Sadly, I have turned on comment moderation. I escaped the spammers for several years, but alas that innocent time is past. I refuse to put on word verification - I have so much trouble with it that I definitely restrict my commenting because of it. Sorry for the hassle and thanks for visiting!
A viola player by the tug of my heart, sidetracked by a career in technology. My favourite programming language is solder, and I'm a ham radio operator because it's an excuse to build lots of strange stuff.
I started a photo blog because of the beauty I first saw in Eric Tenin's Paris Daily Photo. Through him, I discovered the City Daily Photo ring, and I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm not as dedicated as he is though, so I do miss some days.
I thought this appropriately spooky for Halloween, it's dark, the leaves are almost gone and it even looks cold. Well it should - it was below freezing when I took this photo. A typical late October morning.
My Christmas cactus always bloom this time of year. Preparing for this post, I looked them up and found that there are apparently a slew of plants variously called Holiday cactus, christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus and even Easter cactus! Various care articles indicate that to get them to bloom you need to chill them for weeks or let them have complete darkness at night - no artificial lights at all. Mine bloom madly on their own schedule, usually after I give them a good slug of water when the weather turns cool and the heat comes on. They seem ridiculously easy to care for, unlike what the experts seem to say.
Taken from the car as we were driving west on I-890. This is the GE main plant in Schenectady, the iconic building on a rainy day. That sign is illuminated with hundreds, maybe thousands of individual light bulbs, and they are changed around this time of year to a red - white - green scheme for the holidays. I'm going to try to get a photo at night if it ever stops raining...
Taken at the end of my driveway. It was raining; enough that there was a current carrying leaf litter down the street. It caught my eye for some reason and here it is, a memory from my childhood schoolboy, walking to school in October.
Walking through the woods, saw this fellow(?) on a leaf on the forest floor. Had to do some research to find out that it is an example of Lophocampa caryae, the Hickory Tussock Moth. It was a cool day, so he was very cooperative. Although I've never had an issue, apparently some people get a rash after handling these fellows.
He was sitting in the window enjoying the sunlight (a very feline sort of pleasure) and I found I couldn't fool the camera well enough to take his photo. He is all white, after all, and the auto-exposure just wasn't working the way I wanted. Anyway, I thought if I could get him to turn my way I'd give the camera a bit of contrast to work with. Caught him in motion. Several times. I decided to stop pestering him and let him enjoy the sun in peace.
Driving west on Interstate 890, just past the Broadway exit. St Adalbert's church off of Crane St is one of the highest spires in the city. You can see it almost anywhere, and it's such a familiar sight I just had to post it.
No, I wasn't driving and photographing at the same time! I was the passenger.
The Mohawk River, looking downstream just above Lock 8. The trees haven't reached peak colour yet. The buoy are still in and the water is still high - that means the locks are still holding the river back. Before the river freezes over, the buoys will be pulled and the lock dams lifted to allow the river to flow unimpeded.
We had a couple of cold nights, then a burst of Indian Summer. The pansies in the flower box have hung on bravely - this is the last one. This time of year many people put out hardy mums, but I can't bear to rip out the last of the flowers that have given me such beauty all summer.
The Nature Conservancy has a sanctuary off of Crawford Rd in Schenectady County. Technically, I think it's in Rotterdam Junction, but it's a very nice place to go on a beautiful autumn day. The leaves haven't peaked here yet, but they're on their way.
This is a terrain map showing the area. It's south of Crawford Rd. There's a small parking area at about 950 feet altitude. Small means two friendly cars can simultaneously park. The trail has red markers and crosses the Moccasin Kill several times. Vertical change is a little over a hundred feet. There's a map at the trail head.
The autumn colours are beginning to make themselves seen. The colour will go from green to various shades of red, yellow and brown in a few short weeks. By the end of the month, these trees will have lost their leaves altogether.
Found while walking in the woods. I tried to take a photo from a distance, to get some perspective on how this patch related to the spot it was growing, but it didn't really have any bite. The close-up looks like a scene from a science fiction movie!
A bit of land that belonged to my grandfather always called 'The farm' by the family. It's gone back to nature now, covered with trees, and it's near water. Whilst walking through there, I came across this evidence that beavers are active. There were a few others as well, but this was the most photogenic!
I had to work a bit with the camera settings to get this one. I never did find a setting where I could expose the Moon properly as well as the tree, but I like how this turned out. Sort of a Halloween-ish shot. Given the geometry of the street, I can't take this shot on the 31st because the Moon won't be here at a decent hour of the day.
Lesson from Babooshka: Don't hesitate to put the camera on manual and fiddle the controls. Electrons are cheap and it's fun to look at the intermediate results. What's really cool about digital cameras, even my old Nikon Coolpix 950, records the details about the shot. In my film days I kept a notebook filled with frame numbers, F-stops and shutter speeds. Don't get me wrong, it was worth it; I learnt a lot about how my camera and lenses worked. It's just a lot easier these days!
Taken 17.56 local time (half an hour before sunset) on the 9th. F6.8, 1/125
It's the time of the year when the milkweeds go to seed. Their pods burst open and the seeds float off on their little parachutes. And let me tell you, they are fertile! I'll be pulling up milkweeds by the dozens in the spring, and there'll still be plenty more to attract the Monarch butterflies.
I have no idea what these are. I need to go off and do some research! Taken at eye level at Five Rivers, I could hardly resist taking these berries' portrait in the late afternoon sun.
It's a tree, or very large bush, and it was covered in a heavy crop of these berries. I didn't taste one although I must admit being tempted! My Mum always called 'unknown' berries bird berries in the hopes we children wouldn't eat them. It worked Mum!
Taken at Five Rivers, this trillium is in great shape for the lateness of the season. These three 'leaves' aren't leaves at all, butare called bracts. I can't tell what variety of trillium this is; without the flower, which blooms in spring, I haven't a hope of figuring it out but my guess is trillium grandiflorum.
Those seeds sure caught my eye, and like the rest of the plant, they turned out not to be seeds, but the fruit. The seeds are inside, and apparently are harvested by ants, who eat the fruit and toss the seeds in their trash heap! How cool is that?
This is all guesswork on my part - I'm going to have to stake out some trilliums and follow them in the spring time to be sure...
Summer is winding down, and the bees need to get their last stores in before all the flowers are gone. This bee is basking in the sun on a milkweed pod; I don't understand her motivation here; maybe she's just visiting with the yellow-orange aphids.
I'm realising I take a lot of macro photos, and that's probably because the old digital camera I have (a Nikon Coolpix 950) allows very close shots - almost as good as my trusty Minolta SRT 35mm film camera with all the nice lenses.
At Five Rivers in Delmar, but these guys are found in almost every lake, pond and slow moving river around here. Their scientific name is Chelydra serpentinaand they are as common today as they were in my youth, which is a good thing because these guys are Mother Nature's cleanup machines.
This fellow was enjoying the warm water at the top of the pond on a coolish day.
This decking material is made mostly of recycled plastic. This decking is in place so that anyone can enjoy walking a path in the woods - wheelchairs, walkers and even baby strollers can all visit the woods easily. It's a rare and wonderful sort of trail where you can encounter someone in a wheelchair!