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Posts Tagged ‘Runnymeade’

Is it just me, or does this iris make anyone else think of a rather elegant lady with a broad-brimmed hat? There is just something whimsical about the position of this rather ordinary flower that brings a smile to my face.

I don’t have my own garden, but fellow photographer and neighbor Cindy Dyer has all kinds of flowers in her garden. Her irises have just started to bloom and I walked by her townhouse recently and spotted this somewhat faded iris and took this shot.

iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I don’t have my own garden, but my neighbor and fellow photographer Cindy Dyer always has beautiful flowers in her garden, like this Lady Jane tulip (Tulipa clusiana) that I photographed yesterday afternoon with the sunlight streaming in from behind the flower.

Lady Jane tulip

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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How do you find comfort when you are feeling agitated and anxious? I can always turn to religion or to nature or to my photography, but early this morning I realized how comforting it was to have Freckles, a small Cocker Spaniel, leaning into my leg as I sat on the couch reading the Washington Post. Her slow, steady breathing and the warmth of her body helped to counteract my rising emotions as I read the accounts and editorials about President Trump’s first full day in office.

Freckles is staying with me while her owners are out of town and she is really comfortable in my townhouse, which is not too surprising, given that she lived here for over a year before she moved to an apartment in Washington DC.  For her, a trip to the Virginia suburbs is like a vacation in the country, and she particularly likes to play around in the fallen pine needles of my small back yard.

Generally she is in constant motion, sniffing every square inch of the yard, but yesterday I got her to sit still for a moment so that I could take some shots of her. Here are a few of my favorites from our impromptu portrait session.

Freckles

Freckles

Freckles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I walked through frosty streets in the early hours of Christmas morning, I could see lots of colored lights adorning the houses of my neighbors. What really drew my eyes, though, was the sliver of the moon shining brightly in the darkness—it was simultaneously modest and spectacular. It brought to mind some words from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

As my pastor reminded us last night, Christmas comes in ordinary ways to everyday people like us and it is a season of hope and expectation. No matter what you believe or what you choose to celebrate, we can all use more light and hope in our lives and today is a good day to be reminded of that.

Christmas moon

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I think that tonight is officially the “super moon,” but the weather forecasters predict that it will be cloudy. Knowing this, I went out last night (and again this morning) to get some shots of the almost super moon.

I learned a couple of things from this experience. First, it’s not too hard to get shots of the moon in the sky. If I am going to be shooting the moon with any regularity, I need to scout out some locations so that I can get shots of the moon rising over the mountains or over the water.

Secondly, I learned that the visible features on the moon change their apparent positions over the course of a single night. If I had had any basic lessons in astronomy, I would probably have known this already, but this revelation came to me when I was comparing the shots that I took last night with those that I took this morning. I took the first shot below at 8:02 pm (20:02 hrs) last night and the second shot at 5:38 this morning. When you compare the photos, you can see that distinctive land features are in different locations.

almost super moon

Moon at 8:02 in the evening of 13 November 2016

Moon 5:38 in the morning of 14 November 2016

Moon at 5:38 in the morning of 14 November 2016

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Cabbage White butterflies (Pieris rapae) are quite common, but many people ignore them, assuming they are “only” moths. I find real beauty in their simple elegance, like this one I spotted last weekend in the garden of my friend Cindy Dyer.

The butterfly was already white and black, so I decided to play around and remove color from the rest of the image too. I like the look of the black-and-white image, but decided to include the color version so that you can decide for yourself which one you prefer.

Cabbage White

Cabbage White

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There are a lot of fallen leaves scattered all about my neighborhood and at first I thought this butterfly was merely one of them. Then it opened its wings, revealing its inner beauty. Wow!

I am pretty sure this is a Question Mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis), though there is also a chance that it might be an Eastern Comma butterfly (Polygonia comma). Yes, there are butterflies named after punctuation marks.

How do you tell them apart? Well. there is a little white marking on the wings and if it has a single part, it’s a comma, and if it has two parts, it’s a question mark. My challenge in this case was that the marking was not very distinctive. I looked through a lot of material and photos on the internet and the wing shape and coloration started to push me toward the Question Mark, but I still had questions. I came across a posting by TrekOhio.com that illustrated the differences in the spots on the inner wings and I convinced myself the spots in the second photo look like those of a Question Mark.

Whatever the case, the butterfly’s resemblance to a fallen leaf and its beautiful orange color are reminders to me that autumn is surely here, my favorite time of the year.

Question Mark butterfly

Question Mark butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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