Tag Archives: Fujifilm x100

Chasing Rainbows (and Storm Clouds)

The beautiful double rainbow late Saturday afternoon had faded, but I did see this on my way home.

Rainbow over Bass Rocks

The sky was so gorgeous I next stopped at Smith’s Cove to catch the end of the setting sun. The hues quickly changed from vivid yellow-orange to orange-violet-pink.

Smith’s Cove East Gloucester

Click photos to view larger-more dramatic looking!

Cherry Blossom Time

Native to Japan, the Yoshino cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) is cultivated extensively and is also found growing wild on plains and mountains countrywide. For more than ten centuries, and continuing with no less enthusiasm today, cherry blossom time has been cause for joyful celebration that is deeply integrated in the Japanese culture.

When cherry blossoms begin to fall heavily, the flurry of blossoms is called “cherry snowstorm.” The following is a traditional Japanese song that has been passed down for generations.

Sakura

Cherry blossoms, cherry blossoms

As far as you can see.

Across yayoi skies

Is it mist? Is it clouds?

Ah, the fragrance!

Let us go, Let us go and see!

To see a cherry blossom snowstorm:

In the Japanese language the cherry is called “sakura,” which is generally believed to be a corruption of the word “sukuya” (blooming). Poets and artists strive to express the loveliness of its flowers in words and artistry. Called the flower of flowers, when the Japanese use the word “hane” (flower) it has come to mean sakura, and no other flower. Since the Heian period “hanami” has referred to cherry blossom viewing; the term was used to describe cherry blossom parties in the Tale of Gengi. Aristocrats wrote poetry and sang songs under the flowering trees for celebratory flower viewing parties. The custom soon spread to the samurai society and by the Edo period, hanami was celebrated by all people.

From ancient times, during early spring planting rituals, falling blossoms symbolized a bounteous crop of rice. Beginning with the Heian period (794–1185), when the imperial courtiers of Kyoto held power, the preference for graceful beauty and the appreciation of cherry blossoms for beauty’s sake began to evolve. The way in which cherry petals fall at the height of their beauty, before they have withered and become unsightly, and the transience of their brief period of blooming, assumed symbolism in Buddhism and the samurai warrior code.

The delicacy and transience of the cherry blossom have poignant and poetic appeal, providing themes for songs and poems since the earliest times. The motif of the five petal cherry blossoms is used extensively for decorative arts designs, including kimonos, works in enamel, pottery, and lacquer ware. Cherry tree wood is valued for its tight grain and is a lustrous reddish brown when polished. The wood is used to make furniture, trays, seals, checkerboards, and woodblocks for producing color wood block prints.

In modern times the advent of the cherry blossom season not only heralds the coming of spring, but is also the beginning of the new school year and the new fiscal year for businesses. Today families and friends gather under the blooms and celebrate with picnicking, drinking, and singing. The fleeting beauty of the blossoms, scattering just a few days after flowering, is a reminder to take time to appreciate life. In the evening when the sun goes down, viewing the pale-colored cherry blossoms silhouetted against the night sky is considered an added pleasure of the season.

The tradition of celebrating cherry blossom season began in the United States when, on Valentine’s Day in 1912, Tokyo mayor Yukio Okaki gave the city of Washington, D.C., 3,000 of twelve different varieties of cherry trees as an act of friendship. First Lady Helen Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador, Viscountess Chinda, planted the initial two of these first cherry trees in Potomac Park. Today cherry blossom festivals are celebrated annually not only in Wash- ington, D.C., but in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Seattle, and Macon, Georgia.

It is said that the true lover of cherry blossoms considers the season is at its height when the buds are little more than half open—for when the blossoms are fully opened there is already the intimation of their decline.

Vintage Stroller

My neighbor’s stroller–so sweet–even more charming when she is strolling the neighborhood with her children. I love the vintage-look; she says it is at least thirty-plus years.

Fujifilm x100 Bracketed for Film Simulation

Quechee Gorge, Vermont, photographed two days before Hurricane Irene

Fujifilm x100 Provia

Fujifilm x100 Velvia

Fujifilm x100 Black and White Film Simulation

The snapshots were taken from the overlook at the Trap Door Bakery and Cafe, two days before Hurricane Irene reached New England, on August 27, 2011.

Same view: You Tube video from eringray37 shot on August 28, 2011.

Cape Ann TV video tour of our garden

Quickly posting as I am under several deadlines and determined to get all fully underway. I believe I mentioned that this past week, Lisa Smith and her Cape Ann TV After-the Beach Teen Video Club stopped by for a tour of my garden. Here’s a short clip, with a wonderful surprise visit by the friendly Question Mark butterfly, who very conveniently, stole the show.

The teens and Lisa did a great job and all very much enjoyed the beautiful creatures that flew in and out of our story. It is not easy to focus on tiny subjects using a heavy camera attached to a tripod. The full video of the garden tour and interview will air in the near future and we will keep you posted.

Northward Migrating Monarch Butterflies Arrive to Good Harbor Beach and to Our Garden!

While snapping a photo of the divinely scented honeysuckle embowering the outside shower…
Honeysuckle embowered shower enclosure Lonicera japonica 'Purpurea'

I spotted our first female Monarch butterfly of the season.

Monarch Butterfly Marsh MilkweedShe’s arrived a bit earlier than usual this year, or more accurately, the milkweeds in our garden are slightly behind in blossoming time-Marsh Milkweed won’t bloom for another half-week and Common Milkweed won’t flower for another two weeks (both milkweed patches are growing nearby the shower enclosure). However, she did not have nectaring in mind.

Monarch Butterfly Marsh MilkweedPausing at the emerging buds and foliage of the Marsh Milkweed, then to the Common Milkweed, then back to Marsh, and curling her abdomen to the underside, one by one she oviposited golden egg after golden egg.

Monarch Butterfly depositing egg on Marsh Milkweed

Monarch Butterfly depositing egg on Marsh Milkweed

Typically, she searches for the uppermost, freshly emerging foliage in which to deposit her eggs. Click the above photo to make it larger. The newly deposited egg, no larger than the size of a pinhead, is a visible pale yellow dot adjacent to her abdomen.

Monarch Butterfly Marsh MilkweedAfter ovipositing an egg on the Marsh Milkweed, she next deposited several on the Common.

Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca Monarch Butterfly Eggs

Click the above photo. Five eggs are visible, two on the upper leaf of the plant to the left and three on the upper leaf of the plant to the right.

I never tire of watching butterflies, especially Monarchs, whether in our garden or further afield, and eagerly anticipate their arrival each year. Monarchs are particularly gratifying to observe and record because they are one of the larger butterflies that grace our region. Oftentimes when I am photographing a smaller butterfly such as a Summer Azure, with a mere one-inch wingspan, I don’t know what I have captured through the camera’s lens until returning to the computer to download and edit. Monarchs, with their big and bold wing patterning and approachableness (is that a word?) are a joy to photograph. Because of their extraordinary migration, I believe the Monarch butterflies are one of the natural wonders of the world. We are so blessed to live in a community that plays host to such great numbers. PLANT MILKWEED and you, too, will have Monarchs! I guarentee it!

ommon Milkweed Asclepias syriaca Good Harbor Beach GloucesterCommon Milkweed in full bloom at Good Harbor Beach this week.

ommon Milkweed Asclepias syriaca Good Harbor Beach Gloucester

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) found along the shoreline grows in sandy soil and is exposed daily to windy seaside conditions. In these rough and tumble conditions it typically grows two- to two and a half -feet tall. Conversely, where in our garden it grows in fertile, friable soil and lives in a sheltered corner protected from wind, Common Milkweed often grows six to seven feet tall.

Walking along the boardwalk I often catch the sweet honey-hay fragrance of the Common Milkweed when in full bloom. Marsh Milkweed has little to no fragrance. Several Monarchs were seen while photographing this patch of milkweed.

ommon Milkweed Asclepias syriaca Good Harbor Beach Gloucester

Torch Lily (Kniphofia uvaria)Blooming along the pathway leading to the outdoor shower is the magnificent hummingbird attractant Torch Lily (Kniphofia uvaria) and bee magnet Helenium, commonly called Sneezeweed or Dog Tooth Daisy.

Helenium Sneezeweed Dog Tooth Daisy Mexican marigolds Tagetes tenuifolia

The foliage of the diminutive Mexican marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia), commonly referred to by the Mexican people as “flowers of the dead,” bears a fabulous spicy citrus fragrance. Flowers and foliage are edible and add both a tangy color and taste. I grow it in a pot, keeping it sometimes near the shower and sometimes moving it to the dining area.

The female Monarch stayed the morning and I have not seen her since. Lucky us, though. I found fifteen eggs, without really trying too hard, and will now have lots of caterpillars and chyrsalids for upcoming butterfly programs!

End Note regarding Japanese honeysuckle: The variety discussed here is a purple-stemmed variant and I have seen it written as Lonicera japonica var. repens and Lonicera japonica ‘Purpurea.’ In our zone 6 garden, I have found it to be well-behaved, neither bearing fruit nor sending runners. I do not recommend planting in zones 7 and above.  Lonicera ‘Purpurea is highly attractive to all manner of bees. As richly scented as the species, the blossoming time of L. ‘Purpurea’ lasts well over six weeks, equating weeks of showering while enwrapped in the spellbinding sweet scent of honeysuckle.

Lonicera japonica var. repens or Lonicera japonica 'Purpurea'Lonicera japonica var. repens or Lonicera japonica ‘Purpurea’

Night Street Photography with Fujifilm x100 Fiesta Gloucester

Night street photography with Fujifilm x100, St. Peter’s Fiesta, Gloucester, Massachusetts.

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011 Fujifilm x100

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011 Fujifilm x100

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011 Fujifilm x100

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011 Fujifilm x100

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011 Fujifilm x100 panorama

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011 Fujifilm x100

St. Peter's Fiesta Gloucester Massachusetts 2011 Fujifilm x100