Goldfinch Bird Visits Garden

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

A beautiful American Goldfinch yellow bird has been visiting in and around our garden this year. He seems to enjoy the flowers & berries in the garden. I have been unable to get a picture of him, because every time I would notice him I wouldn’t have my camera with me. Darn! That little phone camera is absolutely useless in getting a good enough shot of a faraway flying munchkin, only producing a blurry spec in the sky to see. More detail is needed to be able to identify what a new bird specie for me, but I had my trusty real camera Nikon with a decent lens when he showed up yesterday. I got this and used this picture to find him in our reference book and we do have beautiful birds here.

No Longer a Mystery Bird

Peter and I have, “A Field Guide to the BIRDS of North America” by Michael Vanner. This great reference, lets us discover what we are looking at. Following is the  info on page 252 quoted. Get this book if you like to look at birds.

American Goldfinch
(Cardulelis Tristis)

Common across most of North America with the exception of the far north, the American Goldfinch is a familiar visitor to bird feeders with its striking plumage. It is gregarious and will often mix with other birds in large feeding flocks. It breeds relatively late in the year, building a small tightly woven cup nest of grass and plant fibers high in a bush or tree. This holds 3-6 plain blue-white eggs which are incubated by the female for 2 weeks. The young can fend for themselves 12-17 days later and juvenile birds are brownish with dark wings and tail. It eats mainly seeds, but will also eat berries and insects. It shows a particular fondness for thistles, which it eats and uses to line its nest.

Thistle absolutely loves our place, and we are constantly at-war with those voracious thorns. I am never sure if we are just loosing a battle or if we have already lost the war. Weeds, weeds, weeds. Thistle is a never tiring foe. Now, I fully understand why he loves it here so much.

Photography Surprises

OCampo Wedding FOB 1 surprises
OCampo Wedding FOB 1

Surprises in  Photography

I love to find photography surprises when I am wearing my photographer hat! As I was swinging around to catch the “father of the groom” with “the stepmother” I got the first photograph shot and then stepped in for a better one…. and captured an unexpected wonderful surprise. Four members of the groom’s family instead of two.

OCampo Wedding FOB brothers surprises
OCampo Wedding FOB brothers

Right Place & Time

In the space of a second just between the two shots, the view changed to include two more who are the groom’s brothers walking behind their father. This would be impossible to orchestrate. Can you imagine trying to capture this shot right when the shutter opened. Take 1,000,000,000. It was simply one of those photography surprises. Lucky me!

New Equipment

I was not an official photographer for the wedding but fully enjoyed being able to use our new camera, a Nikon 7500 to capture the “non-pro” shots of the day. There is no better way for me to discover equipment capabilities than just jumping in and using a camera or lens to get familiar with it. The proof is in the pudding then, cause it either works or it doesn’t.

OCampo Wedding Photographer
OCampo Wedding Photographer

I was able to just relax and capture what was going on all around in the background. What a fully enjoyable day, I didn’t have to stress, because Pat and Kim Flanigan already had a wonderful lady doing a fantastic job in that department already. Sorry, I don’t know her name, but if you need a photographer you should get this one who is pictured above!

It is an honor to be able to attend our grand daughters wedding (alias Colleen Flanigan) this weekend. We are so lucky to have people who love us, and include us in their lives like our family does. There is now a proud couple in our family, Juan and Colleen OCampo! We love you!

Bravo!

Broccoli Treats

Garden Treats Are Here

broccoli spears in strainer
broccoli spears in strainer

Broccoli treats greet us from the garden daily now. I just can’t get over how much better home grown vegetables and fruit taste, you would not believe how sweet the flavor is. Now, store bought broccoli is a somewhat bitter second place loser to me. We planted one packet of seed and all of them came up, so our broccoli patch is surprisingly bigger than planned.

 

broccoli patch
broccoli patch

Broccoli treats are not the only vegetable we have. The first vegetable was the asparagus which peeked their heads out while the snow was still melting. It is a crop we started years ago and it finally is producing quite well. We love it and next year I am planning to figure out how it is pickle it. Though we appreciate the treat of asparagus spears, we actually got a little tired of them before it went into seed production.

asparagus going to seed
asparagus going to seed

Nature Treat Shows

Gardens are amazing nature shows. Our garden was planted 2-3 weeks late due to tractor mechanical issues. For awhile we were worried that we would not have much produce this year, but everything is growing real fast in the warm days we have had lately with temperatures of 80-90 degree daytimes with 40-50 nights. Again it seems like a wonderful carousel of delicious garden treats as everything matures at it’s own pace.

I weed and water for my daily (almost) meditation. This physical effort is well worth it, for healthy food that tastes so phenomenally good.

two pea pods
two pea pods

The peas seem ready to begin picking tomorrow, so we will be busy shucking pods while we watch tv at night. Beans and zucchini are almost ready and lets not forget the corn tasseling or grapes forming on the vines. The most candy-like treats are all the berries and fruits which are gearing up to be our next garden treat. There are many more items. Blackberry, blueberry, choke-cherry, raspberry, elderberry, cucumbers, tomatoes…. followed by apple, and pears later.

blackberry hedge, apples
blackberry hedge, apples

 

 

Pet Peeves in Photography

I have identified some definite pet peeves for me as I wade through the trending volumes of unprofessional photography available on the worldwide web.

Butt Shots!

butt shotFirst of all, these are the worst for me. How many “butt-shots” do we need to see? Honestly, it pays to get on the other side of the cake. How many backs, heads and butts do we need to see before we can actually see the face of the birthday-girl blow out the candles?

Please crop the crowd showing us their backs to focus on the recognizable face or focal point! Do the world a favor. Delete the photograph if it is only a shot made up of only butts.

Selfie’s!

selfieGirl
selfie Girl
selfie |ˈselfē| (also selfy)

noun (pl.selfies) informal

a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media: occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn’t necessary.

Really! I love the way that this definition ends saying a new selfie every day is not necessary. Selfies are over used to document every day activities and companions by everyone. They have now become a standard portrait method.

Have you ever considered that those closeup faces allow widespread facial recognition and location tracking?

Is big brother watching? Yes, you bet he is!

I do not consider the selfie as an art form.

Artistic

Art is that image that invites us in….  to feel, remember and become part of  what holds our gaze. Those candid action shots that freezes the movement perfectly in the sports arena, or the thoughtful portrait that balances light and focus with a memorable expression, or even the magnificent storytelling essence of an expansive landscape or event in history.

Remembering, the importance of excellence makes me spat when I see a warped face in a group stacked together in a selfie!

Any image that we quickly glance at, see and move away from, does not fall into the category of art for me. 

Certainly, a selfie’s facial distortion, does not come close to the magical essence of the professional portrait capturing a storyline or personality elegantly. 

Digital Photography

Digital Photography

CellPhoneCamerajessica-cao-unsplash
by jessica-cao-unsplash

We live in a digital photography age with almost every person carrying a cell phone camera on their person 24/7. A photographing craze has literally taken over our world. Unfortunately, this creates a virtual flood of imagery documenting absolutely every moment of humanity. As the observer we suffer a deluge of random images circulating the planet on our social media connections. Unfortunately, many photographers utilize no sorting filters resulting in a large production of un-named, cropped, or adjusted photos. Most importantly, very little thought about producing quality images is occurs.  As observers of the flood, we suffer from exposure to more than our “fair-share” of terrible shots.

We’re All Guilty!

Don’t get me wrong, professional photographers and artist’s do the same as most “trigger-happy” amateur photographers in the crowd.

People aren’t utilizing good photography methods. Pros put thought into focus, background, and lighting before they click that shutter. The care taken is evident in higher quality. In contrast, amateurs create volumes of images without any kind of adherence to tried-and-true photography methods. The result is, many images with poor quality, lack of focus, and no finesse or meaning. 

Talent is forfeited if no thought goes into making the art.

girlCellPhoneClem-onojeghuo-unsplash
by Clem-onojeghuo-unsplash

We have become view mongers blindly stumbling along with a cell phone in front of us. Setting the camera to auto-focus, as we proceed to take as many shots as possible, passing up the achievement of creative work.  Are we simply gamblers of photography, relying solely on the law of averages? Blindly shooting, and hoping that our luck will somehow prevail with an outstanding shot. Unfortunately, without any effort at improving our methods of photography, quality will not improve. Even with large volumes, the truth remains that, we just create a larger amount of the same kind of “terrible shots”.

Do you fit into this category?

Are you an addicted photo gambler? Are your images un-named sequential numbers chosen by your phone? Do you scroll through pages and pages looking for an image to show someone?

Test it out…

cellPhoneGalleryhussain-ibrahim-unsplash
by hussain-ibrahim-unsplash

Is your phone, cloud or hard drive storage organized…

  • Can you search for a particular image by entering a name, place or date?
  • How many of the photographs, have a name or folder?

Discernment

In “Art and Photography”, the difference between an amateur and pro is shown by their ability to discern what is “good photography” and what “is not good photography”. A learned recognition skill obtained through the study of the field standards is what discernment is. With so many avenues to learn on the internet, there is no excuse not to educate yourself. Knowing what is good will allow a pro to not have un-identified hoards of shots in storage. Get rid of the junk, only the best are saved. 

A pro invests time, effort and money into learning methods to get good images. Investigation into what current photography standards are is important. Practice is how we apply education, improving our work. Quality levels don’t change, if no effort is spent.

Additionally, the  professional creative has to be able to locate, reproduce and share their work in a timely manner, requiring some method of identification. You can tell a pro by seeing how they practice organization of their images. Typically naming to save using the client name, event, and/or dates. Whatever makes it easy to find. By establishing a consistent routine of sorting, organizing, and saving, you will greatly improve the content of your “body of work”. Suggested organization steps include;

  • keeping only the best
  • discarding duplicates, and out-of-focus shots
  • checking  resolution, exposure, color adjustments
  • cropping, naming and saving

Taking the steps to improve storage of our collection greatly improves everything by making us re-examine our inventory of photography. Proper care requires checking our images, only then we find those needing adjustment or disposal resulting in a smaller  and better collection.

I am all for improving the flow of great photography.

Finally, instead of wading through a flood of bad shots, I’d rather experience the magic of only a few really good photographs.

Photographs, a Historic Art Form

Photos

Cordelia Canniff & son with her Mom
There must have been no age restrictions on driving back then.

Here is an example of historic photography in my family. These are my Great Grand Aunt, “Cordelia Canniff”, with her Mother and child. I know where I get it from, cause this looks like fun to me. Just wondering….

What are the age restrictions for driving?

Do you think the roads might have been a little bit muddy?

History

Photographs are a form of art that preserve views of our humanity. A visual form of historic storytelling. Each old photograph allows us a glimpse into life long ago.  Words could not describe the spirit evident in their faces. I am touched as I gaze at the noble facial structure of Chief Joseph‘s portrait. I bet that a lot of persuasion was required to get the Chief to allow his portrait taken. We are fortunate that the photographers were successful. Their perseverance allows us the ability to see his personality, dress and culture perfectly.

I used to be the only fool carrying a camera with me, during the “stone-age” of my youth. People would make fun of me for this fascination until I showed great shots I got. This the view from the rim of the Kalaheo Side of the Kalalau Canyon in Kauai (Hawaii’s Miniature Grand Canyon). 

KalaheoKalalauCanyonRim
Kalaheo Kalalau Canyon Rim

This habit is life-long for me, here is a typical view of me with camera-in-hand in the 1990s. In modern day society, everyone carries a camera around in their cell phone so I am no longer the unusual person in the crowd.

Val with camera
1998 Val With Canon Camera

Filter the Volume

The costs involved in the use of the medium of film, nurtured a natural discernment of the importance of a subject before taking a picture. This narrowed down the volume of shots taken. Additionally, there were the considerations of the developing cost of the film and print which created another sorting of the images effectually  filtering the collection a second time. Buying a camera, and learning how to use it narrowed the photographers down to people with an invested interested in the field. This investment along with the costs involved in the film and development created a filtering process which greatly narrowed down public photography to the “most excellent shots in the batch”.

Identifying Stored Images

Estate sales, illustrate many avenues of photograph storage. documentation, filing and storage of shots is handled differently by each individual who points a camera. Some, simply leave volumes of unsorted and forgotten envelopes in boxes, while others carefully place shots into highly organized photograph albums. Some photographers take the time to identify each print with notes written on the back to identify the people, places and things being recorded. This printed method of history storage is dying. Boxes of photographs are being replaced with digital storage. Cloud, phone, tablet and disk .

Photographs in a box
Photographs that we leave behind.

Getting quite ancient myself, I find that I am focussing on downsizing, and minimizing everything. I gradually go through and sort out the stuff collected throughout my life. Within my household, I find that I have inherited multiple boxes of photographic memories from deceased family members. These gifts have assigned me the onorous task of sorting through photographs from a time long long time ago, electing to discard duplicates, un-identified, or out-of-focus shots in the process. Reducing the volume, but, still preserve the best and most important.

onerous |ˈōnərəsˈänərəs|

adjective

(of a task, duty, or responsibility) involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome: he found his duties increasingly onerous.

 It is important to try and pass down family history. I scan, reasonably repair and post to my own family tree on https://www.ancestry.com. The plan is to scan, then save to disk. Subsequently, pack up and send originals to the most closely related family member still alive. Hopefully, I will not burden any loved ones with having to go through a similar task when I am gone. End goal is no boxes of photographs in my studio when I pass.

Thank you to my relatives with manners and consideration!

I appreciate the past relatives who had the good manners to let me know who and what I am looking at. Those Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, Moms and Dads, siblings who took the time  to scribble an ID message on the back, are absolute life-savers for the person working on family history preservation. See my great great great aunt’s photograph,  who had been ID’d because of a little note on the back which allowed me to see who she was on the family tree.

I suggest that the same consideration should be taken with digital files documenting family history that we are accumulating. We should be removing duplicates, bad shots, and storing them in retrievable methods.

Joe and Dora Fitts 1800s
Identifying our history is important, Joe and Dora Fitts 1800s

 

Memories in a Photo

Photographs & Memories

Jean and LawrenceHave you ever noticed how a single good photograph can instantly trigger teleportation back into a memory? The camera was a magical invention. Photography has had that amazing power for hundreds of years, the ability to capture a memory.  This thought is elegantly presented by the lyrics in an old favorite song of mine, “Photographs and Memories” by Jim Croce. Song writers are a special breed of artist too!

I was processing photographs on my computer this morning, you know, naming and filing or discarding if it is out-of-focus or a duplicate. I opened  a family folder and instantly began touring my past and, before I knew it, an hour had passed. There were some kleenex involved with the images of people no longer here or are far away. Here is a picture of my cousin Jeanie and her husband Lawrence taken years ago. I feel these people are never around for long enough. They were just here visiting for a short time and I miss them a lot. 

People change a great deal throughout their lives. Here is a photograph of my 3-year-old son trying a lemon. What a great facial expression! 

Pat Sour FaceNext, is a shot of he and I taken in the Colorado airport in his twenties. Sorry for the graininess of the second image (“low-res” cell phone) camera. Truyly, time changes everything. Those two shots don’t even look like the same person, which is amazing.
Pat & Mom in Colorado

 

 

 

 

Back from Social Media Break

Social Media

First of all, disconnecting from social media has freed up about an hour a day for more important stuff to get done in my life. Being “social media free” is a good way to figure out priorities for me. I am back from a 6 week break, sabbatical, from the social media world. It has been refreshing to be “social media” free. I narrowed my involvement down to once-a-day for phone messages, texts and did not peruse FaceBook posts. 

lady texting
lady texting

Actually breaking away from thinking (obsessing) about FaceBook or checking my phone for messages. There are times that I need to return to the less busy existence where I simply get up and do my work or chores without interruption (bombardment) of tons of minutia that social media produces. This break has made me notice how much of a distraction that my phone or computer screen can become, and things go a lot better without that distraction for my spirit.

I have noticed a large majority of people only live on the fringe or border of their lives as they stare into their blue screens. They are only glancing at their lives going by on the side as they check into their social media sites. What a waste.

I walk through the grocery store seeing children trying to talk to a parent who is fully engaged with their phone? Is that phone screen more important than your child?

At a restaurant, you see a couple who looks like they are on a first or second date. Are they both looking at their phones instead of each other? How important is your date’s company while sharing this meal?

Hours of Phone Gazing

I certainly could not care less about seeing what you have found to share during your phone gazing today. Please don’t share what you have spent hours scanning through FB to find, unless you think it is truly worthwhile information to share. The fact that a male whale ejaculates 40 pounds of sperm and only 10 pounds enters the female, is not in that category for me. A dear cousin of mine shared that with his FB world today. Hmmmm, really? Please don’t use up my time with useless trivia.

Sharing with friends & family.

Having thousands of friends on FaceBook does not generate happiness. Numbers do not fill our hearts. It is the quality of friendships in life that makes my spirit soar. Having friends who get to actually see each other “face-to-face”, or at least want to do that (if to far apart) does make life worth living. I prefer communicating with another human being face-to-face whenever possible.

Friends and family are the people that are more important than any text message, phone call or FB event. I don’t respond to my cell phone while I am lucky enough to be spending time with them. I leave my phone off during dates, or meetings. A cell phone is a tool that I pay for to be able to make calls, look up info on the internet, and find directions when I choose to. I can return calls and texts later on at my discretion.  I am not a slave to my phone, and I don’t have to immediately respond to it. It is only a tool.

Blue Screens Rule

cell phone crowd
cell phones in the crowd

Above all, it is amazing how many people walk around with their phone in front of their face 24/7. If you enter a doctors waiting room, not a single person greets you. There are no welcome nods. All are looking at their phones, ignoring all the other people in the room? 

 Mindful living is something all of us could improve on. Does anyone pay attention to life going on around them now? Not much detail is noticed about life around you as you gaze into a blue screen. The outlying life in the peripherals is a sad and blurry missed scene.

cell phone texting dangers
cell phone texting dangers

Police detectives probably just hate interviewing witnesses now. Gazing at the blue screen and walking down the sidewalk, if a high speed chase were to go by and/or an accident happen right in front of you….

How much help would you be able to provide?

  • What happened?
  • What did the driver look like?
  • What color was the car?
  • What was the license number?
  • How many people were in the car?
  • What were they wearing?
  • Was there a gun?
  • What hand did the gunman use?

Finally, I don’t intend to miss my life or only notice it in the peripherals by allowing myself to be distracted by the endless trivia of social media. I have only one chance to live my life and I plan to be present and live it to the best of my ability, in the here and now.

Retirement Woelk Style

RetirementPete06

What does retirement Woelk style, look like? This World’s Best, trophy holding, Woelk just retired…. completing 31 years at Kaiser Aluminum Trentwood, Spokane Washington plant. Friday was his last workday. He has 4 weeks of vacation before his “real” retirement starts. So, he is actually “on vacation” so, this is really his first week of vacation. Doesn’t look like vacation to me, does it look like vacation to you? Hmmmmm.

RetirementPete05 RetirementPete04

In all honesty, I am glad he is getting the tractor fixed because we need it to finish getting the garden in, but honestly, this is NOT how I picture  retirement or vacation. Not even close.

RetirementPete03 RetirementPete02

This Machine Has Needed This

Every nook and cranny of the machine has been inspected, cleaned, greased and put back together and now he is taking apart the front-end to find the noise it made. Hopefully, it will stay fixed all season after this thorough go through. This is a Kubota we bought from Ann and Dan when they moved to Arkansas. I pray for safety and protection for him every morning. We own stock in Band Aid and Tylenol now.

RetirementPete04 RetirementPete02 RetirementPete01

Retiring Woelk Style isn’t Normal

Who Cares? I’ve never really cared much about normal anyhow. I’m Just As Guilty As Pete…I am working in the garden this week. Got the strawberry patch transplanted and spaced so they are not overcrowded. Hoping to be able to replenish the strawberry jam, strawberry syrup and strawberry juice this year. Un Huh! I will put up the before and after pictures of that in later posts.

Will get on the berry bushes and fruit tree bases clearing next so that they stay healthy and should be ready for when the tractor is back together and ready to plow and disc the rest of the garden so we can seed. We already have the other starts in the house waiting to go in.

But, I already had steamed asparagus for breakfast this morning. Yummm.  Our roses are budding, fruit trees are blossoming,  iris are getting ready to do their thing. Love the warm weather and the hummingbirds, life is great in the fast lane here in Elk. Never thought this ski bum would say that, did ya? Neener neener neener!