These handsome daylilies were planted many years ago among the pachysandra bordering our raised bed. They’ve not only thrived but multiplied, reappearing faithfully and in greater numbers every summer, delighting us with their rich, contrasting colors.

Daylilies are so-called because the flowers typically last only twenty-four hours, opening early in the morning and withering that very night, usually to be replaced the next day by another on the same stalk or “scape.”

That withering, I’ve learned, can start well before nightfall in hot weather. So I shot these early, before the heat of the day could take its toll. The photo was taken on the cool morning of July 14, 2012, at 10:15 am.

See related post: Chinese Peony.* Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.

 


The late sun had fallen behind dense, dark clouds to the west, leaving the pond and distant houses in shadow, but softly illuminating the clouds above. What extravagant clouds they were! With dusty shadings of gray and blue, woven together by a delicate white lace, and conveying a sense of great depth, they drew the eye and the imagination to a distant world far beyond our little pond.

The photo was taken at 7:42 pm on July 8, 2012. True sunset came at 8:23 pm.

Update: This post was first published as “Cloudy Dusk.” Sorry for any confusion.

See related post: Cumulus Sunset.* Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are welcome.

 

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I know, I know, July Fourth broke overcast and rainy this year, but why be literal-minded about it? This dazzling sunrise was taken just one day earlier; surely it can mark the holiday. After all, we enjoy fireworks for several days leading up to Independence Day. And well we might, for the Continental Congress actually declared independence on July 2nd. The Declaration itself was dated July 4th, but wasn’t signed until a month later, on August 2, 1776.

Now, about the photos: Whenever possible, I take multiple shots of a subject, then winnow out the best for posting here. In this case, I couldn’t decide. I even went to the length of printing all four scenes, but still couldn’t pick a “best.” They all had their charms.

So here they are, all of them, arranged so the viewer can enter progressively into the scene, on a magic carpet of his or her own imagining. Below each image I’ve noted the focal length of the zoom lens, in 35mm terms, for those who may be interested. (Displayed by focal length, the first three frames are out of temporal sequence by a matter of seconds. For the last frame, taken three minutes later, I relented and displayed it last.)

As indicated, the photos were taken about 5:30 am on July 3, 2012. Officially, sunrise occurred at 5:13 that day, but the sun doesn’t top our eastern ridge until almost twenty minutes later.

I shot from the extreme southeastern corner of our property, at the water’s edge. It was from this same spot that I shot Fiery June Dawn* a month earlier. As then, I was looking toward the northeast. The earlier scene glowed hot with orange and gold; by contrast, this took a cool, blue turn.

Update: This post was first published as “July Fourth Dawn.” Sorry for any confusion.

Click thumbnails or use keyboard arrows to view slides on this page.

Click any image to open full-screen slide show. Use keyboard arrows to navigate, or press “Enter” key to start autoplay, and keyboard arrow to stop autoplay. Press “Esc” key to return.

 


It was a little after dawn when I first glimpsed this dramatic scene through the window. It reminded me of a singularly iconic photo I had taken of a Great Blue Heron in the same spot just over a month ago, also by first light.

The earlier image was classic, the Great Blue in upright pose, its neck held in a graceful “S” curve. Here the bird is no less evocative, but poised to pounce, and recorded in silhouette, sharp, stark, surreal, set off by a necklace of sparkling light.

The date was July 2, 2012, the time 5:56 am, about twenty minutes after the sun broke over the eastern ridge.

See related post: Great Blue Icon.* Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. Comments are not only welcome, but eagerly sought.

 

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Several nights ago, some revelers directly across the pond from me set off a brief, but to my eyes professional fireworks display — in anticipation of the Fourth. I say “brief” with relief, because I always worry about the effect of such things on wildlife.

Of course, I can’t simply enjoy an event like this; I have to take pictures. At first, I left my camera on “Auto,” letting it determine the exposures — which turned out to be short time-exposures. The resulting images reminded me of Jackson Pollock paintings. As lovely as they were, the purist in me rebelled. I reset the camera to a stop-action shutter speed.

The result is a slide show divided into two parts, the fantastical and the precise. Each has its own appeal. Below each image I’ve noted the shutter speed, for those who may be interested. The first and last frames may remind some readers of images from the Hubble Space Telescope.

Regretfully, I lost a few potential photos because the camera’s auto-focus couldn’t keep pace with the fast-moving fireworks. Finally, it dawned on me to turn off the auto-focus, and manually set the focus to infinity. I took a few more good shots before the dazzling display abruptly ended.

The date was June 30, 2012, the time a little past 10:30 in the evening.

These dramatic images are best viewed in dim light.

Click thumbnails or use keyboard arrows to view slides on this page. Click any image to open a Flickr slide show, then click the gray rectangle in lower right corner for best, full-screen viewing.

 


The scene was set aglow by the low, golden rays of the sun behind me. At first I toyed with calling this “Green Sunset,” but the fishermen were having such a good time, that I made a slight change.

The date was June 30, 2012, at 7:31 pm.

Click image to enlarge it, and browser’s back arrow to close. See related post: Early Birds. Comments are welcome.