Thursday, December 31, 2009


AKA "What I've Discovered from Taking a Photo Every Darn Day":

There are more interesting, alive creatures and plants right in the middle of an enormous urban area than I'd ever paid attention to before or even thought possible.

Sometimes it's just better to be in the moment and see what's happening rather than filter it through a lens and ponder it later. That is: sometimes it's better to create memories rather than photos.

Sometimes my photos are blurry or boring. That is reflective of reality as I experienced it that day and the less good mean I have to try better next time. So, the only editing that I will do is some cropping and slight rotation. Oh, and the pictures of the moon? They usually mean I had a terribly busy day and didn't have a chance to even touch my camera until well after dark.

I'm not sure I've become a better photographer through all this picture taking. I may have become a lazier photographer because I sometimes had just one chance to get a shot and let my camera do the thinking. I do think I sometimes have a good eye and am developing a better one.

The enhanced vision for butterflies that started when J. and I went to Santa Cruz's Natural Bridges State Beach a few years ago and saw the monarchs clustering really took off this year. Butterflies are everywhere and I see them...and how come I never knew the name, e.g., of the gray hairstreak before this? And now I'm developing the same sense for other insects. I've liked bees for a long time but I noticed the others besides honey bees and bumble bees more often and started wondering why I've had self-inflicted blinders on for most of my life. I have developed a keen interest in entomology that I don't see ever going away.

I have a powerful desire to know the names of things. I think this is a basic human desire but I'd never noticed it so strongly in myself before.

Field/identification guides are my friends. I prefer the book version but websites can be easier. I'm quite fond of this one, this one, this one, and BugGuide.Net. And I just got this and this one too--pretty awesome.

A flower is frequently more beautiful to me (or at least more interesting) when it has a bug on or in it.

J. is a very patient and supportive person (got me the camera and lenses to start with and, well, charges my batteries too). Walks with me are frequently interrupted by my exclamations of "Ooh, what is that?"..."Ooh, look at that!" and the photo shoots that almost always follow. That's just one example.

Even if I were to walk the same route every single day, it's now apparent to me that I would see something new each time.

The more pictures I take, the more possible shots I can think of. For instance(s), I'd like to photograph lightning (I tried and failed during our rare and solitary thunderstorm in June). I'd like to take a good picture of raindrops hitting a puddle. And a really good one of a hummingbird in flight...or a dragonfly on the wing...a nice shot of quail. And, and, and.... I think this means the experience will continue in the new year.

Closing Up

High fog but not too cold. Tying up loose ends. And so the year comes to a close.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Circle of Life

I'd just about gotten home from a wonderful walk along the river when I looked up and saw this hawk. It let me get quite close with my camera but kept an eye on me. Please excuse the bloody squirrel it's ripping apart.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The rosemary sprigs I shoved in a glass of water are forming roots--makes me feel oddly triumphant. Persistently gray outside all day. Rain and intermittent wind tonight.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Eating Crows

It was cold on our walk even though we didn't leave until late morning. Later the sky became drippy. Earlier there was just fog.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


It poured last night and cleared the air. The cut vegetation along the river is rotting and doesn't smell that great. Was lovely to get some outdoor exercise.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bare Branches Against the Sky

Today was quite the contrast to yesterday. Cold and foggy all day. And less festive.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Rose

Warm for Christmas Day and clear. Festivities commenced. Most traditional.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the Eve

Preparations well in hand. A cold clear night. No Rudolph needed.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cold Tolerance

Winter has brought colder temperatures again. Seems reasonable. Clear and starry night.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The countdown begins. So much to do. So little time.

Monday, December 21, 2009


A drippy, foggy day. Staggering sunset. Late rain.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Our tree is now up and decorated. We went to our usual spot to cut it down. Last year it was snowing but it was warm this year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Return

The cold tule fog soaked into my bones today. Not quite winter but a typical winter day. The solstice is almost here.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Fresh seasonal color on a foggy day. Busy (and filling) evening. Eyelids are getting heavy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tip of the Cap

A comfortingly foggy morning. Sun in the afternoon. After sunset the sky was an unusual cobalt velvet with green highlights--most striking.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Slanted Cyclamen

The first day back is always a challenge. Today lived up to the norm. The cyclamen were a bright spot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fading into the Mists

All too soon the seaside idyll is over. Reality begins again tomorrow. We had a marvelous time and I took only 97 pictures.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Turquoise Glow

Almost completely overcast and completely marvelous. The ocean was turquoise where it met the rocks. We laughed as we watched sanderlings skitter away from the waves and were entranced by a diving surf scoter.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Great Blue Heron

It stopped raining before we got up and the entire day was gorgeous. Much wildlife on our walk. Amazing meteor shower (the Geminids) at night.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Although there were torrential rains for most of the day we were content. Could watch the waves and poke the fire in the fireplace at our leisure. And there was a brief break in the weather to allow for leg stretching and picture taking.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Upon Arrival

We arrived just before sunset in a light rain. The waves crashed on the rocks. Otherwise, there was silence.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Last Leaf

Cold and foggy almost all day. At nightfall it started to rain. Off and on showers since then.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Slightly warmer (but not by much) today. The sun never came out this time. I hope the rest of the tangerines made it through the freeze.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Record low temperatures. It didn't get above freezing until late this morning. Tender plants are done for the year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

(The Holly and) the Ivy

No snow here after all--just rain. Everyone else got snow. It's a clear night but literally freezing out there.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Before the Snow?

It was cold all day. We have a possibility of up to three inches of snow by tomorrow morning. That would be awesome.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Orion is wheeling high in the sky. Cold night with a north wind blowing. A wintry storm is on the way.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Prequel

My hyacinth bulb is finally sprouting. I hope it actually blooms. Love the color of the bulb itself.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Soupy fog early. Not thick enough to obscure the mushrooms. Clear by mid-morning.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

No Goose?

Another cold and frosty morning that warmed to an extremely pleasant day. Ducks were lazily patrolling the pond. An egret flew in for a visit.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


A full moon shrouded in cloud appeared above the trees. I stood on a picnic table to get a clear view. Sort of spooky.