This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge calls for saturated images.  For that, I give you poppies….

The poppies above are several different types, all in the poppy family, or Papaveraceae.

The blue ones are Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’ – the famous Himalayan Blue Poppy.

The bright red one at the top is an Oriental poppy – Papaver orientale, probably ‘Brilliant.’ Most of the others are also oriental poppies, but the little orange bud is a California poppy; Eschscholzia californica.


And here are a few phrases from online definitions of saturation:

The condition of being full to or beyond satisfaction;  reaching a maximum capacity;  the act or result of supplying so much of something that no more is wanted.

There are hundreds of Weekly Photo Challenge entries to be found here. Try not to get too saturated wading through them!

Fiddling with Focus

This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is to tinker with focus.

Is the focus just how sharp and clear an image is, or is it about more than that? Focusing manually on part of an object to separate it from the background and emphasize it is a technique I go back to again and again. I was thrilled when I first got my hands on a camera with manual focus control.  And digital processing adds another dimension to what can be done with focus. You can sharpen or blur certain areas but not others, or with Lightroom’s clarity tool you can intensify contrast, giving the appearance of sharper focus, or decrease the clarity for a hazy, soft effect – again, either over the entire image or on part of it.

And of course you can draw the viewer’s eye to what interested you – get them to focus on it – in many more ways, using composition or color for example.  So focus is a big topic, but here are a few images I fiddled with this weekend, during (and after) a trip to the local botanical garden.

Smoke trees seem to beg to have their soft, airy panicles contrasted with the details of  the tiny, subtly colored filaments. Manually focusing in does that, and a relatively wide aperture helps keep the background soft. Later, adding a pale halo (a vignette) around the edges of the image further emphasizes the soft-focus aspect of the plant and draws attention towards the details.

It seemed a good idea to do something similar with Angelica plants that are coming into full flower and driving the bees mad these days, so I focused on just a portion of the flower head and used a fairly wide aperture when I took the picture. But I decided to play with it some more in Lightroom, using the clarity tool selectively to increase blur towards the back of the flower and increase contrast just a little in the foreground.

Just for fun I thought I’d capture some of the color and form of the garden by using the manual focus again, but winding it completely out of focus (sometimes I feel like I’ve done that to myself!).  I find photos like this hard to look at and unsatisfying somehow  – I want to settle my eye somewhere.  But I like trying to abstract my surroundings, and I think if I keep playing with this I may get an image I really like.

And that’s what the Photo Challenge asked of us – to play around, to tinker, to fiddle with focus.

Hundreds of other responses to the challenge can be found right here.

Weekly Photo Challenge

Sunny days

in the berry field


delicious desserts –

at least

for as long

as there are

raspberry ice cubes

in the freezer.

“Foreshadow” is the subject for this week’s photo challenge. More visual ideas of “Foreshadow” are here.


I am pleased to have been included in the current issue of  Woven Tale Press – “an eclectic culling of the blogging web” compiled by Sandra Tyler. Take a look!


Another Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is inspiring people with the simple idea of “Fresh.”

For much of the US, freshness is probably not the operable word in these days of heat waves, wildfires and general bad weather. But here in the Pacific Northwest, summer is definitely fresh, and its what everyone lives for – for a few months the gray lifts and we have clear blue skies, warm daytime temperatures, and cool evenings.

Often there’s a fresh breeze blowing, too…

(Forgive me if you remember seeing the rags tied to the barbed wire fence before, but I think it’s been a long time since I posted any of those photos.)

Here’s another local sign of freshness: a handful of just picked blackberries. If you don’t have a bag you could grab some fern fronds to keep them from squishing. But I bet they’ll be eaten by the time you get back to the car anyway.

Then there’s fresh-out-of-the-oven.

These chocolate chip cookies were made by our master baker friend Pat Hains, who runs a comfortable  B & B in Olympia, WA where no one ever goes hungry.

And while I’m thinking of food, here is the Excaliber Burger, a very fresh burger served at the 101-year-old Ozark Cafe in the tiny town of Jasper, Arkansas, which is (happily) many miles from any cities, but close to the scenic Buffalo River and even a herd of elk.

But enough about food – let’s get even more fundamental.

What about water?

What’s fresher than a waterfall on Mount Rainer, tumbling down over mossy rocks from the glaciers above?

Or what about fresh-off-the-press?

This linoleum block artwork is being transferred to a small cotton flag. The print commemorates someone who was killed in the 9/11 attacks. Their family will receive a paper print of the artwork. The project is the brainchild of Dianne Brudnicki, an artist and teacher who lives in a small town in Washington, far from the center of the attacks. For over a decade Dianne has been inspiring local artists, students, and anyone willing to try their hand at designing and carving, to create linoleum block prints for families of people lost in the 9/11 attacks.   Each year she travels to New York to present the latest batch of prints to a new set of families. A fresh idea!

And the always appealing old standby, fresh-as-a-daisy:

I never tire of seeing daisies in a field.   More fresh entries in this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge are here.


Nostalgic moments can arise inexplicably, leaving you wondering why this particular scene drew you back into a foggy pool of nostalgic associations.

An old truck,

parked on a Seattle street on a cold winter day –

the electric wires overhead, the blue sky and soft clouds,

the wet pavement and

luminous light merge,

evoking a familiar but inchoate feeling.

A recognition,



Road trips evoke nostalgia, and also the familiar roads

traveled dozens of times from home to work and back again,

their curves and hills

lodged in my muscles

like a dance.

A fall rain shower washes out the details, and

the well-traveled path transports me

to a vaguely nostalgic place.

A place located in my mind and outside it –

here and now, time expands

through being

in a particular place.

A foggy window on a winter morning

is the softly translucent  backdrop

for buds promising spring. Suddenly

I’m nostalgic for everything green and

warm and

pushing past barriers – the whole gestalt of

springs past and future,

is evoked by tiny, frail buds

holding their own against

winter’s stubborn grays.

Through the car window,

glowing in evening light, a bouquet

of summer:

Queen Ann’s Lace, White Sweet Clover, Honeysuckle…

their fragrance, their familiar names,

gathered again

from roadside waste places that I’ve memorized

over the years…

A petal


onto an old book.

Oozing nostalgia, it’s sepia pages provide

a pleasurable half


on a summer


I might sit here to read,


this nostalgia is borrowed.

I took the picture at an estate sale in a Connecticut seaside town..


cotton curtains


on a summer breeze;

the window screen


a small tear or two.

Flowers hide.

Another window screen,

another home – this screen

catching early spring raindrops.

As a child I gazed out windows,


my focus back and forth

between the details

of tiny screen grids –

and the big, beckoning outdoors,



A nostalgia of rainy roads:


the movement, the shimmering movement across space,

and through time,

until the membranes separating locations and times are thoroughly soaked

and dissolved

into nostalgia.



Take a look at this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge, overflowing with nostalgia.


This week’s Daily Post Weekly Photography Challenge is to present photographs that show the world through your eyes, thinking carefully about the subject of your image in order to convey just what you saw/thought/felt at the moment you pushed that shutter.

I love to photograph flowers, and I’m most happy with them when they express a particular point of view – the way I see the world –  instead of being  just another pretty flower picture.







These studies were done at Seattle’s Pike Place Market, where food and flowers overflow and tourists contentedly wander the ramshackle wooden buildings and stroll along the old brick street. From inside the market flower stalls present a stunning array of color and form that changes with the seasons, as local farmers bring in new varieties. It’s an irresistible scene to photograph and I’m sure it’s been done thousands of times.

Out on the street, the long row of flower stalls is open to the air. Most people don’t pay attention to that view because cars crowd the curb, and it’s the working end of the business: the buckets, scissors and florist paper, the workers assembling bouquets.  In chilly weather the vendors hang clear plastic tarps at the back of their stalls to keep out the cold.

One early spring afternoon I noticed that buckets of flowers were pushed back hard against the tarps, making interesting flattened images; it was a whole different view of the flowers. Pressed against the dirty translucent plastic, they took on new, compressed shapes and softer colors. Flecks of dirt and scratches in the tarps conveyed the feeling of Old European still life paintings.

I squeezed between the cars, nodded to a shabbily dressed man having a cigarette, and photographed the small masterpieces head on. Bright lights shining through the tarps and the ambient light reflecting off the plastic made it challenging. But it was worth the effort. It was the world through my eyes. It was right there for all to see, and it could have gone unnoticed but it caught my eye. Now, with a few clicks, I send it along to you.

More Weekly Photo Challenge entries can be seen here.


This week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Curve.”




                                                                                                                                       I love curves!

Be they subtle curves,

or strong ones,

Tight curves,

Or loose and flowing ones…

Be they sculptural,



Or a little loopy.

Curves piled upon themselves,

Begging to be handled,

Or elegantly arrayed in orderly rows,

They all please me, so much so that I feel them as big, gestural curves in my limbs, arcing through space…

but then,

there are also curves

that emerge


from the oven –

Those ones are just CURVALICIOUS!!

Curves of every imaginable type, from photographers all over the world can be found with a simple click, right here!


The spiral sculpture is “Salmon Waves,” by Paul Sorey, 2001. It’s located at the Hiram M. Chittenden Memorial Locks in Seattle.

The stone work is on a building in Philadelphia – I didn’t get the name or address.

The Chinese rooftop is at the Chinese Scholar’s Garden at Snug Harbor in Staten Island, New York.

The white wildflower is a White campion, or Silene latifolia.

Those wonderfully smooth, round stones can be found on the beaches along Washington’s coastline. These were at Rialto Beach.

The pleated leaves are False or Indian Hellebore (Veratrum viride), a very poisonous North American wildflower.

The sticky buns?  Wish I could say I made them. They’re from a small, home style restaurant in the little town of Edison, WA.


FORGIVE ME – these photos were taken by my son, not me.  As I thought about this week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge and sifted through my own images of fleeting moments, I thought that these photos, taken while my son was deployed in Helmand Province in 2011, seem to capture fleeting moments that catch the heart.

It’s easy to think that as their villages and farms continue to be invaded by one group of strangers or another, these kids are lucky to have any pleasurable, carefree moments. But they do, fleeting though they may be.


ON THE OTHER HAND, I think the culture and way of life in this part of the world will endure.

One might as easily call these images “timeless” as one would call them “fleeting.”


Fleeting glimpses of fleeting moments can also be perused here, at the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.

Memorial Day

R.I.P.  Sean

Never above you, never below you, always beside you.


Marine Sgt. Sean T. Callahan, whose remains rest in the casket above, was killed by an IED in Afghanistan two years ago. My son was in the same battalion and really liked Sean for his quick wit and straightforward sensibility.  I came to know Sean’s parents that year as our small group of Marine Moms and Dads supported each other through the long days and nights of our sons’ deployment.

As Sean’s father said the other day, Memorial Day is not just about beaches, BBQ’s and beer. Before he lost his son that idea was lost on him, as it probably is on most of us.  If you don’t take a moment today to remember, do it soon. And don’t forget all the men and women who have suffered and are living with serious physical and mental injuries as a consequence of their involvement in this war.


This week’s Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge, “In the Background”  is to take a photograph of yourself or another person, putting the emphasis of the image on a different area, not on the person.  This photo, which I took two years ago during Sean’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, is my response to the photo challenge.

It also serves as a reminder of what Memorial Day was intended to signify.   The young Marine in the foreground was part of the Honor Guard on that difficult day. What was he thinking?

More responses to this weeks photo challenge can be seen here.