How To Melt My Heart


Gray Fox, funny face


OK, so I know this is an out-of-focus, improperly exposed and poorly composed shot… but, how could anyone not save and treasure this photo?! As I was saying yesterday, several foxes have been hanging out around our place lately. The amazing thing about our cabin is that it serves as a really nice blind for viewing wildlife. In general, (with Coyote being a notable exception to the rule) the mammals appear to view the cabin as just another element of their environment and as long as you don’t make any sudden movements, they seem to ignore slight movements at the windows, or else simply stare with a cautious curiosity. I have seen and photographed (or filmed) some truly astounding things through the windows of this place! There are downsides, of course. All but one or two of the windows in the house are screened and those photos are often very blurred or distorted-looking. The large picture window in the kitchen is my favorite place to photograph, but even those photos only come out well if I can shoot straight ahead. If I have to point the camera at an angle to the glass, the photos are once again distorted. Fortunately, while I do have very high standards for what I consider to be a beautifully-executed nature photograph, I also see plenty of value in those images that serve as visual field notes or simply to capture a happy memory or experience.

So… back to the photo! I shot this one as I crouched at the base of my smaller, screened kitchen window.  (The black on the left side of the image is actually the window frame.) The fox was busily gnawing away at one dried-up olive after another just beyond the ledge of the window (maybe 10 feet!) and seemed entirely oblivious to my presence. Though it looks as though it is making eye contact with me here, I’m pretty sure that it was just eyeballing the house itself. I’m assuming that the little bit of tongue sticking out is also incidental and not directed at me personally. *GRIN*

Harsi / August 18, 2011 / fun stuff, mammals / 0 Comments

What Will I Become? (Part II)


Does anyone even remember Part I? Ha ha… oh well… I meant to get back to this idea sooner. But, hey, let’s have a little fun with tadpoles!

I walked down to the creek a few days ago with the intent of exploring a remaining shallow pool of water that my neighbor had pointed out to me. I wanted to confirm my initial suspicions that there were at least three different kinds of amphibian larvae in various stages of development. Sure enough! Additionally, there were several different kinds of aquatic beetles, bugs and snails. There was also a large interesting-looking dragonfly laying eggs on the exposed rocks. I was so excited and ready to get down to some serious photographing, but then… This rarely happens to me, but (sadly) just as I got to this point, my camera batteries died. *sigh*

I use rechargeable AAs and I always carry a spare set, but apparently I forgot to charge them after the last outing and these turned out to also be dead. Not sure if anyone else has ever been this desperate, but in order to get the following shots I would turn on the camera and take like one or two shots before it gave up the ghost and turned itself off. Then, I would turn it back on and try and eke out a few more real quick before it shut down again. Frankly, I am surprised these turned out as well as they did!

OK, so here are the three suspects for those who want to have fun guessing what they will eventually metamorphosize into… *You can click on any of the photos for a larger view.*



mystery tadpole #1





mystery tadpole #2




mystery tadpole #3



I’ve done my best to correctly identify the critters above and I think I’ve matched them up correctly. (If anyone thinks I may have made a mistake… please tell me!) *Click on the graphic below to see what the adult versions look like.*


tadpole mystery answers


Despite the unusually cool temps for mid-August, the remaining water in the creek is still rapidly evaporating. I hope that the majority of these little ones get a chance to develop enough to survive outside of their puddle refuge.

Harsi / August 12, 2011 / amphibians, fun stuff / 0 Comments

Out of Context


abstract crop


No tricks with this one! Nothing mirrored, flipped, reversed, altered or otherwise manipulated. What you see is simply a cropped poriton of a larger photo. It looked so otherworldly to me today that I wondered how recognizable it would be without the surrounding context.

** Can you tell what it is??! **

As always, you can click on the above image to see it larger. Once you’ve decided what it is, go ahead and click on the question mark below to see the original uncropped image:


Click here for answer!



Harsi / August 10, 2011 / fun stuff / 8 Comments

Geranium Grouper?


geranium, flipped


It might just be that I didn’t sleep enough last night, but does anyone else see a hungry fish coming right for you?

Lovely plant:                                                     courtesy of my mother-in-law’s garden

Interesting patterned leaves:                             courtesy of hungry insects or snails

Fanciful underwater interpretation:                   courtesy of yours truly



I hope no one is sick of the whole (mir)ror im(age) thing yet…  I have really been having lots of fun with this!! And since laughing, smiling and generally having more fun are all items on my “How To Improve My Life” list, you can expect to be seeing more in the future.

Harsi / August 9, 2011 / fun stuff, plants / 8 Comments

Doubling My Fun

This past week, I took a few more shots of trees with the express intention of playing around with flipping the photos. I had such a good time with the last few (mir)ror im(age) posts — here and here — but I wondered how I could step it up a notch for this round.

Well, if two images mirroring each other created something fantastical… What would FOUR look like?


Oak tree, flipped2x



UNK tree, flipped2x



Just in case anyone was curious, these are the original images:



trees, pre-flipped


Harsi / August 5, 2011 / fun stuff, plants / 0 Comments

Trials & Toyon-ations

I had planned to write something today about my recent wildlife sightings around here. I had several other small projects and “to do” items lined up for myself as well. And, I definitely — definitely! — had earmarked a chunk of the day for a walk outside. But, as John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

In my case, “life” included: an impressive number of big ants invading the bed + me asleep + a very unseemly hour of the morning.

I’ll spare you the somewhat traumatizing details and just tell you that I didn’t get any sleep after that and spent much of the day trying to ensure that it doesn’t happen again tonight. I think I’ve done as much as I can and I’m already finding ways to laugh at my early morning ordeal. (What else are you gonna’ do?!) But, as I never did get around to writing the post I had in mind, I hope no one minds seeing another one of the (mir)ror im(ages) I created yesterday… *exhausted grin*


Toyon flipped & turned“Toyon Bird”


Harsi / July 30, 2011 / fun stuff, lyrics, plants / 0 Comments

(mir)ror im(age)


I was thinking that I really liked this image I made of a sunset from last January…


January sunset & branches


I wondered what it might look like if I flipped it horizontally…


January sunset & branches, flipped


I decided I didn’t like that as much. But, then I thought… Maybe you need both! So, I decided to see what they would look like side-by-side…


January sunset & branches, side-by-side


Actually, what resulted was sort of a happy accident. I had intended on putting the two images together in a manner similar to the image I shared here with a thin black border between. I happened to place them too close together and (fortunately!) I saw this marvelous pattern and shape appear. I love when you can do something in a graphics program with your photo that manages to retain its essential nature but also adds a new dimension or element. In this case, it was already so fantastical and surreal that I thought I would go just one step further and turn the image upside down…


January sunset & branches, upside down


Now, I had originally planned at this point to tell you how excited and impressed I was by the figure that appeared to me when I stared at this last image… But then I thought it might be more fun (à la the interactive-cloud-gazing post) if I asked y’all:  What do you see?


[P.S. When I was trying to come up with an interesting name for this approach (technique?) (style?), a few of the words that I was playing around with were “mirage” and “mirror image” as both terms seemed apropos. It dawned on me that the first word was contained within the letters of the second. I thought that was nifty! Though, perhaps there’s no great surprise in this as apparently the words “mirror” and “mirage” share the same Latin root — mirare, meaning “to look at, to wonder at”.]

Harsi / July 29, 2011 / fun stuff, photography, skies / 5 Comments