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Yard Finds

Back to your regularly scheduled blogging friends. Mr. Bruce is at the airport as I type awaiting a flight to the cold country. It's been somewhat chilly here the last few days, however, it's much, much colder there. Brrrrrr........

Friday morning, while it was still a bit cloudy I was out back hanging clothes on the line and cleaning the pool. I glanced over and thought how pretty and colorful the tree was along with the bougainvillea; I knew it was an Olympus moment. Pool cleaning had to wait a bit.

What I've been doing of late is keeping the 20mm lens on the Olympus and the 55-200 on the Nikon so I can shoot the birds through the windows. It's working quite well. Before I got the 20mm lens I read great reviews with most of the folks saying that once they had it they kept it on their cameras, shunning the kit lens. I now know why. Although the body of my camera is Olympus, the lens of which I speak is made by Panasonic, a brand you know I'm partial to because that's how I got my start as an art photographer. I still miss my baby camera--what a shame I lost it. The weird thing is I've rarely lost anything that I can recall, however, I do recall I lost my starter camera. Boohoo!

Anyway, with the Olympus in hand I decided to challenge myself in my own yard using the Black and White Film Grain setting on the camera. It's no wonder that people think b&w pictures are dramatic as I hope to show you with these simple images.

This one is of the little gnome we brought home from Bruce's Mom's house.
His little face is showing wear now that we've had him out in the sun protecting our new tree. Actually this little guy, who is actually a sprinkler, was a gift from us to her long ago. You might note that finally the stakes are gone keeping the tree in place for which I'm exceptionally grateful. It took a lot of whining to convince Bruce that after eight months the tree was established. I hope he does not have the chance to say "I told you so!"

Still in the side yard,  Pat and Ruth gave us a lovely iron heart for Christmas which looks especially interesting amongst the fallen leaves.
I've placed it under the bird feeder near the flowers in my garden. I'm thinking it will work well in the warmer weather for the butterflies who like to light upon hard objects to gather warmth. While on the subject of gardens, I'm so happy with this sign I purchased at the Geffrye Museum while visiting Matt in London this summer. I only wish they'd had a larger one!
On the other side of that fence is our back yard which closes using this:
Keeping in mind I'm wandering around the yard looking for stuff, I came across this pile of logs from our fallen tree which Bruce stacked like this to discourage nest building by pesky rodents.
The stump to the right is another leftover from the big tree. Not to get too far off topic, but there are those who might be saddened to see this horrible story about the Big Tree which burned yesterday. 3,500 years old and now gone???

Of late we've been spared the presence of rats, however, the squirrels still wreak havoc any chance they get. Bruce managed to fix most of the kayak, however, he still sees small areas of chewing which is pretty discouraging. He know has no idea where to store the boat to keep them at bay. Thus, it's still on the deck adjacent to the pool.
It's a testament to photography that even a hose can look good.
The foliage intermixed is the brown bud alamanda we planted when we did the remodel. It seems to be a mistake as the branches go hither and yon at will. That said, the yellow flowers are nice and as Bruce keeps reminding me, a tropical yard should be a bit wild.

Moving into the front yard, here's the plant shelf on the porch,
with the trailing golden pathos which is also known to spread far and wide. Then there is the sign on the street side of what we fondly call the jungle.
That's our gigantic oak tree on the right without many leaves remaining. It is so weird how the leaves have fallen this year. This tree is always first, followed by our neighbor on the pool sides huge oaks which really dump in our back yard. To date, they are still on his tree. Perhaps I'm confused. Maybe they don't fall until March? In any case, it's made my pool cleaning duties easier for the moment.

Had enough black and white? Well, me too. The leaves on the Chinese Tallow tree in our yard have been just as beautiful as the neighbor's tree I showed you a few days ago. Here's the reason I even went and got my camera.
I'm often asked about black and whites, whether I have any or not. There are very few in my baskets. Responding to the question, I tell folks that I took black and white images for 35 years and that was mostly enough for me. On the other hand, every now and again it's kind of fun to experiment. Never fear, I won't be devoting a whole post to this topic any time soon. Color is my middle name.

This post has been on my mind since I shot the photos on Friday, however, things have gotten in the way of blogging. This week should be different--don't be surprised if I write every day because I've got lots to say. Hopefully you'll want to read it.

Colorfully yours,
Gail



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