header('Cache-Control: max-age=259200'); nature Archives – Kristen Koster
Mar 022014

Fragrant Rain 09/52: Photo of a raindrops clinging to a climbing vine of flowers by Kristen Koster on Flickr.com

Fragrant Rain

We’ve been getting some much needed rain here in SoCal for the past several days. The intermittent downpours haven’t dampened the scent of these pretty little pink flowers that bloom right outside my kitchen window making it seem like we’ve had a quite fragrant rain come through. Usually a steady rain here makes everything smell either squeaky clean and fresh or it brings out the deep, rich, earthy smells. So this heavy floral scent is a noticeable change.

I’m not sure what kind of flowers these are exactly, but when you walk outside and the breeze blows the right way, you get hit with a wall of fragrance, even from 15-20 feet away. It’s a heady sweet scent to match their girly pink blooms. The fence that they’re growing on has been taken over by it and they’re threatening to consume the bird feeder hanging there as well.

Hopefully the rain will help rather than hinder (in the case of recent burns areas where they’re experiencing mudslides and flooding) in the long run. Of course, lots of spring rain generally leads to lots of underbrush growth that then dries up after 5-6 months of no rain and provides lots of tinder in the fall. Vicious cycle.

I also noticed I’ve been forgetting to put my EXIF info for my photos this year. I’ll try to go back and add them at some point, but in the meantime, you can click on the photo to go to Flickr’s site and click on the … icon and choose EXIF info to see which camera, exposure, aperture, focal length and ISO Speed is used in each shot. It’s something I should pay more attention to in the shots I feel work, but I’m usually much more appreciative of the serendipitous successes than ones that I try to manufacture.

Weekly Photo 26 & 27 / 52 for 2013: Grape Vines & Hummingbird

 Photography  Comments Off on Weekly Photo 26 & 27 / 52 for 2013: Grape Vines & Hummingbird
Jul 092013

Weekly Photo 26/52 for 2013: Grape Arbor by Kristen Koster on FlickrSettings: Sony A33-SLT • 1/500 • ƒ/5.6 • ISO 320 • 300 mm

A consistent water source and some time have worked wonders for the grape vines we planted and trained on our arbor. The red grape vine is as tall, if not taller, then the white vine and they’re both reaching the top of the arbor. The reds are reaching for the nearby tree branches, so we’ll have to watch that. No grapes yet, but maybe we’ll get some next year!


Weekly Photo 27/52 for 2013: Hummingbird & Bird of Paradise by Kristen Koster on FlickrSettings: Sony A33-SLT • 1/500 • ƒ/5.6 • ISO 500 • 300 mm

We get hummingbirds close to year round here. They get a wide variety of flowers to choose from as the landscaping shifts throughout the ‘seasons’, so I haven’t been using the separate feeder this year. This way they get more natural food and we don’t get dive-bombed on the patio. This picture was taken out our kitchen window and I really didn’t do this little guy justice at all. The sun had caught the feathers on his head and throat just right and they gleamed a brilliant ruby, but I wasn’t quick enough and had the camera set too slow to catch it properly. Something to work on. I love their antics!

Jun 242013

Weekly Photo 20/52 for 2013: Bunny by Kristen Koster on FlickrToday’s weekly photo post is another entry in the urban wildlife theme. Despite the dog, we still have plenty of rabbits around our yard. There seems to be a burrow underneath the rocks for the water slide by the pool. This little guy (or gal?) was sitting outside my kitchen window, having breakfast the other morning. Usually, I manage to scare them off with the click and whir of the shutter but this bunny wasn’t too disturbed by it.

Settings: Sony A33-SLT • 1/400 • ƒ/5.6 • ISO 1600 • 300 mm

May 202013

Weekly Photo 20/52 for 2013: Little Bird by Kristen Koster on FlickrToday’s weekly photo post continues the urban wildlife theme. We have a variety of birds that visit our back yard. Humming birds, some little yellow songbirds, a pair of hawks and we can hear an owl nearby at night.

I’m not sure exactly what type this little guy is, but I think he may be a junco? The ones we have love sitting on things that poke up. Like the chairs, the sprinkler heads, the head for the half-barrel fountain. Sometimes they sit in nearby trees or on the roof lines. But this little guy was happily sitting on one of the patio chairs when the dog decided he was invading HER space and told him off in no uncertain terms.

Settings: Sony A33-SLT • 1/500 • ƒ/5.6 • ISO 1000 • 300 mm

Weekly Photo 17/52 for 2013: Clover Among The Rocks

 Photography  Comments Off on Weekly Photo 17/52 for 2013: Clover Among The Rocks
Apr 282013

Weekly Photo 17/52 for 2013: Clover Among The Rocks by Kristen Koster on FlickrToday’s weekly photo post is not a flower and it’s not purple! We still have plenty of those in the yard. One of the things that fascinates me about the vegetation here is how persistent it is. When and where there’s enough water, it will grow. Several of the streets have cracks in the pavement, and sure enough, grass grows because of the aggressive irrigation. These clovers have decided to grow despite

We’ve been inundated by urban wildlife this week. We have a pair of turkeys who have moved along the ditch between our drive and the neighbors’. I finally caught a picture of them on my iPhone the other day. Today, we had a young Southern Pacific Rattlesnake on the patio today, but while that photo was good enough to use for identification, it wasn’t a great shot and I didn’t think my mom really wanted to see it. She’s going to freak as it is. There are also the various hummingbirds and songbirds who visit the yard, but after the spectacle of the snake, I saw a new bird with really long tailfeathers that I didn’t recognize, but I think was a roadrunner. By the time I grabbed my camera and switched lenses, he was gone.

Settings: Sony A33-SLT • 1/500 • ƒ/5.6 • ISO 1600 • 300 mm

Weekly Photo 12/52 for 2013: Iceplant

 Photography  Comments Off on Weekly Photo 12/52 for 2013: Iceplant
Mar 242013

Weekly Photo 12/52 for 2013: Iceplant by Kristen Koster on FlickrToday’s weekly photo post could be considered cruel and unusual punishment for those of you stuck in winter mode. Here, spring has definitely sprung and the hills are green (this is usually seen as a bad thing here because by fall it will make abundant tinder for raging wildfires) and the flowers and trees are blooming. From the amount of pollen on our cars, I’d think we were back in Austin, TX. I’ve never seen it so thick here. I got to watch a stand of pines dump pollen on a couple of students walking beneath them the other day. A good strong breeze caught the trees and it looked like someone had taken a huge bottle of yellow talcum power and dumped on them.

The iceplant pictured here is a succulent that’s used for sunny hillsides and in some of the medians on the streets. Once it gets in full bloom, like phlox, it looks like someone came along with a bucket of bright magenta paint and stood and swung it. Apparently, it also spreads to cover the area really well and can be quite invasive as well. Good thing it’s pretty.

Settings: Sony A33-SLT • 1/100 • ƒ/5.6 • ISO 100 • 35 mm

Weekly Photo 11/52 for 2013: Flowering Hedge

 Photography  Comments Off on Weekly Photo 11/52 for 2013: Flowering Hedge
Mar 172013

Weekly Photo 11/52 for 2013: Flowering Hedge by Kristen Koster on FlickrToday’s weekly photo post is NOT a daisy! Spring is starting to burgeon here in full force. It’s been in the low 80s this week and the flowers are loving it.

This also means that it’s warmer at night and that means foggy mornings. I was going to grab a shot of the sun coming over the hills this morning, but I got sidetracked and by the time I remembered I had been going to grab my camera, the effect I was looking at had gone.

Timing is everything. Ok, maybe not EVERYTHING, but certainly a huge chunk of getting some of those great shots! The other day I was coming back from school and a plane flew between me and the summit and the way the sun flashed off it was very cool, but of course, the plane veered off and I didn’t have my camera with me, let alone turned on and ready.

Settings: Sony A33-SLT • 1/100 • ƒ/5.6 • ISO 250 • 55 mm

Weekly Photo 10/52 for 2013: Purple Daisy 2

 Photography  Comments Off on Weekly Photo 10/52 for 2013: Purple Daisy 2
Mar 102013

Weekly Photo 10/52 for 2013: Purple Daisy 2 by Kristen Koster on FlickrToday’s weekly photo post is another of the purple daisies from our front steps. The photo didn’t quite come out how I wanted it to. The flower itself looked as if it were purple in the center and white on the tips of the petals.

I should have gone back inside to grab my Sony, but we were heading out to the dog park with Olivia. Didn’t think to take pictures over there either.

It was rainy here last week, so we should be getting some more variety in what’s blooming soon as the temps this week are expected back in the upper 70s if not 80s.

Settings: iPhone 4S • 1/120 • ƒ/2.4 • ISO 50 • 4.3 mm

Feb 242013

Weekly Photo 8/52 for 2013: Fungi by Kristen Koster on Flickr

Today’s weekly photo post is of the giant fungi growing on our dying willow tree. There are several of this variety at the base of the trunk and on a couple of the higher branches. There’s also small white fungi along the upper branches that almost make it look snow covered. Yeah. Not likely here, right?

We’re going to have to call someone to take this tree down. One substantial branch already fell and several more were trimmed off. It’s a pretty sad-looking specimen at this point.

Settings: Sony SLT-A33 • 1/500 • ƒ/5.6 • ISO 100 • 250 mm

Weekly Photo 7/52 for 2013: Bird of Paradise

 Photography  Comments Off on Weekly Photo 7/52 for 2013: Bird of Paradise
Feb 172013

Weekly Photo: 7/52 Bird of Paradise by Kristen Koster on FlickrToday’s weekly photo post shows off the brilliant color of the birds of paradise just beyond our pool. This photo was taken around 5pm and our property is tucked down over the hill from where the sun sets, so the lighting is all indirect and muted.

Even in the low light, these flowers shine with an inner glow.

Settings: Sony SLT-A33 • 1/160 • ƒ/4 • ISO 400 • 100 mm