Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Leopard Moth Fairy

A lady had just emerged in her fresh gown of snowy white, silver circles, iridescent blues, and orange.  Her garments reflected the night sky transforming her into a star.  Her robust body, and delicate robes seem to contradict each other; how could those delicate wings carry such a star and dance in the night sky?  She was in quite a hurry on her way to a midnight ball all topsy-turvy, and blundering in her unpractical dress.  Confident, she rejected all my attempts to help her on her way, or to find a comfortable place to rest.  Rest, she did not need rest.  She had just woken from a long nap under a blanket of leaves in a her protective wrapping, and she was ready to show off her new form.  I wished she would stop, be more careful, and let me take a few more photos of her, but she knew her own desires and there was none who could change her course.  Good bye, sweet beautiful fairy of the night sky, dance, and thanks for bringing your enchantment to my garden.

Here's a link to the wikipedia site for more practical information about the Leopard Moth.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Mineral Photo Shoot 3

Ankerite (the rhomboidal cube) and
calcite (white spikes) on galena

Here's the last set of mineral photos.  I finally got decent pictures of three minerals that seemed camera shy.  I also found another mineral that I had to photograph because it is incredibly beautiful. Hope you like them!

Bornite aka Peacock Ore

Sphalerite (photo A) 

Sphalerite (photo B)

The next three photos are different sides of the same mineral!  I believe the mineral is Sphalerite, with maybe chalcopyrite, and maybe bornite, but I making big guesses.  

I love the iridescence, but I don't know
what metallic mineral is perched on top. 

Here are the reddish sphalerite crystals, but
I don't know the sugar-like mineral.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The year of the Black-throated Green Warbler

High Island 2013

This was the year of the Black-throated Green Warbler.  Last weekend, was our annual bird trip to High Island, TX for UT's Ornithology class.  Jacob has been a TA for the class the last five years, and I drive myself or ride down to join the trip.  Here's a link to a post about last year's trip.  Each year there seems to be a bird that we see often or get exceptional looks.  I've seen more Black-throated Green  warblers this spring than all five previous years combined.  2011 was the year of the rails we saw King rails, Clapper rails with chicks, and Sora.  We saw thousands of Dunlin, nearly every kind of Thrush, and Bobolinks for the first time in 2012.  Each trip is different offering exceptional birds, and beautiful memories.

 Here area a few more highlights of our trip.  We got to see a variety of beautiful warblers including Cerulean, Prothanatory, Black Burniarian, Chestnut-sided, Northern Parula, and American Restarts.  I finally got to see all four small plover species; Wilson, Semi-palmated, Piping, and Snowy.  Not only did we see lots of birds, but we got to see Sanderlings do a dance, a Ruddy Turnstone turn a stone, a Pereigrene falcon bring terror to the marsh, and a pelican up close.  Non-bird species were also noted; a bunch of baby alligators, dolphins, and friendly cotton-tailed rabbits, 

Getting good photos of birds is tricky; they are too far away, or moving too much.  This year I was pretty lucky to have some good shots.  

Sea Birds- A Brown Pelican, a Forester's Tern, and a Sanderling

Warblers: Prothonotary (top) and Black-throated Green 

Going after worms!

The Rookery: Great Egrets Nesting

Check out the 2 babies in the nest to the right!
Looks like me when I wake up in the morning.  
American Alligators- the Park Ranger said they were five days old. 

Look at the webbing on those back feet.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

March Quilts

Since my mom was here at the beginning of March, I've designed and made three more quilts for family and friends babies.  I really enjoy working out the puzzle of fitting the shapes and colors together to make an image out of fabric.  I love the bold colors and seeing the pieces fit together.  Another blog recently described quilting as "applied geometry", sometimes I think I need a refresher course as I fix measuring mistakes, rip seems, and re-sew certain squares.  I can't pick a favorite of the three quilts they're all too much fun.  

Geometric Sun

Zooming Dragonfly

Early bird

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Minerals Photo Shoot part 2

Mineral Photo Shoot part 2 is me experimenting with a dark background instead of a white background.  Since, several of the minerals that I was photographing last week were light in color some of my pictures seemed to be a little washed out.  I think I was able to get clearer pictures with the dark background, or perhaps I am improving with the more photos I take.  What do you think?  Do you like the pictures from Photo Shoot 1 with a light background or Photo Shoot 2 with a dark background?  There are a few minerals  of which I haven't been able get a good photo so I'll be playing some more this week, and with luck you will get to see Photo Shoot 3 in a few days.

Mineral Photo Shoot 2

The first four minerals were featured in Photo Shoot 1

Magnetite on Dolomite

Diopside and (?) in Calcite

Kyanite and Pyrite (left) and Topaz (right).  I prefer the Topaz picture with the light background.  What do you think?  Leave a comment in the comments section.

The next two minerals were not featured in Photo Shoot 1.

I really like this photo because you can see good crystals of all the ingredients of this specimen.  
From left to right- The black diamond shaped cube is Bornite, and just below the bornite is a blueish cluster of Apatite.  In the center of the photo is a gold pyrite cube, and the white spikes are quartz.

Celestite- The white and lightest blue color of this mineral were too bright with the white background, and you couldn't see the cauliflower-like formation.  But the dark background looks like an arctic landscape.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mineral Photo Shoot part 1

I've been playing with my camera, some minerals, and a light box.  I light box allows you to surround a subject in defuse light.  Minerals are the perfect subject for the light box, because they are fairly small, have very interesting surfaces, and some are sparkly.  I'm still working to get better light balance, but I hope you enjoy these gems.

The many colors and forms of minerals are stunning.  It is fun that crystals which are desired for clarity, luster, and color develop in the dark bowels of the earth where no one can see them.  It is also interesting how different combinations of elements lead to a such perfect shapes like the tetrahedral (pictured left) sitting of a bed of pink slivers. In this case, the tetrahedral is a magnetite crystal on a bed of dolomite.  I admire geologist who know all the different forms.

I believe this mineral is Vanadinite, but I am no expert.  Look at those wonderful red hexagons   

The label says Diopside and (?) in Calcite from New York.  I think the blue crystal is diopside. 

 Wulfenite so orange that it looks fake.  This mineral is too soft to be used in jewelry.
Add caption
 Topaz, a semi-precious stone, sure does shine.  

Kyanite, pyrite, and quartz.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Doggy Friends

Meet COOPER!  Our dogie friend and neighbor.  

I wrote Coop's name in caps because he's so bouncy, energetic, and Muppet-like!  He's super friendly, and will run up to anyone (dog or human) wanting to play.  Antro and Cooper go round and round the yard with Silly joining the fun, too.  Cooper's faster, more flexible, and springier than Antro, but Antro is heavier and stronger.  It's a fun match.  Cooper's always wanting to play even after Antro has tuckered out.  

I've been playing with our ipad and it can take video.  These doggies are my biggest source of entertainment!

I'm embarrassed by my unconscious use of squeaky, high-pitched voice in this next video, but I thought it might make you laugh so I'm posting it anyways.  Hope you enjoy!