Out of Focus – dark skies, flapping, and Mars

This week is a celebration of photos that represent focus.  I liked seeing the example of an out of focus picture that nevertheless communicates.  I must say I have a few photos that re less than sharp.  Okay, more than a few!  I do keep some of them because they are interesting in other ways.  They might make a good abstract background, or sometimes the blurriness helps tell the story.  Here are a few.

quail 4 1100

These quail are really in a flap!  The blur makes me think of how active they were.

blurred moon 1.JPG

This moon, though blurry, made a neat background for a poem about Halloween.

blurred moon 2.JPG

There’s something I really like about this one – blurred, it looks like the eye of a great beast, and has an interesting mood.


Although, to be fair, this is what it was supposed to look like!

Mars R small.JPG

This last image is probably the best out of focus picture I’ve ever taken.  Not only is it the shaky track created by my trying to take a picture of Mars at extreme zoom, but it starts to spell out my name!

via Photo Challenge: Focus


Lovely portraits of Betta Fish

I have had several betta fish, otherwise known as Siamese fighting fish.  They are smart, rather tough fish who can learn to be quite responsive to their keepers.  Oddly, they are quite peaceful when not facing off against another male of their own kind!  Here are some lovely aquatic portraits, fresh from the excellent Flowart blog.


Portraits of Siamese Fighting Fish by Visarute Angkatavanich on 500px Bangkok-based photographer Visarute Angkatavanich captures exquisite, surreal and elegant fish photographs of the multi-colored specifies. The intimate images feature a variety of breeds from goldfish to Siames fighting fish in a set of dramatic shots. Filmed against white or black backgrounds, Angkatavanich’s close-up portrait capture […]

via Portraits of Siamese Fighting Fish by Visarute Angkatavanich — FLOW ART STATION

Evanescent Flycatcher


phainopepla male art print 900.JPG

Meet the lovely Phainopepla, a Central American bird who graced a treetop near my backyard.  He landed in the middle of the city, as so many other exotic birds do.  My neighborhood is a haven for wildlife.  His visit was short and welcome.  My sharp eyed wife pointed him out to me, and a little research revealed his name – that of the northernmost family of Silky Flycatchers.

Now the cicadas are starting, summer is here.  The lizards are busy in the leaves.  The evanescent days of summer have begun to march past us.







Frying in Tucson

The dry season is upon us.

In Arizona, it lasts from late fall through midsummer pretty much.  Summer contains the wonderful, fickle, thunder-filled Monsoon.  But the rest of the year is pretty dry.  Now, in mid to late April, we’re warming up nicely.  Soon it will be time for me to be careful when touching the steering wheel of my car.  I’ve gotten blisters before.  Right now my swamp cooler, an evaporative device, is working very well.  It’s a cheap form of air conditioning – a fan blows air through something like a damp sponge to cool the air down.  So it won’t work in high humidity.  Right now if we run the thing full blast we can get the house down to sixty degrees or so.


In Tucson, keeping cool is an art form.  Sure, you could sit in a modern home and turn on the air conditioning.  Yet, it’s much more fun to find a shady spot, perhaps in a wonderful old adobe building, with open archways to let in the breezes, and sip some cold agua fresca or maybe some real Mexican Coke in the glass bottle.  Yes, it is better.  Maybe a bowl of ceviche when you get hungry.  Now, that’s staying cool in style.  My own place is flat roofed, with heat-shedding cinderblock walls and cool tile floors.  You can open the front and back doors, shut the screens, and let the breezes flow through.  Keep the blinds drawn in the daytime, open them at night, and you’ve got a house that stays at a livable temperature on all but the hottest days.


Sometimes, though, I don’t hide from the heat.  I get a cool beverage and sit out and bake. Even for just a few minutes, on a work break.  Heat like this is a touchable thing, it’s like being hugged by the day.  It eases my A/C chilled bones and reminds me I’m alive.


via Daily Prompt: Fry


My fluffy security guard

Our site mascot, Nezumi, makes a good security guard.  She watches out the front blinds to make sure I get home safe, she puts us to bed when it’s time, and she does a great job of monitoring the neighborhood.  No bug or lizard is safe from her – if she can’t catch it herself, she’ll tell us it’s there.  Here she is with one of of our katanas.


A great thing to have in Arizona is something called a security screen.  She loves to sit at them and we have one at the front and the back of the house.  It’s a heavy duty screen door with bars to prevent burglary.  They’re sturdy and I really like having them on my home.  They also make great lizard and bird watching stations.  Sometimes baby lizards crawl up ours.  Here’s one, looking out toward our tall back fence:

doo doo doo lookin out my back door.JPG

Finally, here’s one of the things Nezumi doesn’t want coming inside.  Then again, she might really like it to come inside, but it wouldn’t want to once she found it!