Tag Archive | photo challenge

The Elemental Muskrat – Reshaping the Banks of Their Watery World

Alberta water

One evening I watched some Muskrats ‘working like beavers’ at a friends farm. The muskrat is a largish rodent that looks like a stocky rat. It seems harmless enough, but has the ability to reshape the banks of any body of water it decides to call home. In this photo, you can see a cut in the bank where one of its underground dens has perhaps collapsed. If they dug bank burrows under the windmill on the other side of the dugout, it might eventually cause a big problem!

Alberta Water
Muskrats primarily eat a wide variety of plants. This pair were transporting sweet clover – doesn’t it almost looked like a bridal bouquet!?

I really was disappointed when I downloaded my muskrat photos and looked at them on my computer. The early evening light wasn’t optimal for capturing detail with a zoom lens. I fancied the photos up with a few filters, but all in all, I’d say they are good examples of what ELJAYGEE calls  Second Best Shots

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Elemental.

Post 582

A Satisfying Day at the ‘Gamma Dogs’ House

We recently became ‘Grandparents’ to a puppy, though the term ‘puppy’ seems odd for a dog that never was very small and is growing really quickly. Our daughter and her husband are taking their puppy, Ghost, to puppy classes and are making good progress in establishing themselves as the ‘Alpha Dogs’! This training is quickly forgotten, however, in the excitement of a day here at our rural Red House. We joke that I am so far down in the dog’s ‘hierarchy of obedience’ alphabet that I am the ‘Gamma Dog’.


“So many smells. I wonder if any of them are dog approved food. The ‘Alpha Dog Lady’ sure didn’t like the dead gopher I found here last week.”

“Sniffing, running, digging, rolling! People – I need a bowl of water!”

“And I’m done. Could someone carry me to the car?”

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

Are you a dog owner? Or – do you just enjoy a dog when it visits, then get to send it home with the owners?

Post 581

Would Grandma Approve?

A Collage of Doilies. What would Grandma think if she saw some of her handiwork hanging on the wall!?

red wall, starched

Doilies with the FotoSketcher Emergence filter

Doilies with the FotoSketcher Dots filter

Doilies with the GIMP Stained Glass filter

My previous post about Doilies is at Preserving and Using Grandma’s Doilies.

Do you have any of your Grandma’s  or Grandpa’s treasures displayed in your house?

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

Post 580

An Artistic Look at Bridges

‘Post processing’ or photo editing can not only slightly improve a photo, it can extensively alter it! Here are a few ‘before’ and ‘after’ examples I applied to photos of Bridges.

Old Town Hall

Before: Bamberg Germany, Old Town Hall

Bamberg is an beautiful example of an early medieval town in central Europe. It has a large number of surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings. It is crisscrossed by many rivers, winding canals, and bridges. Some of the bridges are old and famous and some, like this one, are more modern, but don’t detract from the architecture of the surrounding buildings.

watercolor filter FotoSketcher

After: FotoSketcher Watercolor filter

In keeping with the feel of an ancient European City, I used a Watercolor filter.

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Deception Pass State Park; Oak Harbor, Washington USA

Before: Deception Pass Bridge, Washington

Deception Pass Bridge is the common name for two, two-lane bridges that connect Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island in the U.S. state of Washington. Pass Island lies between the two bridges.

Washington, USA

After: FotoSketcher Emergence Filter

I used a filter called Emergence, which is really a series of triangles. I like the way they highlighted the red rose hips.

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Arizona, USA

Before: New Navajo Bridge across the Colorado River, AZ

Navajo Bridge – The original Navajo Bridge was completed and opened to traffic in January 1929. Prior to the building of the bridge, the only way to cross the Colorado River and its formidable gorge was at Lee’s Ferry a short distance upstream. Construction on a new, wider bridge began in May of 1993. The old bridge became a walking bridge.

Pencil Sketch Collage

After: Pencil Sketch filter

I used a Pencil Sketch Filter – just because…

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Have you experimented with using filters on your photos? Which program do you use?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Bridge.

Post 579

Grow Up, Snake!

Transient – a snake passing through the yard, my ‘fear’ of said snake, the snakes skin.

I have to say at the outset that I don’t really like snakes all that much. Not big snakes, for sure. (A snake always looks bigger than it really is, by the way.) So the first time I saw a ‘pretty big’ snake in my yard in Arizona, I was a bit ‘freaked’ out. It looked suspiciously like a Rattlesnake… Fortunately, our local Fire Department comes running when you call and ask for their Snake Removal assistance. I think they would rather deal with a snake than with a snake bite.

The snake turned out to be a Gopher (or Bull) Snake. From a safe distance, Gopher snakes and Rattlesnakes resemble each other – they have the same sort of markings and colors.

A stretched out Gopher Snake – about 3 ft (1 metre) long.

When I’d calmed down, and took a closer look, I saw how the Gopher Snake differed from a Rattlesnake.

round pupils

Gopher Snake head – no facial pit, and round pupils distinguish the gopher snake from the rattlesnake.

Both snakes can be a bit short-tempered. The Gopher Snake will rise to a striking position, flatten its head into a triangular shape, hiss loudly and shake its tail at intruders. The ruse works very well if the snake also happens to have it’s tail hidden in tall dry grass.

tapered tail

Gopher Snake – tapered tail, no rattles

After this particular snake had slithered off, The Car Guy discovered that it had left it’s skin behind. ‘Love the Skin You’re In’ only works for a month or so for a snake, then they discard it for a nice new one so that they can grow larger.

Here is the skin – each scale sparkled in the bright sunlight. Quite beautiful.

Snake Stories
Common Name: Gopher Snake or Bull Snake
Scientific Name: Pituophis
Description: The top of the snake is tan, cream, yellow, orange-brown, or pale gray, with a series of large dark brown or black blotches, with smaller dark spots on the sides. They can reach 9 feet (275 cm) in length, but 4 feet (120 cm) is more common.
Native to: from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans, as far north as southern Canada, and as far south as Veracruz and southern Sinaloa, Mexico, including Baja California.
Date Seen: April 28, 2017
Location: North of Fountain Hills, Arizona
Comments: This is a powerful constrictor that preys on a wide variety of animals including rats, mice, rabbits, lizards, birds, snakes, eggs, and insects. It hibernates during the cold months of late fall and winter.

Have you ever found a snake skin? Did you know that humans shed their entire outer layer of skin every 2-4 weeks at the rate of 0.001 – 0.003 ounces of skin flakes every hour?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Transient.

Post 578

RCMP – Law, Order and the Musical Ride

In 1867, Canada became a nation. This year (2017) is Canada’s 150th Birthday!

Mounties, dressed in red serge, are often seen leading local parades on Canada Day (July1st). There are 680 RCMP Detachments across Canada.

Six years after the Dominion of Canada was formed, the Parliament of Canada established a central police force and gave it the task of maintaining Law and Order in the newly acquired western territories of Canada. The force acquired the name “North-West Mounted Police” (NWMP). By 1886, the NWMP’s first riding school was established in Regina and in 1887, the horses and riders performed mounted precision cavalry drills on several occasions. It wasn’t until 1901,  though, that the drills, choreographed to music, began to be performed for the public.

In 1920, the name of the force was changed to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Today, the Musical Ride consists of 32 riders (plus one leader) in scarlet jackets on beautiful black horses. The RCMP has bred and raised its own horses since 1939. The Ride tours throughout Canada and internationally between May and October.

RCMP Musical Ride at the Calgary Stampede – 32 horses and riders in an orderly line-up!

More Canadiana – Best Canadian Puns, Jokes and Observations.

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

Post 577

Many Rocks and a Lot of Hardscape

Earththe substance of the land surface – in my part of Arizona it reminds me of the saying ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’! Landscaping strategies here include generous numbers of Rocks and plenty of gravel Hardscape.

Arizona

Big River

Our yard consists of a gravel mulch that covers soil that is a course reddish material with large sections of impenetrable caliche (soil particles that have been cemented together by calcium carbonate.)

Meandering from one end of the yard to the other is a stone feature I call ‘Big River’.

‘Big River’ is a make believe creek bed that only gets wet when it rains.

‘Big River’ begins in a spiral rock feature I call ‘The Maze’.

A large stone lizard slithers towards the patio and breaks the monotony of yet some more gravel (the maze area is in the distance.)

In contrast, Earth at our Alberta house is a rich black soil. A carpet of green grass (sometimes a blanket of dead yellow grass if we don’t get enough rain) circles flower beds and stone walkways.

The Arizona yard and the Alberta yard, though on different ends of a spectrum of what Earth has to offer, are in just two of the many ecosystems that the Earth’s surface can support.  What kind of land surface do you call home?

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Earth.

Post 571