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Tom Kitten

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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 7,082

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I had an itchy shutter finger today

Weather was so perfect, and I haven't been taking many pictures lately (having issues with my camera - the result of my own abuse - like dropping it! Plus there's some dust specks inside the lens so if I zoom in close I get these infuriating spots)

I went down to the river to see how the new bridge is doing. But on the way there I saw this bicycle and had to get a shot of it...

The bridge- Tilikum (Chinook for People) Crossing- still a year away from completion. When it opens, no cars or trucks will be allowed. Light rail, the trolley, buses, bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles only.

Walked down the river a bit, to OMSI (the science museum).That's the USS Blueback, moored there, in front of the new bridge.

Submariner's Memorial at OMSI (that's the screw from the Blueback)

Reflection in OMSI windows

Primary colors!

Walking back the sun was behind one of the bridge towers. I'm lucky I didn't get any sunspots!

That's all! Just static subjects for now. Tomorrow I'll go looking for October stuff. Maybe I'll see a ghost!

Dance Fire

I've finally gotten around to uploading some pictures I said I would share earlier. I've been hesitant to show these, it was the second day I had used my (then) new camera, and was just learning to use it. A little history, here. I used to have an SLR but it broke when I was standing on a steep riverbank just off the road and the earth gave way, dashing the camera against the pavement. Don't worry about me, though, I'm OK. I did suffer a deep abrasion on my knee and it did take a few weeks to heal. But that was in the 90s, and since then I had used one of those plastic cameras you get at Walgreen's (hey, free film refill when you brought it in for developing!). So I guess you can say I've been learning all over again. And I do mean learn! For one thing, I've learned photography and frustration do indeed go hand in hand.

These pictures were taken one month after what I learned was called the Dance Fire in and adjacent to Orleans, CA. It happened in July 2013 and was deliberately set. 577 acres and one home were burned. The entire town had to be evacuated.

It was just after Labor Day and 100 degrees the time I went there. The air was blue and hazy from several nearby forest fires. I was told about this remarkably colorful area of burned manzanita and madrone trees by my best friend's mother, who was born there. It was just off a road that climbed two hills and there was no way my car could make it up there, so I hiked up. I sure am glad I brought water!

This is what I saw.

Dance Fire seems strangely appropriate. Poor trees look like they danced in agony as they burned.

However, only a month later, there's already signs of new life! Does anybody know what these shrubs are?
Also, I'm sure everyone knows about simulacrum. I see a creepy face in the middle of this picture. Do you? The earth is mad at us and she is letting us know.

Now, this where my newbie naivety shines bright! I definitely learned a lesson here. My camera has a paint function so I switched to that. Make your photo look like a painting! I'm an artist so I was down with that. The pictures on my little viewfinder looked great! However, viewing later full-size on my computer was a different matter...

These two turned out OK, I guess...

However, most turned out like these. I'm posting these two as examples of what not to do! I learned digital photography has this thing called the halo effect, you can see it clearly here! It is practically impossible to fix. Through my former job I have Photoshop experience going back to PSD 2 on Mac OS8 or whatever back in the early 90s and I spent hours trying to "fix" these pictures and I gave up. Not worth the time and effort, and it's futile anyways, so beware fellow neophytes!

That's not haze in them there hills, that's the halo effect! Trees aren't that that blue, anyways. (I think I zoomed in on that one)

This could have been a nice picture, but trees don't have a white glow around them like that. Needless to say, I don't use that function anymore! I do learn quickly. Welcome to the world of digital photography, you amateur! (I'm talking to myself here)

Well there you are. I do think I took some good pictures, and I have gotten better since. And I am ready for an upgrade to a better camera. Sorry for the wordiness, but I enjoy sharing!

It's early Monday morning. How about a new Cat thread? (warning: cat pic heavy because Cats!)

These are pictures I took of cats I cared for or met on the road the past year.

This is Coco, my sister's cat, the main (indoors only) cat I cared for while house sitting. My sister heard her crying, and found her in a bush at a busy intersection in the LA area, maybe 6 weeks old at the time. No sign of mama cat or siblings anywhere. Now she is 3, has a luxurious long fluffy black cat (and brown if the light hits her right) and weighs a whopping 7 pounds (she's just a small cat). She loves to play and be brushed, but does not like to be picked up except by her owner.

She was sleeping and I guess I startled her when I called her name...hence the wide open eyes!

This is Gray Lady, Coco's housemate but she does NOT like to be indoors and is very skittish. After feeding her for 2 months she finally got around to not bolting for the hills when I opened the back door, but then it was time for me to leave! I'll be doing the same this winter and the whole cycle will probably have to start over...
This picture is blurry but she was probably just starting to run away when I snapped it.

This is "Murray" (that's a name I gave him) a cat that hangs out and takes advantage of the free food and water. He also runs off when approached but now sleeps on the back porch. He might decide to stick around, but it's hard to tell with cats. He is very handsome, don't you think?

Here he is at the food dish.

This is another cat that sometimes hangs out at the feeding station. We don't know her name but she belongs to someone in the neighborhood.
I caught her attention here...Love the green eyes!

This is a cat I met at an antique store in Oro Grande, California. He was friendly and let me pet him.

After awhile he jumped down under a table. I looked down and he had a friend!

When is a Calico cat not a calico cat? When he's a gray and white cat and lives in Calico, California! This guy lives the life of Riley. He lives at the snack bar!

Another shot of him...

And here is Edgar, a beautiful black long haired cat I met in another antique store. He kind of looks like Coco...He let me pick him up though. In this picture it looks like he is expecting it!

And Pistachio, a grocery store cat. Kind of a sly look on his face!

The Cats of Rome.
I met these ginger kitties in Rome, Oregon, which is more like a frontier outpost than a town, located on the Owyhee River, way, far away from anything. The one on top was especially adorable, but they would run away if I approached. Then they would come back. Must have been curious. A stranger! But maybe he has food?

A closer photo of the one I thought was really cute. What eyes!

On the other hand, this kitty was not shy at all. He let me pet him and he purred. Maybe a sibling to the others?
He also looks like Coco but he has tufts on his ears! Maybe part lynx?
I wish I got a better photo but this is all I've got...

Several hours and hundred miles later I stayed at my friends near John Day, Oregon. A couple of cats (obviously brothers) had decided to adopt them and I was surprised! They looked like grown up versions of the 2 kitties I saw earlier that day in Rome. Their names are Scruffy and Bob and both are good at catching rattlesnakes. (4 so far!) Bob is still very skittish (they were feral cats) but Scruffy is very affectionate. These are lousy pics but it was dark, sorry about that!
Scruffy on the left, and Bob on the right...

Scruffy likes to play. That streak in the middle of the picture is actually his favorite purple feather toy. He looks a lot like Felix, my cat for 18 years...

Back home, while I'm at it, I have to share a photo of my friend's cat, Mittens! She is 14 now, a sweet ball of fur.

Mittens can't stand her new neighbor, a kitten named Otis. Another ginger tabby! He is very friendly and likes to play. Here he is doing what kittens do best...

So there you have it. Cats galore, all different, but basically the same! I hope you enjoyed!

The Snowy Egret

A few months ago I was house sitting in Santa Ana CA and not far from where I was staying was a kind of "natural" area, the Lower Santiago Creek (pretty much a dry flood control basin with sections paved, used for parking cars, but I go on). However there is a place where a spring flows from a concrete culvert and there is water there year round, if only a few inches deep. This isn't a great photo, but you'll get the picture of where I'm talking about...

I didn't notice it at all but you can see it in the water, a snowy egret! Now I have never seen one before, they do not live in Oregon, and when I saw it I gasped (but not too loudly, I didn't want to scare it away!) I don't think I have ever seen such a beautiful bird. I was maybe ten feet away, and it didn't seem to mind me being there, it just went on feeding, ignoring me! So I took some pictures and that bird made the place seem a bit magical to me, even though there was trash strewn about, auto traffic, etc. So here are some shots I took...

If you're interested I also shot a 2 and a half minute video so you can see how it hunts for food, Also, you can hear the auto traffic nearby (it was evening rush hour and near sundown, hence the nice colors)...

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