Monday, March 29, 2010


I noticed a native bee in a hedgehog cactus flower and only got one fair shot of it. You can click on it (or any of the pictures) for a larger view.

  Later in the day I was by some desert lavendar and noticed quite a few bees. Honey bees this time.  I took several shots and got a few decent ones. I did notice that the native bee pretty much ignores me and my camera and seems to want to swim in the pollen, whereas the honey bee moves away from me and the camera.  It never seems annoyed by my presence, just wary or even frightened by it. 
Caught this one mid-flight with pretty good resolution.

This may be the sharpest image of the bunch.

and one more for good measure.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Good 'Old' Friends

Has it really been 10 years? Pretty close, at least, since we had seen our friends Tod & Barb Johnson.
A beautiful day for a picnic in the park.
Micah, Sarah, Jake, Erik and Hannah playing Uno

Danny Ridderhof was in town to see his mom, so he showed up with Elaine Teune. We hadn't seen Danny in close to 20 years and Elaine in a good dozen...It was nice to reconnect again!

Here's the bunch of us by the lake at El Dorado Park.


I started seeing killdeer out here a few years ago. Seemed a bit strange to me because they were fairly common back in Wisconsin - I guess I didn't expect to see them in the desert.

I thought they were practicing the 'broken wing' follow me away from my nest thing, but it seems they were just doing some spring cleaning.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Great Egret

I wasn't too thrilled with a cheap 500 mm lens I bought a while back.  After playing with it a bit, I find it does take OK pictures, but it needs a lot of light...I took this great egret standing on the post of a dock and was close enough to need two shots stitched together to get it all in.

I would have needed three shots if it had straightened out its neck! It almost looks like a pretzel in the second shot.

Here's a closer look at the neck & face

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Close Ups

I sometimes photograph things I didn't see,
such as this aphid in the side of this fiddleneck flower stalk.
Hard to see unless it is enlarged quite a bit.

Or this part of a Canyon Ragweed
Perhaps easier to recognize when this seed pod is ripe.
Canyon Ragweed (aka - Big Bursage) the burr carries the seeds.

I didn't have time to get my zoom lens out & on when this Black-Chinned Hummer was feeding on the nectar of this Chuparosa.
This (as are the others) is a tight crop of the original photo.

New Flowers

I may overdo it a bit in the spring with my flower pictures, but I almost always see new things or better shots or something to keep me coming back for more. This year, there are some different flowers among the old standards at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

Nice displays of color with the orange poppy, african violet and firecracker penstemon (all standard).

Nice mix of flowers & cactus (stabdard).

Firewheel flower (standard)

New - I don't know what it is.

Owl's Clover (standard)

Don't know, but I like it.

Don't know this one either, but I really like it!

A kind of paperflower?

A tiny cluster on a fairly good-sized shrub. I'm sure I've photographed this before, but I don't recall the pictures coming out so well.

I don't know if this one is new as much as there were so many more of them out this year. Nice ones.

Nest Among Thorns

I don't know how they do it, except maybe by having few nerves in the feet. This curve-billed thrasher mom wasn't crazy about me parking right next to her nest, but then she must have been a bit crazy to settle in so close to where cars go by. Crazy or not, she didn't stay away too long. I took some pictures inside as best I could with the cholla pieces blocking the best views.

There were three eggs,  but I could only get two in the shot.

Even though I couldn't see in very well, mom could pop in or out fairly quickly. I wonder how long before the eggs hatch? Oh, and this is a Chain Fruit Cholla

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cholla Field

This is a good patch of cholla growing in South Mountain Park. 
The desert is nice & green for now (yellow = poppies [see two posts down]), thanks to the February rains. Click on the picture to see the panorama a bit closer.


The most famous of the Aloe family is Aloe vera. This is not that or it would have yellow flowers.  It is close enough that it has essentially the same healing properties as the vera sp. 
And how do I know that? It does take the red out of a good sunburn.

Spring is Here (Again)

Yes, the annual picture taking of flowers I already have tons of pictures of.  How does that happen? Every year I think they get better, too.  Of course, that may only be because I don't look at the others.
Poppies seem to be able to grow with next to no rainfall.
This year, there was plenty. A bit late, perhaps, but plenty.

Look how nettly the stems & leaves are! No animals seem to eat this.


Desert Marigold


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Training - Camelback Ranch

Camelback Ranch is Spring Training home to both the Dodgers and the White Sox. It is a very nice facility. A nice perk is that parking is free. Each team has three practice fields plus two or three infield practice diamonds.  Scott went early to the game and watched some training. He was surprised that one group of AAA guys were getting base running practice and most weren't giving it their all.  Seems that anyone that close to the majors would want to put everything they have out there to show they have what it takes to get called up. 

Spring Training Dodgers 4 - Diamondbacks 4

Tie game, well I suppose both teams should be happy to have that.  Strange occurance in this game when Kemp & Ethier were listed as 3rd & 4th on the roster, but batted opposite.  Diamondbacks figured it out in the 3rd when Kemp made the last out (otherwise they could have had him declared out). The home plate umpire had Eithier bat first the following inning to correct the lineup (even though he had already batted just before Kemp).  Ethier goes and hits a home run to tie the game 1-1.
Jogging around the bases is OK, I guess, when you're a superstar.

Ojeda later hit a home run.

It was funny to watch him when someone was on second. He would step up behind them then wave his hand at them as if shooing them out of the way.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Training Dodgers 0 - Rockies 12

An amazing game for Rockies fans - not so much for Dodger fans.  What started out as cold, breezy and very threatening clouds turned into a cool, but sunny and still breezy afternoon.
Even Scott wore a sweatshirt, so you know it was cold. He's standing by our seats behind the visiting team's dugout. Very, very nice.

OK, I am so bad with names, I won't even try to name the players. Just some shots from our seats.
One of Colorado's pitchers who pretty much held off the Dodgers to pop-ups and very few hits.

Dodger knuckle-baller preparing to pepper one in there.

Colorado had quite the day at the plate. A few Dodger errors and some missed fly balls didn't make much difference in the outcome...

...As the Dodger bats never did come alive.

One or two good fielding plays didn't outweigh the poor ones.

Hmm, watch them be a different team tomorrow against the D-Backs!
I'm heading to that game, too, so I hope to have more good shots tomorrow