Desert Broom – New Cultivar Discovered**

There is a desert plant in the Sonoran Desert that has the distinction of being one of the few native plants that is considered invasive. It can become a problem during the very hot, dry summers when fires are a real possibility.

Here is a picture of the native Desert Broom.

Desert Broom Plant

Picture courtesy of Sierra Vista Growers

On the way to a shopping mall recently, I noticed what may potentially be a new cultivar or sport of the native desert broom. It was just off to the side of the road. Can you find it in the picture below?

Possible desert broom cultivar or sport closeup

If you are having difficulty, here is a closeup!

Possible desert broom cultivar or sport

What do you think?

 

 

**This post is a tongue and cheek bit of humor related to desert gardening! (wink, wink)

 

Read more gardening posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Photography: Why Use Post Processing Software?

Although I had been interested in photography as far back as my teenage years, after my thirties and a number of life changes, photography took a back seat to my other interests and obligations of life.

I had used professional gear in my twenties and early thirties, but for many years after, I used a point-and-shoot digital camera with between 5 and 8 megapixels. (As a frame of reference, today’s standards would probably call for a minimum of 16 or 24 megapixels for professional use.) My Canon AS590 IS provided a no muss, no fuss regimen for me and I was comfortable just capturing ptographs as a matter of record.

Of course as time passed, post processing software improved and I became interested in revisiting some of my older photographs and trying to “process” them to bring out the colors and beauty that encouraged me to take the photographs in the first place.

When pondering the question, “Why use post processing software,” let me offer the following.

My wife and I enjoy hiking and exploring as readers of JBRish.com know. In 2012, we visited Monument Valley, UT. Sure enough, I had my Canon PowerShot AS590 with 8 megapixels. It took very nice jpeg photographs. Unfortunately, however, the settings and ability of the small sensor was limiting.

Look at this picture for example:


Original picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole
Original picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole

The above is a composition in which I was very interested, but the bright sky and haze did not enable the camera to represent the scene as I envisioned it. The camera did the best it could capturing the scene, but the equipment didn’t render the red rocks and sand as I saw it. The green and yellow grasses played well against the red rocks, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the photo above.

This shot remained dormant on my hard drive for years and then I began to learn about Adobe Lightroom. Once I understood the basics, I realized I could recapture some of the colors and nuances of the shot that inspired me to take the photograph in the first place.

Once processed, the scene is rendered more as I saw it that afternoon.


Processed picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole
Processed picture of the Yei Bi Chei Spires and the Totem Pole

Keep in mind that this camera has a very small sensor and by today’s standard is probably equivalent to a smartphone or perhaps less than that. When looking at the picture, understand that the camera did capture information such as which areas are brown, red, green, blue, light, dark, etc. It took the software to help me bring out the colors and contrast nearer to as I recalled them when I stopped to press the shutter. Some of the detail is lost in the transition and the picture is more painterly than I would prefer, but it is certainly closer to my recollection than the original the camera recorded.

This is why post processing software and learning how to use it properly is so popular!

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Metadata

File Name: 8871_yei_bi_chei_spires_totempole.JPG
Capture time: Sept. 10, 2012
Exposure: 1/400 sec @ f/4.5
Focal Length: 16mm
ISO: 80
Camera: Canon PowerShot AS590 IS
Lens: 4.3-215mm

Edited in Lightroom

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See more JBRish.com photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Birds of Arizona – Red-tailed Hawk ( Buteo jamaicensis )

For casual bird watchers, identifying a particular bird can be quite a challenge. One would think that a Red-tailed Hawk would look very much like every other Red-tailed Hawk, but it isn’t quite that easy.

Unfortunately, there are often variations on a theme. One problem, for example, is that a juvenile bird often looks quite different than it does as an adult. This can reveal itself with differnt feather patterns or colors or perhaps a less developed feature that, when the bird is mature, would be quite prominent.

Facing this challenge, I often farm out the job of identification to the wonderful world of birders on the Internet. That is how I was able to determine that the bird below is a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.

As you can see, we have a power pole near our house and very often one hawk or another will stop by to enjoy a meal or keep a lookout for the next one. While they are atop this perch, I am often able to walk close to them to capture a portrait.


Red-tailed Hawk
As I approached, the bird wanted to keep an eye on me.


Red-tailed Hawk
Here the bird decided to turn around to face me.


Red-tailed Hawk
When approached, hawks don’t necessarily run away, but will often just stare back!

Read more identifying Red-tailed Hawks – Telling Juvenile from Adult Red-tailed Hawks

 
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Metadata for the bottom Photograph

File Name: 000022_49.CR2
Capture time: 9:55:03 AM
Capture date: February 6, 2016
Exposure: 1/640 sec @ f/6.5
Focal Length: 215mm
ISO: 200
Canon PowerShot SX50HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm
Edited in Lightroom

See previous JBRish posts about birds HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018


Pickleball: N. Phoenix, Paseo Highlands Revisited

You may recall that on July 11, 2017, I posted a story about new courts being constructed at the Paseo Highlands Park in North Phoenix. I am happy to report that they started construction and because of the relatively mild winter, it seems to me that they are making excellent progress.

I am not an engineer and I know very little about construction so any comments made here are from my unitiated point of view.

As you will note, there is a lot of heavy construction equipment at the construction site.


Heavy equipment at the construction site

There was an opening in the fence so I could get a clear shot of the land that has been cleared and is awaiting some material for underlayment/grading.


Land clearing and leveling

This is taken from the same general area looking toward the north.


Looking north toward the community center

(Below) On two of the courts substrata of crushed stone was placed on top of the dirt and it was being leveled. Rebar and levels were being carefully employed.


substrata was being leveled

This is another shot of the preparation on that same set of courts.


Another photo of the preparation of the substrata

I was at the site about 8:20 AM so there were trucks and workers coming and going as the work day was getting into full swing. Half the parking lot was roped off for use by the construction crew.


Trucks and workers were very busy

The following two photos were taken from the rear door of Beuf Community Center. The red arrow marks the area where the new pickleball courts are located so readers can gain a perspective. Upon careful inspection, you can see some of the workers.


Looking from Beuf Community Center south toward the courts


Looking from Beuf Community Center south toward the courts

I still think there is a good chance these courts will be ready for play sooner than expected!

 

Watch Pickleball Videos

To See Pickleball Videos Covering Many Aspects of the Game Click Here (primarily for beginners and less experienced players)

Check out Additional Pickleball Info and Videos! (for all players including average to more experienced players)


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Adventures in Oregon: Adventures in Oregon: Cape Lookout, South Trail

It had been raining the day before and we had previously had our share of grey, misty days so we were excited to find the clouds lifting and the sun breaking through.

The majesty represented by a beautiful tree and a well-populated forest always resonated with my spirit and the South Trail on Cape Lookout did not disappoint in this respect.

The trail begins very modestly.


A trail through the woods
The South Trail of Cape Lookout Begins

Soon the coast appears to add interest to the hike. The fog was still rather low, but was beginning to lift.


Fog was lifting as we began our hike.
The fog was lifting to reveal more of the ocean

As we moved further inland, the forest began to reveal some of its interesting sights. The ferns growing in the nooks and crannies of the tree limbs are known as basket ferns. This area is close enough to the shore to provide ample moisture for these plants to thrive.


Ferns growing in the crooks of tree limbs
Ferns growing in the crooks of tree limbs known as basket ferns

As the trail meandered through forest and intermittently along the coastline, we were treated to vistas of the ocean and shore.


Coastline vista
The trail reveals vistas of the coast

This was a picturesque cove that we stopped to admire both coming and going!


A picturesque cove
A picturesque cove shows can be seen through a break in the tree line

The path was very muddy in places because of the recent rains.


A muddy path
The path was muddy from overnight rains

On the return trip, we began to encounter more hikers. Luckily we started early enough to have the trail to ourselves during most of the hike to the cape. In season, I would anticipate larger crowds.

This (below) was one of my favorite stops along the trail. The colorful browns and greens and the mist-laden atmosphere was very captivating.


A serene landscape along the trail
A serene landscape along the trail

Here is another shot of the coast showing one of the panoramic views from the trail.


A panoramic view of the coast
A panoramic view of the coast

Not actually a flower, this Chicken of the Woods wild mushroom (Laetiporus sulphureus), was as nice as many wildflowers.


beautiful wild mushroom
Nature’s art seen in a beautiful wild mushroom

As we neared the parking area, we came across yet another Banana slug. They grow them big in this wooded area as the quarter coin next to it demonstrates!


Large Banana slug
Large Banana slug

While some may feel that the South Trail of Cape Lookout does not have a remarkable payoff at the end, it is a nice vantage point for whale watching and looking at the ocean. Keep in mind that getting there is more than half the fun!


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Cape Meares, lighthouse, ocean, pacific, beach, scenery, history, landscape, pacific ocean

Funny Pictures: Trees Eat!

With all of the intense weather, volcanoes, etc. we really don’t need any more proof about the power of nature. Mother nature does what she does sometimes in spite of the efforts of mankind.

One example of this is the behavior of trees. I have seen examples of this when I have been hiking, but I haven’t seen any as extreme as the one pictured below.



A tree face created by nature’s indomitable will!

If you want to see more examples of trees growing in unusual places and around man’s barriers, check out BuzzFeed’s 17 Trees That Love Eating Almost As Much As You Do

 

Read more miscellaneous JBRish.com stories HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 – JBRish.com



Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

We planned two days for our stay in Astoria, OR and as our visit to this river town was coming to an end, we wished we had planned a bit more time to further examine the nooks and crannies of this historic area.


Exterior of the Flavel House Museum
Exterior of the Flavel House Museum

One of the attractions of Astoria is the interesting architecture to be found in different parts of town. The notable Flavel House and Mueseum is a restored Victorian mansion that offers a self-guided tour with exhibits of period decor and Queen Anne era trappings,.

Read More about the Flavel House HERE.


Victorian features of the Flavel House Museum
Victorian features of the Flavel House Museum

Among the other noted buildings is the restored Liberty Theater, part of the Astor Building, showing its Italian Renaissance facade. The theater now serves as a premier showcase for a variety of arts including films, performing arts and student productions.

Read more about the restoration HERE.


Exterior facade of the Liberty Theater
Exterior facade of the Liberty Theater

The star of the town, however, is the Columbia River and a stroll along the waterfront properties will provide many opportunities for exploration and appreciation. This mural on the side of one of the larger riverside buildings was quite entertaining especially because we are fond of cats; dogs too!


Astoria riverside building mural as art
Mural by Jo Brown behind the Sears Store via

The remnants of once bustling piers hint at the extent to which Astoria was a waterfront mecca at one time.


Remnants of once bustling pier
Remnants of once bustling pier

We read about a couple of restaurants in town that provide glass windows in their floors to show diners the seals that come to rest under the pier. One such eatery was the Buoy Beer Company. We had fish and chips which were quite good and took a look at their lone slumberer which may be hard to discern.


Sea Lion visualized through window in restaurant floor
alt=”Sea Lion visualized through window in restaurant floor”

If you had trouble visualizing the sea lion, here are some highlighted details:


Sea Lion visualized through window in restaurant floor
Sea Lion visualized through window in restaurant floor – notations

While we were dining, we were able to watch the boats…


Boats busy studying and working along the Columbia River
Boats busy studying and working along the Columbia River

and ships go sailing by.


Ships moving up and down the Columbia River
Ships moving up and down the Columbia River

One could probably create a picture essay of just the interesting and historic-inspired trash cans found along the streets of this former fishing village.


Artistic trash can depicts a historic scene
Artistic trash can depicts a historic scene

Although the weather was not ideal and the northern fires left the skies darkened, this picturesque area of Oregon provided a wonderful start to our exploration of the coastline


Picturesque riverside scene
picturesque riverside scene


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1


Map route from Portland to Astoria, OR
Map route from Portland to Astoria, OR – Green

As part of our “hike while you still can” regimen, my wife and I decided to schedule a hiking vacation along the coast of Oregon and then on to Crater Lake for September, 2017. Even before we landed at Portland International Airport, we could smell fire in the airplane. We knew it wasn’t the Boeing, but the fires breaking out all over Oregon which tainted the air.

We retrieved our luggage and made a beeline for the car rental counter. After dusting the ash off of our suitcases and getting the trunk of the car packed, we headed toward the Oregon coast and the town of Astoria.

Astoria is a river town sharing space along the Columbia River and it has the requisite trappings of a riverside town. Our hotel was just yards from a shipyard with a number of ships and boats in a variety of conditions. The sun was setting and I was tired, but I couldn’t resist the photographic opportunities. I took my Fuji X-T2 and snapped just two pictures.


Shipyard along the Columbia River, Astoria Oregon
Shipyard along the Columbia River

A better image of the boat above appears in my previous post Fuji X T-2: The Magic of Beginnings. We enjoy walking around towns and discovering the variety of shops and sights. As we explored the streets the next day, the reminders that this was a fishing and river town were abundant.


Salmon-themed trash can - Astoria, Oregon
Salmon-themed trash can

The antique shops, cafes and other stores proudly adorned their windows with sailing memorabilia and accessories. There were a number of “general” decorative touches along the sidewalks as well.


Bicycle planter along 12th Street - Astoria, Oregon
Bicycle planter along 12th Street

Our first major stop was the Garden of Surging Waves. This was a small, inner city park celebrating Astoria’s Chinese heritage dating back to the days of John Jacob Astor. Interestingly, “The Chinese written characters for the words ‘surging wave’ are also used to express hardship and struggle — experiences shared by many of America’s early immigrant groups.” *

* Read more about the Garden of Surging Waves and HERE.

We entered the garden, part of Astoria’s Heritage Square project, through the Moon Gate which appeared to be the main entrance although there are a number of entryways. The ironwork was bold and attractive.


Traditional Moon Gate entrance to the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Traditional Moon Gate entrance to the Garden of Surging Waves

The ironwork not only serves as an entry, but also a story screen. There are a multitude of quotes and phrases related to the experience of the Chinese families and workers who helped to build the town of Astoria.

One touching quote appearing in the picture below, across two vertical sections, reads:

“Grandma said that Dad was so sick on the boat from China that he would have been fed to the fish if he had died. Now a seafood lab is named after him for the fish feed that he and his team developed.”


Part of a story screen near the entrance to the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Part of a story screen near the entrance to the Garden of Surging Waves”

There are granite columns carved with traditional dragon, Chinese cloud and ocean wave symbols.


Traditional dragon columns of the central pavilion at the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Traditional dragon columns of the central pavilion at the Garden of Surging Waves

The columns hold a series of wooden beams which in turn serve to frame a colorful stained glass crown-like structure. Although the day was grey, the sun did try to poke through as we stood in the open air pavilion.


Circular glass artwork at the central pavilion at the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Traditional dragon columns of the central pavilion

Further investigation led us to a large cast bronze lantern in the style of an incense burner which depicts characters in a story about a mythical dragon and a wise monkey. You can read about the statue and myth HERE. This was our last stop in the garden before we headed for 11th St. and more discoveries.


Cast bronze lantern in the style of an incense burner at the Garden of Surging Waves - Astoria, Oregon
Cast bronze lantern in the style of an incense burner

This was just a small portion of our day exploring Astoria. JBRish.com will soon have more stories about Astoria and other adventures in Oregon.

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Photography: What Was Old Is New Again

I have to confess that I am a bit of a hoarder. If you asked my wife perhaps she would snicker at the phrase “a bit.” This trend carries over to my digital life, but let me jump in here to profess that it isn’t all bad either.

In going through some of my old, make that ancient, photographs taken with cameras that were considered nearstate-of-the-art when four or five megapixels was considered good resolution, I came across photos that could be enhanced these many years later with the available technology. Yes, Lightroom (Lr) and Photoshop (Ps) can help breathe new life into old images.

Just examine this ho-hum photograph, for example, taken with a Canon PowerShot AS590 IS. There really is very little saturation and contrast. It is a nice scenes and the composition is fine, but it is rather flat and dull.



Bringing the same picture into Lr to add a bit of contrast, bring out the shadows, enhance some of the colors, etc. provided more of the feel I remembered from the experience.



One element in the photograph above that I find problematic is that big white cloud in the upper-right. It has a tendency to draw the eye away from the focal point of the river extending into the mountains.

Now understand I am not a Ps expert. As a matter of fact, I have only been using Ps for a couple of months. I gladly bought an online course from one of the photographers I follow and it covered everything from beginning to end. I realized that some of my photographs didn’t render the way I saw the scene and I also wanted to extend my creativity.

So…into Ps, the picture went and I reduced the size of the cloud to make it look as natural as possible with my current skill set. Is this an award winner? I don’t think so, but it is a way for me to present it at its best. I equate this to putting on the last touches before going out on an important date. Let’s all take opportunities to look our best.




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Metadata

File Name: 8673.jpg
Capture time: 10:19:27 AM
Capture date: August 16, 2012
Exposure: 1/500 sec @ f/4.0
Focal Length: 5.8mm
ISO: 80
Canon PowerShot AS590 IS


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Readers of JBRish probably enjoy my daily quotes and here is one that sums up the idea behind this post:

“Creativity is making marvelous out of the discarded.” – Unknown

Have you had this experience, i.e. making something good out of an item targeted be discarded? Why not share in the comment section?


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Hiking the Peralta Trail, Gold Canyon, AZ – 20160701

The Finale of the Peralta Trail Photo Essay

NOTE – Keep in mind that we took this hike and these pictures represent the trail as we saw it in December, 2009. The trail may have changed a bit since them and some of the flora may no longer be exactly where we are reporting, but this is a good representation of things you may find along the way. Perhaps you will find even more intriguing highlights.

Of course the large rock formations and mountains will remain largely unchanged.


Long shadows, time to head backk
Toward Sunset

After spending some time at the Fremont Saddle and having a snack, we wanted to head back to the trailhead. As you can note from the picture, the shadows were getting longer and with that the cool, soon to be followed by cold, December chill would be setting in.

Even the decaying plants add a beauty to the desert if we take time to notice and appreciate them. Desert life is hard and any plant or animal that can survive gains my immediate and ever-lasting respect.

This is the final post about our experience along the Peralta Trail, Gold Canyon, Arizona. If you like moderate hiking and a walk in a very different and beautiful landscape, I recommend it. Just be prepared, heed all warning signs and read about the hike before you commit.

Read more about the Peralta Trail HERE.

Previous posts and photographs in the Peralta Trail series in chronological order:


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.


©Jeffrey B. Ross