A quest for the ultimate, beautiful, meaningful picture


Love of fur – Weekend wallpaper

Don’t we all love fur—on the original rump, of course. And doesn’t love between cats give us all the feeling that we’d like to cuddle with them? That feeling was what I wanted to express with this picture of a pair of Sri Lanka panthers, made during a visit to the zoo.

And on a practical note: you’ve got to make the best of those darn animals that turn their backs on you…



Weekend Wallpapers: Butterflies in the Garden

Sunny Sunday in August means that there are quite a few butterflies in the garden. Nationwide counts established last week that the numbers of butterflies are good this year. Good for this decade, that is. Compared with the 1990s, they still are dramatically low. So what does one do in one’s garden to make it more butterfly-friendly?
For one thing, we don’t eat all the prunes and leave some for insects. Not purely out of ecological reasons, I admit: there is simply too much to keep up with the prunes! Among butterflies, Red admirals and Commas (Polygonia c-album) are very fond of overripe fruit. The Comma I could only get in the picture when it was resting for a bit on a prune leave; the prunes it was eating from were hanging in the tree, too much in the shadow to allow for a photo.
A Small white (Pieris rapae) was laying eggs in the grass of the lawn. The back of her body almost disappears in the bokeh; I had to give priority to high shutter speed to avoid blur because of my lack of stability. Not a smart place to lay eggs, because the lawn will be mown and 15 meters further she could find enough cabbage plants, the plants to which the butterfly owes its Dutch name: Klein koolwitje.
In both cases, it was also an exercise in the free-hand use of a telezoom lens plus a 1.4x extender to achieve almost 280mm (420mm equivalent with the sensor’s crop factor)—that is what made stability such an issue…
Anyway: free to downlaod for wallpaper use!

Comma (Polygonia c-album)

Comma (Polygonia c-album)

Small white (Pieris rapae)

Small white (Pieris rapae)

Wednesday Wallpaper: Winter and Spring, Mixed-Up World

Nature is amazing, and it takes little addition from a photographer to record it. The amazement is about the very late spate of winter when spring ought to be getting on. This Hazel shrub shows how it’s a mixed-up world now: catkins covered in snow! All the photographer does, is wait for a sprinkle of sun in between the clouds to add a little to the photo. Luckily I did not have to wait long in the cold 😉

And who sang ‘mixed-up world’ again? Wikipedia gives the answer: Sophie Ellis-Baxtor, 11 years ago!

Hazel in a mixed-up world

Hazel in a mixed-up world

Weekend wallpapers: Lighter side of winter

In the part of the world where I live, winter is mostly dreary: cloudy days, with temperatures just above freezing, rain, chilly wind. A few weeks of snow cover (a few centimetres deep) are promised to us by the climate statistics, but in subjective experience it’s much rarer than that. And especially rare are days like this weekend, when a few flakes of snow fall on a windless day. A good occasion to rediscover the beauty of one’s own backyard dressed in a very picturesque cover.

Weekend wallpapers: Thinking of spring in Ameland

Winter is finally beginning in this part of the world, it seems (at least for a week, a little bit). Yet it makes me think of spring, and somehow a spring holiday at the Dutch island of Ameland came to mind, where we stayed for a week. Sandy beaches and lots of sea birds in the middle of nesting were the main themes of a sunny stay. So to lift our minds from the northern darkness, here are some Canadian geese and some close-ups of the beaches.

Weekend Wallpaper: Iceland beach

Rummaging through old photos (a nice passtime on gray weekend days) I discovered that I never shared any of my Iceland trip pictures! It was just a short visit, in the summer of 2011. In fact, just a two-day trip after the end of a conference I attended there. Too short to say that I’ve seen Iceland, but long enough to get the feeling that it is a country where you must become a geologist, a biologist, a storyteller–or a photographer. And a country where it is better to be a visiting photographer than to be living in (sorry, Icelandic readers!) because the Icelandic idea of summer is too close to winter for me: not too cold but with the constant wind it did not feel pleasant!

Anyhow. The pebble beaches of Londrangar and Djupalonssandur (if you teleport to this location, you’re not far off, just drive west for some time) provided subjects for typical wallpaper pictures at every square meter. And think of the sound of those pebbles rolling with every wave that breaks on the beach!

Typical wallpaper picture for me means: not too distracting but enough matter of interest to catch your gaze in between, for instance when you’re switching from one app to the other or when you’re waiting for inspiration ;-). They must be simple but not boring, with a little something that breaks the (random) pattern–what I like to call in one word ‘sinplicity‘: simplicity with a little sniff of ‘sin’ to make it interesting.

As always: you’re welcome to click on the photos and download the original, larger version for your pleasure. Enjoy, and keep you life sinple!

Wallpaper Wednesday: Warm views from the desert

Some days off–time to post some wallpapers. Made a year ago, on a day tour into the desert around Abu Dhabi. Feel free to download and enjoy while waiting for inspiration at your computer screen.

Flight of the bumblebee — source of the title is music

A bit off-topic in a photography blog, but yesterday’s wallpaper was given a title of a pretty well-known piece of music: Rimsky-Kosakoff’s ‘Flight of the bumblebee’. Just checking on it, I read here that it belonged to an opera originally, but probably like most people, I only knew it as a short orchestral piece. It can be found on YouTube. And for nitpickers like me: the picture that goes with that video shows a honey bee, not a bumblebee.   

Weekend Wallpaper: Flight of the bumblebee

Flying bumblebee over a flowers–looks easy and in a way it is: just keep snapping at the little critter until you’ve got it in focus and in the right place, which means: in between visiting two flowers for nectar and with a reasonably ‘quiet’ background. But do you realise how fast these bumble bees fly? And how little time they need to hide themselves from your camera in another flower? Luckily modern cameras give you many shots per second at full resolution (sharpness!), and fast autofocus systems (not nearly fast enough though–you still need a lot of luck and a lot of pictures). So that’s what I did for this one: set the camera to hi-speed photographing, maximum aperture to get fastest shutter speeds, and just keep the button pressed! And delete all the bad ones…

Anyhow: hopefully “the flight of the bumble bee” is your kind of wallpaper!


Wallpaper Wednesday: Koyasan again

Oops, almost forgot again that it was Wallpaper Wednesday. Here are some more of my favourite wallpapers from Koyasan, the little town in Japan full of Buddhist temples and with the immense graveyard Okunoin.