Saturday Song: Turn the Sky

My cat turned orange Friday morning*, so my day got off to a bit of a rocky start. Between that, intensive Mount St. Helens research, and the ongoing shitstorm caused by women asking for something as simple as harassment policies at conferences, I’m in the mood for something light and lovely.

Let’s turn the sky.

One of the first photos I took after moving to Seattle was the sky. People in Arizona didn’t believe me when I told them it didn’t rain all the time. My roommate and I were out in Discovery Park on a cloudless day, and so I shot a photo that was nothing but deep blue sky.

I’ve usually got my eyes on the ground (less so, now that you lot have gotten so excited over birds), but I’ve turned the sky into a backdrop on several occasions. I love shooting up into the sky. Everything looks rather different that way, sometimes dramatic, sometimes just beautiful.

I took this shot at North Creek Park last week. I like it quite a lot, with the seed heads on the grass waving to the clouds.

Grass and sky at North Creek Park, June 2012

That’s what the skies typically look like round here. You either learn to love clouds or you go mad. I quite enjoy clouds. They have interesting patterns and textures, and sometimes they frame things just so, or the light hits them just right, and they fascinate.

Of course, blue skies are even more fascinating up here on the coast of the Pacific Northwest, by virtue of their rarity. Chances at observing astronomical phenomena, no matter how ordinary, must be seized.

Moon over Madrona Park, July 2011

I love it when the moon appears in the daytime. Even close to sunset, there’s just enough light in the sky for my camera’s sensor to balance everything nicely, so I don’t end up with solid white blobs. One day, perhaps, I’ll have a camera that does all sorts of fancy things like filtering and other things I’m not well versed in. For now, I work with what I’ve got, and I haven’t any complaints.

Moon and pine, Olympic National Park, August 2010

The moon used to be the main reason why I shot the sky. But one spring, we took a walk in the neighborhood looking at all of the fruit trees abloom, and I shot up into the branches, against a cloudy sky, and discovered I liked that angle.

Blossoms against clouds, Bothell, March 2011

I figured they’d look magnificent against a blue sky, as well, so I awaited my chance this spring and seized it when the clouds were off doing something else.

Blossoms and blue sky, Bothell, April 2012

I love aiming up. Things look different, framed against the sky. Even ordinary little things look quite wonderful.

Pine cone sky, Olympics, August 2010

Tiny things that would be lost against a busy background stand out brilliantly against the blue.

Dragonfly Sky, Summer Lake, Oregon, August 2011

Colors blaze brighter. It doesn’t take a sunset to turn the sky scarlet and gold. Just a Japanese maple.

Maple blaze, Rhododendron Park, Kenmore WA, May 2012

And while I prefer natural subjects for my sky shots, there are times when old architecture cries out for the same treatment. When the setting sun sets the seminary bricks aglow, and the sky has barely a wisp of cloud, how can you resist?

St. Edwards Seminary, Kirkland WA, October 2010

You can turn the sky to a canvas, and paint such scenes on it.


*The cat’s fine, incidentally. The orange streak she’d left behind washing her little white chest wasn’t caused by some horrible medical condition. She’d gotten in to a bowl I’d left the night before, lapped up the remaining sauce, and then attempted a bath. This was a silly thing to do, as her tongue was coated with a paprika-spiced red wine and olive oil sauce. She looked ridiculous. I’d have shot a picture, but I didn’t have time before work, and now she’s back to ordinary tuxedo colors. Silly beast.


Saturday Song: Turn the Sky
The Bolingbrook Babbler:  The unbelievable truth is now at

3 thoughts on “Saturday Song: Turn the Sky

  1. 1

    Great pix as always! Another thing people don’t understand about Northwest weather is that while it does rain often, it rarely rains very hard. Our annual rainfall is less than most places in the Midwest. And we almost never have electrical storms, which happen pretty much every summer afternoon in some places.

    My wife is fond of reminding me about the time, many years ago, I panicked at the sight of our white cat apparently covered in blood. Wife had, of course, already seen said cat with her head inside a tomato sauce can, licking it out. I fixed the latch on the garbage closet after that.

    I’m not sure what I think about all the pointy-eared porn-fairies in that video!

  2. rq

    Your cat has good taste. Can’t say the same for mine – the best it has done is get into the jalapeno flavoured Pringles. The next day’s hairballs might have had something to do with that, but who knows…

    Truly beautiful photos. For some reason, I’m loving the pinecone more than the rest. That, and the seminary, mostly for the blue – orange colour combination. Fantastic!

  3. 3

    Ooh, an unidentified grass. They’re often a bit problematic to ID from photos, but I believe what you’ve got there is Phalaris arundinacea (reed canarygrass).

Comments are closed.