Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Citrine Geode

Citrine Geode. Citrine is a type of Quartz. While Quartz is the second most common mineral in the Earth's crust (first being feldspar), Citrine, Quartz with iron impurities is somewhat uncommon. It can, however, be artificially created, apparently by heating amesthyst or smoky quartz, two more common forms. The biggest producer is Brazil and in particular, the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

The picture above is a close-up of a rather large geode (and heavy I might add) that I found at the state fair many years ago. While those large geodes look awful pretty, carrying them back to the car (from the tent in this case) is enough to disuade most would be purchasers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Holy Andes Mints

Stanhopea occulata. This just popped into bloom in the greenhouse and the powerful fragrance of chocolate mint is wafting in the air. Wow. Beautiful and smells tasty too! What more could you ask for? Do you suppose they're edible? Nah...they're too pretty to eat anyhow. Of course, cows are kind of cute too...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Up Late Studying

Plane with Banner: Landshark. I was studying when this plane flew by. Not surprising of course. However, I couldn't read the banner and curiosity got the better of me. Digital processing can do wonders for small, moving details. Still, all I made out was the word "Landshark" and a shark picture on the tail end of the banner. Could the banner be referring to the Landshark Stadium (formerly Dolphin Stadium) in Miami? Of course, it didn't help that the sign was facing the other way and I was reading it in inverse... Silly guys should print on both sides of the sign!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Web with Dew

Spider Web Glistening with Morning Dew. Along the coast in Southern California, there is a night fog, the marine layer, that rolls in from the ocean and delivers moisture to the otherwise arid landscape. It coats everything with dew and nourishes a parched environment. It also coats spider webs, making their graceful symmetry visible to the eye as they glisten with sparkling water droplets.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Baby Green Basilisk, Basiliscus plumifrons. In their native Central American Habitat, adult Basilisks are known for their ability to run on water. They can run on water for about 15 feet at a time and hit speeds of around 5 feet per second! This unique ability has resulted in their common name, the Jesus Christ Lizard.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thorny Issue

Thorny trunk on Pachypodium. I snapped this one for the texture and the really wicked looking thorns. Ironically, their flowers are quite beautiful and delicate.

On the home front, I just replaced the thermostat on the heater/AC. I tested it and both the heater and the AC appear to be working just fine! None too soon with the 100F weather we've been having. The old one had gone intermittent on me. While I didn't get a whole lot of studying done, I do have AC again! Overall, a worthy endeavor for a Friday evening.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Butterfly on Verbena

Butterfly on verbena. Found a whole bunch of butterflies flying around the flowers at the nursery. Here's one of them posing on verbena.

Butterfly on Sunflower

Butterfly on Sunflower. Sorry for the quick posts. I've been studying like crazy to keep up this Semester. Two more years of this... Hope you enjoy the picture!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Woven Sculpture

Lau Hala Alligator. The Pacific islands used to weave the leaves of the Lau Hala tree for mats and other useful things. They also made some amazing woven sculptures such as fish, turtles, and in this case, an alligator! This one was on display at the Foster Botanical Gardens in Honolulu.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Downtown Chicago

Chicago Board of Trade, Downtown Chicago. Architecturally, San Diego is pretty much dominated by low rise and new construction. Thus, Chicago is a lot of fun to walk through with the huge, old skyscrapers, the wonderful carved facades and bronze sculptures. The building pictured (center) is the Chicago board of trade. They have a statue on the top vaguely remiscent of an Oscar statue.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hot Weather

Hot day at Mission Beach. Hot, hot, hot. In the 90s and rising. Thank goodness for that ocean breeze...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Balboa Arboretum

Balboa Arboretum, Balboa Park, San Diego, California. They have a huge, I mean gigantic, lath house in Balboa Park. I've seen glass conservatories that are pretty large such as the one at the Huntington Botanical Gardens but, generally, you don't see huge lath structures. It's probably because they are a bit fragile and difficult to maintain. I have no idea how they managed to restore this lath house but it is a wonderful place full of huge ferns, colorful orchids, dainty begonias and trickling waterfalls. The ferns in the picture are probably around 20 ft. tall.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Architectural Gems

Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park, San Diego, California. The Casa Del Prado has its origins in the buildings built in Balboa Park for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The walls of the buildings from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition are largely finished in amazingly detailed sculptures and lined with sandstone colonades. It is a unique mix of new world architecture and old world detail in a style referred to as Spanish-Colonial Revival. Ironically, when built, they were intended to be temporary. Since then, much rebuilding, repurposing and repair has managed to keep these buildings with us, now, nearly 100 years later. If you're interested in the history of the Expo buildings, click here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Makapu Trail

Makapu trail, Oahu, Hawaii. If you're ever on Oahu, stop by the Makapu trail on the way to the lighthouse. It's an easy walk and you get a stunning view of Honolulu! This is the view looking back towards Hawaii Kai.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Parrotfish, Waikiki, Hawaii. Male parrotfish looking for coral and algae to chew on. They are responsibe for much of the white sand on Hawaiian beaches as they crush, eat and excrete coral as part of their daily diet. At night they sleep in holes in the reef, wrapping themselves in a opalescent mucous cocoon. For you fish-eaters, they are esteemed for their delicate, flakey white meat and, in Hawaii, are often steamed and topped with hot spiced oil and soy sauce.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kapok Tree

Silk Cotton Tree a.k.a. Kapok, Bombax malabaricum. The Kapok trees are in full bloom and they easily make up for their sparse leaves and evil thorns with a profuse abundance of brilliant pink flowers that are a serious attractant for hummingbirds. The seed pod is full of cotton fluff that is used in some places for pillow stuffing and mattresses.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Feel the Passion

Passiflora Alata. Passion...Passion Fruit that is. Blooms every year in late Summer/Fall ever so reliably. Gorgeous flowers open in the morning and close by night. Each flower lasts only a few days but is usually followed a a whole bunch more. Extremely fragrant with a rich, sweet perfume.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Mammoth, California. Shot of the side of the road on the way to Ski Mammoth back in '02. Pretty much nothing out there. There are some cool cinder cones along the way. The ski slope has an active vent that has sulphurous fumes coming out. I suppose it's closer than Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Out Fishing

Fishing on Lake Poway. Out relaxing, hoping for a bite. I suppose it's the company and the experience that counts.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pumpkin and Worm (Pottery)

Pumpkin and Worm, Stoneware. Pretty fun huh? If you want to see more:

Grammatophyllum citrinum

Grammatophyllum citrinum 'Hihimanu'. This orchid has huge, long lasting sprays of flowers that have a citrus like smell to them. Pleasant and oh so beautiful. The flower spikes can be top heavy so put them in a solid pot with a broad base when displaying.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Shadows of Spring

Dried daisies, all that is left of the Spring bounty of flowers. They are still pretty, even dried and parched in the Summer heat.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Another California Sunset

Sunset, Southern California. Whatever you may think about California and San Diego in particular, you'll have to admit, we do have beautiful sunsets!

Goose Reflections

Pilgrim Geese. Holy Goose Reflections! Looks like a 4 way reflection but really it's just a pair of geese at an angle that looks like they're reflections of each other. Of course, the real reflections are a dead giveaway.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Goldfish Mitosis

Goldfish. Figured I'd take a quick study break. The Goldfish splitting into two is a picture I snapped some years back of a goldfish distorted by the viewing surface, kind of like when you go to a house of mirrors or look at things through a prism.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Seoul, Korea. An picture of Seoul, Korea back in 2002. The buildings stretch as far as the eye can see. At night, it's a mass of lights and in the day, back to back cars. I remember nice tree lined streets as well but it is hard to tell from the picture. The trees looked like maples (but were not) and Gingko biloba. Perhaps they're all still there.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bulbophyllum Stars 'N Stripes

Bulbophyllum Stars 'N Stripes. These are really pretty and have a nifty bobbing lip. They smell a bit but not especially nicely.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Would You Eat a Poisonous Fish?

Two courses out of an elaborate 7 course Fugu dinner in Tokyo. I'm not an especially picky eater but when a friend suggested that "we" had to go to a Fugu Restaurant for dinner, it gave me some pause for thought. Fugu, a.k.a. blowfish, is poisonous after all. Well, the rest is history and I'm still here. These were two of the fugu dishes which also included Fugu Sashimi.

This picture is out of the archives as I've been holed up trying to keep up with reading now that the semester has started. Luckily, I have many thousands of pictures in the archives and stories to tell so...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Damselfly on Tomato Hoop

Damselfly on Tomato Hoop. This damselfly was sunning on my tomato hoop in the back yard.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Chocolate, chocolate cupcakes. Yummmm...

Artsy Stuff

Silhouette of a well wisher at the wedding reception, San Diego, California. I don't shoot a lot of artsy photos. Mostly, I lean towards floral, scenery and documentary shots (example, candid moments at a wedding). However, every now and then a really beautiful shot comes by, something combining just the right lighting and reflections, unposed and yet elegant in its simplicity. This was one of those moments. To me, this picture speaks volumes about longing and loneliness; about elegance and formality; about quiet moments and contemplation. Whether this photo represents the situation in fact is, I would claim, irrelevant, as art is in the eye (lens?) of the beholder.