I Spy in the Sky with My Little Eye

It had been a rainy day. The sun was hanging above the western horizon when I noticed a strange phenomenon.  With camera in hand, I opened a window so there would be no distortion.  This is what the camera and my eye saw.


It looks like there is moisture on the lens, but that’s not the case.  My eyes saw the same scene.  Can anyone explain this for me?


I recently bought a tablet to replace a dying laptop computer.  The apps that are available for it are amazing.  One is a tracker for the International Space Station (ISS).  The app tracks and displays the ISS position on a world map.  It also shows live video from the HD camera (usually of the clouds and earth below) or the SD camera (usually of the space station).


By using that app, Sylvia and I have for the last two nights watched the ISS shortly after our sunset as it flew across the sky.  (That is not my pic.)

With 7×50 binoculars, we were able to see the station and especially the large solar panels.  It was great having two consecutive nights with good viewing conditions.


Unfortunately, when I aimed those binoculars at Saturn, it didn’t work so well.  Most of that is shaky hands.  (Objects tend to “dance” around the field of view.)  I’m going to get out the heavy duty tripod and the 11×80 binoculars for another try on the next night with good viewing.


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Timing Is So Important


Just a few moments earlier the pink outline around those clouds was very pronounced.  I walked swiftly to the office, retrieved the camera and stepped out on the front deck.  The contrast was mostly gone and only a bit of it remained.

The next day, neighbor, Bonnie, asked Sylvia, “Did you see that sunset?  It was outstanding!”  Sometimes seconds can make a huge difference.

Yesterday, I watched a documentary on the events of 9/11.  They told of people who ran errands on the way to work or were caught in traffic and didn’t get to work at the World Trade Center on time.  These were the ones who escaped the horror of that day.

Or as Maxwell Smart said, “Missed it by that much.”

It also reminds of the winter I saw the feral cat we called Corporal stalking some juncos feeding on the ground.  She slowly and stealthily sneaked along the path toward the birds.  There was a mound of snow just before she arrived at her target.  Corporal crept into place, twitched her butt a couple of times and then pounced.

As the cat leapt, the birds flew.  Corporal ended up with her face buried in snow and her paws on either side of her head.  The hunt wasn’t even close.

With snow-covered face, kitty gathered up her shredded dignity and strutted away.

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At Sunset


As the sun set last evening I stood on the front deck with camera in hand.  It was one of those “perfect” moments.  The sun was going down in a glorious way.  The air was pleasantly refreshing with just the slightest hint of a breeze.  Then I heard a cardinal calling.  I looked back over my right shoulder and saw him sitting high on my tower.

I looked back toward the west and then I heard a second cardinal calling–this time from my left.  This one was farther away.  I was enjoying the enchantment of the unfolding scene.

Then I spotted a fawn running on the hay field just beyond our lawn.  Soon I saw the doe, but only one fawn.  Where was the sibling?  As I watched mom grazing and the young one playing, it became obvious this was not the doe with the twin fawns.

A few minutes later, mom and the twins came out as they frequently do around sunset.  That was the first time I’ve seen the two does and three fawns together.  It gives me pleasure to watch those fawns play just for the pure joy and exultation of running, turning and leaping.  (Wouldn’t it be nice to do that again?)

I found myself wishing that our granddaughter was there to share in the moment.  I came back in the house, took my camera to the office and sat down at the computer.  There was an e-mail from Briana.  That made my day complete.

Never the Same

Have you noticed that no two years, seasons or days are ever the same?  Each brings its unique joys and sorrows, opportunities and missed chances.

Still the sun comes up in the morning and goes down in the evening, but those are never the same.


I like that.  If you keep your eyes and ears open, you will see and hear something special with each day.

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Missed It by That Much


Monday evening, I looked out a window to see the setting sun centered between the neighbor’s two silos.  The red ball was only half visible above the trees.  I knew that I couldn’t get the camera in time.  I tried anyway.

Tuesday evenings, we have a small group that meets in our living room.  As folks were leaving I remembered to quickly take my camera outside to capture the setting sun.  As Maxwell would say, “missed it by that much.”

That walk was not a total loss.  There is a calm stillness that fills the sunset scene.  Diurnal critters cease their activities and nocturnal critters have yet to begin theirs.  For me, it says, “Peace.”

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Evening Scenes

Last evening, we sat down to our evening meal and prayed.  As I lifted my eyes, I caught a glimpse of a glorious sunset.  Excusing myself, I dashed for my camera as fast as I could gimp.  Once again, the glory moment had passed.  I captured an image anyway.


I keep hoping to see that definitive sunset image.  File that under “unfinished business.”

We finished our meal and cleared the table.  The western sky had taken on a complete different character.  I called Sylvia’s attention to it.  She took one look and said, “Ominous.”  For my part, I agreed.

150923cThat tree on the left is just right of center in the previous image.

I turned to go back in the house when I heard a deer chuff loudly at me.  I paused and scanned the low ground from whence the sound came.  After a bit, a second chuff sounded clearly.  A couple of seconds later, a dark shape leaped, turned and flagged her friends as she bounded away toward the willow thicket.  A second and similar shape followed in her wake.  These would have been last year’s fawns.  Shortly after, their mother followed with her longer stronger leaps.

Then they were gone.  The late evening was once more dominated by the sounds of night-time insects while the moon watched over all.

These Eyes

I’ve often wished that I could take pictures with my eyes.  I’d love to show you an image of a vulture that attempts a landing on a tree branch.  As the vulture settles, the dead branch breaks and falls to earth.  The vulture dropped a couple of feet, built up enough air speed, and then soared away.  I saw it, but can only talk about it now.

There have been countless other times I’ve seen a meteor, a landscape or critters just living out the drama that we call life.  I’ve so wanted to capture those moments and share them with you.  Meditating on this, I realized that I do capture those images on the imperfect canvas of my memory.

Last night, it happened again.  The sun was setting as I looked out the window.  Wow!  The sky was glowing with the red-shifted light of the setting sun.  I wanted to capture that so I ran to the office as fast as I could gimp.  With camera in hand, I went out onto the front deck to capture this image:


Too late!  The magic was gone.  The camera never sees what the eyes do anyway.

Those grapes were probably sour.  So why should I care?

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What is That?

I ask this question at close of day
What is that, which comes this way?


Is it an alien invader?

Perhaps a vulture to feed on carrion.

May hap an eagle to inspire and renew.

Or it could be just a strange cloud formation, but I doubt it is only that and nothing more.

Raven: “Nevermore.”

Cottage Update

Sylvia’s sister reports some [relatively] minor damage at the cottage from Sunday’s storm.  Houses on either side had damage from falling trees.

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Fire in the Forge

Yesterday, I harvested peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, purslane, red romaine and Swiss chard.  (I’m thinking salad.  Wouldn’t you?)  I was cleaning my harvest at the kitchen sink when I noticed the light had changed.

I looked up, paused and then made a dash for the camera.  Out on the front deck I capture this image.

Looks like the smithy is hard at work

Looks like the smithy is hard at work

I’ve shared other sunset photos recently, but this seems to me the best.  However, like the others, the spectacular vision fades.  (Sic transit gloria mundi.)

This fiery vision also makes me think of beauty that doesn’t fade.  A glory that endures.


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