Category Archives: Photography

Timely Rainbows

There were some unpleasant and troubling bits of news delivered today. It was tough. Still is, going to need some time to process, time I might not have.

Nothing life threatening. No one’s dying, no one’s got cancer. We’ll figure it out. (We always do.) But it might not be as much fun as we had hoped for.

On my secondary desktop I had one of the Virtual Railfan sites up and running as eye candy. Hesperia, CA, to be exact. (Which may become more important soon, but that’s a whole different story and crisis.)

The weather there’s been just as rainy as ours, but just as I was looking, the sun same through.

Image: Virtual Railfan

Nice! I took a picture of the screen and passed it around. Maybe it was a sign. (I don’t believe in “signs,” but any port in a storm and there are no atheists in foxholes, so I’m apparently big on cliches.)

Then I went to take a few breaths outside for a minute.

Do you see it? Way, way, way off in the distance? Over by Griffith Park?

It’s not a whole rainbow, but I’ll take what I can get.

It may not have been big, but it was BRIGHT! This little arc of color really stood out.

It doesn’t show up super bright in this image, but to the naked eye even the violet on the left was vibrant.

As the sun behind me was peeking in and out of the clouds, at times it got even brighter, even if it didn’t get bigger.

Someone today gave me the “Hope is not a plan” quote.

Maybe.

But plans can be developed, and in fact are already in the works.

We don’t get overconfident, but when we say, “We’ll figure it out, we always do,” that’s not bragging, it’s confidence in our abilities and our team.

Plans aren’t made in a vacuum, and they’re not carried out blindly or automatically.

THAT’s where the hope comes in. Rainbows help.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Weather

Not Little Bastard

You’ll remember that yesterday a hummingbird, presumably Little Bastard, was found semi-dead on the porch. After making him comfortable, he later revived.

Later, while I was refilling the hummingbird feeders, a hummingbird was perched right outside the kitchen window, near where the now-missing feeder was.

This is not Little Bastard. He’s an Allen’s Hummingbird. This one is (probably) a Rufous Hummingbird.

The whole time I was cleaning and refilling the feeders it sat there, looking at me.

I was thinking maybe it was thanking me for saving Little Bastard, or glaring at me for saving Little Bastard (he is pretty territorial, this one could have moved in on LB’s territory if I hadn’t revived him), but in the end I figure he had just enough brain cells to realize that I was going to bring food back out any moment and he wanted first dibs.

Still a stunningly gorgeous little critter. The way the colors change as his head moves around and the light hits it at different angles is just amazing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Birds, Critters, Photography

Close Call

(We’ll get back to the airshow pictures, I promise.)

I was going out into the back yard early this afternoon and I saw something on the Dodgers doormat outside the door. I got closer and realized it was a hummingbird.

I think that it was Little Bastard, the extremely territorial hummingbird that chases off all of the others that come to “his” feeder.

He body was shaking, vibrating, but that’s it. His wings or head weren’t moving at all.

I poked him very gingerly – nothing. Then he stopped shaking and was still.

He was on the ground right at the base of the sliding glass door, so my best guess is that he flew into the glass. I figured he was dead.

I’ve seen questions by people on Twitter who find birds that are stunned after flying into a window. The advice I’ve seen is to make them comfortable and warm someplace and hope that they’re just stunned. (Insert Monty Python’s parrot sketch here…)

I took a bunch of pictures of him in a bowl full of napkins. The colors are astonishing. I figured it would be the only chance I got to get this close to one of these delicate and beautiful creatures.

No movement at all. But for whatever reason it looked like there was an alertness in the eyes.

I decided to not bring him into the house – what if he recovered and started buzzing around inside the house? The comedy levels would have been awesome, but still…

So I put another napkin over the top, covering him fully, hopefully to keep him warm, but loosely enough so that if he recovered he could get out from under it. I left the bowl out on the patio table.

About 90 minutes later I was fixing lunch and needed bread from the outside freezer. I opened the door and was immediately buzzed by a hummingbird.

The attacker flew right back over to Little Bastard’s normal perch. Then he started clicking and barking at me with some vehemence.

I checked the bowl. Maybe it wasn’t Little Bastard. Maybe it was one of the other hummers. Maybe I was hallucinating.

The bowl was empty.

2 Comments

Filed under Birds, Photography

Sixty-Seven

Today was my sixty-seventh birthday. πŸŽ‚πŸΎπŸŽπŸ₯³πŸ¦† I celebrated by going off to the Point Mugu Airshow in Ventura County with some family members and friends.

NOT the sort of thing you want to be driving through on the way to an airshow! I had doubts that we would see any flying, but we persisted.

When we got there about 09:30, it was quite…moist.

The Navy Blue Angels were there. So were the Air Force Thunderbirds! It’s something like only the fourth or fifth time EVER that they’ve performed together at the same airshow.

Thus the urgency to get out there – it’s like if the Beatles and Rolling Stones were doing a double bill concert. You would stand in the rain for that, wouldn’t you?

Our local CAF SoCal Wing was there with static displays (the SNJ in yellow, the PT-19 on the right in grey, others not shown) and our PBJ bomber, F6 Hellcat fighter, and Zero fighter all flying.

A Harrier on static display.

The business end of an F-18 Hornet, both for going fast and for stopping faster.

One of the local F-18s that’s stationed with one of the Point Mugu squadrons.

An E-2 Hawkeye on static display.

Despite my doubts, the CAF SoCal planes, a biplane aerobatic routine, the Red Bull helicopter performance, a California Air National Guard C-130 demonstration, and most importantly, the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels all flew.

It was spectacular!

It was amazing!

It was wonderful!

It was REALLY FREAKIN’ LOUD! (Which is really freakin’ great!)

Followed by the current leader so far for worst traffic jam of the year. From the time that the Blue Angels finished their show until I got to my car was 25-30 minutes. From the time I got to my car until I got onto the road outside the base gates, another 90+ minutes. From the time I left the base until I got to the 101 Freeway (normally 10-15 minutes) another 30+ minutes. (Worth every second of it.)

My thanks to those who sent birthday wishes. I had a great time at the airshow and took a gazillion pictures and videos.

If you don’t care about seeing any of those airshow pictures, this might be a good time to mute this website for the next week to ten days. Just sayin’.

4 Comments

Filed under Airshows, Paul, Photography

Green Redux

Yesterday I gave you a bunch of VERY green moss for St. Patrick’s day. While I was out there I noticed the new, spring growth on some of the other garden plants are a much different shade of green than the older leaves. I’ve got a suspicion that I’ve noticed this in previous years and posted about it then, but it’s late, I’m marginally brain dead tonight, and I’m just going to go with it.

Let’s all hope for clear skies and no rain tomorrow in SoCal, particularly in the Point Mugu area of Ventura County. (If you know, you know!)

2 Comments

Filed under Flowers, Photography

Green

Not a surprising theme, given the date.

Yesterday I showed you some odd, bright red plants that are growing in my back yard and I mentioned that they might be some kind of moss. This more conventional (at least to me!) moss has always grown in the damp, shadowed areas of the garden, but right now we’ve had a TON of damp for months, so it’s doing really well.

The best part of these pictures was the way, after I had been kneeling on the sidewalk for a minute or two to get the close-up, the juncos and hummingbirds were totally confused and all flocked into the bushes and fruit trees right over my head to make a racket. I don’t know what they thought I was doing or what threat they thought I presented, but I swear I was innocent and (mostly) harmless!

2 Comments

Filed under Birds, Flowers, Photography

Unusual Growth

To recap (it might help solve the puzzle):

  • We normally had a normal, green, suburban lawn.
  • We got hit with a three-year drought, the worst on record.
  • Water restrictions got put into place and about 99% of the grass died.
  • We’ve now had one of the wettest winters on record.
  • Some grass is growing back, but most of what is now covering the dirt is some clover-like green stuff, with heavily shaded areas getting covered in a dense, bright green carpet of moss

Are we caught up?

Today I spotted something odd growing out there. “Odd,” you say? Well, for starters, it’s bright red…

The whole area is maybe 8×11 inches, the size of a piece of paper. Red stems, red leaves.

It’s ground hugging, not sticking up at all (yet??), so probably not red yucca, which does grow in these parts.

I spent a couple hours tonight trying to google what it might be. I downloaded a couple of “plant identification” apps and they all came up with no matches.

Maybe it’s a moss of some sort? “Red moss” or “red rock moss” pictures look a bit like this. Sorta?

I’m open to suggestions.

Maybe I’ve been watching too much “The Last of Us,” but I’m half expecting to go out in the morning and find a junco or squirrel caught up in those red branches and stems and tendrils, slowly being digested…

2 Comments

Filed under Critters, Flowers, Photography

Fog In The Canyon

This current storm was trying to leave this morning but had filled the canyon below us with fog.

Some think the fog is spooky or ominous. I understand the dangers while driving in the fog, or landing a plane, but I find it calm and quiet.

Through it all I could hear mourning doves crying in the trees. But the sounds of the traffic were muted, dim, distant.

Leave a comment

Filed under Photography, Weather

Random Old Photos – March 13th

Ten years ago.

I was stuck someplace I didn’t want to be (Coalinga), trapped (car had died at the beginning of a holiday weekend), trying to make the best of a bad situation, trying not to do anything stupid that would make it worse.

This gopher was my entertainment, minding his own business in a local park.

Plus c’est la mΓͺme chose, as the kids say.

Happy Monday!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Critters, Photography

Titles Are Hard

I don’t know what to call this – I’m out of clever, it’s been a weekend, my brain is fried. I’m in Monday-adjacent mode.

Around 17:00 this afternoon (PDT – have I mentioned how much I despise Daylight Savings Time? Hint: I have.) I was out in the front, looking for F-18 fighters. I found them, they came right over our house, loud and high, probably at 20,000 feet or more, after they buzzed the Oscars opening down in Hollywood.

I noticed that big chunks of the lawn has been taken over by these little yellow flowers. Remember them? There was one right next to the driveway and my car’s tires all last summer through the worst of the drought.

Now with all of the rain, there’s a little grass coming back, but tons of these little guys.

There was one solitary bee out there, going from flower to flower to flower, just staying a few seconds at each. I watched for a while to make sure it didn’t miss any. It didn’t, except for one. But after it got to the edge of the field, it hovered for a second, then came back to find it. It hit the one it had missed, then flew off toward a neighbor’s yard.

Go get ’em, Mister Bee!

1 Comment

Filed under Flowers, Photography