Whale Watching

Saw the Southern California pod of killer whales (orcas) today.  It was a beautiful day.  Sunny, clear with a flat ocean.

I was excited to take the trip.  The orcas are unique in this area and it was a treat to see them, but my biggest desire in DSC00500taking the trip was to see the big whales; humpbacks and greys.  As we headed toward the open ocean, we could see just below the horizon a few big whales blowing.  I was thrilled.  I have seen whales, once from quite close, but I didn’t have a camera then, so I was eager to see more.

But we’re not going to go toward the grey whales, they are on the left and we are headed to the right.  Oh, apparently we have to go see the orcas first because we are privileged to have aboard one of the local killer whale experts.  She has been studying this pod for a number of years and ran about the boat spouting names and details and statistics, pushing her way through the crowd to get the best position for great photos. She was far more focused on the whales, than she was with us passengers.

The whales had just eaten (seagulls floating on the surface nibbling little bits of seal) and it was the perfect time to see them, since after eating they relax and play.  Mommy, two daughters, and two males who hung out further from the boat.  They sure put on a show for us,  we saw an orca breech 3-4 times, right next to the boat.  I don’t know if it was one whale that jumped four times, or if there were four different ones, but it was quite impressive to see.  It was wild to be so close to these guys!  We’re only about 15 feet above them!  After about an hour I started to get restless.  People had had plenty of opportunities for photos, and I thought we should go check on the other whales.  No dice. We sat there another 1/2 hour mostly watching seagulls, terns, cormorants, and several pelicans. Which was nice, since I’m a birdwatcher.  But you can only take so many photos of a pelican.

DSC00478At last, they announce we are turning around.  Soon we are zipping through the water, not looking at anything any more.  Everybody sat around sharing their photos, and commenting on the trip.  There wasn’t even a hint at them slowing down or turning toward where the grey whales were sighted.

All in all a good day, even if I couldn’t get a decent photo to save my life.  I am not a skilled photography by any stretch.  If I am facing into the sun I cannot see anything in my viewfinder.  No one really knows why I can’t, other people have little trouble with the screen.  Somehow, though, it is just darkness when I try to shoot.  Plus being short, it was pretty tricky to see around the crowds at the rail.  Sometimes I could crouch low and shoot between the railing, but I got more photos of the railing than anything else.  I spent some of my time holding my camera over my head, finger on the shutter and aim as best I could figure.  Not the most effective technique; I got lots of pictures of blue.  Sometimes the ocean.  Sometimes the sky.  Very pretty in their own way, but not the shots I’d hoped for.

Am I wrong to feel sort of gypped?  The day was wonderful and I feel grateful to have been able to have this close encounter with these beautiful animals, yet I feel quite let down that I didn’t really get to see anything else, really. We were  promised a view of a variety of sea life, and we did see; two kinds of dolphins, some seals and an otter-ever so briefly as we raced toward the pod of orcas.  No time for photos or a good look.  The boat didn’t even slow.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Visual Texture Series

Figured I might try to participate in some of these.  I have some really neat photos here to share.  Most were shot by my husband and he doesn’t know I’m sharing.  Keep it a secret for now, will you?


Wet red rose

I love the bright redness of this rose and the many rain droplets on velvety petals.


Our dear friend Bill

I love the way you can see all his years deeply engraved on his handsome face.  You see the many laugh lines around the mouth and eyes showing his happiness and artistic sensitivity.  He was one of a kind.


This is one of my photos.  I like the lines in the leaf, the ruffled edges and the cool water drops.

Hope you liked these.


Pictures of Another Sort

In anticipation of Husband’s retirement, we are experimenting with different ways of augmenting our limited income.  Firstly, I hope my online jewelry store (http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/LSJayHandmade) will provide some and secondly, I want to encourage Husband to sell his photos.  He has been taking pictures for 35 years and I think he’s very good at what he does.  We bought his first camera while living in Okinawa in 1980 and he has had one ever since.  He’s now on his fourth camera and is still learning all the ins and outs, and so far it looks like it takes amazingly clear.  He specializes in flowers, especially in micro close ups of flowers.  Here is some of his work.


These are not the micro close ups he usually does, but I happened to have these handy.  I’d be interested to know if he’s really as good as I think he is, or just a good amateur.


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Balboa Park

We went to Balboa Park in San Diego in December.  We stayed in the Gas Lamp District.  Both places have some spectacular architecture, so I tried out my camera for the first time. I am encouraged by comments on my last post, here are some of the results:

One of the beautiful churches in Balboa Park. The details of these churches are amazing.


I had fun trying various angles. I like this one.


Here is a close up of some of the beautiful sculpture-like facades.











I couldn’t get the shot I wanted, I guess I’d need a wide-angle lens to get both buildings. But you can’t deny the buildings are beautiful.










A closer look at the turret-like structures on the buildings.









The facade of one of the historic buildings in the Gas Lamp District.









Details of another building in the Gas Lamp District.







We had a great mini-vacation in San Diego.  Our time in Balboa Park was exhausting.  We couldn’t see everything we wanted in one day, but it was all we had.  Unfortunately the artisans area was quite empty.  I would’ve loved to have been able to enter the churches.  I’m sure they are amazing inside, but the doors were locked.  When I was a child churches left their doors open at night, but I guess those times are long gone.  (sigh)

I wouldn’t recommend staying in the Gas Lamp district unless you like clubs and drinking, because that’s about the only businesses open.  There are quite a few homeless people visible, and I didn’t feel particularly safe walking down the street at night.  It may be perfectly safe, but I didn’t feel so.  I never saw a police car in the three days we were there.  It is worth a visit though, just to see the buildings.  I don’t have the skill to do justice to the beauty of them.

I hope you enjoyed my mini-travelogue of some of the things to see in San Diego. 🙂  If you do architectural photography I highly recommend a trip.  If you have the pull, maybe you can get photos of the inside of some of the buildings or churches.



Funday Sunday

Took a ride north and went to wander in the harbor and take pictures.  Here is some of what I saw.


I’m sort of draw to lines and reflections and the harbor is perfect for that even in my photography is obviously amateur.-+Image

It was fun getting the hang of this camera.  I know almost nothing about the settings or what I can accomplish by changing them.  This was just about learning.


I wish I could get the entire picture I want.  The full pylons and their reflection.


I took this on the way up.  It’s my favorite shot of the day.


We had a great day of a lot of walking (my feet and ankles are sore), too much food (especially fudge), and a beautiful sunny sky.  For January 19 we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.


Is This Normal?

Spent the day with Husband’s niece and her daughter visiting a nearby (130 acre) botanical garden and arboretum.  It was midway point between Niece’s house, and ours. 

I’m still hurt by an incident that happened more than 10 years ago with Niece, but she probably isn’t even aware I felt slighted by her actions.  I know I should let the past stay in the past and I tried to, but it makes it hard for me to like her.  Though I try to remember she’s had a tough time of it, and family never helped her much during her younger years, so it seems she may have had some trust issues.  Her daughter is a pretty typical 25 year old, still in college and trying to live on her own. Sort of like when we visit Husband’s friends, I’m just along for the ride.  I keep my head down and mouth shut.

Why do I feel this way around friends and family?  I just feel so disconnected, sort of off.  Do other people have the same trouble, where you just don’t feel included?  I know it’s all in my head and my own issue, not that anyone really purposefully ignores me, but I just don’t feel a connection.

I presume this has a lot to do with my own family and how I am so estranged from them.  You’d think I’d be used to it by now.  I haven’t spoken to my own family members, some for more than 20 years.  Of course, lately I”ve been feeling less connected to my own immediate family.  Possibly it’s the change in my antidepressants.  Possibly everyone feels this way, at least some times.  Do they?  Hard to know.  What does “normal” feel like anyhow?

I would’ve been sure that I’d have had life all figured out by this time.  Am I truly disconnected from other people more than other people, or do I just feel the disconnection more acutely?

The day was fine.  I wouldn’t say I had a good time, but it wasn’t awful, which by itself seems sort of sad somehow.  But Mom had a great day and was so happy to see her granddaughter and great granddaughter.  But it was a  l o n g day.  I think we walked more than 5 miles, which for me is a very very long hike.  The last hour we walked was the hardest.  It’s not that my legs get tired, my entire body gets tired, and I hurt from the bottom of my feet up to my shoulders.  It’s only 7PM and I could go to bed now and sleep until 9AM tomorrow.  The bad part of the tiredness is I also tend to get cranky.  Even snapping at husband who kept asking if I was ok?  No, I’m not ok, I’ve got MS and you’ve taken me on a forced five mile hike.  I’ll be ok after a big glass of ice water and a nap.

Sorry, I’m still cranky–I didn’t get my nap.