Friday Mystery Place – vol 18

A mystery castle

After last week’s visit to Scotland’s border abbeys, which was recognized correctly by ZeroCreativity0 as Melrose Abbey, we’re looking for the location of a castle this week.

This castle is seen from across the river on a cloudless day about 9 years ago, when I took this shot.

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A Castle in the Trees

This location has its own unusual history and might not be exactly what you expect!  Where is it?

Enjoy!

Daily Prompt – Open

Potty humor?

Today’s Daily Prompt of Open is one of those interesting ones that we can take into multiple directions.  We can have Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors, be Open to New Ideas and even work with Open Source.

In today’s image, the Bathroom is Open, and I’d like to suggest that it’s open to all!

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The Bathroom is Open!

This image was taken a number of years back at the Chester Fairground in Connecticut; I got a couple of strange looks for setting up a tripod, but the end result was well worth it!

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 1D Mk III with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  It was taken as a series of 5 shots with exposure values of -2, -1, 0, +1 and +2 EV, which were processed in Photomatix Pro to create this HDR image.

Three Line Tales – Buttercream

Delicious recipe

Welcome to Week Twenty of Three Line Tales

three line tales week twenty: cupcakes, icing, frosting
photo by Stephanie McCabe – click here for full res version 

 

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Bowl, sugar, butter,
Blend with vanilla and milk.
Simple Buttercream

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Thank you to Sonya of Only 100 Words for coming up with Three Line Tales.

You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page –

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post.
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.
  • NEW: If you want your post to be included in the round-up, you have until Sunday evening to publish it.
  • Have fun.

Happy three-lining!

DogStar Thursday – vol. 16

English Springer Spaniel

As I have begun my side project of looking through the 300K+ dog images that I have captured over the years, I started picking some representative images of various dog breeds, so that I can start using them as a series.  As most of my photography is from agility competitions, you may be amazed at the enormous variety of breeds that I have captured over the years, ranging from the ultra-rare to common breeds, and the smallest toy breeds to an enormous Great Dane.

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English Springer Spaniel

Description

The English Springer Spaniel is a medium-sized compact dog. Its coat is moderately long with feathering on the legs and tail. It is a well proportioned, balanced dog with a gentle expression and a friendly wagging tail.  This breed represents perhaps the greatest divergence between working and show lines of any breed of dog. A field-bred dog and a show-bred dog appear to be different breeds, but are registered together. In fact, the gene pools are almost completely segregated and have been for at least 70 years.  A field-bred dog would not be competitive in a modern dog show, while a show dog would not have the speed or stamina to succeed in a field trial.

The English Springer Spaniel field-bred dogs tend to have shorter, coarser coats than show-bred dogs. The ears are less pendulous. Field-bred dogs are wiry and have more of a feral look than those bred for showing. The tail of the field-bred dog may be docked a few inches in comparison to the show dog. Field-bred dogs are selected for sense of smell, hunting ability, and response to training rather than appearance.

Show dogs have longer fur and more pendant ears, dewlaps and dangling flews. The tail is docked to a short stub in those countries that permit docking. They are generally more thickly boned and heavier than field-bred springers.

The English Springer Spaniel is similar to the English Cocker Spaniel and at first glance the only major difference is the latter’s smaller size. However English Springers also tend to have shorter, and higher-set ears than English Cockers. In addition Springers also tend to have a longer muzzle; their eyes are not as prominent, and the coat is less abundant.  The major differences between the Welsh Springer and the English Springer are that the Welsh have more limited colours and tend to be slightly smaller.

Coat and colors

Field-bred dogs tend to have shorter, coarser coats than the longer furred show-bred dogs. They normally only shed in summer and spring months but shed occasionally in the autumn.  The coat comes in black or liver (dark brown) with white markings or predominantly white with black or liver markings; Tricolour: black and white or liver and white with tan markings, usually found on eyebrows, cheeks, inside of ears and under the tail. Any white portion of the coat may be flecked with ticking.

Sizes

Males in the show dog line are typically approximately 18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 cm) at the withers and weigh 50 to 55 lb (23 to 25 kg). According to the UK Breed Standard, the English Springer Spaniel should be 20 inches (51 cm) at the withers. The females should be 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 cm) and usually 35 to 45 lb (16 to 20 kg). Working types can be lighter in weight and finer in bone.

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 1D Mk III using an EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens with 1.4x Extender.  Exposure settings were at 1/500 second at f/6.3 and 400 ISO.

Daily Prompt – Natural

Serene moment of the day

There’s nothing more natural than the assumption that the Sun will rise again tomorrow…  Indeed it does, as long as the Earth continues its rotation, whether we are there to observe the first light of morning or not.

So for this moment, let’s appreciate the simple, serene beauty of a calm morning without a cloud in the sky, as the Sun rises…

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Peaceful Morning

Take a deep, cleansing breath and may you enjoy the rest of your day!

Technical Details

This image was captured with an iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app.

In response to the Daily Prompt – Natural.

Wednesday Wonderment – pt 21

Don’t weed me out!

Many plants are considered weeds, just because they tend to take over the areas, in which they thrive.  On top of that certain weeds have noxious properties that cause skin rashes or worse.

That doesn’t mean that some of these weeds are not beautiful or interesting to behold, such as the Sumac in this image.

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Sumac

Description

Sumacs are shrubs and small trees that can reach a height of 1–10 m (3.3–32.8 ft). The leaves are spirally arranged; they are usually pinnately compound, though some species have trifoliate or simple leaves. The flowers are in dense panicles or spikes 5–30 cm (2.0–11.8 in) long, each flower very small, greenish, creamy white or red, with five petals. The fruits form dense clusters of reddish drupes called sumac bobs. The dried drupes of some species are ground to produce a tangy crimson spice.

Sumacs propagate both by seed (spread by birds and other animals through their droppings), and by new shoots from rhizomes, forming large clonal colonies.

The word ‘sumac’ traces its etymology from Old French sumac (13th century), from Mediaeval Latin sumach, from Arabic summāq (سماق), from Syriac summāq (ܣܡܘܩ)- meaning “red”.

Cultivation and Uses

Species including the fragrant sumac (R. aromatica), the littleleaf sumac (R. microphylla), the skunkbush sumac (R. trilobata), the smooth sumac, and the staghorn sumac are grown for ornament, either as the wild types or as cultivars.

Spice and beverage flavoring

The fruits (drupes) of the genus Rhus are ground into a reddish-purple powder used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a tart, lemony taste to salads or meat.  In Arab cuisine, it is used as a garnish on meze dishes such as hummus and tashi is added to salads in the Levant.  In Iranian (Persian and Kurdish) cuisines, sumac is added to rice or kebab. In Jordanian and Turkish cuisines, it is added to salad-servings of kebab and lahmacunRhus coriaria is used in the spice mixture za’atar.

In North America, the smooth sumac (R. glabra) and the staghorn sumac (R. typhina) are sometimes used to make a beverage termed “sumac-ade”, “Indian lemonade”, or “rhus juice”. This drink is made by soaking the drupes in cool water, rubbing them to extract the essence, straining the liquid through a cotton cloth, and sweetening it. Native Americans also use the leaves and drupes of the smooth and staghorn sumacs combined with tobacco in traditional smoking mixtures.

Dye and tanning agent

The leaves of certain sumacs yield tannin (mostly pyrogallol-type), a substance used in vegetable tanning.  Notable sources include the leaves of R. coriaria, Chinese gall on R. chinensis, and wood and roots of R. pentaphylla.  Leather tanned with sumac is flexible, light in weight, and light in color. One type of leather made with sumac tannins is morocco leather.

The dying property of sumac needed to be considered when it was shipped as a fine floury substance in sacks as a light cargo accompanying heavy cargoes such as marble. Sumac was “especially dangerous” to marble. “When sumac dust settles on white marble, the result is not immediately apparent; but if it once becomes wet, or even damp, it becomes a powerful purple dye, which penetrates the marble to an extraordinary depth.”

Medicinal use

Sumac was used as a treatment for half a dozen different ailments in medieval medicine, primarily in Middle-Eastern countries (where sumac was more readily available than in Europe). An 11th-century shipwreck off the coast of Rhodes, excavated by archeologists in the 1970s, contained commercial quantities of sumac drupes. These could have been intended for use as medicine, as a culinary spice, or as a dye.  Staghorn sumac is a powerful antioxidant, with ORAC rating over 1500 μmol TE/g.

Technical Description

This image was taken with an iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app.

Daily Prompt – Struggle

Another sunrise achieved

When I saw today’s WordPress Daily Prompt of Struggle, the first thought that came to mind is how the Yoga Tree overcomes the elements in her on-going battle to make it from season to season…

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Overcoming the Elements

Technical Details

This image was captured with an iPhone 5S using the standard Camera app.