Monday, August 31, 2009

Scenic Sunday

This picture below, is taken at the end of the road that I live on; just a few miles down; Today was the first day I explored that area. There is also a trail head, part of the Ice Age Hiking Trail. A friend and I hiked it and turns out it's quite hilly. We got a good workout in none the less and enjoyed the scenery along the way. Towards the end of the hike, we ran across a lake which is also below. The Field and Sky picture I did in HDR, then applied an artistic filter (water color) to in photoshop.

This Barn shot is a few miles away from where I live as well. Friday and Saturday we had a pretty big rain storm roll through and the sunflowers sort of took a beating, but overall the picture even with battered sunflowers turn out nicely. This picture I also did in HDR and applied a Dry Brush filter to in photoshop.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fe Fi Fo Fum

I Smell Fungus Under My Thumb

while out walking the dog the other day, I happened to notice these two very large mushrooms. And so, I walked the dog back to the house, dropped him off, grabbed my camera, walked back there, got down on my knees with camera in hand and saw this little gnome guarding them with his life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gazebo progress and it's lookin good....

This last weekend we got a lot done on the gazebo. So far it's been going up pretty easily. We only had to make one little adjustment (not called for in the instructions) and will soon find out if that messed anything up for the roof installation. Keep fingers crossed! it all works out when we get the roof parts up.

First bug to fly into the gazebo and entertain us; but i have no idea what this bug is? if anyone knows, please let me know, cuz he looks like he can be dangerous if that is a stinger at his tail end. He has a very interesting sound when he fly's and his butt area is red and that freaky stinger thing or what ever that is is quite scary. He landed on the back of my chair, but before that he was crawling and flying around the rest of the inside of the gazebo.

And we are so happy so far with the progress....

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Erector Set - Gazebo Style

Our Gazebo arrived last weekend, and last night we decided to start putting the base together. This this coming weekend we can get the spot where it will go all leveled up and hopefully start putting the rest of the pieces together. Now you'd think this would be a relatively easy project. Well most of our projects that is what we think in the beginning, so we'll see what this one brings as the building of it transpires....I made a little piece of art out of the center of the gazebo base, and we really didn't get much done this first day; Clayton got called at work to fix a problem and well it was about midnight when he was done.....So tonight we'll see how the rest of these pieces fit for the base

The gazebo was shipped as a set fully cut and ready to assemble. All the holes are predrilled and the main part of the gazebo is made of Cedar and well our garage smells wonderful right now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Hope Pines

As I mentioned on Saturday's Post, we headed to New Hope Pines on Sunday. We found it this time without any trouble and hiked around the little lake / pond / swamp their, hard to know what that is called. This picture of the trees below Is two pictures stitched together, I printed it out and it's rather measures 12 by 26 in my printed version. There was just enough of a mist or fog to add that peaceful feeling when viewed.

This Description is taken from the website of the WDNR (Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources:
"New Hope Pines features one of the largest and least disturbed northern dry-mesic forests remaining in central Wisconsin and is reminiscent of the vast "pineries" found in this region prior to settlement. A forest of red oak, white oak, and red maple stands beneath the canopy of white and red pines. Though the stand is relatively "young" with only scattered old growth, the dominant white pines are more than 100 feet high and up to two feet in diameter. Shrubs include American hazelnut, northern bush honeysuckle and round-leaved dogwood. Common groundlayer species include bracken fern, wild sarsaparilla, American starflower, large-flowered trillium, Canada mayflower, partridgeberry, and big-leaved aster. The site lies on steep, irregular topography in ground moraine - a legacy of the last glacier. Two small kettle depressions contain sedge meadow and emergent aquatic species in wet years. Resident wildlife includes common raven, pileated woodpecker, and porcupine. New Hope Pines is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1983."
While we were hiking up one side of the lake, we heard this really loud and unusual sound. There was a tree that fell, and wouldn't you know that tree fell right in the middle of the path. Not blocking it or anything, but still just image if we had been right there at that exact spot that it fell. if we were about 15 minutes earlier we might have been stuck under a tree :-)
Interesting enough, we did not see or hear one single animal or bird.

Fall colors are already starting; seems a little early to me, not supposed to happen till October. But there are only a few stray colored leaves; I just saw this one and thought how pretty, can't wait till all the trees start turning. It's going to be incredible to see.

Above is a Bears Head Tooth Mushroom; never seen one of these before
and below is the picture of the tree we heardfall.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

lightning strikes

Yesterday afternoon we had an incredible lightning storm complemented with lots of roaring thunder. Well since it was during the day for once, actually late afternoon, I decided to get out from under the trees and go chase the storm. How exciting lightning is...those brilliant flashes and the burst of deep roaring thunder just enliven me. I was thrilled when I came home and found that I actually captured a few strikes, but this one here was my most favorite and so it is posted....along with one of my favorite missed shots but the sky is fantastic looking....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Minister Lake

Clayton, Sparky and I went for a short little hike this morning. We originally headed out looking for New Hope Pines, where we will be going next weekend for an event with a few local groups, but we were not able to find it. So we just decided to follow a trail we saw that went to Minister Lake. This lake is only a few miles away from the house, which is nice not to have to drive so far; but the hiking trails really don't seem to go very far.

The lake is more like a pond or more of a swamp; it's full of grasses and lily pads, none were really in bloom. Now that would be something to see when those are all in bloom.

We thought for sure there would have been a ton of mosquito's out around this lake, but there really wasn't many. I killed one on the back of Clayton's shirt, I didn't see any land on me (might be because I used some repellent though) this morning while it was still relatively cool out, it was a bit humid and we worked up a bit of a sticky sweat.

There is actually a beaver dam here at the lake, or we think it was, to me it looked more like a pile of small branches and logs, but it was on the waters edge and there was evidence of some beavers with several gnawed off trees. I should have taken a picture of those, but I didn't.

When we got back, I had to do a search on the Internet to see if I could find out how to get to that New Hope Pines area, I know where to go, it must be a very small parking lot, we apparently passed it twice but didn't see it. It must not have signs, but from the map I found it should be almost exactly one mile off of County Road Z and we should find it tomorrow. When we do, I'll write more on that location...hopefully tomorrow :-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Attempting Macro Photography without a macro lens

OK, so I've got this thing about wanting to take pictures of insects. Since I'm surrounded by probably millions of them, thought they'd make a great subject and in the meantime maybe I'd learn something about them. Well my attempts till now have been very unsatisfying, but at the same time very motivational. I'm going to rent the macro lens I want to buy since it's back ordered or out of stock everywhere to see how it compares to what I'm able to produce I'll be posting other macro shots soon when I get the rental so we can compare. In researching Marco photography, I'm thinking I may also need to purchase additional items, such as Macro flashes and even magnifying filters...we'll see what I end up with...for now, thinking just the lens will do.

Here is a bug that is freaking me out, and I have no idea what it is, but it looks pretty scary. Also this wasp is eating a spider or some other little bug maybe another one of these freaky things. It's super small too, wish I could have some type of measurement so it's true size could be correctly imagined.

I attempted to photograph several different insects this evening, but these two turned out the best....a bit challenging but fun at the same time....In viewing others work on the internet, there are some fantastic images created using Macro Lenses and hopefully I too, someday soon, will be able to capture some that way.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Humming Bird Frenzy

The humming birds were going nuts today, I think it was mom's and babies being very territorial. They were really aggressive and I could even hear them hitting each other. I swear one of them speared another with her beak...she had feathers (two of them) stuck to her beak after one major attach. I also have a feeling my humming bird feeder in the front yard is dry....hence the fight for the sweet nectar begins....while most of these pictures do not show that they were fighting over the feeder, know that they were. All of these pictures (accept for the flower shots) where taken when the birds were inches away from the feeder. I have to admit, I even have a couplepictures here where I 'cut' the feeder out of the picture as it was in the middle of the two birds and pasted the bird in and fixed the seam with photoshop so they look much closer together than they were. I'll note which photo's as I post....I darkened the back ground on all of these so the birds pop...

In the picture below, the feeder was just to the left...the two birds were both on the right side of the feeder the one on top is actually above the feeder and just to the right of it..
This one, the feeder is to the right edge, I cropped the feeder out....

This is another one where I cut the feeder out between the two birds so they look like they are aright in front of each other.

and this one too...

This one is GREAT, I love the UPSIDE down bird (bottom left) Incredible...

OK, this is awesome too! I got the birds pee as it's falling....WOW

This flower is in a pot, right below where the feeder is hanging on the deck rail.