Monday, September 2, 2013

Today's walk report: 090213, Labor day, sunrise walk

Get up in the mornin'
You know, I dig this mornin'
The sun is shinin' bright.."

Well, it was going to be... eventually. I got up at 4:50 AM. This was sort of planned. I had set an alarm for 5:30 but I woke up even earlier, did some rough calculations in my head and decided if I wanted to make it to the campus and get up on the hill before sunrise I needed to get moving. Coffee, shower, dressed, camera gear... check, check, check and out the front door, 5:50 AM. Sunrise according to my iCal sunrise calendar was due for 6:27 AM and my vantage point... 2.33 km away.

About 1/3 of the trek in was dark.

Time check, campus center library, I'm at the base of the stairs heading up to the fine arts department.

Heading up. The school's mascot, the Brahma bull.

There was even a chair waiting for me at the top.

I tried to keep the clock in the picture. The the Verdugo Mountains to the east, and the San Gabriel Mountains to the northeast.

Coming back down the steps you couldn't help but notice this hummingbird's excitement for the new day.

Onto the garden. This area is marked as the "Sequoia Grove." There are four really "unhappy," rather miserable looking Sequoia trees as you can see here. Southern California, not the place for Sequoias or Redwood trees but you'll find them. Somebody thought they'd work.

I wandered around for awhile. There was a lot of hummingbird activity but nothing special through the camera so I went back to campus central and got a coffee from a vending machine.

New World Mocha. I felt a little nauseous for about 15 minutes, then it was over. I was already back in the garden.

Activity was picking up. Marine Blue (Leptotes marina).

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae), I'm going to post several of these. There were at least four flying around. Two looked young and the other two older and a little beat up but still pretty.

Cardinal Meadowhawk (Sympetrum illotum), it was carrying that little green seed like thing around with it. I don't believe that's an egg.


and back to the Fritillaries. I got several nice shots and resized a bunch this morning so... why not? All on Salvia uliginosa (Bog sage).

Grass Skipper butterfly.

Then there was this Allen's hummingbird over the pond. I rarely see hummingbirds over the water like this and when I do it's kind of a bitch to find focus.

Yesterday I mentioned seeing the 1st Anna's hummingbird in months. Today I saw 3. Not a very good shot since I was against the light and had to crank up the shadows quite a bit. I'm happy to see the Anna's back. I find them prettier and generally more accepting of my presence than the Allen's.

Lots of Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) still in bloom. I have one of these growing along the side of my garage and it looks like I'm successfully NOT killing it. They can get up to 40' tall.

Two more shots of the Cardinal Meadowhawk since it was so cooperative. I know the 1st one here looks like the 2nd one above but it has a different level of detail. It was a 2-image focus stack with additional selections, copy & pasted from two images by hand. This alludes to something I wrote about yesterday... about how this is time consuming. When fore, middle and background items cross in an image Photoshop has to make some rather rude decisions about what gets priority. So, for example, if I 1st focus on the left wings, then the legs and then the twigs which all cross each other PS doesn't anti-alias the masks it creates or really know wtf  about the overall composition and sharpness of one of those elements will usually subtract from the other. If you have no idea what this is about Google "focus stacking."

and an Allen's in one of the miserable Sequoias.

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