I have this odd little tiki hut themed bar in my backyard (built by the previous owner). I have yet to take advantage of it for anything, until today. I parked my tripod and camera under it and used it as a "blind" so that I could take pictures of birds that came to my nearby feeder.
I put the word "blind" in quotes, because it really is not a blind. I am not really sure why this worked, but it did. Other than a small amount of fake tiki grass hanging down from the roof, I was essentially plainly visible. Just the camera and tripod between me and the birds. I was about ten to fifteen feet away.
After about 10 minutes of me just sitting very still and waiting, they started to come and eat. Even a squirrel was on the ground grubbing away, either ignorant of my presence, or simply uncaring. Maybe it was because my feeders had mostly gone empty during the previous week and I had just refilled them.
This is a picture of a Downy Woodpecker. I actually think this is an immature bird, born this year. I say this because the colors on his head and upper back seem very muted and grayish. I think this bird is nearing the end of his juvenile molt.
Last week I convinced Rich to loan me his lawn mower. My mower is on the fritz, and he does not need his because he is building a house surrounded by a moat of dirt.
Hey, maybe he can set it up like in that one movie. The good guys disguised a moat of oil to look like regular ground so that they could trick the bad guys and burn them all crispy. I think that movie was The Beastmaster with Marc Singer. Rich could build a moat like that and then use it as necessary to dispose of annoying people, pets, etc.
Anyway, after mowing my lawn with Rich's mower I realized two things:
1. My lawn mower sucks (even if it were able to start).
2. I have this giant orange flower growing in my yard (see picture).
I think this is a Tiger Lily. I did not plant it. It just grew out of the dirt this spring and now I am taking pictures of it.
This is a bad picture (in my opinion). I still have not figured out how to control the depth of field on my camera. I could get the petals in focus, or I could get those weird "corndog on a stalk" things in focus, but not both at the same time. I suspect Jim is going to ask me if I have looked at the camera course on a CD that he loaned me like two weeks ago because that probably would clue me in. Obviously, I have not yet looked at it.
I bet the fire in Rich's moat would be nearly the same color as this flower!
My first attempt at night photography. There was a full moon tonight (er...or maybe it is tomorrow night), so I set up the camera and tripod and starting taking pictures. This was one of the better ones. Eh...good enough for the first try.
Today I had grand plans. After a leisurely morning of playing WoW, I was going to mow my yard and kill some weeds before settling in to watch the World Cup Final. Yeah, I know. Pretty laid back...maybe even slack. Whatever.
Well, all those plans went south because I could not get my very new lawnmower to start. I bought this thing in the spring so that I could mow my next-to-nothing yard. I have used it like three times. All the same stuff that used to make it start earlier this summer did not work today. Sigh.
Now, my yard is not the best yard. It has grass and other green weed-like things growing in it, and thus needs to be mowed every now and then. But there is also a good dose of dirt. So, the lawnmower gets a good dust bath when I do use it. I understand this is not a good thing.
After it would not start, I decided that the dirt had done it in. I bought a new air filter. I took apart things and wiped dust off of it. I made sure there was enough oil and gas. I cleaned everything that I could get to. And when I put it all back together, it still would not start. Grrr.
My theory is that the fuel line is clogged. That is something that I am pretty sure that I did not get to. It will prime just fine. When I pull the starter cord the engine will rev from the prime, but will not keep running. Oh well. I will have to decide this week whether I continue to tinker with this thing (which is something that I have no real experience with) or call in help. The weeds keep growing.
I remember Tammy telling me what these flowers were, but it had gotten so hot at that point that my brain had turned to mush. All I can remember is that they were big (softball diameter?) and pretty. Big and pretty. I am such a guy.
Here is a picture of the Italian Garden at Maymont. Lots of cool colors.
We walked into this garden from the far end, down where that dome is on the left. When we first got there, a man in purple nylon jogging shorts (the kind that are just maybe a little too short or just maybe a little too loose fitting or both) was under that dome singing. Loudly.
We were a bit stumped on whether he was part of the overall Italian Garden experience, or just some guy in purple jogging shorts who decided that the accoustics of that dome were worth experiencing. He was not singling badly, but he was in our way. And he was wearing those shorts.
We decided to avoid him and his scary shorts for a few minutes. We took a small detour and then came back. He was gone.
Tammy and I eventually made it to our original destination: Maymont Park. It was starting to get pretty darn hot, so this fountain looked very appealing. We decided, however, that the Maymont folks would probably take a dim view of us beaching ourselves in that pool of water.
Here lies Jefferson Davis. His grave was one of the better manicured in the cemetery. If you follow the above link and read about his funeral, it says
His funeral was one of the largest ever staged in the South and ran a continuous march from New Orleans to Richmond, Virginia day and night.
The angle of this shot makes it look like the statue is throwing something at me.
I wish I could say something artistic sounding on why I chose to take this picture in black and white. In reality, I simply learned how to make my camera take pictures in black and white, and therefore had to exploit that knowledge.
Hollywood Cemetery is where the remains of James Monroe are located. The plaque on the ossuary reads:
Born in Westmoreland County 28" April 1758.
Died in the City of New York 4" July 1831.
By Order of the General Assembly
His Remains were removed to this Cemetery 5" July 1858.
As an evidence of the affection of Virginia
For Her Good and Honored Son
Tammy and I decided to go to Maymont Park today, but it did not open until 10am. Since we were out and about around 8:30am, we had some time to kill. So we decided to pop into Hollywood Cemetery and explore a little before going to Maymont.
There are plenty of creative photographic composition opportunities within Hollywood Cemetery. I tried to capture a few.
The week before last I was in Maine. I went to Maine because that was where the American Birding Association's 2006 Convention was held. Bangor Maine to be specific. This picture shows a bunch of buses, with people departing them, at the end of a day of field trips.
For the week, I saw 92 different species of bird, with a whopping 37 of those something that I had never seen before. A pretty good trip.