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

16 December 2011

The Cat that Walks On Her Own.
Night Watch.

I feel especially honoured by the moggy's visits, because she clearly doesn't drop in for food — she won't even taste any titbits I offer her since she obviously gorges herself on food at the neighbours'. Thus I deduce she comes by our terrace out of respect or just for the fun of hanging out with us, which flatters me a lot and proves that animals are capable of uninterested love.

Curiously, this isn't the first time an animal shows a lot of unfounded affection for me. As a teenager I once spent a couple of weeks holidays with a family whose well-cared for dog suddenly became so fond of me at first sight that he would follow me wherever I went and wouldn't part company with me day and night, completely forgetting his owner who, by the way, was the one who fed the pooch. When I was leaving, he followed me to the train station and was howling on the platform as my train was moving away. It broke my heart, and it hurts every time I remember the scene.
Ready for the jump.

Cat preparing for a jump
Cat preparing for a jump.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

8 December 2011

Foliages.

I bet few people notice the beauty of tree foliages around them. By contrast, being a compulsive gazer and slow life acolyte, I can't help stopping to enjoy the beauty of canopies, tree crowns and every unusual tree leaves I come across. Which, on the other hand, makes me quite a time-wasting roamer.
Anyway, the fact that every tree comes with unique shape and form of leaves has always fascinated me.  Here go some of my favourite leafage backgrounds.

Flame tree foliage (Brachychiton Acerifolius)
Flame tree foliage (Brachychiton Acerifolius).
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

18 November 2011

Garden Snail (Helix Aspersa).

Every time I come across a snail I pick it up and rub its slime on my skin, since it has regenerative and healing properties. Then I take the snail back to the garden, trying to place it in the same spot where I've found it.

Garden snail
Garden snail.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

13 November 2011

Summer Colours, Red.
Hibiscus (Rosa Sinensis)

Red is my favourite colour — I associate it with the joy of life, energy and passion, which makes red part of spectrum especially pleasing to my eye. Hibiscus bears big red flowers for half a year, no wonder it's one of my favourite trees.

Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. It contains several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world. Not only is it beautiful, but it also has a lot of beneficial properties.
Dried hibiscus is edible, and is often a delicacy in Mexico, it can also be candied and used as a garnish, in many countries tea is made from hibiscus flowers and is served both hot and cold.
The tea is popular as a natural diuretic; it contains vitamin C and minerals,  a study also shows that consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure.

In the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, the roots are used to make various concoctions believed to cure ailments such as cough, hair loss or hair greying. Ground leaves and flowers with a little water can be used as a shampoo and conditioner.

Hibiscus, Rosa Sinensis flower
Hibiscus, Rosa Sinensis flower.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

9 November 2011

Birds. Pigeon and Dove.

Leonardo Da Vinci was quoted as saying that birds and horses were the most beautiful creatures on Earth. I think the same as Leonardo.
This is one of the competition pigeons that have settled in the nearby coppice together with a flock of lay homers.

Competition pigeon
Competition pigeon.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

30 October 2011

Summer Colours, Pink.
Flowering Trees. Rose Of Sharon.

Looks like I'm bent on creating/compiling my own personal gallery of all plants and flowers I can get my hands on. This way I'm kind of rendering my modest homage to the beauty of Nature.
Rose of Sharon flowers set against the blue sky and green leaves on a sunny day creates one of my favourite colour combinations — pink, cerulean blue and green.

Hibiscus Syriacus (Malvaceae - Mallow Family), aka Rose-of-Sharon or Shrub Althea is a flowering shrub in the plant family Malvaceae native to much of Asia. It is upright and vase-shaped, reaching 2-4 m in height. It is widely planted in areas with hot summers for its very attractive white, pink, red, lavender, or purple large and edible flowers. Individual flowers last only a day, however it flowers over a long summer blooming period (July-September).

These gorgeous trees grow along the nearby streets.

Rose of Sharon
Rose of Sharon. (© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

20 October 2011

Old Buildings. Stone Walls.

Sometimes roaming off the beaten track you can stumble upon ancient ruins or cosy medieval buildings that aren't major tourist attractions, which means you won't have to elbow your way through the throng and no one will block your view.
Stone buildings are probably the only truly sustainable structures — they keep heat in winter, stay cool in summer, last centuries and are pleasing to the eye unlike modern perforated boxes. That's how I conceive architecture. This of course clashes with our single-use mentality society. If I could afford to build my own house it would certainly be a stone house.

What attracts me most to such places are the details rather than the whole since modern surroundings all too often break the spell.

A wooden door in a dry stone wall
A wooden door in a dry stone wall.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

15 October 2011

Garden Roses.

Roses are my mum's favourite flowers; she says rose is the queen of flowers. Well, I believe garden roses are the most sensual flowers in the world.
A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae that comprises over 100 species. Rose isn't just a pretty face — its petals and hips have a lot of culinary and medicinal uses. The only downside is sharp prickles.

Of course, the odourless clones churned out in greenhouses somewhere in Africa and suchlike and then shipped to Europe every day where they are arranged into assembly line bouquets and sold in flower shops together with pointless alien-looking genetically modified hybrids have little to do with true roses.
A rose without fragrance is like music without feeling.

These are normal garden roses from my neighbour's garden that give off sweet scent you can smell from 10 metres away.

Pink roses
Pink roses. (by-nc-nd)

9 October 2011

Life In Inanimate Things. Still Lifes.

I've never been too keen on painting still lifes, to me it's not as rewarding as painting portraits or landscapes (so I only paint them to order). However, photography is a different matter — you can convey a lot of moods and sensations by simply arranging objects, for instance

a peaceful breakfast in a joyous sunny morning,

A cup of tea
A cup of tea.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

25 September 2011

Ducks and Other Pond Inhabitants.

It's hard to imagine a more idyllic scene than a pond with ducks. Thankfully, I have one close to my abode, so I often come here to chill out and take occasional pictures.

'What have you got for me?'

White duck
White duck. (by-nc-nd)

17 September 2011

Red Eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) Baby

This summer I've got a good deed under my belt — I saved this cute little red-eared slider baby's life. She had probably strayed from the course for the pond and was lying on the jogging path. I splashed her back to where it belongs, and since she owed me some gratitude for saving her life I thought posing for a couple of shots would be a nice gesture on her part. Easier said than done! Much as I tried to place it on a palm stump, the feisty beast wouldn't stay put and rushed elsewhere at an unusual for a turtle breakneck speed. Anyway, these are the best pictures I managed to take.

Red eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) baby
Red eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) baby.
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

11 September 2011

Pine Cones.

Pine cones (strobilus), namely female cones (megastrobilus, seed cone, or ovulate cone) that produce seeds, are some of Nature's most amazing storage and packaging systems. They are so thoroughly and securely packed that it takes quite an effort to get to pine nuts / kernels. Many animals survive long cold winters thanks to these nutritive seeds. This summer we've gathered a lot of pine cones, and I've already struggled the nuts out, but that's only half the task — the arduous work of cracking the kernels lies ahead.

Half open pine cone
Half open pine cone.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

5 September 2011

Vegetables and Fruits.

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." (Albert Einstein.)

Well, this one is about food, or better say, about some of my favourite foods.
Needless to say, I'm a born vegetarian although I love fish, but my mum used to force me to eat meat (basically free range organic chicken), when I was a child,  until after years of persuasion I've managed to bring it home to her that it is unethical and unnecessary to kill living creatures for food (to me, it's not very different from cannibalism) or any other reason unless, of course, we are threatened with starvation or in self-defence.

There're plenty of animal products for those who, like me, don't want to follow strict vegetarian diet: eggs, dairy produce, and since fish is beneficial for the health, I wouldn't rule out limited consumption of fish without endangering the species, which is right the opposite to the common practice. However, today I hardly ever eat fish as it's stuffed with heavy metals and would probably do more harm than good. That's progress!

From the artistic point of view, vegetables are a veritable feast for the camera in their own right — they come in a rich palette of colours and shades.

Romanesco broccoli or Roman cauliflower, a flower of the species Brassica oleracea, and is a variant of cauliflower. What I find most amazing about this vegetable is that it's an epitome of fractality — just look at the logarithmic spirals of its buds.

Romanesco broccoli
Romanesco broccoli. (© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

23 August 2011

The Cat that Walks On Her Own.
Siesta in a Hot Summer Afternoon.

The tabby loves taking an afternoon catnap on our terrace, especially in the shade of my flowerpots. And it goes without saying that whatever animals do is funny and cute.

Resting cat
Resting cat. (by-nc-nd)

13 August 2011

Beach Scenes.

9 And God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so.
10
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas; and God saw that it was good. 

Indeed, I can’t think of a more beautiful place on this planet than where the land meets the sea.
As long as I remember, every time I lay/clap/set my eyes on the sea I feel a surge of joy in my heart — there’s always an atmosphere of eternal feast on a beach bathed in warm sun.

24 July 2011

Sea Daffodils (Pancratium maritimum)
Summer Colours: White

"The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life" (Jean Giraudoux The Enchanted)

The dunes are at their most beautiful when Sea Daffodils, aka Sand Daffodil, Sand
Lily and the Lily of St. Nicholas, start to bloom. This gentle and graceful bulbous plant, as I already mentioned before, is native to Mediterranean dunes and southwestern Europe. In hot summers its twisted leaves die back and sweet-scented flowers pop up right from the sand. Except for still, windless summer nights, you have to squat and bring your nose close to the flower to perceive its exotic and delicate fragrance. One of its traits is that it recognises and doesn't accept its own pollen —  it can only be cross-pollinated, nor can it be pollinated artificially. Finicky beauty.

Sea daffodil Pancratium maritimum flower close-up
Sea daffodil Pancratium maritimum flower close-up
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

7 July 2011

The Dunes in Late Spring.

There aren't many places left in the world where natural coastal dunes hasn't been gobbled up by ugly hotel skyscrapers, oil refineries and the like, especially in Europe. Fortunately, you can still come across the patches of almost virgin coastal dunes to chill out.

Sea daffodils on the Mediterranean dunes
Sea daffodils (Pancratium maritimum) on the Mediterranean dunes.
(by-nc-nd)

25 June 2011

Wildflowers and Weeds

Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge....
T.Edison

I can’t help it. Every time I set my eyes on a lovely flower or plant — and I find almost all of them interesting — I have to shoot my camera (if I’m carrying it with me) and share their beauty and my excitement with everyone.

Grass spike
Grass spike with a few effects.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

7 June 2011

Wildflowers of the Dunes.
Treasure Flowers and Cape Daises.

Take a walk through the flowering dunes and in addition to the refreshing sea breeze you'll find a lot of wildflowers to feast your eyes on. Treasure flowers (Gazania rigens) are my favourites — I find their warm colours especially pleasing.

Gazania rigens, var leucolaena flowers
Gazania rigens, var leucolaena flowers.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

31 May 2011

Moth plant.

There’s something very romantic about the way a parachute or propeller seeds drift on currents of air or blow in the wind as if they’ve taken on a life of their own.
On the outside, moth plant fruit looks plain and unremarkable, but it has a surprise inside.

Moth plant (Araujia cericifera)
Moth plant (Araujia cericifera) green fruit.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

21 May 2011

Spring colours. Red, lilac, pink, white, yellow, blue, violet and their hues.

In Spring, wherever you turn your head you find something blooming, flowering or singing. Every year I discover something new in apparently familiar environment — that's the beauty of observing the Nature. Red is my favourite colour — to my eye, without something red the scene lacks verve, impetus, energy, passion. Even a drop of red makes everything look more vivid.

Red geranium flower (Pelargonium hortorum)
Red geranium flower (Pelargonium hortorum).
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

5 May 2011

Life in Inanimate Things. Gemstones.

Minerals are widely used in alternative therapies since they're believed to have some kind of inner energy. Boffins will argue there's no scientific evidence for it, but I go by the rule that

'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.'

(Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159–167)


As I see it, anything that took Nature millions of years to create has to be special.

Green calcite mineral top view
Green calcite mineral top view. (by-nc-nd)

27 April 2011

Nature Corners,
Birch Forest in Spring

To me forests are some of the most beautiful places on earth. As a child, I dreamt of getting lost in the jungle and never finding the way back to the city every time we went on an  outing. Forests are especially lush and full of life in springtime. Although I love splendid majestic landscapes, I have a fondness for snug nooks and crannies any woods is rife with. Using orchestra as a simile, piano and string instruments are the leads, yet the sound of oboe isparticularly dear to my heart.

Nature corner. Lane
Nature corner. Lane. (by-nc-nd)

20 April 2011

Life in Inanimate Things.
Abstracts

Inanimate objects can be full of life, you can arrange them so that they express an idea, mood or concept through the play of light, colour and shadow. They can even help you conjure up magic scenes...

Glass dog with a ball
Glass dog with a ball. (© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

12 April 2011

Spiny Cocklebur, Teasel and Fringed Rue.

After walking in the fields I usually bring home at least one of these spiny cockleburs on my clothes and always leave them there as a kind of natural adornment.

Spiny cocklebur (Xanthium spinasum)
Spiny cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum).
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

3 April 2011

Spring colours. Deep Orange and Orange.
Nasturtiums.

I love nasturtiums' deep, warm, saturated colours. So full of life and vivacity, a moment's glance is enough to boost your energy. What's more, these beautiful flowers aren't just decorative, they're edible in their entirety. That's 100% efficiency.


Deep orange and orange nasturtiums
Deep orange and orange nasturtiums. (by-nc-nd) 


30 March 2011

Spring Wildflowers. Lilac, Red, White and Weird.

Whenever I go jogging or take a walk in the fields, a lot of small wonders of nature catch my eye. Spring is the best season to feast on a rich palette of wildflowers, or rather, native species as scientists put it. And they come in all shapes and colours. Here's my yesterday's treasure trove.

Lilac wildfower
Lilac wildflower. (© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved.) 

26 March 2011

Spring Colours. Orange.
Orange Ice Plant.

This evergreen South African plant blooms in early spring with fire-like orange flowers — an explosion of colour that resembles a small-scale solar flare. I've always had a special liking for the red side of the spectrum, and the truth is such flowers conspicuously liven up any scenery.

Orange ice plant (Lampranthus aureus) in flower
Orange ice plant flowers (Lampranthus aureus).
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

24 March 2011

Spring Colours. Lilac and Pink.
Rosemary and Peach tree.

No matter how small a flower is, it always has a complex structure and design.
Rosemary is a medicinal plant that helps to reduce the levels of uric acid in the blood. Additionally its flowers are peculiar and exquisite.


Rosemary flowers
Rosemary flowers close-up.
(© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)


21 March 2011

Spring Colours. White.
Purple-Leaf Plum and Cherry tree in flower.

This month the landscape is being painted with spring colours of blooming trees, and there’s a lot of hectic activity around them.

Trees are one of the most beautiful species in this world and some of my favourite creatures. Like the rest of the plants trees are producers, their waste product is oxygen that is indispensable for most life, while we are useless consumers smothering ourselves and consequently the planet with our waste product that is basically toxic shit. They provide shelter, food, medicines, shade, moisture, beauty, raw material for musical instruments among other countless things. And how do we treat them in return for their gifts? We fell, burn and poison them with contamination or pollution as sign of gratitude, which means we’re diligently digging our own grave.

Anyway, let’s enjoy their matchless beauty and hope they will survive in spite of us.
Purple-leaf plum or cherry plum (Prunus Pissardii Nigra) is a curious tree since it has reddish brown foliage. It's one of the first to flower in spring, and the flowers are usually pinkish white.


Purple-leaf plum in full blossom (Prunus Prissardii)
Purple-leaf plum in full blossom. (CC by-nc-sa )

17 March 2011

A Cat that Walks On Her Own.
Footballer cat.

A few months ago an alley moggy included our garden into her territory, and has kept dropping by ever since. And with a good reason — occasional bread and lodging are provided for her by the neighbourhood whenever she wants. Needless to say that the tabby is in high demand.

This is a friendship on equal terms — no one owns her, she is self-contained, free and independent of humans’ whims. Despite her cute look, the pussycat is quite dangerous — she snaps, bites and claws, especially when touched on the underbelly.

Catburglar
Catburglar

16 March 2011

Spring Colours. Yellow and Red.
Yellow clover, Sweet Easter broom and Butcher's broom.

Early spring flowers start to pop up.
Melilotus officinalis, known as the yellow sweet clover, yellow melilot, ribbed melilot or common melilot is a species of legume native to Eurasia and introduced in North America, Africa and Australia. These days they bloom almost everywhere — in the birch grove undergrowth, in the garden or at the corner of the house.

Yellow clover undergrowth
Yellow clover  undergrowth. (© 2011 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

8 March 2011

Spring Colours. Speedwell Flowers and Birch Tree Catkins

'In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous.' (Aristotle)

Birch trees are already budding and flowering — a sure harbinger of spring.

Birch tree catkins
Birch tree catkins. (© Light Colour shade. All rights reserved)

4 March 2011

Winter Colours. Mimosa
(Lemon yellow)

Although mimosa blooms in winter, its colour gives you a feeling of spring. As soon as the tree comes into flower we know that spring is round the corner.
The name is derived from the Greek word μιμος (mimos), meaning "mimic.”

Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata)
Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata) close-up.
© LightColourShade
(CC by-nc-nd)

1 March 2011

Winter Sketches.
The Sea.

The sea is always beautiful, even when it's cloudy.

the sea in a cloudy winter day
The sea in a cloudy winter day

22 February 2011

Winter Sketches.
Birds.

It's still winter.
Colours are duller, light is dimmer, and shades are gloomier. Yet, there's a lot around to feast eyes on for those who look closely.

A group of cormorants usually winters at the local pond. Somehow they manage to find fish among plastic, empty bottles and all sorts of trash human pigs dump into it.

cormorants-perched-high-in-a-birch-tree
Cormorants-perched-high-in-a-birch-tree.
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