Four versions of the same photo.

  • One taken with my phone, which has a deep depth of field.
  • One automatically “enhanced” by Google from that phone photo.
  • One taken with my phone in portrait mode, which simulates a shallow depth of field.
  • One taken with my ancient film SLR camera, with a low F-stop to have an actual shallow depth of field.

Early last month I posted some photos of ponds in an empty lot in the Irvine Spectrum area, fed by the winter rains. Well, the rains have been tapering off, and the weather has been warming up. It’s been at least two weeks since it last rained, and the ponds are drying out.

On the plus side, all the sun has brought out the wildflowers. It’s still nowhere near the 2006 level, when hillsides were covered with patches of dark green, light green and bright yellow…

Hills covered with green grass and yellow wildflowers.

…but there was a nice patch of lupins at one end of the lot.

Experimenting with the macro setting on my camera:

Butterfly and white flowers

I cut across a vacant lot on my way to lunch last Friday. Most of it is just dirt and flattened stalks of of dry grass, but there are some plants that have sprung up since it was last mowed (probably sometime in spring) or have managed to hang on past then. (There’s a 2-foot-tall palm tree elsewhere on the lot.)

This was a cluster, maybe 3 feet long and 2 feet wide, of little white flowers about 1″–1½” wide. I put the camera as close to ground level as I could without setting it down, and aimed as best as I could from that angle. I took about a dozen photos, and lucked out: halfway through the shoot, a butterfly fluttered into the cluster.

Last summer we bought a fuchsia to hang above our balcony. It bloomed for months, then seemed to die over the winter. Living in southern California, the idea of a plant that actually goes dormant in winter is a bit of a foreign concept, but we figured, well, just in case, let’s keep watering it.

It started to grow new leaves in spring, and the first hints of new buds appeared as summer arrived. It finally started blooming in earnest in mid-July, when I took this photo:

Fuchsia flowers (closeup)

Update: I’ve posted a larger version of the photo on Flickr.