Wednesday, March 31, 2010

NZD 12192009

Muscle Beach

I was amazed by the large mounds of these on the beach as we came back from kayaking.  These were underwater when we left.

I like that this shot catches multiples sizes to add interest.  I like the curvature of the lines on the shells to define each one.  I like the blue, black and gold with just a few hints of red and white.  I like how there is a hint of lines or rows that the muscles formed, but then again curves and completely random areas.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A New Approach to Gardening – For Me

I have discovered something this spring I thought I would share with all my right brained friends out there.  Maybe you already knew this and can suggest more to take this a step further. 

I’ve always loved the creation part of any project – you know – dream, design, envision, etc.  I am not really good with the maintenance part of things.  Yet I do realize that nothing gets accomplished if that’s my way of life! 

Because of this, I have generally been an on again off again gardener.  If the creation bug hits, I’m all over designing and ride the wave of energy for installation and just forget about maintenance!  What I discovered the last two weeks is that if I do not plan the gardening and create as I purchase and plant, I suddenly have made gardening a bit of an art media for me!

It started with sending James to Lowe’s and asking him to pick out a three flats of annuals.  He brought home three flats of petunias – two purple and one white – and then one of dwarf yellow and red marigolds.  I had a space to fill and only so much to work with, so I started creating organic shapes and curves on the fly.  The next week there were two more flats of pink petunias and one of snapdragons.  There will be more next week, but here’s it so far…image Part of the “beauty” is my lack of maintenance also adds areas open to this creation.  For example, one “should” separate irises every 2-3 years otherwise they crowd themselves to oblivion.  I know this - do I do anything about it????  So I started painting in that void with another half flat of marigolds to counter with the first in the far corner in the picture above.  image What intrigues me is that this could be a dynamic thing – a blank sheet of paper each year that changes size and shape.  My short attention span has a chance not to get bored with this!

Now Raven and Shadow have taken up their own style of gardening in the back yard this spring as well.  Has anyone seen a new gardening style that attempts to mimic the Grand Canyon with holes, caverns and ditches????image Shadow typically only would dig to bury a rawhide or to dig it up.  In any case, these were shallow, even discrete holes.  Raven on the other hand LOVES to dig.  She goes until she finds cool dirt spreads it about and lies down in it.  Then Shadow is simply fascinated by the new smells so deep in the ground and opens up the hole – you can see where he took the bricks out below – but there’s Raven starting a new hole!  Yee Haw!image Fortunately they are labs who clean up easily.  They took to the couch immediately that night – no room for me, so I’d am left to get some weaving done (Oh darn!)image I did get one more wedge finished!image

NZD 12192009


The tide was going out and the parents were heading across this inlet to search for more food.  The chicks were not so sure about being left behind – especially with so many people who had come to cross while the tide was out.

I like having the complete family (even if it is an even number!) and the parents looking in opposite directions.  It speaks of a story.  The deep sleek black of them and the fuzzy gray of the chicks.  I also love the flash of orange.  I like the turn of the green inlet going back and forth twice.  I like the change of the sand from the soft foreground to the rocky background.


Monday, March 29, 2010

NZD 12192009

Mist in Abel Tazman

We were on our way back from a day of wet kayaking.  The rain and mist came in cells and this was another moving across the land.  After being so close to the shore in the kayak it was quite amazing to get out to sea and gain some perspective.

I again love the layers of mountains and the drama of the mist.  I love the small bits of light that bring out the texture of the mountains.  I love the the size of the mountains against the sailboat on the sea.  I like how it is basically grayscale except for the bits of green to remind me that this picture is in color!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

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Is it or is it not flax???

I love the differences in colors in this.  There are so many bright and dark colors along with the expected green.  I like the layers and the depth, the different degrees of focus and the raindrops on the leaves.image

Saturday, March 27, 2010

NZD 12182009


I must be hungry…

I love the number of values of the red and the occasional green stem to break it all up.  I love the gleam of the highlights that defines the curves and shape of the fruit.  Oh to wait until June for these to come…image

Friday, March 26, 2010

NZD 12182009


I was intrigued by the orderly rows of vines as we drove down the road in this one.  So straight and regular compared the chaos of the clouds and the rolling of the mountains in the distance.  I love the  that the mountains are not just one shade of green.  I know it’s because of deforestation, but I like the texture visually.  I also like the periodic signs of man in the buildings and the trees.  Nature and man cannot ignore one another – and can live together beautifully!image

Thursday, March 25, 2010

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Cook’s Straight

Crossing from the North to the South Island takes about 3 hours.  I am not one who handles the sea very well, so we found our seats and I settled in.  James went up on deck.  I glad he did so I could see his pictures.

I love the layers of the land and how the one closest is the shadow of the cloud and the those further back are in the midst leaving the one in the middle to be brought out.  I like how the sea and the clouds remain straight to frame in the land to draw my eye in there.  I like the promise of sunlight on the tops of the cloud and slightly on the sea.image

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

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This succulent was one of three that graced our table at lunch this day.  It’s only about as big as the palm of your hand in all, and this portion is likely about half of it.

I like the softness of the shapes and the curves of the edges.  I like the number of colors from yellow to green to blue.  Maybe three is even a hint of orange at the very edge.  I like the slight fuzziness un the top half from the sun highlights and the distance – almost like the petal are opening and the movement causes the fuzziness.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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The Tide is Out

I am not accustomed to such a dramatic change when the tide goes out.  I cannot even find the sea in this picture, but I do find the "channels” it has left behind.  I like the waves in the sand and how the wisps of clouds try to follow the waves.  I like the rocks that bring in texture and the light gleaming to bring out those rocks.   I also like that the horizon is still defined by land.  It gives me something to look at far in the distance.image

Monday, March 22, 2010

NZD 12182009

Grape Leaves

These vineyards were set up such that the vines were trellised up at least 7 feet in the air and then branches would reach across the rows to form a canopy.  It was quite magical in a way.  I loved going underneath.  It reminded me of being 4 years old when I would crawl under my father’s grapevines to pull out clusters of grapes – except this time the cave was much larger and the floor much cleaner!

I like the intense greens, the details of the leaves and the light shining through from the top to show even more texture of the leaf.  I like the hint of the vines coming up in rows in the background.image

Sunday, March 21, 2010

NZD 12182009

Black Cherries

What’s not to like about cherries???  There are many more cherries in the original picture.  In fact as a whole, it was the one that caught my eye out of all the ones I took.  Then I started cropping and cropping until I came into just these 5.  I like the tight grouping and the intensity and range of values of the reds.  I love the shine of cherries against the flat of the leaves.  I even found my reflection in the foremost cherry when I really looked and used my imagination.  I also like the sunshine coming in to touch just a bit.  Oh it’s a few months before we’ll see these here….image

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Colors on our Walk in SC

I have seen many colors this month for Sue at Life Looms Large, but I decided this time to give you what is growing here locally while I walked Shadow and Raven this morning.  You can tell things are looking up here if I can find color just any ol’ place!  What a great thing on the first day of Spring (and a high of 75!)

Little flowers can be found like these in the cemetery….image Here are the violas at Raven’s feet…imagethe vinca is about five times bigger….imageDaffodils may be found in plenty on a sunny corner…image Here’s a star magnolia showing off with another set of daffsimage And then here are the tassels starting on the maple tree with the Bradford pear in bloom behind and a unidentified bush starting to bloom in yellow.image It’s not forsythia, because that starts with blooms before the leaves like this…image Oh I want to share one more.  This guy wasn’t on our walk – thankfully – can you imagine 180 pounds of bird dogs on the end of leashes with him around????  He was actually in a parking lot near a back road I take on my way home from work.  Don’t worry I’m sure he knows the way home…  image

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Flower in the Forest

While I have the digital macro on the camera, one still fights the wind moving the branches of a bush or stem of a flower.  I was drawn to this purple flower in the sea of green of this wildlife sanctuary.  I took quite a few pictures waiting for the wind to stop the swaying.  I did get a few that show good detail of the flower.  Still in reviewing them all, this one is the what was chosen – the blurred moving one with the flower moving off camera. 

I like it for the light coming down strong from above, but then through the petal tot he point of washing the color out.  Even the green of some other plant is highlighted and backlit in the background.  I like the soft curl of the petals with the hard lines of the stamen.  (Is stamen right?  I really should look that up!)  I like the BIG flower in the foreground with all the background lost in burst of color.


Friday, March 19, 2010

NZD 12172009

Intertwining Leaves
I apologize that I don’t remember what plant this is.  It was leaves of a vine-like plant that grew mostly at the foot of trees.  I like the many different lines going in all sorts of directions, I like the regular bumpy texture that follows the outline, and I like the layers of depth.   Despite all the “chaos”, I think the cool green brings calm.image

Thursday, March 18, 2010

NZD 12172009

The fill light is a bit bright in this one and with a more advanced software I could probably do something about it.  I like it anyway.  The texture of his skin, the shadow on his head and the size of this foot relative to his head.  I think he could readily be made into a cartoon character, but has too much dignity in person.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NZD 12172009

Fern Leaf Unfolding

Something green for St. Patty's day.  I like how the background leaves are in the same direction and curvature as the foreground leaf - almost like the young one is trying to emulate the older ones.  I like the tight spirals of each part, the bit of fuzz at the final head and the occasional sharp highlight.  I also like the bit of blue of the sky peaking through.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NZD 12172009

It seems redundant, but I still get a kick out of these pictures that have some aha! moment.  You don’t have to look at hard in this one to see the bee, but for me it still bring a smile.  I not only like the bee, but the brilliant white of the petals against the dark background.  I like that there is a cluster of three of these daisies together and then a smattering of the yellow flowers in the background.


Monday, March 15, 2010

NZD 12172009

Pied Shag

The shag has no oil on his feathers, so his body tends to float just below the surface of the water.  It also means he can dive rather deeply.  When he's finished fishing he often will sit out in the open air with his wings spread to let them dry off.  I really wanted to capture that, but no good ones came of it.  Still I like this one for the great look on his face, the detail of the feathers on his back and the his being set off by the green background.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

NZD 12172009

Tui in the Harakeke

For me, the fun of the picture is the Tui turned up on his head to feed the nectar from the harakeke (flax).  I like the bright yellow blooms, the yellow nectar on his beak, the bright green of the flax in the background – all contrasting this dark iridescent bird and the dark stalks of the bloom.  I like the flax and his tail feathers laying from left to right while the stalks are right to left.  The shame in the pose is that his distinctive mark of a white pouch under his chin can be lost in the bloomsimage

Saturday, March 13, 2010

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I love the bright colors of this one.  I also like the one in the foreground in focus and full of detail compared with the blurred background.  I chose this one for the surprise of the small bug.  I gasp when I first saw him!


Friday, March 12, 2010

NZD 12162009

Kohua Poharu, Mud Pools

Boiling pools of mud and geothermal fluids.  I like the shapes the pools create and the color of the fluids against the neutrals of the mud.  I also like how the bubbles give texture to the surfaces.  The wall also creates a nice curve across the picture.image

Thursday, March 11, 2010

NZD 12162009

Duck on Lake Ohakuri

If I remember correctly this is one of the native ducks to New Zealand, maybe the blue duck.  In any case, this lone one was swimming his way across the wind swept lake.  I love the texture of the lake, the sky reflecting in the water and the dark bird to contrast.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The New Addition

We knew from the beginning that Shadow was a social dog.  We did what we could be doggie daycare and playdates.  They certainly helped, but ultimately it was a constant conversation of what we could do this week for him.  Hiking was good, but of course the snow and ice made that difficult this winter and was only good for weekends.  We finally brought up the subject of another dog.  said we wanted two after we lost Dakota last year, but I really thought the two of them would add up to 100 pounds rather than what we have in Shadow right now!  But I can't help it - I'm in love with this dog and I'll do so much to make him happy.  And the search began.

What does a 100 pound 2 year old male black lab want???  We decided after research a slightly smaller (60-80 pounds), older (4-7 years old) female lab would do.  Let me tell you how difficult it can be to find such a thing.  The Greenville Humane Society where we adopted Shadow could only produce a 40 pound dog right now.  We started to hit all the labrador rescue groups.  We found that in general these labs were 2 years old or 10 years old.  So we kept looking.  Found two in Greenwood at 3 years old.  Getting closer.  They even had a purebred male at 5 years old, but Shadow is such a strong alpha male....

Then we hit every shelter in the upstate and there was a possibility of a black labrador mix at 5 years old at the Spartanburg Humane Society.  They are just as convenient as the Greenville one.  We called to see if she was still there and asked the big question:  "How big is she?"  The woman on the other end said, "She weighed in at 74.2 pounds."  (I love the 0.2!)  We told them we were coming to check her out and have her meet our dog.  They were all ready when we got there - even put a "hold" on her kennel so all would know she was spoken for.  They touched noses from the first moment, ran around the run to sniff all they could, and even wrestled a bit.  The tails never stopped. 

So a couple of days later we were able to pick up our new girl!  Let me introduce Raven...
We had left her there to be spayed since she had been picked up as a stray just last week.  We had made all sorts of arrangements to take her to the vet so she could recouperate before living with Shadow.  We made it half way home before they called and exclaimed, "We forgot to tell you she had already been spayed!"  Life at home changed immediately.  I was glad we had already bought a second set of bowls, rawhide chews and a dog bed!

Things started in the backyard with Shadow.  Isn't she a pretty girl?  Such style and grace...

You can really see the mix better in her with Shadow right there.  She actually reminds me of a border collie in her grace and the way she holds her ears back.
We've only dealt with a couple of fights - one over the Kong in the background above...  They've been short lived and I think just part of finding each other's place.  They did spend most of the first evening facing each other while they watched each other devour a footlong rawhide bone.  I think I need to buy stock in rawhides...And they immediately took to the favorite pasttime of watching birds (and cats) from the bedroom window.
I'll work to get some better pictures, but I just couldn't wait to share about our new addition! 

NZD 12162009

View from Watershed Road North Island

This is one of those fantasy pictures that I often can’t believe is real – but it is.  These are rolling green hills made dramatic by the shadows of clouds with the far mountains in the background.  If you want a bit of scale, look more closely at the white dots scattered about.  Most of those are sheep.  I love the drama of the shadows and the layers upon layers of hills.  We were rewarded for our trek off the paved road to be able to see this.image

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NZD 12162009

Tree Fern

This was one of the first days of discovering the tree fern.  I am 5 foot 9 and these leaves were higher than my head.  I appreciate how the leaves are made up of a geometric pattern.  The main leaf is made up of sub-leaves in the same pattern and shape as the main leaf.  The sub-leaf is made up of sub-sub-leaves that are in the same pattern and shape as the subleaf.  I bet it even goes further in either direction.  I like that the fern is backlit, so that each vein is pronounced in the leaves.  I like that there are many direction of stems and that these even are imperfect so that the pattern is broken up.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Fourth Time’s a Charm

At last, at last, there is something to say about weaving around here!  In my last entry on yarn, I showed how I struggled getting the wedge weave of the Noro yarn level.  It was growing thicker, which indicates there is too much yarn in there.  From suggestions – I chalked it up to how the Noro yarn packs.  Typically in a wedge weave, I advance one warp with each pass.  With the difference in the packing, I started to take an “on-off” approach.  So I took out the weaving and tried skipping every other warp with the next pass – the top sank which indicates there’s not enough yarn.  Ugh - Unweave that as well.  Now let’s try two rows together, then one single.  Still droops…  Take that out again.  Finally, I went with two together, skip a warp and two together again.  That seems to be working VERY closely to level without much interaction from me.  So now I can show you a complete wedge!!!!


Besides the Noro Yarn, one of the new things about this piece is to make it reversible.  Unweaving and reweaving has given me a great deal of practice since I am working in the ends as I go.

Here’s where I came to the end of one bobbin of yarn:image I did secure the end with a half hitch around the warp and brought the end to the front of the weaving.                                   image I then split the yarn into it’s number of plies and distributed them around the warps.                                                                            imageThe chocolate yarn breaks down into 4 plies, so I distributed two in either direction.  The far left and the far right ends were woven to hide them within the weave.                                                   image From there I threaded each ply through a needle and fed it through the middle of the weaving next to a warp.  In this picture I’ve already finished the first and am about to pull through the second.image The ends are carefully trimmed and i even pull a bit on the half hitch to hide the very tip of the yarn into the fabric. Then same is performed with the start of the next piece of yarn.

Hopefully now there will be a bit more news relating to yarn from this neck of the woods!

NZD 12162009

Rainbow Lookout - Orakei Korako

I was drawn the the number of colors created in these silica terraces - by the minerals themselves and then the hot water algae living in these conditions.  I like the eange from very dark to white.  I like the hard definite lines at the edge of the water flow.  It reminds me of those wonderful pictures from NASA on the astronomy picture of the day.  And yet this is on the earth where the crust is very thin.  The creation is very delicate and would likely be harmed if I step too close - AND I would be burned if I step too close.  Like those space pictures - I can only look and not touch!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

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Raindrops on Roses

I don’t grow roses.  I don’t know why, but I never have.  I think it is possibly my aversion to maintenance.  I love installing and creating, but always forget maintaining.  So, I accept who I am and don’t grow roses.  Which also means that prior to this date, I had never seen raindrops on roses in the early morning summer light.  It was hard to pick just one of the many pictures I took.  I chose this one because it isn’t obvious this is a rose.  I like the purity of the white.  I like the layers of the petals and the suggestion of a center, but yet not a well defined one.  I like the raindrops in only some areas - allowing an area of petal smoothness and an area where it is broken up.  I also like the raindrops defying gravity on the edge of some of these petals.  I hear a deep silence in this picture.


(which was not reality since it was taken in summer and early morning!!!!)