Sunday, March 30, 2014

Airplane in the Valley of Goblins

Airplane? Duck? Whatever it is this rock is definitely getting ready for take off.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Keep Balance

This rock so precariously balancing on top of another in Arches National Park is the size of three school buses. And, sadly, it will fall one day.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

White Bryce

As we were driving to Bryce on the morning of the last day of the year 2012 our expectations were low. We thought that once we get to the canyon, we won't be able to see anything, as it will be completely covered by snow.

Luckily, we were in for a breathtaking surprise. The tall and delicate pinnacles of Bryce (called hoodoos) managed to shake off the white powder and were proudly presenting their magnificent orange-red colors to the raising sun, and us.

Bryce Amphitheater on a Sunny Winter Day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Center of the Wave

"The rhythmic and cyclic alternating laminae represent periodic changes in the prevailing winds during the Jurassic as huge sand dunes migrated across a sandy desert. The thin ridges and ribbing seen within The Wave are the result of the differential erosion of rhythmic and cyclic alternating grainflow and windripple laminae within the Navajo Sandstone. These laminae have differing resistance to erosion as they have been differentially cemented according to variations in the grain size of the sand composing them."
From wiki.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Little Ice Pool at the Entrance to the Wave

Dear Nature,
Thank you for being so immensely fascinating and breathtaking.
Monika



Monday, March 24, 2014

Spider Rock

And now for something completely different: Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Birthday Boy

My Love has entered a new decade today and it seems that it's off to a good start: no decline in physical capability or appetite has been observed so far ;)

View from Yosemite Point


We had a great time in Yosemite, both hiking and enjoying delicious food at the Ahwahnee Hotel. As always, Ahwahnee didn't disappoint and it even surprised us with a gourmet red velvet birthday cake. Maybe getting older ain't that bad after all :)

Brunch at Ahwahnee

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hetch Hetchy

It amazes me that even in San Francisco there are people who choose to drink bottled water, which comes from god-knows-where, instead of drinking delicious tap water, which in our city comes directly from Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park and is one of the purest in the country. To each his own, I suppose.

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Friday, March 21, 2014

Yosemite Falls

We're going for the weekend to Yosemite Valley to celebrate Anil's X-th birthday, so I thought it would be appropriate to post a photo from the park.

This year there hasn't been much snow in the mountains, so I don't expect the Yosemite Falls to look like in the photo below, but on the flip side no snow means better hiking opportunities.

Lower Yosemite Falls

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Great Sand Dunes National Park

One of the coolest places we've visited during our honeymoon is Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

What makes this place special is that it has it all: a river with WAVES!, the tallest dunes in North America, tall mountains (six peaks over 13'000 ft/3900 m), alpine lakes, tundra, waterfalls and lots of animals. We do need to go back some time soon.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Drakensberg

Beautiful green Drakensberg ("Dragon Mountain") in South Africa.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Himba Village

While traveling in Namibia few years ago, I had a chance to visit a village of the Himba tribe.

Amazingly, the Himba have managed to maintain much of their traditional lifestyle. They are semi-nomadic, wear traditional clothes and hairstyles, use primitive tools, marry within their own tribe, don't send their kids to public schools, believe in their own god Mukuru, breed goats and cows for food, and don't speak any other language but their own. (Interestingly, their language has names for only four colors. In English, there are names for about hundred.)

During the day, men take care of herd, while the women take care of domestic chores, such as bringing water, building and repairing houses, cooking, taking care of the kids, and making jewellery for themselves and for sale.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Bubbly Crested Pool

The bubbles at the surface of the Crested Pool are a reminder that the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park despite looking o' so inviting, are in fact scalding hot and over the years have claimed lives of over 20 people.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls are the third of five falls on Havasu Creek in the Grand Canyon. The falls drop over a 100-foot vertical cliff and create several pools perfect for bathing, as Havasu Creek maintains pleasant temperature of 70F (21C) year-round. I can personally attest to the warmth of the water, as I had to be waist-deep in the creek to take this photo :)

Havasu Falls

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dragonfly

Dragonflies are clearly awesome. They have beautiful vibrant colors and they can fly like helicopters: up, down, forward, backwards, and sideways. Now I found one more reason to like them: they eat mosquitoes.

I also found a weird curiosity: they larval stage, called naiad, lasts longer than their adulthood (years vs. months), and in naiad form their breath through their... ass!

Friday, March 14, 2014

As Happy As a Clam?

As the day comes to an end and the tide retreats, Thai families gather on the beach of Ao Nang to dig for clams.


This photo made me wonder about the saying "as happy as a clam."

Googling it led to a nice page with the explanation that the original version of the saying was "as happy as a clam at high water," which makes much more sense: when the tide is high, the clams are protected from predators. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Amsterdam

Bikes, canals, tiny houses and lots of rain that prevented me from taking good photos.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes?

Have you ever wondered why zebras have stripes?

Is it simply nature's whim or is there a deeper purpose to the intriguing white-and-black pattern?

It seems that the scientists don't know for certain, so they came up with four theories aimed at explaining the phenomenon.

The first theory claims that the stripes dazzle and confuse the predators, especially when zebras are in a group. The markings work as an optical illusion making it more difficult for predators to pick out a target.

According to the second theory the stripes serve as a camouflage in grassy habitat.

The third theory, my personal favorite, postulates that the stripes, which are unique to each animal, help zebras recognize each other and promote social communication.

The newest, fourth, theory claims that horseflies don't like the way light bounces off the zebras' stripes and, therefore, they find zebras unappetizing.

What's your theory? :)

Social communication is all I'm saying.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Street Art in Chicago

Of all the cities I've ever visited Chicago has the coolest street art. We liked it so much that we would even consider moving there for a few months, as long as they are summer months.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Storm over Grand Canyon

My favorite time to photograph nature and people is during the "Golden Hour" (a.k.a. Magic Hour)–the time just before sunset or just after sunrise, when the light is softer and warmer in hue.

Watching the sun slowly and graciously move down towards the horizon and grace the earth with its warm glow, also warms up my insides and fills me up with feelings of happiness, peacefulness and gratitude. It's better than hours of meditation.

Imagine how happy and grateful I felt, both as a person and as a photographer, when I witnessed a localized sunset storm with lightnings and rainbow over the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, while enjoying a warm summer evening from the peaceful northern rim of the canyon. The experience of a lifetime.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Daylight Saving Time?

No, thank you!

I understand why the Daylight Saving Time was introduced almost a century ago, but I don't understand why it's still being observed in the modern times, despite overwhelming data that it's actually harmful to our health. I'm not going to go into detail on the subject, as there are plenty of news articles that have done it recently: link & link. But I want to voice my concern and encourage you to do the same.

Young Elephant Seals are also skeptical about Daylight Saving Time
 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Rocks in the Water

So rugged yet so peaceful–Olympic National Park coast in Washington.

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Navajo Falls

New Navajo Falls (aka Upper Navajo Falls) is the first of five spectacular waterfalls in Havasu Canyon in the Grand Canyon. It doesn't look like your typical Grand Canyon picture, does it?


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Another Day, Another Hot Spring

Doesn't it look o' so inviting?

Hot Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Happy MPI

Oh, happy times!

Pharrell Williams's song and the video perfectly capture how I remember my PhD time at MPI-CBG in Dresden.

Many thanks to all my friends/co-workers that made this time one of the best in my life!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Geysers of Yellowstone

There are more than 300 geysers and about 10'000 other thermal features in Yellowstone National Park. Each one of them prettier than the other. A photographer's paradise.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Zion Canyon

Here's one of my "old" photos of Zion Canyon, taken about five years ago with my first DSLR. The photo isn't bad but what strikes me when I look at it is that I can take so MUCH better photos right now. Here's to progress and continuous learning!


Monday, March 3, 2014

It's All about Communication

Do chameleons change color? Yes, they do!

But, contrary to common misconception, they don't change color to blend in with their surroundings. Instead, they change color to signal their mood, e.g., their stress and aggression levels, or willingness to engage in mating behavior.

A green chameleon signals that it's in a good mood.

A bright yellow chameleon signals stress and anger.

A colorful, rainbow-like chameleon signals that it's ready to mate.

Hmm, I guess that means that the chameleon that I caught to photograph was either stressed or angry with me (or both).

Sorry, chameleon, I didn't understand your language then. I promise to be more considered in the future.

PS The hairy hand isn't mine :-p

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Grand Teton at Sunrise

Views like this one make it worth to wake up at 5 A.M.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Three Teats of Grand Teton National Park

Trivia of today: the name of the Teton mountain range is abbreviation of its original name "les trois t├ętons" or as we would say in English "the three teats."

Teats or no teats, to me, the Teton Range is the quintessential mountain range–tall, majestic, rugged, seemingly inaccessible, and breathtakingly beautiful.