Phone Friday II

Another batch of photos from the past week for phone-Friday – watching the trillium change colour, the first violet, dogwood, camas buds, blossom, the last of the blue sky, and trees galore

  1. Western trillium does this neat thing where the petals change colour as they age. For years I thought there were two species with different colours until I read about that in our plant book.
  2. This photo shows a group of trillium with fresh and older blooms. It’s rare to find such a dense group of trillium in the wild so I’m happy to keep taking pictures of all the flowers in this little native plant garden.
  3. The first of the Alaska violets has bloomed in the patch of ground near my office. They’re hard to capture with the phone as I need to get down low to frame up the photo, and I have to try at the right time of day to avoid casting a shadow across them.
  4. The dogwood blooms are coming along nicely! I check on them every day as they’re right outside the entrance to the School of Population and Public Health.
  5. It’s nice to see that the camas buds are beginning to show hints of blue, and I’m hoping to see the first flowers emerge next week after the warm sunshine we’ve had recently.
  6. The wind picked up towards the end of the day, Friday, blowing thousands of cherry blossom petals from the trees. I was struck by the contrast between the fresh pink and the grey of the concrete, as well as the line of the kerb, and it was nice to capture them while they were fresh.
  7. Friday morning was a lovely warm sunny morning, the first day where it almost felt like summer. With classes ended, the UBC campus feels so much more peaceful and I took advantage to capture this view of the Musqueam double-headed serpent post reflected in the still water. You’ll have to take my word for it about the reflection as it had to be left out of the square crop for Instagram.
  8. We went for a walk in Pacific Spirit Park last weekend and enjoyed the sunshine streaming through the forest of tall trees. I really like this effect of the trees filling all the available space even though the forest was bright and open where we were standing. (It reminded me a bit of the Olbers’ Paradox in astronomy, although it’s not really a valid comparison.) The original photo had quite strong perspective effects on the tree trunks so I used DxO’s geometry corrections to straighten the trees and give the photo the appearance I was after.

That’s it for this week. We’ll see what photo-opportunities the next seven days brings… I’ll try to write up the blog post on time too, which means posting the photos on Instagram a little earlier than 11 pm!

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Phone Friday I

A selection of spring scenes taken at various times over the past week, mostly up at UBC. It’s great watching all the new growth appear and develop. Expect to see a few more of these in the coming weeks as I track progress of the trillium, dogwood, magnolia, false lily-of-the-valley, common camas (especially looking forward to seeing this!), and horsetails.

With any new camera comes a honeymoon period of frenzied photo-taking. Since I bought my new phone I’ve been taking many photographs to see how good it really is and to seek out its limitations. So far (as I mentioned the other day) I’m impressed – as long as I don’t “zoom” in too far – and I’ve already amassed quite a collection of photos that I really like.

The question is, what to do with all these photos I’ve been taking that I think are so good? I don’t want to post multiple photos a day (especially with my self-imposed desire to mirror my Instagram photos on this blog), so I thought I’d save up my favourite “random” photos taken over the course of a week and upload them all at once in a single multi-photograph post. That reduces my blogging requirements considerably, and gives me a place to show off a few photos that fall under the category of “things I’ve seen” rather than a specific subject or topic.

Which brings me to my distinctly unoriginal tag for this collection of posts: phone Friday. They have to be photos taken with my phone within the past 7 days. Instagram has a limit of 10 per post; I’ll try and keep it to 7 or so, the equivalent of one per day. The inaugural collection is mostly photos taken around the UBC campus. Well, actually that’s not strictly true but it’s close enough: most of these were taken very close to my office, a couple in the Nitobe Garden, and one near Vancouver City Hall.

  1. Trillium – I recently discovered a native-plant garden at UBC and was delighted to find trillium growing there.
  2. Trillium – not just one flower either, several really nice bunches, with some flowers just turning post-pollination pink.
  3. Dogwood – right outside the building in which I work is a dogwood tree, and the sight of the new growth stopped me in my tracks one afternoon as we headed out for coffee.
  4. Nitobe Garden – a view across the pond towards cherry and maple trees; the Japanese garden is always a serene place to visit.
  5. False lily-of-the-valley & Douglas fir – I really liked the leaves poking up through the moss and the way they covered the ground at the base of this Douglas fir tree.
  6. Magnolia – deep pink magnolia against a blue sky near City Hall.
  7. Common camas – the flower I’m most looking forward to seeing in bloom, I was really surprised to find these at the end of their flowering last year so I’ve been keeping an eye on them for the first signs of buds, and here they are!
  8. Horsetails – in the same patch of grass (“meadow”) as the camas are dozens of horsetails, a mixture of male and female plants that I’m keep to watch develop over the coming weeks as I’ve not paid much attention to them in the past.

So that’s phone Friday the first. Of course I’m a couple of days late with the blog post – oops – but I’ll try to be on time next week! See you then!

Spring colour

My Instagram feed seems to have taken on a monochrome look lately, so here’s some springtime colour for wildflower Wednesday

Flower roll-call:

  1. Pretty shooting stars – rare near Vancouver as they prefer drier conditions
  2. Skunk cabbage, also known as the swamp lantern – great name!
  3. Western trillium – barely blooming, I normally expect these to bloom before the fawn lilies
  4. Fawn lily buds – like glacier lilies, it’s not uncommon for them to produce a couple of flowers per stem
  5. White fawn lilies in bud and bloom – yay! The show is just beginning!

I start to get itchy photographic fingers about this time of year ever since I found my first fawn lilies at the very end of my photo-a-day project back in 2012. While Lighthouse Park is my favourite place to go look for them, I found a small patch growing in the Rainforest Garden at the UBC Botanical Garden a couple of years ago and – since I can get in for free – figured that it’d be worth checking out. And that’s exactly what I did last Sunday afternoon.

But it’s not just about the fawn lilies: the gardens have a little patch of Garry Oak ecosystem where other flowers bloom. Among the first out are the gorgeous pink shooting stars, and so perfectly named. In a few weeks it looks like the main flowers there will be nodding onion, but I’m hoping to find others too.

Of course, after a decade of hiking in BC, I now look forward to the sight (and, yes, smell) of the fresh skunk cabbage, their cheery yellow “lanterns” pushing up through marshy ground. And I always love seeing trillium – it doesn’t grow in abundance like it does in Ontario so it’s always a treat to find it growing. Again while Lighthouse Park has been my go-to spot for the longest time, I found many more blooming in Campbell Valley Regional Park last year.

On my travels that day I found a few more early flowers too, which I’ll save for another post. All in all, a pretty good afternoon, and it’s got me really in the mood for spring.

Trillium

Western trillium is flowering now in Campbell Valley regional park. A nice quiet walk in the rain this morning: now to dry out the camera… And shoes!

I had vague recollections of trillium growing in Campbell Valley regional park (which were confirmed by me looking back at our Flickr photos from 2008), and seeing as I was out that way I decided to head over and go look for them. For once I remembered to put in the tripod and I was determined to actually use it too!

I took this shot with our Nikon D3200 – and yes, on said tripod – and I have to admit I’m really pleased with it, so much so that it’s actually restored my faith in our SLRs. I’ve been getting a bit fed up with our SLRs lately as I’m convinced the newer 18-55 doesn’t work too well on our (aging) D5000, our 55-200 has probably been dropped one too many times, and the D3200 doesn’t focus as reliably as the D5000. On top of that, our little Sony RX100II has been superb – when it’s in focus, it’s really in focus, and the image quality is great even at 100%. Plus it fits in a pocket. (I’ve probably taken more photos with that camera over the past year than with the SLR.)

Ever since we bought the D3200 I’ve felt that it’s been a simultaneously under- and over-specced camera. Under-specced in the sense that the number of focus points is small (leaving huge gaps between focus points), and over-specced when it comes to the 24 megapixel sensor. The problem with having 24 megapixels is that the camera has to be held really steady for it to be sharp at 100%, and for the most part, we shoot handheld and often in relatively poor light. Couple that with the uneven performance of the ultrawide Sigma 10-20 mm and we often came home with mis-focused, blurred, or otherwise less-than-sharp images. The best thing going for the D3200 is that it is light, and that we can occasionally get good enough shots to print quite large (36×12 and 20×16 are our largest so far).

And so it was with a little trepidation that I mounted the 18-55 on the D3200 and took it out flower-photographing. Even with the tripod, my hopes were not especially high. But I have to say that in addition to all the usual crappy shots I took today, when the camera got it right, it absolutely nailed it perfectly. My aim was to come home with one photo I was happy with: I have at least 3 to choose from now. Any issues I had were really more down to the fact that it was raining, so I couldn’t take too much time, and that the tripod was too short and too fiddly to get some of the compositions I was after (I only had my GorillaPod).

My only complaint with getting today’s shot is that a tilting screen would have really helped get the composition right. That and a new pair of eyes that can focus on something less than 2 feet from my nose…! I should probably also get an umbrella to shield the camera from the rain too.

The beginning of a year-long journey

Throwback Thursday to the day 5 years ago almost to the day when I embarked on a photo-a-day project, which I called ‘Once Around The Sun’ (for obvious reasons…). It pretty much started on a whim as I was exploring Lighthouse Park in search of fawn lilies. I didn’t find any that day, so I started with this unfurling trillium flower instead. Little did I know just what I was taking on 🙂 But, hey, now I have a year’s supply of TBT photos to choose from 🙂

The project turned into a blog too if you want to find out how it all ended: once-around-the-sun.blogspot.com.