Creek Walks, Year’s End, Surprise Frog, Helpful Cat

Dream Creek

Dream Creek

Seeking the last autumn brightness, I looked back at October 2015 pictures. I wanted to feast on prismatic waters and bent sunrays. Instead of posting only December pics here, first we’ll go back to some peak leaf radiance to help us get through winter grays! We’ll check out ‘special effects’ we left out of the last creek post.

Bud in deep contemplation

Bud in deep editing contemplation

Stopping the presses to thank the editor for his thoughtful and everlasting suggestions. He’s wondering when we’ll get back to all-cat articles. Soon Buddy, soon.

Leafway

Leafway

One leaf rides high in the float.

Water twists light

Water twists light

Here’s where it gets weird. This is a cropped detail of the water rippling near the opposite bank. What’s lurking there? Only a phenomenon of light and color? I love the multi-color, the flashes of blue, reflected from the sky, riding on the dark shadow spaces. We always think we hear things in the water’s sound. Are we seeing things too? (Yeah I know it’s refraction, the camera picks up stuff the human eye doesn’t see, and mine is set to be a tad extra sensitive to blue. Just having a little fun. Wee woo hoo!)

Currents

Currents

The rest of the picture I took the above cropped pic from.

Last of October 2015, blue speckled leaves

Last of October 2015, blue speckled leaves and pinestraw

The leaves and pine needles are soaked and that moisture reflects the blue of the sky; the deeper water is reflecting the remaining green foliage.

A small tributary, only a part of something much larger

A small tributary, only a part of something much larger

I cropped in closer on this one, intending to examine the mysterious underbank. This was taken right before the picture with all the upper left side color; that’s how fast the light flickers, fades, brightens.

Fading light, mysteries

Fading light, mysteries

Going into the corner of this photo, there really are some mysterious, near-spooky shapes gliding around in that water by land’s edge! It’s only shadows …

Pine straw over leaves

Pine straw over leaves

Sky and trees actually included

Sky and trees actually included

Red accents

Crimson and vermillion accents

Driven to abstraction by sunken leaves.

Shimmer

Shimmer

Excitement

Excitement

Becalmed

Becalmed

 

Looking upstream

The view upstream

All this changed by December 19th, when the husband said, “Let’s go to the creek.” I agreed right away. Bad weather was ahead, and we knew we were seeing one of the last warm, calm days.

December 19th long view, creek

December 19th long view, creek

Under a shifting, partly cloudy sky, the color scheme is blunted but still retains play.

Frog

Frog

Frog, top view

Frog, top view

The frog is camped on a mossy flat rock that has become muddy.

Yellow garnish remains

Yellow garnish remains

Warm December Day

Warm December Day

Last leaves

Last leaves

On December 23 a severe weather watch was projected to last all night and into the next day. That means warm air, with an unsettled feel. Early evening, we watched fast-moving clouds moving in all directions. No one slept much. Everyone stayed on social media late into the night, edgy and restless. There’d been at least one tornado in Mississippi, we knew that much. On December 24th we learned that there had been several, involving many states; one long-track EF4 resulted in deaths, injuries, and shredded homes. Only a few degrees temperature difference in the upper atmosphere, a last minute change, had kept Alabama from having the same factors of tornado-producing turbulence overhead as Mississippi did that night.

So there was a breather on the 24th, and part of the 25th; then another watch was on for the evening and night hours. About the same time we were driving into town, there was an EF0 about five or six miles from our home.  AFAIK so far, it caused only tree damage. Zero doesn’t sound very impressive, but that’s still a 75 mph rotating wind. While on the road I saw a line between dark and light slanting down from sky to ground, but the rest of the sky next to it was darkly cloudy with no defined line on the other side to suggest a vortex. Still … tornadoes are difficult to see in this region. Not long after, an EF2 hit Midfield, Alabama, an area on the outskirts of Birmingham. Thankfully no lives were lost, but many, many homes were heavily damaged and/or destroyed. My Christmas spirit just fizzled away, I have to admit.

High water from the downpours of these weather systems caused terrible flooding over several states. We had no flooding impact, but the few last autumn leaves were no doubt washed down the creek. I haven’t seen it yet. My sustenance comes from nature as is evident from my posts, but there are also times it scares and saddens me.

Photos from the October creek walk are also here:

The Heartbreak Light of Autumn, Part 1; The Creek, with Cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cats, Creeks, Nature, Tornadoes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 42 Comments

Blue Skies in December; Sweetgum, Pine, Cat

Sweetgum ready for its close-up

Sweetgum ready for its close-up

A few colorful leaves stayed on, and warm days lingered; a long-lasting autumn actually isn’t unusual at our southeastern US latitude. We had all the outdoor decorations we needed. The forest would not let me go, the treetops kept me zooming.

A whirl of branches, leaves

Swirling

Spot the seedpod

Spot the seedpod

The sweetgum fruits remained high on the trees; most are still up there as of early January. In the “Heartbreak Light” post they were greenish but they are now a ripe ruddy brown. Sweetgum generally isn’t a popular tree, but ours have been lighting up the place over the last few months. The green in the background is pine.

Bud is a skilled supervisor

Bud is a skilled supervisor and editor

Bud the editing cat wants his byline moved towards the top of the post. Here he supervises the sending of Christmas greetings. He has a beef because another cat appears on one of the cards. “Meow, that’s NOT me. Meow.”

Very far up at the top of a pine tree

Sunny day in the canopy

Pine cones came on strong this year! After perusing nature guides and Internet sources, I think this is Longleaf Pine. But LOL, pine identities can be perplexing, so don’t hold me to that!

About 50 feet up

About 50 feet up

The sky - a detail

The sky – a detail

Trees are close together.

In a gold light

In a gold light

Sweetgum spheres still up there.

Abundance

Abundance

Blue invaded by wispy clouds

Blue invaded by wispy clouds

Partly cloudy changes everything about the light!

Darkening and softening

Darkening and softening

Forever green

Forever green

Bright sun lights the leaves

Bright sun highlights red leaves

In January, leaves are now gone, pods are – still clinging to the upper story! I actually found one on the ground yesterday. Pine cones are staying attached to pinetops. Birds and squirrels are partaking of them. I found one pine cone on the path that looked to be chewed up.

Into and beyond the branches

Beyond the branches

I can imagine stepping onto the branches, if I was small enough. I love the density, the thicketness, the branch criss-crossings so tricky to sort, the complicated visual feast. I don’t know if the pictures appeal, or if it’s only my fancy, I just know the sights grab my glance and I’m lost, staring and searching, every time.

Moulting in style

Moulting in style

Flashy ending #1

Adrift in blue, with a light wind

Adrift in blue, with a light wind

Flashy ending #2

Leaves will crinkle and fall

Leaves will crinkle and fall

Well then, flashy ending #3

Leaves take their leave, eventually

Leaves take their leave, eventually

OK flashy ending #4

Beguiling autumn

Beguiling autumn

Stop …

Reds look redder when the sun is brighter

Reds look redder when the sun is brighter

I can’t …

The creek pictures would have made this post too long so there will be a second December post, coming soon. Then I do have to get back to the book …

 

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Posted in Cats, Nature, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The Heartbreak Light of Autumn, Part 2; Trees, Cats, Critters

Sweetgum Afternoon

Illuminated Sweetgum

Sweetgum in the Sky, October. More sweetgum later, but first we move back in time. There’s no photo editing in this post, not even the cat pictures.

The light actually changes sometime in August, while we’re still all summery. We’re not watching for it, but one day, it’s amber outside. Very pleasant, but it also feels eerie.

American Beauty Berry

American Beauty Berry

Beauty Berries in September, with a few crinkled leaves.

Pokeweed in August

Pokeweed in the Sky

In town, Pokeweed in the Sky; back in August when the strange light begins. We somehow overlooked a plant, resulting in a 15 foot tall monster. Made some nice weird pictures, but it was freakin’ Rappaccini’s Garden out there. Seriously, don’t go near pokeweed, the entire plant is toxic! I zoomed to take the pictures because even touching it can be harmful. Only birds can eat the berries. We’ll be looking to dig up that taproot, wearing gloves, over the winter.

Density of Pokeweed

Pokeweed

Leaves starting to wither, light glowing gold, shadows deepening. Creeping autumn, in late summer.

Astute Mockingbird

Astute Mockingbird

Unexpected mockingbird, September, about to take a plunge.

Mocker fill up on berries

Mocker fills up on berries

The astute Mockingbird dove right in and dined on pokeberries. The bird will spread the seeds via pooping.

Forest in odd light

Forest in odd light

Photos don’t show just how odd the light really is.

September leaf color

September leaf color

These leaves got an early start.

I named the feral cat in town Madame Curious: I loved her from afar, and always hoped to bring her inside with us eventually. She was becoming tamer, staying inside more, but I wasn’t there often enough to get her used to me; she would follow my husband around meowing instructions. We’ve seen ferals turn sweet before, after a time. I was wondering how I’d manage with a wildcat in the house; I figured I wouldn’t be as fleet and skilled as I used to be if she darted out the door or had a tiff with Bud. Meanwhile, after she became an indoor cat, she bonded strongly with a friend of ours, becoming a lap cat! Here’s she is as a house kitty:

Madame Curious, feral house kitty!

Madame Curious, feral house kitty!

The friend wanted to keep her, and we felt this was a great outcome for our wild feline because our friend’s other cats were well-kept, beautifully taken care of. As sorrowful as it was to let Madame Curious go with anyone else, we knew she was with the right person. They had to move several states away though, so now I feel alone under that peculiar fall daylight, in the yard of a house that had been hit by a tornado a few years back, with another friend moved off and not even a little wild cat to anchor me! I will adopt another cat one day, one who is acclimated to humans from the getgo. I can easily care for lovebug cats.

Beginning colors

Beginning colors

Trees are in a showy skid from lush and bright to sparse and grayed; I’m happy my feral girl’s in a good place but sad, missing her.

Now, terrible world events have broken my heart even further.

Last year's grackles

Last year’s grackles

Back out at the land in September of 2014, a one-day visit from a flock of grackles. They wished to remain unseen, and made sly use of existing cover. I had to hide and shoot from a distance, so the picture is enlarged and unsharp. I saw one on the ground with a berry in its beak and an attitude in its strut. I’m so taken with their iridescent coloration.

Elegance of a thicket

Elegance of a thicket

The lighting of wildest dreams.

Strong branches

Strong branches

I love looking into the thickets of leaves, seeing how deep, how jam-packed this forest really is.

Brightness

Brightness

Brighter than I would’ve imagined.

The catwoods on a quiet day

The catwoods on a sunny day

Party in the catwoods

Party in the catwoods

On a warm day, a leftover lizard choosing the wrong backdrop:

Lizard turning colors as I watch

Green anole lizard greened up as I watched

Sweetgum radiant

Sweetgum radiant

The hottest reds

The hottest reds

Crimson jumps out

Crimson jumps out

Sad that pretty leaves crisp up

Pretty leaves crisp up

The spectrum bounces everywhere

Bounce of the spectrum

Packed leaves of all descriptions

Dense growth in the midstory

Intricate tricks

Sweetgum leaves turn red and yellow

Sweetgum with seedpod

Sweetgum with seedpod

Sweetgum burst

Sweetgum extravaganza

High in the canopy

High in the canopy

 

I zoomed up to the canopy here, saw tiny pine cones, then swooped in closer by cropping to enlarge them. The spiky sweetgum spheres are there too, but hard to see; they were still greenish at the time.

A passing cloud, a quieter scene

Partly cloudy

We saw mostly yellow sweetgum leaves with a few red, sometimes a leaf would have both colors and some green. Now in November, one sweetgum treetop has shed its yellow leaves and is dotted with seedpods turned rich brown. We used to paint those silver and gold for Christmas decorations, and pine cones too. On lower branches green leaves persist, tinged on the edges with bright red. More pictures than I can possibly post are still in the camera.

Back to the creek:

October evening

Ethereal October evening

Leaf pack meets water

Leaf pack meets water

Call me crazy but I like the ways these colors and shapes distort at various magnifications. A week or so after I took these pictures, we had a frog-strangler of a rain. Now the creek is raging, washing leaves pictured here downstream.

Magic reflecting creek

Traveling ripples

Y’all please go back and check out part one of this series:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2015/11/08/the-heartbreak-light-of-autumn-part-1-the-creek-with-cat/

Budcat at rest

Budcat at rest

The editor takes a much-deserved break.

The forest gets all the credit for taking off by itself this year, nudging me into posting two more posts than I’d intended. This might be my last post for an unspecified while. I have to work on other things over the next several months, including getting my book on cats and nature published. Here’s a link to a description:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/announcing-my-cat-book-meowyall-a-feline-centric-memoir/

 

 

 

Posted in Cats, Creeks, Feral Cats, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 109 Comments

The Heartbreak Light of Autumn, Part 1; The Creek, with Cat

Leaves and sweet waters

Leaves and sweet waters

Currents cannot dislodge these leaves

Present currents cannot dislodge these leaves

The branch may have floated to this spot when the water was higher

The branch may have floated to this spot when the water was higher

Some of my favorite creek pictures this year were of the snagged leaves above. All creek and forest pics are straight out of the camera, no editing; only the cat picture is doctored, although the cat did help edit the overall post. I have autumnal picture overflow this year, so I’ll try for one or two other fall posts later. They’ll be non-linear, out of sequence time-wise. We’ll go back and forth, in and out, of this light-haunted season in the southeast US. Mainly the astonishing creek now; next, mainly forest.

Magic reflecting creek

Magic reflecting creek

One of a zillion scenes

One of a zillion scenes

Tricks of the slanting light

Tricks of the slanting light

IMG_0886-001

The water travels on

We walk to the small, wild, Appalachian creek; my range-around strength is limited, yet I find a zillion scenes I want to snapshoot. As a painter, I’ll often consider the colors included when I frame a shot. I’ll go for the definitive but also for the abstract; if I zoom beyond focus, if I bypass reality, I’ll take that.

Some softer blends

Some quiet color blends

More softer blends

More quiet blends

Sunlight zigging and zagging

Sunlight zigging and zagging

Light becomes all slanty, oblique, in autumn. We can see the difference, and feel it too. It sparks feelings of longing, sadness; for the summer we see slipping away, for all those we have lost. Family, and so many friends, have passed on. So much ability lost. I could not walk as far downstream on one walk this year. The illumination on failing leaves is so beautiful, I step out to take pictures five times every day. Down here at the creek, the reflective water bounces the light and makes merry. Fall’s a festival, a bittersweet one, but we savor all we can and get a mood boost from watery harmonies, both visual and auditory.

Water sound is light and airy but the dazzle is set on ‘brass band’:

Serious dazzle

Serious dazzle

Sweetgum leaf takes a ride

Sweetgum leaf travels solo

Closing in, chasing the shimmer

Closing in, chasing the shimmer

Borderline abstract when enlarging the dazzles

Borderline abstraction when dazzles are enlarged

I admit to infrequently moving a pine cone or a sweetgum seedpod to compose a forest scene on the ground. But I never mess with the views on the water. I witnessed my husband pulling an entire two-foot broad-leaf magnolia leaf out of a leaf dam to stage his creek scenes! I caught him yellow-orange handed! His photos will make a philosophical point, and I think it’s funny, but I’m never going to do this. I like my creek pics unrehearsed. Long ago I found the tree the big leaf came from, on the opposite bank. I’ve also seen the sweetgum trees that are shedding into the creek. But the tulip tree leaves, I haven’t located that tree yet.

Blue sky highlights in the water this evening

Blue sky highlights in the water this evening

Fallen leaves, pine straw, on blue

Fallen leaves, pine straw, on blue

Featuring: Seriously green dazzle, just out of my grasp:

Electric Green channel

Electric Green channel

Closing in on green

Closing in on green

The underwater and on top of the water, abstracts and semi-abstracts:

Serenity

Serenity

Bliss

Bliss

Contentment

Contentment

Am I dreaming?

Am I dreaming?

You see where we're losing shapes, here

Strong ripples still seen, but you see where we’re losing shapes here

Plain ole sunken leaves:

Creekbed matted with leaves

Creekbed matted with leaves

I see at least two Tulip Tree leaves in the above picture.

While I hope we’ll have many more years, I know we won’t always be here to watch out for this creek. I hope there will always be those who will keep it safe. For my environmental essay about this tributary, and all tributaries, click here:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/tributary-becoming-green-warriors-of-the-red-earth-country/

Downed leaves courtesy of the forest and its trees:

Our forest is sprinkled with colors in fall

Our forest seen as a whole looks sprinkled with colors in fall

Just glorious

Just glorious

One plant, many hues

Colors of just one plant

Sweetgum leaf with pine straw

Sweetgum leaf with pine straw

Sweetgum leaves can can be found in several autumn colors, and sometimes combinations of colors. Mostly we see either all yellow, or all red. Here, with a tinge of leftover green, the leaf shows off its versatility.

Acknowledgements:

The Bud cat waits to edit on the computer desk. I only painted out the computer to show him off better, not to downplay his role in the posting process. This reassurance helps to keep him purring!

Bud the editing cat

Bud the editing cat

Part 2 at this link:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/the-heartbreak-light-of-autumn-part-2-trees-cats-critters/

Posted in Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 66 Comments

Black Cats in Autumn, Sweetness and Glitz

Little Buddy drowsing between waking and sleeping

Little Buddy

We lost our Little Buddy last year, at age 19. We miss him, always.

I was going for the feel of a seasonal ‘spooky’ night when I intensified the colors in the above picture with photo editing. But the lighting is a mix of daytime solar and incandescent, just enhanced to look ‘unreal’. Along with the glitz I see our sweet rascally boy drowsing thoughtfully on his blankie.

(All pictures are copyrighted 2015 but were taken in earlier years.)

It’s the time of bright foliage shimmering in the treetops. Walking to the creek, looking down, there it all is again: reflections of the trees’ reds, greens, oranges, as well as the sky’s blues. So it’s like, you can’t miss it, no way! I love fall, the berries of violet and crimson that draw the birds, the arts festivals, the hayrides. I also love Halloween when it’s the fun and benign sort of spooky, the costumes, the characters, the glowing pumpkins, the iridescent decorations, the old movies we unearth or get from the library, Frankenstein, maybe an old vampire flick with Christopher Lee. Harvest, strings of purple lights, haystacks, pumpkin patches. Black cats. (!?) Well, in the traditional color scheme, cats black as a plush autumn night contrast fetchingly with the oranges and golds of ripening gourds and electrifying trees.

Little Buddy, complicated cat

Little Buddy, complicated cat

A misty photo to being with, this one has a ‘mysterious’ edge to me. The autumn air is dense with falling leaves, moods, remembrance, longing, thoughts of all those persons and pets we’ve lost. The “hue/saturation” slider always wants to shift LB’s eyes towards green when they were actually a deep gold. There were greenish areas close to his irises, which the editing program picked up on, I imagine.

Much as I love this season, I hate that I have to strongly advise: During the month of October and a few days after, keep your black cats, and cats and dogs of all colors, and all animals, inside, safe and protected from harm by depraved individuals! I hate that black cats are being adopted as Halloween props for parties, then abandoned or taken back to the shelter after the holiday’s over. Humans need to be careful these days, too. Like so many have said, what’s wrong with people!?

So do I want to see black cats in Halloween imagery?

BTW here is my take on the all natural beautiful, affectionate black cat:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/black-cats-in-sun-and-shade-a-painters-eye-view/

While in the past I questioned the wisdom of using black cat imagery for the October holiday, it’s become commonplace. Now even black cat advocates’ social media sites are full of black kitties bringing glamour and grace to the pumpkin patch or the spooky scenery. Trying to keep cats out of Halloween decor would be a losing battle. Growing artistry in photo manipulation, and in imaginative prowess, has made for some highly effective spookiness. And I like spooky as well as anyone, as long as it’s kindly, benevolent at heart, well-intended.

So, these are my pictures of my sweet Little Buddy, jazzed up towards seasonal via editing. I can’t match what’s being done by real photo editing experts, but I liked making my little guy’s black cat beauties shine even more. Though I did tear up at times, missing him.

Super bright-eyed boy, our Little Buddy

Super bright-eyed boy, our Little Buddy with gold eyes edited to green

The eyes shift to green again. Season-wise it works, there’s green here in our trees yet, chlorophyll hanging in there with reds, yellows, and oranges.

Little Buddy on alert, food imminent

Little Buddy on alert, food imminent

Tried another technique, and somewhat restored the gold eyes.

Handsome Little Buddy in kitchen, with food on his mind

Handsome Little Buddy, who had radial hypoplasia, in kitchen, with food on his mind

He was a radial hypoplasia kitty, described more fully here:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/our-cat-with-feline-radial-hypoplasia/

He remains with me throughout all seasons, in heart though no longer in house.

Pumpkin Kitty, based loosely on our Little Buddy

Pumpkin Kitty, based loosely on our Little Buddy

“Pumpkin kitty” a jack o’ lantern I designed in 2005 while actually looking at Little Buddy’s face for guidance. My husband carved the pumpkin from my drawing, and added the ears.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Art, black cats, Cat Topics, Cats, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Enhancing the Giant Egotistical Cat

Bud the Cat, with Splashy Sunlight

Bud the Cat, with Splashy Sunlight

Starring, Mighty Bud, my purrtector during these difficult times. He’s a large, deep sable brown and white tuxie. His great arcing whiskers and grass green eyes came from his mother Anna, now passed on. She’s pictured in the website banner, above. After I told him, “These techniques will show you off even more”, he agreed to head the household committee on photo editing. Not that he really needs a boost to his already uh, robust sense of self-worth.

Most of my photos aren’t edited. The main exceptions are the ones I’ve used the brush tool to ‘paint’. Described in this post: https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/brightening-cat-photos-with-added-color/

Photo editing adds another dimension of artistry, and almost everyone uses it. Since I came late to computers, I’m an absolute novice at it. Now the husband is slowly infusing my head with techniques I didn’t know the old editing program could do. So in the photo above I used a “curves” box and tweaked between lightness and darkness, and then used the “brightness and contrast” sliders. I had no idea what I was looking for. I stopped when I felt like Bud looked sharper.

Mid-March, early spring, leaves are scarcer and smaller; sunlight blasts through the canopy. I left the door in the photo because it does not draw focus away from the cat shape, so it made pictorial sense to reveal the main light source behind the highlights and shadows. When venturing just beyond reality, things still need to look reasonable.

I painted the background, then didn’t exactly like the resulting color. So I used the “replace color” feature to get the hues closer to what I wanted. A problem for me with this editing program is that it changes any trace of a chosen color throughout the picture. Because sunlight is comprised of all colors, and bounces and refracts a bit when it crosses fur, there were bluish and purplish highlights on Bud that became more saturated when the background was changed. I fixed some and left some.

I know, this is all rudimentary stuff to seasoned photo editors and artists.

Bud keeps track of everything I post on the computer

Bud keeps track of everything I post on the computer

In the above photo I’ve used the curves and sliders, and then color replacement to make the eyes greener. This pushes the hue and intensity beyond the natural colors I actually see in Bud’s eyes daily, but works for the picture, I feel. You also see the green that popped out elsewhere on Bud when I did this. I left it, for now, because this work is so labor intensive for limited me.

Bud the Cat in repose

Glorious Bud

This photo got tweaked every whichaway. I used the “polygon lasso” to increase eye color. I pushed the light-dark-bright-contrast continuum slightly beyond nature for effect, purposely making a picture that could be called ‘too contrasty’. I painted the background twice, didn’t like the orange I began with.

These ‘tricks’ of editing could enhance pictures of black cats, who are said to be so difficult to capture well. Wish I’d been familiar with these tweaks at the time I wrote my post about Black Cat Noir beauty and how to capture it:

https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/black-cats-in-sun-and-shade-a-painters-eye-view/

I ran through multiple gradations in each editing feature before choosing one. You can go way out there into the wildly extra-natural or stick with subtle enhancement. For me they take so much draining work, I’ll never explore more than a few permutations. But I would like to find out how to glaze a layer of semi-transparent hue over a section of a photo, with a few clicks, so it doesn’t have to be ‘painted’. I know that can be done ’cause I’ve seen it. I’ve seen that with kitty whiskers and furry feline outlines showing through. I’d want a choice of the full spectrum of hues; those ‘replace color’, and ‘lasso’ techniques seem to offer a limited hue range. The husband did work out a way to place a solid color over part of a photo, but I’m not so fond of smooth unbroken color fields in pictures. I like things ‘painterly’. Alongside the painted or overlaid settings, for now, I want to mostly preserve the marvelous color-light-shade balance of sunrays and/or artificial illumination on the cat face, form, and pelage.

So from this date most of my cat photos here will be enhanced. Landscapes will likely be right out of the camera. I’ll designate either way.

Bud, you Magnificent Beast, you’re in every picture of this post; you happy now, big fella?

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Looking for Bugs . . .

in all the wrong places (1).  Bugs we’ve seen who park upon, attach themselves to, squeeze into, and otherwise make use of non-natural spaces.

Cicada Emerging at Night – Note they’re much more colorful at this stage, than when they are buzzing as mature adults. From cell phone:

Before the buzz

Before the buzz

All bugs that actually entered buildings were given safe escort to the outdoors. No bugs were harmed in the making of these pictures, though two were deceased when found. Moths heavily represented; ideas on identification are welcome. Anyone who feels bugged by viewing bugs should skip this post! Oh, and there’s one snake.

My cat Bud will grace us with a cameo appearance, as a special favor.

The photos won’t always be in good focus because bugs are flighty and squiggly. And because I’m not a photographer, I’m a painter. I mostly use a Canon now, unless otherwise designated. All are copyrighted 2015 but a few are from earlier years.

It’s around midnight, in the warm, spacious dark; cell phone:

This takes a really long time.

This takes a really long time

They have all this, nearby; lots of cool branches, plenty of snug underbrush. Go figure why one would adhere itself to a railing to transition! (Back to Canon unless otherwise noted)

Perfect for bugs

Green forests are perfect for bugs

Another night, another cicada still showing a trace of newly minted coloration. Cicada with mood lighting:

A casual night, we can scree later

A casual night, we can scree later

Near as I can tell from the guidebook and the online image galleries, this moth most resembles “The Hebrew Moth”, but has broader bans of black. Night visitor, gently guided onto paper towels, photographed, then set free:

There's an art to edging a paper towel under a moth

There’s an art to edging a paper towel under a moth

Blue Dasher Dragonfly, choosing the back of a yard chair to light upon, consistently:

Comfortably settled

Comfortably settled

Partaking of tasty mosquitoes (we hope)

Partaking of tasty mosquitoes (we hope)

Polyphemous Moth, outside at night as it should be, except … it’s on my husband’s shirt, catching a ride:

A smooth ride

A smooth ride

Vintage photo of Polyphemous Moth inside at night, 2012, Kodak digital camera. This moth appears to have some damage, from whatever eats moths out there in the deep dark woods:

Polyphemous moth

Polyphemous Moth

Antlion, or Antlion Lacewing, interior window. Opinions differ as to weather the name ‘doodlebug’ refers to the larval stage or to the Antlion itself:

Antlion Lacewing

Antlion Lacewing

This Antlion was found deceased in 2013:

Antlion found deceased

Antlion found deceased

Moths seek light, I don’t know why. Scientists don’t really know, either, from what I’ve read. Lovely earthy brown-toned moths make for innovative wall decor. It’s hard to find info to identify these:

Flexing wings

Flexing wings

Very textural wings on this one

Very textural wings on this one

On kitchen cabinet:

Secure on blue

Secure on blue

From old Kodak digital:

Unusual and feathery

Unusual and feathery

The Pink Striped Oakworm Moth places her eggs on the undersides of oak leaves. This poor moth never made it to the tall oak tree about 40 feet away. Found outside on a landing in the morning, she was either attacked by a predator, or accidently stepped on in the dark. Her eggs were scattered around her. It’s ‘circle of life’, but it’s sorrowful to me, that part of the natural world. My husband carefully gathered up the eggs on a piece of paper and placed them in a container, with oak leaves, in case there is still a chance they could become caterpillars. More about this species here: http://www.hiltonpond.org/thisweek080316.html

Pink Striped Oakworm Moth

Pink Striped Oakworm Moth

Sad moth

Sad moth

Some vintage photos of moths, both drawn to windows of lighted rooms when they landed; lights were turned off by me when I went to take photos. Luna Moth, on glass, outside, taken with old Kodak camera:

Luna Moth on glass

Luna Moth

Imperial Moth on glass, outside, taken in the 80s with an old Minolta film camera:

Imperial Moth

Imperial Moth

We used to see the above two species often, but they’ve absent for several years.

One recent morning I got up, sat down at the computer, looked out the window, and saw a snake climbing up the house! In the wrong place, that one! My husband wrangled him off the house and into a plastic tub using a snake-loop. He is experienced at this. DON’T try this yourself, call an animal control expert. He then took the snake away from the house, and we took pictures as we waited for the snake to release himself. General consensus of opinion is, this was a rat snake, which is not poisonous; still, all snakes will bite.

Pretty long!

Pretty long!

Zoomed in

Zoomed in

Rising towards escape. The snake tongue kept flickering – to sniff out the surroundings  – and is faintly visible below. I kept missing it every time!

Beneficial rat snake finds his way to the woods

Beneficial rat snake finds his way to the woods

Mighty cat Bud, with a little age on him, no longer looks for bugs himself. So our bug rescue and eviction is more leisurely now. Here, he’s a bit disgruntled that he isn’t heading up this post. He feels it should’ve been titled “Looking for Bud …” He doesn’t take my point that he’s always in the right place. Maybe next time, Buddy!

Something has caught Bud's eye

Something has caught Bud’s eye

Bud’s looking to get top billing next post!

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“Lookin’ for Love” (“in all the wrong places”), by Wanda Mallette, Bob Morrison, and Patti Ryan, 1980.

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