It was a very changeable day today, raining, then sunny, then cloudy. There was a red-tailed hawk circling over the field next to my office but by the time I got outside it was gone. So, you’ll have to be satisfied with a cloud picture, instead. They were moving fast and changing by the minute.
Tagged With: Sky
I know that this isn’t a particularly good picture but I’ve never actually caught lighting before and although it’s partially off the side of the frame, I’m still pretty stoked that I was able to get even this. It was a pretty but fairly hot and humid day and this storm came crashing in at about 4:00 PM. Totally awesome. Anyway, it’s my picture for the day. I’ll be posting a few more pictures from today in another gallery and I’ll add a link here when that’s done.
Every time it rains and is sunny, Dorothy goes out looking for the rainbow. Usually it’s either not sunny enough or not raining hard enough for a rainbow but this time she came back in saying it was there and it was awesome. It was a pretty nice rainbow, I have to admit.
A tiny sliver of a moon was setting shortly after dusk this evening. I had to move around so I could get it without power lines or street lights and I think this turned out pretty well.
Happy 235, U.S.A.
Days mixed with sorrow and joy are all too common, it seems. We did end the day with a bang, however, enjoying the fireworks from the 355 bridge over the railroad tracks in Gaithersburg with Rick, Melissa, Katie, and Maggie. A good view and a short half block walk from their house. Happy birthday to the good, old U.S. of A.
The Dawn Comes Up Like Thunder
Sleeping in is one of the nice things about being on vacation. That being said, getting up at 6:30 has its advantages, as well. It isn’t exactly the road to Mandalay (and there were no flying fishes, as far as I know) but even in North Carolina, the dawn sometimes comes up like thunder.
Another sunrise at the beach. Every day is different but different in a beautiful way.
When I got home from work this evening I took some pictures of flowers in the yard. Then, just before 8:00, as the sun was getting ready to set, I went out with Cathy and we enjoyed watching the clouds rushing across the darkening sky. They were moving quite fast and mostly were just dark. Actually, what I first got my camera for was to take pictures of the light in the tree tops. The trees were in shadow, except for the tops which were lit with bright orange. Occasionally a piece of cloud would also light up, and that’s what I have picked for you today.
I love clouds. There are days when I could just lie on the grass and watch them for hours. Actually, I’d almost always much rather do that than sit in my office and work. But then, I understand if you stop coming to the office they stop paying you. That’s an incentive. But watching clouds is so nice. This afternoon I found a spot with a good, uninterrupted view of the sky and took this picture, along with about ten more, of the clouds. This one was taken with my 10-20mm zoom pulled in to 20mm. I took some wider shots but frankly, with clouds its hard to tell which are which.
I hadn’t taken any pictures during the day today but as the evening progressed I had a feeling we might get a nice sunset. The clouds were nice and the conditions seemed right. At about 6:45 I took some pictures of the clouds but of course at that point there wasn’t really any color in them. They were just pretty clouds against a blue sky. Sunset was at 7:06 and as that approached, the light that had been on the clouds went away and the turned from white to grey. There was a little color in the eastern sky, so I went around to the front of the house and got a few pictures of that, but it wasn’t all that spectacular. Coming back to the backyard, though, the western sky had finally turned. This was taken at 7:13 PM, seven minutes or so after official sunset.
We decided to have our Thanksgiving on Friday this year and that meant that today we had nothing specific to do. I thought we might go to Tridelphia Reservoir and Brighton Dam Recreation Park but when we got there, the parking lot was blocked off and the reservoir was mostly drained. I assume they are doing some sort of maintenance work on the dam. Anyway, there was nothing for it but to go somewhere else. I decided to drive to the Monocacy Aqueduct where the Monocacy River goes under the C&O Canal and then meets the Potomac River. It was an absolutely beautiful day and there were very few people about, so we had a really nice time.
On Tuesday of last week I took a picture of a sunset, which I posted here. That was taken in the parking lot of our local Safeway store after I came out from a brief shopping trip. This evening I stopped at Safeway to pick up a prescription and as I parked, I saw this to the west. Naturally I took a few moments to get some pictures before going inside. Most of the sky was clear, but with my 100mm lens, I could concentrate on the small amount of color just over the buildings.
The clouds to the west showed a lot of promise this evening and I was really hoping for a spectacular sunset. Unfortunately, the color never really developed. The timing of positioning of the clouds and what little color there was didn’t line up, either, so I had to make do with this picture, taken about 20 minutes before the color would have been best. This is looking south-west from out back door. It’s convenient to have a view like that on the days we do get color, but you can’t always get what you want.
I know, I know. Yet another sunset. Actually, they seem to be popular and we’ve been blessed with some nice, if somewhat understated sunsets lately. I had a very busy day at work and really didn’t lift my head from my computer until it was nearly time to go home. When I turned around there was just a little bit of pink in the sky. My office windows faces north, though, and this was taken after I went outside, looking to the south west, where there was considerably more color in the sky. The best color was due west but there are woods that direction and most of the view was obscured by the trees.
Sunset Through The Woods
The other day as I was leaving work there was a beautiful sunset but it was obscured by the woods along the edge of my office parking lot. I thought that if I hurried, I could get to the other side of the woods and get a good picture before it was gone. I was wrong. I wasn’t half way there before the color was all gone from the sky. So, when I saw some good color through the trees I didn’t bother trying to get around the trees. If I had, I’d have been disappointed again. Instead I just took a few pictures through the trees. It’s maybe a little less spectacular than if I had been on the other side, but it’s certainly better than no trees and no sunset colors. We take what we can get.
There was a potential for an amazing sunset this evening. As it turned out, it was pretty good but not necessarily spectacular. I sat on the back stoop and watched the clouds moving quickly out of the west. As the sun sank below the horizon, there were streaks of color and a little bit more lighting up the underside of the clouds but not as much as we might have had. Are you getting tired of sunsets? I hope not. I’ve certainly enjoyed seeing them.
Yet Another Sunset
Finding a good location to take sunset pictures is worth the trouble. You don’t always have time to get to them, of course, but if you see a sunset shaping up, it’s nice to know where to head. This evening we had been in Olney and were coming down Georgia Avenue. Ahead of us and to the right, where the sun was setting, there were no clouds. Behind us, however, to the northeast, where you don’t generally think of looking for sunset colors, there was a large bank of clouds that were beginning to show some nice color. I pulled into the ICC Commuter parking lot and we walked to the top of the hill separating it from the ICC (MD 200). This picture was taken looking almost directly away from the sun, from due north (on the left) to the east (on the right). This is a three photo panorama, taken with a 24mm lens.
I stopped at the ICC commuter parking lot on the way home this evening. The sunset wasn’t particularly spectacular today but it’s the picture I got. To slightly alter a photographic adage, the best sunset is the one you have with you. To the south and northwest there were a few small clouds and a little subtle color but I wasn’t able to capture it well enough to be worth posting. To the west, looking towards the setting sun, there was a pretty orange color in the sky. Not overwhelming, but pretty.
It was mostly clear today and fairly cool. As I was leaving work there was this one cloud to the east. As I stopped at a light, I grabbed my camera and got too pictures of it before the light changes and I had to watch where I was going. It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve had a hard time getting pictures every day. I’ve managed but some days is a chore. I really appreciate sunsets because I generally don’t have to go far for the picture, especially when I’m in my car (and when I have traffic lights to stop me). This image is a little soft because it was taken through the windscreen, but it’s really more about the colors than anything else.
We had a pretty spectacular sunset this evening and I enjoyed watching the bands of clouds turn a beautiful orange, against the darkening blue of the southwestern sky. It had been a pretty busy day, with folks moving into Cathy’s mom’s house and doing a very small bit more towards getting her things out of it. There is a lot more to do, of course. Nevertheless, a sunset like this helps me unwind and slow down. I stand on the back steps and just watch, occasionally lifting my camera to take yet another picture, as the colors grow more intense. Is a very healing activity and I’m thankful for beautiful sunsets (and sunrises) and the opportunities they provide.
Waxing Crescent Moon
The new moon was four days ago, on January 16. The synodic period (the amount of time between full moons, or new moons or whatever) is 29 days, 12 hours, and about 44 minutes. The sidereal orbit (the orbit around the earth without regard to the relative position of the sun) is a little more than two days shorter than that, of course. In the time it takes the moon to circle the earth, the earth has moved almost one twelfth of the way around the sun and it takes the moon that extra two-plus days to get back into the same position relative to the sun and the earth. During the first quarter of the cycle, the moon is a growing (waxing) crescent (less than half visible). The second quarter it is waxing gibbous (more than half visible).
It’s been wintry again, which is alright by me, especially seeing as how it’s winter. Our winters are relatively mild compared to some but colder than others, which is sort of what living in a temperate climate is all about, I guess. I pretty much stayed in my office today, with a brief walk across campus and back for a meeting. Other than that I was focused on the task at hand. I took a short break in the early afternoon to take a few pictures but didn’t leave my office to do it. This is the top of a fairly large elm tree on the side of our parking lot. There are two of them that have managed to hold out against Dutch Elm Disease and this is the smaller of the two. They’re likely to go at some point but I’ll enjoy them until that day comes.
The evening sky showed a lot of promise of a spectacular sunset. Starting at a little before 5:15 PM I waited and watched. Every now and then I’d take a picture of the clouds and the beautiful blue sky, anticipating how it would look when the clouds turned a bright orange as the sun dipped behind the horizon. This photo was taken about two minutes before official sunset but sunset colors are just after. This evening, however, most of the clouds were gone shortly after this photo was taken. What clouds were left went from white to pale gray without any color in between. It took about 3 seconds for the light to go out.
More Evening Clouds
The other day (see Sunday, February 18, 2018) I was waiting and hoping for a spectacular sunset that never materialized. This evening, as I came out of the grocery store, there were a few clouds in the west. They were only slightly colored and not particularly spectacular but I was pretty sure tonight’s sunset wasn’t going to amount to anything, either. I figured pictures taken then would be as good as I was going to get. I was right. Sorry about that. Maybe next time.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
A little over five weeks ago I posted a picture of a waxing crescent moon, seen through trees and taken from my mother-in-law’s house. Today’s post is a waxing gibbous moon, although seen through tree branches but this time taken from out front yard. I had been out taking pictures of Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite) and then noticed the moon. So, you’ll have to wait for another flower picture in favor of this one. The moon is nearing full and was quite lovely against the darkening blue of the sky and set off by the branches of a red oak tree (Quercus rubra) in our front yard.
When it comes to taking a picture every day, there are—as you’ve probably noticed—when I have a hard time finding something to photograph. I could easily skip those days and no one would really miss them. On the other hand, by forcing myself to take pictures every day, I get out more often than I would. If I could say to myself, “It doesn’t matter if you go out today. You can just skip today like you’ve skipped other days.” But when I haven’t skipped other days, that won’t work.
Days when there are events are easier because I generally know I’ll be able to take pictures of people. Tonight was such an event and consequently I didn’t bother taking pictures all day. Instead I worked in my basement, sorting old papers and things (mine this time). I was pretty sure there would be people I know that I could photograph in the evening. Then, after driving to Bethesda with Cathy and Margaret, and after they went inside, I parked the car and saw the sunset. I still took pictures inside but these are going to be enjoyed by more people than pictures of people that a lot of folks don’t know. Not that a lot of folks actually see them, but whatever.
Clouds at Dusk
Cathy and I went to work together today. Since she had an appointment during the day, she took the car, which meant she picked me up after work. The front of my building faces northeast, so the wrong way, generally, to get sunset pictures. Nevertheless, there was a little color in the clouds low in the sky, behind the trees along the edge of the parking lot. I have to say, I’m really happy about the woods next to my building. I don’t get out into them as often as I might but if there were another building with its inevitable parking lot, it would be a terribly boring place. As it is, this small piece of land has been sitting idle for about 25 years. There is a sign on the corner advertising the upcoming development. That’s been unchanged for at least 15 years. One day it will be bulldozed and paved, but for now, it’s a nice bit of parkland.
There were pretty clouds in the west this evening and I took some pictures of them even before it got close to time for the sun to set. Those pictures were my insurance, in case the sunset itself wasn’t anything worth photographing. As it turned out, it was worth photographing, though. The clouds turned their characteristic orange and were quite spectacular for a good fifteen minutes or so. As you might expect, I took quite a few pictures and that usually makes it hard to pick just one to post for the day. This is a representative sample.
The wind was really whipping the tree tops around this evening and I thought I’d try to get a picture that showed that movement, at least a little. It didn’t work out as well as I would have liked but the clouds behind the trees were pretty, so that helps make up for it. If you look at the top branches on the right you can see that they are blurred. That’s because of the movement. There were a few pictures that showed the movement better than this one but even on those it was a bit too subtle. And this one has prettier clouds, so there you are.
Lake Frank and Clouds
I stopped at the Avery Road parking lot above Lake Frank on the way home today. It was a beautiful, cool afternoon with—as you can see—billowy white clouds. This was taken with the sun at my back, looking northeast over the lake. I took a few the other direction, as well. This would be a good spot for sunset pictures, although it’s not somewhere you can just drive up to. It’s a few minutes walk down from the parking area. Still, if I am on my way home and there’s a good sunset coming on, it might be worth a try to get here in time. Of course, sunsets around the time I’m coming home are mostly a winter thing.
I went to my mom’s after work and while I was there we had a bit of a storm blow through. There was lightning (as close as about a half mile) and very heavy rain for about half an hour. I stuck around until the rain let up so I wouldn’t get soaked getting back to my car. Then, on the way home, the sun began to come out and I started looking for a rainbow. When I got to Norbeck, I saw it, so I pulled into the Safeway parking lot and took a picture or three. In some that I took with the 100mm lens you can see supernumerary bands inside the lower ark. I decided, though, that I’d post this one, showing two more or less complete arcs. By the way, none of this ROYGBIV nonsense. The proper mnemonic is VIBGYOR.
We spent much of the day working in Cathy’s mom’s house, mostly going through things in the store room in the basement. Where many people have attics that are used to keep things that are never touched but which they don’t want to throw away, this house has a large room in the basement with shelves on both sides. The near end, while somewhat claustrophobic, is at least accessible and the Christmas decorations, at least, are moved in and out annually. The rear half, however, is more of a mystery. There are trucks and barrels, some of which probably haven’t been opened since they were put there, as many as fifty years ago. It turns out that some of them were infiltrated by mice while others were not. Those that were are nearly or entirely a lost cause. Others, though, seem to have protected their contents which are still in virtually the same condition as when they were stored.
Rather than show you any of that, however, I’d decided to post this photo of a portion of the clouds that were forming as we drove home at about twenty to six.
A Fine Summer’s Day
I was across campus to have lunch with a few people today and then went for a short walk in the woods next to my office. I took some pictures of tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) leaves and then crossed the creek and went up to the more open part of the property. There were some areas that were still quite wet from the recent rains we’ve had. The ground around here is predominately heavy clay and water doesn’t percolate very quickly into it, particularly once it is waterlogged. This is a drainage catch basin and later in the summer it will likely be completely dry. For now, though, it’s a haven for birds and dragonflies and a small oasis in an otherwise built-up (although suburban) area.
Moon at Sunset
We spent more time at Cathu’s mom’s house today. David and Maggie are on their way home and Dorothy leave tomorrow to go back to Massachusetts but we were able to straighten up a few things and bring the items Dorothy wanted back to our house. It was warm and the house still has no air conditioning but the contractor is scheduled to come on Thursday to put in a new one. Shortly after we got home it started raining and there was a rainbow. I took a few pictures of that, although they didn’t turn out terribly well. Then a little later, as the sun set, there were some pretty clouds. They were losing their color by the time they got near enough to the moon for a picture, but a few made it before the color was entirely gone.
Sometimes you can see things lining up to make a nice sunset. Of course, even when things look right, it doesn’t happen, but this evening I could tell it was coming and it came. I took a few pictures of the clouds before there were any colors, just in case, but the colors came. The color extended pretty much over the entire sky from west to east. This photo was taken looking almost straight up with a 10mm lens (which on my APS-C-sensor camera is equivalent to a 16mm lens on a full frame sensor). The top of the tree showing at the top of the photo is behind me.
Ocean Isle Water Tower at Sunset
We were preparing to go to the Whites’ house, just a little way down the beach, when the sun was setting. There were a couple guys working on the top of the water tower near where we were staying and as the clouds were moving past, there were occasional flashes of lightning and distant thunder. None of is was closer than three or four miles but if it were me up there it would have made me a bit nervous. Anyway, I took some pictures of the water tower with the sunset color in the clouds behind it. It was pretty impressive. Of course, if I had gotten a picture of lightning striking the tower it would have been both amazing and tragic. Fortunately for those guys, it didn’t happen.
Today is Cathy and my 34th anniversary. We spent much of the day working on going through things in our garage and then at her mom’s house, getting more things out and into our slightly more organized garage. There’s more to go and this seems to be never ending but the day will come when we have finished and it’s all behind us. In the evening, though, we went out to Baronessa, a little Italian restaurant that we enjoy. There was a large group (I counted 29 people) celebrating a woman’s 90th birthday, but we were able to get a table and have a nice meal. As we left, the sun was setting in the west (where it usually sets). So, this is our Anniversary Sunset.
We met our good friends Krystal and Mike for dinner this evening at Villa Maya Restaurant. Cathy and I got there a few minutes early, which turned out to be really good, as it meant we didn’t have to wait long for a table. Before we went in, I took a moment to take a few pictures of the clouds to the south, which were building up to an impressive height. I really love clouds and especially those that are really moving, whether they are moving horizontally or growing taller, as these were doing. Dinner was wonderful. Well, the food was fine. The company was as good as it gets.
We had a really lovely sunset this evening. There were clouds at two different levels. The higher clouds were lit by the setting sun while the lower clouds were mostly grey. The lower clouds, however, were scattered and you could see the upper clouds through the gaps between them. Also, they lower clouds were moving very quickly, both in absolute terms and relative to the higher clouds. It was quite beautiful and changed from moment to moment. There were also at least two bats flying around the yard, hopefully eating mosquitoes. There’s one in this picture, although I’m not sure I could identify it as a bat from the photographic evidence if I hadn’t seen it while I was taking the picture.
Cathy and I left work a little early and we took her mom and all went to vote this evening. The lines were not too long, which was nice and especially so since we were told that it had been pretty busy all day. As we were leaving, I didn’t want to hang around because I could see the sunset was shaping up to be something really nice and I hadn’t brought my camera with me. I didn’t expect to need it on the short drive to the elementary school and back and I hadn’t considered that there might be something like this waiting for me.
When we got home, I rushed to the back yard and took a few dozen photos. It just got better and better. The clouds were moving to the north east quite quickly so the sky was changing patterns even faster than it was changing colors. This vertical shot was taken with the 100mm lens, looking between the trees almost due west. I had a hard time picking one from all the good pictures I got.
One thing about this time of year is that I’m leaving work around the time the sun sets. That’s not all bad, as I sometimes get to see a colorful sunset. Today I left in time to see some color through the trees behind my building. There was no time to get anywhere without trees in the way so I photographed through the trees. I don’t think they ruin this sunset at all. In fact, it was lovely. We have a little more than a month of shortening days so it will be more than two months before they are as long as they are now again. That makes it harder to get photos during the daytime, especially during the week. It’s been quite busy at work and it shows no signs of easing up before next summer.
I stopped at Trader Joe’s briefly after work. There are a few things that they have that make it worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood, although I can’t say I’d go far out of my way in general. I usually leave underwhelmed, although a good friend (who I’m pretty sure will be reading this) works there and I mean no disrespect. It’s just that most of what they have I can get elsewhere more easily. After that I stopped at Great Wall, in Rockville. This store has a lot more that’s hard to find in “standard” grocery stores and I was there mostly for produce, which is generally good there and there’s a lot more variety than even Safeway or Giant, to say nothing of Trader Joe’s (and I needed beets). As I came out, I took this picture of the sunset over the back of the building.
Airplanes At Dusk
I’m afraid today’s photo is pretty lame. I looked out the back door and there were two bright airplane contrails just above the trees, heading west toward the setting sun as the sky darkened with dusk. I thought it would make a half decent photo for today. Unfortunately, by the time I got my camera from the next room, switched to the 100mm from the 24mm and returned ti the kitchen door, the planes were down into the trees. It wasn’t ever going to be a great photo but I think it’s worse than I hoped. So, the only thing accomplished by taking this is that I kept up my photo-a-day streak. For what little that’s worth.
Cathy and I went to work together today because the van was in the shop, having lost its serpentine belt in the rain on Saturday. Cathy likes to go to an exercise class on Mondays so we stayed for that. Before her class, however, at about 4:45, she called to ask if I could see the sunset. My office window faces north but I could see color out to the left. I took a few pictures from there and then went to the large conference room on the west side of the building on the next floor up and took some pictures from there. The color ws through the trees but it was really different to any sunset I’ve seen, as least anything in recent memory. To say is was spectacular is too simple. Also, this photo doesn’t really convey the overall feel, which was somewhat eerie. Donna, who works near the conference room asked if I had been outside. She said something strange seemed to be going on. I said, “It’s sunset, it happens every evening around this time.” But I was joking, this really was a strange sunset, and beautiful.
Clouds at Dusk
I was hoping for another nice sunset this evening but it wasn’t to be. The clouds did get a bit of color but nothing like two nights ago and in fact, if I had taken any other pictures today, you probably wouldn’t be stuck with this. We need to be thankful, of course, for the lesser beauties, as well as the greater. As something short of even a lesser beauty, myself, I have an appreciation for the ordinary.
When we were in Rome, quite a few years ago now, we went into St. Peter’s Basilica. As you’d expect, everyone loves the big, central dome. It’s very impressive. But we decided we needed to enjoy the lesser domes. It’s become a saying in our family, “Nobody appreciates the little domes.” We make an effort to appreciate them.
There was another nice sunset this evening. I had a little more time today so I was able to walk around the woods behind my building to an area with a somewhat lower horizon. There are still trees but they are several hundred yards away this time. This was just a portion of the sky, taken with a 100mm lens. It was quite impressive for a significant horizontal extent although it didn’t reach all that high in the sky. A wide angle shot would have been mostly dark above and below this. I hope you (not that there are very many of you) don’t mind all the sunsets but we’re getting what we get.
Another sunset photo today. I’ve been leaving work around the sunset hour lately (or later but getting sunset pictures from my office or from a conference room one floor up. There isn’t anything particularly special about this sunset but it’s the best of the few pictures I took today. I’m nearing 2,900 consecutive days (and 8 yeas) taking at least one photograph each day. I think one or possibly two of those days the photo was taken on my phone but the rest were taken on my Canon SLR. In that time I have taken over 160,000 photos, which is starting to get up there. A few of them are, I think, quite good.
Watts Branch Tributary
This is a small tributary of Watts Branch, which comes through a culvert under West Montgomery Avenue (before it becomes Key West Avenue). On the other side of the road is a small drainage pond build for storm water management and in which there were beavers living until a few years ago. It joins a larger creek that flows through another storm water management pond between my cuilding and the rest of our company’s campus. It goes back under West Montgomery Avenue again before draining into Watts Branch near the Interstate 270 interchange.
I went over to my mom’s this evening to see what was wrong with her computer. When I got there, I took a little time before going in to take some sunset pictures. I had a hard time finding a good spot to see the sky, but this spot worked out reasonably well, overlooking a shopping mall. It’s in the foreground, hidden by the dark trees, though, so that doesn’t really matter, so you can’t really tell. The color was mostly along the lower part of the sky and I took some pictures with the short telephoto lens and others with the 24mm, which on my camera is equivalent to a 35mm, more or less. This is one from the wide angle.
Clouds at Night
Dorothy got home late last night. Well, technically she got home early this morning, at about 1:30 AM. She slept in today and I went to work. Before I left work it rained very hard and my car is having problems when I drive through deep puddles, so I had to be careful getting home. After I did get home, we went out to run some errands and as we left the house, this storm cloud was billowing up above us. The photo, taken at 1/25 second at f/2.8 at an ISO of 6,400, doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s the picture I have for today. You’ll have to trust me when I say it looked really cool in real life. The noise produced by the camera sensor wasn’t something we saw in real time.
Cathy and I took a walk in the neighborhood this afternoon. It was cool but the sky was an amazing blue and I stopped a few times to take pictures of trees against that blue. There are few that are prettier in the winter than the pale sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) against that blue and that’s what we have here. Just before I took this picture, we passed a yard with a large oak tree that had a fairly substantial branch which had broken off and which was suspended above the driveway and yard on some lower branches. The homeowner was trying to get a rope over the branch so he could pull it down. He was wearing a helmet and throwing a rope with a wrench tied to the end as a weight. It was pretty high up and by the time we got past he still hadn’t managed to get it high enough, but I assume he eventually did. Ah, the joys of home ownership.
As I was driving home this evening the clouds were acting like there would be a wonderful sunset. By the time I actually got home, most of the color was gone, although there had never been nearly as much as there could have been. Nevertheless, I got my camera out and went into the back yard. This photo is looking basically southwards and I am pretty pleased with it. The colors are pretty accurate to what it looked like, with a lot of blue in the clouds themselves and three slashes of orange. I really enjoyed watching it until the orange disappeared and only the blue-grey clouds were left.
As I was driving home this evening, I could occasionally see the clouds to the west starting to be lit up by the setting sun. There are very few places on my relatively short commute with a clear, unobstructed view of the sky. Unless the clouds are high in the sky it’s not really worth stopping to take a picture. When I got to Norbeck Road, though, with the sunset in my rear view mirror, I stopped and took a dozen or so pictures. By the time I got home, it was done, so I’m glad I stopped when I did. I love the orange flare coming up the middle of this photograph.
I found a new location for sunset photos today. It’s a little off my actual commute but not so much that it’s a real problem and I expect to be there again in the future. The sunset this evening was unusual, with both orange low in the sky (through the trees) and the bands of magenta a little further up, where the clouds were more dense. It was also more fleeting then usual. I took a total of eight photos and between the first and the last, less than two minutes, the magenta lines almost entirely disappeared. I’m glad I stopped when I did.
It was a relatively uneventful day today. I got some things done that have been hanging over me for quite a long time. Well, to be more precise, I got started on some things that have been hanging over me for quite a long time, but that’s a big step to getting them finished. There was a team of men working on cutting a tree down in the neighborhood and I took some pictures of that but then we had a pretty nice sunset, so this picture took precedence. It’s wasn’t a stunning sunset but it was very pretty, I think.
Waxing Gibbous Moon
Cathy and I worked most of the day moving things around in our house. One room that has become a catch-all for boxes and miscellaneous bric-a-brac is our guest bedroom. However, Cathy’s cousin and his wife are coming this week so we sort of need to clear it out. It’s high time we did, so that’s fine. We were able to get rid of a few things, mostly things that were not worth even donating, but mostly we just organized and moved things around. The more thorough going through is yet to be done. I did go out briefly to take four boxes of books as a donation for resale and got rid of a half dozen empty boxes that we no longer need. In the afternoon I took some pictures in the yard but none of them are anything to write home about. The moon was pretty, though, so I thought I’d post that for today’s picture.
I’m not really a big Happy Hour celebrant and I don’t do a lot with people from work outside of work hours. Nevertheless, I went out with eight others from work today and enjoyed myself. It had been a particularly rough day, with a problem on a system I’m developing that I could not figure out. It made no sense and nothing I did seemed to make any difference. Finally I gave up and figured I’d have better success looking at it again in the morning. Then I went out and took some pictures, including this one, before meeting my friends in Uncle Julio’s for an hour or so. I’m pretty pleased with this picture, showing the pond at the Rio as well as Copper Canyon Grill and various other buildings behind it.
The sky had the promise of a really spectacular sunset this evening but sadly it didn’t follow through. It wasn’t a bad sunset, mind you, but it wasn’t as fabulous as I had hoped. The clouds were moving fast and it was changing from minute to minute. As you can see in the lower part of this picture, between the houses, the best part of the sunset was too low to be seen from our back yard. Still, it was a worth a few minutes of my time and the ground wasn’t so cold that I couldn’t be out in my bare feet for a little while.
When I got home this evening I took some pictures of flowers in the garden, figuring I’d continue with my flower theme. Later, though, shortly after Cathy got home, we were out back and it was clear that the sunset was going to be worth enjoying. So, I got my camera and watched it unfold. First I got some pictures of grey and white clouds with deep blue sky behind them. As the sun sank the clouds turned beautiful colors. They were moving quite quickly and between the movement of the sun (or the apparent movement, I should say) and the very real movement of the clouds, it was changing from moment to moment. I’ll probably get back to flower pictures tomorrow.
I’ve already posted a picture for this date but kind of like this one, so I’ll post it, too. This is the view out of my office window. I was at work later than usual today and the light on the clouds was quite dramatic. I took a few “standard” shots but the sky was so bright the trees went very dark. I took a set of three, exposure-bracketted images and combined them as a single HDR image. It’s a bit unnatural looking but I like it.
Moon At Dusk
We had a pretty nice sunset this evening and I took a few pictures (aren’t you surprised?). Most of the best color was behind the trees to the south of our yard, so it was hard to capture. To the east there was some good color and I was able to get some nice pictures in that direction. To the west, most of the clouds were various shades of grey. There were a few low clouds that would light up and then go back to grey. I hoped to time the photo so that I could get both the moon and the lit clouds but they basically alternated. When the moon wasn’t behind the cloud, the color was mostly gone. Then the color would return just as the clouds covered the moon. This one has a little color in the clouds, anyway.
When I left work today, I drove through a little rain. By the time I was nearly home and I stopped at the grocery story, the sky was partly cloudy. When I came back out from the store the sky was turning very dark and shortly after I got home and had unloaded the groceries, it started coming down quite hard. It only rained for about fifteen minutes and then the sun was back out again. I went out front and found a spot where I could see the rainbow. It was a bit early in the evening for a really good bow, but there was some down low in the sky. They are often tricky to photograph and this one was not as strong as many I’ve seen but it was pretty and I especially like the fact that this photo shows the rainbow against blue sky, which is pretty unusual.
I looked around for something to photograph this evening and settled on a flour canister. It’s made of brushed metal (probably aluminum) and has the word FLOUR in a nice, mid-century modern font running vertically down it. I took ot out onto the patio and got some nice photos.
Relaxing on the patio after that, I watched the western sky begin to color and I realized I wasn’t going to use my flour canister photo today. I had to move around the yard to get a good angle between the trees, but I think you’ll agree it was worth it.
As I mentioned, it’s begun to feel like autumn. Today was very windy and cool. After work I walked down to Lake Frank and took a few photos. The trees are just starting to turn and it was lovely to be out in the fresh, cool air. This photo was taken from the dam looking northwest along the length of the lake. It’s a three-exposure, high-dynamic-range (HDR) photo and I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out. There were a few others out walking, mostly wearing coats and hats against the suddenly cool weather. I was in my shirt sleeves, although I did roll them down while I was out on the dam, where the wind was strongest.
Sunrise North of Seattle
Our ten day journey to Alaska, like all good things, came to an end today. We were very sad to be leaving and of course were not very excited about getting up at 3:00 AM to get to the airport for our 5:00 AM flight, but it meant we’d get home during the day instead of the middle of the night. We had a great time and would happily have stayed for another week or even two. Of course not having to go to work is part of it. Anywhere on vacation is generally better than anywhere else with work. The weather was about what we expected, cool and damp, but we came prepared (and Dorothy gave me a really nice rain hat as an early birthday present). That meant we got out regardless of the weather and enjoyed pretty much every minute of it.
The trip home was relatively uneventful, which is sort of what you want when flying. There’s not much better than a sunrise or sunset from the air and we got a pretty good one as we headed south to Seattle, on the left side of the plane. Someone who knows the area might be able to recognize the coast line seen through the clouds in this first photo. The second, taken about ten minutes after the first, is possibly Mount Baker, but again, I don’t really know the area, so I’d be happy to be corrected. Much of the country from eastern Washington until we neared Maryland was covered with clouds, so there wasn’t much to see. We did recognize some landmarks as we made our descent into Dulles. And thus ends Alaska Trip, 2019.
As I was driving home today, the sun was setting in my rear view mirror, as it does these days. At one point, I had had enough and pulled onto a side street so I could get out and take some pictures. As you can see, I’m along a road and there are power lines on the left but they don’t really distract from the main event. I didn’t notice at the time but I see now that what I assume is Venus, the evening star, shows up on the left side of the photo.
There are a pair of sweet gum trees (Liquidambar styraciflua) a little before I get to work and I stopped today to take pictures of their leaves. Sweet gum generally has some of the best fall color around but I think it’s just a little early so they weren’t as good as they have been in past years. I’ll probably check again in a while. Before I got back in my car and headed the rest of the way to work I took a few pictures of the crab apples nearby. I think they look pretty good against the blue of the sky.
The sun was going down as I left work today and I wanted to get at least one photo of the colors in the sky. I found a place where I could see them, but it’s a little more industrial that I generally look for. Still, it’s not terrible. This is actually looking to the southeast, not the west, where there wasn’t actually a lot of color to be had. I stopped again a little further on and the foreground was better but there was less color at that point, so this is the best I got.
As I came out of my office this evening, the clouds in the darkening western sky was back lit with areas of brighter light. All that was behind the trees that line my parking lot. It had a somber and even sinister look and I decided I’d take a few pictures. The exposure was a bit tricky and I didn’t have a tripod, but I braces the camera on a tree and it turned out well enough. It was a mood and I think I captured it pretty well. The parking lot was pretty empty by the time I left work. It’s Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, and somber and sinister really doesn’t go well with that. Nevertheless, it’s how I was feeling when I left work. I’m not sure what that means.
It’s been quite a few years since I worked on the day after Thanksgiving. One more thing I’m thankful for is that I’m not in retail and don’t have to work on the day after or even on Thanksgiving itself, as many people do. I would be happy to have all businesses including retail closed from the Thursday of Thanksgiving through the following Sunday, but that’s just not going to happen. There are some who enjoy the ‘thrill’ of shopping on so-called Black Friday, but I’m not one of them. Of course, I’d prefer to stay away from stores between Thanksgiving and Christmas entirely if I had that option. I do my best. I actually worked about five hours today and was fairly productive. I was glad to see a pretty sunrise shortly after getting up, and that’s today’s photo.
As the sun was sinking in the western sky I went out to take a few pictures. I took some through the trees by the parking lot but as the clouds got more brightly colored, I walked through the woods and onto the median of the road so I could take some without trees in the way. It just kept getting better and better and I’m really glad I took the trouble. I only took one lens with me, a mid-range zoom that I forgot I have and which I put into my bag last week. I think I remember why I stopped using it. The pictures at the longer end of the zoom range are really soft (and maybe that’s too king a description). Next time I carry my more reliable glass. But this photo turned out well enough.
We happened to be down in Bethesda this afternoon and we went to a few different stores. We started at American Plant Food, which is an interesting combination of plants and “decor”. I put that in scare quotes because I’m a bit scared by their idea of decor but I guess it’s what some folks want, or they’d carry something else. I really enjoyed their small but impressive houseplant section, particularly their orchids, which are beautiful. We went to a toy store and spent some time there but didn’t buy anything. Finally we went to Whole Foods were we only bought a few things. I used to shop there from time to time because I could get proper, dry-cured bacon but they don’t carry any cured bacon any more, so I have no real reason to go. As we came out, the color in the sky was amazing. We figured there wouldn’t be time to drive anywhere with a better view and in fact, in the sort time it took me to get the camera and walk about 40 yards, most of the color was gone from the sky. So, it’s still a sunset but not what I was hoping for.
As 2019 draws to a close, I’ll give you one final sunset for the year. It’s been a year with all sorts of ups, downs, and adjustments. I guess the two biggest things to report are that Dorothy graduated from college and went to live in Alaska for five months. We really enjoyed our trip to Juneau to see her and that was probably the highlight of the year for us. We also enjoyed seeing her senior art show two weeks before graduation, although that was a bit more whirlwind.
This photo finishes nine years of taking at least one photo a day. Will I continue? Probably, but you never know. Thanks for the very few of you who actually read these posts rather than seeing just the photographs on Instagram. God bless you.
As dusk this evening there were no clouds to the west and absolutely no color in the sky except a pale blue, fading to grey. In the northeast, however, through the trees across the street, there were some low clouds that were touched with color. That’s what this picture captured. It only lasted a few minutes but I was fortunate enough to see it and have my camera handy. It was a nice, quiet day and we spent about an hour in the used bookstore, which we both enjoy. Not that we really need more books, of course, but there you are.
I went over to mom’s after work today and the sun had just gone down when I got there. The sky was clear but near the horizon the color changed from pale, grey-blue over head through magenta to a nearly purple blue at the horizon. This photograph doesn’t capture it perfectly but it’s as good as I could get. I really like color transitions in nature. I think perhaps my favorite is the deep blue to nearly black of a perfectly clear sky, but this one is pretty nice, too. The fact that the two ends of the transition are blue but the middle is so very different makes it pretty interesting.
Sunset, Blockhouse Point
It was a lovely but chilly day today and Cathy and I decided to take an outing to Blockhouse Point on the Potomac between Pennyfield Lock downstream and Violettes Lock just below Seneca Creek at the C&O Canal Dam. Dorothy met us there and we had a nice walk in the woods out to the point. The sun was setting as we got to the point above the river and the tops of the trees on the Virginia site were beautifully lit by the setting sun. This shot, though the trees, was taken from the high ground of Blockhouse Point and if we stayed ten or fifteen minutes longer, it would have been dark by the time we got back to our cars. It was a really nice walk and one we’ll want to repeat in the spring and when we have more time before sunset.
This is what I saw in my rear-view mirror on the way home today. The clouds were only near the horizon and if I had waited until I was home to take any pictures, I wouldn’t have been able to see them, as that part of the sky is obstructed. That’s assuming there was any color left, which is unlikely, especially since I stopped at the grocery store before continuing on home. Fortunately there is a nice, wide shoulder on the road where I stopped, so it was easy and relatively safe to get this picture. Traffic was moving quite slowly, in any case. You can see the power lines along the trees at the left. The tops of cars in the lower right show you I was looking down the roadway.
After I got home and was reading, Cathy called to say there was a really pretty sunset. Her office is on the fourth floor and faces northwest so she gets a pretty good view in the evening. From our back yard most of the color was low in the sky. To the southwest there was some color through the trees. To the northwest the colors were better but again, were visible only through our neighbor’s trees. I took a dozen or so photos and this is the best of them. Not a great sunset but it’s a sunset.
I happened to be down at Suburban Hospital this evening to visit a friend who was there for a procedure this morning. When I arrived, I drove to the top of the parking garage so I could get some photos of the sun that was in process of setting. There was no way to get an unobstructed view of the most colorful part of the sunset. To move to my right, I could have needed to climb up on a six foot wall but then there’s have been nothing between me and a three storey drop and I wasn’t really interested in that. This one turned out pretty well, anyway. I happy to say my friend was doing well and we had a really nice time chatting.
After yesterday’s long walk in the park we decided on a shorter walk this afternoon, sticking to neighborhood streets. I took some pictures of sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) against the blue sky. I also took some of Lenten rose plants (Helleborus species) in someone’s front garden. They were further along than most of ours, although we have one that’s got quite a few flowers on it. As the sun set, I took various pictures of it with differing amounts of color. None of them were spectacular but even a mediocre sunset is a beautiful thing.
There was a nice sunset this evening. The number of clouds was pretty low and unfortunately they clouds that were there were pretty low in the sky. Almost all of them were below and behind trees. At least that’s where they were from out back yard. I’ve had some really nice sunset from there but this one I had to work just to get this little bit of color.
It’s gotten cold out and I went out in my stocking feet to get this because I was afraid I’d miss it if I took the time to put my shoes on. I think that was the right decision, as the color only lasted a few minutes. I could still see some color through the trees for a while longer but that would have been less even than this one. I think one thing I like so much about sunsets is the depth of color. The blue of the sky at dusk is much richer and more vibrant than during the day. Of course the color in the clouds is also different, which is what makes a sunset special. But the blue of the sky at dusk, turning to the black of night, is just about my favorite color in the world.
It was a cool, late winter day today. I was doing some work around the house that included carrying boxes to the car, so I was dressed more lightly that the actual outdoor temperature called for. It was fine while I was working but if I had needed to be out for too long in a t-shirt, I would have been less happy. In the evening we went to Olney to have dinner at Panera. Needless to say, not having long sleeve shirt on got me noticed a few times. I’m glad I brought my camera with me, as there was a really nice sunset and I was able to go out and take pictures a few times through the course of it. This was the last one I took, when most of the sky had gone very dark.
Clouds at Dusk
Cathy and I came to work together this morning, dropping my car off at the shop for a bit of work. The air-bag warning light is on and we need to know what that’s about. The Honda dealer said they needed to replace the sensor. They also said the rear brakes were in desperate need of work. This was when I had it at the dealer for work based on a recall notice. Since dealerships are generally more expensive than your average, independent repair shop, I figured I’d get a second opinion. Anyway, after work I met Cathy where she had parked and had a couple minutes to photograph the sky. The clouds were collecting like there would be a nice sunset but it never really materialized. The sun went down, the clouds turned from white to grey with only a hint of color. You can’t win them all.
Yesterday we dropped my car off at the shop. It was there overnight so Cathy and I went to work together again this morning. She had a physical therapy appointment first thing, so I got an hour of time to spend reading that I would not normally have had. I finished Tristram Shandy today, which I enjoyed more as I got further into it. It won’t be on my “best books of all time” list but it was fine. Our mechanics looked the car over and instead of having to replace the sensor for the airbags, they only had to replace some wires, which had worn through. They had to take out the driver seat, so there was a fair amount of labor involved, but it was about half what the Honda dealer said it would. And, they said my breaks were fine and didn’t need the $700 of work the Honda dealer said I needed done. We picked the car up after work and got home just in time for this pretty, if less than spectacular sunset.
Cathy and I took a walk this evening and enjoyed an occasional view of the sky. Our neighborhood has well established trees, having been built up about 50 years ago. Different parts of the neighborhood have different street trees and some of them have lasted better than others. Many of the original red oaks (Quercus rubra) are gone, while others are very healthy. The willow oaks (Quercus phellos) are more uniformly healthy and generally quite large. There’s one street I call the cathedral because of how the willow oaks form a Gothic nave over the road. The maples (mostly red maples, Acer rubrum) are at the other end of the spectrum. Some are fine but most are less healthy or have been removed. There are sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) scattered around and they are generally healthy, as well. Anyway, the link between the trees and this photo is that the trees mean that most of the time while walking we don’t get an uninterrupted view of the sky.
Cathy and I went for a relatively short walk in the neighborhood this evening and I took some photos on that as well as in the yard a bit earlier in the day. But then the sunset was so nice, I figured I should post that. There haven’t been many great sunsets lately. They seem to come in bunches. I’m rarely going to pass up a sunset if it can be helped. Sometimes I’m driving and it really isn’t convenient to stop or there’s no place with a good view, but when it’s a matter of walking out the back door and looking between the trees, I’m there.
We’re in the heart of summer. We’ve had over three weeks of daytime high’s over 90&#b0;F and it approached 100°F today with even higher temperature forecast for tomorrow. In spite of the heat, Cathy and I felt like we really needed to get out. The Montgomery County Farm Park seemed like a good destination. Their demonstration garden was very nice. It’s a bit overgrown with weeds but since it’s not our responsibility, that bothered us less than weeds do at home. I think these are some sort of wild sunflower but there are quite a few plants with this basic look and I didn’t see a label on them. Regardless, this is summer. Big, bright, bold, yellow flowers against a beautiful, clear, blue sky.
Clouds at Dusk
Cathy and I took a walk in the neighborhood after dinner. Thunder was rumbling as we left the house and we didn’t know if we’d get rained on before we were home again but we decided to risk it. We were glad we did. Not only did we not get rained on but we were treated to some wonderful clouds. They ranged from blue grey to bright orange and a few were the purest white. It was quite lovely. We also saw rain but it was probably a mile or so away. The thunder continued to rumble, but it was blue overhead.
It was very hot today, and quite muggy, but Cathy and I have been trying to get out on the weekend, at least for a little while, regardless. We went tot he Mont. County Agricultural Farm Park today and walked on one of the trails for a while. Parts were in the shade but even then it was so humid that we were pretty well drenched with sweat. Nevertheless, it was good to be out. We also walked through their demonstration garden again. It wasn’t a lot different to the last time we went but I got a few more pictures, including a few of these sunflowers against the sky.
We had another lovely sunset this evening. This shot is from out back yard, looking northwest. Looking due west we mostly have trees, so the best we can do is either northwest or southwest. They were both nice this evening but northwest was better, I think. There was also a bright orange/magenta streak almost directly overhead. I’m not sure if it was the remains of a contrail, but it really didn’t look like it. I got a few pictures of that, as well.
On other matters, we drove to West Springfield this afternoon to have an outdoor supper with a dear friend. It was so good to see another person in real, 3D life.
We’ve done well in terms of sunsets lately. Here is the third in a week. I don’t know, honestly, if they actually come in bunches or I simply happen to notice them in bunches. Either way, I’m happy to have them whenever we do. This one was really nice, with parts of the sky a mix of deep blue with a thin layer of magenta/orange over it. Hard to describe and hard to photograph. This shot was taken to the northwest and I like it quite a bit. Just above the orange band at the top, the sky was a more uniform color. I took a few with my wide angle lens but the orange colors in this part were a bit washed out.
We took dinner to a friend this evening, after learning that her nephew had passed away. It was so good to see her and although it was a sad occasion, it’s always good to see old friends. And we do go back a ways with this one, who was in our wedding almost 36 years ago. On the way home there was a lovely sunset going on behind us. As we got off the Inter-County Connector (a.k.a. MD 200) I decided to stop at the commuter parking lot and see if I could get a picture or two. When it was first built, the hill next to the lot was nearly ideal. Now, however, the trees that have grown up on it are starting to block the view enough that I had a much harder time getting a clear view of the clouds, which were fairly low in the sky.
I had gone out to take a few pictures of the clouds, which were pretty dramatic. Then I went inside and was reading as it started to rain. A little later, Dorothy called me to come back outside because there was a really nice rainbow. It was down against the trees, coming right down to the ground. I got a few pictures of that and then walked out into the rain where I could get a view of the rainbow against the sky. It’s more traditional and I considered posting one of the ground level photos here, but frankly, this one is better, so…
I took a few pictures of skippers in the yard today and a couple of them turned out pretty nicely but then as the sun was going down, there was a really nice sunset. I can’t say I’ll always pick a sunset picture over any other but they are generally pretty well liked and they are, of course, quite beautiful. Not as nice as actually seeing the sunset, obviously, but we’ve all seen them enough that a photograph can really evoke the feeling you get when you see it for real. This one is looking northwest over our next door neighbors’ yard and most of the sky was clear, so I used my long lens to get just the area with brilliant colors.
It rained pretty hard last night and continued raining today. We can usually judge how hard it’s raining by the streams across our back and side yard and this rain was relatively hard. There were tornado warnings but the wind was never really all that strong here. There was a lot of lightning, though, and at one point the rumble of thunder continued almost continuously. The storm was moving fairly fast and as it moved out, the sun came out and we got another rainbow, which is always a treat.
Sunset is getting earlier each evening now, as autumn marches on. Soon we’ll set out clocks back to real time and it will get dark even earlier. For now, I’m at least done work before it gets dark, but that will change. The clouds this evening promised a really nice sunset and we weren’t disappointed. This is from out back steps, looking between the trees and over the house behind ours. We could have a worse view, I have to admit. It’s good to remember that wherever you live, there are times when it’s as pretty as anywhere else on earth. Well, the sky can be, anyway.
Clouds. I can’t keep my eyes off them clouds in the sky. ‘Cause I know it won’t be long, won’t be long.
Song lyrics. Not my song, and yet, it’s a song I sometimes sing to myself as I watch the clouds rolling across the sky. It was a busy week and I’m happy for the weekend. And sitting out back and watching the clouds is a nice way to unwind. Of course, this song isn’t just about relaxing, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. The song, by Barry McGuire, is a reference to Matthew 26:64, Mark 14:62, and Luke 21:27–28 (“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”).
Cathy and I went for a walk in the neighborhood this evening. We took a different route today because the sun was going down and it looked like there would be a decent sunset. I wanted to be somewhere that I could see it so I could get a picture. As you can tell, that worked out well. We also ran into a friend, which was really nice. She and three kids were heading out to buy some fish for their fish tank and she stopped and we chatted a little while. I took a few pictures of the girls, as well and shared them with her.
This American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) is in our neighbor’s yard. It’s a bit, healthy tree and in the summer it is often lovely at dusk with the evening sun turning the bright green leaves a wonderful orange-green that’s very hard to describe. In the winter, without its leaves, the beauty of the sycamore is in their bark, which is a lovely white, especially against the blue of a winter sky. They are large trees and generally better suited to parks and open areas but they also make a fine city tree, being quite tolerant in their habits.
Who doesn’t love a sunset? I certainly do. They also come in handy when I haven’t taken any photos and it’s getting dark. I know I’ll have to find something indoors to photograph. But then when there is color in the western sky, it’s such an easy thing to get a picture of that I have to be really busy to pass up the opportunity. They seem to be popular, as well. Response on Instagram (where most people see the pictures posted here) is always strong for sunset pictures. They don’t quite compete with pictures of people, especially people who are popular, but the do a lot better than pictures of things around the house.
After saying I was going to stop taking a photo a day, I actually went two more days taking pictures. After this one, there will be a gap before the next photo was taken. The timing was good, because I threw may back out on the morning of January 3 (writing this after the fact) and getting pictures every day this week would have been hard. So, we’ll end the streak of consecutive days at 10 years plus five days—three before I officially started and two after I officially ended. But as promised, photos will be posted when I do take them.
Long weekends are nice. Our company only started giving us Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off last year so it’s something we’re still getting used to, but of course we’ll take it. I slept in this morning until about 7:00 AM and then stayed in bed awake until I noticed the color in the sky. Considering our bedroom windows face west, that suggested there was some good color in the east, as well. So, I got up and grabbed my camera and went out front to get a few pictures before the color faded. This is actually a bit darker than it was, so not necessarily an accurate representation of what I was seeing, but it’s pretty.
We went up county today and to the border with Howard County. This photo is of reflections in the Patuxent River, which here is the boundary between Montgomery and Howard Counties (taken from the Montgomery County side). We were on Annapolis Rock Road and stopped where it crosses the Patuxent. A little further along we found the parking area for Annapolis Rocks, which we’ll return to at some point. It’s a really pretty area and one we’ve never been to before.
In addition to the bird track picture, I thought I’d share this sunset picture from February 3. The color was all low in the sky, so had to be seen through the trees, but I think it’s a striking enough color that it’s worth posting. I’ve gone through all the pictures I’ve taken from late January through the first week of April and pulled out those I’m going to post and will try to post two or three a day until I’m caught up. I have more still on the camera that I haven’t processed yet, as well.
The hour or so just after sunrise and just before sunset are among the prettiest times of day. The light isn’t always special but when it is, it’s very special. Even a neighborhood scene like this, looking up the street from our house can be beautiful with the late afternoon light on the tops of the trees, turning them a wonderful orange green. This photo doesn’t really capture it completely but if you’ve seen it, then maybe it will be enough to remind you of what it’s like.
As mentioned in today’s earlier photo, we walked on the east side of Seneca Creek today, on the Seneca Greenway Trail from Seneca Road to a little ways past Berryville Road. Actually, we went off the main trail shortly after Berryville Road and walked along a smaller trail just beside the creek. That’s where the photo of Rob, Susie, and Cathy was taken and also where this photo of the Seneca Bluffs was taken. There is what appears to be a wier or the remains of a small dam across the creek a little below where this shot was taken. You can see the Canadian hemlocks on the bluff, which doesn’t look nearly as high as it did from the top.
Shady Grove Steeple
We started going to church in person today. We went twice last year, when the services were outdoors and with the weather being so nice, we started again today. We plan on making it a regular thing. Although we’ve become a bit accustomed to our stay-at-home Sunday routine, we felt we needed to get out with people a bit more. It was a lovely day and there were a pair of hawks circling the church for a while. I had my camera with me and after the service, I took a few pictures, mostly of the rhododendrons blooming in the woods to the south of the church. With the flowers in the shade and the steeple in the sun, it was a little tricky to get this picture, but I think it turned out pretty well. On the way home from church we stopped at Lake Needwood and I took more pictures of our native Piedmont or mountain azaleas (Rhododendron canescens) in the woods there.
Good Harbor Beach
After we finished getting things ready for tomorrow’s wedding (or at least did as much as we could get done today), Dorothy and I went to Good Harbor Beach. We sat on blanket on the sand and read our books while the sun was setting behind us and the sky turned that wonderful blue that you can only see after dusk or before dawn. There was a layer of low clouds over the ocean and the picked up some wonderful color, which was reflected in the water. Add the moon and here’s what you get. And in case you’re wondering (as I was), Zillow says that house is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.5 million. I think you can see why.
We took another visit to the Ag. History Farm Park today and Dorothy was there with us. I took more butterfly pictures, including a few of a black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes). I decided, though, that I’d post this photo of a sunflower, instead. It was a lovely day with a beautiful, blue sky and the combination of yellow and blue is so nice, I just can’t get enough of it. We missed the sunflowers at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area this year, so it was nice to get a small taste of them here.
We were out between Darnestown and Poolesville this evening for Dorothy’s Thursday Evening Worship, although Dorothy wasn’t there this week and we were led by Adam and Michael. It was a lovely, cool evening and the sun was going down as we started. I took a few pictures, including this one of the sunset. Not the most spectacular sunset in history, but pretty for all of that. We had a lovely time and naturally we stayed and visited with everyone afterward. I especially enjoyed talking with Michael about keeping aquarium fish, which it turns out we both do.