Feathers on Friday: Zoo Atlanta Parakeets

Let’s make Friday more colorful with these parakeets from Zoo Atlanta! Here’s some background reading on parakeets, budgies, and parrots at The Spruce Pets:

What are the differences between parakeets and budgies?

Are parakeets parrots?

If you’re in for a little science and genetics this Friday, take a look at Scientists’ Colorful Quest To Discover How Parrots Became Green which describes the relationship between blue, yellow, and green colors in these birds and the gradual the blending of the distinct colors to emphasize yellow and green.

Bye for now!

Northern New York landscapes (and Lightroom experiments)

Last week, I bought the Lightroom Classic CC Video Book by Tony Northrup to learn more about some of the features of Adobe Lightroom CC that I haven’t used much or didn’t feel like I understood. The book and accompanying video cover a lot of ground, and I’m only through the first quarter or so, but I decided to try using what I learned so far about radial and graduated filters; adjusting hue, saturation, and luminance; adjusting sharpness; and working with noise reduction. The photos below were taken in northern New York during several trips to visit my family and seemed like decent landscape photos to try out some of the techniques. You can select the first image to begin a slideshow.

The videos and book show detailed practical examples of enhancing photos Lightroom. I learned a lot in a few hours, much more than I’ve been able to figure out on my own, and paused the video often to experiment with my own photos. Below are a couple of before and after images for comparison (the last two gallery pictures above). Click the first image and page through all four to see the effects of the adjustments I applied in Lightroom. One thing that fascinates me is that these adjustments helped restore the images so they match how I remember these scenes … or at least how I think I remember them!

Thanks for reading and taking a look.

Bye for now!

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!