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Archive for April, 2012

It was looking like a perfect morning for a walk with my camera, so I put on my walking shoes, grabbed my iPhone so I could listen to an audiobook and run my walking app and headed out. It was perfect! Wish we had weather like this every weekend.

I took a new route and here’s what I saw along the way:

 

Four miles and one blister later, I’d say it was a good walk!

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My friend Suzanne asked to see pictures from my garden. We didn’t spend all day in the yard yesterday, but we did get a few things done.

I deadheaded the hydrangeas and a rhododendron and azalea that had some dead limbs. We planted a hydrangea that should have gone in the ground a few years ago. It had been in the ground at one time and was nibbled on by a bunny. It’s been near death several times since. Hopefully it’s big enough to survive any untoward bunny advances this year. It came from a plant I gave my friend Susan. She gave me a cutting from it. It’s a dark pink and neither one of us remembers the name of the variety, so we’ve always called it the “Kaspar Hydrangea.” I don’t see any flower buds on it, so it may be next year before it will put on a show.

A friend invited us into her garden a couple of years ago to dig up whatever we wanted of her hostas and ditch lilies. The hostas have been in a pot ever since, so John divided them up and we planted them in a bed in the front.

They don’t look like much now, it’ll be at least a year or two before they show up in pictures. We have a new resident bunny and I hope he/she doesn’t like to nibble on the tender shoots of just-planted hosta. We have enough problems with voles who tunnel underneath and eat all the roots.

If  you remember this post and this one, I’m happy to report that this year the oak-leaf is a good 3-1/2 to 4 feet tall. I think the bunny won’t get it this time.

We went to Colesville Nursery in Ashland and bought 12 “Madame Butterfly” azaleas:

They will go in front of and in between each of these pine trees at the back of our yard:

We have this variety in other parts of the garden and we love it for it’s tall growth pattern. This one in front of the garage is probably seven feet tall:

It’s a very pale lavender:

Other things blooming right now:

Columbine:

The viburnum is nearly done:

Wild strawberries that came up out of nowhere last year and are spreading all over now:

Spanish hyacinth:

Solomon’s Seal:

Due to the warm winter we had, this Gerbera daisy survived from last year:

Bearded iris with azalea in the background:

Lenten rose:

One of these days, I’m going to get a good shot of the hawk that visits from time to time:

That’s it for this weekend. We went to Strange’s Garden center today and bought our yearly annuals for the deck. We also bought a big bougainvillea and now don’t know what to do with it. It’s too big for the shepherd’s hook we planned it for. Stay tuned.

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Olloclip

Inspired by this post , I did the craziest thing this past weekend. I drove 100+ miles roundtrip to buy this thing. What is it?

The Olloclip is a set of lenses for your iPhone 4/4S camera. It slips over the corner of the phone. If you put it on one way, you get a fisheye lens. Turn it around and you get wide angle. Unscrew the wide angle and you get macro. It’s really quite brilliant. And I really wanted it.

I thought I could get it at my local Best Buy. But John suggested I check the store’s inventory on their website. Not that it would have been a big deal had I gotten to the store 5 minutes away only to find out it wasn’t in stock, but I learned that the closest BB that supposedly had one was 30 miles away. I would have driven it, but thankfully I had the foresight to call them and found out the website was wrong, they didn’t have any. He said their internal inventory showed that Charlottesville and Fredericksburg (both about 50 miles away) had a couple. Well, I really wanted it. We were having Easter dinner with friends and I thought it would be fun to play with it while we were there.

So we went and got one and the first thing I did was put on the fisheye (I would love to have a fisheye lens for my DSLR but really, how often would I actually use it?) and took some video out the front window as we drove home. I planned on inserting the video here, but I can’t get it out of my iPhone, which doesn’t really matter because it isn’t anything worth seeing anyway 🙂

They say on their website that Olloclip is compatible with all the photography apps, but come on, how could it be incompatible?

Here’s a shot using Instagram:

This next one was a booboo but it came out kind of neat and abstract. This is a macro shot and I couldn’t focus because the car was bumping around a lot. I have to say that I’m not sure the macro lens is all that useful. It doesn’t focus until it’s right up on the thing you’re photographing. Maybe that’s not a problem for most people, but I think it would be for me. I guess it depends on the subject. The subject of the photo below was the air-conditioning button on the dash and the focus range was so narrow and close to the button, it’s no wonder that any little bump in the road caused so much blur.

Here’s a fisheye that actually looks like it:

Here’s one using Hipstamatic. The colors are horrible but I attribute that to the Hipstamatic preset, not the Olloclip. The roundness of the fisheye effect is not very apparent in this one.

It was fun while it lasted and I never took it out of my purse on Easter, go figure. I ended up returning it to my local BB (no, I wasn’t going to compound the craziness by taking it back to the Charlottesville store) because: the Olloclip only fits on iPhones without a case or bumper. And I can’t get my case off. It’s a cheap case but I like it and I don’t want to break it trying to get it off. I decided that the $11 case was of more value to me than the $70 Olloclip. It only cost me $20 in gas (yeah, only) and a couple of hours for that trip. Maybe someday I’ll buy another one. But since I don’t take that many iPhone pictures, it’s just a novelty. If it was my primary camera, I might have to rethink that case.

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…To finish this quilt.

The pattern is “Fractured Crystals” by Linda Ballard. It will hang on a wall in my dining room. And I realize as I’m writing this that I put the wrong designer’s name on the label. Arrggghhh!

I do have work to do to improve on the photography. It looks a little wonky along the bottom because it’s hanging on a rack. I’ll have to figure out a way to weigh down the bottom edge without having to put another hanging sleeve on it. Any suggestions? I could start with a wooden dowel but how to attach it temporarily? Think, Robin, think.

The top was done in 2003 and due to a friend’s comment that the teal patches looked “flat” I’ve been thinking all these years about how to jazz it up. And there was a lot of foot-dragging, as is my style. Did I want to bead it? Quilt it with metallic thread? In the end I took it to my longarmer, Sara Parrish, and asked her opinion and she suggested variegated rayon thread and custom quilting. She did a great job!

It feels so good to get another long-delayed project done.

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And They Did

At least one anyway. I’ve only seen one at a time and until I see multiples, I’ll assume we only have the one visitor.

The seed level has visibly gone down so this little guy has been working on it.

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Not a pro setup, but it’s the best I have. I borrowed the lights from church (we use them for directory and new member portraits) and I bought the quilt stand. I shot tethered to Lightroom 3 so that I could see a bigger image than what’s on the camera’s LCD.

I think I got some acceptable shots. Will have to do a little Photoshopping but hopefully not too much.

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