Friday, May 30, 2008

In tow

As peaceful as this scene appears, behind it is a tragedy. Ducks have broods of several ducklings - I've seen some this year of nine or more on my evening walks through Dundee. To have only two ducklings following a mother duck means something happened to the greater part of this brood, and that something was not good.

Nature is tough. Even here in the suburbs.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Window dressing

My wife and I fequently take evening walks through Dundee, Illinois. Our usual route takes us through the old business section of town. And every time we pass this building with the ornate windows and Italianate architecture I snap a photo of it if I happen to have a camera with me.

Somehow I think looking out through this window just doesn't compare with the view looking in.

It's done with mirrors. I've been providing tips to one of my friends who is getting into some serious photography. Last evening inspiration hit and the results are some very clever images involving nature and a curved mirror. Well done, grasshopper.

Click on pictures to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A bee or not a bee?

I found this creature crawling up the inside of a paper lawn waste bag last weekend. At first I thought it was a small bumblebee. Then I took a closer look at the head. Definitely a fly’s noggin.

A little digging on Google revealed that this is indeed a fly and relatively harmless (as flies go). It’s one of a number of species of Great Bulb Flies (Merodon equestris). They’re very fond of narcissus bulbs (hence the name) and will lay eggs on any exposed bulb, where 100 or so younglings will feed once they hatch.

This fella allowed me to take several very closeup shots before he decided it would be best to fly away.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Park. Or park not. There is no try.

Apparently the village of Dundee, Illinois has hired Yoda to paint its parking lot directional signs.

Speaking of street art, here's a clever example.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Take a moment to remember those who paid the ultimate price in the defense of our country.

Photo: U.S. Flag Sculpture, Walton Island, Elgin, Illinois. Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I decided to go minimal with a shot of an iris growing in my backyard. My trusty sheet of black foam board provided the background. God provided the excellent lighting (one medium-sized yellow star, at an oblique angle above and slightly to the left about 93 million miles from the subject, large oak tree overhead as a diffuser). Photoshop provided the Orton processing.

From my iris to yours. Have a great weekend.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Time has flown

It's probably safe to assume that there are still more dandelions in the world than there are photographs of them, but photographers all over the world are working hard to close the gap. So here is another contribution from me to the world.

The symbolism is there - the passage of time, age, leaving a legacy. Maybe that's what makes them such a popular subject on Flickr.

I strolled through my backyard last evening photographing some of the flowers that are appearing. I carried a sheet of black foam board to create backgrounds for several shots. Before I stepped back inside, I noticed this guy near the back of my garage.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A new day

I grew up a fan of Paul Simon. With partner Art Garfunkel and later on his own, Paul wrote and performed music that was inventive and perceptive. In high school, I bought a large book of Paul Simon's compositions. In the introduction, penned in 1973, Paul wrote that he believed his best songs had yet to be written.

That's crazy, I thought. How could he say that? Look at the masterpieces already in the volume I held in my hands. Sound of Silence. Mrs. Robinson. Bridge Over Troubled Water. Simon then spent the rest of the 70s and the 80s proving that he was right about what he said in 1973.

I suppose it's human nature to look at past accomplishments and believe that it would be difficult if not impossible to top those achievements. It takes some effort to look forward with the confidence that what is to come will outshine what has passed. Simon made it happen by exploring new styles of music and delving deeply into topics that were both personal and painful. He refused to be defined by his past. These days, I catch Simon from time to time on television teamed up with his old partner Garfunkel singing the old songs. And I know that he can't really be happy doing that.

All that to say ... as I look forward after 965 posts and three years of photo blogging ... I believe that my best photographs have yet to be taken. Stay tuned.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Three years later

Points of Light will mark its third anniversary tomorrow with a simple ceremony. I will sit down at the computer with a cup of coffee, select a photo that I have queued, and upload it to Blogger along with a few thoughts. It will be very similar to the nearly one thousand ceremonies that preceded it.

A lot of friends from a lot of places have passed by in the course of the last three years. An intrepid few of you still stop by to visit. I appreciate you all. This whole thing started as a way to give my photographs some exposure. At the time, it seemed that the world wide interwebs just might be the place to do it.

And has it ever. Combined with my postings at Flickr, my photos rack up about 4,000 to 5,000 views a week. The grand total so far is about 350,000 views. And since they're posted with a Creative Commons license, they've appeared on numerous web sites and blogs and Lord-knows-how-many computer desktops. I've even had the fortune of selling a few for publication now and then.

If there's one thing I learned about the internet in the last three years, it's this - there are very, very few instant successes that rack up thousands or millions of hits overnight. But that's okay. For the rest of us, the internet and its search engines reward consistency of effort over time.

Hey, life is kind of like that, too.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The moon above

Is the moon tired? She looks so pale
Within her misty veil:
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.

Before the coming of the night
The moon shows papery white;
Before the dawning of the day
She fades away.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph© 2008 James Jordan.

Friday, May 16, 2008


The gerbera daisy is associated with friendship. I appreciate the friends who visit and comment here. Hope your weekend is spent in the company of good friends.

Have a good one.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

From my back door

Continuing with the theme of the view from my backyard is this time lapse video taken from the back door of my garage. I discovered that using the continuous shooting mode of my digital camera can record a time lapse series of photos. Using a freeware application to compile several hundred photos into a video results in the clip posted here. This was taken as a storm front moved through a couple of weekends ago.

So turn up the sound and watch the storm clouds roll. Those of you who subscribe via RSS feed will probably need to come to the blog to see the video.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Faded glory

Time makes its incessant march into eternity. It will eventually overtake us all. The lesson: Make the most of the time you have today.

Who’s in my blogroll: Kathleen Connally is in love with the people and places in rural Durham Township, Pennsylvania. And it shows in her carefully crafted images – lyrical landscapes, candid portraits of her family and the folks who populate the world of Durham Township. Consistently one of the highest rated photo blogs in the U.S. I had the pleasure of meeting Kathleen a year ago at a Photoblogger's meetup in Chicago. Visit A Walk Through Durham Township.

Photo: Decayed daffodil and faded denim. Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A promise of lilacs

More visual snippets of my backyard. The person who owned my house before I bought it was an avid gardener, which is a good thing. A number of perennials continue to make their yearly appearance, even after nearly 13 years.

Although my father was also blessed with a green thumb, that little bit of his genetic code did not transfer to me. I'm much more adept at growing weeds and crabgrass than anything else.

But I did acquire his love for photography, so I can appreciate and capture what others have established before me.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Monday, May 12, 2008

In my backyard

A number of ongoing projects have curtailed my ability to get out and about with a camera this spring, so I’ve taken advantage of infrequent available moments to step out into my backyard for some photos as spring has sprung forth.

I must say that I’ve never really forced myself to look at my very familiar, small suburban backyard as anything terribly wondrous. Some people seem to have a spectacular back yard at their photographic disposal. I am not one of those people.

It’s been a good exercise to force myself to see the familiar in new ways. More of my backyard to come.

Photo: Purple leaf sand cherry. Click on picture to enlarge (makes an excellent desktop wallpaper – see the license and instruction on the righthand saidebar). Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Here's a great weekend-type photo. Hope whatever it is that you're fishing for makes a nibble on your line.

Photo blogging: The Blackstar photo agency Web site just started publishing a blog for photographers. One post offers some tips for photo bloggers ... but really anyone can make good use of these blogging tips.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Which famous photographer are you?

No surprise for me. How about you?
Which famous photographer are you?

Ansel Adams: Known for large scale silver gelatin landscapes especially of Yosemite National Park

"Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter."

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fire and rain

The sky cried last night. The earth held on to some of its tears.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Pretty pears

This is a portion of the Bradford pear tree that stands in my front yard. Taken late in the day, I held a sheet of black foam board behind the branch to provide a contrasting background.

Yes, the neighbors were probably wondering what the crazy person was doing in his yard, but it's not like they haven't seen me take pictures before while laying in the grass or kneeling in the snow.

Happy Wednesday.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

It may look like dew, but it's snot

In yesterday’s post about dew, I mentioned that the picture I posted did not actually show dew.

Dew is water droplets that appear on exposed objects in the morning or evening. As the exposed surface cools by radiating its heat, atmospheric moisture condenses at a rate greater than that of which it can evaporate, resulting in the formation of water droplets.

What yesterday’s and today’s photos depict is guttation. Guttation is the appearance of drops of sap on the tips or edges of leaves or grass. High moisture content of the soil builds pressure in the roots, sometimes causing plants to exude water through their leaf tips. The fluid usually contains sugars and some minerals. Kind of like plant snot.

ChrisJ, who commented on yesterday’s post, flirted with the answer. She knew something that I didn’t until a couple of days ago. Leave it to a teacher.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Doin' the dew

Yesterday morning was a dewy one. And, not being one to pass up an opportunity to catch an interesting photo when one appears, I plunged headlong into the moist vegetation. Literally. A sheet of plastic kept me mostly dry, but I still wound up in a water puddle I didn’t see.

I got a number of low-perspective shots of dewy goodness in the early morning sunlight. I’ll be posting those this week.

Dew shows up a number of times in the Bible. It signifies the blessings of God and the transient nature of life. One person used dew to make sure he understood what God was asking him to do.

Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. Deuteronomy 32:1-2

The scientifically astute will recognize that this photo does not actually depict dew. I'll explain tomorrow. Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2008 James Jordan.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Storm lapse

I took a number of shots last weekend as storm clouds rolled by my home (hoping to capture some lightning that never materialized). Scrolling through the shots on my digital camera, I was struck by the apparent motion of the clouds as the frames progressed.

I loaded the shots into a freeware time-lapse video creation application and created a short loop in Windows Movie Maker. I found a music clip in the Windows Media Player library, and by a happy accident, it matches the tempo of the scrolling photos.

The color of the clouds is from light pollution in the city in which I live. These photos were taken about 45 minutes after sunset.

Look for more (and better) time lapse stuff to come.