12 July 2014


A few days ago, I realized that my camera's lens has a scratch on it. At first, I thought it was just dirty, so I cleaned it well. The scratch was still there. I can't actually see it on the lens, but I can see it in pictures I take.

When I zoomed in on these roses, they were 25 or 30 feet away from me in a neighbor's yard.

I see it especially when I focus on a solid color background like the blue sky. Fortunately, we don't have to worry much about blue skies these days. The weather report is on Télématin right now, and it looks like another lousy day for most of France. Our high temperature might be as high as 70ºF. If you are watching the coverage of the Tour de France, you know what I'm talking about.

So I took the camera out on the walk in the vineyard with Callie a day or two after I noticed the scratch and took a whole series of close-up photos of flowers, grasses, and grapes. (I'll post grape pictures later.)

Meanwhile, I had already done some research about buying a similar camera to replace the scratched one, which is only two years old. The fact is that cameras are getting to be more and more affordable.

Anyway, the test pictures came out really nice, I thought. The light was right. As always, you can click or tap on the images to see them at a larger size. I've decided I don't need a new camera right now. If I notice the scratch on an image, I can try to remove it with Photoshop.

The little pond out back has been taken over by an invasive aquatic plant, but it has also been full of croaking frogs for weeks now.

Speaking of the weather, it seemed like it was improving yesterday afternoon. The morning had been gray and it seemed like it might rain any minute. It was starting to feel cold in the house. (You can understand why people here mostly don't need to have air conditioning in their houses.)

The sun came out in the afternoon and things started to feel warmer. Then we started hearing thunder. I looked at the weather radar on the web and I saw a line of thunderstorms approaching from the northwest. It was between Le Mans and Tours, and then it was over Tours, and then it was over us.

This is a composition — mirror images stitched together.

The lightning and thunder got closer and a very hard rain started falling. Callie went wild barking. The rain didn't last long, and at least it didn't turn into hail. This morning it's just foggy and gray outside. Maybe the fog and clouds will burn off. Always the optimist...


  1. The cool weather has been better for our house hunting, but we're ready for some warmth now.
    Enough of the English weather!
    Your pictures of flowers are lovely.

  2. pretty, esp. that lavender/light blue flower (don't know what it is). wish we could hear the bullfrogs!

    1. amip, the blue flower is a wild chicory. There are white ones in SoCal.

  3. Ken, it seems your camera works well. The flowers are so nice. At my place the weather is rainy too.We are waiting for better weather. Now there is psibility of flood. Have a nice Saturday.

  4. tuesday will be hot and sunny ( very hot). Tout vient à point pour qui sait attendre....

  5. Your picture of the Chicory is great....
    one of the few advantages of this weather is that their flowers last all day and don't go over by lunchtime!!
    And, if you have a visible scratch in only the plain colour areas....
    that "Heal" brush in Pottyshop is great...
    because it uses the neigbouring pixels as a lead!!
    Only you know that the scratch is there....
    And the only reason to change is if it really starts to bug....
    or the specs of a new one make change a must!!
    And I love the "Beetle" that is crawling out of your mirror compo at the end!!

    1. And I think your pond has got Jussie....
      the weed that they are desperately trying to remove...
      from the Loire, the Cher, the Creuse and their tributaries....
      Susan will probably confirm or correct that.

  6. Beautiful photo of the chicory. Dull, grey & chilly here too and it doesn't show any signs of lifting ... :-(

  7. Tim, yes, it is 'jussie'. We got it 5 or 6 years ago when the weather was very dry and the water level in the pond was low. The village authorities had a man haul huge tanks of water from the Cher up to the pond by tractor. He brought in the jussie.

  8. Fun to read today! Writing about thunder and rain, but the photos were of colorful and cheery blooms! We're to have another hot one today - upper 80's and into the 90's - AGAIN. At least it is cloudy and cool this morning...better get outside and try to get some work fonr before the heat gets to me!

    Mary in Oregon

  9. Hi, Ken. I'm curious. Why was it important to fill the little pond when it started drying up? I always assumed it was just an overflow for excess water when you had gully washers.
    Does the grape grower take water out of there for use in the vineyards during dry spells?

  10. Dean, in part, at least, it's water for the pompiers to use in case one of our houses catches on fire.


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