editing on a phone. I think that will helpful when I am taking ‘regular’ photographs with a phone camera.

I hope you find them interesting.

Floral Whimsies

I created these floral whimsies from photographs of flowers in my garden using a cell phone camera. Many of you know I have used a variety of digital cameras to photograph flowers for almost two decades. However, I really did not use a cell phone camera to do that until I went back to FaceBook in 2020. The images were so easy to post there directly from the cell phone. I did basic editing on the phone and was okay with that.

Not until July 2021 did I realize that I had the technology on the phone to do a little more than basic editing. Once I stumbled into the capability, I have spent much of July just seeing what it was possible to do on a cell phone. These floral whimsies are one result.

Here are two composites, one in black and white and one in color, of photographs I have had fun creating this July of 2021.

floral whimsies
Floral Whimsies in Color

The color images, starting at top left and moving around clockwise are:
Shocked, Shocked I Say
What Happens in Vegas…
Sun Bird
Busy Bees
Two Frogs, a Cat, and Darth Vader (color)
Proud Parents

floral whimsies
Floral Whimsies in Black and White and one with Selective Color

The black and white images, starting at top left and moving around clockwise are:
A Penny for Your Thoughts
Old Woman and Face Mask
My, What Big Eyes You Have
Two Frogs, a Cat, and Darth Vader (black and white)
Out of Darkness
Fortune Tellers

Larger versions of individual images may be seen at my portfolio site.

July Jewels

sunflower

As July 2019 comes to an end, I want to share a few images from the last few days. The flowers here will last through green chile season, which is about to begin. Colorful skies do not occur every day, but they occur frequently! Monsoon season will be with us into September, although thunderstorms may – or may not – be less frequent.

Colorful skies are always welcome.

sunrise
Sunrise July 28, 2019

My love of the Old Garden Rose ‘Mermaid’ is pretty well known. 🙂

It is also well known that sunflowers are among my favorites in late summer/autumn. I did not plant sunflowers this year – too many distractions – but volunteers are appearing. This one is from a cloudy morning when a light mist was falling.

Sunflower
Sunflower in Morning Mist

This sunflower is a volunteer from one of the hybrid sunflowers I have grown in other years. Makes me a little sorry I did not make time to plant more this year…

sunflower
Sunflower

Just as in previous years, crab spiders seem to gravitate to this particular kind of sunflower. Although tiny and kind of cute, these little guys are vicious. From other years I have images of them eating bees they have killed.

sunflower crab spider
Crab Spider on Sunflower

This is a closeup of the crab spider.

Crab Spider
Crab Spider Closeup

Thanks for visiting my world in late July.

Feeling Winter

Feeling Winter

Feeling winter? The weather in Albuquerque is still that beautiful autumn weather those of us who live here love so much. But, a change – hopefully brief – is coming. You know, the cold wind and significant drop in temperature. We know we are very lucky here. Even in the midst of true Winter, we will have sunny and often warm days. But I tend to turn inward in winter. I can feel winter coming.

feeling winter
New Mexico Autumn (Click to Enlarge)

Others’ Thoughts on Feeling Winter

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“But if I was still alive, I’d have a damned fine day despite the rain, despite the depression, think of something you like doing and do it!…As for me, if I was still alive, I’d have a great cup of coffee, a nice breakfast, then I’d take a drive, walk around, smoke a cigar, eye the pretty ladies…hmmm, nice lunch, yes sir! Read a good book and listen to music, maybe hang out with friends, watch some baseball on TV, love good conversation…and maybe end the night with a little romance. You know what I mean? Live, live everyday, every night, then when you get over here on the ghosty side, you’ll say like me, hey, I did pretty damned good. I hardly moped around at all. I enjoyed my precious human life to the full! Yes sir, I sucked the marrow outta them ribs! ~ Jim Stallings, If I Was Still Alive

For me, I have stockpiled what seem like endless photographs I can edit, maybe composite, play with through the cold and dark days of winter. And before Winter truly sets in, I have more photography to get done.

Finally, make the most of your day!

Hover Fly Update

Hover Fly

Hover Fly Update

Hover Fly update with commentary of Baldo Villegas, who is now retired but former State Entomologist for California. I had written him last week, but was not sure I had the correct email. Yesterday afternoon I received his response. As all of his responses, this one is full of information and also interesting and easy to understand. Baldo helps everyone! Thank you, Baldo!

The insect in the picture is a Syrphid fly, not a wasp but a mimic. These flies belong to the large family of flies called Syrphidae and are known by the common names Hover Flies or Flower Flies. Most have warning coloration resembling that of wasps or bees. In fact there is one species that is commonly called a drone fly as it looks just like a male honey bee. Most syrphid flies are predators of soft bodied insects such as aphids. A few are pests of bulbs and such and others have interesting lifecycles and are rather interesting.

Syrphid flies will visit flowers for nectar and pollen in order to help in egg production. The nectar is for the energy that they consume hovering around aphid infested plants.

Baldo’s tagline in his email is “Love Bugs, Roses and Cats …. even if the cats don’t give a hoot.” 🙂

This gives me a chance to repost the photo:

Hover Fly
Hover Fly on Mexican Sunflower. Note the specialized “suctorial proboscis.”

Pollen Wasp: No, Just a Hoverfly

Hover Fly

Pollen Wasp: No, Just a Hoverfly

Pollen wasp is something I had not known about until a few days ago. Yet, pollinators are something we talk about frequently, because of their vital importance to crops and virtually all plants on earth. I, and neighbors, try to include flowers that will attract pollinators. While we tend to think about the beauty of the the flowers, we talk less about the beauty of our pollinating friends. Yet, up close and personal, they can be beautiful and interesting.

pollen wasp hoverfly
(Pollen Wasp): Hoverfly on Mexican Sunflower. Note the specialized “suctorial proboscis.”

Regular readers and friends know that I have grown a variety of sunflowers for years. Years ago in Arizona I grew Tithonia rotundiflora (“Mexican sunflower”). It is in the same Family, Asteraceae, as our typical sunflowers. However, the genus is Tithonia rather than Helianthus. When I saw seeds in the grocery store, I thought maybe it would be fun here. So, I decided to try it. It is a fabulous plant for Albuquerque!

pollinators
Tithonia rotundiflora, “Mexican sunflower”

The other day I was out photographing the flowers. I saw a wasp on the tithonia. While I considered it a yellow jacket, its behavior seemed odd for a wasp. It almost seemed to be making love to the flower. So I kept photographing it, hoping I could understand what was going on. When I looked at the images on the computer, I saw what appeared to be a very odd mouth part. As it turns out, it is a very specialized mouth part, a “suctorial proboscis.” (These wasps – this isn’t one) are solitary vegetarians, sucking nectar and pollen from flower tubules.) As it turns out, what I took to be a wasp is, in reality, a hoverfly with also very specialized suctorial proboscis. Example here: hoverfly

The joy of photography: seeing and learning new and different things, without even trying! Last week I did not know what a pollen wasp was. Now I know what it is, and this is not one. It is a hoverfly. Now I know they also have these very specialized suctorial probosci. This week I am glad this one chose to visit my garden and allowed me to photograph it! And thanks to Anita Storino for the updated information.

First Day of Autumn 2017

autumn
autumn
Autumn

First Day of Autumn 2017

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:

autumn sunrise
Sunrise Looking WEST

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.

autumn
Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia)

Other flowers that bloom well up until frost are cosmos. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Pollinators like cosmos also.

Autumn
Fall Cosmos

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.”

I’m going out to enjoy it now, but with sun protective clothes and hat. 🙂 Wishing you a beautiful day, too.

29th Annual Corrales Fine Arts Show

Corrales fine arts show

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.

Corrales fine arts show
Old San Ysidro Church, Corrales

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:

Corrales fine arts show
Fruit of Ancient Myths
Corrales fine arts show
Awakening
Corrales fine arts show
Emerged

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.

Sunflowers of August

colorful sunflower

Sunflowers of August

Sunflowers go with August in the same way that the smell of roasting chile does, at least if you live in New Mexico. I could have had blooms a bit earlier. However, I waited to put out the seeds until the pansies from last fall finally faded with the heat. In another month it will be time to plant pansies again. By then, these will have finished blooming and the birds will have consumed the seeds. Monsoon rains also go with August, and this afternoon I got 1.5 inches of rain in about an hour. It was actually a very pleasant rain, although the Weather Service issued flash flood warnings. This monsoon season, so far, 5.5+ inches of rain have fallen at my house. The flowers are happy.

sunflowers buds
Sunflower Buds
sunflowers
Sunflower Takes Flight
colorful sunflowers
Colorful Sunflower
sunflowers after rain
After an Afternoon Rain

Monsoon Light

monsoon light

Monsoon Light

Monsoon light makes for some remarkable skies here in the high desert. The rain is always welcome. That is especially true this year, which has been very dry to this point. Monsoon season seems to have finally arrived, with heavy rain in some parts of Albuquerque two nights ago and an inch of rain at my house last night. Photographer friends here in Albuquerque remember the monsoon skies of 2009. 2016 may be remembered for its rainbows. Albuquerque has a reputation of sorts for its rainbows, especially the double ones. This has been a great year for rainbows!

Two nights ago I photographed a striking, although single, rainbow. I knew it would develop because of the special monsoon light that appeared as the clouds cleared from the west, with heavy clouds to the east. Anyone who has been here for any length of time and has watched the skies at all knows what this looks like.

monsoon light
Goldfinch Lit Against a Dark Monsoon Sky

7:17pm, MDT. Sun breaking through storm clouds to the west lit this little goldfinch and the branches of a neighbor’s tree dead from the prolonged drought. Heavy, dark clouds covered the mountains to the east. This is the set-up for a rainbow here in Albuquerque. The little spots are not dust on the sensor, but light reflecting off very light drizzle falling at the time.

7:19pm, MDT. A very faint rainbow appeared.

By 7:25pm MDT a magnificent, full arc rainbow had completely developed, persisting for some time.

monsoon light
Rainbow and Sunflowers

I chose this particular evening to focus on the interplay of the monsoon light with things I enjoy in my yard. The large sunflowers are almost ripe with seeds for the birds. This image seems to speak to people with a variety of different beliefs about the cycle of life, with the fading sunflowers that will soon provide nourishment for the birds, and the rainbow, a symbol of hope for people of many different beliefs.

Monsoon light – just one more reason I love living in the high desert of New Mexico.