Sunday, February 19, 2012

Death Valley Feb 2011

I have quite a few of these photos from Death Valley, when we were there last year at the end of February.  I have been looking them over and sorting them as to which ones I may want to add to my web page eventually.  I have a few processed from the RAW files.  In the critique forum on Cyrus did a few critiques using the soft light blend mode which is what I used on these two.  It really helps, and is very easy to do.  I click layer via copy, right click in the layer pallette of the copy, choose blending option and click the drop down menu of soft light.. done.

I found a very depressing news item today about yet another crisis in the mid-east.  I wonder why there needs to be this saber rattling, the world over, when we are suppose to be highly intelligent beings.  I suppose they won't stop until they have the whole world looking like Death Valley.  This will make that doomsday clock's second hand go flying around to midnight, or high noon, which ever it is.  This is a no win idea for the solution to the economic depression.

On a happier note, we went bowling with the VCCC this afternoon.  Was really rather enjoyable.

Yesterday we went up to Cobble hill for lunch with Andy and Tara.  Their place is looking really good.  We have a start on getting the suite cleaned up.  John Gray and his son have started on the painting.

On Friday I was out in the garden for a couple of hours.  We have been having warm weather, with a bit of rain.  I did a bit more dead heading of perennials, picked the leaves off of the grass, cleaned up the deck plants.  In the house I now have 8 orange trees left.  I want to get 4 larger pots and transplant the bigger trees into them.  I will then have the four smaller pots for the smaller trees.  One pot has 3 trees in it.  I hope I can get them divided without killing any of them.  I wonder how long it will be before I can expect fruit?  Here is a good answer from a question to UBC Botanical gardens forum:
The seeds of most fruit that you buy will be the product of a hybrid plant developed by breeders. Plant breeders often spend years developing new varieties and may grow thousands of crosses to select desirable plants for industry. These are then propagated by asexual means to produce clones of the desirable plant. If you plant seed, you will not get the same type of fruit that you bought at the store. (You may not get a plant that produces fruit at all.) And of course the time required to bring trees to bear fruit can mean a decade before you even know if you have anything.

You may be lucky, but you will probably have to grow many trees to find a really good one. Many old apple tree cultivars developed as random hybrids. (Granny Smith apple was discovered from seeds tossed out in Australia.)

So not entirely a myth, but not an unworthwhile project either. I am currently growing 4 apple trees that I started from seed. I think it is fun to see what might develop. Could be something totally new. So if you have the time and space, I say go for it.
Eric La Fountaine
Forums Administrator
Out in the garden the yellow crocuses, the first hellebores, the winter jasmine and the cyclamens are in bloom.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lady slipper Orchids

 Paph. concolor
This lady slipper orchid blooms every year.  It has interesting foliage for the rest of the year.
 Phrag. Andean Fire.
 This is the Andean Fire from a different angle and some back lighting.  You can see that it has a second bud.

The orchid show is the first week end in March, at the University Student's Union Building

I moved my photos, videos, music, and few other documents into my storage drive.  My backup also has storage, but it changes every Thursday, with any changes I have made.  The thing about the storage drive is that nothing will change... in case I accidentally delete something, and do not notice it, and the backup gets changed also.  I will need to up date my storage drive folders, also; especially the photos and any thing I do on my web page. 
I have read Kathryn Stockett's book "help" in record time.  I stayed up late at night to read.  I could not put it down.  It is a movie and nominated for oscars.   We must go see it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bamboo diplomacy: Giant pandas coming to Canada

There are no photos on this.  There was a share button to connect to Blogger, so I tried it.  It seems we are are renting Giant Panda Bears from China.

So here is a photo ... something I was working on a few years ago.  Today I took photos of my two lady slipper orchids that are in bloom, but have yet to process them.  More later.

Bamboo diplomacy: Giant pandas coming to Canada

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Panama Flats Video

I have spent some time installing Windows Live Essentials on my computer to get the Windows movie maker.  After the crash of about a year ago, my techie did not add these window features to the new computer he sold and set up for me.  I also found some updates for my Microsoft mouse and Keyboard, which took some time to update.  It has improved the speed considerably.  I seem to be positively zippy now.

So, now I have the movie maker.... more play time.  This saves the created video for playback in Windows movie player, of course.  I would like to save to .mp4 or any other ending.  I can load the video directly to my you tube account, but there is considerable degrading of the quality of the video from the original, after running it through the Windows Movie Maker.  I understand Adobe's Lightroom has a good movie maker, but I am not sure I want to put out the cost of Lightroom at the moment.

So here is a small video I made with Windows Media Maker and loaded to my you tube account.  I had taken 2 clips with my little Sony.  I have somehow managed to add them together and trim off most of the wobbly parts of the video.  I think if I do this again, I will be sure to trim each clip before I add them together, if I can remember how I managed to do it.   I got obsessed with this and was up playing until 3:00 am on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

This is Winter, isn't it?

 We have been having balmy weather for the last 10 days, or so.  There were many people and dogs using the trail through the Panama Flats/Hill park on Feb. 2nd.
 My stop at the Pond where I tried to get a good picture of the red winged blackbirds.  I used my little Sony to do a video and captured some good birdsong from these birds.  In trying to edit my video, I found that I did not have the Windows Movie Maker.  So, that lead to an afternoon of downloading Windows Essentials, which included the Movie Maker and a few other things.  I have yet to edit the video.  I don't think the Canon video editor will accept the Sony.  So, more playing required to get the two clips edited ... hopefully I can add clips from one into the other to get a good video. 
 This is not a good photo of the classic red winged blackbird on a reed by the water.  I need a longer lens!
 These birds, I think, are eared Grebes.  Could not get close enough to them, either.  They were diving.  There were also mallards on the pond. 

 This was farther along the trail and past the pond.  This area is the bog that is covered with a shallow depth of water.  The geese seem to like to feed in this area.  I like the layers of color in the grasses and shrubs in this shot that I have cropped to a wide angle format.
 This is a majestic Garry Oak tree at the top of the hill along the path.  Of course I have photos of it every year, in every season.
Here it is, the same day.  I was playing in Photoshop, as you can see.  There really was no sunset, but there was a rather interesting cloud formation.
We have been having lovely warm, sunny weather for the past few days.  Today I was out piddling about in the back garden for a couple of hours.  I cleaned up the patio a bit, added 3 fruit tree feeder spikes to the front plum tree, added a bag of compost to the perennial bed next to the old sidewalk.  Cleaned up the ferns a bit, and the fig tree.  There is really not a lot to do right now.  The cyclamen is in bloom!  This is the most fantastic plant.  I see more of the leaves growing where I was cleaning up the ferns.  ... Hmmmm... I wonder how they move everywhere.  I will have to keep an eye on them to see that they are not those invasive ivy with the lovely patterned leaves.
My yellow lady slipper is in bloom and the Andean Fire (orchids) has a fat bud.  I shall need photos of them both to record the blooming times and to try get some good 50mm lens shots of them with my dslr.   In the light garden, I have 5 pots of orange trees.. containing 9 trees.  Marlene and Art are still deciding and  Tara said they would like one or two at their new place.  They are still not finished moving or cleaning up downstairs place. 
Megashot is really quite busy.  I have made a 'Butterfly" community and hope to get some good discussions going... like forums, to make the optimum use of the community.  These Megashot communities still seem to be stuck on the Flickr type with a free for all of dumping photos and trying to collect these silly whirling blinking awards.  Except, we do NOT have the ugly things on Megashot, and so people are beginning to pay a bit more attention to photography.   We do have a lot of good photographers on Megashot. 
I have been spending quite a lot of time in the kitchen... soups, oysters that he likes, lots of good vegetables.  Life is good on the West Coast.