Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Review of Sunflower Facts and Photographs

Fields of Sunflowers


Each year during the month of July, I anxiously wait for the sunflower fields to bloom.  Several years ago I discovered some sunflower fields in the Missouri river bottom land about 10 miles from my house.  My granddaughters were visiting and I took them to the fields to take some photographs.  I wrote this article telling about my experience in photographing the sunflowers. Photographing Sunflowers   

Before they Bloom

In reading about sunflowers I have found that there are actually five stages in the life of the sunflower.  Three of those stages take place before they bloom.
 
1.  The first stage, the germination stage, takes places when the seeds are planted.  This stages takes about eight days.  After the seeds are planted the roots develop and seep into the ground and then a shoot will start peaking out of the ground in search of sunlight that it needs to grow.
 
2.  The second stage is called the vegetative phase.  During the first 13 days after the seedling starts its  growth toward the sun it is in the vegetative emergence stage.  Then the first leaf comes and it is now in stage 1 of the vegetative phase, a second leaf comes and it is now in stage 2, this keeps on as  more leaves are added to the stalk.
 
3.  The third stage is called the reproduction phase.  In this stage a bud will form between the cluster of leaves.  It will initially be star like in appearance but in time will grow into the tall beautiful plants with bright yellow flowers that we know so well.  This whole stage takes about 30 days.  In our area I know that this stage should be coming to an end in mid to late July.  This year I was out with friends in mid July and we decided to take a drive to see how the sunflower fields were coming along.  They were right in the middle of the reproductive stage and I got some nice  photos of the flowers in this stage.
Reproductive Phase


Blooming Stage

During the blooming stage the sunflowers are in full bloom. During this phase you will see lots of bees busy fertilizing and pollinating the flowers.  This stage will only last for about 20 days so I knew I had to get back to the fields quickly if I wanted to see the fields in full bloom.  Fortunately about a week after my first visit a friend posted some photos  showing the flowers in full bloom.  I grabbed my camera and hopped in my car and headed right out to take some photos.  I was rewarded with the following glorious sights.




Harvesting Phase

After the blooms are finished the seeds are harvested.  You will want to wait till the flowers turn brown and start to bloom and then you cut the stems about 4 inches from the head of the flowers. Sunflower heads should be stored upside down in a dry and breathable bag.

Sunflowers are annuals so they must be replanted each year.

Fun Facts and more Sunflower Photos

The Sunflower has been named the plant of the year for 2021.  In her review of this information, Olivia Morris shares more fun facts and photos about the Sunflower.  Hope for the New Year Sunflowers Plant

Zazzle Products from My Photographs

I enjoy making cards and other Zazzle products from my photos.  Here are a couple I hope you like.



Here some more Zazzle Sunflower gifts from my photographs.

 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Friday, August 20, 2021

Camera Lens Cap Holder Leash Review

camera lens holder
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with keeping up with my camera lens caps.  I am not normally clumsy, but my lens caps just seem to slip through my fingers and fall to the ground just as I am trying to capture the perfect shot.

Not only can fumbling with the camera lens cap cause me to lose the opportunity for a great picture, dropping it in dirt can get the lens cap dusty. That pretty much negates the purpose of having a lens cap.  After all, I don't wish to press dirt or dust against my camera lens.

Normally, I wear jeans and my camera vest when we go hiking. If I am taking a panoramic photo of a landscape, I simply slip my camera lens in a pocket.  However, if I spot an animal along the trail, I tend to "flip" the cover off the lens in a hurry.  Needless to say, that is how it ends up on the ground instead of in my pocket.

I've also managed to drop and lose lens caps in our vehicles. They just seem to gravitate to unknown crevices or fall into the dark abyss, otherwise known as under the seat. 

Extreme annoyance with these pesky, unruly covers sent me on a search for a leash to keep them close at hand. I demand, no more runaways!

Obviously, I am not alone in this game of "find the fallen lens cover" because I quickly located exactly what I needed.  You, too, may feel you need a remedy.  If so, I can highly recommend this easy to attach lens cap leash. 

 

Altura Photo Lens Cap Keeper 
Camera Lens Cap Leash for DSRL & Mirrorless Lenses

It might seem that tying a string onto the lens cap would be a simple solution.  However, my lens cap covers do not have any holes in them anywhere. Therefore, a string is not an option.

These camera lens cap leashes have one end that sticks to the lens cap cover and the other end is an elastic strap that stretches snugly around the lens itself.  This simple invention works like a charm!  Plus, the lens cap leashes are extremely inexpensive.

Stop your lens cap struggle today!  If only every annoyance was this easy to eliminate.






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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Friday, July 30, 2021

Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist Boat Ride Reviewed

Maid of the Mist photo by Sylvestermouse
Have you ever wanted to step under a waterfall and feel the fresh running water splash over you?  If so, you will love the "Maid of the Mist" boat ride!  

This fantastic boat takes your right up next to the falls, and under the "mist" of Niagara Falls.  It is totally awesome! 

Don't just stand and look at the falls.  Hop on the Maid of the Mist boat and ride right up to them to feel, smell and even taste (if desired) Niagara Falls.  It is an experience you will never forget and something I recommend to everyone who can stand on a rocking tour boat.

Riding out to the falls is an experience in itself.  Reaching the falls, where the boat stops and lingers under the Niagara Falls spray for a few minutes, is magnificent. 

I loved every moment of it and would gladly do it again in a "New York minute".

Niagara Falls photo by Sylvestermouse
View of Niagara Falls from the Maid of the Mist boat just before we entered the mist

 

Maid of the Mist Boat Ride - Niagara Falls

The Maid of the Mist boat ride takes approximately 20 minutes.  On the July summer day we visited Niagara Falls, it was fairly crowded in the Niagara Falls State Park, but the line for the Maid of the Mist was reasonable.  We only had to wait for the length of one boat ride before we were boarding the boat. Therefore, our wait time was approximately 20 minutes and part of that time was spent receiving and donning the head to toe rain poncho provided with the price of the ticket. The poncho makes the perfect souvenir too!

I took my small travel camera so I could take pictures from the boat.  However, I did tuck it inside my cape right before we entered the mist.  Unfortunately, there is no way to photograph from within the mist without a waterproof camera.  Next time, I will take an underwater camera!

Niagara Falls photo by Sylvestermouse
If you look closely, you can see the boat in the (back) falls mist
You can also see the walking trail on lower left side

The cost of the boat ride ticket includes admission to the observation deck.  The elevator down to the boat docking area is the center section, that looks like a support beam, under the center of the observation deck.

Niagara Falls Observation Deck photo by Sylvestermouse

Parking at Niagara Falls State Park

Niagara Falls Rapids photo by Sylvestermouse
Bridge to Goat Island over the rapids that feed Niagara Falls
There are several parking lots for cars.  As you enter the park, there were at least two areas for parking for a picnic or just for viewing the rapids.

In our case, we went to Niagara Falls State Park while moving our daughter to New York.  Therefore, we were in a fully loaded U-Haul truck.  At first, we were concerned for where we would be allowed to park, and for good reason.  Most of the lots accommodate standard car, SUV or van size vehicles.  Fortunately for us, and our camper vehicle friends, there is a parking lot on Goat Island just for the longer, wider vehicles.  Plus, there is a reasonably priced trolley to the heart of the park from the #3 parking area for those who would prefer to ride instead of walk.

Simply pay attention to signs as you enter the park.  It is easy to miss parking directions because it is exciting to see all that is there, plus the need to watch out for pedestrians.


More to See at Niagara Falls State Park

Believe it or not, there is more to see at Niagara Falls State Park than the falls.  While Niagara Falls is clearly the main attraction, there is an aquarium, hiking trails and the "Cave of the Winds" (a man made walk along the bottom of the falls), as well as food vendors and souvenirs. There is also a Top of the Falls Restaurant that overlooks Niagara Falls.

You can view Niagara Falls at Night too thanks to the colored lights which Mary Beth photographed and previously published on Review This Reviews.







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Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Photo Review of a Random Act of Beauty in Paso Robles

 

Sunflowers on Parking Strip
Sunflowers on Paso Robles Corner Parking Strip, © Barbara Radisavljevic

A Random Act of Beauty?

Would you rather see these gorgeous sunflowers next to your house every day or would you rather have the view below?

City Maintained Paso Robles Corner Parking Strip, © Barbara Radisavljevic


That's what I thought. And that's probably what Tiffany, the woman who planted the sunflowers, thought, too. This is part of the parking strip the City of Paso Robles planted.  It's across from the house next door to Tiffany. I can see why she preferred sunflowers. 

I discovered her literal forest of sunflowers on my way to the grocery store in Paso Robles California one July afternoon. I was participating in a Medium Photo-a-Day Challenge and I hardly ever go out of my neighborhood. When I do go anywhere I can't walk, I try to take a picture of something unique for the challenge. So on my way to the store my plan was to drive around the block the store was on, park behind the store, and walk until I found something worth taking a picture of. I hadn't even turned the corner when I saw this in front of me. 

Sunflower Forests on 21st Street
Sunflower Forests on 21st Street, © Barbara Radisavljevic


In the foreground you see the sunflowers in the parking strip in front of Tiffany's house. In the background is the center strip across the southbound lane of the street heading toward Vine Street. I walked the center strip and it appears that besides the flowering trees there, the city had also planted some hummingbird sage (unless someone else did). Most of that strip past the sunflowers looked like this.

Hummingbird Sage in July on 21st Street Median Strip, © Barbara Radisavljevic


There was also a lot of this grassy plant on the median strip. I'm not sure what it is but the city plants it in all these storm drain strips. The white flower is bindweed or wild cucumber. It's a weed. I've no idea what the green plant at the back is. I can understand why Tiffany preferred sunflowers.

Unidentified Grasses and Bindweed on 21st Street Median Strip, © Barbara Radisavljevic


You Can Also Create This Kind of Beauty

When I see sunflowers in bloom they lift my spirits. They speak of the energy it takes to grow tall and reach for the sky. And they are easy to grow. Would you like to get involved in your own random act of beauty in your neighborhood or property? You could even make it a family project. 

First you need seeds. Here are some good choices for an awesome display.



8 Sunflower Seeds to Plant | Bulk 1000+ Seeds | Heirloom Seeds | Non-GMO Flower Seeds for Planting Outdoors | Garden Seeds for Baby Shower Favors or Wedding Favors | for Birds and Bees8 Sunflower Seeds to Plant | Bulk 1000+ Seeds | Heirloom Seeds | Non-GMO Flower Seeds for Planting Outdoors | Garden Seeds for Baby Shower Favors or Wedding Favors | for Birds and BeesSunflower Seeds for Planting | Autumn Beauty Non-GMO Sunflower Seeds | Planting Packets Include Planting InstructionsSunflower Seeds for Planting | Autumn Beauty Non-GMO Sunflower Seeds | Planting Packets Include Planting Instructions

 



Start Your Day with Sunflower Energy


I confess my normal wake-up default condition is not energetic. It's groggy. I can't even get my eyes to focus when I first get up. Until I've had a couple of cups of tea I'm not very alert. Having your preferred hot beverage while looking a sunflower in the eye should brighten your morning perspective as you fuel up. So I made this for you on Zazzle. You can make it whatever size or style you like best. The largest size mug is eleven ounces. That's enough to wake the brain up!


Sunflowers to Perk You Up as You Enjoy Your Drink Coffee MugSunflowers to Perk You Up as You Enjoy Your Drink Coffee MugSunflowers to Perk You Up as You Enjoy Your Drink Coffee Mug

 


Are you ready to go plant sunflowers this autumn and help brighten the corner of the world where you live? Too many sunflowers live lonely lives with only a few weeds for companionship. 

Lonely Sunflower Surrounded by Weeds on 21st Street Parking Strip, © Barbara Radisavljevic






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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Review of Photography Scavenger Hunt Game

B=Butterfly

 At our last photography meeting we were told to meet at a local park.  When we arrived we were given a sheet of paper with rules for a photography scavenger hunt.  I wasn't sure about this game, but it turned out it was a lot of fun and really got our creative juices flowing.

Rules for Scavenger Hunt




The sheet of paper we were given had place to enter our full name at the top.  We would then circle 7 letters from our name.  Below that were ten lines each starting out with a box for the letters we had chosen.  We entered the 7 letters from our name and then added three additional letters of our choosing.


My Letters and Photos


The letters I chose from my name were: M-Y-B-T-H-A and R.  The three additional letters I chose were L-D- and S.  When we chose the letters we were not sure what we were going to do with them so they were pretty random.  After we chose the letters we were given the rules and then we had an hour to go through the park and find something to match each of the letters.  I found the first few letters to be easy.  I took a photo of a tree for the T, a bench for the B, a house for the H and a sculpture in the park for the A (art).  I got down to the M and Y and really struggled to complete the last two.  I ended up photographing a yellow flower for the Y and mulch for the M.  I finished in about 35 minutes and then took some additional photos that could also be used with the letters.  I found it a fun activity to wander the park with a purpose and take photos.  It will be interesting to see what photos everyone took when we share them at our next meeting.

Photos Taken  during the Game



B-Bench

Y= Yellow Flower

Amazon Products on Scavenger Hunts



This one looks like it would be great for children to spark their interest in photography.




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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Review of Lavender Farm

Lavender at Entrance to Long Row Lavender Farm

 If you are looking for a pleasant way to spend a late spring day, I would suggest visiting a lavender farm.  In the St. Louis area we have a farm about an hour west of the city that my friend, Barb and I spend some time exploring on a beautiful June day.  

Long Row Lavender Farm




Long Row Lavender Farms is located on 15 acres just south of Wright City Missouri.  It is a family owned farm that was started in 2007 by 6 family members as a way to bring the family closer together and work toward a common purpose.  They see the farm as a midwest destination and offer a variety of activites and services.

Cafe


One of my favorite features of the farm is the Cafe.  The cafe offers a small but delicious menu that you may eat at a variety of small areas around the farm.  There is seating both inside the remodeled barn, outside on the porch or down by the pond.



I enjoyed a delicious  sandwich of grilled cheeses, tomatoe and bacon on sourdough bread.  I also had a refreshing glass of lavender lemonade from their menu you can see below.


One of the walls in the cafe has live  wall hangings, which I found fascinating.




 Gift Shop


Inside the barn you will find a gift shop full of lots of handmade products from the farm.  There is a variety of bath and body products, seasonal clothing, and home decorations.  You can also buy plants at the shop.



Workshops


Lavender farms offers weekly workshops at their facility where local artists teach of variety of different crafts.

Enjoy  the Grounds


The  grounds of the farm are beautiful and full of flowers  and lots of little nook and grannies to sit back and relax.  There are benches on the porch, a wonderful porch spring, a pond, and lots of flowers.  Here are a few of the photos I took around the grounds.




Lavender


Of course it wouldn't be a lavender farm without lots of lavender.  In looking up  lavender online, I found that the name is Lavandule and lavender is the common name for the genus.  There are 47 known species of these flowering plants and they are members of the mint family.

At Long Row Farms they have about 1200 lavender plants and 7 different varieties.  The varieties they  have are : Provence, Phenomenal, Hidcote Blue, Twickel Purple, Edelweis, Grosso, and Ellagence Pink.  Here are some photos I took of the different plants.







In the midwest the lavender blooms in early to mid June.  The blooms are then harvested a few weeks after  they bloom and then go through the drying process which takes about 3 weeks.  The drying takes place in the loft of the barn where they are hung up in bundles to dry.

The farm also grows peonies, zinnias and sunflowers so there are lots of blooms to see throughout the summer.


Zazzle Products


I always enjoy make products from my photographs.  Here are some from my visit to Long Row Lavender.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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