Category: photography

The Witching Post

Witches stir up fear and interest because of their mysterious powers and rituals. As a result, places and things associated with witches often possess a dark mystique too. In this week’s post, I will present some examples of what is bewitched in our universe.

Tuhala Witch’s Well
By Ivar Leidus (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-ee], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Witch’s Well (karst spring) in Tuhala (Estonia) is “boiling over”. Water erupts for only a short period of time and not every year. It starts to come out from the well when excess water from the Mahtra swamp fills up the underground river and the overflowing river water seeks an escape through the well. According to local legend, the well boils over when the witches of Tuhala make a sauna below the ground and beat each other with birch branches, causing a commotion on the surface.

Pebble Beach Witch Tree
By EditorASC at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons


This creepy looking tree was a famous landmark at Pescadero Point in Pebble Beach, California. The reason I refer to it in the past tense is that a storm destroyed it on January 14, 1964. Although the Witch Tree was not a site of witchcraft rituals, it appeared in a dark scene in a movie. According to Wikipedia, it was “part of the background in an early scene from the 1956 movie Julie, featuring Doris Day, while she was fleeing from her psychopathic husband, played by Louis Jourdan.”


Witch’s circle, Corfu, 1990
By Barry Lewis (The Witch’s Craic) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


This place looks scary enough to be a meeting place for witches. I keep thinking some dark stories lurk behind those black tree stumps in the middle of the photo.

Photo Description:

A sacred circle where feral witches meet to ceilidh or make mischief. This one spotted on the Greek island of Corfu in 1990.

Witch head nebula
By NASA/STScI Digitized Sky Survey/Noel Carboni [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Apparently even outer space is haunted by a witch.

Photo description:

 As the name implies, this reflection nebula associated with the star Rigel looks suspiciously like a fairytale crone. Formally known as IC 2118 in the constellation Orion, the Witch Head Nebula glows primarily by light reflected from the star. The color of this very blue nebula is caused not only by blue color of its star, but also because the dust grains reflect blue light more efficiently than red. A similar physical process causes Earth’s daytime sky to appear blue.

As I finish writing this post, the witching hour of midnight approaches here in California, so I will say farewell to you for now.


Haunting Skyscapes

For the month of October, I plan to write some posts that tap into the spooky side of life that receives so much attention during Halloween. This week my search for photos that capture the autumn transition into growing darkness led me to one strange looking aerial shot and several dramatic cloud photos.

Grand prismatic spring, Yellowstone National Park
By Jim Peaco, National Park Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


While this is not officially an autumn picture, it has a mysterious quality to it. It reminds me just how old the Earth is and that there is so much that we do not know about the Earth in spite of our technological advances. I can hardly believe this is a photograph. It looks like a painting. Here is the photo description:

Aerial view of Grand Prismatic Spring; Hot Springs, Midway & Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park. The spring is approximately 250 by 300 feet (75 by 91 m) in size.

This photo shows steam rising from hot and sterile deep azure blue water (owing to the light absorbing overtone of an OH stretch which is shifted to 698 nm by hydrogen bonding [1]) in the center surrounded by huge mats of brilliant orange algae and bacteria. The color of which is due to the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoid molecules produced by the organisms. During summertime the chlorophyll content of the organisms is low and thus the mats appear orange, red, or yellow. However during the winter, the mats are usually dark green, because sunlight is more scarce and the microbes produce more chlorophyll to compensate, thereby masking the carotenoid colors.

Water mill Rosenmühle in Lower Saxony, Germany
By Michael Gäbler (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Fog creates a creepy atmosphere in most places (and it is a nightmare to drive in it as well).

After Tornado Cloudscape
By Alex Grichenko


Lightning cloud to cloud (aka)
By André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

This image shows a cloud to cloud lightning in a very stormy and rainy night in Zwickau, Germany.

Back-scattering crepuscular rays panorama 1 (retouched photo)
By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Back-scattering crepuscular rays. The image was sent to Dr. Andrew T. Young. Here’s his description:

“… it’s unusual to see these shadows so clearly at such an oblique geometry: usually, the crepuscular rays are best seen in forward scattering, and much less well in back-scattering. But here, you’re looking almost at right angles to the illuminating rays”.

In spite of seeing countless cloud and skyscape photos over the years, I do not get tired of looking at them. They are a source of ever-changing beauty and inspiration.

On a Grand Scale

Scale is an important aspect of photography as well as art and design. The size of one object in relation to another can make the difference between an ordinary and an extraordinary photo. Here are some examples that illustrate this point:

Fiorello LaGuardia with halibut (1939)
By  C. M. Stieglitz, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Fiorello H. LaGuardia, mayor of New York City, posing with a 300-pound halibut at the Fulton Fish Market.

Paaseiland Kempeneers (1978)
By Paul Kempeneers (Personal collection of Paul Kempeneers) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons


This is one of the Moai statues on Easter Island.

Cristales cueva de Naica (2010)
By Alexander Van Driessche [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

These giant gypsum crystals are located inside Cueva de Naica, a cave located in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico. Other names for this cave are Cave of the Crystals and Giant Crystal Cave.

Giant christmas ball (2004)
By Scott Sandars from Melbourne, Australia (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Grand Kanin, Sweden (2011)
By F (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

 Its a big rabbit in Orebro in front of church , the bunny was placed here upside down and was major attraction to tourists. It was placed here in summer 2011, during the OpenArt biennale. See this object at the site of artist Florentijn Hofman

This bunny looks like it was resting against the church, but it was not. It was actually propped up against another statue in front of the church. Here is another photo of the yellow bunny taken at a different angle:

Florentijn Hofman Big yellow Rabbit
By Peterappelros (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

From the exhibition OpenART in Örebro, Sweden, 2011: Florentijn Hofman Big yellow Rabbit

Sea Caves

Inspired by International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I decided to write a post about a topic loosely related to pirates—sea caves. Sea caves are formed by wave action. Ocean waves crashing upon the side of a cliff hit a weak area in the rock day after day and year after year, and a hole eventually forms. While some sea caves consist of pale weathered stone, others are quite colorful.

The first two photos are from the Geograph Project collection, which contains images taken in Great Britain and Ireland.

Y Bwa Gwyn and a sea cave – (Great Britain)
By Eric Jones [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The sea cave is to the right of the arch.

Sea cave on Eilean Trodday – (Scotland)
By Bob Jones [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo description:

Sea cave on Eilean Trodday Amazing blue water and a cave that you can take a rubber dinghy into and out again from another exit. Eilean Trodday is an uninhabited island lying off the northeastern coastline of the Trotternish peninsula of the island of Skye.

The next two photos show the Animal Flower Cave in Barbados. Based on the photographer’s lengthy description of the cave, it was a hidden hangout of sorts a long time ago in spite of the sea anemones that inspired the name of the cave.

The animal flower cave, Barbados
By Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Description:

The Animal Flower Cave is located under the cliffs at the Northern tip of Barbados. The Cave is an interesting study in geology, local history and stunning sea activity. This beautiful Sea-Cave is a ‘must see’ for all nature loving visitors. The cave?s [cave’s] history is little-known yet quite interesting, for despite its remote location, it was the venue weekend dances and socializing soon after the turn of the century. Artifacts from by gone days include the braces in the coral ceiling where the lanterns once hung. The Animal flower Cave is the islands lone accessible sea-cave and was discovered from the sea in 1780 by two English explorers. The cave’s coral floor is estimated to be 400000 to 500000 years old and the ‘younger’ coral section above the floor is about 126000 years old. The dating was carried out by the German Geographical Institute, and visitors can see a map of the dating work in the bar and restaurant. The cave now stands some six feet above the high tide mark even though it was formed at sea level. This is because Barbados is rising about one inch per 1000 years, which is yet another indication of the cave’s age. The huge coral steps leading down into the cave were built around 1912. Down in the cave there are sea-anemones, locally called ‘animal flowers’ from whence the cave got its name. The flower consists of tentacles that can sting and paralyse [paralyze] a passing fish in the larger variety of species. The tentacles retract into the stalk or stump for safety on contact with an alien object like a stick. The flower then waits a while before coming out of the stalk again to allow danger to pass. The swimming pool as the guides call it is in a chamber all by itself. The totally transparent and absolutely still water does not reveal its depth but looks deceptively shallow. The smooth floor of the cave worn down by the water and the rubbing action of the coral rocks over time has an undulating formation and the light lends a magical quality to this chamber. At certain times of the year and in bad weather the caverns become filled with water and the entrance acts like a giant blowhole. On calm days you can swim in the natural rock pools in the cave or perhaps take a look at the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean through the windows to the ocean (cave openings).

Waterdrops in the Animal Flower Cave, Barbados
By Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I am hardly proficient at talking like a pirate, but I hope you have fair winds and smooth sailing until we meet again online.

Night Photography

Night adds an interesting dimension to photography. While the details of buildings and other objects can become obscured in a sky with little or no natural light, other manmade structures stand out amid an array of bright electric lights.

Other elements can also add aesthetic appeal to night photography as well. Here are some outstanding photos that combine architecture and water with artificial light and darkness:

Si-o-se Pol (Iran)
By Reza Haji-pour رضا حاجی‌پور ( [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo Description:

Si-o-se Pol (“33 Bridges” or “the Bridge of 33 Arches”), also called the “Allah-Verdi Khan Bridge”, is one of the eleven bridges of Isfahan, Iran. It is highly ranked as being one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design.


Reflection of the Eiffel tower in a water puddle. Paris, France.
By Lviatour (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Beijing National Stadium (China)
By Peter23 (Own work) [CC-BY-2.5 or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Gardens by the Bay (Singapore)
This is a 101 hectare (250-acre) park located in Marina Bay, Singapore. It combines plant life with eco-friendly sustainable architectural design and consists of three smaller gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden.

Bay East Garden Skyline
By Chensiyuan

Supertrees (Bay South Garden)
These artificial structures that resemble trees serve as the foundation for vertical gardens in the park. They are between 25 meters (82 ft) and 50 meters (160 ft) tall.

Garden By The Bay Night View
By Mark Yang


A night view of the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.
By tee_eric,_Gardens_by_the_Bay,_Singapore_-_20120630-04.jpg


Gardens by the Bay Website


Towers intrigue me because they demand your attention. Their structure compels you to look up at them, and they make you realize how small in size you are in comparison to them and the world around you. They also have a mystique about them. Towers are found in fairy-tale realms, and in our world some of them have long and/or interesting histories.

In this week’s post, I have compiled photos of towers that may not be as well-known as the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but they are just as interesting.

Azadi Tower (Freedom Tower)

This beautiful tower in Tehran is 50 meters (164 feet) tall and is made of 8,000 blocks of white marble stone. Built in 1971 to mark the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire, it became known as the Azadi Tower after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 (Azadi means “Freedom” in Persian).


Azadi Monument (Tehran, Iran)
By Nima Moghaddam


Iran – Tehran – Azadi Tower
By Alireza Javaheri ( [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Žižkov Television Tower

This tower was constructed in Prague between 1985 and 1992 and is 216 meters (709 feet) tall. Its high-tech architecture design gives it a streamlined futuristic appearance. What is unusual about this tower is that there are crawling babies on it! These babies are sculptures created by Czech artist David Černý. They were temporarily attached to the tower in 2000, but they became permanent fixtures on the tower in 2001 due to popular demand.


Žižkov Television Tower in Prague. sculptures by David Černý
By Norbert Požár (cs:Wikipedista:Bertik) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Babies by David Černý on Žižkov TV tower, Prague, Czechia
By Krokodyl


Tower of Olympic Stadium in Montreal

With a height of 175 meters (574 feet), this Canadian tower is the tallest inclined tower in the world. It is attached to a sports stadium that has been plagued with structural problems over the years. According to Wikipedia, the tower suffered fire damage in the 1980s, and a large section of the tower dropped on the playing field during a game in 1986.


Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.


Photo of the montreal tower, part of the olympic stadium.
By Antonello (The Tower of Montreal) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower

Completed in 2008, this oddly shaped 50-story tower is an educational facility located in Tokyo, Japan.


Tokyo Mode Academy Cocoon Tower, at Shinjyuku Tokyo Japan.
By Wiiii


Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower
By kuracom (kuracom) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Sand Sculptures Revisited

I cannot believe that it is already mid-August, and summer is drawing to an end. To celebrate what is left of summer, I thought I would write a post about a seasonal topic – sand sculptures.

I wrote a post about sand sculptures before, but I decided to take it down because I did not get permission to use the copyrighted photos I included in the post. The good news is that I found some public domain pictures of sand sculptures that I can share with you this week. All of the sand sculptures in this post have an underwater theme.

Female Diver Sand Sculpture

Diver with Camera Underwater Scene

My favorite part of this scene is the top part consisting of several jellyfish. Here is a close-up of the top:

Squid Sand Sculpture 


Dolphin Sand Sculpture


Marlin Sand Sculpture

Manta Rays Sand Sculpture

As I said in my previous sand sculpture post, I am impressed by the skill it takes to create these beautiful sculptures, but at the same time I am sad about their brief existence because they remind me about the temporary nature of my own existence. I spend so much time and effort creating art and trying to build a good life for myself, yet in the back of my mind I know none of my accomplishments will last. Like these sand sculptures, they will disappear into the past just as I eventually will in the end.