Late Night Blooms

 We didn't get home until late yesterday evening, which is why I'm writing about it today, but the weather was very mild and we brought Max home a new ball toss toy that was a gift from family. A video of him playing with said ball toss was promised, so there was a mild bit of obligation to go outside and try it out, which we did. Needless to say, Max loved the toy. He's a bit of a chonk, so he only lasted for about 4 or 5 tosses before he was tuckered out. 

My sis soon ventured off and started taking photos of surrounding flowers, mainly daffodils - those things are everywhere right now, so seeing and photographing them was a given. I tried to get a couple pics on my phone, but decided to go get my camera since I still had my macro lens attached. 

Spring is one of the best times of year to take photos outside. There are loads of blooms everywhere, the bugs come out of hibernating and the days are longer. That's actually my least favorite part about spring, the long days. I'm one of the few people that loves when it's dark out by 5 o'clock, but that is most definitely not to my advantage when I'm busy all day and want to go outside and take photos around 5 or 6 when it's pitch black. 

So yeah, right now is prime photo-taking time.

I managed to get a few decent flower photos. Nothing spectacular, but decent. A bunch of little Matted Pratia are popping up all over the yard, which presented the perfect opportunity for me to flex my macro muscles. Since I'm So dangerously close to the subject I have to shoot live, which makes it difficult to stad still enough to get a photo without causing it to go out of focus. I think I managed a couple decent shots of the macroscopic flowers.

Well I suppose that's all for today, I have to be in Ironton around 4:30 today to get the car inspected. I'm the worst, I've put it off all freaking month and now I'm down to the wire. I legit only have until tomorrow to get tags. *eye roll*

Mr. Max is tuckered out after playing ball for 3 1/2 minutes.

That puppy dog smile, though.

Bleeding Hearts - still one of my favorites.

The fact that these Bleeding Hearts actually look like little hearts.

Trying real hard with the flower macro.

Mt Purpleleaf Sand Cherry is starting to bloom! 

Tiny little yellow weed.

Definitely had lots of fun photographing the Dandelions.

Dandelions are perfect for macro shots.

Just check out how close you can get to this Dandelion with the 40mm macro lens.

White Tulips.

These guys are the devil to photograph! I'm fairly certain these are Matted Pratia, but there are other possibilities as well.

Tiny little white Matted Pratia.

Growth & Loss

 Since I've been putting this off all week I'm going to just go ahead and put it out there. My dear, sweet Aunt Evaon passed away Monday morning at her home. She's been sick off and on for the past few months, even the past couple years if I'm being honest. She just got out of the hospital last Saturday because there wasn't much that could be done with guarantee and she was just done. She was refusing any further treatment and just done with it all.

Her viewing was yesterday, which we went to. Her funeral is today, which we're not going to. We're staying with my baby brother so that the rest of the family can be there. Plus Jeff is going to be a pallbearer, so it all worked out. I don't like talking about it, so I'm going to leave it at that.

Now to get my mind off of things, I'm going to do a complete 180 and share some photos of our sprouts. I took these photos Wednesday and at the time we had 1 cucumber, 1 pepper, 8 cherry tomatoes and 4 regular tomatoes. I checked them once more yesterday before we came to Perryville and we had 18 cherry tomatoes, 12 regular, still the 1 cucumber and a wilted pepper sprout. I was so proud of my pepper sprout because it's one that I dried myself, so now it's wilted and I'm sure it'll be completely dead by the time we go home Monday.

So yeah, here are the photos. Don't mind the florescent color of the photos, it was late in the day and the UV light was throwing the color off.

Cherry tomato sprouts.

Bunches of baby cherry tomato sprouts.

Big tomato sprouts.

More tomato sprouts.

Macro tomato sprout.

These sprouts are just starting to emerge.

Here's my beautiful little pepper sprout before it wilted.

And lastly, the cucumber sprout.

Cloudy Day Macro & Oversharing

 The weather has been extremely moody lately - that time of the month, mother nature? It's freezing and snowing one day, then super sunny and warm for like 4 hours, then its cold and rainy the rest of the time. It makes it difficult to plan things, like hikes or just going out to take photos. I'm the type of person that likes to go out a least a couple times a week and take random photos around the yard. I mean, anyone that knows me knows that. 

Well I braved the misting rain late yesterday evening and took some photos in the wilds of my backyard. I know, there was a big possibility that my skin could have melted right off my bones due to the wet raindrops touching my delicate skin. I joke, of course. The real reason I don't go out in the rain and take photos is due to getting my camera wet. I don't have any weather-proof lenses yet, so a few pictures for my own satisfaction is just not worth the risk.

Bugs and spiders are slowly making a comeback, which terrifies me. We've already had a couple relatively large spiders in the house the past couple weeks and the thought is absolutely nauseating. It's a bit of a contradiction, because I do like to try and find spiders in the outside world to photograph. Now mind you, I'm not actively perusing hobo spiders or wolf spiders, just random little tiny spiders that I can evade. 

Bugs are legit one of the things that I like to photograph, but it is difficult with such a short focal distance on my 40mm lens. This is why I originally wanted the 105mm macro lens, but it's just not in the budget right now, which is fine with me, I love my 40mm. 

Look at me prattling away. You wouldn't think that someone could talk so much about nothing and stretch it over nearly 4 paragraphs. 

Lets be honest, I think half of the time I force myself because I'm still trying to get back into blogging like I used to. I've been reading over some of my old posts from like 2013 and I talked about everything! Like I blogged every day or every other day and broke down my entire day. I don't think I'll ever get back to that because a lot has changed in my life and I'm an sort of an adult now (sort of) that has more responsibilities than what I did 8 years ago. I didn't realize how boring some of my posts were. Like the people that stuck around and read my blog are real OG's. 

Anyways, here are the photos from late yesterday evening. Enjoy!

Raindrops on leaves are probably my favorite thing.

I edited this in Lightroom last night and it looks so awesome! I'll have to share it sometime.

Just toying around with the macro capabilities of the 40mm Nikon lens. It gets close!

I don't know what possessed me to take a phot of this rusted windchime charm, but I do like how it turned out. Reminds me of something on GOT. 

Some pretty purple flowers.

Beautiful Boxador boy.

I also very much love dried weeds.

Like dried weeds on chicken wire, that my thing. 

When you're just coming out of the winter season, sometimes are there is to photograph is this.

Here's the type of spider I'm willing to pursue. Microscopic spiders are my go-to, unless they're jumping spiders, then no. 

Having Fun With Adobe Lightroom

I was introduced to Adobe Lightroom in early 2019 and it was completely alien to me. I knew nothing of presets or brushes, I was only used to Photoshop Elements and Photoimpression. For those of you who don't know what Photoimpression is, it's a photo editing software that was introduced in 2004. I cringe at the thought, but I've pretty much been using it since then, lol. I was in my early teens at the time and that was cutting edge software to me.

Now lets fast-forward 15 years to when I was turned on to Lightroom. I don't even remember how I stumbled upon it, but I downloaded it and have been using it ever since. If you're not familiar with Lightroom, it's main feature is using presets on your photos to dramatically enhance them. In the beginning I downloaded presets from various websites, but ended up pretty much making my own that suited my needs better. It takes some massive getting used to, but once you you got it, you got it.

I've really only used Lightroom to enhance photos of people, never really of anything else. The last time I used it on photos of nature was when I took some pictures of mushrooms on a tree stump. Milla got sick the following week, so I've never really done anything with it since. That's my crazy anxiety kicking in and causing me to worry and overthink every single thing.

Anyways, not going there, but that's basically why I don't edit all my photos. I did, however, edit some over the weekend because I wanted to share what an amazing change Lightroom can make. So without further adieu...

The before is obviously on the left, but you can easily see the difference that Lightroom makes.

Mind you, these is a preset of my own making that I tweaked to my needs, but there are loads of presets that you can buy.

One of the strawberry leaves that I photographed last week.

It's still amazing to me what a difference Lightroom makes. You can't find many honest Lightroom before and after photos, but this is tweaked with nothing else.

The Need for Seeds

 This is probably one of my favorite parts of gardening. It's definitely the easiest, but that's not why it's my favorite. I get so much enjoyment watching things sprout and grow, even when I was a kid I was fascinated by it. I still remember being in first or second grade and growing a little plant out of an eggshell. Most of the kids were bored by it, but I was obsessed! If you're not into gardening, then you won't get the excitement of watching something sprout and then produce fuel for your body. It's still positively fascinating to me that you can grow your own food.

Yesterday we officially kicked off our planting season. We got our old starter planters out and went to town sowing seeds. We agreed to scale it down a bit this year, which was basically pointless because we planted an ungodly amount of seeds. And these are just the ones that we have to start in planters! I'm going to try recap everything we planted thus far: 12 long sweet peppers, 18 bell peppers, 8 jalapenos, 6 green beans, 4 watermelons, 24 lemon cucumbers, 30 regular cucumbers, 6 mystery squash, 12 hot house tomatoes & 24 cherry tomatoes.

Wow, doing a playback there really kind of stress me out, lol. I mean, you have to take into consideration that not all of these will sprout. I mean, there's always a chance they will, but roughly half will suffice. Like I said earlier, this is just the ones that we can start now. We still have loads of corn and lettuce that needs to be sown directly into the ground.

And I may or may not have ventured by the seeds when I was in Dollar General today. I also may or may not have bought some spinach, zucchini and okra seeds. Since we're out of planters and Miracle Grow soil, I'll have to stop by Walmart on our way home Monday and get another. Maybe even some more seeds at Buchheit's, you just never know.

Here's some random pics of the planters. These were taken on my phone in the garage yesterday due to the rain. Not the best quality, but at least you can see what we're working with.

Miracle Grow Potting Mix and our little seed planters.

Planter tray number one.

Planter tray number one finished.

Planter tray number two.

New seed packs.

And So It Begins - Intro to Strawberry Plants

The older I get, the more I find myself looking at plants. Not just your average house plant, but fruit and/or vegetable plants - sometimes even trees or large bushes. It's a gene that I inherited from my grandma and one that I'm glad I have, but more times than not, it gets me in over my head or I make purchases that aren't all that necessary.

I usually stop by Buchheit's every Monday to get cat food. Upon my arrival my gaze drifted to all the seasonal plants. Herbs, flowers and strawberry's - oh my! It didn't really help that I literally just had a conversation with my aunt the week prior about growing strawberries this year. It's really needless to say that I made an impulse purchase and left with a couple strawberry plants.

There's really no place in the garden to put them, so I'm not sure where they're going to be. We'll most likely move them to large pots for now, but I honestly don't know where to put them long-term.

Like with any new purchase - especially of plants - I have to welcome them into our home with a photograph or two. It was almost picture perfect the way they were setting in the window. 

Young strawberry plants.

I love the leaves on the strawberry plants.

"Everbearing" Strawberry. It was either this or "Junebearing".

I love the macro detail with the 40mm Nikon lens on this strawberry leaf.

Strawberry plants sitting pretty in the window.

More baby strawberry leaves.