Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sunbeams and Silver Lining

Monday, April 5, 2010

The dead tree trunk that keeps on giving.... mushrooms!

Lesson learned with this series of photos? Always wipe the mirror down between shots. I've never shot with a mirror before and most of these were ruined with mirror schmutz. That's okay, won't happen again. If the mushroom isn't toast by tomorrow (it probably will be) I'll get another chance at it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

CRT monitors, LCD monitors, and Rescue Dogs

My beloved CRT monitor died--it had been threatening to go out on me for a couple of years but it held on longer than I could have hoped. It was HUGE. I loved that monitor because I felt I'd really gotten the gamma settings just right on it. I felt confident that my photos were being edited properly--that the color and contrast was coming out well. But now I have this new LCD monitor and it isn't made for photo editing. It's made for watching movies and playing games. Trying to set the gamma on it and get the color and contrast just right is almost pointless. It makes everything look more vibrant, the colors are more rich, everything is over-saturated. Which is just great if you are playing a video game. But it sucks for photo editing.

It was a fairly inexpensive monitor and I needed a replacement monitor pretty bad. It was all I could afford, but I have lost all editing confidence. Until I can afford a monitor calibrator so I can have faith in my photo editing again, well, who knows how my photos are coming out. So I beg your forgiveness on how these may look.

I also haven't been out to shoot anything since getting back from California. Not having a monitor I have any faith in has been a real de-motivator. But yesterday was SO nice. And, since I broke down and adopted a rescue dog from Hound Haven of San Antonio, I was eager to take her for a walk on the farm.

Meet Iniga (named after the character Inigo Montoya from the movie "Princess Bride"). Hound Haven called her Penney but we wanted to give her a new name when we got her.

She has the doggie version of alopecia and while it's not evident in these photos, she has less than half the amount of hair she should have. Which means she sheds less than half the amount of hair than another dog like herself! She came from one of those horrible backyard breeders who claimed she had mange and wasn't a purebred Italian Greyhound--that she thought Iniga was actually part Chihuahua. I have trouble believing the breeder's Chi's and Iggies got mixed up. I mean, if that had happened wouldn't Iniga have some siblings at Hound Haven too? Anyway, we think she's purebred but with some recessive traits that make her an undesirable purebred Iggie--which is most likely why the breeder really gave her up--she knew she could never make any money on her. Iniga didn't have mange, her alopecia (caused by CDA in her case) was just evident when she was a puppy. She was also infested with fleas and had dermatitis as a result so she was in bad shape when Hound Haven got her.

We're crazy in love with her batty ears. One is always up and the other is always bent forward. It gives her this goofy but irresistibly cute look.

She weighs about 27 lbs., I'd hoped to get a slightly smaller dog. Italian Greyhounds are typically around 10 lbs. but in Texas, for some reason, they are bred bigger.

At the farm yesterday she didn't do too bad. She's still adjusting to her new life. But at one point Iniga and I were standing outside the car and I had her attached to me at the waist on a retractable leash. I was taking photos of some cattle. Next thing I know Iniga leaps (very gracefully) through the open car window to hide from those big fat cheeky bulls (cows, really). She didn't care for them much at all.

She's full of quirks and is a bit neurotic. So she fits in perfectly with us.

The clouds were just awesome yesterday. I HAD to go out and try and shoot something.

We've had some rains AND we've finally got a large portion of the farm under irrigation! WOOT! This is a big deal for us. And the cows are pretty happy about it too.

Doesn't this calf look like it's part hog?

We don't really get much of a winter, the second we've got some moisture and the temperatures stay above 32 in the mornings, it becomes spring in Brackettville. There are all manner of things blossoming.

Ah, the Mountain Laurel. Varying in shades from the palest, almost white lavender to deep purples. And the smell! Like grape flavored Fun Dip candy!

These wonderful yellow blossoms are blanketing huge areas of the county, it's quite lovely.

The Mountain Laurel tree below doesn't look so impressive. None of the ones on the farm do, but the ones in town are laden with purple. Cascades of purple, honestly! They're the ones that get fertilizer and daily watering. Such a beautiful tree--well tended or not. And, yes, it can be called a tree but most people consider it a shrub.

I found the root below growing in various places on the farm. Reminds me of armadillo armor.

And that's a peek at the beginning of spring in Kinney County. It won't last long. Soon it will be summer and, unless we are very fortunate and get lots of rain, the entire county will turn brown and dead looking until the change of seasons brings us more moisture. But for now, it's green and lush and colorful. The cows are happy. I hear hummingbirds are being spotted. And there's every color of flower imaginable out there blossoming. Just gorgeous.