Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shine On

Last night we were walking over to our friends Dave and Rose's rig to play a game of Mexican Train when I saw the most beautiful Harvest Moon. Sitting right on the horizon, with just a wisp of clouds across its face, what a sight to behold.

Of course I didn't have my camera with me.

I ran in the rig as quick as I could, but when I came out, it had changed.

Still lovely, but not quite as dramatic.

Thinking along the lines of dramatic,
I started plating with it in Photoshop.

I love the "posterize" effect,
it's an art style I always appreciate.

Then I started playing with
the invert command.
I'm never sure what I'll get,
but that's part of the fun.

Then I started playing
with the colors and saturation
and got this.

Silly time wasting fun, but I sure enjoy it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wow . . .


In looking at the past couple of posts, I realize we're really into sort of vegging around. We know that we'll be going to the ranch in early May, and will probably spend a week or so in Albuquerque/Santa Fe between when we leave here and head north.

But for right now, we seem to be doing a whole lot of nothing.

Sometimes this makes me feel guilty. Like I'm squandering my free time that I dreamed about for so many years when I was getting up every morning and getting to the Post Office around 5 am. Having to get up at that ungodly hour affected my whole outlook on life. Having two days off never seemed enough. I would usually do chores or play on the first day off, then spend most of the second day worrying that I had to go to work the next day.

I dreamed of everything I'd do when I retired.

And now I so often find myself doing nothing. Am I wasting all this precious time?

It's hard to tell. I know I love reading books, especially those about early life in this amazing country. And I certainly enjoy movies, maybe more than I should. Then there's the computer, which I can lose myself in for hours at a time.

And of course there's photography, and the computer time that inevitably follows.

All this, and any time I want I can look up and see the sweet face I love so much across from me.

Hmmmm, maybe I'm doing something, just not what I thought I'd be doing.

And you know what's funny? I sometimes find myself getting up at 5:00am, just like I used to.

But now, it's my choice. And I don't have to hurry and run out the door, I'm free to watch the sun rise.

Or not.

No matter what I'm doing, I love my life.

Oh, and the quails are what I was doing this morning.

I wanted to make sure and include a picture of the female, since we ALWAYS see pictures of the males. Just like in real life, I think they are at least as beautiful as their mates.

Enjoy your day.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

the Joy of Small (and Teapots)

Just a few thoughts.

I love living small. Just like in a stick house, we have our chores and routines, but there's just something about doing it in the rig that feels so right. Maybe it's that we can actually get things completely finished in such a short period of time?

All I know is I find it supremely satisfying.

On another note, I did a really stupid thing the other day. It is usually our routine to fill the tea kettle with water at night, so all we have to do is get up, turn the stove on and soon, we have hot water for coffee. I guess I was even less awake than usual, since I got up, and just turned on the burner under the kettle and, in my early morning stupor, just wandered away.

Now, you might ask, how far could I wander in 200+ square feet? Well, far enough to not be in the immediate vicinity of the stove. So here I am, lying in bed reading, when I hear a tremendous clatter, like someone has thrown a pan across a room . . .

I jump out of bed and find the lid of the kettle across the room, and the tea kettle skittered across the stove top. Boy, did I feel stupid!

And happy that neither of us had been in the path of the flying tea kettle lid . . .

Long story short, the dual bottom of the old kettle is wankered and no longer usable, so we're looking for a new teapot. Not an easy thing in Socorro, where our one and only option is WalMart. So I started looking on the internet, but it is virtually (bad pun) impossible to tell what I'm getting online.

I want a chromed stainless steel pot with a dual bottom. I want it to whistle. I want to be able to fill it from the top and through the spout. I want the opening large enough to clean. And I'd like it to be fairly heavy.

Actually, I want the old one, that we bought at Costco about six years ago, with no markings on it at all. But that won't be happening anytime soon.

So if any of you have any sturdy tea kettle recommendations, could you either shoot me an email or post a comment? We need our morning coffee!

Even so,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Movies I Love

The wind has been up here in New Mexico, so we've been immersing ourselves in some of our favorite films. This has just served to remind me how very much I like Robert Downey Jr.

It's kind of strange with actors and folks in the public life. There are some of them that I can never even figure out how they became famous in the first place. Then there are the ones who just seem to shine from the moment they are born. And it seems that some of them have incredible problems dealing with their life, their fame, their talent, whatever.

Robert Downey Jr. is one of those.

That said, I have loved him since I first saw him in Less Than Zero. Not a great film, but it was so obvious that he just had IT. And as good as he was in that, for me, he truly shines in romantic comedies (which in my opinion, are a lot harder to do well than they get credit for).

The two films we watched this weekend are pretty low key and not really well known, but both are superior and worth a look.

The first is titled Heart and Soul. You've probably never heard of this little film, but it's a real gem. The story is somewhat hard to describe, just suffice it to say that it will leave you with a fine feeling. It also stars Alfre Woodard, Kyra Sedgewick, Charles Grodin, Tom Sizemore, David Paymer and Elizabeth Shue. A fine ensemble cast in a wonderful film,

The second is a true romantic comedy, called Only You. It has everything you could ask for in this type of movie, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Bonnie Hunt, Italy at its finest and a huge dose of chance, romance and that indescribable something that makes a romantic comedy so memorable,

Find either (or both) at your local video store, or get them from Netflix or Amazon. You wont be disappointed.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Take a Look at This!

A reader sent me a link to this story, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Folks in the San Diego area built an owl box some time ago, with a small camera built in. Finally, a barn owl has moved in, laid her eggs and is busy doing her thing. Her mate brings food, she cleans herself, turns the eggs, does all those thing that come naturally.

You can read the story here and watch the live feed of this gorgeous bird here.

It's fascinating.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Back Again


Once again, I've been away for a while.

It's the new camera. I love it and I hate it. I have so much to learn. I've been reading books, playing with the settings, making notes, it's as if I'm in school again.

And that's not necessarily a bad thing, just more work than this lazy old retired woman is used to.

I've also been taking hundreds (maybe thousands) of pictures.

Sometimes I get great results, sometimes total crap.

What a learning curve.

Yesterday, we went out, shooting whatever we could find. It was a pretty wonderful day, sighting wise. While I'm still not thrilled with my control (or lack thereof) of the new camera, with a bit of computer manipulation, I'm getting some interesting stuff.

So I've done a weird little thing with the blog here. I'm actually posting seven separate entries with different photos in each entry. This involved a bit of date manipulation, so if you follow the blog regularly, I hope it isn't too confusing.

Hopefully, this will mean that those of you not interested in my endless photo blogs won't have to suffer the long time and large bandwidth it takes to look at all these shots.

And for those who like to look at my pictures, here's a set of links to the various entries with new pictures

the Cormorants as Art?
the Heron
the Deer
the Egret
the Coyote

So I hope some of you enjoy me efforts.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

the Light . . .

Over and over again, I realize that photography is all about the light.

And everyone says that there is nothing
like the light of New Mexico.

I have to agree

It makes the most mundane subject shine

And the reflections,
what can I say?

It brings out the most amazing hues
in the water.

The mountains shine with glorious tints.
I now understand the phrase
"Purple Mountains Majesty".

The sunsets defy description.

I just finished reading "Land of Enchantment" (which I really can recommend) and a phrase struck so close to home, I copied it so I wouldn't forget it.

"There is something in the air of New Mexico that makes the blood red, the heart beat high and the eyes look upward. Folks don't come here to die, they come to live and they get what they came for"

I couldn't agree more.

Friday, March 19, 2010

the Cormorants as Art??

In taking shots of the cormorants, I accidentally overexposed some of them (as if you needed further proof that I have no idea what I'm doing).

When I got them into the computer, I was ready to throw them away and decided to play around and see what I could get.

Kind of interesting.

I wouldn't call either of these great art,
but I do think
they show another side of photography,
so I wanted to share.

Or maybe I was just bored?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the Cormorants Part 1

I'd never even heard of a cormorant till I came to the Bosque.

Now I find myself intrigued with these strange birds. A group (also known as a flight, a gulp, a rookery, a sunning or a swim) of cormorants pretty much live in one pond of the Bosque and we visit them often.

Last night,
the light was stunning.
It lit these lovelies up
with a rosy golden hue.

I caught a series of this guy landing

Notice that the bird on the right
is less than thrilled
with the arrival.

But finally, he finds his perch

Settling in for the evening

The birds are fascinating. Their shape is kind of awkward, and they seem to have a bit of trouble landing on branches. Once they're on they're all right, but pretty funny to watch in the process.

They are also pretty noisy, making a cow like mooing sound.

This is the final shot.

The New Mexico sunset
gave the shrubbery this deep
amethyst color.

Sorry to repeat myself,
but I love it here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the Egret

This egret seems to have just shown up in the last week or so. I've been trying to get a good shot of him, but he's so darned white, my pictures of him are almost completely blown out.

These shots are much less than perfect,
but at least I seem to be
on the right road.

I'm also having a time getting him
as sharp as I'd like.
He's just so gorgeous,
I'll keep trying.

This is a wide of the previous shot.
The color of the water
is pretty spectacular.
It seems to change by the minute.
In this shot,
I bumped up the saturation just a bit
and look what happened!

One more shot of him flying.
Since I wasn't able to get near enough
for a close up, I decided to settle for these.
I love how white he is against the brush.

Finally, he settled down
and I got a bit nearer,
but that elusive close up
is still somewhere in the future.

Hopefully, he'll stay around for a while
and let me get the shot.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

the deer

We see deer all over the area and I rarely take pictures of them, but every once in a while, I think they make for a pretty interesting shot.

Like this.

As always,
you can click on any photo
for a larger version.

I guess you're not supposed to take pictures of animals as they're walking away, but the light this afternoon was so great, I took the shot anyway.

They're draining may of the ponds here at the Bosque, so lots of the water is less than twelve inches deep. Just before she took off, she turned for one last look.

It seems like every day presents
new opportunities for pictures.

Now if I can just learn to operate
the camera.

Monday, March 15, 2010

the Heron

I keep saying I wont take any more pictures of the herons, but I think they're just so darned beautiful, I can't help myself.

This afternoon,
this guy let is get really close,
so I was able to get this shot.

Then he decided to show off
for the camera.

When he landed for the final time, he ruffled his feathers. I guess he was trying to clean himself, or maybe make himself look larger as a guard against predators?

Anyhow, I liked the look.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

the Coyote

These are pretty long shots, but both Terry and I thought it was kind of cool.

In driving around the outer edge of the Bosque, there's a huge field leading to the mountains and we often see flocks of geese off in the distance.

Terry noticed a dark shape in the field and sure enough, there was a coyote, trying to sneak up on the flock. I wasn't quick enough for a shot as he was lurking, but I did get a couple of shots as he was regretting his lost lunch (look off to the far right of the shot).

Then he just sort of stood and watched them fly away.

It's such a treat
to be here
have all this nature
so close and available.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Just One Shot

A truly beautiful day today

Friday, March 12, 2010

Catching Up

Wow, it's been ten days since I posted, where does the time go?

No, really, where does the time go?

I say that because today is our 40th anniversary. Is that even possible?

I didn't think so.

So what's been happening here at the Bosque?

Well, I decided that I really don't know what I'm doing with the new camera, so I've been buckling down with the manual and the book Canon EOS 7D for Dummies, which have helped me to understand that I really don't know what I'm doing. I had been trying all sorts of settings, and sometimes they would work and other times not.

So like a penitent student, I erased all the settings I've been trying and have started all over from square one.

Let's see how this works out.

Also this week saw the Socorro Library Book Sale. We love the Socorro Library, really spectacular for such a small town. Every couple of months they have a book sale, and we've always found treasures (not that we need more books mind you). But I have a particular fondness for small press, local history books, and this sale never disappoints.

This time I found an amazing little volume titled Land of Enchantment. This is the story of a woman who traveled the Santa Fe Trail several times during the westward expansion. Her story was dictated to her daughter in law, and I am enthralled. I've read a ton of western history books, but this one is really different. This woman lived this story and her reminiscences are a delight to read. She includes all the tiny details missing from so many similar stories, it's like she is sitting right across from you telling you about her life.

I also picked up several other books about women in the early west, so I feel a serious reading jag approaching.

And hopefully I'll get a bit better about updating the blog.

In the meantime,