Monday, December 30, 2013

View from the Walters ~ Russian Enameled Silver

Mt. Vernon Square from inside the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, last Saturday.

This is just a small sample of a larger collection of Russian enameled silver recently bequeathed to the Walters. An exhibit of the entire collection is planned after cataloging the 260-plus pieces is finished.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cosmic Cat Toy

Petit Louis Progress at the Lakefront

Two weekends ago, the new Petit Louis Bistro at the Lakefront in Columbia still had the old full-glass front. When I walked by last Saturday, the facade had changed completely, although the awning for the former Red Pearl is still there.

The cones and the tarp over new concrete were gone this week. Work is moving at a fast pace, but I don't think they'll be ready for diners by the end of this month as announced previously.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Savage Mill in Holiday Mode

Yesterday afternoon. A link for our local old factory converted to shops and galleries is in my Music and Other Arts list in the blog margin.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

great snow heron

A great blue heron at one of its favorite fishing spots on Lake Kittamaqundi, last snowy Saturday morning.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wheel Bugs (Beware!) ~ the Mobbies

I'm reposting a photo from my last post. I found out from local wildlife experts that this is a wheel bug -- and it can give a nasty, painful bite if you happen to get one on you. This one was in my garden last Saturday. Wheel bugs move slowly, but they can fly. They eat other insects and are beneficial thanks to their taste for agricultural pests. But watch out for that sharp, enzyme-injecting snout. The literature on these creatures says that the bite can take months to heal.


Thanks to whoever nominated this blog for the Mobbies -- an awards program for local social networking. I received notice from the Baltimore Sun. This comes as an irony to me as I shift from a text-based blog about classical music to a photo blog with links to classical music. I am even gradually deleting many old posts. What I'm conceiving for the blog now is a portal to mainly local classical music and arts resources (see the blog margin) with complementary photos as my way to keep the blog current.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

autumn sketch

on the paths near Lake Kittamaqundi, taken around this time last year

Sunday, October 6, 2013

First Fall Migrant

...this year on Lake Kittamaqundi is probably this pied-billed grebe, which showed up a few days ago. Watch for one or two more individuals of the species joining it, then if winter gets cold enough, they'll continue their trip south.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Your Tax Dollars Not at Work

First, on a positive note, I already bought my ticket for the opening of the season at Candlelight Concerts. That's this Saturday evening, October 5, on the HCC campus here in Columbia Town Center.

If we have to stay home from work for too long, I might have to post more photos here, and I don't take very good photos. On the second day of the furlough, it already feels like too long.

There can be shutdown humor: Another local blogger offers a substitute for the National Zoo's deactivated panda cam.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

northern short-tailed shrew my garden yesterday, taking advantage of the peanuts I put out for the squirrels and ground-feeding birds.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

blog title change ~ recent lake snapshots

For reasons technical and personal, I've been posting less text and more photos on this blog. I'd like to keep the blog going in some form and maintain all my links to local resources for classical music and the arts in general, so I'm changing the blog title and keeping that list of links in the margin. There still might be the occasional post with a playlist or personal musing about a performance or exhibit.

I try to avoid defending or explaining my photographs when I post them, but let me say here that I don't pretend that they are technically as masterful as some of the brilliant photography I'm seeing online elsewhere. I might get better, but for now I like to do a lot of pointing and shooting with reliance on natural light and shadow for effect and with almost no manipulation of camera settings other than zoom. Later, on the desktop, I often crop for better composition. Currently, I switch back and forth between two cameras: a fairly new compact digital with high resolution and a larger secondhand digital camera with medium resolution and a narrower default wide-angle setting. Back in the 1990's, I had some practice with a 35mm SLR film camera and coaching from other photographers.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Euthanizing Beavers ~ Egret Photo of the Day

The great egret at Lake Kittamaqundi. Assuming it's the same individual, it spends the summers here, vying with the herons for fishing spots. It might be splitting its time between Lake K. and Wilde Lake.

Now about the beaver: Not far from where I took my egret snapshot, here's the famous beaver's daytime slumbering spot on the creek bank (see below). Snapped last weekend, this might be one of the last times it was seen sleeping on its front porch before it switched to sleeping indoors again. I've learned that if Columbia Association can catch this beaver or any beaver, they don't relocate the creature as many of us thought. They euthanize it. This is in accordance with state regulations, because nobody else wants a beaver in their neighborhood.

So on the one hand, we have this amazing wild animal that delights us when we see it swimming in the lake or slumbering peacefully within sight of the path. On the other hand, it's the same "varmint" which has been tearing up the trees close to the lake and compelling authorities to clad threatened trees with wire mesh.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ballets Russes Exhibit, National Gallery

After an eventful summer, I almost missed the news of this exhibit now at the National Gallery of Art in DC. I made it there yesterday and also reminded myself that the National Mall is one of my favorite places. The exhibit runs until October 6.

It was a fine day on the National Mall, too. This view is through the Sculpture Garden fountains toward the west entrance of the National Gallery.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Just snoozing on its front porch...

Here's the beaver still in the same spot yesterday evening (see previous post). However, when Columbia Association people tried to approach it to check it out earlier that day, it jumped into the water and swam out to the lake. While they watched, it returned to its sleeping spot. It is odd behavior. The animal is very close to its burrow in the bank here, where it would normally spend the day. Perhaps the higher heat and humidity invaded its home.

Thanks to CA for responding and making sure the animal wasn't sick or injured.

(If you click on the beaver label on this post, you'll find photos of the beaver family temporarily flooded out of this burrow by Hurricane Sandy.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sleeping or sick beaver?

This beaver has been lying in the same spot for the past two evenings near the beaver family burrow on the creek between Wilde Lake and Lake Kittamaqundi. I've been sharing photos and details with local wildlife experts, including our county natural resources technician.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

a dewy pasture ~ a break

One morning last month, Whistlewood Farm B&B near Rhinebeck in the Hudson River Valley. I'll be off line for a while, but the blog will be here with its links.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Parliament of Reality

by the Icelandic sculptor Olafur Eliasson. Installed at Bard College in 2009 (the location of my usual summer opera destination in the Hudson River Valley).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Taneyev's Opera ORESTEIA at Bard

A Russian rarity at Bard Summerscape in the Hudson River Valley this year -- it deserves a place in more regular repertoire! I saw last Friday night's performance, and there are a few more performances this week before the production heads to the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Road trip snapshots: A Civil War Ironclad and a Brewery in Eastern North Carolina

Back in Kinston, NC, on family business (birthdays) earlier this month, I took some snapshots of local sights. Kinston was the site of some significant Civil War drama, which included the building of the short-lived ironclad, the CSS Ram Neuse. The top photo shows the recently built full-scale replica. The original hull will be on display in a new museum nearby. The story of the boat's scuttling to keep it out of the hands of advancing Union troops and the salvage of the remains from the mud of the Neuse River many years later is worth following in the local visitor center and the museum. I'd say there's an opera in there somewhere. A quip by a local cartoonist soon after the replica was built: "First they built it to keep the Yanks away, then they rebuilt it to bring them back."

Second photo here: Some of us toured the fairly new Mother Earth Brewing Company, which is very close to the Ram Neuse replica. Mother Earth already has a good reputation for its brews, some of which I've bought in Asheville in the NC mountains. The brewery practices recycling and saving resources very seriously but with a touch of whimsy. I liked this light fixture and ceiling in the new distillery room.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Lake View: Catbird Flyby

And a Baltimore oriole nest...

Framed by the leaves of a tulip tree. The female oriole is on the nest in this view. I couldn't get a shot of the brighter male, who was also visiting the nest and helping with the feeding. Not such a good thing: Some other birdwatchers with superior optics said they could see fishing line among the nesting materials. Later, when I shared the news with the bird club, I was informed that some birds have been found dead after trying to use fishing line in their nests. (I'm well aware of the dangers of fishing line to wildlife and to birds in particular even when it's not being used in nests.)