Let’s get small

Although there were some mid-size to large blooms at this month’s orchid society show-and-tell, the stand-out for me was the smallest, Platystele umbellata, above. The entire cluster of burgundy flowers was roughly a quarter-inch in diameter. It was difficult to photograph — I really needed a macro lens (ideally with another lens stacked in front, and with the camera connected to the computer for focus stacking) on a tripod — but after several tries I managed to get a passable picture.

The Platystele was dwarfed by Stelis viridipurpurata, which was nevertheless quite small itself. Each flower was about a quarter-inch across.

There are more pictures here.

In addition to the usual close-up photos, I also made some panoramas of the botanical garden this past weekend, such as this view of the lily pond. (Panoramas look best in the full-screen mode.)

That new church smell …


St. Joseph Church, Andale, Kansas

… is curing varnish.

St. Joseph Church in Andale, Kansas, isn’t actually a “new” church. The current building was probably built during the first quarter of the 20th century (the parish history is vague on specific dates). However, it was damaged by a lightning-caused fire last year and has only recently been reopened after repairs and renovations.

Unlike most of the churches that I’ve been photographing, St. Joseph actually looks like a Catholic church, not a box or a spaceship.

The panorama is best viewed in the full-screen mode.

Back again to the garden

Tricyrtis

I spent yesterday afternoon at the botanical garden, this time with an ordinary zoom lens. There was relatively little color outside, but I found some. There was more at the orchid society meeting inside, where the room was refrigerated air-conditioned. There are more pictures here.

Trichocentrum jonesianum

Continue reading “Back again to the garden”

The sky below

When I last visited the botanical garden, I took the fisheye lens instead of the macro. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the panorama tripod head with me, so all the garden panoramas came out too glitchy to post. The above was salvaged from one of the waterlily pond.

***

A few odds and ends:

Zappa fans might find this old advertisement oddly familiar:

See also Ronstadt, Zappa and the Remington Electric Razor.

(Via .clue and Dustbury.)

Saints in space

Here’s another example of a faddish round church built in the later 20th century, All Saints in Wichita. It’s not ugly, but it reminds me more of main deck of a spaceship than a place of worship. It was dedicated in 1965, a year before the debut of the original Star Trek, so it’s probably safe for altar boys to wear red cassocks.

To view the detailed interactive panorama, click here.

Incidentally, the pastor of All Saints, Fr. Hien, whom I remember as an energetic and cheerful seminarian, is a refugee from Viet Nam who’s had an interesting life (PDF).

Rectangles and circles

St. Jude Catholic church

One of my ongoing projects is to make panoramas of Wichita area Catholic churches. Here are three recent ones of churches built in the 1950s and 1960s. None of them look like traditional churches, but they serve their purpose, and any of them would be preferable to the Taj Mahony.

The St. Jude (completed in 1967) website claims that its architecture was ahead of its time. Well, maybe, but to me it looks like your basic shoebox.

St. Margaret Mary Catholic church

St. Margaret Mary (dedicated 1955; the “dropped” ceiling dates to 1992), with its ceiling cutout spanning the length of the church, is a variation on the shoebox.

Christ the King Catholic Church

The circular Christ the King (dedicated 1968) is definitely not a shoebox. It looks to me like something you would find on another planet built by friendly aliens. The parishioners I’ve spoken to are proud of it, and you can certainly do worse.

Previous, more traditional-style Wichita churches: St. Anthony; Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Click on the names of the churches at the lower left corners of the images to see the panoramas larger.

In memory of

I returned to the botanical garden for the first time since I hurt my leg. While there, I spotted the bricks above in the butterfly garden1 walkway.

All the lego sculptures have been emplaced. To me, they just look dumb and waste space better devoted to interesting plants.2 The phony Victoria, above, takes as much room as a dozen real water lilies and looks ridiculous. It’s pointless, too, since the garden usually has the real thing in a different part of the pond later in the summer. Perhaps the silly things are attracting more visitors, but even so I look forward to their removal in the fall.

Although I missed the peak of spring, there were still plenty of real plants to see.

There are more pictures at my Flickr site.

Little Muddy

The Little Arkansas River, which runs north, west and south of me, is as high as I’ve ever seen it. The next round of storms should be here in about an hour.

The magenta flowers in the foreground are Callirhoe involucrata.

Update: Although my area has been continually under a flood warning for about three weeks now, neither the waters nor the recent tornadoes have affected my neighborhood.

One place that got soaked much worse is Winfield, about 40 miles southeast of Wichita. Here’s a video of areas affected by the overflowing Walnut River last week. The fairgrounds are where the Walnut Valley Festival is held every September. The spot where I pitched my tent back in my camping days is under more than ten feet of water here.

Plastic and rust, and Japanese vanilla

Botanica, the botanical garden in Wichita, has installed a number of sculptures in the gardens. Most range from “meh” to kitschy. I rarely bother to include them in my photographs. Currently the people who run the institution are installing a bunch of figures made of Legos in awkward spots through the grounds, such as the pansy above. I hope they’re temporary. They have novelty value and might attract a few additional visitors to the gardens, but there are much more interesting things you can do with Legos.

Unfortunately not temporary are the panels at the south entrance of the not-particularly-Shakespearean garden. They’ve been there as long as I’ve visited Botanica, and they look a little worse every year. (Right-click and open in a new window to see at maximum ugliness.)

Continue reading “Plastic and rust, and Japanese vanilla”

Seeing pink, and an administrative note

The semi-Japanese Okamé cherry1 was by far the most colorful item at the botanical garden yesterday, along with the usual daffodils. The deciduous magnolias were getting started but were not fully open.

There was a bit more color here and there, but the garden is off to a slow start this year due to the lingering winter.

***

A few years ago, it looked like I would be soon locked out of Flickr, which was where I posted most of my photographs. I was unable to log into my account except on one particular computer, and only with Safari. To log in anywhere else, I would have needed to respond to emails sent to a couple of long-defunct addresses. It made no sense to me, but logic is irrelevant to the yahoos at Yahoo. I therefore started a second weblog just for pictures.

Flicker is now owned by a different, smaller company, and has fixed the login snafu. I can now log in anywhere with any browser. Consequently, I am resuming posting the bulk of my photos at Flickr. I’ll leave the photo weblog up in case things at Flickr get screwy again, but to see more from yesterday’s trip, go here.

Continue reading “Seeing pink, and an administrative note”

Sprung

Winter hung on like the respiratory crud that was going around earlier this year, but it looks like it’s finally gone. It won’t officially be spring until the first tornado watch, but I did find a little color on my visit to the botanical garden this past weekend. There are more pictures here, plus orchids here.

There’s a springtime jigsaw puzzle below the fold.

Continue reading “Sprung”

In the lair of the mouse

Strelitzia reginae: a novelty in Kansas, ubiquitous in Anaheim

I spent most of the week before Christmas in California visiting family and seeing Disneyland. It was an excessively memorable experience, thanks to the blunders of United Airlines,1 the astonishing traffic in Los Angeles,2 Tracfone’s buggy website, and the 10,000 oblivious people wandering around Disneyland. It was worth it to see my sister and her family, but I’m not eager to repeat the experience.

Token Disneyland panorama. Right-click and open in a new window to see at full size.

If I had been ten years old, Disneyland would have been terrific. However, I’m several times older than that now, and roller coasters are less exciting, particularly when you have to make an appointment to ride or wait an hour and a half in line. I was more interested in the plants there, some of which are greenhouse exotics in Kansas but ordinary bedding plants in the subtropical climate of the southern California coast. These are mostly what I took pictures of.

Continue reading “In the lair of the mouse”