As of July 1 I began posting my daily photos over at my main blog, A Fresh Perspective.
I found the need to eliminate one blog, and since this one came second, this is the one.
I hope you will choose to join me over at A Fresh Perspective for daily photos, photo challenges,
and some other fun stuff thrown in.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31

So, yeah, I'm really into nature pictures these days.  It is summertime, after all.
This beauty (not sure what kind of butterfly it is) was flitting around some milk thistle with 2 other butterflies.

Friday, July 30, 2010

July 30

I have been staking out in Keira's bedroom all week trying unsuccessfully to get pictures of the goldfinches eating my sunflowers (they are right outside Keira's window).  But the birds are either hidden by leaves and I can't get them or if I do manage to get a shot, I'm too far away and once I crop the photo, it gets blurry.  Even with my 55-200 zoom.  Ugh!

But today I was outside grilling supper (corn on the cob and turkey burgers, in case you were wondering :) and they remarkably didn't fly away when I approached them.  In fact, this female looks like she's giving me attitude.  Like, "what are you looking at?!"  :)  But when I tried to get a little closer, they all flew away.  I'm going to keep trying to photograph them as long as we have sunflowers to feed them.  One of these days, I will get the shot I'm after.

July 29

Alex trying to get a drink from the fountain at the little purple park.  He's too cute!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July 28

We spent the day at Moraine State Park today.  Keira and the boys had a blast playing in the lake.  And I'm a bit crispy this evening.  Even sitting in the shade of my newly purchased beach umbrella with #50 SPF sunscreen on.  Yoy!  :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 27

Typically bunnies in our garden make us very unhappy, but this cute little baby bunny was in our garden tonight.  And yes, I was this close.  I only had my 18-55 zoom lens on and it let me get this close to it.  
The kids wanted to catch it so they could pet it.  Of course, we didn't let them try.
Oh, and yes, we know our garden needs some serious weeding!  :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26

All 3 kids together!  Smiling and looking at the camera!  We went to the Pittsburgh Zoo today.  FUN!  (Alex is all wet because he had just gone through a sprayer to get cooled off).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 25

Tired of my bug pictures yet?  :)  I just cleaned the caterpillars' box and thought I'd get a few more pics of them before they move on to the next stage.  (And, yes, I know this isn't a great pic).  Soon they will be forming a "J" from the ceiling, shedding their skins, and beginning to weave their chrysalis.  Hopefully I will be able to get photos of their different stages.  

This caterpillar thing has been a bit of a roller coaster ride of emotions for me.  I posted the other day that the little baby died.  :(  But then we found 2 more big ones.  :)  Well, the wind gusted yesterday and knocked the box down (again!) and we lost 2 more caterpillars.  :(  Literally lost them.  We looked all over and were unable to find them.  But Nick found another big caterpillar today.  :)  Perhaps it was one of the ones we lost?  I doubt it though.  Anyway, now we have 4 big ones (pictured here) and one smaller one who is living alone in another container.

I was reading online that monarch caterpillars in the wild have about a 10% chance of becoming butterflies, but in captivity they have about a 90% chance.  Of course, that isn't taking into account kids at the Vensel household.  :) 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July 24

How cool is this guy?!  I think it is a dragonfly (as opposed to a damselfly).  We went for a walk this afternoon down to our neighbors pond and this guy was checking me out.  He was nice enough to pose for me on this weed.  I only adjusted the contrast and cropped.  No color adjustments were made.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 23

Finding a toad or a bug is pretty much an everyday occurrence around here.  (Boys, ya know).  Nick has been "discovering" this particular HUGE toad for a couple weeks now.  I believe he is getting tired of being discovered.  :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

July 22

Our monarch caterpillars are getting big!  All they do is eat and poop.  :)  And can you see the little baby one on the left?  We discovered it and another one, a little bigger, today!  So now we're up to five!  Can't wait to see them turn into butterflies!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

July 21

I dislike squirrels but they are everywhere around our house because of the walnut trees.  I managed to get a picture of this one up in our pine tree.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20

Keira playing out in the rain today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19

Tired of flower pictures yet?  I keep discovering new ones popping up here and there.  Notice the one little drop of water?  Yeah ... meant to do that.  ;)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18

Nicholas found a couple Monarch caterpillars today!  We had 4 given to us a few years ago and we raised them into butterflies, so I was excited to see these!  They are just babies ... only about 1 inch long.  I am looking forward to watching them progress into butterflies.
EDITED TO ADD:  We actually have 3 caterpillars!  Another one showed itself a little while ago!  He must have been sleeping under a leaf.  :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17

The sky this evening shortly before a storm rolled in.

July 16

He makes me proud to call him my son!  :)
Nicholas got these "glasses" at a birthday party today so he decided to dress up like a little old lady.  He had on an apron and put this white blanket over his head so he could have white hair.  He kept walking around hunched over.  He's so funny sometimes!  He will probably be voted "class clown" his senior year of high school!

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 15

So this isn't a fabulous picture, BUT you can see my reflection in Nick's safety glasses.  Cool!  I love when I notice cool things after the fact!  It is like I meant to do that!  :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14

Tonight's supper.  I usually put everything in separate bowls, but in an effort to have less dishes to wash, I made a platter instead.  We were supposed to have fruit and spinach salad, but the kids wanted to forgo the spinach and just have fruit.  :)  It was yummy!

July 13

Okay, so my sunflowers are going nuts ... so you're probably going to see many pictures of them!

July 12

Yes, another picture of Alex.  When he lets me, I take his picture as often as possible.
BTW - still playing in manual mode!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11

Alex was helping Daddy dig up potatoes in the garden this afternoon.
(BTW - I'm still shooting in manual mode!)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10

My friend and teammate, Kiersten, after she finished the 1/4 mile swim segment of today's Triathlon.  She did awesome!

July 9

In between rain drops, these yellow finches snacked in our driveway.  They are so beautiful and come back every year.  I don't usually see 3 of them together though!
I wish I could have zoomed in closer!  I need a new lens!  :)  (This is already cropped).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8

A rare moment lately ... Nick stopping long enough to let me photograph him ... and actually smiling for the camera!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7

I'm cheating because I took this picture yesterday.   :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6

I took 30 (yes, 30!) photos of the kids on this swing today trying to get a good picture ... and this is the best one.  Seriously.  Keira kept making goofy faces and Nick refused to smile.  In the one or two that he did smile, Keira was making an even goofier face.
Also I played in manual mode on my camera while at the park.  This was taken at:
ISO 400; 1/125; f/5.0
The only adjustment I did on the computer was to adjust the contrast a little and a little cropping.
Not great, but still not bad.  I have a lot to learn!

July 5

This spiderweb is under the kids' playhouse.  I don't know where the spider was.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4

Happy Independence Day!
(I know ... not the greatest picture ... I was playing with my camera.)

July 3

The kids (and dog) had a blast in the splash pools!  Nick likes to run and jump in and really make a splash!

July 2

Getting in close.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1

This beautiful woodpecker was hanging out on our walnut tree this morning.

June 30

My sunflowers are blooming!!!!