Apr 6, 2009

The Weekend In Pictures

Hell, Time magazine can do it, so I can too. Besides, my brain hurts from too much thinking today.

I took off Friday from work for a Mental Health Day. I don't think I could have made a smarter move. I did just about nothing all day in preparation for a tethered flight David had scheduled for that afternoon in the huge, teeming metropolis that is Pine Prairie, LA. I'll say this for them--their turnout in this tiny podunk town rivaled that of the annual fair.

Skybird (the blue balloon for those of you new to this) is in the repair facility getting the lower third of her envelope replaced and getting her annual FAA recertification, so we've been flying a borrowed balloon, "High Hopes" from a friend of David's in Shreveport.

Day Moon Over High Hopes

The tether was a lot of fun, probably because it wasn't August and because they gave us lots of open room to set up in. No burner time for me, but that's okay, I'm patient as a stone. We managed to fly a good two hours, and everyone went away happy. The promoters comped us some catfish dinners, and the sunset that evening was particularly choice.


I attended Herb Day at the Kent House Saturday morning with Tracy, Weerelephant and Mrs. I. We got there just after they opened at 9am to find that the fifty feet or so of tables covered in herbs were already getting empty FAST. I overheard one of the event organizers say that there were old ladies climbing the fence before 9 just to get in and get first crack at the patchouli, fennel and St. John's Wort. I must have missed the "special herbs" table.

My favourite part of the whole thing? The mid 60's "British Racing Green" Jaguar E-type convertible in the parking lot. Freaking SWEET ride.

E-Type Jaguar 4.2 litre

Granted, it would take a team of dwarves and a bottle of Wesson Oil to get my very Yank frame crammed into that tiny Brit cockpit.

After the Herb Day we brought Tracy out to Zorya Borzoi's training grounds (the backyard) for some Borzoi Fishing. Belle will be going with us to Cleburne, Texas this weekend for some more lure coursing, and I've been having no END of fun letting Sheba and Remy run around in circles chasing plastic bags as practice for their own turn on the coursing track once they turn 12 months old. Sheba is going to be one fast Borzoi, mark my words. And cunning? If her ears were short and pointy I'd call her a weasel. Remy is going to be like Belle: not super fast but strong and determined. Watching both the pups in action is just stunning.

Borzoi Fishing

Then the obligatory after-play drink. Belle took yet another step to becoming a real farm dog, this time by drinking right out of the hose pipe.

Taking A Drink

Sheba, not to be left out tried it too. Much to Belle's disappointment.

Drinking From The Hose-Ur Doin It Wrong
"Drinkin' from the hose--ur doing it wrong."

Gardening has been a lost cause--the ground is still so wet from the recent spring floods that even now, after a week of dry weather I still sink several inches in the soft ground. The floodwaters managed to just about kill off all my lettuces and my Brussels sprouts, but the green onions that I got from my MIL two years ago refuse, as always, to be phased by something as simple as a foot of standing water.

Green Onion Blooms

The ladybugs out there are having a time of it though--seems there's some sort of thistle that grew in my garden patch during the fallow winter months, and now that they are dying it seems to have attracted some bug or other that ladybugs are simply wild over--each little withered black stalk or thistle-seed head has a handful of industrious little red polka-dotted bodies moving across it, which made a nice challenge for me: to capture them photographically.

The most interesting part of it for me was trying to take macro photographs without a macro lens. I had my 70-300 telephoto lens on, which cannot focus on anything that is fewer than five feet from the end of the lens so I found myself setting up each shot with a bizarre process:

  1. locate ladybug subject.
  2. quickly back off six feet or so, without losing sight of the subject
  3. squat down and try to spot the tiny red blob again through the camera's viewfinder
  4. adjust the gross focus ring until subject bug looked giant-sized
  5. wait patiently for the gusting wind to die down enough that the shot would steady

It was usually at that point that the subject would either fall off, take to flight or simply be lost (focally speaking) in a frenzy of whipping grass stalks, and I'd have to start over again.

But as I said earlier--I'm patient as a stone in a creek bed.

This one seems to have gotten confused and ended up on a strand of grass instead.

Riding out the wind storm on a dead thistle leaf.


Clowncar said...

You have, I think, an unhealthy interest in dwarves and Wesson Oil.

Those ladybug pix are unutterably cool. You are a more patient man than I.

Gordo said...

I love those pics. One thing that I plan to do more of this year is macro stuff with the bees. Canon happens to have a fabulous 1:1 50mm lens and I'm trolling ebay for it. :-)

Irrelephant said...

I have a LOT of unhealthy interests, old Bean--it keeps me young.

Thank you, sir! I've had to learn my patience the hard way--slowly, and even now I know I'm too hasty. Always more room to learn.

Gordo, I can't wait to see what YOU can come up with! I've been eying a little Nikkor macro myself...guess I need to sell some more photos first, tho. *sigh* Patience, always patience. *lol*

Nancy Dancehall said...

Loverly photos as always. You do have a way of photographing the 'ladies'. ;-)

Batgirl said...

Awesome photos! I took some shots of bees in my moms lavender bush. I love photos of tiny things. *blush* That didn't sound right. Any way, I'm sorry to hear about your garden, and I realized that I would never be so lucky as to have my brusselsprouts washed away in a flood. They would be standing firm while everything else was washed away. Bleh.