Category Archives: Flowers

Hibiscus Aftermath

A few weeks ago I posted pictures of the hibiscus flowers that I had taken while putting up Christmas lights. Now that the lights were taken down, I note that the flowers did what all flowers did. And, I guess, all Christmas light displays as well.

The focus and depth of field is just a bit odd on a couple of these photos.

I like it though – let’s call it “different” or “unconventional” instead of “wrong” or “bad.”

I think that’s a lot of us today – exhausted, drooping, trying to hold on, a little bit off, fading, just trying to get by another day. That’s not wrong or bad – it’s just different. As so many have pointed out, and I’ll echo, be kind to yourself these days. There’s a lot of bad shit and it seems to be getting deeper fast – it’s okay if the best you can do is just the best you can do. And remember that everyone else’s Hell is 100% – cut everyone some slack.

Except for fascists and Nazis. (You know who I’m talking about.) Fuck them.

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At least, I think it’s a hibiscus.

In the summer it’s covered in these bright red flowers.

Now, it has a few.

But it’s a GREAT plant on the side of the house to hang Christmas lights on!

Lots of good surface area with lots of branches capable of bearing the weight of a string of lights. PERFECT!!

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High Dynamic Range

One thing the “smart” camera on the iPhone is good for is High Dynamic Range photos, where there’s a broad range of light and darks in the image.

This is how the eye works, and the iPhone does a better job than most other phone cameras, and sometimes better than a DSLR, especially an older one like I have.

An extra ten years of better software and smarts in the iPhone can beat the crap out of a 2005 state of the art chip in a Canon Rebel XT. Big surprise, but it actually is a surprise sometimes I guess.

These are taken with my iPhone 8+ which is now three years old. It’s still a great phone and mini-supercomputer and camera – but if I really, REALLY was going to be taking photos with the phone and being SERIOUS about it rather than just having it with me and using as the best camera I have in my pocket 24/7/365, then I would be looking at the iPhone 12 Pro Plus coming out next month.

I’m not. This is just fine. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Especially at $1,400 or so.

Enjoy the really, REALLY purple flowers!


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Depth Of Field

It was a bit hazy and smoky, after sunset, so it was starting to get dark. That’s why the flowers were out.

I had the camera with the big lens, which was part of the problem. Basic optics say that with a wide open lens you get a much smaller depth of field, and the telephoto lens is worse than the “normal” lens. With the dim light, the big lens wide open, and being fairly close to begin with, it was a hat trick for getting a very shallow depth of field.

So I can focus on the big petals on the far side, but the near petals, which are only maybe three inches closer, are out of focus. Or I could do it the other way around. But I can’t do both.

To get better pictures, use the smaller lens. To get a bigger depth of field shoot it stopped down and take a longer exposure. To keep from blurring, use a tripod. To make it all work better, try to get it with more light, or maybe use the flash.

To play with all of those variables and get some practice taking better pictures, find an extra couple of hours a day that I don’t expect to have until about six months after I’m dead.

I knew there was a catch…

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Blooming Mexican Bush Sage

We’re into our third year in this house (time flies…) but I don’t remember this Mexican Bush Sage ever blooming quite this overwhelmingly before.

Maybe it’s been encouraged by all of the stinking hot weather?

Maybe the gardeners have fertilized it this year?

Maybe it was that “golden hour” light as the sun set? (This is where my money lies!)

The bees have found it in the past, but apparently not tonight.

Whatever’s going on, it was worth a trip back into the house for the good camera.

No aroma that I can smell, not like the roses (search the site, there are a gazillion of them) on the other side of the driveway.

Whatever’s happening, it’s worth a trip down to the mailbox when the sun starts to set! (Wear a mask!)

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Roses Vs 121°

It hasn’t been that bad here recently – upper 80’s, low 90’s. A dry, SMOKY heat, since we’re still getting a lot of it from the local fires, including the Bobcat fire which is threatening the world-class, historic astronomical observatories on Mount Wilson. As of last night, the flames were within 500 feet of the observatory grounds. You thought that I was worried and upset about Lick Observatory near San Jose when it was threatened a month ago? This one REALLY has me worried.

But a couple weeks ago, when it was 121° a couple miles from here and 117° here, I was out in the noonday sun (like an idiot, because… well, I’m an idiot) and noticed a couple of roses that had tried to bloom in the previous couple of days.

They were losing the fight.

As pretty much are California, Oregon, and Washington at the moment.

Good thing that we’ve got such a proactive, supportive, aggressive Federal assistance response going on to help us out! We can count on the White House and Congress!

(And I’ll leave it at that, leave this site relatively family friendly, and go back to Twitter to see what I can say about the GOP and President that might get me put into Twitter jail again.)

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The Final Roses

As the comet fades and vanishes from our skies (but remember, with binoculars you should still be able to spot it for a couple of weeks!) so do the roses that grow next to the driveway.

It’s gotten hot and dry in SoCal, and while these get some drip irrigation, they’re not going to be blooming much until it cools off and gets moist on a regular basis.

As always, I rather like these roses, not despite the fact that they’re imperfect and a bit ratty, but because of it.

They are fist-sized chunks of beauty and color in a year that is mountain-sized chunks of dreck.

From bud to bloom to blight in just a couple of weeks, but oh so glorious while they’re here.

And even when they’re gone, their memory lingers and brings enjoyment, while their spiky bushes promise beauty to come in days ahead.


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More Roses

It was a quiet Father’s Day. This is good.

There were calls from the kids, lots of Chiefs football repeats on TV, and a LOT of NOT thinking about work.

I hope you also were able to have some down time and relaxation. Perhaps even a touch of well-deserved sloth.

Plenty of time for stress tomorrow morning. Plenty of time next week for seeing how much the world we’re in is different from the world we WANT to be in, and seeing what we can do about rectifying that situation.


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Gladiolas & Roses

My thanks to Karen and Jemima who educated me on yesterday’s “mystery” flowers. Now I can show them in context in the garden.

Gives a whole new meaning to “GNR.” These must be the flowers they have in Paradise City!

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NOT Roses

I know far more about birds and critters than I do about flowers (which is not to say that I know much about birds and critters, just far more), but I know enough to know these aren’t roses.

Whatever they are, they’ve shown up in our yard at the edge of the rose garden down by the street. They’re stunning!

We’re just at the two year point for moving in here and this is the first time I’ve ever seen these bloom. Surprise!!


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