Daddy arrived xmas eve in Fort Meyers - his red-eye was late arriving into Minneapolis but fortunately they either held or the connecting flight was late (it was showing up as on time on the internet) so he made it not too late into FL. Fortunately he left before the big snow dumped and all was shut down. It was perhaps the warmest day so far of our trip here and we decided to head out for a little walk through the slough after lunch. This is Six Mile Cypress Slough (as I recall it named). It is a wonderful little park with boardwalk throughout. Unfortunately the kids weren't as entranced - despite seeing gator, turtles, huge crickets, a snake, lizards, and plenty of cool birds. I realized after the fact that it was probably due to the fact that it was a boardwalk - and that there were no sticks for them to pick up and play with as they walked. Ah well. The grown ups all enjoyed the walk. Surprisingly un-buggy too - apparently the water is filled with little fish that eat mosquito larvae - excellent!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Here's the gator in the pond the day after A caught the fish. You can see a fish in his mouth - he had it there in his mouth - with a little periodic chewing going on - for quite a while to my surprise.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Doesn't this look like a lovely bucolic scene? Grandad bought the boys new fishing rods and they were trying out casting in the retaining pond in the back yard. Gdad had apparently tried them out already and never caught anything. But A has really good fishing *luck* and snagged this good sized bass. We apparently weren't allowed to keep him and dad had trouble getting the hook out of him but he was released back into the "wild". Today A spotted a gator in the same pond with a large fish in his mouth. We wonder if it was the same fish... I was surprised how long the gator had the chewed on fish in its mouth. I assumed it would be more like a shark and gulp it down but I guess maybe they don't have to worry about fending off others and so don't gulp their food? He kept it around long enough for me to check him out from the kids' upstairs aerie and then take my camera and go snap off a couple shots. I think my approach scared off the vulture that was pond side for a while and the gator got annoyed with me and retreated back into the depths. I was missing my telephoto lens. Might need to have P bring it out for me when he comes - there is some good wild life around here esp some birds like sandhill cranes - and gators of course.
Another action shot that cracks me up. The didn't do too much jumping in (a bit surprising) as they spent most of their time in supersoaker wars. I hope to get some more fun pool shots as the weeks go on and the cousins arrive to join them in the pool. We might have to take a break for a few days as a cold front has moved in - we'll see if the kids agree...
Meet Rascal. He's about 1 1/2 years old and a Chinese Crested Powderpuff. He is a great little dog. This photo cracks me up - he was very excited by the kids splashing in the pool. He has a lovely temperament and is also a great lap dog.
The boys and I had a couple hour layover in Atlanta on our way to FL for the holidays. Turns out it was the day all the service men and women in basic training were heading home for 2 weeks break. The airport was filled with hundreds of them in all directions. I understood that they were all dropped off super early despite some of them not having flights until evening. Many were using their electronic devices like this guy. I enjoyed watching the morning light up the sky outside.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
This was the most awesome pumpkin (and there are quite a few really cool ones) we saw on our annual crazy Halloween festivities. We had 9 friends over for dinner (I fed the kids in a whole separate room from adults for the first time!) and then trick-or-treating on the local Halloween street. I have a bunch more photos over in my fotki account (if interested email me). The people go all out and turn their garages into spooky environments, one garage was a place to have a light saber duel with a good guy or bad guy, one place always has characters dressed up in a recent popular animated movie - this year Penguins of Madagascar, some people project movies like Frankenstein on their windows or on impromptu screens. We ran into at least 10 other kids we knew and missed some others. We didn't hit every house but the least # of candies any of the kids came back with was 75 and one kid had over 100 pieces of candy.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
A snap of Uncle C. looking out our window at Q. whose reflection you see in the bottom of the photo taking this pic.
At the end of the dock we got to enjoy watching otters dine on discarded fish scraps.
We went on a cruise with Archipelago Cruises from about 10 - 3 one day. It was an excellent boat that the proprietors lived on. They had an interesting story - they had been shrimpers for many years until there wasn't much of a market/catch left and then they crafted this new site seeing venture instead. They take a group of up to about 20 people out to the Broken Island group of islands - islands that are inhabited almost exclusively by sea lions, otters, eagles, whales etc. It was a foggy day - as all our days in Ucluelet were. That is what happens on the west coast... Here is a snap of some folks processing some thresher (?) sharks. The guy was showing off for us. We were heading out of the Ucluelet harbor. Apparently there used to be a huge fishing fleet here which was able to support several gas stations etc. Now there is just one gas station left - it was adjacent to where we stayed which was actually rather nice as there were always boats coming and going to enjoy watching.
Here is a shot of a humpback out toward one of the many many Broken Islands. We watched him for a while. There were a couple other whale watching boats doing the same thing. The nice thing about being in and around the islands is that the water is remarkably calm.
Down he goes. It was fun to watch the water pattern coming off his flukes and swirling in the water afterwards - he left behind a smooth patch on the water.
A sea lion colony - they were entertaining to watch - these bulls were busy scratching themselves - in tandem.
How often do you get to wander wherever you want and climb around on the boat? The kids had great fun. We all had good binoculars to use and thick blankets. We went with the preordered gourmet lunch option which was quite yummy.
This was when we scrambled down off the path near the Lighthouse at the Wild Pacific Trail to explore some tidepools. It was a good enough hike that we did it twice! Photos long and short.
I'm pretty happy with this shot. The daily challenge (a couple days late as per usual for me these days) was "path". This is the path to the top of a hill at Twin Peaks - it might be the highest point you can get to in the city proper. It is extremely windy up there - I have a couple shots that were blurry from the gusting wind! I was alone for a while but was happy to see this guy come along and I hustled down to where he would appear to be near the top. This was shot with my wide angle lens and converted to black and white with my software Adobe Elements 6 using the "vivid landscape" setting - which darkens up blue sky nicely for added contrast in this kind of a shot.
I also submitted this photo for Digital Photo School's weekly assignment "contrast" and ended up runner up! I was pretty stoked about that since it is a moderated forum and usually there are some very good photos submitted. My photo linked back to my flickr account and I got a lot of visits out of it and a few more people who made me a "contact". I've stumbled on a few intriguing photographers thru these DPS assignments and made "contacts" of them myself.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
A quick snap on the way back to the car after his first game. On the walk to the field A. asked me "why am I doing this?" which I found exasperating as he agreed (wanted) to play back when we signed him up a few months ago. His dad asked him how it went today - he said "it was fun!". He is apparently happy to be playing. They had an hour of practice followed by a game that went just shy of 2 hours. A bit boring IMO but guess not for him. Unfortunately Q didn't have as good a first game in his league. This is A's first time playing baseball in a league.
trying out blogging direct from my photo page instead of my usual direct upload. I am quite intrigued by Fort Baker - the fort in the Presidio that rests under the Golden Gate Bridge. It is no long open daily. I also didn't have either a sweater or tripod with me as this was not a planned visit but I got a few good pics before retreating to the warmth of my car and will head back another day for more. This was my submission for photochallenge.org "diptych" challenge. I shot it with my 10-22mm and 70-200mm lenses and had to crack open the software book to figure out how to make the diptych.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
DH & I loved The Bug Zoo even more than the kids did! Our tour guide Robin was fantastic and how often do you get to hold a scorpion?
We spent a couple of hours kayaking on the Gorge. A was a good kayak partner and we made it upstream and also downstream to the edge of the harbour so we had a nice view of The Empress and Parliament.
This was our view after we pulled our kayaks out of the water. Not a bad way to end a day.
Not a stunning image but Q was always on C if he could help it. I thought it was pretty sweet (and felt a bit sorry for C at times having Q hanging off him always!).
For links to the photos in the short album or long album click away :-)
Thursday, September 03, 2009
This fuzzy lady was in one of the fields on the farm we stayed at on Orcas Island in the San Juans.
A and I walked down to the beach at the farm shortly after 7 a.m. It was amazing to see how glass smooth the water is - after all this is ocean water.
It was low tide and there were plenty of orange and purple sea stars to be seen. I love tidepooling and especially the showy stars - perhaps because I never had the opportunity until I was an adult. It will be interesting to see if my kids seek them out when they grow up.
Before we left we grabbed some lunch and headed to the highest point on the mountain - our group is at the picnic table below. It was a hazy day but you could still see a classic cone volcano in the distance (Mt Baker?). Orcas was only one night but a lovely island worth a longer visit some day. For more photos see long or short.
A couple of nights ago I decided to grab the camera and get shooting again. Q was in the tub playing and I added my flash and manually dialed it down and bounced it off the left wall. I posted these that eve to flickr. The next day was my highest viewing ever at 1182 views of my photos and/or site. Not sure why. I generally run more like 150-200 views in a day altho there is a lot of swing depending on whether or not I've been posting. Who views the photos and why? I had 3 bubble photos and they got around 50 views each so they didn't make up the total by a long shot. I just find it curious. I have a contact Sheila from Manilla who takes marvelous photos - all the more amazing since she didn't get going until Dec '08. She has a ton of people who follow her and post comments with big images and then real comments by real friends of hers get lost in the dross. I know it annoys her at times. That's flickr for you. I have made some flickr friends I enjoy very much and I always enjoy hearing from them.
geez - just checked out my fotki account. Turns out on 8/15 I had 8 visitors - and somehow they managed to view 20,151 photos! That somehow just seems like 1 person viewed hours worth of photos or something. Too weird.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Unfortunately we forgot that we were in bear country. Uncle C. spotted a bear ambling down the hill away from our car in the a.m. - oops! We had left our camping tub out on the ground. There really wasn't much in it besides some tea bags, mosquito repellant, dish soap, and of course things like this aluminum foil and dishes. The bear destroyed the box and punctured the repellant and dish soap but we got out of it with minimal damage all told. Guess we should have taken those bear warnings seriously! We went to a long (but good) ranger talk about bears just 2 nights before at Jedediah Smith Park. Doh.
After Gold Beach we headed up for our last night of camping. We stayed at Eel Creek Campground if I recall correctly. We had actually stayed there on a previous visit. It doesn't have terribly much to recommend it other than lack of RVs and proximity to the dunes at Oregon Sand Dune National Rec Area . You can see in the photo above the whipping wind we encountered once we crested our first dune a few short meters from our campsite in the evening. The dunes reach for well over a mile at this location before you hit the ocean.
Here you get a little sense of just how far off the ocean is. We have never been brave enough (or foolhardy enough?) to try to make it all the way out to the ocean. You'd need to be fairly fit too - some of the sand is pretty hard work to cross! Some dunes reach 500' in height.
Here is a pic snapped on the beach near the ocean - but it could easily be on the dunes.
The next day we took a dune buggy ride. This really is a must. It was one of the funnest things I have done - a half-hour of action packed adventure. We thought we might try renting our own little ATVs afterwards but decided against it - it would have just been so tame in comparison!
A last look at the Oregon coast line before we headed inland to Portland to spend time visiting with Nanma and cousins.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I am quite bad about posting about our trips. I spend so long getting photos sorted out and uploaded to my fotki account that I am usually not up for a trip report afterwards. So I plan to be better and upload a few photos from each major place we visited in a couple entries. I'll start with the California photos since that was the first 3 days of our trip. 2 nights in Humbolt Redwood SP camping in the Burlington campground. Then a night up at the top of the state at Jedediah Smith SP. Both are great parks and both include redwoods as well as nifty swimming holes in the rivers that run through them. For more photos visit either the long or short album.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Been doing some clean up in anticipation of my brother and sister-in-law's visit. She is one of those housewives that actually cleans and has a nice home. I am pretty much the antithesis. I do manage to pick up enough for a cleaner to sweep through once every two weeks. Every now and then I imagine a fire sweeping through so I can start again w/out all the crap. I could be more ruthless about getting rid of stuff... but one day I might want it... And if it was all gone how would my youngest make his recycled crap sculptures (that we are never allowed to get rid of?). Oh - maybe that would be a good thing... I put the kids (willingly) to work yesterday scrubbing down the walls etc. I am always amazed that food stains can end up on the wall above my head. How does that happen?! A. complained today that his arm was sore - from all the scrubbing he figures. My hubbie called it "elbow grease". I just kept thinking "wipe on" "wipe off" from Karate Kid. The trash can he cleaned hasn't looked this clean in 4 or more years. Q. helped me clean off the ladder to their loft bed this morning. Who knew we could get that grime off?! Cool. Then was talking to my brother on the phone this afternoon thinking I was just about done when I happened to gaze up. Darn! Haven't vacuumed the molding and ceilings in a while apparently. Did that this afternoon. Then a little bit more wiping off of finger prints on doors etc. The place isn't actually tidy but it IS cleaner than it used to be. And I have also done something like 10 loads of laundry in 2 days. A. is begging for his own bedroom (which means a different house/city). Q. is begging to not have that happen - unless his brother stays sleeping in the same room and they use the 2nd room for toys - then he is all for it. Hubbie wants a camper. No place for that here either. But I like SF. Mostly.
Back has been bad this week which interfered with sleeping and walking but sitting was mostly OK except when my stomach was bothering me. Didn't help.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Our pet crayfish (refugee from 3rd grade class explorations) likes to climb. We were warned (by the Petco guy when I went in to buy him a tank). This morning there was an empty tank sitting on the floor. Doh! Where was crayfish? We all searched. I probably logged a good 1/2 hour peering under furniture with a flashlight. We were wondering if we'd have to wait until we smelled his decaying body before we located him. We were pretty sure he needed to be in the water. How long can they live outside water? No one knew. He had been really active last night so I sort of suspect he made his escape then. Daddy finally headed off to the office. "I found crayfish!" he shouted. Crayfish had made it down all the stairs and was at the bottom. We actually had to get some tweezers to pry his claw out of the carpet fibers - he wasn't interested in being recaptured. He seems to still be alive. You got to admire his fortitude. He fell a good 1' onto a wood floor. Scampered across the wood floor, headed down a long/high flight of carpeted stairs. I am curious enough that maybe some other day I'll put him down on the floor (or have A do it since I am not a big fan of picking him up) and watch him go. Maybe.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
I've spent a few hours now photographing some architecture for a couple of contractor friends for use for their websites. Funny enough they barely seem to look at the photos. The one above was the contractor's own office that I helped him design and get permitted. He is more responsible for the over all look than I am or at least his subs are - they used reclaimed fir for the wood and he has a tile guy he lets go crazy but my stuff is in there - primarily in planning form but also in arrangement of the write boards (also salvaged stuff). I'm happy to help out and look forward to seeing the final website design.
These two were for another contractor friend - a cafe he designed. He was especially proud of the lighting as he custom made them (from salvaged materials). I originally shot this cafe mid-morning. Blah. He wanted me back in the evening and it was SOOO worth it to get it at twilight.