My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Friday, April 5, 2013

SkyWatch Friday: Easter (Eye) Candy & Fool's Gold

Our skies have been busy this week and, appropriately enough given the occurrence of both Easter and April Fools Day, full of eye candy and tricks!  :-) 

As I am nearly every day, I was up before the sun on Easter morning and so got to enjoy a dawn sky full of goodies! The first treat I found for my SkyWatch basket was this bizarre mystery plume, which caught my eye when I let one of our dogs out...


I have no idea if it was a very unusual cloud, an oddly positioned jet contrail, or, given my exciting fireball sighting in Tuesday's wee hours, maybe even a meteor smoke trail! But whatever it was, it inspired me to grab the camera and head out to the patio. And after I photographed it, I turned about 90º to my left and photographed the beautiful sunrise...



And just as I headed back into the house, I happened to look up and saw the waning moon. To my constant vexation, I've never been able to take very good moon shots. But I was using my Rebel's telephoto lens so I figured what the heck and snapped one. After a little sharpening and some cropping I was thrilled with my best moon shot ever...


And then there was April and this sunrise, which started out so pale and uninspiring I didn't think it would amount to much. Good thing I gave it a second look a few minutes after dismissing it or it would have been April Fool on me! (I named this photo Fool's Gold)...


This week's skies weren't finished yet; there have been a couple more brilliant sunrises since Wednesday! But this post is crowded enough, so I'll save them for a rainy SkyWatch Friday. :-)

Don't be foolish - hunt for more colorful painted skies hiding at...
And enjoy a beautiful weekend! :-)

41 comments:

  1. I love an early morning sky....you have captured some beautiful photos of the morning sky! Well done...Happy weekend to you!

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    1. So do I, and I'm so glad you enjoyed these glimpses of one of mine! :-) Happy weekend to you, too!

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  2. just awesome skies! the first looked like a feather pen! :)

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    1. Thank, Tex (that was my nickname in high school in Maine, lol) ~ and I agree, it does look like a feather or a quill pen!

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  3. Amazing and beautiful shots.

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    1. Thank you, ladyfi - hope you're enjoying springtime in Paris! :-)

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  4. Great skies. Love your moon shot.

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    1. Thank you Steve and/or Vickie! I'm especially gratified that you singled out the moon photo, since it was the one I was most thrilled to get!

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  5. The early bird gets the best shots! Thanks so much for sharing ;-). xoxoxo

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    1. Ha, you're right ~ at least in these parts, the early bird sure does get the best sky photo (and enjoys the most peaceful part of the day in the process!) :-) Thanks for stopping by, Spudly! xoxoxo

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  6. oh how beautiful! have a wonder-filled weekend:-)

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    1. Thanks, Laura! And you as well! :-)

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  7. Really exquisite skies ... Beautiful photos and excellent moon!
    Saludos.

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    1. ¡Saludos usted también, Leovi, y muchismas gracias! :-) I'm so glad you like that moon shot!

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  8. That is one odd cloud, or jet trail, or whatever it happens to be! Such a beautiful sunrise near it, too. I love the peacefulness in the morning, especially when the sky is so pretty.

    The moon is a really hard subject to capture. One of my co-workers has got the process down pat (he has them on Flickr here---> http://www.flickr.com/photos/imageclear/sets/72157630815551708/detail/ but I have yet to get a great shot of it. You did a wonderful job!

    Fool's Gold is a perfect title for that last shot. It definitely has the color & sparkle of it!

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    1. Weird, I don't know why those words spaced so far apart..... :o

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    2. Wow, that IS weird! It's never done that before - mischievous Blogger gremlins!

      That strange cloud stayed around after the sun came up and the colors were gone from the sky, and was later joined by criss-crossing regular jet contrails above it. It got fatter and less distinct, and of course less visually interesting without any tinting from the sunrise, but I thought the fact it lingered so long ruled out any contrail and probably any cloud. I'm really starting to think it might have been a meteor smoke trail!

      I'll have to check out your co-worker's great moon shots, though it sounds like they'll make me feel inadequate once again. :-) Maybe he's got a tripod and one of those three-foot long camera lenses or something! :-) I'm glad you like mine!

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  9. I wonder what the trail of white "smoke" is? Very unusual. I think your moon shot looks professional! I still think you have the best shies ever. Ours are always so dull.

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    1. I wonder too, though as I observed its behavior during the morning I whittled down my theories (see my reply to Molly). Thank you for your compliment on my moon photo! I was lucky there was enough light in the sky at that point that I didn't have to hold the camera real steady, yet the moon wasn't washed out by it yet. We do have some awesome skies out here, and I don't even photograph all of them. And I keep missing great shots of Canada geese flying across some of these beautiful sunrises! They just appear and disappear too quickly for me. But one of these days I hope I'll be ready for them and get a great photo!

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  10. Wow, awesome views of the skies! I love that moon too, but nothing can top a gold liquid sky for me!
    Thanks much for visiting me -i've gone over to going to people's blogs instead of replying them on my blog, but haven't found a good routine yet:) Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thanks! I enjoy it when I can provide a variety of photos, because everyone usually has a different favorite and I always like to hear what they are! We don't get gold sunrises like that very often, and I thought that was an especially pretty one, especially with the sun peeking through beneath the cloud. Glad you like it!

      That's probably a good system, I'm sure most of my commenters don't return and see my replies. But you're right, the perfect routine is hard to find!

      You have a wonderful weekend too! Hope you find lots of pretty sights to photograph and paint!

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  11. That is a simply stunning moon shot - something which I have yet to master. More practise required. And I love the plume in your first photo - a mystic's rope to heaven?

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    1. Thank you, Ellie! I've always wanted to capture the detail of the craters and was never able to till now. I don't know if it's practice that's required, the perfect lighting on a big, close moon, or the right camera and telephoto lens - or all three. But I seem to have finally gotten the magic combination! I took some neat moon photos a few days earlier (fodder for a future SkyWatch post) with the same camera and lens, but it was close to the horizon (so appeared much smaller) and was at dusk, so I didn't have the good lighting, and there isn't nearly the great detail. (The composition compensated, though - you'll see what I mean when you see them!) :-)

      That's as good a theory for that strange plume as any!

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  12. I rarely get a view of the sunrise, only awesome sunset in Bangkok. Awesome moon shot!

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    1. In that case, I'm especially pleased to share our abundant beautiful sunrises with you! They far outnumber our colorful sunsets, so we'll just trade, since your sunsets are indeed awesome!

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  13. Your skies are so beautifully powerful. I am amazed at the light and dark shading and highlighting that influence the lovely tones of color. The moon just jumped off my page. -- barbara

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    1. They really are, aren't they? It's very rare that we ever have a sky that doesn't offer up something amazing, whether a dazzling sunrise and/or sunset, intriguing clouds, a storm front coming in, a vivid shade of deep blue, a gorgeous moon... and now and then a fireball meteor. :-) And on those rare occasions when all else fails, we can count on Canada geese or ravens to fly across the firmament over our heads! It's a wonder I don't have a permanent crick in my neck from so frequently gazing up to see the next cool thing in the sky! :-)

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  14. These are the gifts one receives if you rise before dawn. Also, love your banner photo. I love lilacs and found a variety that will bloom in our climate. It's perfuming the garden as we speak. Huzzah!

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    1. Precisely, and for that very reason I am forever grateful to have been born an early riser! :-)

      Thank you for your compliment about my banner photo! I took that last year (of an old lilac that towered over my head!), as the lilacs here are only JUST beginning to bud out right now. They grow in many colors and great, perfumed perfusion here. I didn't realize they didn't do the same there in the Bay Area, and am glad you found a variety that does! Aren't they wonderful? I wish they lasted longer, but perhaps that's part of their charm...

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  15. What an interesting cloud...! And such pretty sunrise, and the moon...such lovely images!!! I love the new 'peace' image you have on the top right column too (I've enjoyed all of them!). Speaking of which...may I ask you a technical question? I love all of your images and fun quotes and 'flare' that's along the right column. They're great! AND the list of links and sites too...how do you do those? I would really like to be able to do something like that on my blog - but can't figure it out :-/
    Oh, and my sister-in-law recently became Vegan, and I recommended your blog to her :-) It's really a wonderful place to visit, for ALL people!

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    1. Isn't that plume cloud thingy strange and mysterious? I'm glad you enjoyed all of the photos from our busy sky! And good eye, noticing my brand new "peace" image (found on Pinterest this weekend). I really loved it, and think it looks pretty snazzy there! :-)

      As for your technical question, I shall do my best to help you figure out how to do it (as long as you realize that this techy business is not my strong suit, lol).

      The first thing you do when you're on your blog is click on "Design" in the upper right corner of the screen, and then from there you click on "Layout" near the bottom of the column to the left. Your layout is a different one from mine, so your layout template will look different, but you'll be looking for the phrase"Add a Gadget" on that page. It should appear in multiple places as a hyperlink, most likely at the top of your right and left columns. Click on "Add a Gadget" at the top of the column you're wanting to add something to.

      Blogger's Layout Guide should help you take it from there (scroll a little ways down the page to get to the part about how to add gadgets). You'll be able to choose from a variety of gadget types - mine are mainly a mix of Blogger's "pre-loaded" ones like "Translate this Blog," "Search this Blog," etc, and ones I've customized using simple html codes or copied links. Those are almost all either the "Image" gadget for the graphics, the "Text" gadget for things like the quotes, and the "HTML/JavaScript" gadget for ones like the Weather gadget or Feedjit visitor log or some images like the Shabby Blogs "I Blog to Hide from the Laundry" image.

      For my lists of links I use the "Link List" gadget, and for my list of books at the bottom of the page, I use the regular "List" gadget (using the "Add a Gadget" button on my Layout page for that section of my blog). You can easily go in and edit, add or delete items from your lists, and you can arrange them alphabetically or newest first, etc. And you can use your Layout page to also move your added gadgets around by clicking on and dragging them, and your "Template" page to make your columns different widths.

      Most of the gadget tools are pretty straight-forward and user-friendly. The only one I can't remember how to use since it's been so long since I added them are my RSS feed lists ("Food for Thought" and "FatFree Vegan Kitchen") which update automatically whenever Colleen or Susan post new things. But if you want to use something like that and can't figure it out, let me know and I'll poke around till I can remember! :-) And let me know if I haven't explained something well or if you have another question - I'm not sure how clear I made this.

      And last but by no means least, a big WOOT!! for your sister-in-law recently becoming vegan! :-) Thank you for recommending my blog to her! I hope she visits and finds some helpful and inspiring posts and links to help make her vegan journey the joyful and rewarding adventure that it is. And thank you for your lovely compliment! I try to make my blog a place I'd like to visit (which is appropriate, given how much time I spend here! LOL!), one that helps my visitors learn something, see something in a new way, feel inspired, enjoy some beauty, or be amused and entertained. And now I'm sounding like Carol Burnett's song. Maybe I should add a Text gadget at the very bottom of my blog that reads, "I'm so glad we had this time together... just to have a laugh or sing a song... seems we just get started and before you know it... comes the time we have to say so long." (Ear tug graphic) :-)

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  16. I love Carol Burnett - what an awesome lady! AND, a HUGE thanks for taking the time to write things out for me!!! Technology is not my forte either, but this, I think I can do :-) And I'm starting to think getting started on Pinterest might be a good thing for me. Learning something new, each day...good stuff!! Thank you, thank you so much, I really appreciate it, and am so thankful for wonderful peeps such as you in the blogger-world. Wishing you a great day :-)

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    1. Me too! We used to look so forward to her show every week when I was a kid, and now I love watching clips from it on YouTube. :-)

      I'll have to keep an eye on your blog to see what design changes and goodies you end up adding! Have fun! And helping you was my pleasure, you're most welcome! I agree, learning something new each day is good stuff! Pinterest can sure be a great resource (and it can also be addictive, at least at first!) I've found some wonderful, beautiful, helpful, tasty and funny stuff there. :-)

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  17. First of all I have to say "WOOOOOOOWWWWW!! on that moon photo. Clearly you've moved to definite new heights on your camera. That is just amazing clarity and detail. I'm so happy for you!

    I'm also very pleased for you on your comment count. I know it includes your replies but I think it's great that you're being appreciated for you great photos with the great stories that go along with them.

    That first photo of the plume is really interesting. Like a cosmic feather.

    I'm not surprised that you got beautiful skies on Easter and April Fools but it's fun that the sky did try to play a trick on you on 1 April! You've got me fully expecting that I will see these kinds of beautiful skies in October!!! It seems like you have them all the time. I can't wait!

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    1. Thank you!! Whenever I see that moon photo I still have a hard time believing it's one that I took! :-) I'm really thrilled with my Rebel, and I have barely touched the things it's capable of.

      And thank you for your very nice remark about this post's comment count! It hadn't occurred to me that changing to this comment format with its ability to let me reply individually to comments would pretty much assure a doubling of my comments until after I'd changed to it. LOL Participating in a meme like SkyWatch Friday definitely helps get more visitors and comments, as is evidenced by the comparatively anemic numbers on the Red-Winged Blackbird post just a few days later. (I have to admit, that was disappointing - I thought those photos would generate more interest than they have! I almost always guess wrong - it also seems that the posts that I think are lame and that I slap together in a hurry are often the most popular ones!)

      "Cosmic feather" is a great name for that photo! (And would also be a great name for a New Age orchestra. LOL)

      I don't think our October skies will disappoint you! At least, they'd better not. I put in my request for spectacular skies early, and have been sending weekly reminders! ;-)

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
  • MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"