Dahlias (2016 trip)Among Janet Brien's albums
Pictures for Pam, Day 9: Blush & White Pinwheel Dahlia
Please see our new group, Pictures for Pam , we would love to have you! You may read the latest news of Pam`s recoverery here (11/9/18): www.ipernity.com/home/christine.bentley ------------------------- Put on the brakes!! Where did THAT flower come from?!! Ok, ok, I admit it—this lovely Dahlia was most certainly not growing along the Upper Table Rock Trail. Granted, there are flowers to be found here which rival this one's beauty, but last time I checked it was late autumn, not springtime when endless wildflowers have exploded into bloom. No, this beauty was photographed over two years ago when Steve and I went down to San Francisco to visit my ailing father. We'd decided to bring our cameras with the idea of taking pictures at some point to get our minds off our worries. Specifically, I wanted to go to Golden Gate Park which is full of wonderful plants and flowers, including the beautiful Conservatory of Flowers. Funny enough, I haven't been inside since I was a kid. It's not free to enter and why bother? The acres surrounding the building are lavishly planted with outrageous displays of ornamental plants and blooms everywhere. Most specific of all, they have a jaw-dropping Dahlia garden that I visited once with my previous camera and I had hopes of updating my pictures with higher quality images from my Canon 5D Mk II. As it turned out, Steve and I did get about two hours to explore one day and had a marvelous time filling our memory cards with countless images. I got my wish and came home with so many Dahlia pictures that attempts to browse the hundreds of pictures have often ended in overwhelmed horror! Still, I have been able to work on a few photos. Last night I stumbled across the images I'd finished and my jaw dropped in amazement—why hadn't I done anything with them?!! I thought, "You know, Pam would adore these…let's share some!" I hope this picture pleases you Pam! I have a veritable truckload that I need to clean up but I have you to thank for making my inner tail wag again and I've already finished a few more! Hurray! Explored on 11/18/18, highest position, #11.
Pictures for Pam, Day 16: Creamy White Dahlia
(This picture also wants to be seen at full size) :) What a difference a day makes! The sky had some clouds when I arose but I could see that it would be a beautiful, sunny day. At one point on my walk I had to stop and look out over the valley towards the Rogue River because of the racket I was hearing. There was a huge flock of Canada Geese flying around the Rogue River and they were making so much noise I could hear them from miles away! I hoped they might fly overhead but instead they landed on the river for a break before setting out on their migration (I'm guessing, anyway). I snickered at the boisterous fuss they made but was also very pleased to hear them. It is so nice to live in a place with so much wildlife! Tromping up and down the driveway, it was fun to think about my friends on ipernity and all the good times I've been having with back-and-forth comments, letters, and the delight of the wealth of awesome photography. ipernity really is such a wonderful community and I feel like a new person these days because of this upward spiral. There are no words to express my gratitude, but I do my best! The past few days I've been taking some time to process some of the pictures I took of the gorgeous dahlias at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers. There is a total bummer about that photo shoot. When I got home and took a closer look at the images I was horrified to discover that the flowers were FILTHY! I didn't remember seeing this at the time but when the gardens were watered, it was obvious that a lot of dirt particles flew up and hit the blossoms. In fact, most of my tight shots looked like someone had taken a pepper shaker and covered the entire flower with a million black specks. YUCK!!! If I had any thoughts of posting a close-up, it was going to take a lot of work. However, I have finally been in the mood, and these flowers truly deserve the attention. And so, I present to you one of my successful clean-up jobs! What you're looking at may look like a pristine, perfect blossom, but to get to this state took over an hour of dirt removal! Every petal was covered with dots of dirt! What a mess. But truly, the effort was totally worth it because now I can show off this stunning wedding bride of a dahlia! And, it isn't so bad to sit and click away the dirt when I have some nice music to listen to. In fact, I saw a picture on Explore of a henna-painted hand captured magnificently by Boro (Thank your Betty for the proper ID), and the music to accompany the picture was a French artist I'd never heard of... Bernard Lavillier ...and I loved the piece so much I went over to YouTube, queued up a play list and spent the whole time listening to his fabulous music while I cleaned up this picture. What fun. Pam, this beautiful dahlia is only a fraction as lovely as you are, my dear. I hope you enjoy its radiance and maybe it will give you some warm fuzzies to help you on your way to recovery. I am thinking about you all the time! *big hugs* Explored on 11/25/18, highest position, #7 .
Pictures for Pam, Day 24: Black Dahlia
(Looks best large on black, there is also 1 inset) Waking up this morning I couldn't help but think about how dark it was. This time of the year is so odd because if you get up at about 7am like I do, it's almost completely dark! (Medford, Oregon is at latitude: 42.3265° N, 122.8756° W) I suppose I shouldn't complain...our sunrise is at 7:23 right now whereas if you lived in London, it's 7:46! The horror! ) In any event, not turning on lights isn't an option unless I'd like to risk a stubbed toe! I had to laugh as I got ready to go out today. Last night I checked the weather: "The forecast for tomorrow will be a low of 24°F with a high chance of snow." Looking out over our meadow and appreciating the Upper Table Rock which peeked out above a blanket of fog, I could see only a few clouds in the lightening sky. It promised to be a beautiful day. Snow...HAH! (Funny how the forecast was changed to a sunny day the next time I looked!) During my walk today I thought about all the fun I'd been having with my pictures. I've been processing images in my archives with a focus on the magnificent collection of dahlia pictures I took at the Conservatory of Flowers in 2016. The bummer is that most of the pictures have issues which require painstaking processing. If the blossoms aren't covered in flecks of dirt, the backgrounds are a disaster. Plant labels, stakes, watering hoses, crowding flowers...ugh! I'd only processed a few before giving up in dismay...so much work! But the truth is, these flowers are worth the effort. Their beauty is totally outrageous. I got very good focus on most subjects (though I got plenty of garbage shots too). It would be horrible to not take the time to work on these pictures, and finally I'm in the right state of mind to tackle at least a chunk of them. I didn't even SEE this one until I was moving through my images and this flower popped up on the screen. HOLY COW!!! I forgot about the black dahlia!!! I remember the moment I saw it at the Conservatory, so excited I could hardly contain myself. Except...it was so far away!!! The few flowers sat far back from the fencing and I stalked back and forth hoping that somehow I could get closer. There was no way. If I wanted a picture, it was going to be at a distance. Well, at least I'd have pictures, and perhaps they would come out ok, but I didn't think so. The good news is that I had crisp focus and I'd be able to fill my standard canvas size of (short side = 1024 pixels) x (whatever size). The flower didn't need too much dirt removal either, yay! The bad news was … omg...the background. I'm including an inset to show the original picture I took so you can see what I had to work with. The only way I could present this flower would be to replace the background completely. This would mean a bunch of blended texture files to showcase the blossom without being overpowering. This process takes a lot of time. I usually have to stop after a while because I get frustrated with creating the effect that works for me, but eventually I land on something that looks right. When I was done, I sat back and smiled because this rare gem was ready to share with the world. I hope that you like it! Pam, I hope that you had a nice and restful weekend. I hope the weather there isn't too stormy, but I bet it's very cold, just like here. Let's hope that you'll find improvement and more progress in your recovery this coming week. *big hugs* from our chilly home to yours! Explored on 12/3/18, highest placement, #3.
Pictures for Pam, Day 27: Dahlia Details
My walk was very nice today. The weather was sunny and beautiful but not too cold at about 36°F/22°C. The ground had thawed out so it was a normal walk with nothing terribly exciting going on. However, I did stop to appreciate the orchestra of many different birds twittering as they began their day. What a treat. How wonderful to live in this rural slice of heaven. I was born and raised in San Francisco in a nice neighborhood. In fact, our backyard sat on Mount Davidson, the highest point in the city, and a wonderful park for us to play on. There were lots of wildlife to see there, but my dream was to live in the countryside. I wanted to live where there were wide-open fields, farms with every kind of livestock, and nature right outside my door. I was so tired of the fog and wind, the weather that was rarely too hot or cold—I wanted four real seasons! My husband and I met back in 2000 and shared the same dream to move out of the crazy city environment. Our money pooled, we found this rural property on our first visit up to Oregon and it was love at first sight. 26 acres of mixed meadows and oak forest with a hill and ridgeline at the upper end and a magnificent view of the Upper Table Rock out the kitchen window. The house has two stories and more room than anyone could need. SOLD! Living in the countryside really is a dream come true for me. You'd fall asleep if I listed all of the plants and animals that live here or pass through, it's just wonderful! No surprise I found an urgent need to take pictures of what I discovered, so we got a Canon Elph to play with. Soon my passion for photography was born. I've never looked back. Today I'm sharing a macro of a dahlia I photographed in San Francisco. As it turned out, all of the pictures of this blossom had focus problems which prevented me from showing the whole flower. I was disappointed because the petals were so beautiful. Before I gave up in failure, I zoomed in on this picture and BAM. It turned out that I would be able to share the loveliness of the petals after all. I'm not always that lucky, but I was this time! I hope you like this floral abstract too—these flowers have such a delicate beauty. Pam, I hope that this week is going well for you. I think the details of this flower speak of you...gentle and soft, warm and beautiful, and a rareness of quality that is revealed only when the time is taken to look closely. Thinking of you every day my dear! Explored on 12/6/18, highest placement, #2.
Pictures for Pam, Day 33: Blush Dahlia
It was a beautiful, misty morning and I drank in every sound I could as I tromped up and down our road today. Here and there were clusters of twittering birds that made me smile. I chuckled at the far-off sounds of our resident group of turkeys carrying on down in the lower forest. My opinion counted too so I tossed it in their direction, "Oh you silly birds!" I even heard the croak of a frog who was working on his early Romeo impression for the coming breeding seaon. Overhead I heard the caw-caw of a crow and looked up to see it flying by in its brilliant black attire. As it passed I heard the beautiful guttural purring conversational notes they make and soon I heard another crow's contact call. Stopping on the road, I stared up to the sky and watched not a "murder of crows" as a group would be called, but more like a "flow of crows." A spread-out stream of perhaps twenty crows flew over our property in ones and twos, all commenting occasionally in caws and purring croaks. I was happy they didn't roost here because the racket of a large group of crows was too obnoxious for even me to stand. However, their overhead calls were a welcome treat and I only began walking again after they'd all passed by. Settling into my walk I decided to listen to my favorite podcast, a wonderful science-based show called Radio Lab . This award-winning podcast presents fascinating and thoroughly entertaining topics directed at the general public. If you have any interest in nature or science, this show is for you! The shows are much more than just spoken words. They add music and sound effects that help us to understand and SILENCE so we can contemplate what we've just heard. It's a unique and outstanding production and worth your time, I guarantee it!! (I've listened to at least 100 different podcast shows so I'm fairly knowledgeable on them!) Today I listened to Dark Side of the Earth . It featured an astronaut who shared some experiences he had during the 168 days he's been in space, such as what it feels like to do a spacewalk and look blissfully out into the vastness of space with only a tether between you and the universe. Or what it's like to watch day turn to night and back to day within the course of an hour and a half...in fact they experience 16 days per Earth day! I encourage you to give Radiolab a try! Their topics cover a very wide range. Two other totally awesome shows that I recently listened to include Rippin' the Rainbow an Even Newer One , which is a glorious show that showcases which animal can detect the most colors...do you know which is the winner? This show even has a choir as background singing to illustrate the musical interpretation of ROY-G-BIV (color spectrum: Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet)! The other show was Smarty Plants which discusses the intelligence of plants by using several fascinating studies and entertaining experiments. Podcasts can be listed to in the background while you're processing your photos or you can take them on the go! Popular apps for downloading podcasts include Pocket Casts (for Android, it's what I use) and iTunes (for iOS), and this current article of the Best Podcast Listening Apps has links to all of them. Today I'm finally sharing a favorite dahlia picture from our past trip to San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers. It's a picture I processed soon after returning home and I just couldn't get over how lovely this dahlia was. I hope you like it too! Gosh, if I was as pretty as this flower is, my poor husband would be fighting off legions of would-be suiters all day and night! Pam, I don't know if you are aware of podcasts but if you're not, it might be something to check out! It's another way of experiencing the wonder of our world, and the stories take you to another place of learning and understanding. I bet you would enjoy these as much as I do! *big hugs from Oregon* :) Explored on 12/12/18, highest placement, #4.
Pictures for Pam, Day 38: Burgandy & White Pinwheel Dahlia
I like to spend an enjoyable couple of hours each day visiting contact's photo streams, appreciating a picture and leaving a comment. It occurred to me that everyone probably has a different way of doing this. What is your approach? How best do you utilize your time to visit others? The way that makes most sense for me is to go to my previous day's posted picture (2 days ago) and visit each person who's left a comment for me. I want to make sure to show my thanks to everyone who's taken time out of their day to look at my picture and let me know what they think. Do you do this differently? If I have extra time, I will often visit my main page that shows new contact pictures and take a stroll, leaving comments and saying hello. Or I'll visit Explore and visit some of the new pictures I see there. I returned to ipernity over a month ago from my long creative abyss, and in my absence I had forgotten how wonderful it is to be part of this community. There are so many genuinely sweet, talented and friendly folk who I simply love chatting with. The funny thing is how I usually carry on conversations! Someone will leave a marvelous comment about a picture I posted or the blog entry I wrote, and it invites a response. I don't prefer to reply on my photo's comments because I don't trust that they will actually see what I wrote. So instead, I will visit their photo stream, comment on their new picture and then add my reply there. (I know about the feature where you can follow comments you've left but it's too much work to keep up with that in my opinion.) This is a fun way for me to give them extra strokes and acknowledge what they wrote to me. The next time they comment on my newest picture, they often continue the conversation. It's awesome! I recently discovered the solution to a problem I'd been facing since I joined the photo-sharing community. Namely, sometimes I visit a person who's left me a comment only to find they haven't put up a new picture yet. What to do? My happy solution is this: I take a look at their photo stream and when I have gone back far enough, I'll find a picture I haven't seen yet! So, I dive in, enjoy their image and leave my comment. Then I go to their most current picture, leave a note to say that I've visited a picture I hadn't seen yet, and paste the URL so they can see my comment! I really love this solution because everyone enjoys having their pictures looked at, and this gives me the opportunity to see and enjoy more of a friend's photography! (I do know the feature that allows you to see who's been browsing your photo stream. However, I want to make sure that my photographer friend knows I've come by to say hello, instead of relying on them to check their browsing history.) Today it's icky outside, stormy, windy and cold, so I'm sharing another beautiful dahlia to brighten up this day! I hope it adds a little sparkle for you too! Pam, one of the things I've always admired about you is your generous spirit. I've always loved how many people you visit to give them strokes about their photography and to give your famous *hugggggggs*. Reading comments you've left for people is such a treat and I'm so happy that you've been able to stop by from time to time, even though you're not feeling great. I just want you to know how loved you are by all of us here at ipernity. I'm sending my *huggggggs* to you with hopes that you'll feel better and better in the coming days. Explored on 12/17/18, highest placement, #1.
Pictures for Pam, Day 41: Pink Beauty
(looks best at full size against black) (Sorry this post is so long!!) 6:45am....it's pitch black. It's just so DARK! I do not get up at o'dark o'clock! But, I guess I do after all. My younger self would be horrified to know that I willingly get up at 6:45am without a blaring alarm clock. Just like the Grinch, I can see my younger self screwing her face up into a blackened scowl..."There is no moaning? There is no crying?! Why, you actually climb out of bed in a very happy mood... looking forward to the day?!" My younger self would scream, "BUT IT'S PITCH BLACK OUTSIDE! AND NOBODY IS FORCING YOU TO GET UP! WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?!!" LOL. I have to laugh because it really is crazy that I choose to get up so early. My younger self would never do it, but I'm happy to because it's so worth it! Pumpkin and I headed down to the kitchen after my shower and I deposited her onto the window perch Steve made for her. From that vantage point she watched the Mama Bird Show... While I whistle back and forth with Pumpkin, I turn on the espresso machine and the coffee grinder. Take my coffee cup from the cabinet and put it on the counter. It will take a couple of minutes to warm up...no worries, I've got plenty of other things to do! Pet Molly, grab her bowl and remove the board that seals the dog door to keep the cold out. Go to the kibble container, pour in a cup of food, add some warm water from the sink, get dog food from fridge, scoop some into her bowl, mash it all together and call Molly. She runs eagerly from the living room to her feeding station and begins chowing down. Take a tall glass from the cupboard, put it on the counter. Go to the spice rack, grab the red pepper flakes and the powdered ginger. While I'm over there, I open a different cupboard and take out the glass jar full of wheat berries. As I'm carrying these items to the counter I look at the plump wheat seeds and think, "Gee they look cool in there, I should take a macro of them at some point!" I take a ½ teaspoon of ginger and put it into the glass. Sitting on the counter is a partially full gallon of something that says "Apple Cider Vinegar Drink". I give it a vigorous shake and fill the glass with the ginger in it. I give it a good stir and then pop it into the microwave for 45 seconds so it's drinkably warm. While my drink is in the 'waver I open the fridge again and take out Pumpkin's veggie/fruit mix, a can of corn and two plastic containers--one which says "Pecans" and the other, "Chix bread". I grab one of Pumpkin's food bowls and add a big handful of veggie/fruit mix (carrots, peppers, celery, apple), and then a heaping forkful of corn plus a little more, and stir it up. I grab the ½ teaspoon and sprinkle a large scoop of wheat berries on top followed by a scoop of red pepper flakes. I open the two containers from the fridge and place a pecan on top and from the other I take out two 1.5" squares of bread (multi-seed wheat bread that's been cut into pieces), run them under the water for a second and walk over to the microwave. The 'waver is beeping at me right on time...I pull out my drink, pop in the two 1.5" squares and let it go for 5 seconds. I whisk them out, place one on top of Pumpkin's food and the other one in the food bowl of her perch. Pumpkin sees it, immediately walks over to her bowl and begins "gronking" joyfully as she dives into her warm breakfast treat. I take my drink over to the counter, open today's container of vitamins, pour them into my hand, stir my drink and swallow all of them as my drink goes down the hatch. Let's not forget the chaser...I get ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes and pop them into my mouth, chomping happily. LOL, you think I'm crazy! Steve thinks I'm crazy too but they are a nice boost for your metabolism and have other benefits as well. Oh and what is an "Apple Cider Vinegar Drink"? A serving is 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 tsp of cream of tartar, ½ tsp of salt, 1 tsp of lime juice and water enough to fill a 12 oz glass. WHY would I actually DRINK that? Well, because it's full of electrolytes and potassium and it's an essential key to my ketogenic lifestyle. It's also quite yummy once you get used to it! I love it! :) Finally, I pull my shot of coffee, add water to make it an "Americana", and chug it down. I'm done! Pumpkin has thoroughly enjoyed the show and her treat, and now steps happily onto an offered finger. I grab her bowl of food, bring her up to her day cage, turn on her music and tell her I love her before quietly closing the door. Trotting downstairs, I grab my phone, headphones, put on my shoes, scarf, gloves and coat and then pop outside, stretch my legs and I'm off for my morning walk. WHAT A ROUTINE!! Today I'm sharing another dahlia from San Francisco. This pink blossom was starting to open up and I loved how its petals looked. I hope you like it! Pam, I hope this pretty flower will put a smile on your face and maybe give you a burst of energy too. I bet your day is full of crazy routines just like mine...we need lots of energy but I wish I could send mine to you right now to help you feel better soon. Thinking of you always! Explored on 12/20/18, highest placement, #4.
Pictures for Pam, Day 45: Diva Dahlia
(Please view at full size!) :) (+1 inset) I was very pleased as I stepped outside this morning because I got to start my walk a little earlier than usual. I try to get out by 7:30am if I can but if I wake up before 7am I'm usually walking by about 7:20am. That's really nice. As much as I've been moaning about the darkness of the mornings, it does give me more of an opportunity to immerse myself in the world waking up around me. This really is a gift and I appreciate every moment. Especially because getting up voluntarily at this time was something I never did in the past. I've missed out on decades of these special times and I don't take a single moment for granted. It was still quite dim outside but ten degrees warmer than yesterday. At 36 degrees, it was positively comfortable in comparison and I began my walk in extra happy spirits. "Hoo-hoo.." I heard, followed by "Hoo. Hoo-hoo-hoo." I stopped in my tracks and stared across our valley across the main road to the neighbor's property beyond. "OWLS!!!" I shouted in my head and cocked my head to the side, listening intently. Again the two called back and forth, their hooting echoing back at me. "Hoo-hoo.." and "Hoo. Hoo-hoo-hoo." A beaming smile radiated from me in response. I simply love owls. Unfortunately, the only wild owl I've ever seen was a Tawny Frogmouth in Costa Rica many years ago. And the only reason I saw it was because our guide knew where this one slept and pointed it out to us. So perfectly camouflaged, it looked like it was part of the tree! What an odd but incredible looking bird that was. Steve and I still talk about that morning! Regarding owl photography, I have such admiration for anyone who gets pictures of these beautiful birds. I hope that someday I'll be so lucky. But for now I stood silently on our road. I listened blissfully to the sounds of these two birds calling back and forth to their hidden spots in the trees across the road. I felt so fortunate and overjoyed to get this awesome experience. After a while I started walking again and was happy to learn that my footsteps didn't disturb their conversation. In fact, they kept hooting until the sun lightened the sky and finally put an official end to the night. I whispered to myself, "That is so cool..." Today is perfect timing to share another dahlia picture! I hope that you are enjoying the show and aren't getting bored. I simply must post these images! The dahlias yell and scream for attention and if they had it their way, they'd highjack my photo stream and fill every day with piles of their lovely blossoms! But I won't have it! They don't understand that so much beauty must be doled out one at a time for the best appreciation! So, in honor of the colors of this holiday season, I bring to you a most dramatic red dahlia. It laughs at the poinsettias and amaryllis that dare to compare themselves to it. Holly berries? Pshaw! No, this dahlia takes the stage like a runway model. I am only here to share it with all of you. If she were a person, you'd surely find her sipping wine in Paris. :) Pam, I wish I could present this diva to you because then she would see what a true beauty is in this world. Thinking of you all the time... Explored on 12/24/18, highest placement, #6.
Pictures for Pam, Day 54: Pink Passion Dahlia
One of the most enjoyable aspects of photography is learning about the subjects I take pictures of. Most specifically, I love to learn the kind of animal or plant I've photographed. And more often than not, I am totally surprised or even amazed by what I learn. Take the dahlia for instance. Did you know there are 42 species that grow in the wild? What's really surprising is the number of hybrids. There are so many that nobody has a number...the closest figure that people can agree on is "countless"! As crazy as that sounds, I'm really not surprised. They come in a zillion colors, sizes and shapes. The thing is, you really do have to visit a dahlia exhibit garden in order to truly understand the staggering variety. Visiting the yearly display at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is just insane. They pack in so many different hybrids that you simply cannot see them anymore after a while. You know how you can't spend too much time at a museum because you can't process what you see after a while? It's just too much and your poor brain blows a fuse. Well, the same thing happens when you go to a massive showing like the dahlia garden! I wish everyone could have the chance to visit because no matter how many pictures I share, there isn't any way to really show you the experience. I can't help trying though! Today's flower is a knockout pink beauty with lovely white striping. I actually tried to find the exact hybrid...lol...what was I thinking?! Let's just call it Pink Passion and call it a day! I hope you enjoy this lovely flower as much as I enjoyed photographing and processing it! Pam, I don't know if you've tried growing dahlias but I will warn you...deer love to eat them! I learned the hard way when I tried to grow them the first time. Just as they were about to bloom, some deer came by and ate every last one. I was so upset! Oh, and by the way, ground squirrels also love to eat them. The second time I tried to grow them, the ground squirrels broke through the deer fencing and gobbled them up just as they were about to bloom. Have you ever had any luck with these flowers? I won't try again until I live in a place that is protected from deer and ground squirrels! We live in wonderful places with lots of wild animals but they sure do like to eat our flowers! :D Explored on 1/2/19, highest placement, #5.