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“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”  Roger Miller

As much as I love springtime with its renewal and growth – I love wintertime with the rain and cold.  We don’t get much snow here, but when it does  snow – it’s beautiful.  I love that all the plants and animals are in their winter slumber – resting up for the next go-round.  It’s raining a lot here at the moment.  I know in another month or so I’ll be begging for the sun to shine and the flowers to bloom and the trees to green up.  

For now, I’m pretty content as I listen to the rain pouring out of the gutters.  

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“It’s ironic, but until you can free those final monsters within the jungle of yourself, your life, your soul is up for grabs.”  Rona Barrett

Our second to last day here on this beautiful paradise found us walking through the Limahuli Botanical Gardens on the North Shore of Kauai.   These gardens are built upon an ancient Hawaiian community.  They’ve done an amazing job preserving and showcasing many of the indigenous plant species, as well as many others that were introduced over the years.  

The tour today was self guided – which meant we took four hours to go about a mile!  It’s a nice wandering trail that is a nice hike up the mountain to a beautiful vista of the ocean, and then a nice meandering path back down to the bottom.  It was completely different from the tour we took the other day at Kauai Botanical Gardens, and very well worth our effort.  We took tons and tons of photos.  

I’ll be posting a few of the photos on my other blog: Me’n My D800e.  

The weather co-operated as well . . . it was windy but didn’t rain on us once.  At least not until we arrived back at the Villa’s.

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“Life is full of beauty.  Notice it.  Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces.  Smell the rain, and feel the wind.  Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”  Ashley Smith

It’s yet another windy, rainy day here on Kauai’s beautiful North Shore.  I feel like a stuck record!  We headed out for a tour of a local Botanical Garden.  It’s a privately run enterprise just a short distance from where we are staying in Princeville.   We took the 3 hour guided tour (highly recommended!) which included tastings of many of the local fruits, as well as a very interesting Chocolate tasting and presentation.  Despite the downpours that happened frequently during the tour – we really enjoyed ourselves and learned about the local fauna.  

My husband and I lagged behind the group most of the time as we stopped to take many photo’s of the beautiful plant life.  

I think we look a little soggy here in this shot.  Luckily, umbrella’s were provided but we still got wet!  

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“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.”   Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle 

Today we’re on the way back to SF Bay Area after a truly amazing Meetup with my fellow 365’ers.  On our drive to Vegas, I was quite taken with the Joshua Trees all along the Mojave Desert stretches.  I decided that I had to take my 365 Photo with one of these beautiful creatures.  The average “tree” we saw was less than a few feet tall.  This was one of the biggest we saw from the road.  There were a few massive ones that we could not get close to because of fences etc.  

Truly breathtaking that something like this can survive for hundreds of years in the dry hot desert . . . 

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“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”  Stanley Horowitz 

We have several huge Katsura trees in the back yard.  They are luscious green in the spring and summer, and an absolutely stunning orange/yellow/red in the Autumn.  They are at their best right now.  Stunning.  

The Katsura tree is a very distinctive landscape tree known for its delicate leaves and bright autumn colour.  In autumn, the heart shaped leaves smell of burnt sugar when crushed, and the tree turns bright yellow, pink, and orange-red.  The botanical name is Cercidiphyllum japonicum.

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“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, Fluttering from the autumn tree.”  Emily Bronte

It’s that time of year again . . . how quickly summer seemed to pass!  The leaves on the trees are turning their gorgeous shades of  red, orange and yellows, and cascading to the ground leaving a beautiful rich carpet.  I just had to get out and play around a bit.  I had a vision of creating a “waterfall” of leaves showering down on the camera.  It didn’t really work out exactly like I wanted . . . but I do like the blown out image.  I would have liked the leaves to be a bit more defined.  I’ll keep working at it, but it’s now raining – our wettest weekend here since May.  I enjoyed playing in the leaves though – brought me back to my childhood in Northern Ontario!

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“You’ve got to push yourself harder. You’ve got to start looking for pictures nobody else could take. You’ve got to take the tools you have and probe deeper.”  William Albert Allard

Well . . . today I got out and started shooting with my new Nikon D800!  Hubby and I went to a local park just around dinner time, that we haven’t been to in years.  It was fun to try out the new lenses on both the D800E and the D7000.  The D7000 is a great camera and will continue to be my go-to for portraits and kid shots.  The files are more manageable considering I take so many pictures of the little ones.  The D800E will be my workhorse for Stock and Fine Art Photography.  I’m so excited after seeing the results from the shoot today . . . some really awesome nature shots that will soon be up on my Smug Mug site.    

This was taken with the D800E, and the 70-200mm 2.8 VRII.

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“Revered for its beauty, the stunning dahlia flower comes in diverse shapes, sizes and colors. The dahlia blooms for extended periods of time, surpassing most other garden flowers, and many gardening enthusiasts refer to it as the “Queen of the Autumn Garden.” The dahlia’s allure has a far reach: it is San Francisco’s official flower, an official emblem of Mexico, and is considered in Japan to be a sign of good taste.”  Michelle Fortunado, eHow Contributor

Canby, Oregon is known as the Dahlia Capital of the World.  We were lucky enough to be in town for their annual Dahlia Festival.  I have never seen so many Dahlia’s in one place, fields and fields of them!  And so many different shapes, colors, sizes . . . absolutely amazing!    It actually became a bit overwhelming . . . we spent a couple of hours there in the morning and then went back in the early evening so I could get some pictures in the “golden light”.  

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