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Friday, October 31, 2008

October dawn

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.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Christmas cactus

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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

General Electric

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...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vertigo, with sunlight

An accidental artsy shot. Mucking about with the camera on manual, playing with the aperture (to manipulate the depth of field) when I saw the bricks side-lit by the morning sun.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Catalpa tree

This is the same catalpa tree I photographed in July. First to lose its leaves, right on schedule. The part that looks like foliage is a maple tree behind the catalpa.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leaves and rain

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.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hickory Tussock Moth caterpillar

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.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tree before the frost

This tree is in a neighbour's yard. The colours are just coming in. The frost will kick this maple tree's shedding reflex very soon and I'll post a companion photo when it does.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Autumn marigolds

The marigolds are pretty hardy, and they still look great with the falling leaves at their feet. I harvest their seed heads for next year and they never fail to please.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Had a hard frost; first of the year. Managed to get a few photos before the sun melted it. Morning temperature still below freezing, so this is the end of the delicate flowers and vegetables.

This particular plant is a wild geranium and it will stick around for another week or so.

Monday, October 20, 2008

White cat

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.

Although blurry, I like the effect.

Yes, he has two different coloured eyes.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


A single leaf on my sidewalk. I liked the colout and how it landed next to the exhausted blade of grass. Many more of its companions will soon follow!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


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.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mohawk River

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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fern and stone

Taken at the Moccasin Kill preserve. It's not easy to find a fern this green so late in the season. It was a glorious day for a walk and I was happy to see this spot of green.

Last of the pansies

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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Moccasin Kill Preserve

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.

View Larger Map

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.

Monday, October 13, 2008


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.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Walking in the woods

It's a close-up of moss.

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!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Walking in the woods

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!

Friday, October 10, 2008

The moon

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

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Geese flying south

Canada Geese flying south.

I was in the house puttering around with something or other when I heard them. They are so common that I almost didn't think to take their photo as they flew over the house. See you in the spring...

Here's a 37 second video from YouTube. They really sound like this!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Milkweed seeds

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.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Red berries

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!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Trillium seeds

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...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Busy bee

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.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Snapping turtle

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 serpentina and 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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Theme day - lines

It's the first of the month again and that means it's Theme Day!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

This month, the theme is lines. This is decking used as a path through Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in nearby Delmar.

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!

View Larger Map

There are 164 individual blogs participating this month:
Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen
American Fork (UT), USA by Annie
Arradon, France by Alice
Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine
Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB
Auckland, New Zealand by Baruch
Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar
Austin (TX), USA by LB
Avignon, France by Nathalie
Bandung, Indonesia by Bunyamin
Bandung, Indonesia by Eki Akhwan
Bandung, Indonesia by Harry Makertia
Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon
Barton (VT), USA by Andree
Baziège, France by PaB
Belgrade, Serbia by BgdPic
Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi
Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA
Bicheno, Australia by Greg
Birmingham (AL), USA by VJ
Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah
Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston
Boston (MA), USA by Ilse
Budapest, Hungary by agrajag
Budapest, Hungary by Isadora
Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt
Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine
Canterbury, UK by Rose
Cape Town, South Africa by Kerry-Anne
Cape Town, South Africa by JSB
Cavite, Philippines by Steven Que
Château-Gontier, France by Laurent
Chateaubriant, France by trieulet
Chateaubriant, France by Bergson
Cheltenham, UK by Marley
Chennai, India by Ram N
Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic
Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow
Edwardsville (IL), USA by Mdflores
Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA by Gigi
Franschhoek, South Africa by JSB
Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie
Greenville (SC), USA by Denton
Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange
Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi
Hangzhou, China by zoe
Helsinki, Finland by PPusa
Hobart, Australia by Greg
Honningsvag, Norway by J.
Hyde, UK by Old Hyde
Hyde, UK by Gerald
Islip (NY), USA by Bettye
Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon
Jakarta, Indonesia by Santy
Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005
Karwar, India by Yogesh
Knoxville (TN), USA by Knoxville Girl
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin
La Antigua, Guatemala by Rudy
Lakewood (OH), USA by mouse
Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale
Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo
Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl
Lodz, Poland by ritalounge
London, UK by Mo
London, UK by Ham
Madrid, Spain by Tr3nta
Mainz, Germany by JB
Manila, Philippines by Hilda
Manila, Philippines by Anthony
Manila, Philippines by Heyokity
Melbourne, Australia by John
Menton, France by Jilly
Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol
Middletown (MD), USA by Bernie
Milton, New Zealand by Milton Daily Photo
Milwaukee (WI), USA by karl
Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch
Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg
Minneapolis (MN), USA by Scott
Molfetta, Italy by saretta
Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith
Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly
Monterrey, Mexico by rafa
Muizenberg, South Africa by Pentaxjunkie
Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia
Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu
Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben
New Delhi, India by Delhi Photo Diary
New York City (NY), USA by Kitty
New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless
Norwich, UK by Goddess888
Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla
Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen
Palos Verdes (CA), USA by tash
Paris, France by Elsa
Paris, France by Eric
Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben
Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea
Pensacola (FL), USA by P J
Petoskey (MI), USA by Christie
Philadelphia (PA), USA by Andrew Foderaro
Phoenix (AZ), USA by Sharon
Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise
Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar
Prague, Czech Republic by kakna
Quezon City, Philippines by ann pablo
Quincy (MA), USA by slim
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea by Jules
Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka
Reykjavik, Iceland by Vírgíll
Riga, Latvia by Riga Photos
Roanoke (VA), USA by Tanya
Rome, Italy by Giovanni
Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke
Rouen, France by Bbsato
Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter
Saigon, Vietnam by Simon
Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes
Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate
Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric
San Antonio (TX), USA by Kramer
San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia
San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson
San Francisco (CA), USA by Burd Zel Krai
Schenectady (NY), USA by Buck
Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck
Seattle (WA), USA by Kim
Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound
Sequim (WA), USA by Eponabri
Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia
Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa
Silver Spring (MD), USA by John
Singapore, Singapore by Zannnie
Singapore, Singapore by Keropok
Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia
South Pasadena (CA), USA by Laurie
Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth
Stayton (OR), USA by Celine
Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo
Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge
Sydney, Australia by Ann
Sydney, Australia by Sally
Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo
Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv
Tamarindo, Costa Rica by David
Telluride (CO), USA by mtsrool
Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K
Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas
Test City (MA), USA by
Torun, Poland by Glenn
Toulouse, France by Julia
Turin, Italy by Livio
Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy
Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger
Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2
Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin
Washington (DC), USA by D.C. Confidential
Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb
West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara
Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto
Willits (CA), USA by Elaine
Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn
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