Light Colour Shade



Catching the fleeting scenes of many splendored life with a camera.
'Look closely. The beautiful may be small' — Kant

25 May 2015

Rabbit suite. European rabbit or common rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

The European rabbit or common rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is native to south-western Europe (Spain and Portugal) and northwest Africa (Morocco and Algeria). The animal’s decline in its native range (caused by the diseases myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus, as well as overhunting and habitat loss), has, in turn, caused the decline of its highly dependent predators, the Iberian lynx and the Spanish imperial eagle.”

European rabbit or common rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) close-up. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

4 March 2015

Schlumbergera Russeliana

Schlumbergera is a small genus of cacti (although they don’t really look like common cacti) with six species found in the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. Plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally relatively cool, shady and of high humidity.

Schlumbergera russeliana flower. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved) 

9 February 2015

Homing pigeon (Columba livia domestica), Common Blackbird (Turdus merula), Eurasian Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus), Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus), Common Pochard (Aythya ferina), and Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Homing pigeon is a variety of domestic pigeon (Columba livia domestica) derived from the rock pigeon, selectively bred to find its way home over extremely long distances (up to 1,800 km). The wild rock pigeon has an innate homing ability, meaning that it will generally return to its nest and mate. Their average flying speed over moderate distances is around 80 km/h (50 miles per hour) but speeds of up to 140 km/h (90 miles per hour) have been observed in top racers for short distances. Homing pigeons are called messenger or carrier pigeons when they are used to carry messages. Pigeons can find their way back from distant places they have never visited before. Most researchers believe that homing ability is based on a "map and compass" model, with the compass feature allowing birds to orient and the map feature allowing birds to determine their location relative to a goal site (home loft). While the compass mechanism appears to rely on the sun, some researchers believe that the map mechanism relies on the ability of birds to detect the Earth's magnetic field. Scientists discovered on top of pigeon's beak large number of particles of iron which remain aligned to north like manmade compass, thus it acts as compass which helps pigeon in determining its home, and it looks like the trigeminal nerve plays a role in magnetoception, too. Some studies showed that pigeons also orient themselves using the spatial distribution of atmospheric odours, known as olfactory navigation, as well as low frequency infrasound. In areas they have previously visited, pigeons are probably guided by visual landmarks, such as roads and other man-made features, just like humans. However, various experiments suggest that different breeds of homing pigeons rely on different cues to different extents.

Homing pigeon (Columba livia domestica) portrait. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

21 December 2014

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

European robin (Erithacus rubecula), is a small insectivorous passerine bird -- a chat that is now considered to be an Old World flycatcher. It is found across Europe, east to Western Siberia and south to North Africa. British robins are usually resident but a few, usually females, migrate to southern Europe during winter as far as Spain, while Scandinavian and Russian robins migrate to Britain and western Europe. These migrants can be recognised by the greyer tone of the upper parts of their bodies and duller orange breast. In autumn and winter, robins add to their usual diet of terrestrial invertebrates, such as spiders, worms and insects, berries, fruits or seeds. Despite their cute look, male robins show highly aggressive territorial behaviour not only attacking other males that stray into their territories, but also other small birds without apparent provocation.

While humanity is generally bedazzled by space exploration perceived as pushing new boundaries, I believe this planet contains the most inextricable mysteries of the Universe (unless there are more planets like earth), the great bulk of which is still beyond our ken -- after all Universe is a dark cold and deadly empty place. This tiny bird is one of such marvels -- like many other birds robins have the ability to sense the magnetic field of the earth for navigation which is affected by the light entering the bird's eye.
The physical mechanism of the robin's magnetic sense is not fully understood, some scientists even throw in theories like quantum entanglement of electron spins. There exist two main hypotheses to explain the phenomenon of magnetoreception in animals. One hypotheses holds that, cryptochrome, when exposed to blue light, becomes activated to form a pair of two radicals (molecules with a single unpaired electron) where the spins of the two unpaired electrons are correlated. The surrounding magnetic field affects the kind of this correlation (parallel or anti-parallel), and this in turn affects the length of time cryptochrome stays in its activated state. Activation of cryptochrome (a class of blue light-sensitive flavoproteins found in plants and animals. Cryptochromes are involved in the circadian rhythms of plants and animals, and in the sensing of magnetic fields in a number of species) may affect the light-sensitivity of retinal neurons, with the overall result that the bird can "see" the magnetic field. The Earth's magnetic field is only 0.5 Gauss and so it is difficult to conceive of a mechanism by which such a field could lead to any chemical changes other than those affecting the weak magnetic fields between radical pairs. (Cryptochromes are thought to be essential for the light-dependent ability of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster to sense magnetic fields.) According to another model, Fe3O4, also referred to as iron (II, III) oxide or magnetite, a natural oxide with strong magnetism remains permanently magnetized when its length is larger than 50 nm and becomes magnetized when exposed to a magnetic field if its length is less than 50 nm. In both cases the Earth's magnetic field produces a transducible signal via a physical effect on this magnetically sensitive oxide.

European robin (Erithacus rubecula). (by-nc-nd)

16 November 2014

Fireworks

Fireworks date back to 7th century China, where they were used to accompany many festivities. Fireworks implemented rocket propulsion common in warfare. In 1240 the Arabs acquired knowledge of gunpowder and its uses from China.
Eventually Chinese fireworks became popular in Europe around the mid-17th century on recreational and ceremonial occasions, and have been an indispensable part of any celebration worth its salt ever since. George Frideric Handel composed Music for the Royal Fireworks in 1749 to celebrate the peace Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which had been declared the previous year.
And on a humorous note:
“The Chinese used gunpowder to make fireworks for celebrations, and the white man came along and said, Holy shit, we can use this to kill people. What better way to celebrate than that?
― Jarod Kintz


Fireworks red. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

11 November 2014

Summer Colours: Yellow and Pink. Golden Trumpet Tree (Handroanthus Balbus), Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) and Mirabilis jalapa (The four o'clock flower)

Handroanthus albus, the Golden Trumpet Tree, is a tree with yellow flowers native to the Cerrado (tropical savannas) of Brazil ( ipê-amarelo-da-serra), namely in the states of Bahia, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo.. It is used as an urban tree, as well as a medicinal plant.

Handroanthus albus (Golden Trumpet Tree) flowers close-up. (© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

3 November 2014

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta garzetta) and Common Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella naevia)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta garzetta) snapping fish
(© LightColourShade. All rights reserved)
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