Rainy Days and Sunshine.

The weather the other day was a mixed bag of sun one minute followed by rain followed by sun followed…. well you get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, the poppies here on Vancouver Island are in full bloom. And with the raindrops clinging to the petals, the sun transformed them into tiny jewels. Luckily I noticed this. A photo op for sure.

Here are a couple of shots I got in just before it started to rain, again. Enjoy. cheers.

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Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens.

No stay in Puerto Vallarta is complete without a visit to their botanical gardens. We have been annual visitors and never disappointed.

Founded in 2004 and open to the public in 2005, it is situated about a 45 minute bus ride into the Sierra Madre Mountains on a winding road. The Gardens is situated on 64 acres at an altitude of 1300 feet above sea level.

The Gardens was selected by the Canadian Garden Tourism Council in 2013 as one of the top ten gardens in North America worthy of a visit, it lived up to that reputation.

Abundant in greenery, many flowers, trails and a top notch open air restaurant, it is very easy to spend the better part of the day. With so much to take in, it can seem at first a bit daunting to get a grasp on all that it has to offer. It doesn’t take long to get lost in the beauty all around you.

Armed with insect repellant and our cameras, we set out. For the first time since purchasing, I took the opportunity to try out new lens extenders; these allow you to get great close up shots. A bit of focusing problems at first, but when I switched over to manual focus, (read, trial and error) I liked what I saw. With 3 separate pieces at 12mm, 20mm and 30mm, they can be used singularly or in combination. These are attached next to the camera body and the barrel mounted to that. Some of the pictures that follow were taken with the 20mm lens in place, camera hand held. A tripod (it was at home) and a remote release are essential for this kind of shooting. Next time.

The pictures below are just a small portion of the 100s that were taken. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them. Cheers.DSC_0089

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When the flowers bloom, the bees come uninvited.      Ramakrishna
Grasp

A Bust and a Blow.

On our trek last summer from Ontario to Vancouver Island, we opted to travel through the upper United States. Our intension was to check out various attractions along our route. One of our must do stops along the way was Yellowstone National Park. DSC_0689

As you can see, we had a cool, wet cloudy day, but that did not slow us down.

And now for a bit of history. Formed over 10 million years ago, Yellowstone was created by volcanic activity, and the resulting caldera contains the largest super volcano on the continent. The park covers the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, for a total of some 3500 square miles.

The geothermal activity still continues today, with old faithful being the big drawing card. For us, this old blow horse was a bit of a bust. It went off on schedule, but being a cool day, so much steam was created, and it was difficult to see the actual geyser. DSC_0923

 The rest of our walk did not disappoint. The geothermal activity painted a picture that was eerie and out of this world. At times the steam was so thick that my wife, who was ahead of me, took on a rather ghost like appearance.

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Out of This World

“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”

Lady Bird Johnson.

Everything Changes.

Nothing stays the same. Now that probably is a good thing, in most instances. There are some things that do not change for the better. But I do not want to go there today. Not in the mood to rant.

I love how nature can transform herself. It is a slow process that can take hundreds of years or even centuries. Our photo challenge this week is transformation. I hope what follows captures this process, in some small way.

Used to be a tree, did't you
Used to be a tree, didn’t you?
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Years of decay has played its part.
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These figures were sculpted from sand.
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This junco helps transform what is just a knarley branch to the perfect perch.

Transformation