around the yard

Hummingbird Portrait

August 2020 was the month of the hummingbird in our garden- they rule the back yard. When we are outside we are constantly “buzzed” as they make sure we know we are in their territory. We’ve had many more than ever before- is it the hot, dry weather? the fires elsewhere? Whatever the reasons, we have enjoyed having so many!  Our local bird expert writes that some will start leaving soon (as they always do in September), but we imagine that we will continue to have a few that will stay around through the fall.


Hiding in Plain Sight

We have been enjoying watching the bunnies that have taken up residence in our yard. We often see them in the early evening scampering in the front yard- and then freezing in place as they realize we are outside.

There is actually a second bunny hiding in the shadows in the flowers behind the first one.


Hey, Good-lookin’ !

We are home a lot these days (no surprise. . .) and have plenty of time to watch the hummingbird drama unfold in our yard! This handsome little guy is one of a group of newcomers to our yard and has the others on their toes, so to speak, as he chases them away from the feeder. I have yet to capture a good photo of him hovering, so here he is just after landing on the feeder.


BUZZZZZ

We have a large Russian Sage plant at the end of our driveway- and every summer, this means BEES!


Mother’s Day

H A P P Y    M O T H E R ‘ S   D A Y !

Wishing a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and grandmas out there- and to those of you who have had moms and grandmas (that’s all of us!)!  I’m grateful for my wonderful mother and for the two grandmas who both lived with us- I was so lucky!

I took this photo in our yard last night and edited it with one of my own textures this morning. I’m looking forward to a barbecued hamburger for dinner tonight! Have a great day everyone!


Snow Memory

It snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed . . . . .

and now it’s all gone.


Ice, Ice, Baby!

One of the best things about snow is ICICLES!


And on the fourth day . . .

We could barely make a dent in the snow covering our driveway, our street wasn’t plowed, and we began to think about how we would be able to get out in case of a medical emergency (not that we had any). On Saturday, Lonnie found a guy through our local Facebook page, and we had our driveway plowed in no time (finding a place to dump all the snow was a little tricky!). We discovered that our street at the BOTTOM of the hill was plowed, but even our snow plow hero had a hard time getting his truck up to our house.

By Sunday, the snow on the road started to melt, and we were able to finally get out. Everywhere you go, people are asking each other how they got out and when. I have one friend who finally got out Monday and another who still hasn’t been able to make it out as far as I know. Prescott is used to snow, but usually measured in inches, not feet. Our house is in an area of town where the snowfall is lighter than downtown- some neighborhoods got almost three feet in this storm!

My photo group meets today, and, due to the snow, we are just bringing digital images (no prints- yay!). All our images are to be SNOW related- and there will be SNACKS!

 


Change of Season

Although the flower season is always comparatively late here (“Don’t plant until after Mother’s Day!), blossoms have started to appear on the trees- always a welcome sign of Spring. Our plum tree has just a few- just enough show us that Spring is on its way.


Heavenly

My tiny, never ever getting bigger, heavenly bamboo is dressed in its winter colors! I had to crawl under apple tree branches to get this shot, btw.


Neighborhood Super Moon

Love the super moons! Someday I need to leave my driveway and try another vantage point. Might be about time.


Blossom Beauty

More apple blossoms!


Experimenting

On Christmas Day, while the menfolk were absorbed with football, I went outside a couple times to take photos. The snow was deep-ish and the temperature was cold, so I never stayed out long.  Since I so often take photos of the same scenes around my front yard, I quickly got the urge to experiment with alternative photography methods . The two photos below are both in-camera multiple exposures of a tree and snow. The snow added a texture to the photos- no photoshop involved.  Fun to do- although the lack of control is challenging.

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A White Christmas Dream Come True

We were dreaming of white Arizona Christmas as we checked the weather apps each day. As the weekend approached, the forecasts kept showing a snowflake for most of Christmas Eve day- and they were right. It rained in the late morning, quickly turning to sleet and then snow- heavy snow that lasted all afternoon. We ended up with about six or seven inches at our house, and it is still here. Beautiful!

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I posted this photo on Facebook- and then noticed the fire hydrant in the foreground, which I have since removed (fire hydrants and garbage cans are what cloning brushes are for!).  After I took this shot, I walked toward the tree- and fell against the curb, cracking my lens hood and banging my arm and knee. Happy to report that the only damage seems to have been to the lens hood (which is a replacement for the one I cracked in Montana. . .)- the camera and photographer are just fine!


In Bloom

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I looked through my recent photos and decided to break with tradition and go with pink instead of green for today. I took these shots of the blossoms on our plum tree before we left for Palm Springs.  I guess this was a smart move, because, now that we are back, the blossoms are all gone.

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Mini

This tiny apple had escaped my notice until the other day when I was outside looking for something to photograph. The icy wind from Sunday night’s storm had stripped the apple tree of leaves, so that all that remains is this little apple, a storm survivor.

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Company Came!

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Yesterday we woke up to a couple inches of snow on the ground- which quickly became 4 or 5 inches at least, as it snowed steadily all day.  It is super cold, as it was during and after our last snowstorm, so snow is still on the ground- unlike in our first two winters here, when it all melted away by noon. We are experiencing a real winter in the Arizona high country!

Around noon, my husband spotted this hawk sitting quietly on one of the birdhouses. It was snowing lightly at the time, and the wind was blowing.  I’m not sure if he was just resting or was waiting for the birds that frequent the bird feeders in this part of the yard. I posted a shot of him on Facebook, and it was suggested he was either a Copper’s hawk or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. I didn’t enter the debate (I have no confidence in this area), but I did read that even experienced birders have trouble telling them apart.

For the above image, I cloned out all the distracting branches and the rocks on the hill in the background, and then added a texture at low opacity to make the background less stark. Below is a more natural photo- with the branches and background clutter.  Both photos were taken through a bedroom window, and he was definitely aware of my presence!

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Snowbound

It has been a week and a half since our snowstorms- and I find myself marveling every day at the slowly disappearing expanses of snow that remain in my yard, not to mention around town.  I took my Velvet 56 outside to capture a few bits of weeds and leaves peeking up here and there through the snow.

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Red and Orange

More from the Velvet 56!

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Red and Green

I practiced with the Velvet 56 on our ground cover out back.  I like the glow produced at wide apertures!

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Home Grown Abstract

It was sooo cold when I went out front to shoot these curly tendrils on my spiky plant (someday I’ll find out what its called…) with my macro lens.  Although I’ve photographed them before, my attention was caught by the combination of curves and lines hit by the morning light.  The colors you see in the background were present in my photograph and accentuated by the Color Burst preset in Topaz Texture Effects, turning it into a little bit of art for a Wednesday morning.20151211-MMA_6849_melinda_anderson-Edit


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Snowy Weeds

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Autumn is Ending

Just as the fall leaves were changing color, they were blanketed by this year’s early snows. It seems winter is coming early this year.

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White Stuff

We had an early snow yesterday! After a blustery day of snow and rain, with nothing sticking, we finally got pretty white flakes for a few hours late yesterday afternoon and evening.

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Knowing that we were due for a day of sunshine, I bundled up and went out this morning so I could capture a few shots of the early morning sun hitting the inch or so of snow we got yesterday- and melting it away.

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