Blazing Star is a rare, fire-dependent, and spectacular plant of forest openings in New England, with a remnant population on the Kennebunk Plains. This was a particularly good year for them, especially in areas of the Plains that were part of the controlled burns of the year before. Come fall and all that is left is the seed heads, which are themselves somewhat spectacular.
Samsung Smart Camera WB800F. Macro. Processed in Snapseed on the Nexus 7.
I spent several hours yesterday at Massachusetts Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary being the ZEISS guy for their yearly Optics Fair. Mostly I was talking optics but I did take them to chase down this interesting moth when it flew by.
At first I thought it was a particularly yellow Hummingbird Moth…or “Hummingbird Clearwing Moth” more properly…but further study shows it as the closely related Snowberry Clearwing. It was quite large: 2 inches tip to tail and with a 2 inch wingspan. Quite a creature!
Samsung Smart Camera WB250F in Program and Macro, with Intelligent Zoom to about 600mm equivalent field of view at 10 mega pixels. Processed in Snapseed on the Nexus 7. Cropped for scale.
This is an orchid that my daughter bought for my wife on her birthday the beginning of August. It has been quietly blooming on the entertainment center by our front windows ever since. Occasionally I look at it and think I should photograph it. It is a thing of beauty and I should celebrate it! Yesterday I took it out to the back deck and actually did it 🙂
I could not find and did not take the time to improvise a completely dark background, and I don’t have the sophisticated lighting required for a studio style shot anyway, so I made do with the shadowed trees around the deck and my Samsung Smart Camera in Macro mode. I did do some extra processing to isolate the flower in Snapseed. Besides my usual Ambiance and Structure adjustments, I used the Center Focus filters to blur and darken the background, then finished off with a dark frame just highlighted with a thin white edge.
All in all I think it works. It is certainly a beautiful flower. Nothing I could do could obscure that, and I am hoping my efforts do help to capture and share that beauty.
And for the Sunday Thought. I am reminded by this birthday flower that my wife too is a thing of beauty, quietly blooming, and that I do not take time often enough to celebrate her. Her beauty is more a matter of character and harder to capture and to share, but that does not mean I should not make the effort. So, Carol, this orchid and my efforts are for you this morning. An orchid quietly blooming. 🙂
I went down to the beach yesterday to see if there were any birds around to digiscope, and got honestly and seriously distracted by the amazing sky 🙂 And it was cold at the beach! Not jacket cold, but chill enough in the wind so that I was not truly comfortable in my shirt, birding vest, and shorts. Fall is coming on way too fast.
As I say, I could not resist the sky, and there were just a few Beach Roses blooming very late right in front of one of my favorite views. Okay! Pic-op.
I used the Samsung Smart Camera’s in-camera HDR mode (Rich Tone), and then processed the image for maximum impact in Snapseed on the Nexus 7 v.2. Snapseed has matured since I last tried it. It now works with full resolution files. I like several of the editing features: Ambience and Structure in particular, and I like the slide to adjust metaphor. It is as close to Lightroom as Android is likely to get 🙂
And for this image I got the effect I was after. The last rose of summer, with fall coming on too fast!
On my first night in Vegas, I walked across the pedestrian bridge from the Treasure Island, to the the Venetian, in search of the Food Court, and got totally lost. In the process I came on some typically over-the-top Vegas interiors. Of course I left my camera in the hotel room. I mean, I was only going to the Food Court. Right. Never again. All I had was my Android phone with its wimpy 5mp camera which I knew from past experience was, well, wimpy. Still. I might never find this part of the Palazzo again (I was lost), and I have been impressed with what Snapseed can do to even a bad photo photo, so, I did the total tourist thing with my phone.
Unfortunately, back at the TI, the Play Store informed me that Snapseed was not compatible with my device. Uuugh! So, I emailed the images from my phone to my XOOM Tablet, which is already good to go with Snapseed, and processed them on the XOOM, then uploaded them to WideEyedInWonder. Not bad for a phone shot. In Vegas. (And the Food Court at the Venetian is worth the trouble…fair prices and good food. I had a wonderful New York Style Deli Egg Salad Sandwich on rye with coleslaw and ice-tea for less than $10.00! In Vegas!)
And for the Sunday Thought.
Being in Vegas, for me, is roughly like being underwater, without any breathing apparatus. Once I leave my hotel room, I am always wondering if I am going to be able to hold my breath until I can get back there, where at least I can float with my nose out of the water. Even scenes like the one above, are like the fake sunken ships, the bright shells, and the carefully tailored plants of an aquarium. They say, “see, we know what beauty is like above the water, and we can fake it so you hardly know.” I am not fooled, and I struggle not to be impressed either. It is a counterfeit world. Totally false, and designed to deceive.
But then, those who live by faith have always testified that “the world” of our mundane experience is just the same: A counterfeit of the reality that is only perceived by the spirit…the place where the real air is, that the faithful breathe. And yet, I attempt every day to see through that counterfeit to the reality that informs it and gives it meaning and value.
Vegas I guess is just one layer deeper. A counterfeit of a counterfeit…even here a bit of the real shows through where men have labored to coin beauty. How could it be otherwise? Even when captured with a phone. And especially when you factor in the excellent egg salad on rye!