4/30/2008

Older Couple on a Park Bench

(Wyandotte, MI) The springtime sun last weekend brought out quite a few folks who probably have spent most of the past few months cooped up in their houses. This older couple took a break from their walk to sit back and watch the boats on the Detroit River.

What I found interesting was the fact that they seemed to communicate without speaking, undoubtedly a habit developed in a lengthy relationship.

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4/29/2008

Male Cardinal, Evening Sun

(Toledo, OH) I heard this male cardinal long before I spotted him some sixty fet in the air, his loud chirps cuting through the late April dusk as though he had a microphone.

I did not have time to grab a zoom lens to bring him into clearer focus, but the brilliant red hues of this bird are natural.

Dog in Yard Signs

(Toledo, OH) As a person who owns three dogs and fosters up to two additional pooches at a time, I was intrigued to learn about the high-quality beware of dog signs offered by DogInYard.com.

This blog was selected to receive a free sign because of my previously-blogged interest in matters related to canines, and I was pleased with the quick delivery of the decorative green sign. The company provides brass mounting screws, and they have a unique way of doing business that they describe as a "Good Karma" policy: they quickly ship you the sign first, and then ask you to send along your check in a timely fashion.

Kind of rare in this day and age, but it was a pleasure working with DogInYard.com, and I encourage all dog owners to check out the chocolate brown, grass green, and cobalt blue designs available.

The Freighter Edward L. Ryerson

(Wyandotte, MI) Pictured on your left is the Edward L. Ryerson, a 730-foot straight-deck bulk carrier that usually carries taconite pellets from Minnesota and Wisconsin to steel mills along Lake Erie. The graceful boat took the eastern route around Grosse Ile, so I did not get a closeup view of this magnificent freighter.

The vessel was about a half-mile out in the water, and I could barely hear the noise of its engines standing as I was in the cacophony of Bishop Park.

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4/28/2008

On Fishing and Pointless Laws

(Wyandotte, MI) I could see no reason why local authorities prohibited fishing on certain parts of this Detroit River pier, while allowing fishing aficionados to cast their lines in "designated" areas. The anarchist/libertarian that lurks in me, therefore, saw no problem with any anglers who might have crossed over the government's arbitrary line of demarcation to snag a few perch or bass from the river.

And I would be highly agitated at any state or local official who tried to cite me for a violation of the fishing boundaries, especially if said individual waltzed up with shiny new shoes and a heavy dose of mineral makeup.

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Older Couple on a Pier

(Wyandotte, MI) There is something timeless and endearing about seeing an older couple walking together. I can only hope that my wife and I will be like this unidentified couple when we get older, as they seemed peaceful and happy as they spent some time near the Detroit River yesterday.

Of course, I am not ashamed to say that we still hold hands everywhere we go, so I think we are on the right track for this goal, provided that I do not suffer an age-related loss of memory or something equally tragic.

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4/25/2008

Orange Tulips, Bright Light

(Toledo, OH) The midafternoon sun is supposed to be the worst time to photograph objects with intense colors, as the angle of sunlight tends to wash out subtle hues with the brighter light frequencies, kind of like a fluorescent light buld on a piece of medical jewelry.

Yet my orannge-and-yellow tulips stood up well to the sun's efforts to mute their beauty, and I expect that they will be especially brilliant if we get some evening sun today.

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4/24/2008

Red-Winged Blackbird

(Erie, MI) I rarely encounter red-winged blackbirds in the city, but they seem to be quite common when I am driving in a more rural setting. Otherwise known as Agelaius phoeniceus, these birds are more fond of marshy areas and open prairie than they are of congested urban environments.

I think that I have been seeing more of these birds of late due to their migratory nature, as red-winged blackbirds are not fans of cold Midwestern winters.

4/21/2008

Tulipa humilis

(Toledo, OH) In my previous post I referenced the blooming tulips of one of my neighbors, and after looking out in the yard, it appears that we have our own tulip bonanza a-happening. Pictured are several red tulips of the species Tulipa humilis that are bringing color into a yard that until recently featured most prominently a variety of hues of brown.

These are much more aesthetically pleasing in a yard than, say, a trampoline or one of those plastic jungle-gym setups.

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Tulip Arrival

(Toledo, OH) I have but a few small parrot tulips that have opened thus far, but one of my neighbors with more access to direct sun has some stunning lavender tulips that seem to stretch to the sky.

Most of my own tulips are a few more days away from blooming, especially the plants that are in shadier areas. I look forward to the annual bursts of color that tulips provide in my yard. I only wish I had the money to plant one of those massive tulip beds that explode with a one-week panorama of red, yellow, or orange hues.

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4/20/2008

Squirrel Feeding

(Toledo, OH) I recently learned the art of squirrel feeding from my next-door neighbor, an eighty-something man who is a veritable font of practical knowledge. Some of the squirrels near my home, like this seasonally-emaciated Eastern gray squirrel, will now walk right up to me and take a peanut from my hand.

This squirrel typically takes the proffered nut and moves about ten feet away from me to eat it, keeping an eye on me as it sits on its haunches and opens the shells.

If I were a squirrel, I would probably do the same.

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4/18/2008

Creepy Moon

(Toledo, OH) Despite the fact that this was a warm and sunny day, the cloud-drenched full moon tonight seemed a little unsettling. Perhaps this is a function of watching too many horror films, but I find the cloud creeping through the clouds to be a shackle-raising experience.

Werewolves and vampires always seem to be skulking around under such moons - beware!

4/17/2008

Fox Squirrel at Rest

(Toledo, OH) The squirrels in my neighborhood took advantage of the 70-degree Fahrenheit temperatures to raid my bird feeders and gnaw on the emerging green plants beginning to bring color to the area.

This particular squirrel, though, sat high in my red maple tree this evening and soaked up the last warm rays of the setting sun. It was interesting to watch the rodent relaxing, as they spend most of their waking hours in pursuit of food and in the act of fortifying nests.

Perhaps I should spend more time imitating squirrels, and less time searching for good deals on online auto insurance.

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4/14/2008

Waxing Gibbous Moon, Maple Buds

(Toledo, OH) The late evening sun shone from the west on these maple leaf buds, and I liked the way that they contrasted with the bright blue background. I can't think of an appropriate metaphor for the moon, at least beyond the seasonal flowering of life and the moon approaching its fullest expression.

Sometimes it's just better to enjoy the moment.

Of course, given the fact that I have twenty pounds to lose, I would be better served by spending some time on the treadmill, but that is a different story altogether.

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4/13/2008

Freeway, Blurry, Night

(Toledo, OH) A 20-second shutter speed is needed to gain such a view of the passing nighttime vehicles , unless one wants to delve into the realm of hallucinogens, whose use I do not advocate. Yet a trick of the camera like this can remind us of the endless traffic loops upon which we find ourselves, as well as the pointlessness of zipping here and there, with life no more than a stone's throw away from the sterility of the freeway.

4/12/2008

Let There Be Life

(Toledo, OH) The warm temperatures and passing rains must have signalled to my perennial plants that this is the time to awaken from the period of winter dormancy. Pictured are a variety of iris and tulip varieties that sprouted this week in the conducive weather.

"Hope springs eternal" is the old maxim, and I think "spring" has a dual purpose, as my cynicism tends to wane inversely with the arrival of greenery.

Spring Sunset

(Toledo, OH) The brief display of aerial color put a punctuation mark on a day of weather than saw temperatures make a 30-degree swing, interspersed with passing showers and thunderstorms.

I never tire of staring at a colorful sunset.

This has always been much preferable to me than such mundane details as picking out baby shower invitations or settling on the color scheme for curtains and carpets.

4/10/2008

Storm a-Coming

(Toledo, OH) Rolling into Northwest Ohio as I write is a lengthy band of storms from the southwest, a storm system featuring severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. There is an interesting collision of warmer air and colder air that will send temperatures into the high 70s on Friday, and then see them plunge into the 40s on Saturday.

In my area there are some rather strong breezes already, and the rain is intermittent. The most extreme weather will not arive until tomorrow, but in this enhanced image (increased contrast, decreased color), the trees seem to be bending under the weight of the impending storms.

Or so says my imagination; another person viewing the image might just see a few dreary-looking bare trees and some clouds, while yet another might see something happier, like baby gifts.

4/07/2008

Orange Sunrise

(Toledo, OH) I used a UV filter on this image to catch the lazy orange sun as it crossed the horizon this morning, but I did not use any image editing beyond cropping.

I was at first annoyed to see the tangerine-colored halo around the sun, but in retrospect, it seems to belong to the image, like hoodia to a Twinkie-loving fat guy.

Anyways, after putting down the Twinkies, I sat and basked in the early morning rays.

4/03/2008

Bellwethers of Spring

(Toledo, OH) I typically reserve my acceptance that spring has finally arrived until I start seeing crocuses, and these white crocus blossoms started popping up in one of my neighbors' gardens this week.

My wife wants to plant crocus bulbs in the lawn to create a burst of color to herald each spring, but I am reluctant to break free from the well delineated garden-versus-lawn dichotomy with which my brain has been conditioned to accept as "normal."

Perhaps I can retrain my thinking.

4/01/2008

Painted Barn of Spartan Fan

(Erie, MI) Though I have lived my life almost exclusively in larger cities, I must admit that there are many aspects of life in a rural setting that appeal to me. I especially like the idea that your piece of land is yours to maintain in the way that you prefer.

Those who own a barn in the country can paint it any way they would like, as did this Michigan State Spartan fan. There are no quota-filling building authorities to meddle in your affairs, no suburban homeowners' associations, and your neighbors are too far away to care much about your property.

Heck, as long as you are not storing dead bodies or behaving in some patently outrageous fashion, you can even let your old barn slowly rot into the ground. I find particularly intriguing those ancient barns that seem to be standing on the strengths of a few remaining beams, those withered old structures that are home to a variety of creatures and feral cats.

Much more than I do, for example, with land for sale Branson.

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