Saturday, August 24, 2013

Backstage at the Dublin Irish Festival

This photo is one of my favorites from this year's Dublin Irish Festival. It was during the finale on Sunday evening.

I'm about to head to the airport for the first leg of my trip to Cape Town. I have a lot of long flying hours between now and Sunday night (SA time zone). Don't worry too much if the blog is inactive for a few weeks. If I can manage, I'll post a pic here and there, but we're going to be in very remote areas sans wifi and cell phone service. You'll hear all about it later in the year (probably much later than I would like given my international travel schedule between now and November 1....)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Waterman farm in summer

Waterman farm in summer by andiwolfe
Waterman farm in summer, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Morning walks at Waterman farm are a highlight of living near Ohio State University. I really enjoy watching the changing dynamics of the farm through the seasons. In winter, the snow makes the farm a magical place, so quiet and peaceful. Spring, with the fields being readied for planting, the animals so happy to have new grass to munch, and the rush of the plants to grow before their competitors crowd them out is a refreshing time to walk the farm. Summer seems kind of lazy in comparison, with the heat making everything slow down a bit. However, the corn grows so fast, and then it's gone before you know it. Autumn - well, that's special, too. I'll miss most of the Autumn season this year. I'm heading to South Africa in just a few days for my field season to collect and study species of Hyobanche....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dublin Irish Festival 2013 - Part 2

The weather was just about perfect for this year's Dublin Irish Festival. In fact, there was a record attendance at about 104,000 visitors.  Friday night there was a threat of rain, so it seemed as if attendance was a little light, but that changed on Saturday and Sunday.

 Slide performed all three days of the festival. This photo is from Friday night. Daire Bracken (fiddle) has a nickname of "Tigger" because he bounces around on stage all through the set. It's rare to get a photo of this man that isn't blurry. He's a great fiddler, so it's always a pleasure to hear him featured in a set.  All the band members are fantastic musicians. If you've not had a chance to hear this band, make sure you attend a concert in the near future.

 Late on Friday, people were not buying iced tea. The line was pretty deep during Saturday and Sunday, though.

Saturday features the Highland games. Where else can you see so many athletes dressed in kilts?

The Celtic version of shot put...

Brian Boru's Ireland is always a huge hit at the festival. This year, in addition to photographing the people, I did some still lifes of some of the wares and exhibits. 

These bangles feature a Celtic knot design.

Lovely produce!

Hmmmm, I don't think this is the right size....

Celtic canines is also a favorite area of the festival. I always enjoy visiting the dogs and owners.

Dublin Stage:

Manus McGuire of the Brock McGuire band.

Celtic Rock stage:


Celtic Rock stage:

Enter the Haggis (I love the name of this band)

Andreas Transø on the Celtic Music House stage. Andreas was a guest of Charlene Adzimas and Rick Nelso for their sets.  Not only is Andreas a great singer, he is a story teller and quite a versatile entertainer.

Liz Knowles from Open the Door for Three.

Changeling: Debora and Karl Colon

I always enjoy watching the sandcastle sculptors at work. 

The music vendors in the Cultural area always have a lot of people gathered round. I loved the late afternoon lighting on this set of uillean pipes.

The leathersmith's booth was a popular place, too.  I'm not bold enough for the fashion statement these ladies were making, but they seemed pretty comfortable wearing leather corsets and halters....

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Finally, a pair of hiking boots I can wear!

This posting is specifically for all the women who read my blog - especially those who love to hike and backpack, but have painful bunions. I've had bunions from the time I was a teenager, and they have slowly but surely progressed to the point where every time I see a podiatrist, he/she recommends surgery.  I'm not a fan of foot surgery, especially since my bunions do not hurt 99.999% of the time.

This photo was taken during my trek from Lukla to Everest base camp in Nepal during 2009. I really did a number on my feet during the trek - blisters galore, bursitis of the metatarsals, and, of course, the bunion challenges. I managed with lots of zinc-laden sports tape, lambswool, and creative taping of my feet, blisters, and bunion pads placed behind the bunions. I was a bit slow at times, but I walked every step of the way from Lukla to Gorak Shep, up Kala Patar, and back to Lukla.

Finding shoes has always been a real challenge for me. The shoes have to have a sufficiently large toe box so that the sides of the shoe do not put pressure on my bunions. I'm pretty successful at finding running/walking shoes that fit this bill. Forget high heels or any fashionable dress shoe. I've resigned myself to the fact that I will always look frumpy when it comes to shoe fashions. However, I truly do need to have hiking boots that not only are sturdy and can take the abuse I give them during my field seasons in South Africa, but I need them to fit well and to not put pressure on my bunions.

In all the years I've been hiking and doing field work, I've never had an ideal pair of boots that do not hurt my feet. However, I think I may have finally found the perfect pair as of yesterday. I went to Outdoor Source, our local outdoor activities supply store, and told the woman who waited on me my sorry saga about hiking boots. She told me that I should try a boot made for men because the toe box is much wider than those in womens' boots. 

Voila! I could tell when I put these boots on that they would be very comfortable.  They are Salomon GTX boots, and I'm totally happy with them. I did a hike at Highbanks Metro park last evening with them and felt no hotspots, no pressure points on the bunions, and they were very comfortable. I did another walk in them this morning and they still feel great.  The big test will be in South Africa, but I suspect that I have finally found a solution to my bunions vs. hiking boots life-long battle.

So, ladies - if you have bunions and have never found a hiking boot that was comfortable, I highly recommend that you try your equivalent shoe size in menswear boots. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hard work pays off - Spider on the night shift, part 2

 This evening Steve and I did a hike at Highbanks Metro park. The main motivation was to try out my new hiking boots before I head to South Africa next week. The good news is that the boots fit well and I had no hotspots or other issues after a three mile hike.

The other good news is that our friend, the orb weaver spider, had made a new web in the same spot as last night. This time the dogs stayed inside while I went to fetch my camera gear. I was able to make a photo without worrying about whether the dogs would snap one of the anchor lines. This spider is about two inches long (including the legs).

I still do not know the name of the species, but she's beautiful. I hate to admit it, but when I looked at her through the macro lens, my first thoughts were of king crab legs.....

Update: 18 Aug 2013 - This is Neoscona crucifera, the Variable Orbweaver. Ohio Department of Natural Resources has a pdf on the common spiders of Ohio, which gives a lot of natural history about the spiders we most often see in the state.  For example, orbweaver spiders spin a new web every day. The sticky strands are the spiral ones. The spider is nocturnal and eats mostly moths. The web is gone by morning, and the spider eats the strands (to recycle the proteins in the silk), and then hides during the day.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Spider on the night shift

Steve and I went to the Shamrock Club session for a little while tonight (we left early, but that's another story altogether). When we came home, the dogs rushed out the back door to play in the yard. They like to hunt worms at night, but I wanted them to come into the house. I took the big flashlight and searched the back yard to find out where they had gone. The light caught this spider hard at work weaving its web.

I've no idea what species it is, but by the web it was making, it's probably an orb weaver spider.

I watched it working this rather large web for a bit before getting the camera out. The spider was about 2 inches in diameter, including the legs.

I'm pretty amazed at how hairy the spider is in close view. The dogs snagged one of the anchor lines and it immediately scrambled toward the pole it was working from and huddled in a defensive posture.

The Young Dubliners

The Young Dubliners by andiwolfe
The Young Dubliners, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

My favorite two hours at the 2013 Dublin Irish Festival was at the Celtic Rock stage on August 3, when the Young Dubliners rocked the festival. Every year I learn a few more things about this extraordinary group of musicians. For example, Dave Ingraham (on far left) and Brendan Holmes (second from right) are both talented photographers. Given their heavy travel schedule while on tour, it's always a pleasant surprise for me to have the opportunity to visit with these guys before they take the stage. They certainly know how to put on a good show, and they are definitely my favorite Celtic Rock band.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rainy night in Marais

Rainy night in Marais by andiwolfe
Rainy night in Marais, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Back to May 20, 2013 for this photo. Walking at night in Paris - in the rain. Lovely colors, lovely reflections.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cone flowers

Cone flowers by andiwolfe
Cone flowers, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

It's been a few weeks since my last upload to Flickr. This photo was taken in July, during one of my morning walks along the Olentangy River. These cone flowers were spotted along the OSU wetlands billabong.

The vegetation has grown in, so it's hard to see the pond these days, but the flowers are looking pretty spectacular around the area.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dublin Irish Festival 2013 - Part 1

The first weekend of August is always the best of the year for Irish Music as about 100,000 people gather for wonderful music, games, cultural events, shopping, sessions, dancing, and general craic. The weather this year was the best I can remember - not too hot, not too humid, and not very much rain. I was busy Friday evening, so didn't have a lot of time for doing photos, but here's a sampler from the evening hours after 9 pm.

John Whelan played a set on the Celtic Music House stage. Here's one of his accordions, waiting in the wings.

John Whelan - many-time All Ireland champion on button accordion.  It was great to see John again this year.

Slide played the Trinity Stage. The back of the tent was open, so I was able to get some interesting silhouette photos of the band in action.

Natalie MacMaster returned to the festival with her family. Last time she was here she was pregnant with her fourth child. Three of the kids performed toward the end of the set, and were a huge hit with the audience.

I love photographing the vendor areas at night. The lighting in the tents set against the dark background makes for some interesting interaction photos.

The caricature artist at work draws an audience whenever he is doing a portrait.

To see the rest of my Friday photos for Dublin Irish Festival 2013, click here: Dublin Irish Festival 2013 - Friday.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

We'll all miss Billy!

Billy Rudd, a friend to all woodturners who participated in Australia's Turnfest over the past 11 years, passed away August 6th, after a valiant fight against melanoma.  Billy always had a smile, made you laugh, and was dedicated to making Turnfest a huge success. We'll all miss his antics and humor.

This is the first and only time I saw Billy (on the left) in a suit!  This was at the banquet for Turnfest 2012, with his dear friend David Drescher.

Terry Martin presented a special award to Billy at the closing ceremony for Turnfest 2012. If I correctly recall, it was a pair of metal flip flops...

Rest in peace, Billy.