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Flagstaff Arboretum-Birds of Prey

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 25th is Arbor Day, we didn't realize it, it was free of charge to access the arboretum. Unlike the nice, warmer weather we had earlier of the week, it was windy, cloudy, and cold. I think we are still too early in the season to see the Spring colors (mostly native plants at the arboretum).

But we wer able to see the Birds of Prey on display. Because of the wind, the normal program was not held, but are resting on handlers hands.

Above we have both male and the female Eurasian Eagle Owls. The female is the larger of the two, which is common among birds of prey. They must be camera shy, since most of my shots, they seemed to look away.
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Ready for Spring

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sorry, this picture is a little soft. But it was snowing, windy, and I was driving in my car when I snapped this. Hey, it's not stopping this guy, who just can't let a little snow/wind stop him.

Glad Spring is here (for us), the driving range is always crowded with people welcoming in the Spring!

This was taken a week ago. Today, it was 75 degree up here in Flagstaff, and gets to 32 at night. Some 40 degrees differences, I guess I have to wait before I can plant any vegetables..
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New toys

Well, I finally ordered some center pinch lens caps for my Olympus. I know, it says Nikon, but heck, the price was nice, and I am definitely tired of trying to take the lens cap off with the lens hood on. This is a must have!

Also purchased the M42 to Olympus 4/3 mount adapter. This is a cheapy little item, helps me to add a few extra lenses that I can use with the E500, but unfortunately, this version does not have AF confirmation (like the Pentax). The other thing is, the view finder is a little more difficult to get right on, due to smaller size with the Olympus camera. I might have to invest in a focus screen. But heck, it's still fun to mount the SMC 50mm lens on it.
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Urban Wildlife

Sunday, April 19, 2009

As I drove around in the Fountain Hills area, I found quite a bit of animals among the residential area (or you can say more houses among the wilderness).

A lot of quails, and here, a road runner. Not colorful like the cartoon counterpart, I am sure there's no shortage of lizards and snakes around this area. I didn't see a coyote though.
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Driving Range

Great weather forces people out of the house to practice their swings.

Fountain Hills, AZ
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FL Botanical Garden

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Change from arid to lush and humid locale.

This was shot a few years ago. Another attempt of my sepia mod.

A little about Florida Botanical Garden can be found at the link. It is located at Largo, FL (near Clearwater, FL).

It is free access, a nice place to visit when it's not too hot/humid.

Next door, is Heritage Village, another nice place to visit.
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Lone Saguaro

Got up early in the morning, was hoping to drive out to Superstition Mountain, but GPS told me it's actually further out than I thought. Heck, since I am up, might as well see what's around Fountain Hills.

Saw this lone saguaro on a hill, lighting was nice. The only thing was, I left the ISO setting at 800 from last night, don't you hate that?! Reminds me of this article. At leat the memory card was in the camera when I left, :).

I have tried numerous times to get the darker sepia setting right. I don't think I have mastered it yet. Not using any fancy photo editor, but all done with Picasa. I think I am getting close to it.
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Veterans Memorial Park - Fountain Hills, AZ

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another hospital visit, this time, we stayed at Fountain Hills, which is just a few miles east of Mayo Clinic.

There's a nice little man made lake across the street from our hotel. Had a nice little walk as we enjoyed the sunset, even though it was really windy that day, gust around 40 MPH.

A lot of olive trees were planted along the lake. Really cool.
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Ultra Clamp

I found this little gadget at a REI store in Scottsdale. It's made by Pedco, who also makes the Ultrapod II, which is a handy little tripod.

The Ultraclamp is priced at $24 at REI. Ultrapod II is priced around $15.

Unlike the Ultrapod II, which flexes a little due to it's legs are made from fiberglass enforced nylon, the clamp seems much sturdier with the metal base. The head portion is not metal, but once tightened, is very strong, it does not move or flex.

It can be used on doors, car windows (it has rubber coating), with your pocket camera. Besides the camera, I can also use it with my off camera flash setup.
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Creosote Flowers

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This scraggily looking plant, which grows fairly well in desert area below 5000 feet, is a true survivor of harsh environment.

There are living creosote bush that's estimated to be around 10,000 years old. Make it one of the oldest living plants.

It has a strange odor, which some people find objectionable, but it doesn't bother me too much. If you wet the leaves, it intensifies the smell, and it reminds me of a desert shower, which is always a good thing for desert locations. From watching the "Survivor Man" show, the host burned the leaves, and used the smoke as a way to cleanse himself, like a smoke bath, have to give that a try sometime.
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Mesquite Thorn

Continuing my desert plant pictures, here's close up of mesquite tree.

Surprisingly, this tree is considered a legume. Its beans are edible, although I have never tried it.
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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ocotillo - A desert shrub of southwestern United States and Mexico having slender naked spiny branches that after the rainy season put forth foliage and clusters of red flowers.

Some people said it's flowers are edible, goes good in salad. Haven't tried it, I am sure it's not an easy feat to harvest it.
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It takes 60-70 years before the Saguaro grows an arm. I wonder how old this one is.

Spent another Friday in Phoenix. This time, we were greeted by high wind, while on the news, we learned a secition of I40 was closed down near Flagstaff, also some snow/ice up there. Weird weather.
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