GREVILLEAS

In the previous post, my Magnolia photos were right next to some Grevillea images in my Photo Library.

I don’t think I’ve seen any of these Australian evergreen plants in my western suburb, but I do have some lovely shots of them from past home locations.

Grevillias are a diverse and variable range of Australian plants, from large, upright trees to scrambling ground covers.  The majority are medium shrubs with flowers resembling spiders and often appear in long toothbrush-like clusters.

Here’s the 4 images (below).  They were found in a small island of native plants in the middle of a suburban road.   They were such a surprising sight and were no doubt planted by an environmentally aware local council.

They attract birds in great numbers, but I imagine they’d be too big to grow in a pot on my balcony????

THE MAGNOLIAS ARE IN BLOOM

Coming home in a taxi yesterday, I noticed a number of residential gardens with massive Magnolia trees in Bloom.

There are literally hundreds of stunning flowers on the trees at the moment.

While I  can’t find my favourite shot of them in my archives, I did find this image showing the buds, from 3rd March, 2011……… of a different variety.

Made with my old, (now traded in), Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens.

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I finally remembered that shot I wanted was around mid 2015 when I lived on the north-eastern side of Melbourne, so it actually was easy to find after all.   My short-term memory always has a ‘hiccup’ before it goes to the right part of my memory bank  😀

Here ’tis……from the 26th August, 2015. …..made with my Sony a6000 & 18-200mm lens.

…….and the close-up…..

If I go to the local Plant Nursery during the next week or so to buy seedlings and potting soil, I will try to walk home past the magnificent tree and get a ‘newer’ image.

There’s a cacophony of House Sparrows outside my lounge window at the moment.   Don’t know what they’re twittering about, but it’s obviously some sort of argument, not the usual sweet sound.

I’ve had so many Sparrows on my bare-limbed Japanese Maple in the last couple of days that I couldn’t resist trying to get a shot of some of them this morning from where I’m sitting at my desk.

It’s not always easy to Autofocus when the lounge windows have dirty rain droplets on them.  I have to keep moving the camera slightly to one side to stop it autofocusing on the dusty windows and focus  on the actual bird(s).

Finally managed one shot (below).

You can see the Maple buds on the branches and you’ll also notice that this area is still in shade, with the sunlight shining on the other side of the road (which gives the image the bright light in the background).

In the latter part of the day, the other side of the road falls into shade (with my balcony in sunlight in the golden hour) 🙂

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE – Pink Lillies

My God-daughter brought me some lovely pink lilies when she and her Mother came for lunch on Wednesday.   It was such a thrill to see her as I couldn’t go to her wedding in Spain in May of this year.

The buds were all closed, but with the warmth of the wall heater, they have quickly opened and brought a welcome array of Spring colour into my home.

I started off with my Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 lens on an ISO of 800  which was what I’d been using the day before with the birds on my dark shady balcony.   I did have a bit of trouble getting enough light onto the flowers with a hand-held shot, so the aperture was left on f2.8.

Note: I don’t why this lens exif data keeps showing Canon 17-55mm lens, but it’s definitely a Sigma 17-50mm lens.   I love this lens for getting a little closer to flowers.

Then got out my old Canon 50mm f1.4 lens which I hadn’t used in ages.   I was trying to focus on the stamens and still keep the aperture on f1.4 to get a narrow DOF (Depth of Field).

I don’t know what variety of lily these are and Mr Google images had more than one description of this pink lily so we’ll just call it Pink Lily.

I probably would have done better to put the camera on a tripod and use the remote shutter release cable so I could step back and let more of the light source in but was happy enough with the 2 differing shots.

Enjoy!………

A LITTLE RAY OF SUNSHINE

When you have lots of little niggling problems eating away your day, be it with friends, family, work colleagues……home, work place ……….or your computer, it’s easy to lose sight of the ‘big picture‘.

It’s easy to lose sight of the beauty in the ordinary everyday moments, living one’s life Mindfully and appreciating all the positive aspects of living in a marvellous space surrounding by a green belt up and down the river (of parks and nature reserves).   Living in the Moment and not in the past or the future is essential for us chronic pain and illness sufferers.

But if you’re a healthy normal individual it’s a practice worth cultivating too.

The last couple of months have drawn me away from Mindfulness and sucked me into negative thinking, something I vowed I would not do after being forced to quit full-time work in early 2010 and take early retirement.   I’m not naturally a bright, breezy sort of person.   I have to work at it.  I’m the quiet deep thinker who watches life from the sidelines these days.

When I’m with my bright happy extravert friends, I tend to become one (bright, or lively & with a wicked sense of humour).  When I’m with sombre, negative, critical souls, I tend to to take on their negative traits and my mood darkens.   When my computer misbehaves, I curse…….sometimes quite loudly, if the problem doesn’t resolve quickly.

A finger points at the moon, but the moon is not at the tip of the finger. Words points at the truth, but the truth is not in words.

— Huineng

Walking home from the local medical centre yesterday, after a morning of intermittent rain showers,  I was blessed by brilliant sunshine.   Each leaf in the local park sparkled with droplets of rain, and the air was really fresh and inviting.

My mood was immediately uplifted with the sheer beauty of the avenue of stark leafless cherry blossom trees facing a large landscaped area of Euphorbias and low-lying succulents and the rich green hedges.  The faint laughter of a couple of young children in the local playground, as their father watched on with the family dog, provided a light backdrop.

I was also blessed with a relatively pain-free hip and lower back day.  My chronic knee and ankle pain was totally absent – a rarity these days.

I noticed the bushes of Polygala near the supermarket were in full bloom and fortunately I had a camera in my shopping trolley.    I don’t usually take it outdoors if the whole day is forecast for rain showers all day.

MILKWORT (Polygala myrtifolia).

Such a lovely burst of colour amidst the dreary cold days of Winter.

Those colourful blooms were certainly a very welcome sight.  Polygala is a very hardy plant and I’ve seen it in the most unforgiving surroundings.  It flowers from the end of Winter right through Summer, with a few flowers hanging around in the Autumn.   Yesterday was mid-Winter, so in one way, I was surprised to see the generous mass of blooms.

But the succulents and drought-hardy plants in the urns outside the local cafes, pharmacy & medical centre were just as pretty.  Someone in the area must have a ‘green thumb’.

On the way home, by the time I got to the top of my short steep road, most of the light had started to fade under some new dark clouds which heralded a possible rain shower.

I started to walk a bit faster.   There is really no shelter in much of my area, totally opposite to where I lived on the south-east side of Melbourne 4 years ago.

Looking towards the dying sun produced a fair silhouette (which I deepened by increasing the ‘black point’ in the iMac’s simple photo editing section of the software).   It wasn’t really this dark, but I happen to like silhouettes.   The scene wan’t a stunning landscape,  merely an urban space near a row of townhouses.  I kept wishing I had my Sony ‘mirrorless’camera, which takes superb images when there is bright light and strong contrast in the scene.   The Sony ‘intelligent auto’ setting is unsurpassed by my Canon DSLRs.

But as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you on the day.

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……now, that I’ve had 3-4 fellow WordPress bloggers upload a new post from a Domain.com address, I’ve had a chance to confirm that the resolution posted by the WordPress Moderator/Staff member in answer to my query, is really (embarrassingly) simple.

I couldn’t press the LIKE button on the homepage of Domain.com blogs merely because I had one wrong preference ticked in Safari.

How simple a resolution is that…..

For the technology-challenged like me who use an Apple computer, go to Safari >>>then Preferences

 

>>>>>>then to the Privacy tab……which was ticked under Website tracking (ticked box) Prevent cross-site tracking….

and un-tick it as shown below 😀

So problem #1 is solved…………. (for me anyway).

Hope it helps someone out there in the blogasphere too.

Now on to the next computer problem 😀

PELARGONIUM ‘Survivor’

 

PELARGONIUM ‘Survivor”

I love photographing dew or raindrops on flowers (or grass).   I always think it adds another dimension to an ordinary flower image.

The Pelargonium in this post is not in flower in my balcony garden at the moment, but it was such a cheerful sight as I looked through my archives this morning (for something to post other than computer problems), I couldn’t resist sharing the image again.

……and for those interested in flower photography, brightly coloured flowers photograph much better early early in the morning, late in the day or on an overcast day.   Slightly under-exposing the image helps too.