Not quite ready to be picked
While snapping disc golf photos during last Tuesday’s Southwest Handicap Mini, my Nikon 105mm macro lens was thoroughly distracted. The culprit?
Perfect for cobbler, jam, or just plain eating
Imperial Park was bursting with the yummy (to some) gems. I had never seen so many of them there. If only they had been strawberries or blueberries! I’d have returned the next day with a bucket. Sadly, they weren’t.
The kid’s try for two (which he missed).
Of course, I was really at the park to shoot pics of my younger son (who finished second with his handicap and tied for third with his raw score) and the other players in their bids for bountiful birdies.
No, not this kind!
Posted in animals, disc golf, family, nature, photography
Tagged #2 son, berries, bird, birdies, disc golf, fruit, Imperial Park, nature, Nikon 105mm lens, Southwest Handicap Mini
My Nikon S6200 captures the startling scene.
It started with a loud splash. Followed by a bright orange flash.
Immediately, my attention was drawn from the wildflowers along my walk last Saturday to the lake. Were those gigantic goldfish grappling with one another close to the shore in my neighboring master-planned community? Perhaps they were Magikarp, the fish Pokémon . . . which could mean that Ash Ketchum and Misty were close by.
I jogged to the edge of the lake and quickly pulled out my Nikon S6200. About half a dozen huge fish were struggling so near me that I could look them in the eyes!
This reminds me of unruly preschoolers.
In fact, I could almost hear them calling out. I had never seen anything like this before. It was amazing!
Are you looking at me?
I cut my four-miler short and jogged home to grab my Nikon D700 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. Then I drove back and looked for bursts of electric orange. There were several places along the long lake’s shore where I saw activity.
Always travel with buddies.
As I snapped away . . . and as the fish got close enough to actually splash me . . . a guy walking along the shore told me that they were koi. What were the big critters doing? Spawning.
A koi sandwich
In early spring, the male koi sandwich the female and start bumping her. This forces out the thousands of eggs in her body, which then allows the guys to fertilize them. From what I saw, it’s a brutal process involving a lot of thrashing, crashing, and mashing.
This looks uncomfortable for the gal in the middle.
The overgrown goldfish attracted attention from just about everyone on the walking path. Privacy was not an issue for them!
The gang’s all here.
Yep, when it comes to spawning, these koi aren’t so coy!
Posted in nature, Nikon S6200, photography
Tagged Ash Ketchum, fish, koi, Magikarp, Misty, nature, Nikon 105mm lens, Nikon D700, Nikon S6200, spawn, Telfair
Note the pods!
A recent article in the “Houston Chronicle” informed us that bluebonnets are part of the bean (legume) family. That struck me as odd, because I had never seen pods near our beloved state flower (yes, images from “The Body Snatchers” did just pop into my head!).
Until last Sunday.
It was too nice of a day to stay inside . . . especially if it meant decluttering, which we need to do desperately. So instead the Mister and I (plus my Nikon dSLR and Nikon 105mm macro lens) left my 10-mile comfort radius and made the big drive to Houston. First, we enjoyed lunch at Goode Co. BBQ. When I saw a small patch of bluebonnets across the street, I walked over and snapped the above pic.
Almost looks patriotic
Eventually we ended up at TC Jester Park, where I’ve snapped many a disc golf and wildflower photo. The place was brimming with beauty! Bluebonnets were plentiful.
Crimson and clover, over and over
As well as bright crimson clovers (anyone else hearing the Tommy James and the Shondells’ song playing in their head?).
Ready for a drink
Winecups dotted the scenery.
Plus a few Mexican hats.
Small but mighty
Tiny flowers added bits of brightness, too.
Naturally, others horned in on my fun.
King of the bluebonnet!
I didn’t mind sharing the experience with skippers and butterflies.
Snuggling with an Indian blanket
But, as usual, there were too many bees. I know how important they are in nature. However, when they start chasing me away, I can almost hear them taunting me as they buzz . . .
Please bee nice
Posted in insects, wildflowers
Tagged "The Body Snatchers", bee, bluebonnet, crimson clover, Goode Co., horticulture, Indian Blanket, insects, Mexican hat, Nikon 105mm lens, skipper, TC Jester Park, the Mister, wildflowers, winecups
This putt is easy for Mike.
Usually when it comes to action photography, I believe that close is best.
Randall hopes to make a par.
But last Tuesday’s Southwest Handicap Mini was at a “new” course, the First Colony Aquatic Center. The quote marks are necessary, because the disc golfers used to play tournaments there until the city decided to add some amenities for its residents. That addition meant a subtraction of certain baskets and a wait of several years until the course was slightly redesigned, including the installation of some new metal.
My younger son zips in a birdie putt.
Now the Aquatic Center is back in the weekly rotation. I hadn’t shot there for a couple years, but I did remember that the baskets tend to be close to one another. So I opted for my beloved Nikon 70-200mm lens, which is equally adapt at delivering those close pics as well as ones that tell more of the disc golf story.
Nick sinks this.
As much as the sport is about the drive and the upshot, a lot of the drama (and, unfortunately, often the trauma) is all about the chains. My Nikon 105mm lens usually is better at focusing on just the player, which is why it stayed home.
Daniel and his shadow putt.
But this time my photography was all about the baskets.
Can you see the basket off in the distance on the left? Watch out for the lake!
Even the ones that were far away!
My younger son hopes his jump putt hits the chains.
Yesterday was the first day of spring. Here in the Houston area, all that means is that March 20th’s weather was virtually the same as on March 19th—beautiful.
And not cold at all, thank goodness!
Hiral shows his serious putting side.
The last day of what passes for winter here found me at Imperial Park at our weekly Southwest Handicap Mini series. This is the best time to play disc golf there, because the foliage is beaten down and thinned out. Discs don’t get lost as often as they do during the summer when the park regains its lushness and is more challenging.
Of course, I’m drawn to Imperial as much for the nature as watching the kid play. As I approached hole seven, my eye immediately was drawn to bright batches of phlox. I’ve seen that wildflower here before but never in such abundance.
Another purple park inhabitant
My Nikon 105mm macro lens captured the few flora that were ready for prime time this early. We should see plenty more, though, in a month or so when the series returns to the ever-blooming park.
A wee spider peeks out from his lantana perch.
Wonder if this guy will stick around?
Posted in disc golf, family, weather, wildflowers
Tagged #2 son, disc golf, Hiral, Imperial Park, lantana, Nikon 105mm lens, phlox, Southwest Handicap Mini, spider, spring, weather, winter
The view from above on the way to Chicago.
When I plan one of my infrequent trips, I usually spend a lot of time assessing what’s most important to me: My photographic needs. I’m rarely without a camera in addition to the one on my iPhone.
On previous journeys to Chicago I’ve lugged either my Nikon D300 or D700 along with my Nikon 50mm lens (occasionally I’ll tote the Nikon 105mm macro, too).
A dripping tree outside my mom’s condo’s window
But this time I wanted to go with a lightweight kit, because Chicago in winter can be . . . dare I say it? . . . ugly. Remember yesterday’s photo of the dirty snow? There’s no need to snap multiple pics of that with your best equipment.
So I opted for my newest camera, the Nikon 1 V1, which is mirrorless (virtually noiseless). Plus you can change lenses, and it’s small and light. The best part?
It was free! I “bought” it from Amazon with my Discover Card points. As you know, free is my favorite price!
The crazy lights at O’Hare
As it turned out, I was glad I chose the V1 as my photo-traveling companion. Not only did it do a decent job with the subject matter (I only snapped about 45 pics), but I spent most of my four days moaning and groaning (when I wasn’t living on Advil), because I tripped over a curb (yes, once again!) outside of Bush Intercontinental Airport and fell, bruising my ribs.
Fluffy clouds populate the sky on the way home.
I’m not sure what worried me more: The thought of carrying my heavier photo equipment while I was in pain or the possibility that I might have broken one of my beloved digital SLRs and/or lenses when I went splat on the hard concrete.
Now that really would have been cause for moaning and groaning!
Posted in Nikon 1 V1, photography, travel
Tagged Chicago, Nikon 1 V1, Nikon 105mm lens, Nikon 50mm lens, Nikon D300, Nikon D700, O'Hare Airport, photography, ribs, travel, trip
These dwarf azaleas look like mums from a distance.
Three years ago when I visited Bayou Bend, the only stop along Houston’s annual Azalea Trail that interested me, there definitely was a trail.
But no azaleas.
What a bummer!
Pink on pink azaleas
Fortunately, our weather has been kinder this winter. So when I once again broke through my 10-mile comfort radius and made the drive into Houston, I was relieved to see lots and lots and lots of azaleas.
Sidebar: I couldn’t help but laugh when a guy said to his wife and friends, “Yep, there are a lot of pink flowers. And just more of the same the rest of the way.”
Buds bring the promise of more beautiful flowers.
He definitely was right in his assessment: Pink was the predominant color in the gardens.
The bees were busy, as usual.
Whether it bee azaleas . . . .
The little stingers were all over the place.
Or camellias . . . .
Love how the sunlight makes these glow from inside.
Tulips . . . .
I’m not sure what kind of tree this is, but it sure is pretty.
Or even the budding trees, that lighter shade of red made it seem kind of like Valentine’s Day (in a very feminine way).
The heart looks creepy!
I think that Cupid was tickled pink!
Posted in azaleas, flowers, photography
Tagged Azalea Trail, azaleas, Bayou Bend, bees, camellia, Cupid, Houston, Nikon 105mm lens, pink, tulip
This poser was in my backyard shrubs the other day.
Pics shot with my Nikon 105mm macro lens.
A fly enjoys some purply goodness.
Sometimes it’s easy to see nature’s freeloaders while I’m snapping away at wildflowers.
As I get up close and personal with my Nikon 105mm macro lens, insects often come into focus along with the flora.
I didn’t notice the little antennas until I edited this photo on my iMac.
Other times the vagrant varmints show up as I work in Photoshop in the comfort of my home office. I wonder how I could’ve missed them while I was in the thick grass.
Not all of nature’s winks, though, are actually on flowers. Last Saturday as I was about to lean over to take a bluebonnet photo, something odd “hoppened” that was kinda “hare-owing” (somebody stop me!):
Bye, bye, bunny!
Quick as a bunny . . . because it was one . . . this critter near me shot out and scurried down the walking path. Got my heart to racing like Danica Patrick at Daytona.
Mental note: When it comes to nature photography, be careful of busy bees and rascally rabbits!
Posted in animals, insects, nature, wildflowers
Tagged animals, bluebonnets, bugs, Danica Patrick, fly, nature, Nikon 105mm lens, Photoshop, rabbit, wildflowers
Ugly but intriguing
The other morning when I was in our backyard, I couldn’t help but notice a spider in a large web hanging from David, our Bradford pear tree. It stretched about three feet from a branch to the fence.
You know me, right? I raced back into the house to grab my Nikon D700. First, I tried the Nikon 105mm macro lens, but spidey was a little too high up for its range. And, of course, I wasn’t about to get too near the little bugger in case it decided to jump on my head. Too terrifying to even contemplate!
Not too close for comfort
So I switched to the Nikon (f/4) 300mm lens, and that did the trick. I watched . . . from afar, natch . . . as the spinybacked orb weaver (yep, I Googled it) weaved its web. The entire time it was busy as a, well, bee. If that bee was white and black with eight legs, of course.
As I was walking away to return to the safety of my house, I saw that the arachnid and its silky work of art was backlit. Usually I don’t like to shoot into the sun, but I figured I’d give it a try.
A backlit surprise
I was so glad I did! The spider captured a rainbow!!
Posted in insects, photography
Tagged Bradford pear tree, David, insects, Nikon 105mm lens, Nikon 300mm lens, Nikon D700, rainbow, spider, spinybacked orb weaver, web