Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Circles in the exam room

What do you do when you're bored / waiting in the exam room?  Why, you challenge yourself to find as many circles as possible, of course.  Here are some of mine:

Have you ever given yourself similar challenges, to "see" to pass the time?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Photo du Jour

Shadows add beautifully to the pattern, yes?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Flora and Fauna in Futaleufu

As promised, here are some flora and fauna pictures from our recent trip to Futaleufu.

Whoops, this one's dead.  As in many places, steer skulls adorn fence posts.  I wish I could have taken a picture of the fence laced with varmit carcasses, but there wasn't any place to pull over.  But on to the living....

I've always thought ruched flowers were a little too frilly to represent anything in nature, but clearly I was wrong.  Here's a real "ruched" flower.

I think birds and bugs may be some of the hardest subjects to photograph.  They rarely seem to stay in one place for long and can land in the most inconvenient of spots.  Luckily, I was able to camp out by this broken reed and get close enough to this dragonfly without having my shadow spook him. Is there some way to tell if it's a him or her?  The color of the abdomen was positively electric.

I love these fuchsia and purple flowers which seem to be ubiquitous in warmer climates.  Does anyone know what they are?

Hens and their broods roamed about freely.  Most of the time they were fine, but sometimes.....

they fall victim to the many birds of prey in the area.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip.  This wooly fellow has moss and lichen growing around his face.  I guess it had been a while between shearing sessions.

This is the limb of a Monkey Puzzle tree, the national tree of Chile.  The trunk and limbs are covered with these spiky scales.  We were lucky that there was one such tree growing along the path between our cabins; they're considered very rare.

I got lucky with this photo, too.  I kept forgetting it was the summer time there and nest building was in full swing.  This fellow was flitting about and didn't mind that I watched where he was going.  If I've identified him correctly as a male wren, he builds several nests and his mate decides which one she likes best.  He also had been building outside the window of our cabin.

And finally, a photo of some of the noisiest creatures in the valley....

three very happy children on Chilean ranch horses.  (The middle child is the daughter of our host; the other two are mine.)  The horses and children were equally thrilled to run -- and I do mean run -- in the fields.  They ran back and forth, racing and chasing each other.  The horses were all good cutting horses, so there were a lot of quick starts and turns.  And no, there aren't any riding helmets to be found in Chile.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Photo du Jour

I took this while waiting in an examination room with my daughter. I think this is so cool!  Who would have guessed?  I suppose you really can find photo ops almost anywhere if you look closely enough.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photo du Jour

This is what can happen when you drop your camera and manage to catch it -- and depress the shutter -- before it hits the ground.  I'm not sure I ever would have discovered this double bud flower in the midst of all the others.  All I had to do was rotate the image because the original photo was upside down.  I'm thinking not too bad.... chalk one up for serendipity.

Friday, January 13, 2012

First piece of the year

For various reasons I've been struggling with a rather important piece for Fiber Revolution, so I decided to step back and finish something I started in the summer for my Textile Abstractions group.  This piece came to mind as our nation's political parties debated how to address America's budget.  We're all part of the same country, but boy, do we all have different ideas about how to solve problems.  It can be wonderful and debilitating all at once.

I know the symbolism's not immediately apparent,  so let me explain.  The background references the fields covering so much of our country.  The hole represents the gap in the budget and the square represents the financial debate -- you know, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.   Finally, the quilting can be equated to lines of communication that sometimes intersect, but lots of times, especially when it comes to a heated topic, can go 'round and 'round in circles, never coming close to meeting.  I don't know how Carol Taylor sews all those beautiful circles in her work; I think they're a bear!

Throughout the process I considered how to abstract my thoughts and feelings into the piece and that's something new for me.  Let me also say that working with a hole in a quilt can be a ________.   Overall, I'm satisfied with the effort and I think I'm ready to get back to work on my other piece.  Just FYI -- this one was for the Textile Abstraction "Contrast" challenge and is called "The Debt Crisis: Trying to Fit a Square Peg into a Round Hole".    

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Textures and Patterns in Patagonia

When I could, I stopped to take pictures during our adventures.  I'll admit that I wasn't taking pictures while we portaged (or scrambled in my case) around some of the more dangerous Class V rapids.  No, I was holding on tight to whatever tree limb, root, or vegetation could slow my slide down the hillside.  In a rather comic turn of events, I got a stick stuck in my butt.  I slipped during one descent and a sharp branch broke through my wetsuit, giving me a good wallop in the backside.  I'm just saying now that it takes something very sharp applied with lots of force to poke through neoprene.    I had to keep hiking and wait until we were on flat ground to remove the half that got stuck inside my suit.  Not fun, but rather funny in the end -- after the shock wore off.   The bruising took a little longer to disappear, unfortunately.

At any rate,  I thought I'd tempt you with some of my favorite texture and pattern pictures today.  Who wants to look at gorgeous mountain scenery all the time anyway?  (Just kidding; I'm just feeling a little sassy at the moment.)

I don't know why I chose to take this last picture in black and white, but I think it really adds to the atmosphere of the shot.  The elements look really stark, don't they?  Reminds me of a crown of thorns.

Tune in next time for ....  flora and fauna, I think.  I may throw in a few pictures of the kids, so be forewarned.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Photo du Jour

Color by the side of a Chilean dirt road

Monday, January 9, 2012

Scenes from Chile

As I briefly mentioned earlier, we spent our Christmas vacation in Chile, in the Futaleufu region of Patagonia.  It was an action-packed trip filled with white-water kayaking and rafting, hiking, and horseback riding.  We spent lots of time on the crystal clear water -- so clean that you can drink it straight from any river or lake without a filter or iodine pill.  Delicious!  It was remarkable how everything is super-sized in Patagonia; that made distances hard to judge. 

At any rate, I missed some fabulous photo-ops, like the horse who'd wandered inside the roadside bus stop (we were en-route to a put-in and couldn't pull over) and the river side scenery (rather hard to stop paddling/steering in rapids to take a picture). If I ever do anything like this again, I will investigate a GoPro camera for the top of my helmet so I can video while we navigate the rapids.  I'd also double the number of days I'm there so I can wander around with my camera, just to take pictures.  Still, I did manage to get some pictures I'm happy to share with you.  Here are a few of my favorite scenery photos.  Later in the week, I'll post some people pictures, textures, and the few plants and animals I was able to capture.  

Sunken boat at the pier at Lago Lonconau
Pier adornment on Lago Lonconau
Looking back at Tres Monjas across the Futaleufu, from base camp
Looking west from our cabin after a morning rain
The turquoise water of the Futaleufu at the bottom of the Class 5 rapid, Zeta.
(We portaged around this very dangerous rapid.)
It was difficult to capture any sunsets because we rarely had clouds.  This was at 10:00 pm; the sun's not completely down until about 10:45!
Clouds formations seen as we kayaked the Espolon River.  This was the last day and it got too cloudy for a sunset picture that evening.
A hidden pasture discovered on a morning hike

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Photo du Jour

Morgan's corner bed in the cabin, beneath the cut-out window

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Photo du Jour

"Tres Monjas" (The Three Nuns) behind the Christmas cabin

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Where I spent my Christmas vacation

We spent our Christmas vacation in this cabin in the foothills of the Andes in Futaleufu, Chile and woke to these views.   I'll share more as I get caught up, but let me say this -- it was FABULOUS!