Melting Glacier in Iceland

As global warming continues, this beautiful Iceland glacier won’t be here in 80 years. We could hear massive melting while hiking, the sound of water rushing in rivers below the surface.

#glacier, #iceland, #snaefelljokull, #globalwarming, #hike, #nature, #landscape
Exposed lava and melting snow on the Snaefellsjokull north face.

This memorable day hike was a teachable moment. It made me wonder what sort of world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

#glacier, #lake, #snaefellsjokull, #iceland, #hike, #lava, #snow, #globalwarming, #nature,
This glacial lake on Snaefellsjokull collects the drainage from melting snow and ice: a rugged landscape with its own kind of simple beauty.

Whales in Iceland

It was a day multiple blessings and just one First World Problem. First, here are the blessings:

  1. We were on vacation in Iceland.
  2. The weather was sunny and warm (not typical).
  3. In Akureyri, we were going on a RIB (rubber inflatable boat) to observe whales in the fjord.
  4. Humpback whales feed in the Icelandic fjords in July.
  5. We had an experienced pilot and guide who have identified 150 humpback whales by name and understand a great deal about them.
  6. I kept my Sony a7IIr camera dry, and did not lose my sunglasses as we sped around the fjord.

So, what was the First World Problem? ¬†We got so close to Jackson the humpback whale that I couldn’t get the whole whale in my frame! I caught myself exclaiming, “Oh my, we’re too close!” and heard a voice reply, “too close?”

Well, you see, I wasn’t really complaining. I was amazed. Thrilled. Grateful.

My husband was not behind a camera, and just watched the whale, seeing his eye.

#whale, #humpback, #iceland, #akureyri, #rib, #nature, #wildlife, #upclose
Jackson, the humpback whale, next to our boat. See his blow hole and part of his white dorsal fin under water.
#whale, #humpback, #fjord, #akureyri, #rib, #whalewatch, #wildlife, #nature, #windstar
I quickly zoomed my lens from 70 to 24mm to capture more of the whale and the fjord. The white dorsal fin represents one third the length of the body, to give you an idea of the whale’s length.
#whale, #humpback, #jackson, #fjord, #iceland, #rib, #akureyri, #wildlife, #windstar
When Jackson the humpback whale made a deep dive, our pilot headed back to shore.

Puffins on Vigur Island

Puffins are camera shy, as they flee when they see you coming — unlike many seabirds that I’m accustomed to in Florida. As soon as I spotted one, tried to creep a bit closer, framed the shot and focused — off it went. Most of my photos that afternoon on Vigur Island were shot a second too late. Charlie and I were a persistent team; he was holding high sticks to ward off the Arctic Terns who are apt to attack your head. He was watching the long grass in the hillside for puffin nests where the puffins briefly land to feed their chicks, and acting as my spotter.

“Over there,” Charlie whispered to me, pointing. I crept closer with camera poised, hoping to focus and shoot before the puffins took flight.

#puffins, #puffin, #vigur, #windstar, #birds, #wildlife, #seabirds, #arctic, #iceland
One, two, three, jump! Puffins take flight as humans approach.

I kept my shutter speed high and my lens wide open, trying to freeze action on a flying puffin at the very least. I was working hard to get a good puffin shot before leaving Iceland. Having seen puffin photos in all the shops, I knew how cute the little birds are!

#puffin, #inflight, #flying, #bird, #nature #wildlife, #iceland, #vigur
Puffin flies back to sea for more fish to feed the chicks hidden in the hillside.

At last our teamwork paid off, and I captured this image of a puffin with a beak full of fresh fish for the chicks. The Nikon D800 with 70-200 lens and a 1.4 teleconverter gave me a sharp image even though we were about 10 meters away.

#nikond800, #puffin, #iceland, #vigur, #bird, #wildlife, #nature, #vigurisland
Best Iceland souvenir: my own close-up of a Puffin in the act of fishing for the young.

 

Alaskan Wildlife

My friend Tamra is leaving for a cruise to Alaska this week. I hope she gets to see lots of Alaskan Wildlife as we did when we sailed on Silverea’s Silver Shadow in 2004. We loved watching bears grab salmon from the stream and eat them, leaving leftovers for the bald eagles near Wrangell. July is a great time to visit Alaska.

#eagles, #bear, #salmon, #July, #alaska, #wrangell, #silversea, #wildlife
Silent teamwork: Bears grabbed salmon from the rushing stream, while Bald Eagles waited nearby for their turn to feed.

Whales were bobbing and breaching as well near Juneau, and in Sitka, we observed some colorful starfish.

#starafish, #alaska, #nature, #wildlife
Colorful starfish in Sitka where we took a bike hike.

As for me, I’ll be departing for Iceland this week, where I hope to photograph the Puffins as well as many waterfalls and volcanic landscapes.

Variations on a Peony

The detail and delicacy of a spring peony is best described not with words, but with a photograph. The New York Botanical Garden has a long, luxurious peony bed, full of different colors and varieties. Visit the Botanical Garden on your next visit to New York City. Easily reached on the D train or by Uber. The gift shop is inspiring, too!

#NYBG. #newyork, #peony, #flowers, #spring, #pink
Delicate round petals with even more delicate veins slowly unfurl.
#NYBG, #newyork, #spring, #peony, #pink, #variety, #nature, #macro, #sony
This magenta peony with the bushy white center looks vibrant against its green leaves.

Interested in a print? Visit my website or leave me a message in a blog comment. Love to hear from you.

Chihuly’s Organic Towers

Chihuly glass sculptures, installed in many prominent American botanical gardens, ostensibly aim to imitate nature. How do you compare these sublime towers of glass at the New York Botanical Gardens to a nearby stalk of blooms?

#NYBG, #chihuly, #tower, #yellow, #red, #tower, #nature, #art
Chihuly’s yellow and red spire of glass spokes stand in stark contrast to the round pavilion at the New York Botanical Garden.

Inside the neoclassical pavilion, I found this simple and elegant stalk of blossoms. It is rather understated, you might say, but similar to the sculpture in its overall shape and repetition of blossoms up the stalk. Here the colors are more muted, not bold, primary colors the sculpture has.

#NYBG, #newyork, #nature, #closeup, #macro, #symmetry, #pole, #flower, #simple, #elegant, #delicate, #sony
Close up of delicate blossoms emerging symmetrically around the plant’s stalk at New York Botanical Garden.

Inside the pavilion shown in the first photo is a more fanciful Chihuly tower sculpture that reminds me of a Dr. Seuss illustration. It is white with pink polka dots, and its spokes curl like snakes. Symmetry is no longer the operative word. We might say this piece shows more personality.

#NYBG, #newyork, #chihuly, #glass, #sculpture, #art, #pink, #pinkandwhite, #drseuss, #personality
Polka dots and irregular curls give this Chihuly sculpture a different personality. New York Botanical Garden, inside the pavilion.

 

Plant textures

This summer is a perfect time to get outdoors — in between the rain showers — and appreciate the textures of the plants. I found these contrasting textures at the New York Botanical Garden.

#green, #plants, #textures, #NYBG, #newyork, #NYC, #nature, #summer
Some green plants look as inviting as a soft pillow. Others — not so much! Find these at the New York Botanical Garden.