Sunday, June 27, 2021

Today's walk report: 062721

 I was hoping to find a balance between light and heat by arriving in the garden around 7:40 AM. It was 70ºf. In retrospect, I would have felt better off had I arrived around 6:20 with a temp of 63º. Sunrise is currently at 5:45 AM (PDT). Oh well, I just made a note of it now didn't I?

The garden was really quiet, too quiet. So I decided to get a little extra exercise and walk up the steps. THE STEPS. There's, I think, 8 billion steps. Anyway, I took but a few pictures and spent more time fudging with auto focus (AF) points and focusing zones on the camera than trying to find photo ops.

For the 1/2 hour plus I spent in the garden, this was the only hummingbird I saw. This is highly unusual. The tree is a desert willow.

This red tailed hawk surprised me as you can perhaps tell. I was also struggling up the steps when the bird popped into view. The first close shot I've had of a raptor recently and I blew it. This is what prompted me to review AF points.

Head is out of focus and...

This pair of mockingbirds hung out in this dead tree for quite awhile. Again, my focus is a little off.

That's it. Nada mas.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Today's walk report: 061321

Another drive and walk adventure to the local botanical garden. Yesterday my back asked me to kindly skip walking to allow for some recovery from home gardening exploits which included moving 4 cu. ft. (2 x 2 cu.ft.) of potting soil to no more than 3 ft from the trunk of my car onto the garage floor. At times that's not a big deal, on other occasions it's a daunting task. Friday afternoon it was certainly challenging. There was considerable more preparation involved but I'll spare you the details. Upon rising yesterday, 5-something in the morning, I spent about the first two hours walking around like Pantalon de' Bisognosi. Gradually, I evolved from chimpanzee to Homo erectus. I then decided to move some potting soil in batches of 5 gallons or so from the garage to the backyard in order to perform several long overdue transplants. I'll tell you a little secret... Getting old sucks and you won't know it until the bastard suddenly reaches up and grabs you.

Onto some pictures from today. For the most part, there were little to no photo ops presenting themselves and I both circled the garden often and also sat patiently for quite some time looking for one. Hummingbirds were mostly darting around chasing each other and when they did finally park themselves they certainly weren't posing for pictures. For example, this rufous hummingbird... 

This may have been the same bird. I only managed to click off a few decent shots here.

Bunnies and fence lizard photos generally mean I'm a little desperate to take a picture of something.

Oh, but there were masks littering the walk again. Both of these masks were within 20 yards of a garbage can.

 Back home there was a pleasant end to the outing. Stan, Docken's and my feral cat buddy, was hanging out in the backyard. He doesn't usually hang around much after breakfast but for the last couple of days he has--late afternoon too. This picture was taken through my not so clean office window. He later took a nap there.

That's all I got. The really big deal though is yours truly getting out and roaming once again. As Stan would say, be more cat.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Today's walk report: 060421

Yesterday's walk was the same as my first post fully vaccinated walk on May 8th, same route, same 1.63 miles. This dictated by a continued caution with left leg pain. The biggest difference was the start time, that took place about an hour and twenty minutes later than what I was becoming accustomed to. I left shortly after 7:00 am. The "usual" was 5:45 or perhaps a few minutes earlier. The biggest reason for the change? For the first time since the shutdown, or rather since my covid-19 shutdown, February 28th, 2020, I got eight hours sleep. Delightful. My average was probably closer to 7 and there were some radical departures from that. I like the quiet of the earlier walks. And it's so very challenging to get up, hydrate, shower, perform morning rituals and get out the door. This morning I got close to 8 hours in the sack but decided I'd drive in toward the local college campus and walk the rest of the way to the local botanical garden. I also decided to start closer to 8:00 and have more light than my last visit. Even though the light still pretty much sucked. From car to garden entrance was a mere .44 miles (.70 km). Total walk, about 1.3 miles. But I took some pictures! Not a lot, I'm still working on my patience... or something.

These images all took a spin in Affinity Photo just so I could adapt from 32 years of using Photoshop. If money were no object I'd rent the Goodyear blimp and have it fly around Adobe Inc. in San Jose with colored lights flashing a barrage of expletives telling them what I think of their subscription services. And with all that money, I still wouldn't think to subscribe.  Right now, Affinity Photo is only $24.99, it was $49.99 and there's a free trial. I have no vested interest in telling you this, it's merely revenge. So there, stupid Adobe.

Here are some pictures from today.

Caesalpinia gilliesii

Male Calypte anna

Danaus plexippus

Chilopsis linearis

 The same male Calypte anna

Romneya coulteri

Salvia darcyi

This is a shitty picture and represents my aforementioned lack of patience. This is a Selasphorus rufus (rufus hummingbird). They were abundant on the above Salvia darcyi but I didn't feel like traipsing after them. Rufus are migratory, they will be leaving soon. This was also an exercise in Affinity Photo--the lighting was horrible.

Western fence lizard

Yucca whipleii

Thanks for looking!