Search This Blog

Friday, December 31, 2010

Skywatch Friday

This is from the night of the lunar eclipse.  The evening started with a high, thin overcast and got progressively thicker and more opaque.  I got up every half hour to see if it got any better, but it didn't.  This is the best of the lot, hours before the eclipse began.

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cleaning up

We got a little snow. I think it was 5 inches here in the city.  We're used to it.  The city has these dump trucks with plows to push the snow off the street.  I might complain that they push it up onto the sidewalk (where I have to shovel it) but it's much better than having to drive through it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Out for a run

After choir practice, out for a run with the dogs. They are very good, and don't wander far so we let them off the leash. It might be illegal but I haven't made a point of inquiring as to the specifics of leashes in this part of the cemetery. There aren't any graves here so I don't feel bad about the dogs walking about.

Kids and parents like it too!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Morning sun on snow

This is the low, morning sun shining on our sidewalk. I thought of Eric, and set the camera low to the ground. It was very dramatic that way!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The German Shepherd Dog in the foreground is a recent rescue. Her name is Lana. She's a wonderful, lovely dog. Very calm, very relaxed and very relaxing. The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog in the background has been with us a while now. Her name is Femme, and she's clearly relaxed around Lana. Here, they share a bed. The only thing missing is the kitten, who really likes to cuddle with Lana.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Seed in ice

Apparently this seed drifted onto the pond during the day and was iced in when the surface froze during the night. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know the type of tree off the top of my head. When I find my field guide I'll look it up!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I'm still getting used to the new camera. It's going to take a while I think. The lens that comes with it is very good for indoor distances. Plus, it's warm inside!

This is a hand made 'Angel candle'. The man who made it tells me that as it burns, it will leave the edges intact, and will look like an angel's wings. It's made of beeswax, rolled with a rolling pin and then gently twisted. Very beautiful. It's nice to see someone keeping traditional methods alive.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My blogging companion

This is Savannah. She likes to sit on my lap when I'm at the computer. Her typing isn't very good though, so if you spot any mistakes you can blame her :-) Like all the other critters in the house, she's a rescue. Although she looks grumpy, it's only the way her features are arranged. She's actually a very lovable cat. It seems crazy that Persians come from a hot desert region of the world Her fur (hair?) is very, very long. I can pet her all day, but combing that fur is something she'll tolerate for only a few moments before running off.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Frosty window

This morning was chilly: 14F (-10C) - and the windows were a little frosty upstairs. I guess I need to look into sealing them better! The ice crystals are so interesting though...

We're accustomed to this sort of weather here, but I feel for our European friends and family who are not. What's worse for them, they have a lot of snow; we haven't had to shovel yet, and the ground here is bare.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The ice begins to grow

This is the pond in Vale. I'm standing on the south bank, where the sun shines through the gap in the trees. The sun doesn't shine nearly as much on the north bank, and that's where the ice begins to form.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Crossing guard

I don't know if they're still called that, but this wonderful lady is what I'd call a crossing guard. She makes sure that drivers let school children and their parents get across the busy street safely.

She always has a smile, in all kinds of weather. She stays warm by sitting in her car when she's not escorting pedestrians. We wave at each other just about every day as I head off to work. It's always nice to see a familiar face.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Still blooming

When the frost hit, we moved as many of our flowers inside as we could. Well, inside isn't quite right either; these are on an unheated porch. It gets the morning sun for a little while. Wouldn't you know it - it's blooming again! Protected from the wind, the porch probably hasn't got much below freezing yet. I wouldn't say they're thriving, but they sure haven't given up yet!

This is one of the first photos I've taken with my new Panasonic DMC-G1. It's one of the micro four thirds cameras. I'll have to see how I like it compared to the old Coolpix 950. I already like being able to easily adjust shutter speed and F-stop!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jay Street

Once upon a time, this was an ordinary city street, with cars and sidewalks and parking hassles. Then someone had the idea to make it a pedestrian-only walk, and small stores moved in and trees were planted and it was even re-paved. It's quite a nice place today. It's one of downtown Schenectady's hidden gems, Proctor's on one end and City Hall on the other. If you're driving (I walk there) you can usually park on the City Hall side, but the municipal parking lot behind Proctor's is free on the weekend.

I've been here plenty of times, but it wasn't until recently that I noticed how the rain brings out the pattern of the paving stones.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cat's in the bag

I've known quite a few cats, and it seems that most of them liked climbing into paper bags - especially when young. Well Lance here is no exception. He's still so little that his head fits through the carry handle. Time to get him out of THAT particular bag!

Monday, November 22, 2010

No skateboarding!

This bit of elevated stonework downtown near Proctor's Theatre used to be a popular place for skateboarders to practise grinding (sliding on the body or the trucks instead of using the wheels). Then, no doubt for safety's sake, someone installed these steel balls along the edge, thinking that would put an end to it.

Skateboarders love a challenge, and if you look at the ball, it's clear it's been banged up.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Skywatch Friday

I live in the city, so my view of the sky tends to look something like this. This is sunrise from my bedroom window.

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oak leaf

During a break in the rain, the morning sun cast its low illumination over this leaf in the parking lot. It's interesting that oak leaves are almost always this colour. They have a certain... aroma, too. I'm instantly transported back to my childhood, tramping through the leaves on the way to school.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thacher Park overlook

Although we live in the Mohawk river valley, we aren't very far from the Helderberg Escarpment in Albany. It's a nice motorcycle ride. Even in the autumn. Winding along the cliffs is a trail called Indian Ladder. The state set aside a big chunk of land here for a state park, the John Boyd Thacher Park. It's very beautiful.

The view here is about a thousand feet above sea level; the valley floor is about 750 feet down. The boys liked the sunshine after the chilly ride up!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Isn't it cool?

That's the question my little one asked me when he picked up this leaf. Then he insisted I take a photo. Why not? It wasn't until I looked at it later that I realised I got his feet in the photo as well. We call sandals like that 'flip-flops, probably from the sound they make as one walks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wooly bear caterpillar

I wasn't able to find out why these caterpillars are called wooly bears. The wooly part seems easy enough - look how furry they are! Maybe the bear part comes from the way they hibernate during the winter. They aren't actually furry, more like bristly. Those hairs are all quite stiff, and it can be remarkably difficult to pick one of these up. It's easier to let them crawl onto your hand.

There's a persistent legend that these caterpillars foretell the severity of the winter by the size of the middle band. If it's long, winter will be mild; thin, and winter will be severe. This guy seems to be saying we'll have an easy winter.

For the scientists among us, this caterpillar is the larval form of the Isabella tiger moth, Pyrrharctia isabella.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Warm sun, cold sky

This time of year is just about right to watch the sun set before leaving work. One moment, you're standing in the sun listening to the geese flying overhead. The next minute, you're in shadow, the sunlight overhead, out of reach. You turn and look at the building and you can see the light slowly gliding up the side of the building until at last, it's gone until tomorrow.

Funny how the chill settles on you once that happens.

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sparrow in the mulberry bush

This mulberry is well on its way to becoming a tree! It's funny; a very old maple tree was growing here and its branches were coming down on the overhead electric wires so the power company cut it down. Almost immediately, this mulberry began to grow, sprouting out of a small space between the old stump and the sidewalk.

Although young, this tree serves to shelter small birds like this sparrow. When I took this photo there were about a dozen of them flitting in and out, between the mulberry and the hedge a few feet away. How they maneuver in between those branches is a mystery to me and I've watched them doing it for years!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Leaf and snow

The snow doesn't last long this time of the year, and it was almost gone by the morning. This is the top of my car. A leaf drifted onto it during the night and made a neat contrast to the snow.

Luckily, most of the leaves are off the trees, otherwise the snow covers the leaves and makes the tree branches so heavy they break. Not much of that this time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

First snowman

We had our first real snow yesterday. When it accumulates early in the season, we say that it's sticking. Later in the season, we just say 'not again!'

My youngest made a snowman. There wasn't a lot of snow, so the snowy fellow isn't only short, but he's a bit dirty as well. He doesn't seem to mind.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unusual bus

We don't have double decker busses here, so seeing one is a novelty. Seeing a pink one is even more of a novelty, so I had to stop and grab a photo. It turns out that this is a mobile cupcake bakers! They have a website that explains more about them. Very unusual!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Decisions, decisions

Today is Election Day. The term of everyone in the House of Representatives expires, as do many state governors and state legislatures. There's a bunch of unhappy citizens out there and a lot of incumbents are worried. There's usually a big bunch of noise, then the election, then they all go quiet for another year or so. The elected may change, but nothing else seems to.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monthly theme day - Public transportation

This is what we tend to call a 'city bus.' As opposed to a school bus, I suppose. City buses are run by the Capital District Transportation Authority. We don't have a lot of routes; mostly the main streets of Albany, Schenectady and Troy. All of the busses have advertising on them. The fleet has recently been upgraded, so they look very clean and modern.

Each month, on the first, City Daily Photo bloggers post a photo centred around a single theme. This month, it's Public Transportation.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Friday, October 29, 2010

Skywatch Friday

In October, solid grey overcast is pretty common. That doesn't make for a very exciting photo. I did manage to catch this oak leaf on its way down. Although I think this one is a pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis) I can't help but think of the Monty Python Lumberjack skit.

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


A walk in the rain, and the strangest things catch one's eye. The city spent lots of money to beautify the downtown area, and one of the things they did was to paint a brick pattern into the cross walks. It's not really paint; it's almost impregnated into the macadam. I never saw the machines that did it, but it was definitely applied after the street was paved. Anyway, after the new crosswalk engravings were done, bright new paint was applied to show where the crosswalks are. Apparently, someone needed to go down the manhole, and when the cover was replaced, it was rotated almost exactly 180 degrees. It caught my eye...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Foggy day

The temperature this morning is quite warm for the end of October - 60F! It rained pretty hard all night, so there's lots of moisture in the air and the result is fog. I always liked fog; no idea why. Probably because of the quiet.

These trees have already shed their leaves, but there are still trees with lots of green on them. October is a wonderful time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Great and small

Animals are amazing. The dog (whose paw you see here) is a hundred pounds. She's quite sensitive about her front feet; she won't let me touch them without pulling them away. Well, the kitten decided he wanted to sleep on her feet, and the dog didn't move.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Late afternoon sun

The late afternoon sun slips through the trees to illuminate this maple near the pool in Central Park.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Street, reflected

The lighting was just right to capture the street in my son's car window. I really like playing with reflections but I'm not very good at it yet.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where's Waldo?

Down in Vale, there's a turtle sunning himself on the log. His sunbathing companion slipped into the water so smoothly there's no ripple to show it!

I'm very fortunate to live is a big city and still be so close to nature.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dead End

'Dead End' signs here are very gradually being replaced with 'No Outlet'. I don't know why; it's probably a reason to keep sign makers in work. Anyway, this particular dead end used to have a fence across the road until someone drove through it. Rumours abound as to the sobriety of the driver, but he ended up on top of several stones here in Potter's Field. The city came and cleaned up the mess, and the (temporary) result is this clear view into Vale Cemetery from the street. We're looking at the people who mostly died during the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918-1919.

I couldn't resist the play on words.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seasonal rain

It's October, and that means rain. There is never a guarantee about the weather, but rain and autumn go hand in hand. During the summer, when the temperatures are in the 80s (F), I take the motorcycle even if it looks like rain. Now, with the temperatures in the 50s, I think twice about it.

I'm riding today.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moccasin Kill

The camera built into the phone does OK when the subject is fully sunlit, as these trees are. We took a ride up to the Moccasin Kill preserve, where there are walking trails among the hills and streams. A very relaxing place to spend a few hours.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

All in a row

Sparrows line up on the fence, waiting their turn. For what, I'm not entirely sure. There's an impromptu watering station behind them, and a tiny strip of sand in front. Drinks, then a sand bath?

This one was taken with the 1960s vintage Minolta SRT-SCII 35mm film camera. I can really control the depth of field with a long lens; something I can't do with the 1999 Nikon digital. It makes me want to spend the money for a real digital camera. Maybe for Christmas...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Humans are builders, but there's something magnetic about a stream and a bank full of stones that just cries out for a dam to be built. OK, so it's probably not terraforming as we think of it, but these two brothers are changing the earth together just the same.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Sometimes trees grow into fantastic shapes. This one was so reminiscent of a nose... well, the photo says it all.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Change is coming

No, not politics, the colours!

Some trees have well into their transformation from their summer's green to the colours of autumn. Some trees go all at once and others go a bit at a time. It's interesting to see how quickly the leaves change. In a week's time this tree will have probably lost all its leaves, ready to slumber for the winter.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cider doughnuts

We went apple picking and decided to stop at Focastle Farms to get some apple cider doughnuts. They are locally famous for their doughnuts, and this time of year they are churning them out by the thousands. They have a machine that forms the rings, drops the raw dough into the hot oil and cooks them. It even flips them over so they cook evenly. A dusting of cinnamon sugar and they are ready to eat, warm and delicious!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Skywatch Friday

It's October, so rain is the norm. We've had a week of almost constant rain. Yesterday afternoon, blue sky poked through late in the day. The rain clouds were very dramatic to the eye. This is the best of the series of photos I took. Clouds are enough of a learning experience; late afternoon lighting is a university degree!

A group of photobloggers post a photo of their skies each Friday - it's called Skywatch Friday. Click the link to see photos from round the world.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Autumn roses

These are some of the roses still blooming in Central Park's Rose Garden. Amazing, aren't they? I think of roses as a spring and summer flower, but if one knows what one is doing, they have a very long season. Hooray!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Apple picking

We went apple picking Sunday. The weather was gorgeous and we thought it would be a great day to spend outdoors. Unfortunately, most of the orchards were already done with 'U-Pick' apples. Apparently the odd frost and thaw cycles in the spring made the trees finish early.

This particular apple is very tiny, as you can see by my fingers. Tiny, yet still perfectly formed and ripened.

I apologise for not posting. I haven't been motivated lately and I can't really say why. I shall try to keep up with the rest of the community and post every day.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin