Tag Archives: Sun

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #138 – Natural Light

This week, the theme from Amy for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is Natural Light. She invited us to look at photography uses the sun as a light source and share photos of changing light throughout the day.

I took this opportunity to study the phenomena of changing light.

In photography

The different colors of the natural light determined by the sun’s rays during the light phases of the day. They depend on the elevation of the sun. The phases are the nighttime, morning twilights, morning magic hours, daytime, evening magic hours, evening twilights, and nighttime. The dramatic colors of blue, red, orange and yellow are in the golden hour and blue hour when the sun is lower in the sky during the morning magic hours and evening magic hours shortly before and after the appearance of the sun.

In science

Steven Ackerman, professor of meteorology at UW-Madison said, “Molecules and small particles in the atmosphere change the direction of light rays, causing them to scatter. Scattering affects the color of light coming from the sky, but the details are determined by the wavelength of the light and the size of the particle. The short-wavelength blue and violet are scattered by molecules in the air much more than other colors of the spectrum. This is why blue and violet light reaches our eyes from all directions on a clear day. But because we can’t see violet very well, the sky appears blue.”

Brian Resnick at the Vox.com further explained, “At sunset, light has to travel through a greater distance of atmosphere to reach our eyes — so even more blue light, and even some green and yellow light, gets filtered out. That leaves us with the warmer hues of the visible light, the reds and oranges, and it’s why many sunsets look like fire.

As we approach the winter solstice, the time the sun takes to set lengthens, due to the angle the sun takes in setting into the ground. During the equinoxes, the sun pretty much sinks into the ground at a 90-degree angle. Nearer the winter solstice, the sun sets on more of an angle, drawing out the time it takes to set. Which is to say: Sunset colors linger closer to the winter solstice, which allows us to enjoy them for longer.”

Here are some examples of my photography showing the colors of light shortly before sunset in different months.

These two photos were taken on my walk in the neighborhood in July. They were taken in a less than one minute apart.

These two photos were taken during a Columbia River Gorge Cruise, Washington in September. The two photos were taken in just minutes apart while the cruise ship traveled.

These two photos were also taken in my neighborhood. They sky was clear with spots of scattered clouds in this December early evening before the sun disappeared. Again, the photos were taken in a few seconds apart.

I love taking sunset photos because of the dramatic change of light.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #138 – Natural Light

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136: Subjects Starting with the Letter–S

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136, we’re circling back to the alphabet. This time, Patti invited us to focus on the letter S. She quoted Mike Wilks who strung a sentence with all the words begin with the letter S and indicated on the shelves in his store stacked with stock of 1,234 Ss to see.

I don’t want to list some seventy-seven S-things. I only chose several to be included in this post. I simply tried to have samples.

“May you see sunshine where others see shadows and opportunities where others see obstacles.” – Anonymous

Sunny sky above the summer sand

“Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.” – Mario Fernandez

Sunny sky above the snowy summit

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” Helen Keller

“If roses tried to be sunflowers, they would lose their beauty; and if sunflowers tried to be roses, they would lose their strength.” Matshona Dhliwayo

Sunflowers surged into the sky searching the sunlight

“Millions of trees in the world are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts, then forget where they hid them. Do good and forget. It’ll grow someday.” – Anonymous

“Little squirrel opens human heart because they have lots of practice with the nuts.” – Swapna Ch

Squirrel, squirrel, what do you see?

“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose.” -Tom Wilson

“Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you.” – Peace Pilgrim

Sweet smiles from my daughter Mercy

“Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.” – Amy Li

“Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.” – Margaret Mead

Songs sisters Autumn and Nora sing together

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136: Subjects Starting with the Letter–S

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122, we are excited to have Ann as the guest host. Ann invited us to look at the theme, “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”

I follow the theme to meditate on the sun will come out tomorrow. This thought also led me to contemplate the idea that on a cloudy day, the sun is shining bright in the sky even when we don’t see it.

“What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder.” – Opera Winfrey

When something went wrong, instead of spending too much time asking why it happened, I found myself asking, “What should we do next?” It’s valuable to assess what went wrong so we could avoid making the same mistake. Staying in the pity pit for too long and we could be drowned.

Sunrise at a beach

“Hope abides; therefore, I abide. Hope abides; therefore, I bide. Countless frustrations have not cowed me. I am still alive, vibrant with life. The black cloud will disappear, the morning sun will appear once again in all its supernal glory.” – Sri Chinmoy

On one Maui trip, we drove up to the Haleakalā or the East Maui Volcano. The tallest peak of Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). Halfway up the mountain, the black clouds gathered, and it started to rain. We droved past the low clouds. I saw the bright sun in the clear sky. It was an experience I never forget. How often do I stay below to see the black cloud and forget the sun is still there even though I don’t see it at the moment? The similar experience applied to traveling on the plane. I could see the sun above the fluffy black clouds.

Haleakalā National Park
Key West sky

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people say they don’t have any pleasant memories in their lives. I wonder if we could create a good memory today. When tomorrow come, we would have one day of good memory. It’s like making a deposit of one positive day at a time to the “Good Memory” bank.

Anchorage, Alaska

“Grace comes into the soul as the morning sun into the world: there is first a dawning, then a mean light, and at last the sun in his excellent brightness.” – Thomas Adams

My husband Lynton said to me, “I kiss you and tell you ‘I love you’ before we go to bed every night because I don’t know if we would die asleep. I hold you tight in the morning because I’m happy that we are alive to welcome a new day.”

Laguna Lake, California

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” – Helen Keller

There’s no doubt we have shadows in our life, the matter is our choice. We choose to face the sun and focus on the energy that carry us through the darkness.

A local park in Portland, Oregon

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

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Lens-Artists Challenge #115 – Inspiration

This week for Lens-Artists Challenge, Tina invited us to explore the theme of Inspiration. I could name many aspects around are my inspiration. I finally decided on three for this post.

Gardening is my hobby and my joy. My life is enriched by the inspiration from gardening. There are several basic things for a healthy garden. 1) Good soil. I started a butterfly garden and vegetable garden this year. Several sections have heavy clay soil. I dug at least one foot, soaked the soil and drained, mixed in several inches of organic soil. Use the correct amount of fertilizer periodically. 2) Watering. Test the daily watering to ensure the soil is moist, not just wet on the surface. 3) Proper planting space. The full-grown milkweed will be several feet in diameter in the butterfly garden, whereas the Zinnias are several feet tall but several inches wide. 4) Trimming the withered limbs according to different plants by season or regularly.

Learning from gardening, I need to continuously cleanse, nourish, and make changes to my mind, my heart, and my action to be a healthy person.

Traveling gave me the opportunity to see the wonderful nature near and far. We were at awe with the vast Denali wildness in Alaska, over 10,000 hydrothermal features such as geysers, hot springs, mud pots, travertine terraces, and fumaroles in Yellowstone, and four active volcanos in Hawaii, to name just a few.

Nature comes in all shapes and forms, all kinds of temperature, and different colors as reflected in our human life.

The maternal instinct in the animal kingdom was my inspiration and touches my heart at the deep spot. Humpback whales migrate farther than any other mammal on earth. They can travel around 3,000 miles between their breeding and feeding grounds regularly. During the migration with the newborn, the female Humpback would lift the calf above the water for it to breathe. The female and the calf are caressing each other constantly for affection.

A nest in my front porch was a cradle for four births of baby Mourning doves. The dove eggs are smaller than chicken eggs. I observed the female doves lay two eggs at a time. It takes about 35 days after hatching for the baby doves to fly. Last year, one baby was ready to fly and left the nest. The female dove left for a while but came back in the evening to stay with the second baby, kept him warm until he was ready to fly. The bigger baby also came to keep the little brother company. Then they flew away together.

Even though I was not able to be a stay-home mom when my daughter was a baby, I’m now a big fan of stay-home moms for them to treasure and enjoy those precious moments.

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LENS-ARTISTS CHALLENGE #115 – INSPIRATION

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Lens-Artists Photo CHALLENGE #114: Negative Space

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge 114, Amy invited us to look at Negative Space in photography.

This is my first time explored negative space in photography. It made me interested to do a quick study about the subject. I only looked at three photography sites and the following is the basic idea.

Negative space is the area surrounding the main subject in a photograph. It allows us to create a dramatic image that attracts viewers to lead their eyes towards the smaller area of positive space.

Negative space should take up more of the image than the positive space. It has the effect of making us notice and inspect the main subject even more. It can be an unoccupied area.

This was three days before the full moon in July 2017
California fires: 3,154,107 Acres Burned, 7,718 Incidents, 20 Fatalities, 6,334 Structures as of Sept. 12, 2020
(Photo from my backyard Sept. 6, 2020 4:00 p.m.)

The contrast in size makes us more curious about the main subject. The smaller the subject in the positive space is, the more noticeable it will become.

A grasshopper the size of a grain of rice sitting on the African Lily in my garden.

The negative space does not have to be an empty space. Things surrounding the subject are peripheral. They almost blend into the background, but they should never be the main subjects.  They cause you to focus even more on the subject.

Rose bud in spring
I captured this yacht during a whale watching trip.
My husband turned around for a photo before he dived in the Great Barrier Reef.

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LENS-ARTISTS PHOTO CHALLENGE 114: NEGATIVE SPACE

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Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge theme from Amy for this week is “Under the Sun.” It’s about photo captures anywhere under the sun. I applied the theme to both indoor and outdoor.

Last year in June I babysat my granddaughter, Autumn, by myself while my daughter, Mercy, and her husband went to Iceland on vacation. Some friends said I was brave. Some said it would tire me, but I could handle it. The advice was, “When she sleeps, you sleep.”

Mercy made a spreadsheet of suggested daily schedule and activities, a list of her friends and phone numbers, the doctor and phone number. My mind was at ease without worrying of what to do to fill the days. They rented a car even though I wasn’t planning on driving.

They took a late afternoon flight to arrive early the next day to make the most of their trip.

“I missed Autumn already. Please send us a lot of pictures.” Before boarding, Mercy sent me a message.

“I will do that.” I returned her message.

When Autumn woke up in the morning, she looked for mommy and daddy. I said, “Mommy will be back. Daddy will be back.” She said, “Daddy went to work. Mommy went to work. Daddy will be back. Mommy will be back.”

We went to the park in the afternoon. There were kids playing with the water feature. I looked at the backpack, there was a change of clothes, no I let Autumn play with other kids.

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The next day before nap time, Autumn had a temperature of 101.2. After she woke up from the nap, the temperature went up to 103. I kept Mercy updated. Deep down, I regretted to let Autumn play with the water for too long on the previous day. I hoped her temperature wouldn’t prolong. Most of all, I didn’t want Mercy to cut their vacation short.

I called Mercy’s friends to pick up a few items from the store for me. They came after work. One of them was a nurse. She checked on Autumn and wrote some instruction for me. The other friend bought what I needed, plus some Popsicle.

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Autumn had a good night sleep. I put her on a soft diet, plus the Popsicle. We didn’t go to the park and just did some quiet activities around the house. By the afternoon, her temperature came back to normal. It was such a tremendous relief for me. My first-time babysitting Autumn full time was okay.  I’m glad Mercy didn’t have to cut their vacation short.

“It seems to be a 24-hour thing.” Mercy messaged me.

“I think so. I’m glad it was a 24-hour thing.” I returned the message.

The remaining days, we went to the park, the library, and walked around the neighborhood.

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Mercy and Will had a fabulous trip. We exchange messages and photos many times a day. They got home in the late evening on their return. Autumn was excited to see Mommy and Daddy when she woke up the next day.

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Iceland by Mercy Rossi

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Iceland by Mercy Rossi

 

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

 

Thank you for reading. Wishing you a fabulous day under the sun.

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104: Summer at the Beach

This week Amy’s theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is Summer.

“Summer is singing with joy, and the beaches are inviting you with dancing waves.” – Debasish Mridha

There are three beaches where we enjoy our summer in normal circumstances. All these beaches are about thirty-five minutes’ drive from our home. These beaches have different features for the beach goers. It’s a wonderful way to spend half a day on weekends.

 

 “Friends, sun, sand and sea. That sounds like a summer to me.” – Unknown

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The women’s group had an annual outing either at the Newport Beach or Huntington Beach. We could carpool or drive there by ourselves and get there around 10:00 a.m. Most of us would take a leisure stroll on the beach or walked to the end of the pier. The trip concluded with a lunch at a seafood restaurant. It was an enjoyable outing to watch the high tide coming in to splash the shore and watch the sunbathers and swimmers having a relaxing time in the sun. It was also wonderful taking time to catch up with friends without rushing home.

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.” – Sandy Gingras

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Laguna Beach is a small city. It is known for the scenic coves and an artist community. It has an art museum. The city holds an annual art festival. Its geography has rolling hills and vertical climbs for hiking. The shopping offers one-of-a-kind retail shops, bath salts and oil, jewelry, clothing, to art galleries. When there was a low tide, we often walked through the rocks between pots of water to look for tiny sea creatures.

 “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Robert Wyland 

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8.Newport beach paddle boarding

Newport Beach offers many activities and rentals for paddle boarding, body boarding, kayaking, and surfing. For individual or family biking, there are adult’s and children’s bikes, electric bikes, and multi-passenger paddle surreys. There are trips for cruises, whale watching, Sports fishing, and charter boat fishing. We had taken the pleasure to enjoy many of these activities and trips in the summer.

 

Thank you for your visit. What is your favorite summer activity? 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104: Summer at the Beach

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #66: Filling the Frame

For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week, Patti invited us to look at Filling the Frame. She demonstrated her photos of the differences of not filling the frame and filling the frame.

 

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The bees love sunflowers. This photo was taken in the summer 2018 as I waited to catch this position of the bee.

 

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There are many kinds of birds in my garden. I watch them and feed them and caught this House Finch cracking a sunflower seed.

 

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This photo was taken when we walked around Laguna Lake by our house. There were many turtles but this one was most handsome and colorful. This close-up shot allowed me to see its body texture and colors and the look on its face.

 

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There was a wildfire in Columbia Gorge in Washing, Oregon area in September 2017 caused by a 15-year-old boy igniting fireworks. The sky was covered with smoke. This was early in the afternoon.

 

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The human eyes usually cannot gaze directly to the sun. The smoke was intense and filtered the ray so we were able to look right at the sun.

 

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I used to study the moon cycles and paid attention to the Red Blood moon and the Blue moon. California is not a good location to glimpse the intensity of the colors of the moon. January 2018 was the first appearance of full moon of the year. This full moon photo was taken from our driveway early at night.

 

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This was taken at the same time of the night. I zoomed in to view the shadows of the moon.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #66: Filling the Frame

 

 

 

 

 

August 15: Flash Fiction Challenge – First Homemade Low Sugar Plum Jam

August 15, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a sweet jam. It can take you to the kitchen or the smokey room of a back-alley bar. What makes it sweet? Go where the prompt leads you!

 

jam logo

 

It was a long, wet, cold winter this year. The surprising news welcome us back from our trip to Hong Kong and Japan in the middle of January. The previous wet winters came and left in a hurry, so I didn’t expect anything different this year.

The rain was persistent and heavy, dropping week after week. It didn’t let the sun come out even for one day. The sky wore a gray cloak in prolonged mourning. For eight weeks, the first thing I did in the morning was to look out the window, checked the color of the sky. There wasn’t any contrast of fluffy white and clear blue. Then I went to the backyard to check on the two plum trees and the clovers on the slope next to the trees. There were scattered white buds on the trees, and yellow spots on the clovers, but the flowers only smiled to the sun. The bees were not there because only the yellow flowers could invite the bees that time of the year. Without the bees, even if there were plum blossoms, there was no promise of any plums in early spring. I repeated the same routine every morning.

By the first week of March, the white plum blossoms formed a party. What a precious sight that my camera couldn’t resist. This protective mom checked every white bud and flower, then checked the yellow clover, and the sign of bees. They must be synchronized, and the conductor of this orchestra is the sun. I counted the number of white pedals got wet and folded and dropped.

A check of the ten-day forecast was in order. There was a glimpse of hope for a clear sky. I would believe it when the sun shows up. And it did in the middle of March. It synchronized all the players.

The plums kept me picking. For the sake of curiosity, I tallied them. From June 16 to July 15, 2019, one thousand and one hundred plums (1100) were picked. What a year!

 

 

First Homemade Low Sugar Plum Jam

 

“What are we doing with all the plums?”

“We eat them.”

“How many can we eat?”

“As many as we can for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

“You picked 475 in two weeks but only ate less than 75. They are getting mushy.”

“I know. I’ll take them to some meetings to give them away.”

“Can we sell them?”

“Are you kidding? How do I do that and who would buy them?”

“What if we can’t give them away fast enough?”

“I’ll find some low sugar plum jam recipes and do my first homemade jam.”

“It sounds like a plan.”

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction, August 15, 2019 – First Homemade Low Sugar Plum Jam

 

April 5 Flash Fiction Challenge – Don’t Blame the Sun

April 5, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a silly sun story. Up north, “sun silly” is the energetic and playful response to returning sunlight. It could also be an April Fool’s jest, a silly story, or a reaction to spring fever. Be silly and write playfully! Go where the prompt leads.

Don’t Blame the Sun

“It’s the sun’s fault when people get melanoma, the visible kind, Erica.”

“Why do people choose to sunbathe long hours just to get tan? Don’t they know that they ask for cancer?”

“Are you saying people don’t get skin cancer if the sun hides behind the clouds?”

“I didn’t say that, Joyce. The ray is powerful that it penetrates through thick clouds.”

“I get it. You’re saying the sun is at fault to impose cancer on people even when the clouds try to protect them, right?”

Hey, look, don’t blame me, just wear suntan lotion wherever you are, okay!

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Charli Mills, Carrot Ranch: April 5 Flash Fiction – Don’t Blame the Sun

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