This week’s photo challenge proved to be somewhat thought provoking for me. I was not sure exactly how to approach it. In the simplest sense, one is almost always trying to take outdoor pictures that are noteworthy and perhaps “out of the world”. In another sense, one also tries to capture outdoor images with the camera that are unusual, and that may seem out of this world. But nothing is really out of this world in the real sense, is it? How often does one take pictures out of this world? Does this picture of the moon and Venus qualify? Looking through my archives, I realize that I have already posted a bunch of pictures in my blogs that could fit this theme – pictures of the skies and the earth that seem like they are not of this planet. Here is one that might not have appeared before. This was taken in the area of the Smoky Mountains. The planet is on fire in the morning light. The town of Gatlinburg lies below us.
All in all, it was tough figuring out what tack to take for this week’s challenge. In the end I decided to go with pictures that could be considered out of this world to some people, but may be more commonplace to others in their own circumstances. Here goes.
This is the fruit of Queen Anne’s Lace. This wild plant is quite widespread close to where we live, but I am pretty sure it would seem to be something out of this world for some of the natives.I wonder how many people have taken the time to notice something as simple as what is seen in the picture below. Even the simple things can seem out of this world once you open your eyes, and perhaps your imagination.And then there are things that could seem exotic to some of us but are not so unusual in other places. I have already forgotten which part of the world this flower is originally from.Would something like this, a mud pool, be considered out of this world? You can see them in New Zealand.From this perspective it might be difficult to recognize that the picture below is that of the face of a snapping turtle. Look at the eyes. Isn’t this out of this world? We actually came across this creature in the park not far from home.
Places in India, especially in the cities, tend to become very crowded during the daytime. We live in one such location in Chennai. You can see a few pictures illustrating the street scene in this older blog that I posted a while back. I used to go up to the terrace of our house and look down on the activity in the street. There were the pedestrians and the numerous two-wheelers – cycles, scooters and motorbikes, and then there were the heavier four-wheelers, be it the cars, the trucks, or the buses. It could be chaos as they all jockeyed to occupy the same space. I saw this person on a motorbike at one point at the corner of the street. There was something about his face that got my attention.Here is a second picture I am submitting for the weekly challenge. Because of the effort level involved, our group tended to get separated as we were climbing Vidhyagiri hill in Shravanabelagola in Karnataka. As illustrated in the picture below, we tended to get surrounded by other groups and sometimes become just another face in the crowd.
The silence of the morning sneaks in through the windows of our home, temporary though it may be, in the woods.It accompanies us during our morning walk through the estate.The only sounds are those of the awakening birds.The silence of the morning greets the awakening village.It lights up the fields.The silence of the morning is my company as I walk through the misty woods,and as my four-footed companion happily keeps me company on the trail.The silence of the morning is a balm that soothes the soul.
Today is the birthday of an old friend. We go back a long way, all the way back to elementary school. My friend is a remarkable person – full of joy, sweet, smart, kind, curious, adventurous, and always helpful. He is one terrific guy. I went on a bike ride with him this summer in the Rockies in Canada. Here are some pictures from the ride that capture his spirit, including his sometimes playful, dare I say, cheeky nature.
At the start of the ride.At the Goats and Glaciers viewpoint.The lovely couple.Do not know what happened here!Supporting a fellow rider up a challenging slope.He is his own man,but I am not sure what he is doing here.They both have one foot in the Banff National Park and the other in the Jasper National Park.The explorer on Parker Ridgeprobably looking at Saskatchewan Glacier (not in the picture) in the distance.He gives a friendly wave as we head out to our stop for the evening at The Crossing Resort.He was the first to venture into the glacier fed waters of Waterfowl lake. It was cold!Here he is returning from an exploration in the vicinity of Bow Summit.The friendly wave. Happy birthday and happy trails, my friend!
It could be difficult to find conditions that lend themselves to having a feeling of serenity during a somewhat hectic holiday trip, but we did nonetheless experience some such moments during our visit to Ecuador.
We stayed at the Finch Bay Hotel on the island of Santa Cruz while in the Galapagos. We spent our evenings at the hotel while making many day-trips to different places to take in the sights. While at the hotel, you could sit out in the open area next to the swimming pool and look out over the bay. On a clear night, one could see the cruise ships resting in the bay under the peaceful light of the moon.One was also likely to be greeted by the great blue heron (who seemed to have set up residence in the neighborhood) in the quiet early morning, and one could also join it in greeting the dawn of another new day.Back on the mainland, on our way from Quito to Otavalo, we stayed in cabins beside the San Pablo lake. The lake was beautiful in the early morning light. A light mist rose over the quiet waters.The awakening birds flew low over the waters of the lake as we looked out over it. It was very peaceful.At Papallacta, a little village situated in a mountain valley high in the Andes, we could see the the lazy clouds floating across the sky in the evening light, past the snow-capped Antisana volcano, as the sun began to set.In the morning, while we were taking a lazy walk, we saw the cows grazing peacefully on the mountain pastures with not a care in the world.We traveled further east to the Amazon region of the country. In the evening light, under the gently rising clouds, we could see the winding Napo river wend its way towards the Amazon, just as it has been doing for thousands of years. This was the view from our room in the resort where we stayed.We experienced the sunset on the Napo river. The river and its surroundings, and even the repetitive phut-phut sound of the engine on the boat, have a calming effect, as we head back to the resort for an evening of relaxation.Our hacienda on a mountainside near Patate was also located in very serene surroundings. The view included the Tungurahua volcano in the distance.
This week’s theme is my lame excuse to present a few pictures from our visit to West Africa many years ago.
The round hut below belonged to an elder in a village in Guinea.This is an outdoor marketplace in Guinea where the goods are protected from the sun by the round umbrellas.As we rounded a corner on the road during one of our many outings in Guinea, we came upon this village with many round buildings.The fishing boats used by the fishermen along the coast of Senegal seemed to have somewhat rounded (rather than flat) bottoms.The Faidherbe bridge over the Senegal river in Saint-Louis connects two different parts of the city, one on the mainland and the other on an island on the Senegal river.This is a piece of art (temporary, it would seem) created out of colored sand in one of the shops on Goree Island just outside of Dakar.I thought the shell on this turtle that we saw at a wildlife sanctuary that we visited in Senegal was well rounded.
Strictly speaking, the definition of the word “glow” implies that the object in question is giving out light on its own. But the weekly challenge, as presented here, includes scenarios where things may not be really glowing, but appear to do so. With that in mind, here is a picture that appears to show trees whose leaves are glowing. But this is only a trick of the light. The effect is due to the angle of the light of the sun coming through the trees. If you look at the leaves from another angle, as they appear in the left side of the picture below, it is clear that the leaves do not really have a glow. Perhaps I could also claim that the object in the background (which you might recognize) also has a certain glow to it when seen from this angle.
These pictures were taken from the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. By changing the scale of the captured picture, one is able to zoom into the BBQ festival that was going on and even see the stage on which they were having performances.We did, of course, stop by the festival to sample the food.
We had the opportunity to visit the Camden Hills State Park in Maine during our trip to New England earlier this year, and the chance to hike a couple of mountains (or perhaps they should be called hills!) in the park. I got to take pictures from some locations that took into consideration differently scaled perspectives of the scene in front of us. I did this by zooming into the scene in front of me to different extents to change the scale of the shot.
Here is a panoramic rendition of a view from Ocean Overlook on the Megunticook trail in the park. (You can open the picture in the intended resolution for viewing by clicking on it. The picture should open in a new tab.) If one were to take a different picture of the same scene with a different scale factor, you can zoom in on the details of the bay on the left hand side of the original picture.A further scaling would reveal the town of Camden at the right side of the bay.Finally, if you scale the picture even further, you can even see the individual boats on the left side of the bay. If you take another look at the panoramic picture (preferably in its full resolution), you can also see Mt. Battie (a smaller hill) at the center of the picture. If you look at this part of the picture zoomed in, at a different scale, you can see the road up to the top of Mt. Battie more clearly.If you continue to scale the picture, you can make out the tower on Mt. Battie a little better. Here is another example of the effect of scaling. If you were to take a picture from Mt. Battie of the Ocean Overlook on the Megunticook trail, it can look like this from a distance.If you zoom in to a different scale, you can see the details of the people sitting at the overlook.It is clear that one needs to have a closer look at the picture in order to be able to make out the details and make any definitive statements about them.
If you have not done so, you should see this short video about scaling in the context of the universe that we live in.
From a philosophical perspective, one can see that you are likely to make mistakes if you do not have the right perspective on what you are seeing or experiencing. You should not accept any statements regarding such details from a person who has not done the necessary homework in this regard.