Denise Goldberg's blog

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Guard dog

Isn't this "guard dog" wonderful? I've seen him at craft shows along with his artist (master), and it turns out that the artist lives not too far from me. This dog is guarding a field at an exit from I-495 in Haverhill, MA, and yes, I did misbehave and stop along the side of an interstate highway to grab the photo.



Information on this dog's master can be found at the Dale Rogers Studio website.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Magic

It's just a rock sitting in a pond, a rock surrounded by water, a rock with small plants grabbing a somewhat precarious place to grow. Quiet water, reflections of blue sky and clouds, pure magic...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Yes? No? Yes!

Tell me, who wins when you have an argument with yourself? OK, OK, it was more of a discussion than an argument, and it seems to me that no matter what the decision is, I win!

Oh, you want to know what I why I was arguing with myself? I had a serious case of "lens lust". I guess I've known for a while that I wanted a big zoom lens for my camera, because sometimes I see things that I want to capture that are just too far away. Sometimes I've been very lucky to capture images of birds or wild animals. Sometimes they seem to wander closer to me without my moving an inch - like the day the mute swans wanted to play. Other times I can't get close enough, like the gray day not too long ago when I really wanted to capture some shore birds running along the ocean. A couple of sea gulls posed for me, but the little running birds wouldn't let me get close enough.

The solution was close at hand - giving in to my dream of a new lens for my camera. When I bought my everyday lens I knew that if I ever gave in to my dreams and got a longer lens that I would either need to carry a tripod (or monopod) or that I would have to get a lens with built-in image stabiliztion. While a monopod may still be in my future, I want a lens I can just grab and use, even when I'm wandering on my bike. I have enough room to stash another lens on the bike, and yes, I'm sure that a monopod will fit too, but for now...

I had my eye on Canon's IS lenses. I had the shock of my life when I first priced them. I was looking for the 100-400 zoom but I had inadvertantly selected the 400 prime lens. It was $6500! Uh, wait a minute... I'm not a professional photographer, and that's way out of my range for playthings. I sort of accepted that I wasn't going to get a new lens, but I couldn't let it go. I went back a few days later and priced the lens that I really wanted. Yes, it was still very pricey, and if I hadn't seen the price of the 400 IS I might have thought it was out of line. But hey, in comparison with $6500, the price of $1310 for the 100-400 IS lens seems almost reasonable.

I kept going back and forth, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes! I finally gave in and ordered the lens. Should I have bought it locally so I could feel it on my camera before the purchase? Maybe. I looked on the web sites of the two larger photo shops in the area, and neither of them showed any trace of my dream lens, so I ordered my new toy from B&H Photo in New York. They are usually very fast in filling orders, and they are a very reputable photo shop. I've ordered small things from them before, never something as big as this lens.

Ah, now it's time to wait. I will be very surprised if I don't have the lens on Friday. I selected their least expensive shipping method, tagged as 3-5 days by UPS, but my experience with B&H in the past implies that they play some kind of magic games with shipping.

Waiting, dreaming, and hoping that I made the right decision...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hot? Hot!

It's almost a week after the summer solstice and the weather wizard has graced us with a couple of very hot days. Today was the first, and apparently our mid- to high-90s temperatures will continue into tomorrow too.

I chose to ignore the dire heat predictions for today. I suppose I could blame it on my bike, but really, it was all me. My ride to work this morning was very pleasant, cool, but warm enough to ride in shorts and a sleeveless jersey, no need for knee (warmth) protection. The ride home? It was hot! Funny though, as long as I was moving forward I was quite comfortable. As soon as I stopped I could feel the heat rising off of me.

For someone who (almost) always has a camera with her, you would think that I would have (should have) grabbed a picture of myself when I got home. My face was shining red and dripping sweat, and I could easily imagine seeing the waves of heat rising from my body.

It was a good ride day, in spite of the heat. And it brings back memories of the many over-100 degree days on my cross-country trek that unbelieveably enough is now five years in the past!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Swirling winds

Cool temperatures, swirling winds, and cloud-speckled skies greeted me this morning. I knew I needed a change of scenery, and it was time to decide whether I'd head to Wells, Maine to follow one of the routes provided on the Explore Maine - by bike web site or whether I would do my own wandering along the southern Maine coast. The latter won out; somehow I knew that my bike wasn't in a following directions mode today.

Rather than try to figure out a reasonable parking spot in Kittery, I left my car in Portsmouth, NH and made my way across the bridge into Maine. As much as I'd like to believe that the road hugs the coast, my bike knows better!

Rolling roads lined with trees and houses allowed occasional glimpses of water at the beginning of my ride, opening up to a ride right along the coast in York Beach, and then to visions of Nubble Light across a short span of water. It was a good wandering day...


Who do you suppose this is? I think it's a baby groundhog, very intent on finding things for munching. I wish I could have (safely) been a little closer, but I'm not crazy enough to walk up to a wild animal, baby though it appeared to be.


Patches of daisies continue to decorate the road.


Ah... views of the ocean, the reason for today's ride!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Timing is everything!

Crack! Flash! Splat... Crack!

Wow. Timing is everything. I was going to ride to work today but I thought better of it when I saw the forecast calling for a 30% chance of rain. Since I got up and moving early enough to ride to work I was at the office a good hour earlier than normal. That meant that I had a full day in by 3 o'clock. In early, out early...

The sky was painted a brilliant shade of blue and decorated with white puffy clouds when I arrived home. At that point I thought I made a mistake in not riding in to work today, but with my early day - plus the fact that today is the longest day of the year - there was plenty of (daylight) riding time left in the day.

Ah, it was time to head out to ride. I chose a big loop, rolling down the road, occasionally stopping to grab some photos, happy. The clouds were in an ever-changing state. Patches of dark clouds started to decorate the sky, but there was still sunshine with blue sky in the background.

Getting close to the end of my ride, closer to home... I was just 3 miles away when the sky started getting very dark. Today is the longest day of the year, it was close to 6:30, and it was no where near sunset. It was getting darker, darker, darker...

I was very lucky. I was about a quarter of a mile from home when a very loud crack of thunder filled my ears, accompanied by a bright flash of lightening. Crack! Flash! Rain drops started splatting against the pavement. Drops, heavy drops. I rode faster. Ah, home again. I opened the garage door and wheeled the bike inside - just as a very heavy downpour started. What timing! I have to say that I was very lucky tonight.

I think you can see by the sky in this photo why I thought it was safe to head out on my bike this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stages of (floral) life

The subtle beauty of floral life, from flowers gone to seed, to new buds slowly opening...





Monday, June 18, 2007

Red squirrel posing

My camera jumped into the car when I headed to upstate New York for a few days. My plans were just to be there for Mom & Dad as he (or maybe I should say his body) recovered from cardiac bypass surgery. Good days morphed into bad days and returned to good by the time I headed home.

And somehow... I found time to play too. This little red squirrel put up with me as I chased him with a camera. I wish I could have been a little closer to him, but one more step and I think he would have run the other way.

It was fun - and interesting - to play staring games with this beautiful and impish little creature.





Thursday, June 14, 2007

Word play

Morning driving, listening to Morning Edition... A puzzle to start the day, courtesy of NPR:

"given the nine-letter word 'startling', remove one letter without rearranging any letters to form a new word. Remove another letter to form another new word. Keep going until you are left with one letter and one remaining word."
I wonder how many other words exist where the same game can be played. Do you know?

startling
starling or starting
staring
string
sting
sing
sin
in
I

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Bright...

As much as I'd like the weather wizard to grace us with slightly warmer weather that matches the season, I have to admit that the flowers are showing their seasonal beauty.

I'm fascinated by the variations of beauty shown in the simple petals of a flower.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Recovery time

My dad had bypass surgery today. The thought of it was a bit scary for those of us not used to seeing a family member (or friend) go through this type of surgery but he went in with no worries and the right attitude. My phone called to me in the middle of the morning; the surgery had gone well. Now it's time for the recovery portion of this exercise.

Later in the day, my cell phone told me that it had a message for me. I opened it up to find a photo of Dad in his hospital bed, still very much "hooked up". I laughed, then called my sister to ask if Dad knew that she was taking his picture. Apparently he wants photographic documentation of his surgery to add to his collection.

Dad, healing wishes are heading your way...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What's that noise?

Today was a wonderful gift from the weather wizard. A brilliant blue sky was decorated by puffs of white clouds, the temperature hovered in the low 70s, and a light wind was blowing. It was a wonderful day to ride, to wander outside.

Riding, stopping to take pictures, riding...

Hey - what's that noise? A loud and constant squawking filled the air. I looked around, and I didn't see the noisemaker. I stopped and leaned my bike against a convenient tree, and looked around once more. The noisemaker? It was a guinea hen, standing near the gated entrance to a farm. Squawk, squeak, squawk! I moved a bit closer, hoping to capture a good picture with my baby camera. (It figures that I didn't have the SLR with me today, doesn't it?) He didn't stay still, and as I peered over the fence I saw a couple more of these funny birds, along with more distant Canada Geese and a couple of white geese or swans happily paddling in a pond.

Crazy, silly guinea hen, talking, running, he's in charge!



Red clover... even what most people consider to be weeds can be beautiful...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Images on a gray day

Today was gray, then gray and wet. Late in the afternoon I decided I needed an escape. The roads were wet, and the sky was still somewhat threatening, so I decided against rolling down the road on my bike. Instead I headed to the New Hampshire coast, hoping for some decent walking conditions.

Dry sky, drizzle, rain... I kept driving, and I was rewarded with a mostly dry walk. I had a glimpse of the mute swans paddling far off in the distance; I guess they didn't want to pose for pictures today.

Reflections can be magic...



This beautiful yellow iris looks a little out of place. I'm always surprised when I see flowers that appear to be planted in an otherwise wild place.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Simple smiles

It's still spring, a sunny afternoon, a little bit of wandering...

Colors reach out and grab my eyes, wildflowers, buds opening, bright, waving in light winds, beauty in simple things.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Shipping notification smiles

I ordered a protective sleeve for my new laptop today (for the odd times that I want to carry the computer away from home) from Waterfield, a company in San Francisco. After looking at their shipping options, I chose Priority Mail, figuring that it was the most reasonable choice from both a cost and delivery timeframe standpoint.

Part of the confirmation email really made me smile. It appears that even though a tracking number was supplied...

It's important to note that you won't actually be able to track your package with US Priority Mail until after it has been delivered... about 2-4 business days.
Funny!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Weather wizard warnings

From the National Weather Service, mid-afternoon:

"IF ANY THUNDERSTORMS APPROACH YOUR LOCATION...YOU SHOULD TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY. IF YOU CAN HEAR THUNDER...YOU ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING."

The forecast this morning called for late afternoon thunderstorms, so my bicycle decided not to join me for my commute to work today. I was hoping that the storms would blow through before I got home, giving me some space for an evening ride.

After noon, the wind was whipping, and the skies changed attire from blue with puffy clouds to darker with a tinge of gray. The ground stayed dry, and I arrived home later to find blue skies and continued strong wind.

Hmmm... Time to ride?

The dark gray came back just after I arrived home, and a severe thunderstorm watch was posted until 7PM. I decided that today's exercise needed to be by feet against the ground, not circling on my bicycle pedals. I headed out walking. Five minutes later drops of water started plopping from the sky. Just drops though... The rain - if you could call it that - lasted only about 5 minutes, and the ground stayed dry. Looking back, it would have been a mostly dry ride accompanied by a strong and gusty wind. Sometimes it's just not possible to guess right, but it was a good walking day anyway.

Have you figured out yet that riding in the rain is not my favorite activity?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Quaking?

Now that's something we don't hear about too often - an earthquake in the northeastern US. They do happen though. Saturday night's rumbling along the New Hampshire coast was tagged with a magnitude 1.4, just a baby in the overall scheme of things.

Hmmm... it would have been interesting if this had happened while I was staying in Portsmouth last weekend. I've never experienced even a mild quake in person.

Actually I suppose it's a good thing not to be in the impressive but scary vicinity of a big earthquake.


From the USGS Earthquake Center:
Magnitude 1.4
Sunday, June 3, 2007 at 02:35:06 (Universal time)
Saturday, June 2, 2007 at 10:35:06 PM (local time)

Location 42.995°N, 70.932°W
Depth 16.8 km (10.4 miles)
Region NEW HAMPSHIRE
Distance 2 miles NE (39°) from Exeter, NH
10 miles WSW (238°) from Portsmouth, NH

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Gray, wet...

Changing weather with the threat of rain convinced (my bicycle and) me to stay close to home this weekend. Yesterday the skies were a deep shade of gray. I chose to pay attention to the forecast which called for a wet afternoon, heading out early to do a somewhat constrained loop. After all, I didn't want to be too far from home if droplets of water started coming out of the sky. I was only halfway through my planned ride when the splatter of raindrops started to decorate the road. Uh oh! But wait, it's letting up! In a very quick switch, the sun actually decided to join the parade, turning the early afternoon bright and steamy. Given the forecast for rain, I'd say I was pretty lucky.

Today was a somewhat different story. The sky was a lighter shade of gray, and heavy rain was predicted for late in the day. It was a cool day - temperatures in the low 50s - and the pavement was dry. I was a little surprised when I headed out (yes, on my bike!) to find that the air was full of suspended droplets of water. It wasn't raining, but my sunglasses were very quickly coated with water drops, and the bicycle frame sported some as well. It wasn't a messy ride day (as in the bike didn't need to be cleaned), but the combination of cool and mist meant it was a good day for a relatively short ride.

All things considered, it was good timing for a weekend with not fabulous riding weather. I managed two decent rides - even though they were shorter than I'd like at this time of year - and I had lots of time to become more acquainted with my new computer.

Late spring, flowers continue to emerge...