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
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) belongs to the group of dragonflies known as king skimmers. The nymphs live in the water, molting and growing until they are ready to emerge from the water and then molting a final time to reveal their wings. Even though we don't have standing water on our property, the little marsh obviously was wet enough to give us a Widow Skimmer.
This is still a male youngster - adults have a steely blue body area, but juveniles are yellow with brown stripes.
I hope to see many more, as they normally prey on mosquitoes.
Friday, February 17, 2017
There are at least three dozen different pines all over the United States. Not exactly sure what I found here on the side of an urban road, but the growth of young pine cone fascinated me. Also with the import of foreign species for landscaping purposes I'm not even sure if it would be a domestic US pine or if the "shrubbery" is actually from Asia or from Mexico. As far as I can tell the bundle of needles is two hold together by the sheath.
Not being a biologist I also have no clue, if these are female or male parts. Maybe somebody of the readers could share some insight.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
On my first visit to the US, I was staying with a friend who lived close to the railroad tracks. During the night a train was approaching and honked his horn because of a nearby unsecured grade-level crossing. Man, I never woke up that fast at 3am in the middle of one of my R.E.M. phases. I mean I was standing next to the bed wondering what just happened to me. Growing up, I was used to a mere loud whistle, but that intensity could have woken a dead man!
The next morning over coffee, I asked my friend about the trains and he shrugged his shoulders and said, that he can't hear them anymore when they are driving by at night. Well since then, train horns became part of my life, wherever I lived, I was able to hear "short short long short" outbursts of air. Sometimes from a distance, sometimes closer to the tracks.
Trains fascinated me since my early childhood, when my grandfather took me to watch trains passing the big train bridge leading them into my hometown and the love never subdued. Recently we stumbled upon some special locomotives of a small local railroad, in yellow and blue livery. And that's where I took the picture of the train chimes as they are also called. I loved the minimal approach with the blue sky behind the horns.
And no, I did not know that there are that many different manufacturers of horns and that they all chime for a free-passing in different tones, till I stumbled upon the video below.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
As they say - smell the roses.
Yes love can be a "burning ring of fire" as June Carter & Merle Kilgore co-wrote in the song made famous by Johnny Cash, but sometimes you have to be careful to not "burn out." So let it grow. Let it grow slow. Take time, rest, enjoy and contemplate. And as that snail is working up its way, keep on working on it. Life is not a race, we all get to the end. Sooner or better later.
I prefer being late to my funeral. There is a lot I want to cherish before that. Love is one thing!