Around the House
I think the flowers growing at the post give us one of the most colorful and picturesque mailboxes in the area. Along with the street address numbers, I felt it was very "photo-worthy". It's sufficiently iconic to leave it at the top of the page... at least for a while.
October 18, 2008 - Fall Colors
Well there's two items of note here. The first is that this years' "color peak" is a couple of weeks earlier than last year, bucking the trend of the last few years. It seemed that every year the color peak was a week or so later than the previous year, moving from the beginning of October to the very end. It appears that we're back to the middle of the month.

The second item is a matter of photography. If you've heard of HDR photos, it stands for "High Dynamic Range". When a camera (or even your eye) looks at something bright, the details in the darker areas all look like black. Likewise, if there's a bright area in your field of vision, all of the lighter definition gets washed out. HDR photography involves taking multiple photos (usually 3 to 7) of the same scene, using different exposures. These are all blended into a single photo where the details aren't washed out. I'm not entirely sold on this technique for a couple of reasons. I'll bore the snot our of everyone with my thoughts on the subject at a later time.

March 21, 2009 - Heron
As I was getting ready to head to work on Saturday, I noticed this guy poking his head up on the other side of the creek. Of course I grabbed my camera and took the first photo at left through the window. I figured it would be best to get at least ONE shot before he was startled. Before going onto the porch I put the camera into "repeat" mode. Sure enough, he flew away as I started to line up the shot. The "rapid fire" camera mode got me two "decent" pictures of him flying away. These images have all been cropped rather severely since my lens isn't quite long enough (135 mm) to really get in that close.
March 26, 2009 - Spring Snowstorm
Well believe it or not, less than a week after those springtime Heron photos were taken below, we had a heavy snowstorm. Of course there's no way this kid was going to pull out the snowblower again... so it melted on it's own within a few days. You can see we got about 6 or 7 inches though.

The snow was so heavy that we had several smaller branches fall. You can see the boughs bending under the strain.

I took a couple of shots up and down the street and two over the deck. The third shot is my favorite though. The house looks really cool covered in snow, framed by the trees and the driveway light.

April 25, 2009 - Dafodils III
Well it's the time for Dafodils again, and if you compare these photos to the ones I took last year (Dafodils II down at the bottom of the page), you'll see that Meg has really gone wild. There are many more colors and varieties this year, including the double dafodils at the far right in the 3rd row. I'm partial to the yellow-orange center on white petals, although the pink center ones are unusual also.

Meg wanted a couple of photos to show where they're located. The top left shot is from our bedroom window with the wide angle. About one third of these were taken with the 16-35mm wide angle, while the remainder were taken with the 100mm macro lens. It's in the file metadata.

Of course I had to get our St. Francis statue again this year. He's holding up reasonably well, but there's some evidence of crumbling. Meg planted some near the creek this year, so I tried to get a little artsy with those shots.

Again I was able to get a few candid shots of the gardener perusing her work. I like the last one... it's got a better sense of depth.

June 28 to July 19, 2009 - Flowerz & Friendz
Yard Icons
Lillies
Close-ups
Other Flowers
Creek
I have to start this spread with photos that are somewhat representative of 4N386 Knoll Creek. The first is a shot from the street while the flag was on the house, but I think of the rest as sort of iconic images of our yard.
Here's plenty of shots of lillies, taken from June 28 through July 19. As usual, Meg's lillies have been spectacular. Of course they are colorful from the street as you can see in the first photo above. It isn't until you get really close however, that the colors really jump out.

There's plenty here to enjoy so you don't even have to stop by our house, much less spend time in the yard.

Up in the second row we have a repeat performance from the Darth Maul lilly. I think the far right, top row is the Tiger Lilly.

The variegated (multi-colored) ones are my favorites.

Since I had the macro lens out anyway, I had to see how close I could get while getting a focal lock. These are handheld, so we could probably get a little closer with a tripod and still maintain focus.
I'm not sure exactly what these red flowers are, but the petals look rather bizzare. It seems that the entire center ball blossoms in stages. The central petals come first and the outside perimeter are last.
Yeah, okay... mums, daisies, and some purple flowers.
Critters
After all those images from the front yard I have to throw in a few from down by the old mill stream.
Never think that I'm going to go all entomology on you. They're still just bugs. The close up shots are challenging though, and sort of cool when they actually work. It depends a lot on the cooperation of the bugs though.

In most of these shots, the critters stayed pretty still. That allows me to move around a little and keep trying to get closer. That's why most of these sequences sort of zoom in from left to right.

The bees were a different story. There were hundreds of them buzzing around at light speed. They were moving so quickly that only these two sort of worked out of the 3 dozen or so that I took. I think that pink stuff on their sides is what they're collecting.

July 3, 2009 - Hawk
Several hawks have recently decided to roost in our neighborhood. I almost, kinda got one in flight, but obviously needed a much faster shutter speed.
Then one decided to perch on a branch above our driveway. He let me get pretty close while he screeched away. He got pretty annoying after a while. This is as close as I could get with the 135 mm lens. I definitely need something a little longer... maybe 300 mm.