Bluebird Hydrangeas from my garden

A couple of years ago, I planted three small Bluebird Hydrangeas in an area of my courtyard garden that gets filtered sun in the early mornings and an hour or so if low-angled, more direct sunlight in the afternoons. I always liked the lacecap blooms, and the three small plants have easily tripled in size since I planted them. Below are a few pictures I culled from dozens I took over the weekend; the flower petals are just beginning to open and it was a good time to get a look at the structure of the emerging blooms.

Taking closeup and macro photos of blooms like this can be challenging, especially getting the blooms and the unopened cluster of flowers in reasonably good focus. I didn’t use a tripod for any of these, but I think I will when I take another round of pictures as the buds continue to open — to allow for greater depth of field in these low-light conditions. The bud clusters have both purple and blue scattered throughout them in real life; the color mix tricks the eye (and the camera) and sometimes it’s hard to decide whether the original colors were blue, purple, or a variation of both. With more sunlight, the blue became more purple (or did the purple become more blue?), and it was fun to play around with white balance and shift between the two colors. Many of the leaves and blossoms were also dotted with spring pollen; it was also fun to pick out and remove little pollen spots from the leaves, wherever they seemed distracting when the camera caught them as little circles of white light scattered throughout the photos.

You can start a slideshow by clicking on any of the images below. You can read more about Bluebird Hydrangeas at Gardenia.net and the Royal Horticultural Society. And for a historical perspective, take a look at this article about hydrangeas from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (one of my favorite research resources).

Bye for now!

We Tell Ourselves Stories

I don’t usually do this, but what can it hurt? Six resolutions for 2017:

  1. Return to blogging (after an epic hiatus).
  2. Begin learning Adobe Photoshop and learn more about Adobe Lightroom.
  3. Take more pictures, use what you learned in (2) and tell people about it.
  4. Explore more vegetarian and vegan recipes and foods.
  5. Engage with some of the humans on Medium; in other words: connect.
  6. Question everything, especially political everything, and ask your questions out loud.

One down, five to go….

From The White Album by Joan Didion:

We tell ourselves stories in order to live…. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely … by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual existence.

Or at least we do for a while….

Here’s to a time of greater focus and clarity, and with it: simplicity.

Happy New Year!

“Think Different”


Here’s to the crazy ones,
The misfits, the rebels,
The troublemakers,
The round pegs in the square holes,
The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
Glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.

While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world
Are the ones who do. – Steve Jobs, from the video below:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition…. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs, from: “You’ve got to find what you love

Source: Remembering Steve Jobs by Jason Kottke.

Couple of Guys, Middle of Nowhere

Just saw this commercial for Google Chrome and Angry Birds on television:

 

“It’s a simple metric….”

“Are you angry, Peter? You look angry….”

I use Google Chrome (beta) almost exclusively and have since shortly after it was launched. It’s come a long way, especially in the last year. I rarely use IE or Firefox anymore, and even then just to do a browser check when I’m toying with web page changes.

I played Angry Birds once on my iPhone … for about five hours. Then I removed it.

Not that is wasn’t fun … it WAS fun … but the time I spent with it seemed to qualify as “lost time” ….

“Games of that sort are designed to grab your attention…. But apart from a few isolated images, or a little thrill of achievement when you scored points, you come away with no memories. It is as though a black hole had swallowed up this piece of your life.” – Stefan Klein, The Secret Pulse of Time