The best thing about living close to the Bay is that we get egrets, cruising all over the place, sometimes between the houses or skimming along the canal behind the house.
I like to take some awfully strange photos, but this one… is sort of a photo of a strange photo. What’s puzzling is the absolute prominence of the pineapple. Why should there be a pineapple there, in the bottom left, and were pineapples even grown in Brazil, etc.?
“As the Enlightenment period made the rich richer, the landed aristocracy began to engage in a frenzy of new hobbies, including gambling, boozing, and time-consuming, expensive pineapple cultivation. Pineries needed care around the clock, custom-built greenhouses, and mountains of coal to keep the temperatures high. The fruit took three to four years to bloom. The cost of rearing each one was equivalent to eight thousand dollars in today’s money.”
The Strange History of the “King-Pine” hints as to the answers to those questions… while bringing up innumerable more questions. Definitely worth reading the article for the strange history.
In case you wondered, this is what music notes actually look like. If the people who ran Rosslyn Chapel would have let us take pictures inside, then you could have seen some of the same shapes carved into the woodwork of the chapel. We went back in 2008, when D. wasn’t quite so good at taking sneaky pictures.
-D & T
As the heat wave continues, we find indoor things to play with… and we’ve started messing with this new feature Flickr has called Camera Roll. It basically shows you an organized view of your pictures, based upon some machine-vision thing they’ve got going on, that shows every shot with People in it, or Arches, or Trees, or Flowers, or any number of other odd ways they have of lumping things together. It’s quite fun, and if you’ve got a Flickr account, you can play along, but if not, it’s not publicly available for you to just go through anybody’s photostream and see what’s what, thus we’ve included a few of our grouped shots here. These to the left are a bunch of pictures that were lumped together under Style / Bright, I think. It really does provide a different way to look at your photos, and probably means you’ll look at more of them, and more frequently.
That’s actually one of the questions that we get frequently in the Hobbiton: “Do you guys actually look at all those pictures after you take them?” Short answer: yes. Longer answer, we have them on a slideshow on a screen playing in our living room whenever we have guests over, so if you’re lucky enough to be invited, you could look at them, too! We really do look at them a great deal, simply because they keep us connected to our travels and to our adventures, and reminds us that being home, plugging along through work and whatever other mundane thing is just what one does between trips…
For those of you who do the twitter thing, we’ve finally given in and joined — T, under deepest protest, because the entire thing makes her break out in hives. We’re at @david_t_macknet and @tanita_s_davis if you’re at all interested. Still not quite sure what the point of it is, and still find the limitation on length to be somewhat of an annoyance, but hey, when your agent
throws you under the bus says it would be good marketing, you listen, and your spouse joins in sympathy for the pain you will suffer from being on social media again. True love, that.
So, our favorite camera store was having a sale the other day, and we picked up a new lens. It’s a ProOptic 500mm f/6.3 Manual Focus, T-Mount Mirror Lens, which … is essentially a telescope that mounts onto your camera. Because it’s a reflector lens, it’s actually fairly short, and not weighty at all, so the camera is fine mounted to a tripod (rather than having to mount the lens to the tripod). We’re still waiting on a Bower SLY2X 2x T-Mount Telephoto Extender for T-Mount Lenses (it was on back-order). With that 2x extender, we’ll have a 1,000mm lens!
What does this mean for our photography? Well, first off, it means well be using the tripod a whole lot more frequently, as it’s nearly impossible to shoot a non-stabilized 500mm lens, never mind trying that with a 1,000mm lens. Second, it means we’ll be able to get a lot more detail out of our pictures of hummingbirds or the moon or anything else we can think of which would be better much closer in.
It’s quirky, and has a very narrow depth-of-field, but it’s also quite nice to sit here in bed with the camera set up next to the bed, focused upon the hummingbird feeder.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
A few random flowers for you all, today, from our collection of Miscellaneous Flowers. T. happened upon this mug, which inspired D. to hunt down our own pictures of the flower, now that we have an identification for it.
We hope you’re enjoying your Thursday!
-D & T
Last weekend we spent some time up at Leoni Meadows, north of Sacramento. After the fog burned off, there were some great opportunities for pictures in the incredibly bright sunshine.
It was a beautiful, if chilly, weekend.
It is with great regret that I’ve set Flickr to hide the EXIF information from our photos. This has been forced by the fact that the U.S. will be trying to use this information to be evil. I’ll be looking into removing all of our EXIF information from Flickr. What a horror. I’d like to tell you what aperture / exposure I used … but I can’t remove the other information from the photos. So, I’ll be stripping it all from the photos from this point forward. I. Am. So. Incensed. I cannot even express the level of anger.
Our friend over at Short Sights discusses whether it’s OK to take photographs, and the pressures on photographers by those who think it’s not OK to photograph something. It’s definitely a balancing act, knowing when it’s OK to photograph and when not. We’ve said that wherever we end up next I’m going to link up with a local paper & ask to take photos for them, just so that I can get a press pass – that might make some things better in the minds of those who complain. On the other hand, here in the UK that means that the photos I take would fall under a different section of the UK Data Protection Act … at least, if I were going to use them for commercial reasons.
I’ve had people come out and ask me about what I’m photographing (usually it’ll be the architecture), but mostly it seems that they’re interested in chatting about photography, rather than caring that I’m taking anything from them or that I shouldn’t be taking photos to begin with. There have been a few people who have complained in earnest, but they’ve generally been people without knowledge of the applicable laws. I usually approach them in several steps: 1) show them the picture I just took, 2) explain to them why I found it interesting, 3) explain to them that the Data Protection Act permits me to take such photos, 4) ask them if they want me to delete the photo (and then keep it anyway). Of course, when I’m speaking with them I’m careful to smile the “tourist smile” and to make sure that my accent sounds as “Hollywood” as possible: being a tourist seems to put people here in a different frame of mind and they’re much more helpful and forgiving.
Of course, when I’m trying to take candid shots of people I’ll usually just shoot without aiming and hope that I get something decent (as in the three women from the help-desk where I work, out for lunch, to the right). Sometimes I’ll resort to using a remote shutter-release cable, with the release in my pocket, so that people don’t even see my hands near the shutter-releases on the camera. Other times I’ll use T’s wee camera, as it doesn’t make any noise while shooting. That’s not to say that I’m doing something which I think to be wrong – just that people get weird about photography sometimes, and it’s much easier to not have to go through the rigamarole of them noticing that I’m shooting.
Short Sights also mentions that there are some things which you’d feel obligated to photograph, such as a riot or something. For me, that has meant shooting such things as Orange Marches, here in Scotland. Mostly, though, I try to avoid anything of the sort, even though I have insurance on the camera equipment. And there are times when I know that I’d be putting myself in a bad spot for taking photos, particularly as the world seems a bit crazy about the whole “terrorism” thing and has turned to terrorizing photographers in turn.
As the technology gets better and smaller, though, I think that it’s going to be inevitable that people will be able to photograph anywhere, at any time. The only people who will be singled out and punished are those of us with the large cameras, even though the resolution on them is not so great as the newer, smaller ones. So, how can we change the perception that a large camera means something different than a point-and-shoot? Perhaps on the next upgrade I’ll go with something truly wee, just to avoid the controversy.
A certain time of winter comes, and the body simply cranks down into Survival Mode. It’s post-holiday, after the New Year celebrations, and once the glitter is gone, and the thrill of the first snowfall, your psyche is just OVER IT. Skin is constantly dry, and one drinks tons of tea, slathers on lotion, and has a rather grim set to the mouth. Add to it wild weather, various illnesses and relapses, bedraggled hems and soaked shoes, and people just get snippy. Extraneous communication ceases, people do what they have to and sleep in the rest of the time.
(… unless they’re in the Bay Area of California, or San Diego. Then, they revel in the sunshine, and plot where they’re going to plant their tomatoes, the fortunate miscreants.) While our friends in the Midwest and the East Coast are still losing the last vestiges of Snopocalypse II, 2011, and Seattle braces for more snow this weekend (!); while many are reeling from the news that three of the next five winters will be just this severe, *thanks to climate change (and if you don’t believe in it, we don’t want to discuss it); while many hack and cough and hunch over their inhalers (looking at you, Mom and Van), we thought it might be time to play a round of Summer Preview. Feast your eyes on D’s photography from years past, and allow the images to jumpstart your brain into seeing a future of beach scenes, seed catalogs, sharpened mower blades, short sleeves, and giving yourself that much-needed leg deforestation (well, not everyone. Just you swimmers.) and pedicure…
Are you feeling inspired? Perhaps craving grilled vegetables and food on sticks? Salad??? That’s right, drag that ratty fleece blanket a little closer, have another sip of tea, and let your mind go… to somewhere in the world there is a whole color palette that doesn’t begin and end with gray, white, and black. It exists! You will see it again! Honest!
*You hadn’t heard about this Winter Hinterland thing being the new normal? Meteorologist’s long-term predictions seem to point that direction. If that fills you with horror, you’re not alone. Instead of panicking, there should be something (other than buying a lot of thermals, flannel and Thinsulate™) to do to plan ahead, to enjoy winter more (or at all) and to not let months of your life pass you by as you sleepwalk/whine/sniffle the days away. “Teh Interwebs” offer this advice (well, they actually offer a whole lot more – this is what’s useful and doesn’t reiterate too much what you already know):
Winter is only a part of the cycle of life and death of the natural world, and fierce and heavy winters will only mean that we’ll enjoy the temperate autumn and summer days that much more. We hope you’ve enjoyed this round of Summer Preview, and that it’s bringing you some anticipation of good things to come. Spring will come again — and so will winter. Next time, hopefully, we’ll be better physically AND mentally prepared!
“May you live ALL the days of your life.” ~ Jonathan Swift
All of these photographs are of flowers at the Glasgow Botanical Garden. It’s a great place to go when the temperatures are down into the low numbers, because it is ALWAYS balmy inside those glass greenhouses. We spend an entire morning there our first February in Scotland, and before the month is out, we hope to do it again!