Not-Back-to-School Photo

My boys are homeschooled. The older one is headed off to college Labor Day weekend, so I asked them to come up with an idea for a photo of them together:

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Nikon D5100 f/5.6 ISO 400 1/25sec 62mm – Summer 2012

So Swiftly Does the Sun Rise

Yes, this is nearly the same shot I posted yesterday. It has the same two friendly oak galls nestled comfortably in the crook of the oak leaf..

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Nikon D5100 f/5.6 ISO800 1/250sec 210mm – Summer 2012

But the sun has sprung up and is shining glorious, brilliant light over all our 40 acres, even these two humble galls!

Togetherness

These two little oak galls seem to be leaning in to each other, as though to share secrets or offer comfort. Yes, anthropomorphism at its finest!

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Nikon D5100 f/5.6 ISO 800 1/250sec 195mm – Summer 2012

I was out at sunrise the other morning, watering the little fruit trees. These bright orange-yellow galls caught my eye. Their color is certainly enhanced by the glow of sunrise, and that is part of what caught my eye, but what I like the most is their attitude of leaning in toward each other, and the appearance of being cradled by the leaf.

Apple Blossoms in August?!

There I was, bleary-eyed from the dog waking me up early to announce the arrival of the neighbors cows on our 40 acres, a fact which bears no relevance to today’s post. After filling the horses’ water trough, I decided to water my baby fruit trees. They have had rather a rough summer, and they were definitely thirsty this morning. So I stood with the hose, raining down water on the hay mulch around each little tree, watching the water soak in and musing about what lives in the little holes I saw there. As the sun rose and the sky turned pink, I started playing with the camera’s settings, appreciating the rosy glow on the leaves – and the apple blossoms!?

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Nikon D5100 f/6.7 ISO 1600 1/250sec 300mm – Summer 2012

We are in Oklahoma, so perhaps any apples resulting from these blossoms might have a chance of reaching maturity. The frost date may be late enough… I hope some bees find them! I have 4 little apple trees, a Yellow Transparent, a Lodi (also a yellow apple), an Enterprise, I think… Hmm, I have forgotten the fourth variety. Tonight I will check to see which of these varieties it is that thinks August is an appropriate time to bloom.

Got an Eye on You

Bridger spotted this large spider (is it a tarantula?) at night and placed a can over him so I could make his portrait in the morning.

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Nikon D5100 f/8 ISO 1600 1/180 sec 300mm – Summer 2012


I love its glowing, green eye! When I zoom in, the eye is faceted like a jewel. Chickens were milling around when I removed the can. The spider wisely held perfectly still as I snapped his photo, and the chickens did not spot him.

Absorb the Peace

Around sunrise, camera in hand, I sit quietly at the pond and absorb the peace.

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Nikon D5100 f/6.7 ISO 1600 1/25 s 55-300@300mm – Summer 2012

For me it is peaceful and absorbing to watch the little creatures ending their nights (like the raccoon doing some last minute fishing last month) and others beginning their days (like the turtles and snakes and dragonflies).

I can feel the peace, as I am not being hunted. It may perhaps not feel so peaceful to the small frogs and fish, hunted by the larger fish, raccoons, snakes, and birds. But if they hold perfectly still, escaping the notice of those predators, then perhaps they do experience a measure of peace.

On a processing note, although I usually try to keep my Photoshop editing to a minimum, preferring to use photos that please me as shot, in this case I chose to lighten the image somewhat. I feared that the turtle just would not be at all visible without some lightening. In actuality, my experience was not quite so dark as the image I shot, so I must have needed to tinker with my settings somewhat – at 1600 ISO, I anticipated the shot being quite noisy and did not want to try an even higher ISO setting, resulting in the dark image.

Visual Relief

After three days of unrelenting drought posts, I don’t know about you, but I feel parched!

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Nikon D5100 f/10 ISO 800 1/250 s 55-300@55mm – Summer 2012

Although the temperatures have abated some, and there are areas nearby which have received considerable amounts of rain, our little Back Forty is still dry. The vegetation is brown and crispy. Insect noises have abated to near silence.

For some relief from the unrelenting dryness of everything, I can walk up to one of our ponds. We have dubbed this, our largest, Blue Heron Pond.

Here is some visual relief for my followers; enjoy a peaceful break from the drought, contemplating these soft ripples and reflections of sunrise in the blessedly wet pond.