Friday, June 19, 2009

Big Sky and a Butterfly

I had the occasion to drive to Greenville, Texas yesterday for work. I took my camera with me because I was having a hard time getting really excited about any certain thing to post for today, and I thought I might see something along the way to or fro that was photo worthy.

The drive was beautiful - it's about an hour from Dallas, northwest towards Texarkana on I-30. The sky was very blue and it was filled with cumulus clouds. My dad calls those kinds of clouds, "popcorn clouds buttered with sunshine." Sure, it was hot, but I was inside the air conditioned car. These clouds made the sky look enormous - filled it up with depth. So, one thing I wanted to try to capture was the enormous looking sky. On this account, I'm not sure I did so hot.

I understand the sky in West Texas appears even bigger - never been there. Hope to go one day. Don't plan to go in the summer, thank you very much. This northeast Texas sky - it was big enough for me on this day - it looked huge. First up - some of my attempts at capturing that sky. The wide angle shots were with the 18-55mm lens, and the close-up shots were mostly with the telephoto. I didn't put the 50mm on at all, which makes this shoot more rare than most, since that's my go-to lens these days.

I got up and went out a little early for my meeting, and literally just drove off the main road onto the first county road I found that was paved. That's right - the first few I encountered were dirt. I almost went down the first dirt road because it looked like it would have ended up just behind a ranch with longhorn cattle. I thought that might be a good photo shoot. But, since I was alone in my 2001 Volvo with the low profile tires, I decided against the off-road trip. I know S is thanking me as he reads this, and amazed I didn't just go on down that dirt road.

I came to this gate.
Doesn't it look like it's the gate to the great open sky?

No longhorns here, but there was a nice big field and that big sky was there, too.

There were also some wildflowers that I'll show you later.

A little further down the road, I encountered some harvested hay.

Here is a closer look at those bales.
They are still called bales when they are round, yes?

And, that IS hay, right?
I'm such a city girl.

Ahh, the big, open sky.

I loved it.
And the photos don't really do it justice.

But, then, I got distracted. I mean, I stopped to try to capture the pretty sky. But all around me were wildflowers and grasses that insisted that I take their photos. They beckoned me to get their good sides. I complied.

This lonely Black-Eyed Susan called to me first.
Just outside the gate to the sky.

At least I thought she was lonely...

...until I noticed all of her friends on the other side the gate.

Lots and lots of Black-Eyed Susans.

Must be confusing to have to call every one of them Susan. Maybe some of them go by Sue or Susie. Or Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy. Name that song.

The wildflower websites say the Black-Eyed Susan is the most common of all American native wildflowers. I didn't find anything about them to be common. I thought they were beautiful!

So pretty!

Near the single Susan were some ornamental grasses.

Anyone know what that one on the left is?
I couldn't identify it.

Then I got back in my car and drove on down that paved county road. And I saw some different sorts of wildflowers along the road. So I decided to stop again.

It turned out there were several wildflowers. These, which I could not identify, but I presume are akin to Queen Anne's Lace and wild Poppies, respectively.

The prevalent flower at this second roadside stop was the Texas Thistle.

And of course, more Susans.

But wait, what's that on the Texas Thistle?
Why, it's a Black Swallowtail butterfly!

Yes, dear blog reader, I researched not only the wildflowers, but also the butterfly type for you today. And, I think I'm right when I say it is the black swallowtail. I looked at a lot of butterfly photos before I decided this was the one.

Yep, I'm pretty sure what we have here is a black yellowtail butterfly.
On Texas Thistle. It's a red letter day if I got all that right.

The butterfly was only interested in the thistle.
It didn't even land on any other wildflower or grass.

It flitted and floated from stem to stem.

This photo came out slightly overexposed - the only one in the bunch.

This is the best photo for butterfly wings...

I could have watched the butterfly for quite a while.
But I had a meeting to get to!

So ended my little country time jaunt for something to photograph that I could post here today. It worked out nicely, I think. I found some good stuff out there at the edge of the paved roads. Some good stuff indeed.

We are not going to ride in Italy, TX tomorrow. It's too darn hot. I just can't do it, cap'n. (Name that movie.) We will ride here at home, around the lake, early in the morning before the heat settles in. I don't have to work all weekend, which is a minor miracle, really. We have a party to go to - an actual party, where people get together for no other reason but to have a good time - on Saturday night. That'll be fun. And, Sunday S has invited his family over for Father's Day. He's making his fresh pasta and sauce, as well as pizza dough. All I have to do is the salad and the dessert. Easy day for me. Maybe I'll photograph S in action - I know I've showed you some of his cooking antics before, but that was a long time ago, and now, since I've got the "cooking basics" series, I could photograph it to teach YOU how to do it yourself. Maybe I'll do that.

Happy Father's Day all you dads out there. And to my dad and father-in-law and uncles and brothers and brothers-in-law and all male paternal relatives of any kind, of course. Make 'em treat ya right. Happy Friday to everyone.

One thing is for certain - I'll think up something to ramble on about in this space next week. Thanks for stopping by! Best wishes for a wonderful weekend of your own.


  1. Amy, you did it again. Documenting and sharing with us the beauty of nature as you go about what would be considered a routine trip.

  2. I liked this blog post.



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