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Monday, March 29, 2010

Salivating for Salvia!


For those who are anxious to see the salvia in our front yard (all 1 of you I suspect) here are two shots I made in the late afternoon yesterday.


I didn't realize until after I pulled them up on the computer screen that I need to do some weeding in that garden! Argh... oh well, they are doing much better this year after all the rain we've had recently. Last year it was so dry I didn't think they'd make it. Glad they did though.

Have a great week everyone! I will try to get some of the photos of the Flat Creek Winery up sometime this week. They had some interesting outdoor sculptures on display when we went by. The owners are so nice, I wish we could visit more often.

All the best,

Mike Z

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Gazebo at Zilker Park, Austin TX

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The Gazebo at Zilker Park, Austin TX

Jan and I volunteered again this year for the Austin Pond Society at the Zilker Garden Festival in Zilker Park. It was earlier this year than last, and the breeze as we arrived was brisk and cool. I was glad I brought a light jacket! The crowds were out in force by 11am, but when we arrived it was quiet. So I was able to walk around and shoot a few photos. I have more than these but I wanted to get my first few tries up as soon as possible.

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The flower above looked to Jan and me like a rose, but it was not on a rose bush. I patiently waited till the wind died down a little and took a few shots of it. If someone knows what kind of flower it is, please leave it in the comments. I was not the only one to find this a curiosity. Several other folks with cameras came by and took their turn photographing it. It stood out in the small garden of red and purple flowers.

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This is my second try. In all the photos above, I used a technique called the Orton Effect. It was first used back in the days of film, and is much easier to accomplish in this day of digital photography. I think it adds a little softness and yet retains the "pop" I was hoping for. Many thanks to my friend Gordon H for introducing me to this fascinating effect.

As I get more photos done, I will add them to this post. I hope you enjoyed your stay!

All the best,

Mike Z

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Redbud tree in the backyard

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The Redbud Tree

 

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The redbud trees are blooming all over Austin, and we have a lot of them in our neighborhood. I had planted this one after Jan's father passed away, as a way of remembering him. Roland was a minister, and spring was a special time for him, both personally and religiously.

The tree has survived some mighty dry summers, but this past winter was very rainy, and I think that's why it bloomed out so well this year.

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In past years I have not concentrated on close-up or macro photos of the blooms. This year I wanted to do something a little different. I got as close as the lens would let me and still stay somewhat focused, and fired several shots continuously, in case there was any vibration or handshake when I took the photo.

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And of course, there were bees everywhere around the tree. They were a welcome sight. I have read that bees are dying off in some parts of the country at an alarming rate, and it will not go well with our flowers and crops if they go completely. I hope this one was able to bring back some goodies for the hive. I saw an Eastern Tiger swallowtail butterfly as well, but it didn't stay around for a photo.

I hope you enjoy these little shots of mine. Tomorow, the salvias!

Take care,

Mike Z

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Brynach

I am sure you have noticed that portraits do not often appear on My Photographic Memories. I have many misgivings about my "skills" as a portrait photographer. But when I saw young Bryn sitting in his mom's lap, and the obvious bond of love the two of them shared, I threw caution to the wind and asked if I could take a couple of photos. Tamra agreed, thankfully.

These two photos are the "best of the lot." As you know, my motto is take 100 to get 1. Please don't look at these photos in any technical way. Just look into those eyes and share the joy.

Our church is making a photo directory this year, the first in quite a few years. Last time we used one of the "professional" companies to take the photos and make the directory. But so many people had problems with the "hard sales pitch" from the company that one of our group decided to buy software and do it ourselves. I have volunteered during March to help with the photo-taking. A blatant attempt on my part to get some practice with portraits and how my camera can get the best portrait shot.
Wish me luck!
Mike Z
PS Tamra kindly gave me permission to put these photos on My Photographic Memories. Thank you Tamra!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bunnies at the hotel, Las Cruces New Mexico

This is the first time I've been to New Mexico in a while. Although I spent the day in Albuquerque, I made the reservation for Las Cruces so I could get back to El Paso in time to fly home on Friday. (I know, too much information, right?)

Anyway, as I walked in to talk to the hotel people, I noticed quite a few cute little rabbits "grazing" in the grass between the walk and the bushes. As I walked closer all but one hopped back into the cover of the bushes. The little one you see above was bold enough to stay out while I got the blackberry set up to take a photo.

We don't see very many rabbits or jackrabbits in Texas anymore. They used to be plentiful. I have heard that the fire ants have pretty much wiped them out in our part of the country. Pretty sad.

Well gang, just a note from the road. More later. Thanks for visiting!
Mike Z