a cliché i happen to like

How can you pick out a Cal­i­forn­ian from within a brig crowd? Just wait for a rainy day and see which one heads for the door to look at the amaz­ing stuff falling from the sky. We don’t see much of the stuff, espe­cially over our dry sum­mers. This past week­end was moist, one of only two peri­ods of rain over the last four months. So there was this Cal­i­forn­ian, out­doors with cam­era in hand.

Pic­tures of rain­drops on leaves are pretty com­mon, over in cliché ter­ri­tory, almost as com­mon as pho­tos of rain­drops on roses, but there’s some­thing sat­is­fy­ing about mak­ing more, par­tic­u­larly if you live some­where rain can be pretty rare. Here are some quick pho­tos from the garden.

The first few are of rain­drops on Agave atten­u­ata.

This one dis­plays the nice out of focus bare green stems of Galvezia juncea in the background–probably more inter­est­ing than the wet leaf. Photo geeks call the phe­nom­e­non of out of focused­ness “bokeh,” mostly used to refer to the shapes of bright spots in the blur. Lens review­ers drool over bokeh spots that are more cir­cu­lar than those that are irregularly-shaped like bladed lens aper­tures. Bokeh is a pretty unusual word so I had to go run­ning to Wikipedia, where it pointed to “the Japan­ese word boke, which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji, the “blur qual­ity”. The Japan­ese term boke is also used in the sense of a men­tal haze or senility.”


And now a few on tree aloe, Aloe arborescens. It’s kin­duv a scary-looking plant, dontcha think? But really cool, sub­tle, warm col­ors in addi­tion to the green…



And I’m sure you’ve never seen pho­tos of rain­drops on spi­der­webs (insert snarky smi­ley) so here’s one.

And one final drops on spi­der­web photo, this one in front of Cal­i­for­nia match­weed, Gutier­riezia cal­i­for­nica, with nice lit­tle yel­low bokeh cir­cles from the out of focus flowers.

10 thoughts on “a cliché i happen to like

  1. Katie (Nature ID)

    I thor­oughly enjoyed the rain almost 2 weeks ago and am already aching for more. My emo­tional state has improved greatly from the parched feel­ing I’ve had this year. Hope­fully we’ll have more today. Unlike many peo­ple “rainy days and Mon­days” don’t get me down. I like the term “bokeh.” Funny, I thought of spi­der webs as I was read­ing along and sure enough you pro­vided. Cliché indeed.

  2. Gayle

    Pic­tures of rain­drops on suc­cu­lents are not nearly as com­mon as pic­tures of rain­drops on other leaves! I espe­cially like the Aloe arborescens pic­ture. It looks like an octopus!

    Today is the first rain we’ve had up here this sea­son. It seems impos­si­ble that you’ve actu­ally had more rain than me. I was start­ing to think it would never rain ever again.

  3. maggie

    I am right now lying under a warm duvet with the win­dow open to bet­ter hear the rain that’s been falling since early this morn­ing. It’s a very wel­come sound.

    The start of each rainy sea­son is totally photo wor­thy, and you taught me a new word, so add me to the cliche list.

  4. James Post author

    Katie, spo­ken like a true gar­dener. It’s wet, cool and cloudy today, left over from the weekend’s rains, but there’s no “blue Mon­day” here either. Lov­ing it–and my lit­tle clichés!

    Gayle, I am sur­prised! Our rains ahead of yours? I’m head­ing soon for a quick trip to the Sierra and was mon­i­tor­ing the forecasts–rain and SNOW today and tonight, first of the win­ter storms. Pretty exciting.

    Mag­gie, I think I’ll start using “bokeh” non-photographically to refer to cer­tain states between sleep and wake­ful­ness, a state that involves duvets and thoughts of warm bev­er­ages. Enjoy your rain today.

  5. Desert Dweller / David C.

    Even in agoraphobia-central Abq, rain makes peo­ple smile and go out­side — though at a safe dis­tance until light­ning passes. Cliches not so here — plants look more alive! Maybe it’s rain wash­ing the dust off, or chang­ing the lighting?

  6. Diana of Elephant's Eye

    BTW Because my Melianthus is planted in Par­adise and Roses, it gets the 10 litres of grey water every 5 to 7 days that the roses are given. It would go qui­etly dor­mant in sum­mer, if I weren’t defend­ing my roses. Once the nec­tar has gone to seed, I prune out the sprawlers strategically.

  7. James Post author

    Ricki, I think cliches get a bad rap, really.

    Diana, the aloes do look a lit­tle friend­lier, don’t they? And thanks very much for the infor­ma­tion on the Melianthus!

    David, your sum­mer rains take the cake for drama, though! I’ve been up on the mesas north­east of you in some very exposed spots, curled up low, try­ing not to attract elec­tric­ity, while all the time look­ing around at the amaz­ing show.

    Hoov, sign me up for you rain video YouTube channel!

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