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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Yes, I know I’m a day late, but here is my entry for Karma’s August Photo Hunt.

After Tropical Storm Irene, isn’t it time for a rainbow of summer colors? 🙂

"Red"

“Red”

 

"Orange"

“Orange”

 

"Yellow"

“Yellow”

 

"Green"

“Green”

 

"Indigo"

“Indigo”

 

"Violet"

“Violet”

Here in the Northeast, we are bracing for Hurricane Irene, set to strike Sunday morning. Sigh.

Looking out my window, today is actually a gorgeous summer day, with blue skies and bright sunshine and not even the slightest hint of what is coming our way. Later on, we will be battening down the hatches (so to speak) but for now, it is best to soak in all this day has to offer. Soon enough, the wind and rain will keep us indoors.

“Love at First Blush” (Hydrangea macrophylla, Endless Summer Hydrangea ‘Blushing Bride’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/5, 1/160s, ISO 640

Earlier this year, we cut all the lower branches off of some very large Eastern Hemlocks along the fenceline, creating a new garden area underneath. I took this as an opportunity to add evergreens and flowering shrubs that I didn’t already have elsewhere in the landscape.

Amongst the varieties of Mountain Laurels, yews and azaleas, I added in two new species of hydrangea. ‘Blushing Bride’ produces large, pure white mopheads with tinges of blue and pink as the blossoms age.

“Irene” (Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Cardinal Red’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/5, 1/30s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

‘Cardinal Red’, on the other hand, boasted “deep red blooms” on the nursery card included with the plant. Hmmm, so far, my blossoms are merely a deep pink, but that is most likely due to the soil’s pH. Even though I’ve added large quantities of lime trying to turn it alkaline, I suspect this might be a never-ending battle. With all the evergreens around, soil pH tends to run on the acidic side. Oh, well. Pink is nice, too. 🙂

Stay safe, everyone. God Bless.

There are many trees, shrubs and perennials planted in my garden specifically to attract birds and insects. However, none deliver better than the butterfly bushes! It seems now that they are in full bloom, the winged creatures simply cannot help themselves.

“Lapis Eye” (Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail at Butterfly Bush ‘Potter’s Purple’) Nikon D300, 500mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x teleconverter), F/6.3, 1/160s, ISO 640

Snapping many, many images over the course of a few days, I realized I am sadly out of practice. It is amazing how quickly one’s camera skills can get rusty… I guess I’ve been living up to the ‘lazy days’ of summer, huh? 😉

Plus, many of the butterflies that visited had damaged wings, which made getting a good image all the more tricky.

“Wings Wide” (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/6.3, 1/200s, -0.3EV, ISO 400, Built-in iTTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

I am always fascinated by the hummingbird moths that stop by for a drink.

“Hum-vee” (Snowberry Clearwing Moth at Butterfly Bush ‘Nanho Petite Indigo’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4.5, 1/500s, ISO 1600

Just like hummingbirds, these guys are extremely quick and fly so sporadically it can make your head spin!

“Bokeh Hum” (Clearwing Hummingbird Moth at Butterfly Bush ‘Potter’s Purple’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/7.1, 1/320s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Built-in iTTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

Of course, then there are the bees. As I was watching for butterflies, I noticed this one carpenter bee ‘hovering’ in mid-air, waiting for other bees to leave the particular blossom he seemed to be keying in on. 

“Flight of the Bee” (Carpenter Bee in Flight) Nikon D300, 280mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 640

I did my best to maneuver the huge lens to get a fix on him but only got a single ‘not-so-in-focus’ shot off. Still, I never really thought I’d ever catch a bee in flight so for me, this is pretty darn cool.

Activity at the butterfly bushes will be going strong for quite awhile so I’m sure I’ll get more opportunities to practice. Until then, you can find me at the pool. 🙂

“Twilight Terror” (The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/22, 1/320s, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Solarized Border’ Filter

Some very wet weather outside has me digging through the photo archives today. There are still so many photos I haven’t posted from our last trip to Walt Disney World!To match the doom and gloom raging outside my window, it seems appropriate to take a tour of ‘The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’, an attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Although I’ve ridden the “ride”, turns out I’m not a fan of being dropped down an elevator shaft. 😉

So while guests rushed passed me to access the queue line, I strode leisurely along, soaking in all the extraordinary details of the run-down exterior, lobby and, yes, even the basement.

Our tour begins outside. This is one of the few images shot in color, where the sky was a brilliant blue and the gorgeous Florida sun shone beautifully, lighting up all the architectural details. Hmmm, doesn’t exactly conjure up a feeling of terror, now does it? No worries. A quick pass through Nik’s Silver Efex Pro was all I needed to pull forth the uh, ‘terrifying’ mood.

“Concierge of Terror” (Concierge Desk, Lobby, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 56mm, F/5.6, 1/10s, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Solarized Border’ Filter

Walking into the hotel lobby, we are first greeted by the concierge desk. I’m sure someone will be along shortly… 😉

“Cuppa Terror” (Tea Cart, Lobby, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Solarized Border’ Filter

 
 
 
 
 
While we wait, lets take a look around. To our left, a spot of tea can be enjoyed while taking part in a game of Mahjong. Although I’m quite impressed with the lush furnishings and elegant finishes, it appears housekeeping is not a high priority here. I must speak to the hotel manager about this.

“Check-in to Terror” (Front Desk, Lobby, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, 45mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Solarized Border’ Filter

 
 
 
 
 
 

Weary from my trip and tired of waiting for the concierge to return, I move towards the front desk.
 
Once again, the place seems deserted.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Perhaps the desk clerk is helping the gentleman who left his topcoat, hat and folded newspaper behind?

“Interrupted Terror” (Front Desk, Lobby, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/5s, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Solarized Border’ Filter

“Super-intended Terror” (Basement Office, The Twilight Zone Tower of Tower, Disney’s Hollywoood Studios) Nikon D300, 35mm, F/2.8, 1/30s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Solarized Border’ Filter

 
 
 
 
 

After waiting impatiently for service, I begin searching the hotel for any signs of staff, eventually making my way into the basement level of the hotel.

Here, the Superintendent’s office and maintenance areas yield more of the same: neat, orderly, yet completely covered in dust and cobwebs, as if quickly abandoned and frozen in time.

“Hidden Terror” (Maintenance Shop, Basement, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Nikon D300, 28mm, F/2.8, -1.0EV, ISO 640, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Solarized Border’ Filter


 
 
 

The hidden Mickey is a nice touch and instantly reminds me that indeed, I was never in any danger what-so-ever.

“We hope your stay at The Hollywood Tower Hotel has been a pleasant one. And please… do come back and see us again.”

Happily, I step back out into the bright sunshine, thankful I didn’t become a permanent resident of “The Twilight Zone’. 🙂

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