On a Scale of Carousel to Roller Coaster, How Scary is this?

HDR filter Topaz Studio
Winged Creature

Sunrise this morning. It was quite spectacular and changing rapidly. I quickly took a picture, then retreated back into the warmth of my house. When I uploaded the photo and enhanced it with a light touch of HDR in Topaz Studio, I realized that I had captured something much more sinister than a typical Alberta sunrise.

It was a winged creature, with a skull like head and sunken eye sockets. It was covered with woolly dreads. It rode on bolts of fire…

Alberta orange yellow
Poodle

Without HDR, it looked more like a poodle, I suppose…

Do you see a safe ‘carousel’ sky, or a scary ‘roller coaster’ sky?

‘On a scale of’ usually has a range of one to ten – but here are some other ‘Scales’ to think about:
On a scale of Voldemort to Pinocchio, how Nosy are you?
On a scale of Mother Teresa to Adolf Hitler, how evil is your President?
On a scale of Under the Porch Mat to Osama Bin Laden how good was my hiding spot?
On a scale of Pennies to a Pool Filled With $1000 Bills, how much does this house cost?
On a scale of Sitting on a Stuffed Toy to Stepping on a LEGO, how much pain are you in?
On a scale of Qatar to Greece, how broke are we?
On a scale of Winter in Florida to Winter in Siberia how bad is your idea?

Can you think of some other non-traditional scales?

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Scale.

Windows – Watching a Fall Snow Storm

snow storm
A lacy pattern of ice on the window.

The first snow storm of the winter season, except it is supposed to be Fall…

Oh, the weather outside is frightful!
But furnace heat is delightful.
With the roads closed we can’t go,
Stop the wind, stop the cold, stop the snow!
– Margy, with help from the Christmas Carol ‘Let it Snow’ –

Photo altered in Topaz Studio with a crackly overlay and enhanced colours.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Windows (again).

Has the weather been unseasonably anything in your part of the world in the past few months?

Shadows on the Snow – a Mystery Shape

I call them Crystal Days. When the morning sun falls on the right kind of new snow, each snow flake glitters like a crystal.

564-snow-shadow

This photo was taken on a Crystal Day, mid December, a few years ago.  The overnight snowfall had turned our yard into a series of snow mounds, each sparkling in the morning sun. The snow pattern in this photo was particularly interesting. What had been a grid, was now a geometric series of hills and valleys, with each hill casting a shadow into the valley. Nearby objects added splashes of shadow too.

564-snow-shadow2

Here is a closer look at one of the valleys. Now you can see the sparkles of the snow crystals on the hill surface.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember what was under the snow. Whatever it was, it had to have been a nearly horizontal surface. It was something in my yard and it was apparently familiar enough that I didn’t bother to take another photo that put this one into context. I didn’t even see the need to change the name of the photo from P1060359 to something a bit more useful. Drat…

Here are some more shadow photos. Click on any of them to open a slideshow.

If you have any suggestions as to what created my snow shadow mystery, please leave a comment!

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Shadow.

Ambience of the Moon – Setting the Mood

506-waxing-gibbous-moon-clouds
A perfect moon for a Halloween night
560-super-moon
The magic of a moon lit night
moon Mar 31 2016
Perfect conditions for a quiet night of moon watching
525-santa
Calm and Peace on Christmas Eve

In awe, I watched the waxing moon ride across the zenith of the heavens like an ambered chariot towards the ebony void of infinite space wherein the tethered belts of Jupiter and Mars hang, for ever festooned in their orbital majesty. And as I looked at all this I thought… I must put a roof on this toilet.
– Les Dawson –

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Ambience.

How has the moon affected the ambience of a memorable occasion for you? Did you know that ambience can also be spelled ambiance?

Whatever Floats Your Boat – The Magic of Water

H2O – Water as Snowflakes
Autumn in Alberta. Like any other season here in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the weather can be unpredictable. The first snowfall of the season can be early, or it can be late, but it is rarely welcome for adults. It often causes a delay in harvesting. It invariably results in highway accidents – road conditions deteriorate before  winter driving skills kick in.

Our first snowfall was a few days ago. A foggy, snowy photo is not a cheery sight, but suitably moody.

H2O – Water as Ice
A few days later the sun returned and the garden was transformed into a wonderland coated with ice. You can see these photos at Frozen Leaves Encased in Ice.

H2O – Water as Water
You could also wander over to meet the incredibly cute Northern Cardinal that took a bath in my sprinkler: A Wet Northern Cardinal.

So why this new blog?
The simple answer is, I had enough material to create specialty blogs for the things that interest me the most.  So I moved a bunch of posts to this new home. The other stuff stays at my old blog, which is being renovated.

As moves go, it has been quite straight forward, though time consuming. WordPress provides an ‘Export’ tool for that. Unfortunately, the export is hit or miss in the media department, so it has taken a bit of time to move the missing photos.

Do you have more than one blog? If you were going to split your blog up, what interests would move to a new home?

All the water photos were my contribution to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge which is H2O.

Wishing for Weather – I Said Rain – not Snow!

Towards the end of our stay in Arizona, I saw a TV commercial that made me long for a rainy day. An off road vehicle was driving up a winding mountain road. A light rain was falling. I remembered how fresh the air could feel and how wonderful the forest could smell after a rain!  In contrast, Phoenix Arizona was dry desert heat that could possibly fry an egg on the hood of the neighbour’s car.

gnarled trees blue sky

A few days later, we were on our way back to Alberta. Our first stop was the Grand Canyon. We arrived late in the afternoon, and spent several hours walking along the rim taking pictures.

storm clouds

Dark clouds to both the east and west hinted that a storm was brewing. My rainy day was very near!

I woke the next morning (my birthday) to a steady drizzle. I marveled that The Car Guy was able to deliver such a great present on my birthday. As we drove back to the Grand Canyon, I got whiffs of fresh air and fragrant forest.

We parked the car, put on rain coats, and walked quickly over to the rim.  Surprise! The Canyon was, for all intents and purposes, gone… I was really glad I had got my vista pictures the previous day.

snow blizzard

There was no reason to stay at the Canyon, so we drove east along the rim road. The rain turned to snow. As we dropped in elevation, the snow became rain. Eventually the rain stopped for a while – then we drove through a heavy hail storm. Apparently my birthday present was a gift of all the weather I had NOT had in Arizona for several months!

snow pink flower

The QuipperyDays later in Alberta, we were greeted with an early blooming season thanks to a warm, dry spring. I threw caution to the wind, and did a rain dance…  We got snow.

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Wish.

A rainy day – do you carry an umbrella? Do you put up the hood of your rain jacket? Do you just get wet, because, after all, rain won’t make you melt into the puddle.

Half Moon and Sunrises

moon Mar 31 2016
The photo challenge this week is Half-Light. At sunrise this morning, the moon appeared to be Half too!

The sun does not abandon the moon to darkness.
― Brian A. McBride, Dominion –

sunrise moon Arizona

Same time, same sunrise, same moon (that tiny white dot near the top right of the photo.

The sky is that beautiful old parchment in which the sun and the moon keep their diary.
– Alfred Kreymborg –

sunrise clouds Arizona

In Alberta, these clouds would probably mean rain. Here in Arizona, at this time of the year, dark clouds are just dark clouds.

The latest authority among men of science says that little is known of the causes which balance the clouds in the air. They are formed of water, and water, however minutely divided or blown into bubbles, is always heavier than the air. And yet these flying fountains of all the rivers of earth, these armed and thundering legions of the storm, that beat down the forests with hail and bury the mountains in snow, and flood the plains with water, go floating over us at vast heights with all their mighty magazines when all our philosophy would require them to sink to the earth.
– Daniel March, “The Balancings of the Clouds,” Our Father’s House, or the Unwritten Word, 1869 –

sunrise Arizona

Without clouds, sunrises aren’t nearly so dramatic!

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.
– G.K. Chesterton –

What common phrases do you think of when you hear the word ‘Half’?

This weeks WordPress Photo Challenge is Half-Light.

Weather – Pondering Alberta’s Four Seasons

I’m in Arizona this morning. It is springtime here and the first blooms have appeared on a few bushes. By this evening I will be back in Alberta. It has been a mild winter, but if anything in my yard has been fooled into thinking it is spring, it is sadly mistaken!

I’ve chosen the Mountain Ash tree at The Red House to show you the seasons in Alberta – which are summed up as follows:

In Canada we have: Six months of winter, and six months of poor sledding. These can be broken down into: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction season. To be more specific, the four seasons are: June, July, August and Winter.
– Author Unknown –

Here are the photos and quotes that explain the seasons:


Mountain Ash – late spring

The principal function of March is to use up the winter weather that wouldn’t fit into February.
– Doug Larson –


Mountain Ash – Late Summer

Summers always fly – winters walk.
– Charles M. Schulz –


Mountain Ash – Fall Colors

Autumn is a season followed immediately by looking forward to spring.
– Doug Larson –


Mountain Ash – Early Winter

The problem with winter sports is that – follow me closely here – they generally take place in winter.
– Dave Barry –

What season are you enjoying (or not enjoying) right now? Do you have a favourite season?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Seasons.

Hail Stones

514-hail-spruce

Hail stones in spruce tree – ‘Hail Alley’, Alberta, Canada.

514-hail-golf-ball

Hail stones, July 2016 – not quite as big as the golf ball.

– Hail Alley, or Hailstorm Alley, is a corridor that stretches across west-central Alberta. It reaches as far north as Lacombe and as far south as High River.
– The City of Calgary is regarded as the hailstorm capital of Canada, with more than half of the country’s severe weather insurance claims ‘hailing’ from here (according to Western Direct Insurance.)

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

NASA can explain the Supermoon Lunar Eclipse much better than I can – but I took the photos to show the Moon changing! (Location: near Calgary, Alberta, Canada.)

The Car Guy had been talking about this event for days, so he was quite disappointed when the clouds covered the beginning of the eclipse on Sunday, September 27, 2015. Fortunately, the clouds parted shortly after 9 PM!

lunar eclipse calgaryLunar Eclipse at 9:14 PM – A Blood Moon

lunar eclipse calgaryLunar Eclipse 9:29 PM

lunar eclipse calgaryLunar Eclipse 9:45 PM

lunar eclipse calgaryLunar Eclipse 10:07 PM

lunar eclipse calgaryAfter the Eclipse – the moon at 6:17 AM on Monday, September 28

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is: Change