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

31 October 2012

Flowering Trees. Mountain Ebony (Bauhinia Variegata)

Bauhinia variegata, aka Orchid tree, Camel's Foot Tree and Mountain-ebony, is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae, native to south-eastern Asia, from southern China west to Pakistan and India (Kachnar in Hindi).
It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 10–12 m tall, deciduous in the dry season, with broad rounded bilobed leaves and showy bright pink or white flowers. The fruit is a pod 15–30 cm long, containing several seeds.

I didn't pay much attention to this tree the first time I saw it until it flowered.
This is a very popular ornamental tree in subtropical and tropical climates, grown for its scented flowers.

Bauhinia variegata, Camel Foot Tree, Mountain-ebony flowers
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

21 October 2012

Flowering Trees. The Silk Floss Tree (Ceiba speciosa)

The silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa), is a species of deciduous tree native to the tropical and subtropical forests of South America. One of its numerous local common names is palo borracho which means "drunken stick" in Spanish, and here's the rest of the list:

yucan, samohú, samuhú, copadalick, mandiyú-rá, mandiyú, palo borracho rosado, palo rosado, palo borracho de flor rosada, algodón, algodonero, palo botella, palo barrigudo, árbol de la painera, painera de Corrientes, painero, peinera, árbol botella, árbol de lana, toborochi, toborochi rosado, paina de seda, árvore de la, paineria fêmea, lupuna, ávore de paina, barriga dágua, bomba dágua, paineria branca, paineira de espinho, árbol de la seda, ceiba de Brasil, kapoc.

Palo borracho (Ceiba speciosa) in full leaf. (by-nc-nd)

18 October 2012

White Ducks, Mallard Duckling and a random Coot

Swimming into darkness.
'Sorry, no bread, no posing — that's how it works.'

Domestic duck swimming on dark water
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

12 October 2012

Strelitzia Reginae. Play of Light, Colour, Shadow and Form

Strelitzia (named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom) is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower,  in South Africa it's commonly known as a crane flower, though these names are also collectively applied to other species in the genus Strelitzia.

Its large leaves (30–200 cm long and 10–80 cm broad) are similar to a banana leaf, and form a fan-like crown of evergreen foliage. The flowers are pollinated by sunbirds, which perch on its spathe when visiting the plant; the weight of the bird opens the flower and the pollen is dumped onto the bird's feet, which is then transferred to the next flower it visits.
I never stop wondering what triggered the emergence and development of this beautiful symbiosis logic; or what determines the flower's shape and colour, in other words, why it is specifically the way it is (broader question: Why is everything the way it is?). Evolution alone doesn't provide a comprehensive answer, in my humble opinion.

Strelitzia reginae is indigenous to South Africa. To me some of the most stylish and elegant flowers, Strelitzia reginae florescence looks like a bright-coloured bird's head, hence the name Bird of Paradise.

Strelitzia reginae (Crane Flower) Bird of Paradise
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)

8 October 2012

Imprisoned for Beauty. Birds in Cage (Parakeets)

"What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?" (Jeremy Bentham, philosopher)

I remember once reading that as a child Leonardo da Vinci used to buy birds in cages at the local market and set them free in the nearby forest or field. It pleases me to think that I share values with this genius ;).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a special fondness for animals, and I can’t stand seeing them suffer. It wasn’t something specifically instilled into my mind, but rather an inborn trait. I never, ever wanted to have a pet bird, rodent, fish or any other animal I would have had to keep in a cage or bowl, nor did I enjoy going to the zoo or to the circus because it’s always hurt me to see creatures meant to fly and run, in other words to be free, kept in confined spaces. Partly it might be due to my acute sense of freedom — I wouldn’t like to be in their place.
Not that I didn’t chase cats, ducks and hens (out of love, of course, and for fun) as any other child, but once I became aware they didn’t enjoy it too much I left them alone.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Jesus. — One of the most important moral rules that a civilised society should go by.

The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), also known as common pet parakeet or shell parakeet informally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot, and the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus. Wild budgerigars are found throughout the drier parts of Australia, where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years. Naturally green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings, breeders have created a rainbow of blues, whites, and yellows, greys, and even forms with small crests.
‘Budgerigars are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, ability to mimic human speech and playful nature.’ That’s careless cruelty par excellence: turn a blind eye and enjoy.

Imprisoned for beauty- Green budgies in a cage
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved) 

2 October 2012

Summer colours. Garden Flowers: Pink, White, Yellow, Purple

I'm still clinging to summer, I just can't let it go, ;) so here go my bits of aestival joy.

I stumbled upon this beautiful bush growing wild in the field in an unexpected place. It turns out it's Garland chrysanthemum, botanically Chrysanthemum coronarium or Leucanthemum coronarium, also known as chrysanthemum greens or edible chrysanthemum, native to the Mediterranean and East Asia. It is a leaf vegetable in the genus Chrysanthemum.

Garland chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium, Leucanthemum coronarium). (© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved)
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