Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Garden goodies…

The garden still blooms…despite drought and neglect…some highlights…

Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malviflora) prostrate

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Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya pulverulenta)

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Shasta Sulphur Buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum var. polyanthum)

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California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

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Monkey flower (Mimulus alatus) “Curious Orange”

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Rose Firecracker Flower (Dichelostemma x venustum)

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Checkerbloom (Malvaceae) upright

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Western Spicebush (Calycanthus occidentalis)

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Three-bridge day…

Last Tuesday was a three-bridge day as we traveled over to Corte Madera for a retirement party for TM’s boss. He wanted to take the route through San Francisco and then come back by the Richmond Bridge. I got a new app, so the pictures got its treatment (except for the cake…had to show that it in natural form because it was so delish…
Over the Bay Bridge…

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On to the Golden Gate…

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To the garden and house-with-a-view…

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(That is a view of San Quentin and the Richmond Bridge.)
The garden was a riot of roses and other beautifully blooming plants…

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I was having myself some Georgia O’Keeffe moments while the staff (most of whom had been with the boss for twenty-five years) ate cake…

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That would be mango mousse and chocolate something…I do admit I had a little of each…had to mark the end of the quarter century with the rest of them…and then home over the third bridge…

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I used Vintage Photo App…lots of nice layers and textures.


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Walk…

Our morning walks are still functioning as our beacon for each day. Out the front door at 6:45 (daylight savings time has made it dark when we start), but each day we can see better as we take off. When we return we feel wide awake and enthused for the day. These are random photos that I applied a bit of app-work to because I am still experimenting with DistressedFX App (not all of the birds you see were actually in the original image and sometimes I just go through a phase where I use my iPhone as a playground or sketchbook to alter, erase and bring a little bit of serendipity into my life. Who knows what might happen (evidently I am into blur)…

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Then one morning we walked through the playground of the school and it looked like this:

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and I thought with some underwear and a teddy bear it would look like my favorite picture I took when I was in Tuscany, Italy for the first time…

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I guess walks help with time travel too…I could smell the cappuccino and taste the brioche…


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An ode to a Dutchman’s Pipe…

Ahh, the pipevine (Aristolochia californica) is blooming and I have not commemorated it yet. A California native plant, deer won’t eat it and it grows rampantly. That makes it good on a fence where deer could get at it on one side. It also is supposed to have a blue butterfly, but you could not prove that by our plant because we have never seen one here. We do get the uniquely shaped flowers and pods (left from last season). As luck would have it, the bloom coincided with my seeing the Georgia O’Keeffe show at the deYoung Museum. I came home from the show and knew I had to photographically deal with the blooms keeping abstraction in mind and muttering crop, crop, crop…what would Georgia do? These are not scientific renderings…just some play with some new apps with serendipitous results.
The work flow in general:
All were originally taken in the iPhone native camera, then, imported into and saved from the following apps. The saved version was then imported into the next app.
Snapseed (cropping and touch up of saturation, brightness and contrast)
TouchreTouch (I had placed a sheet of paper behind each flower for a plain background and sometimes when I cropped square I had corners I needed to touch up)
Waterlogue or Glaze (for a painted look) I often did this multiple times for various degrees of the paint-look
Blender (I used the saved image from TouchreTouch as the bottom layer with each painterly image on top flattening in between)
When I liked it the saved image went into DistressedFX for some aging. Some also went into PicGrunger for creases or cracks.
Please do not think reality…just form and shape!

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This flower is one of my garden’s highlights.


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Oh, Georgia…

Immersed in Georgia O’Keeffe. Sunday morning we saw the show at the deYoung in San Francisco. I had heard a docent talk last week and the docent said that the very best day to see the show was Sunday morning. She was absolutely right…fewer people even though it is a very popular exhibit and great visibility.

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No photographs allowed so I had to rely on posters positioned throughout the museum.

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This show is from before she moved to New Mexico so there are no bleached bones, but I have to say that the images glowed in their presentation…silver frames on pale grey walls. Her works are always smaller than reproduction posters lead you to believe. Her colors were alive and intense.
I had to settle for taking pictures of favorite objects around the museum that they do let you take pictures of. I just love Ruth Asawa’s wire sculptures and we took the time to go up to the observation tower.

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They are getting ready for their big fundraiser “Bouquets to Art”, March 18-23. Nice combo…O’Keeffe and flowers!


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Bird field trip, two…

Coyote Hills Regional Park

Our March bird field trip was an hours distance from home to a regional park with a marsh and rolling hills. The bird-life was abundant and it was an especially good raptor day.  We saw White-tailed Kites, a Merlin, Northern Harriers, a Sharpshinned, and a Cooper’s Hawk. Bright, shiny, and gorgeous, we walked the trails and were rewarded with a great variety of birds. They were difficult to take photos of because of their fast movement. I ended up with many shots of blank skies where a Kite or a Harrier had been. My photos were of the scenery, interesting in its amber and brown-green colors. The marsh is low in water (draught California)  complicated by the fact that the marshes had always been humanly supplemented with pumps until they broke last year and the decision was made that it is too expensive to fix them. They have found that there are fewer birds but not fewer species frequenting the area.

First view of the rolling hills…

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Monarchs on a eucalyptus in the parking lot…

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The birders begin their walk…IMG_0027 IMG_0036

The parched California landscape…IMG_0030

Some water in the canals of the marsh…IMG_0064 IMG_0063 IMG_0057 IMG_0050 IMG_0045 IMG_0039

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A few California poppies were in evidence…IMG_0184 IMG_0183

In places it looked a little like Sedona…IMG_0177 IMG_0174

There is the Cooper’s Hawk…IMG_0189

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The art of…

There is something to be said for being a hanger-on…a tag-a-long…a just-along-for-the-ride kind of person. Having an older brother, I was trained at an early age for this role. In this picture you can tell that I hung away from the group on the bird watching excursion to Lake Merritt last week.

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My role does not necessitate much equipment…no binocs and no scopes to carry (although those who have them are very gracious about letting me share if I wish to). No notebook and pen. Just armed with my iPhone stuffed in my pocket. Not keeping a list and trying to increase it leaves me free to notice supporting characters in the scenery drama. Don’t get me wrong…I can immediately identify an oystercatcher. I know when it is a Red-tail Hawk soaring (as long as the light is behind him and illuminating his tail). I’ve got the difference between Night Herons, Great Blue Herons and Egrets. Canada Geese are a piece of cake. Greater and Lesser Scaup, not so much. I pride myself on my other skills…I can easily distinguish for you the difference between violet, red-violet, and blue-violet which I am sure TM cannot (not fair, really, because he is color blind…I think he must identify birds based on shape and pattern). My strengths lie elsewhere. and I know it, so I do not hyper focus only on the birds leaving me the time to notice the other components of the environment. In this case, it was the trees that line the bank of Lake Merritt. I do not know what their name is, but I think their shapes and textures are exhilarating and I had fun photographing them along with a few flowers who were performing in their role as early arrivals for the spring that is to come.

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As TM does his bird field trips, I will continue to develop my skills in the art of being an observer-tag-along from just to the side, having my own kind of fun…

p.s. The trees may be coastal tea trees native to Australia.


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The last day…a goodbye to Provence…

On our trips we have usually spent the last day before leaving our apartments organizing ourselves, packing (stuffing) our suitcases, and mentally preparing for our early morning departure the next day. This time, however, we decided to “go for the gold” and catch one last missed site before we took off. Except for seeing it from the airplane as we flew into France, we had not seen the Pont du Gard, but our lovely landlady had mentioned earlier in our stay that it was best in early morning or twilight because of the light. We knew that we would never make it in the early light but twilight was a definite maybe if we combined it with other sites. In the morning of the last day we packed suitcases and organized for departure and then set off…whipering goodbye to our locality. First I buried my shoes in the trash near Le Beaucet, then we picked up some candy nougat souvenir gifts in Saint Didier and went on to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue for one last lunch. We had serendipitously discovered The Table on our very first day in Provence and had returned many times when we were near the town for more meals. We had our “goodbye” meal and then jumped in the car for the hour and  half drive to Uzés, a medieval town with garden. Cars are confined to an exterior road so walking and exploring was quite pleasant. There we ate a light dinner in the plaza and then made the ten minute trip to Pont du Gard. We had excellent timing for the light, only had to pay half price for parking because of the time of day, and we were almost the only tourists around. This is all captured here in my last movie for this trip. I fear I added a few too many pictures of the aqueduct but that is symbolic of how awe-stricken I was by its magnificence. Despite its incredible size and domination of its valley, you cannot see it from the road and only when you get quite close do you catch a view. Wham…visual awe. (The Romans left the rocks protruding out of the pillars because that is how the scaffolding was attached and they anticipated in the future after building it in 19 BC they might have to do maintenance. Ahh, the greatness that was Rome!)

By making it to the Pont du Gard, it meant that on our trip we had been able to see all four of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Provence. The Amphitheater and arch in Orange, the Popes Palace and bridge in Avignon, the Theater and St. Trophime Church in Arles and the aqueduct. Only thing we missed because the weather was out of our control was the lavender bloom…meaning we will just have to go back someday.

The last day in three minutes:

(don’t forget to make it full-screen so that you can see the birds fly)


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Pernes-les-Fontaines…

It is getting close to the time of our next trip. I need to eliminate photos from the iPhone and iPad so I can fit in the new thousands of images so I realized that I had never wrapped up the Provence trip. There was a lovely town close by to where we stayed called Pernes-les-Fontaines. Forty fountains (but I did not take pictures of all of them) and possibly the best shutter colors in all of Provence. Most magnificently, the loveliest iron work on top of the church steeple.

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A stroll through the town…

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Some of the fountains…

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Your choice of stucco for your walls…

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Her name is Amelie…we know because we checked…

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and we walked…

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I particularly loved the cafe umbrella that was adorned with scraps…think I will do that at home…

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There was a castle…

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and the Tourist Info center had art in its garden…

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We were not successful in getting wifi in their wifi cafe, but we met the dog on the bar stool…how cute is that?

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Got back home to another great sky…

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