White Pollen

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Most pollen is yellow, but the Desert Canterbury Bell has white pollen.  And it makes a very stunning statement against the dark blue of the petals.  Avoid touching the leaves as it is known to cause a skin rash similar to poison oak in some people.

"White Pollen"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Erupting Volcano

Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Yes, it's a crocus, but it sure looks like a plume of hot lava spewing out of a mountain top.  And within that "plume" are the stamens of the crocus, which when dried is known as saffron, the most expensive spice in the world. 

"Erupting Volcano"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Italian Rose

Monday, March 29, 2010
A rose is a rose is a rose. Everywhere in the world. And this pretty one was in Chiancano Terme, the "spa" town in Tuscany. People from all over go there to partake of the wonderful mineral waters. We were always on the go and didn't have time to checkout the local spas. Maybe next time.

"Italian Rose"     © Kathy Dunham 2010


Sunday, March 28, 2010
While out searching for wildflowers this afternoon I came upon this desert fuzzy.  I'm sure the blossoms are long gone so it's difficult for me to identify.  It might be a wild Heliotrope but I'm not sure.  It just looked great in the late afternoon the light.

"Fuzzies"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Red, White and Green

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Red, White and Green.  The colors of the Italian flag, the Mexican flag and Christmas.  And a flower that is a winter favorite.  Amaryllis.  It comes in many colors, is easy to grow and makes a dramatic statement.

"Red, White and Green"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Pollen Collector

Friday, March 26, 2010
It's fascinating to watch bees collecting pollen.  But I was surprised when I took a closer look at the photo and noticed that the pollen was the same color as the flower.  That's probably not unusual, but I rarely get a close up look at their hind legs where the keep the pollen until they return to the "nest".

"Pollen Collector"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Venetian Balcony

Thursday, March 25, 2010
Space is at a premium in Venice and a large balcony with plants and statuary is a real treat. And it has a view of the Grand Canal, even if you have to stretch your neck a bit to see it.

"Venetian Balcony"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

The Colors of Tomatoes

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
How many colors do tomatoes come in?  I spotted these at the local farmer's market.  A regular palatte of colors. 

"The Colors of Tomatoes"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Wildflower Season

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
It's not the best year but there are some great finds of wildflowers for those willing to look.  Sometimes that requires looking down as many desert wildflowers are small.  These beauties, known as Wild Heliotrope or Blue-eyed Scorpion Weed exhibit tiny flowers about 1/4" across. The fern-like leaves and the coiled, scorpion tail arrangement or "fiddleneck coils" of the flowers are characteristic of this wildflower. 

"Wildflower Season"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Class Still Life

Monday, March 22, 2010
One of the classes I teach is watercolor and I this past weekend I was teaching a botanical watercolor class at The Living Desert, our local zoo and botanical garden.  Although we aren't fortunate to have tulips grow here in the desert, I do like to use them as subjects for my students.  They are a simple flower and relatively easy to paint and they are great to photograph. 

"Class Still Life"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Cactus Flower

Sunday, March 21, 2010
Spring in the desert brings lots of cactus flowers.  All colors, sizes and shapes.  In a good year the plants are covered with blooms.  It's amazing that something that can hurt you with all those sharp stickers can look so lovely when spring arrives.

"Cactus Flower"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Shiny Studebaker

Saturday, March 20, 2010
A highly polished red paint job and chrome are eye catchers.  I was leaving a teaching assignment this afternoon when I spotted this Studebaker in the parking lot.  Actually there were two.  But the other was a not so exciting brown and black.  When I studied the emblem on the radiator I realized that it included a replica of the wooden spoked rims that graced the wheels.  There's nothing like a nicely restored classic.

"Shiny Studebaker"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Tennis Under the Moon

Friday, March 19, 2010
Tonight was the semi-finals of men's doubles at the BNP Parnibas Open tennis tournament being held here in the desert.  The US team of Isner and Querrey were heads over their opponents at 6'9" and 6'6" respectively.  But it was the setting crescent moon over the stadium that caught my eye. 

"Tennis Under the Moon"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Street Performers - Cartagena

Thursday, March 18, 2010
These street performers give black face a whole new meaning.  I don't think Al Jolson could compare. 

"Street Performers - Cartagena"     © Kathy Dunham 2010

Street Beggar

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Beggars are a fact of life, no matter where in the world we go.  This one was in Paris, the Latin Quarter to be specific.  She moved pretty well when no one was looking.  But when she was in the begging mode, she played to part perfectly.

"Street Beggar"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Pretty 'n Pink

Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I love spring.  I love the flowers that the warm weather brings and the wonderful fragrances of the blossoms.  I don't like the allergies but it's a small price to pay for Mother Nature's beauty.

"Pretty 'n Pink"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Not All Daffodils are Yellow

Monday, March 15, 2010
I don't know how many varieties of daffodils there are, but it's amazing how many aren't yellow.  There are all white ones, orange and yellow ones, white and orange and a whole different world of colors, sizes and shapes.  But they're all daffodils.  And all quite beautiful.

"Not All Daffodils are Yellow"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Lunch for One?

Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Italians have a great sense of marketing. This small table was nestled at the end of a narrow alley, easy to miss the restaruant hidden on the left.  But set with sunflowers and all the accessories for a fine lunch, you might wander down to check it out.

"Lunch for One?"     © Kathy Dunham 2010


Saturday, March 13, 2010
Spring is wonderful.  Lots of flowers and blossoms to brighten the landscape.  We'll get different flowers in the summer but none as beautiful as those we get in the spring.

"Ranunculus"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Joanne's Hibiscus

Friday, March 12, 2010
I was at my friend Joanne's for lunch earlier this week when I looked out the window and saw this hibiscus.  The light on it was awesome.  At least I thought so.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

"Joanne's Hibiscus"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Spring Blossoms

Thursday, March 11, 2010
Springtime at The Huntington Library in San Marino, especially the chinese Garden, is a delight to the eyes.  this tree was covered with beautiful white blossoms.  I mean covered.  But it's the delicate stamens that give it character.

"Spring Blossoms"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Anemones in the Morning Sun

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Early monring light shining through the translucent petals of flowers are one of my favorite subjects to photograph.  But finding a purple flower under these conditions is a special treat.  Now you know what my favorite color is.

"Anemones in the Morning Sun"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

"Real" Italian Deli

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
There's nothing better than a real Italian Deli, and this one in Siena, Italy, is no exception.  Just look at all the goodies in the window.  Proscuttio from Parma, salami, Panini and wine.  All that's missing is the cheese. 

"Real" Italian Deli    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Room Keys

No electronic keys in this hotel!!  European hotels still do it the old fashioned way, with a real key.  I just want to know who polishes all that brass.

"Room Keys"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Brown-eyed Primrose

Sunday, March 7, 2010
This common ephemeral (look that word up in the dictionary!) loves sandy soils from dunes to washes.  Look carefully as it is a favorite food of the white-lined sphinx moth.  The caterpillars feed on the leaves and the adult moths feed on the flowers.  This poor plant doesn't stand a chance!

"Brown-eyed Primrose"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Dolls for Sale

Saturday, March 6, 2010
I'm a softie for cute little cloth dolls.  I found these in the small Tuscan town of Pienza. Known for it's Pecorino cheese, this quaint hilltop village was just oozing with charm.  These darling dolls were just waiting for someone to take them home for a little girl to enjoy.

"Dolls for Sale"    © Kathy Dunham 2010


Friday, March 5, 2010
If you've never been to the desert after a  rainy spring then you've missed the the transformation of the skinny, almost dead looking, Ocotillo.  Most of the year it has brown, stick like branches reaching upwards to 20 feet in the air.  But after a rain, brigh greem leaves sprout along the entire lenght of the each branch and at the tips, these bright red-orange flowers pop out.  Just be careful of the sharp spines under those deep green leaves.

"Ocotillo"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Borrego Aster

Thursday, March 4, 2010
It's just the beginning of the wildflower season here in the desert and these Borrego Asters were another find the other day.  Indigenous to the "Badlands" area of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park I found one lone bush on the roadside and did a quick U-turn to get pictures.  Good thing as I didn't find another bush the rest of the day.

"Borrego Aster"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Momma and Baby Camel

Wednesday, March 3, 2010
On my wildflower trek yesterday I came upon fields with these "rusty" sculptures.  Everything from pre-historic creatures to several rows of grape vines and farm workers.  I was fascinated.  In the middle of a grassy field stood pre-historic elephants, sloths and other creatures.  And they weren't all in the same field.  They were scattered over large plots in the Borrego Springs countryside.  Apparently a local philanthropist owns the land and has commissioned a Mexican artist to create these pieces for everyone to enjoy.  It was so wonderful to have such a display of art in a public place for all to enjoy.  Well worth the trip.

"Momma and Baby Camel"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Ajo Lily

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
A rare find in the desert, this Ajo Lily was the highlight of my day today.  Searching for wildflowers, I found a huge patch of these in Borrego Springs, about an hour's drive south of La Quinta.  You would have thought I just walked into a candy shop and was told everything was free.  I couldn't take enough pictures.  Ajo comes from the Spanish word for garlic.  I'm not sure why, as this beautiful flower does not smell anything like garlic or look like it. 

"Ajo Lily"    © Kathy Dunham 2010

Desert Chicory

The wildflower season is just about upon us and I'm getting out my canera, botanical books and hiking shoes so I'll be ready to get lots of pictures.  This desert chicory, a member of the sunflower family, is usually pretty abundant and can be found in sandy washes.  Remember to look down as it's easy to miss the little flowers.

"Desert Chicory"     © Kathy Dunham 2010