Sunday, December 29, 2019

Happy 2020 to All!

Domestic geese on a pond near me. The one in the center with neck outstretched is very bossy. Click to enlarge.

Here's a thought for the New Year from the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson: 

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier'...” 

And more geese. Don't they look like they are gossiping about the white one?

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Winter Solstice!

Winter is here! Autumn officially ended last night. The shortest day of the year will soon be behind us and we'll begin to see increasingly longer days and shorter nights from now until Spring. Here is a quote from the painter Andrew Wyeth in appreciation of the season.

I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future - the timelessness of the rocks and the hills - all the people who have existed there. I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it,
the whole story doesn't show." 

Click on the photos to enlarge. 

Merry Christmas to all!
And to all, a shorter night!  

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Butterfly Wing Kaleidoscopes

Take a cold rainy day, a few pictures of butterflies, and Photoshop. Isolate, duplicate, cut, paste, flip, and before you know it you have a collection of beautiful butterfly wing kaleidoscopic images. Well, I do. Here's one. Click to enlarge.
This one was made from bits of monarch and tiger swallowtail wings and a purple flower that made it into the photo.
A relatively simple image like this...
Can be repeated to make this. Pretty, isn't it?
This simple one, repeated, makes...
This! Like rich brocaded fabric.
Here are some of my butterfly models. The ubiquitous cabbage white, Pieris rapae.

The lovely Eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus.
And this acrobatic upside-down Red-spotted purple, Limenitis arthemis.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Snow Geese

Last week I picked a cold sunny day to visit the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway on the New Jersey shore near Atlantic City. Click here for the refuge website. 
Forsythe features an 8-mile drive around freshwater pools and saltwater marsh. At this time of year you can spot interesting winter ducks along the way. And you will spot large flocks of big white birds from a distance. Click the photos to enlarge.
Get closer and you'll see they are snow geese, our winter visitors. You can't miss them; big white birds with black wingtips and pink bills in big noisy groups. 
There are lots and lots of them at Forsythe Refuge right now.
They're flying overhead.
And they are milling about eating the plants, honking and whistling and leaving goose footprints in the mud.
Lots of goose footprints in the mud! The place looks like goose central station.
If you would like to see a lot of snow geese, and take a turn around a lovely salt marsh, now is a good time for Edwin B. Forsythe Refuge.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Ruddy Ducks

I think ruddy ducks might have been the original models for rubber duckies. They are small, plump, rounded, and toy-like. Bigger than robins. Smaller than crows.
This time of year they are non-breeding shades of tan and brown, making you wonder why they are called ruddy. (They get colorful in breeding season.) I've been seeing rafts of a dozen of so winter ruddies on the Delaware River near North Philadelphia for a few weeks.
Cute little ducks! Click the photos to enlarge.