Monday, April 30, 2012

Took a walk on the wild side

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music
      of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.


(Maltbie Davenport Babcock  1858-1901)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Welcome Home (?)

I believe it's not only the fog that comes on little cat feet.

After a long but safe and uneventful journey back to the north country, during which we watched the season roll back from summer to early spring, we were surprised this morning to find ourselves back in the middle of winter. Perhaps it was karma at work, since we thought we had escaped that season. We were somewhat unprepared - mentally - to move back that far on the calendar. The rain that started last night quietly turned into the proverbial white stuff as the overnight temperature approached the freezing point.

The only member of the household who could truly appreciate the vagaries of nature was Sasha - she was back in her element.

(all shots made with a 10-22mm lens at f7.1, ISO200, and shutter speeds from 1/250 to 1/100 sec)

Friday, April 20, 2012


No, this is not my farewell to blogging - just a [temporary, I hope] farewell to the Sunshine State. Before you go further, click on this link to enjoy a little farewell music while you have a look at the rest of my post:

We shall soon be heading back north where we learned that spring still awaits us, despite a couple of false starts. If all goes as planned, Sasha will enjoy temperatures much more to her liking - 7C/45F instead of 31C/88F - in a few days. Our woolies will be within reach as we near home. Brrrr !

[I will have limited internet access over the next few days. However, our extremely poor wireless internet service back home will be swapped out for a new satellite-based service which is being touted as far superior. Being a half-glass-full person I am cautiously optimistic that I will be able to resume posting and visiting early next week. Hope springs eternal !]

Here are a few more memories from our stay.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Looking on the bright side

"You know it's going to be a long day when you yell 'Seriously?!?' at your alarm clock." (author unknown)

Ah, the benefits of airline deregulation. When I was young, people flew at a decent time. But now, to get a good airfare, it's the early bird who catches the plane. And so the alarm clock rudely jolted us out of bed, prematurely, so we could get our daughters to the airport by 04:00 am (!!) for a 06:00 am flight. It was early, but on the bright side there was no traffic (everyone else had wisely chosen to stay in bed) - the usual 45 minute trip was done in under 25.

There was another bright side to this equation. I'm rarely up to witness a sunrise but since I'd already paid the price, I was treated to the following, which in my estimation was adequate compensation.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday 2012 - 1e Paasdag 2012

1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?

6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:

7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’

8 Then they remembered his words.

(Luke 24: 1-8)

As, or after, you read the resurrection story in Luke 24, you might want to listen to this:

Some of you might be wondering what the rest of the subject line means. Literally translated from Dutch it means the 1st day of Easter (Easter is celebrated over 2 days). As a tribute to my Dutch heritage, I added a link to my favourite Dutch Easter hymn:

I wish each of you a blessed Easter or Zalig Pasen.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Armed for mortal combat

While my 2 youngest daughters accompanied their mother on a shopping trip today, I left them to pursue one of their favorite pastimes and I pursued mine. Not far from the outdoor mall, a small stream extended inland from the bay for a ways, one side heavily covered with red mangroves. I thought there might be an opportunity to spot some exotic birds or other wildlife so I started following it, walking along the open bank. Although I walked slowly and quietly I saw only the occasional fish do a back flip in the air. When I came to a point where I could go no further, I stopped, and as I put down the camera bag a movement caught my eye.

I stood very still and soon I saw more movement nearby. As I reached for my camera, I saw little creatures scurrying at top speed along the bank and disappearing into little holes. I waited quietly for several more minutes and slowly they reappeared, many of them brandishing what appeared to be a sizable weapon. I watched through the telephoto lens as they jousted with each other.

It turns out that these fierce little creatures were mud and sand fiddler crabs. The males are adorned with one large claw, which can be either right or left handed (clawed ?) and with which they hope to flag down a passing female, or thwart a male rival. I think the object of their desire is the subject of the last photo (although to me she looks a bit like Darth Vader).

(all photos made with a 70-200mm lens with 2x extender, ISO200, 1/320 - 1/400 sec, f6.3)

click on photo to enlarge

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Not for the faint of heart

Our third group of visitors returned home earlier this week - we thoroughly enjoyed their company. I and my shutter are taking a brief rest and then we'll prepare to meet our last set of visitors during this stay down south.

My son-in-law was as enthusiastic as I was to spend a day under a hot sun swiveling our heads to watch the action at an airshow last week. I had no idea that an airplane could be made to do the maneuvers that these daredevil pilots subjected them to. I tried to put together a sample of the different aircraft that we saw, but this doesn't begin to do it justice. For the first time (in a long time) I filled a memory card (well, 2 actually) at a photoshoot. The car in one of the photos consists of a jet engine with a frame and metal shell around it resembling a car - from a standing start it raced the green/purple airplane which had a head start flying above the runway - and beat it (the engine generates 12,000 HP) !

I hope to visit many of you over the next few days before I enjoy the company of our last set of visitors.
(all action photos made with a 70-200mm lens plus a 2x extender giving a 140-400mm focal length, at 1/1000 sec, ISO200)

B-29, Lockheed L-12

Team RV - kit planes built in owners' garages

Matt Younkin in a Twin Beech 18

Gary Ward in an MX-2 unlimited aerobatic aircraft
In the lower right is the jet engine car that from a standing start beat Gary's plane !

(top) Vought F4U Corsair; (bottom) Grumman F8F Bearcat

F/A-18 Super Hornet, Mig-17

F/A-18 Blue Angels