Back to an SLR Camera

I had a 35 mm SLR film camera decades ago, but I’ve used handheld film or handheld digital cameras since at least 2001.

I tried out my new digital SLR camera this past week.

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Then from my front patio, without and with the zoom lens.

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Yes, my neighbor developed a brand or logo for her home, a stylized version of our local three crosses icon. It even appears on her flagstone address number plaque.

That hazy day, El Paso’s Franklin Mountains loom just inside the Texas border, 35 miles away.

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Part of this new camera will be my re-learning techniques such as depth of field, in order to take better photos of my work and what inspires my work. I took a quick tour of my favorite project near my home to critique aspects of.

I’ll try not to scare you with the bad maintenance. Again, no zoom and zoom.

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Recently seeing Danger Garden’s images of Agave neomexicana at one of her local nurseries, those in Oregon look healthier than here, though they grow natively on most of our hills. So, our “dry heat” can be overrated!

At least we don’t have a chance at developing SAD, and the light for photos is amazing.

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At the entry, the zoom lens reproduces what I see exiting the development. Though it also shortens the close-in view, causing the houses to appear closer than in reality. This is where using depth of field might help on sharpness through the view.

Many Yucca faxonianaDasylirion wheeleri, Agave parryi, and Nolina greenei forms going solo, with softening blooms and smaller plants long ago dying or removed. Their green really stands out and brings welcome life in winter dormancy.

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“Design for summer, and your garden looks good in summer. Design for February, and your garden looks good all year.” – Tara Dillard

The usual brown tips on foliage are evident on many plants (i.e. winters’ freezes and summers’ legendary “dry heat”), blurring to the left and further back.

Changing my SLR camera’s depth of field would sharpen all plants as they recede in this mass. Which is what one sees without a camera.

The structure of that mass facing exiting drivers works as intended, not forming a hard wall. It affords home properties a gentle buffer west towards the development, yet preserving driver views exiting the development, east into the valley and beyond to the Organ Mountains.

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2/20/18 weather: 5835 / .00″

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The Blue Rocks of Picacho

On workout hikes near the house, I go up or around isolated, 4,959 foot Picacho. Since my first time 2 years ago, I’ve noticed the bluish rocks near the bottom and along the arroyo.

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Some dormant Aloysia wrightii makes quite the austere contrast to the blue areas.

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My first visit, I thought someone dumped blue paint into the arroyo from nearby home construction.

Picacho is volcanic in origin based on rocks apparent in many areas, with the bluish rocks appear to be volcanic tufa. The tufa I’ve seen tends to be more tan. I haven’t located any information sources on bluish rock, the geology of Picacho, or even regional information on geology covering Picacho and bluish rocks.

Decide for yourself, as I’ll keep researching.

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1/19/18 weather: 64 / 22 / .00″

Water vs. Rock and Sand

Our monsoon season was late in starting, but it’s now in full force. Our plants are sporting fresh leaves, new flowers, and storm water flashes down arroyos to seep into the soil. Mornings are cool.

Picacho is the isolated, volcanic mountain north of my neighborhood, topping out at 4,959 feet elevation – a mere 1000 feet above the river.

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Past the low, gravelly hills there’s a canyon. The action of water can be seen, then skirting around the rock “dam” until it finds a gap to keep flowing to the Rio Grande.

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Bluish or cool gray rocks in sections of the canyon look like volcanic ash or tuff to me, but I’ve never found any information on that.

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Good scour action there.

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More scour action from a recent storm, including a lone Rhus microphylla growing out of the rock outcropping. And a gallery of Chilopsis linearis on the far bank of Picacho Arroyo. Burrowing Owl habitat…

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Back to the house, so I can get ready for work. As the burrowing owls sound out to announce another day.

7/28/17 weather: 95 / 67 / 0.00