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Black & White Cloudscapes (1 of 2)Last month in May we had some stormy skies, and I grabbed my camera and took these pictures, what I saw and what came out were two entirely different things. Fortunately in Lightroom I was able to bring back what I actually saw. I am sure they could have been processed better, I am just getting into converting images to black and white and there is a lot to learn or seems so, it just takes trial and error. I have noticed some of the photography when published the blog, does not show up the same in the post as good as they do on Facebook, then sometime it is the oposite. I never know until I hit publish. The pictues often show more detail when you click on them and enlarge them. Some pictures you think are junk in color often times look much better in black & white. It is nice to have the choice.

It is amazing the cloud formations that happen up against the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, the mountain for which I am sitting at the foot of, really do not look that high, yet clouds seem to get damed up against them at times and really creates some interesting and often time menacing looking clouds.

Often times they look so mean, but dicipate as they get to the mountains, other times they look billowy and serene……..Watch Out! So many times depending on the time of the year, they can look downright ugly and you think you are going to have a storm of storms, and nothing happens. While other times like stated above, serene and billowing puff balls balloon and the next thing, dynamite like thunder.

Black & White Cloudscapes (2 of 2)I am in no means a meteorologist, however living in the valley all of my life I have learned about Orographic Lifting, when winds go up the side of a mountain and spin the atmosphere and during certain storms especially in summer, will ring out an abundance of rain in one area, often causing flash flooding, what we call a “stuck thunderstorm” sounds very high tech doesn’t it (NOT) !

During the high heat of summer, with the high heat and stagnant humidity, one can see where winds from an oncoming storm moves across the valley from the West Virginia mountains to the west, move east across the wide valley and then suddenly hits a brick wall (the Blue Ridge mountains) on the eastern side, these winds lift the hot stagnant humid air up the side of the mountain and starts to roll in the atmosphere and quickly often time dramatically you can see giant thunder heads build while you are watching them. What do you do? Run in and unplug all of your electronics (just in case) Keeer POW, type thunder ensues, the type that makes your teeth rattle. The scarry type! Often followed by lighting you can read by in a dark room!



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It is simply amazing what a different world comes to light when you take a simple subject, in this case a simple watercolor painting, an put on your extention tubes and look closely through the lens at what pictures pop out at you from within a simple watercolor painting.

You will find a new world of colors, textures, and layering that the normal field of vision will not detect. Often, you will see it in near 3-D effect. I enjoy looking at these things and finding new worlds within simple subjects as a watercolor painting, petals of flowers, leaves. You just never know what you will find.

It is amazing what our world is actually mad up of, when you go closer and closer!

Perhaps as below, in a simple flower painting, you will discover that you have a roasting hot lava lake from an errupting volcano!

The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (1 of 22)  The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (2 of 22)

Perhaps you find some leaves hanging from tree branches in summer and autumn colors. 

The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (6 of 22)  The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (7 of 22)

Colorful abstract designs emerge from within a painting

The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (8 of 22)  The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (9 of 22) 

You can see the layered looking textures between what you laid down on the watercolor paper and the subltle textures of the underlying paper of the cold pressed surface

The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (10 of 22)  The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (11 of 22)

Rocky and Mountainous scenes as with the second picture almost in antique sepia tones, moody mountains against a cloudy sepia orange sky. Imagination!

The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (21 of 22) 

The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (22 of 22)

The raging ocean beating and up upon the rocky shoals, billowing up over the rocks.

    The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (5 of 22)The Close-up World of a Watercolor Painting (4 of 22)



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Geese in the Park

Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (1 of 16)The other day I was looking at all the pictures in my Lightroom catalog, and realized that I had forgotten about all the pictures I had taken from June 2016, a beautiful day in which I had spent several hours meandering around throughout the park. I had take over 200 pictures that day! Even if I pick and choose carefully there are too many to put into one post.

Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (5 of 16)I was lucky that day, the Geese were visiting and they too were meandering around the park and seemed very accustomed to being photographed.

As parks go in the Harrisonburg, Dayton, Bridgewater, Virginia area, Wildwood in Bridgewater has the greatest diversity of scenic beauty to offer. It has the South fork of the North River flowing through it, as well as to me the greatest focal feature which is the dam. Beautiful walking paths, flowers and gardens, a swinging bridge, with water lillies underneath. The park is beautiful at any given time of the day!

Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (9 of 16)  Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (10 of 16)

Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (8 of 16)  Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (12 of 16)

For myself it is well worth the 25 mile drive to get to, from my home in Elkton, VA. My only regret is that I was not into photography when I lived in Bridgewater, for 17 years, so that I could have went there during the golden hours, morning and evening. I only lived about 1 mile from the park.

Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (4 of 16)  Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (14 of 16)

Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (15 of 16)  Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (16 of 16)

Wildwood Park - Geese 2016 (3 of 16)



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Container Gardening (9 of 11)Due to the recent rains, my transformation of the container garden, on my balcony is taking longer than I had wanted, however you cannot circumvent mother nature. I have been successful in changing out the old soil in 2/3rds of the containers. Now that nicer weather is here, I sould be able to get the rest done on Tuesday.

You could not ask for better weather to not stress out the plants, all of which look great.  The only one that does not will be the Gerbera Daisies. Which has a built in defense mechanism, which protects it from excessive moisture loss. If you have ever had these you will know despite how much water you give them (over watering can kill them). They will wilt in the sun, it looks like they are dying, they are NOT!, as soon as the sun moves away from them they will stand straight up.

Container Gardening (7 of 11)  Container Gardening (10 of 11)

There are 3 different Geraniums in each contain, along with Crystal Palace Blue Lobelia, and Carpet of Snow White Sweet Alysum. The corner containter, which as the terra cotta Olla in th center of it, has a bright Red/Orange and a bright yellow Gerbera Daisy in it, along with a pink Lantana, and Black and Blue Salvia Gargantua, in front is Sweet Alysum and Blue Lobelia.

The Olla I cannot say enough for over the past 4 years. It has been amazing in the container, all plants are kept well and steadly watered even thought the hottest weater. When I went to remove the soil around the Olla, The root system was a solid mass from the past 2 years of growth, I had to remove ALL the dirt and roots from the container to the bottom. One day I would love to try an Olla in the open ground of a garden.

You can read more about the Olla in this blog post from April 2015


Learn even more from the site:

Dripping Spring Ollas

Container Gardening (1 of 11)

Container Gardening (3 of 11)  Container Gardening (2 of 11)

Here is the soil & soiless mix I am using the containers this year. It looks like it will require a second bale of greenhouse mix. I mixed the soil mix.

2 parts greenhouse mix –to- 2 parts Miracle Gro & 1 part Organic Planting Soil, so far the plant seemed to love the mixture.