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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