Wednesday, January 10, 2018
A blog or at least the newsletter I try to read every day comes from Earth & Sky, many of you may know from NPR. Their daily look up into the stars, planets, constellations and other astronomical happenings are a little guide, of what I may expect during the night hours.
Today's newsletter featured the atmospheric phenomenon of a sun pillar (light pillar), who form when the sunlight is reflected from millions of drifting hexagonal ice crystals are in the air. These pillars may reach upwards or downwards normally with a low sitting sun at dawn or dusk and may reach 5 to 10 or even more degrees up or down.
If the light stems from other sources like the moon or streetlights they are called light pillars - you may have seen them, especially in winter night landscape photography.
The website Atmospheric Optics also taught me the difference between rays and pillars; rays are normally visible when the sunlight is scattered because of dust, aerosols or moisture droplets.
Sources: amu communications photo, Atmospheric Optics, Earth & Sky
The photo on top is available for commercial use through Dispatch Press Images.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
|Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) clinging to a Cowpen Daisy (Verbesina encelioides).|
Somehow I missed them for two years. Not the Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) which I could find all over the 17 acres, but that single spot of Cowpen Daisies (Verbesina encelioides) right on the fence to our neighbor. Venturing out in mid-October they were still in full bloom with clusters of late migrating Monarchs clinging to the blooms like cars in line to fill up at a Buckee's gas station next to the highway, destination Mexico.
After a first cold front most of the Monarchs were gone, other butterflies and bugs using the daisy as a late nurturing place. By early November the plants had wilted, dried out and the flowers have become clusters of white seeds. I collected the seeds, planted them and I'm trying to grow them so I can build some more "gas stations" for the migrating butterflies this coming year. I will post some more pictures of Monarchs and other butterflies and bugs visiting this interesting plant in another blog, but now I gotta go water the ones I planted.
Sources: amu communications photo, wikipedia
Saturday, September 2, 2017
North Central Texas only has a smaller oil basin compared with the Permian in West Texas or the Eagle-Ford in South Tecas, so Pump Jacks are rather a rare sight. This one is located above the Bend Arch - Fort Worth Basin oil reserve between Alexander and Stephenville, Texas. I thought that the silhouette with the setting sun would make a great shot.
Not only refers it "romantically" to the old days of using fossil fuels, but it may also signify the end of doing exactly that. As the barrel prices are currently quite low, the pump jack stands mostly idle waiting for better times, where the parent company may make more profit. Also as the cost of a pump jack is "only" around a million dollar, many prospectors are coming back to this old method of gaining oil and gas resources out of the ground instead of using fracking.
Let me know what you think about the picture and our future concerning fossil fuels.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
This is the only sunflower that started to grow from one of these strips that are supposed to produce a whole 10 feet of sunflowers in a row. Well, one is better than none and the other day my wife told me to take a picture of the flower in the evening, as the flower will be completely formed.
I waited right before the sun would set behind the cedar bushes, a couple of first shots, I did not use my flash and obviously got pictures with a relative dark silhouette of the sunflower. So to get more details from the flower I started using the flash, slightly diverted from the white brim of my cowboy hat, to not make the extra light not too harsh on the flower.
In post-processing, I had to enhance some of the darks and whites, basically playing with the contrast, till I had the picture I wanted. I also had to increase some of the blue tones in the sky a bit, to get a bit more life into the sky as well.
I then proceeded to make a BW version of the picture, with different contrast settings to make the monochrome tones work. Thanks to the solar flares, I think that picture works as well.
What do you think? Leave me a comment!
Friday, July 21, 2017
I do love Buckeye butterflies (Junonia coenia), their big eyes or eyespots on the fore- and hindwings. With the pigmented spots they are actually able to scare off predators. It is believed that the spots developed through evolution to give them a functioning defense mechanism. A Swedish study claims that the spots not only keep birds away but that also chickens are intimidated by the frightening eyes.
We have one or two roaming around our "ranch" so I will share more of these beauties as I shoot them. Last October I posted a picture of one sitting on top of a false thistle in my blog "Buckeye Riding On Top of Leavenworth's Eryngo" and even mentioned that the US Postal Service had a stamp honoring the Buckeyes.
There is beauty in the urban jungle.
Open your eyes, wander and wonder.
This entry to an office complex was next door to where I was living, so strolling by I was immediately taken by the play of Light & Shadow. Even when I shot it, it was clear to me that this will be a Black & White picture.
I also like the dichotomy between the concrete and metal on one side and the tree in the background. Urban minimalism.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Stell Dich mitten in den Wind,
glaub an ihn und sei ein Kind -
laß den Sturm in Dich hinein
und versuche, gut zu sein!
Put yourself in the middle of the wind
believe in it and behave like a kid
let the storm embrace you
and try to be good!
German lyrics Wolfgang Borchert / translation by me