Saturday, August 31, 2019

Caturday 5

Due to extended family members who suffer from cat allergies, we generally keep the bedroom door of the guest room closed. But one day, when I couldn't find Lacey, I had a premonition.

Not only was she in the guest room but happily ensconced behind the pillows. The pillows! Can you believe it? In a room designated for cat-allergic people?!!

But she did look darn cute.

Friday, August 30, 2019

A Somewhat Later Morning

Another morning. Another early photo outing.

But not early enough. Despite being licked awake by the cat at 4 o'clock and the alarm being set for 4:45, I didn't get up until 5. It's not as though I slept through the alarm, for after being awakened by the cat, I shut it (the alarm not the cat) off to keep from disturbing Sue. I had thought that I was quite awake and didn't need it, but I did drift off again for a few minutes.

Even then, I couldn't quite get going, so I was a bit late out the door. I sat in the car in the driveway wondering where the heck I should go and decided on the local trail by the river. It's just a few blocks away.

Once upon a time, I had taken a decent sunrise shot there, but with the water full of algae on this day, I turned away from the river.

And I simply shot the sunrise in the other direction. There are houses in the frame, but I don't think they are too distracting, and I like how a v-shape points to the sunrise I was also keen to get the crescent moon in the shot.

Since I was there, I did a landscape (horizontal) shot too, but that misses the moon.

I began to drive the few blocks toward home but decided to check out the park since I could see that the sky was still pretty nice.

None of these are worthy of printing, and I knew that would be the case, so I even shot hand-held for that reason. But I did see a decent sunrise with my own two eyes, and I like some of the photos too. Just not enough to print, I don't think.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Foggy Sunrise

It has been a little while since I arose early looking to capture a sunrise. I demurred when the alarm went off at 4:45, but I eventually capitulated. You will notice that I set it for 4:45 rather than 4:15 as I did earlier due to the sun rising later and later now.)

What I didn't realize when I set out was that there was quite a lot of fog in some patches. I wasn't finding driving in the fog and dark very appealing, so I pulled off and never did make it to my destination.

I pulled off at a garden centre which had a corn field for a neighbour, over which there was quite a wonderful glow from the rising but not quite yet risen sun. So, I suppose that I trespassed just a wee bit to get these photos. The photos are very similar but with somewhat different crops and edits. I am not sure if I prefer the second or third image.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Another Release

There was a second releasing of the Monarchs although there were fewer this time. They perhaps could have waited for more to emerge from chrysalis, but once the butterflies are ready, it is not wise to make them wait for too long.

I brought up the concern of one of my readers that Monarchs released in this way cannot migrate, and they were quick to disavow that. You see, Monarchs can be tagged, and those tags have been found in Mexico. It really doesn't make sense anyway since all they are doing is protecting the pupae from bird predators while they are incubating. Otherwise, the attrition rates can be quite high. The insects are not interfered with otherwise.

I have some photos of this event too. Largely, I went so Sue and Shauna could witness the event, which they missed the first time. They are on the right in this photo.

There was much crowding around the box. They used glass doors this time instead of mesh to make photographing easier, but I found that there was too much glare and reflection. Others may have done better. Perhaps if I had brought my polarizer filter . . .

They did have a few insects in another tent, but nothing exciting was happening like it did on the previous day. The first wasn't ready for chrysalis and the pupa wasn't close to emerging in the second photo. Still, we could see them up close.

When the door was open, most of the butterflies took off lickety split. In these photos, first there were three, but second later there was just one. I was surprised to see than I caught a bit of one taking off. I had thought that I had missed completely.

Bob got me in this photo when I was trying to capture the above photos or something similar.

All but one of the nine released disappeared from the premises pronto, but that one did sit on a flower for a long time.

Linda showed up a little late, but she didn't disappoint with her outfit. She never does.

Addendum: Erin, who along with her husband, Curtis, who takes on this project, also has a blog on the subject. This post (←this is a link) addresses the issues of migrating and raising the butterflies in the way that they do. It also informs us that there will be another release on Thursday evening. Although I have witnessed this twice, the kids are back from their eastern excursion, so they might like to see it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Argh! I Had to Brag

Ever since that recent post about my victory at Sudoku, I swear, the game is trying to get back at me. Maybe Miss S reads my blog and is provoked with me.

I said at the time, that expert-level challenges came along infrequently. I certainly wish it had stayed that way, but it seems that ever since that post, they are all very hard at best or expert at worst.

I am able to solve some puzzles but find myself asking for hints in other games, perhaps because it becomes too tiring to exert any more of my rather limited brainpower.

Although I have managed to solve two expert level puzzles in less than a half hour lately, \they can take double that time if it is a particularly sticky puzzle.

It's just not every morning that I want to wrestle that long and hard. Sometimes, I would just like a 10 minute medium puzzle. I mean, for me the game is about engaging the brain and being forced to apply logic, and I can still do that with a less difficult puzzle. If I do want to make it more challenging, I can try to complete it without resorting to notations, which I often do.

Oh well, as I said, the last one I managed in less than 30 minutes, which isn't too terrible, but I just don't want to do that every day. Sure I can choose not to play the daily puzzle and choose my own level, but after so many months of seeing every day filled in, I hate to stop.

Argh! again.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Monarchs Emerging from Chrysalis

Once the hatched Monarchs were freed, we were able to see that many pupae remained in the box.

In my profound ignorance, I asked why some were dark.

Well duh you dummy. Those are the ones close to emergence.

I was told that this one was close, so I watched. (Sorry, most of the photos are not sharp. They were shot from a distance and then still required cropping despite my zoom lens being fully extended.)

Watch as it emerges. (Not time lapse or video. Just a bunch of shots.)

Done, but it now needs time to grow before it flies.

This was quite thrilling for me, more so even than the releasing, which was grand enough.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Release of the Monarchs

Fleetingly, I saw on FB that a family was planning to release Monarch butterflies in the park. It is something that I have never seen, so off I went.

I took my camera and my longest lens. I really didn't know if there would be a good photo op or not, but as a former boy scout, I was ready. And it would be something to witness regardless — a first for a 72-year-old.

I also didn't know if my choice of lens would be right, but I think it was despite that making certain photos difficult. Like this one ↓ for example. I had to get way back to get as much of the proceedings as I could, and even then, I would have liked a wider shot. Other photos like the last two in this post, were done quickly at at a big zoom, so they aren't sharp. And that's okay too. It was great just to be there and record it.

You can see the setup above. There were dozens of butterflies in the box. The preponderance were in the pupae state, but many were ready to fly.

It was pretty well impossible to get a good photo through the mesh, but how wonderful to see them all.

Most of the Monarchs flew off directly, but a few lingered. This boy ↓ was lucky.

In fact, he was doubly lucky.

This butterfly wasn't as anxious or ready to depart as were others.

Thankfully, a few made temporary use of the flowers that had been assembled before beginning their long flights.

More to come tomorrow of my favourite part — as if this wasn't enough.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Caturday 4

I had thought that I would do a Caturday (on Saturday) post on a somewhat regular basis, but then posting got quite heavy with other topics. One does get out and about more in summer, and there have been the the town's 200th anniversary celebrations as well.

This past week, our cat, Lacey, has had a guest while her family went on vacation.

Abby is older than Lacey and has lived with other animals, so we thought that the two might get along, especially since it seemed that Lacey had gotten along well at the shelter when she was there, being free to roam about with other animals. We were even told that she slept with the dogs.

But it was not to be; maybe she got along with dogs but not cats.

Lacey would not stop hissing, and Abby would not stop attacking her, I think in response to the hissing, but who is to say. I do think that Abby might relent with the attacks if Lacey were to stop the hissing, and I have spoken to Lacey about this, but she refuses to take my advice to heart.

We had thought that, if the two could get along, we might keep Abby as she has more or less been reduced to living in the basement since a basset hound invaded her home. It is a finished basement, and the kids have their bedrooms down there when they are with their father, but they are only there half the time.

Alas, it seems to be an impossible situation here, and Abby may be returned today or tomorrow when her tribe returns. This saddens us a little as she is otherwise a nice cat that is a little more friendly and pet-able that ours. She is not a lap cat but is otherwise personable. Lacey, on the other hand, will do laps, albeit briefly, but is difficult to approach for petting. She will enjoy petting when she has chosen to come onto our laps, but we can't usually go to her.

This photo ↓ depicts what much of the week has been like with Lacey up high to keep away from Abby. We do have to separate them frequently by locking one or the other in a room. This leaves one cat free to roam and get food, water etc.

Shortly after the above picture, I went downstairs, and Lacey tried to follow me, for it was her breakfast time. I heard a great wailing and hurried back upstairs. Lacey had gotten down onto the bed but was attacked by Abby. For once Lacey stood her ground, at least for awhile, but then returned to her perch.

Meanwhile, at first glance the two felines look similar. They are almost exactly the same size and shape, and their markings (where the white is) are similar. When the light is poor, we have to look carefully to tell which cat is which.

Friday, August 23, 2019

A Stream of Lights by Townhall

I have had a notion to use a long exposure of car lights coming over the bridge by townhall. Two weeks ago, I actually went down there sans camera to check out the possibility. I found a spot which showed the bridge plus townhall and decided that 10 seconds would allow a car to traverse the length of the bridge.

Eventually, I returned with my camera and a neutral density filter that would allow me to slow the shutter speed and capture a long exposure.

I love the result ↑. The sun has just set behind me. It is blue hour, and there is a trace of pink in the sky. There are reflections in the river, which is also smoothed out nicely as a result of the 10 second exposure.

But! There are no car lights. At this angle and distance, I could see them, but the camera couldn't. Perhaps, I would have got something better had I remained there in that spot as it got darker, but I doubt it.

So, I moved closer to the bridge.

I like this ↑ photo too, but it was still not quite what I was after, so I moved right up onto the bridge.

This ↑ is closer to what I was hoping to get (in terms of light trails) although not from this perspective.

It is a combination of four photos to get enough light trails to be effective as traffic is not heavy here or wasn't on that evening.

I like all three photos from the shoot, and I think I will consider each of them when I make more prints to update my current selections at the two spots where I display my prints.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Geezer Brains

I have written once before of how, in an effort to keep my brain in working order, I try to play two ipad games each morning. One is Wordscapes, and the other is Sudoku. I always play Sudoku first because it suits my brain a little more than Wordscapes. (There are images and a greater description of the games on this previous post.)

Sometimes I miss a day or two of Sudoku, but I can make those missed games up later. As a result, I have played every Daily Sudoku from March 24th until now. Unfortunately, if I miss the daily Wordscape challenge, there is no option to go back.

There are four levels to this Sudoku app — Easy, Medium, Hard and Expert. I can do Easy without resorting to notations and sometimes Medium too, depending on my state of mind that day. The Hard level always requires me making notations, which are easy to do in this app, except I think that I once managed to complete a Hard game without notations. That means that it was probably only on the borderline between Medium and Hard.

The app only offers the Expert level rarely, which is a good thing since they are very difficult and time-consuming. Unfortunately, when it does go to this level, I always make a blunder at some point and/or have to resort to requesting a hint.

Until yesterday that is, when I completed an Expert game without hint or error. So, at almost my 72nd birthday, I am here to inform you that I haven't completely lost my cognitive functioning — despite fumbling around for elusive words all too frequently. Narcissist is one example of a word that I often find difficult to latch onto.

I have also resumed playing Question of the Day with Alexa, and I am up to 10 correct answers in a row.  Not too terrible for an old geezer, eh?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

For Your Funny Bone

I thought for sure that I had posted this image here when I posted it on FB way back in June, but apparently I didn't.  What I thought this was going to be an update is now something new for you, although I am sure that you've seen something similar.

I found it on Twit*** one day, probably the same day that I posted in on FB, which was June 13. I find it difficult to share T stuff on FB, so I just copied the image from one social medium and pasted it to the other.

The point is that it had 5K shares as of last week. I kept on getting notification after notification of re-shares for about two months. I think they've finally stopped now or almost.

I hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sunday Morning Fog

It was not my intention to rise early on Sunday morning. Not at all.

But when I got up at 4 to go to you know where, I saw that it was foggy out.

Says I to myself, "Hmm, there may be a photo op here."

Although I lay my bod back down for a few minutes, the game was up, and so was I.

But where to go?

I decided on the little bridge and the adjacent trail bridge.

Looking up the little bridge.

I decided to try a selfie. I can connect my phone to my camera and fire from there.

I tried a few others but found that the connection wasn't reliable, at least not at any distance. I had hoped to get a photo from this viewpoint of me on that bridge, but it was a bridge too far. heh heh

So, I crossed back over the bridge to the other side of that building in the background above and took the shot that I first visualized after parking the car over there. But I didn't have my wide angle lens on at that point. Now, I took the time to put it on. I guess this is the best photo of the morning although it won't win any prizes.

Next, I decided to go up onto the trail bridge. Once again the lens was wrong, so I trooped back to the car to put on my longer lens. There were fishers in the fog. I like the first photo somewhat; it is probably my second favourite photo of the morning.

Just for the heck of it, as a parting shot, I decided to get a quick pic of spider webs on the bridge. Why not, eh?

It was still foggy, and I could have gone to another location, but I hadn't been perky to begin with that morning, so home went I.