Thursday Theme: Blurry

pom pom flowers
Today I visited Rutgers Gardens with my friend Hannah Katsman. I don’t know the name of these delightful purple flowers, but I nicknamed them pom pom flowers (maybe Gomphrena globosa). My photograph originally had more blur in front; I cropped out some of the front flowers. Now you can see more of the blur of the background flowers.

Hannah has a good eye, and thus twice we saw chipmunks. Chipmunks are quick and thus a subject for movement. His eyes were white from my flash, so I toned them down a bit with some brown. I hope it doesn’t look unnatural.

This was the other chipmunk we saw. Here we have a little more of our theme: as the chipmunk moves away, I get blur in my photo.

Thursday Challenge theme is: “BLURRY” (Unfocused, Moving, Foggy,…)
Next Week: LANDSCAPE (Mountains, Trees, Forest, Lake,…)

I’ll post more photos from today’s trip next week for Nature Notes. See an older post of Rutgers Gardens (or click the tag at the bottom for many Rutgers Gardens posts).

Review with Flower Pot

flower pot in Ma'alot, Israel
flower pot in Ma’alot, Israel

On My Blog

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Photographs Near Dusk or Dawn

Jerusalem Israel approaching dusk buildings on Jaffa Street
What do these photos of Jaffa Street (Rechov Jaffo) in Jerusalem and (below) one of the Moorlyn Theater in Ocean City, New Jersey have in common? They were both taken as the day moved away from dawn (Moorlyn Theater) or towards dusk (Jaffa Street shots). If you photograph closer to dusk or dawn, you will often capture beautiful, golden light. Back in 2009, a reader described, regarding a photo of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, “the late afternoon quality of the light.” Ever since then, I’ve been more conscious of capturing photos during those golden hours of the day.

Moorlyn Theater Ocean City NJ boardwalk
The Moorlyn Theater is on the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey. They feature both movies and live shows. This photo was taken the morning my daughter and I woke early for sunrise.

Jerusalem Jaffa Road tracks for lightrail
Here is another shot of Jaffa Road in Jerusalem on a late Thursday afternoon in May. Note the tracks for the lightrail and the many people walking the streets. Thursday night in Jerusalem is a bit like the American Saturday night, as people usually don’t have work or school the next day. There is a sharp contrast of the golden basking glow of the apartment buildings and the shadows of the street area.

For more skies, visit Skywatch Friday. Hoping to link this up to Toby’s Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors as well.

Ocean City Sunrise

sunrise ocean city
On Monday morning I woke up my daughter early, and we headed from our hotel room to the beach a block away in Ocean City, New Jersey.

sunrise ocean city beach
She took her iPad, and I took photos with both my Canon Rebel camera and my Samsung Galaxy 4 phone. It was a fun morning to view the skies. The day before had been rainy – I think that helped with the drama of the skies. The top photo was taken a few minutes before the lower one. It’s fun to watch the skies gradually change.

We tried the same experiment two days later, but my daughter was much more tired and the skies not as dramatic. I would love to photograph Ocean City sunrise again sometime. If you get all the variables right, waking up for sunrise on a beach can be wonderful.

ocean city with ferris wheel
There are lots of amusements on the boardwalk in Ocean City. We went on two different Ferris wheels, one time at night. But there is no liquor sold – it’s a dry town, so lots of families come. I took the Ferris wheel sunrise photo before the top two sunrise on the beach photos.

For more skies, visit Skywatch Friday.

Abundance or Small Change

hands with small change
Thursday Challenge is “ABUNDANCE” (Wealth, Food, People, Love, Lots of Anything,…). Maybe this photo of my daughter holding coins should be called Small Change. But my feeling is that my family makes me feel like I have abundance. I took this photo for a website that I am working on for a new client. We picked a different money photo to use for the site.

Next Week: HARD (Stone, Steel, Cement, Glass, Durable, Difficult,…)

Blog Awards and Fireworks

Fireworks - July 7, 2013 Donaldson Park, Highland Park, New Jersey
Fireworks on July 7, 2013 in Donaldson Park, Highland Park, New Jersey

Blog Awards Received

I want to acknowledge two blog awards received from two excellent bloggers. First, I was pleased to receive the Liebster Blog Award from the talented writer Jeri Walker-Bickett:

Jeri is the author of a collection of realistic fiction short stories called Such is Life. She also recently wrote a guest post for Websites for Small Biz on author blogs.

A week later I was pleased to receive The Very Inspiring Blogger Award from Diana Marinova:
ver inspiring blogger award

I am going to cheat a little and pass on the rules as they are posted on the Liebster Award (instead of doing both) to a few favorite bloggers.

About the Liebster Blog Award

Blogging can be a very solitary life, and sometimes encouragement is needed. The Liebster Blog Award is just that, a token of encouragement from a fellow blogger. A world without rules can lead to chaos, and the blogging world is no exception. In accepting this award, a blogger will follow the following rules. It is a way to “Pay It Forward” to other bloggers.

Answers to Jeri’s questions:

  1. Who is your favorite author? My favorite author choice varies, but I will go with Aharon Appelfeld.
  2. What is the strangest book you’ve ever read and liked? Maus by Art Spiegelman
  3. Favorite social media site? You can circle me (Leora Wenger) on Google+.
  4. Topic of your most popular blog post ever? How to Pay a Shiva Call – A Guide for Non-Jews
  5. Which blog do you read most often? I am afraid to answer this question for fear of offending anyone, but the three blogs that show up in my Frequent folder are: RamblingWoods, Jewaicious and Hannah’s Nook.
  6. What would your last meal be? A depressing question: the last meal I was able to serve my father was chicken soup. So I’ll ask for chicken soup.
  7. What is your biggest pet peeve? vague questions like this one
  8. Where did your best vacation you ever take place? In 2008 we (my husband, my three children and I) visited Kfar Blum in northern Israel.
  9. Who do you consider the greatest TV character? Archie Bunker
  10. What makes you unique? My varied interests: art, piyutim, building WordPress sites and Jewish ways of dealing with death, to name a few.
  11. What one thing would you most like to change about yourself? self-doubt

If you have been nominated below for The Liebster Award and you choose to accept it, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget.
  3. Answer the 11 questions about yourself, provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Give 11 random facts about yourself. (Note: I skipped this; long enough already!)
  5. Nominate 5 to 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award; who have less than 1000 followers.
  6. Create a new list of questions for the nominated bloggers to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post. (You can copy and paste them from here.)
  8. Once you have written your post and published it, you then have to inform the bloggers whom you’ve nominated for the Liebster award. Remember to give a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Reciprocation by the nominees is entirely optional.

11 questions for those who accept Liebster Blog Award from me

  1. Who is your favorite author?
  2. What is your favorite blog topic?
  3. Favorite social media site?
  4. Topic of your most popular blog post ever?
  5. Where did your best vacation take place?
  6. What is your strongest childhood memory?
  7. What is your favorite online recipe?
  8. Which topics do you talk about in person but avoid discussing online?
  9. What is your favorite film/movie?
  10. What is your favorite fairy tale?
  11. Name a historical leader that influenced you.

And here are my nominations for the Liebster Blog Award:

(Some of those listed below have commented on my blog for years – a huge thank you for that).

  1. Hannah’s Nook
  2. Mrs. S.
  3. Pragmatic Attic
  4. Me-ander
  5. Jewaicious
  6. Carver
  7. Rambling Woods
  8. Stuck Under a Baby
  9. Struggling with God
  10. Take Charge Now
  11. Diana Marinova

Review with Rose Garden

rose garden at liberty hall museum
The rose garden at historic Liberty Hall Museum in Union, New Jersey

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Echinacea Flower – Coneflower

coneflower echinacea flower

I’ve wanted to grow echinacea flowers in my yard for a while. This season I’ve got a large one growing in my front yard. Years ago, I grew some in the back, but that area has become too shady. Supposedly, they reseed easily, so I shouldn’t deadhead too much. We shall see.

I couldn’t decide which photo to post, so here are two echinacea photos.

coneflower echinacea flower

Thursday Challenge theme is: FLOWERS (Colorful, Closeups, Gardens, Arrangements,…)

Flora of Mount Meron, Israel

red anemone poppy
My friend who lives in the Galil took me on the peak trail of Mount Meron in the northern part of Israel last week. I was thrilled to be greeted with these red anemones aka poppy anemone, known in Hebrew as kalanit (singular poppy). I thought they bloomed earlier, but she explained that Meron is up high, so the poppies bloom in May. What a treat! There were plenty of flora of Mount Meron in bloom.

peak trail on Mount Meron
Here is a sign for the peak trail on Mount Meron. We parked toward the top of the mountain, then we hiked around the mountain.

mount meron
The views on Mount Meron are breathtaking. There was a bit of a haze, which my friend said is unusual. The skies are typically quite clear in late May.

yellow noorit flower on Mount Meron
I am guessing that these beautiful yellow flowers with insects on them are nurit (singular) in Hebrew – maybe ranunculus asiaticus in Latin. The English name might be asiatic buttercup.

I used this database to help identify the wildflowers:

yellow wildflower
A guess for this yellow flower: yellow pea or yellow vetch. See

yellow vetch
Here’s how those yellow flowers were growing, in a great yellow bunch.

thistle pink
Thistles of various types are common in Israel; I suppose they do well in dry, hot climates.

brown and white butterfly
A brown and white butterfly landed on this thistle.

flower with blue petals on Mount Meron
This aster-like flower with light blue petals I’m guessing is a chicory flower. See: cichorium endivia

Mount Meron view
I will finish up with another view from Mount Meron. Mount Meron is known for the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai. We visited the tomb site and surrounding village – that is a topic for another post.

Review with Red Azalea

red azalea in bloom
We are coming up on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (starts next Tuesday night), and it is customary to bring flowers into one’s home. My azaleas are in bloom this week; who knows how they will appear next Tuesday when I am looking for blossoms to choose? My tulips have come and gone already.

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

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