4/29/2007

Apple Blossoms at Sunset

(Toledo, OH) My neighbor's apple tree seemed to be glowing as the rays from the setting sun streaked through the pale white blossoms that exploded open over the past few days.

I might not get a chance to photograph it this year, but there is a stretch of Schoenherr Road somewhere near 14 Mile Road north of Detroit in which the thoroughfare becomes a tunnel of pink due to the crabapple trees that line the road.

The first time I drove through that blazing sea of color I thought of Vincent van Gogh, for whom color was of primary importance in capturing mood.

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Hyacinthus orientalis

Hyacinthus orientalisLeft: Hyacinthus orientalus; click for larger image

(Toledo, OH) One of the many joys of springtime is the emergence of flowers long since dormant. Among my favorite flowers are hyacinths, which are named after the Greek deity Hyacinth.

The hyacinth flower is associated with rebirth in a number of mythological traditions, and their reappearance each spring is certainly in keeping with this metaphor.

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4/28/2007

Thunderstorm at Sunset

(Toledo, OH) I was surprised to hear thunder rumbling in the west after a beautiful spring day. I have always wanted to capture lightning during a storm, so I set up the tripod in my backyard and dodged the early raindrops.

Alas, the lightning kept striking in between pictures, although I like the midnight blue and violet hues in this shot.

I find relaxing the sound of thunder, especially a lazy passing storm without much energy. I sat on the grass for a minute in the still air before the storm arrived, listening to the rolling, growling waves of thunder cross the horizon. For a moment I was completely at peace, no sounds nearby but those made by the sky.

4/26/2007

More Tulips Blooming

(Toledo, OH) I photographed these red and yellow tulips during a lull in the thunderstorms that are passing through Northwest Ohio this evening.

I then used a new photo editing program I downloaded called The Gimp 2.2, which has tons of features and - best of all - is available free. I have a lot to learn about this software, but I am told that The Gimp is the equal of PhotoShop.

I used several tools to compensate for the shadows and gloom that made a flashless picture look almost like it was taken at nighttime. The result was a picture with a sort of grainy impressionism happening; click for a larger image.

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4/22/2007

Boating on the Detroit River

(Wyandotte, MI) With weather in the upper 70s, this was a good day to go to the park. We drove upriver to attend a birthday party in Wyandotte's Bishop Park, which is on the Detroit River.

The water looked warm and inviting, but it is still quite cold after the long winter. Most boaters bundled up in jackets to stay warm while on the water.

For those along the shore there was a cool breeze that wafted in, dropping temperatures in the park ten degrees or so.

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4/21/2007

Blooming Hydrangea

(Toledo, OH) These light blue Hydrangea are partially shaded by my deck, but you can still see their soft hues in spite of the shadows.

These plants normally bloom later in the year, but we just transplanted this particular bush.

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4/19/2007

Yellow Tulips

(Toledo, OH) Despite several weeks worth of subzero temperatures and a few snowfalls since they sprouted, my tulips have begun to bloom. I had doubts that they would survive the late blast of cold weather, but the tulips persevered.

Still, I think I will wait a few weeks before I dare to plant some seeds. We may yet get another frost before spring is over here in Northwest Ohio.

4/17/2007

Sleeping Sheltie


(Toledo, OH) No, my dog Jimmy is not dead, but rather he is asleep on the lawn during one of the most pleasurable days yet this spring. This is the kind of weather that calls to us to enjoy the outdoors.

About 1:00 pm I reached my maximum limit of televised coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre and Cho Seung-Hui insanity - of which I of course felt compelled to produce several blog posts - and I shut off the television.

Walking around my backyard, picking up some dead branches from the winter, I got a sense of normalcy that evaded me in my addiction to the non-stop coverage of the tragedy in Blacksburg, VA. I hope that the families of the victims will also gain some peace soon.

Jimmy is still snoring away out back, oblivious to the chaos wrought be the deranged Cho Seung-Hui. Would that I too could tune out the violence that surrounds us.

Parrot Tulips

Parrot tulips; click for larger image

(Toledo, OH) The 70-degree temperatures in Northwest Ohio coaxed my Parrot tulips to finally open.

Now if the rest of my tulips will bloom, all will be right with this spring, a season that has witnessed at least four accumulations of snow since the official beginning of spring on March 21.

4/15/2007

First Tulips

(Toledo, OH) Despite the accumulation of snow overnight, which quickly melted this morning, a few of our smaller Parrot tulips began to bloom today.

I am less-than-hopeful for the rest of our tulips, but perhaps they will manage to bloom even with the ten-day freeze we just finished.

Tulips are among my favorite flowers, even with the short period that they grace us with their brilliant colors.

4/13/2007

Another Toledo Sunset

(Toledo, OH) Despite my cynical mood today, coming as it did as a result of some discouraging personal news, I couldn't help but be awed by the beauty of the sunset.

I am unable to come up with anything especially pithy and inspirational about this picture at the moment, so I'll just enjoy it for its own aesthetics.

4/11/2007

Incoming Airliner

(Romulus, MI) A Northwest Airlines jet roared over my head while visiting my grandparents on Easter Sunday.

Their house is so close to the airport that it almost seems as though you could jump and touch the jets as they pass overhead.

4/08/2007

Easter Dinner

Easter dinner featuring baked hamClick for larger image

The ham baked with a special glaze my daughter concocted, and the family gathered around for Easter dinner a short while ago.

In spite of the efforts by my more cantankerous children to be annoying to their siblings, everyone stuffed themselves on the feast.

Here's hoping your Easter was a joyful one, if you celebrate this holiday.

4/07/2007

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

I heard this red-bellied woodpecker, also known as Melanerpes carolinus, before I saw him. He was busy tapping out holes in one of my neighbor's trees.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find my zoom lens in time to get a better picture of him, and he flew away before I could get in position to snap a clearer picture of the bird as he perched about thirty feet in the air.

These birds have a reddish tinge on their bellies, from whence they get their name, in addition to the bright red head and nape feathers.

Frozen Tulips

(Toledo, OH) The cold snap that roared through the Midwest this past week did not bode well for my springtime flowers. These tulips, in particular, seem to be struggling to stay alive in temperatures that may drop below 20 degrees tonight.

And those white specks on the leaves of the tulips? That would be snow, which has been falling off and on for the last several days.

I will be disappointed if the annual burst of color from the tulips passes us by because of this late cold spell.

4/05/2007

American Robin

(Toledo, OH) The wave of Arctic air that swept over the Midwest this week did not deter this American robin from its search for food.

The picking, however, must be on the slim side, as many of the warm weather insects have yet to emerge from hibernation, and there are few seeds to be found, save in the feeders of bird watchers like me.

Still, this robin does not appear to be starving, and these birds quickly learn where to find year-round sources of food.

Broken Glass

(Toledo, OH) While walking my dog I came across this sheet of glass, lying broken on the side of the road.

It was trash day, and evidently the pane broke before the trash collectors arrived. I am sure they are not required to dispose of hazardous materials like broken glass without it being secured.

The owners of the house had already taken in their cans by the time I ambled along.

My head hurts, and I can't think of anything ironic or witty to say. I just stared at the glass, took a picture, and walked away.

More Croci

(Toledo, OH) These white-and-yellow croci bloomed last weekend in front of the house of one of my neighbors.

This, of course, was in the 70-degree weather we enjoyed before the current blast of Arctic air sent temperatures in to the high-20s overnight.

Today the flowers were curled up. I suspect their beauty will not be seen again until next spring.

4/02/2007

Lavender Crocus

(Toledo, OH) I wish I could take credit for these beautiful flowers, but they belong to one of my neighbors.

I spotted them while walking my dog yesterday, their soft petals glistened in the morning dew.

The crcoci in my neighborhood are short-lived, and we will only see them for a few more days.