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Steep Ravine, Stinson Beach

Something a little different today, some photos edited in black and white. I took these yesterday, a perfectly clear day with harsh sun and dark shadows. Looking through the pictures, I thought it would be interesting to edit them in black and white to highlight the high contrast nature of the lighting situation and the interesting shapes and spaces it creates.

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Late April Wildflowers at Pulgas Ridge

Many of my favorites are blooming now at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve. The thistle are as tall as I am in some places, and I am not a short woman. Very nice for taking photos without having to squat down low to the ground (a skill I am developing specifically for my flower photography.

Oh and the buckeye is finally flowering! This is a tree I eagerly anticipate blossoming because it smells so wonderful.

Fairy lanterns, I mean who doesn’t like something called a Fairy Lantern?

fairy lanterns

There are a couple of big bushes of this purple flower, which I believe is a type of honeysuckle, also fabulously fragrant.

honeysuckle purple

Finally, wild strawberries. Several varieties are blooming, this one was particularly photogenic.

open wild strawberry blossom

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Pacifica – Mori Point

I took a nice early walk by the Pacific ocean this morning, something I don’t do often enough. This place is 15 minutes from my apartment, so I really should visit the ocean more often. You have to get there really early to beat the crowds, and it is totally worth it. There’s something about the ocean early in the morning.

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Ladybugs

I went for a walk between Seal Point Park and Coyote Point today and found a surprising number of ladybugs.

Ladybug

They have an impressive ability to hang on to plants that are waving in the wind.

Ladybug_1

I learned something about my macro lens with these ladybugs, and that is that my photos using manual focus are much, much better than the autofocus photos. I’ve been a little wary to trust my extremely near-sighted eyes to be able to see when everything is in focus though the glass of my eyeglasses + the lens of my camera, but apparently that wariness is misplaced and my ability to see when I have the focus I want is just fine. I’m sure this will improve my macro photos in the future.

Ladybug_2

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Greens

Today’s photos are a selection of the best shots I took on my recent trip to Santa Cruz that feature the color green.

succulent swirl

Green is soothing on the eyes. I lived in Phoenix Arizona for a couple years and I remember how it felt when I would travel somewhere with lots of green growing, as if my eyes were refreshed and relaxed by the sight

shiny green berries

Springtime and everything is saturated with the color of growing.

shallow dof

Playing with a shallow depth of field is fun. I like the way the shadows look in the previous photo.

maple light and shadow

The detail on these maple leaves with the sun shining through them is so intricate.

Motion Path Green

This plant at the UCSC arboretum looks like it has been frozen moving through space and time.

succulent tower

 

A tower of succulent greenness.

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UC Santa Cruz Arboretum

What a great time to visit the UCSC Arboretum. There are many flowers blooming, bees buzzing, hummingbirds humming, and lizards sunning themselves on rocks.

My favorite of the day had to be the incredibly fragrant Australian tree that smelled like spicy cardamom vanilla creme brulee. Oh, I wanted to bottle up that scent and take it with me. Behold the best smelling flower on earth, Kunzea ambigua:

kunzea ambigua

Many of the flowers looked like alien underwater hairbrushes to me. That’s the technical term for this type of flower structure, by the way:

Others look like fuzzy snails.

snail flowers

The foliage on one of the trees looked almost metallic. I looks like I did some funny photo-editing to this next picture, but you’ll have to take my word for it that there is a flowering tree that appears to be made of silver. Bees seemed to love it.

bee feast

I could have spent all day here. It was just so calm and relaxing and full of lovely sights and sounds. It would be a great place to take a book to read or s sketchbook. Or, of course, your camera!

blossoming now in progress

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Roses & Ranunculus

I just got back from a long weekend visiting a friend in Santa Cruz, making art, and of course taking lots of pictures of (mostly) flowers. I will share multiple posts this week showcasing said flowers (mostly).

Today’s photos are┬álovely rose and ranunculus buds and blossoms. These were taken with my new Canon Macro Lens EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS. I’m still really excited about the lens, especially for flowers.