Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chamaeleo jacksonii xantholophus - Yellow-crested Jackson's Chameleon

Female Chamaeleo jacksonii xantholophus - Yellow-crested Jackson's Chameleon on Mom's Eucalyptus tree.  This one's a female; however, the males have horns like a triceratops!  It doesn't get much cooler than that!

Of all the chameleon pictures I shot, I chose that particular picture because it looked like she was Atlas holding up the world.   These little lizards have bifurcate feet that look like human hands in a baking mitt!  They generally move at an incredibly slow pace, painstakingly taking each step.  However, to my viewing amazement, she suddenly lunged half-way off of a branch and with a flick of her tongue, caught a bug that was flying by, seemingly all in a fraction of second!  You would not have thought such speed possible.

Should you find yourself in the position of Atlas, please take a little time out for enjoyment tonight.  From our house to yours, have a happy new year full of good health and prosperity.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Big Waves at Sunset Beach

Surfer at Sunset Beach gives us an idea of the size of the waves this afternoon.  On Sunday, they're predicting 30 footers.  OMG.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Java Finches on the Beach

Java Finch, also know as the Java Sparrow, Padda oryzivora, munching on grass seeds at Ala Moana Beach Park.  These little finches are quite gregarious, gathering in flocks of 10 or 20, as they pick seeds off of the grass stalks.  Their colors remind me of a tuxedo, or some sort of formal attire, with their shaply contrasted grey, black, and white offset by pink beaks and feet.

Where There is Rain, There are Rainbows

Where there is rain, there are rainbows.  In Hawaii, at least during some Winter seasons, it will rain almost every day in the mountains.  Thus, there is the incongruity of having hot, Summer-like, sunny weather at the beach while gazing back towards rainbows over the mountains.  This rainbow was seen looking back at the hills from Ala Moana Beach Park.  This year, we've seen at least one rainbow every single day; that's something that never seems to get old.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Curious Triggerfish

Curious Triggerfish taking a look at the funny clear camera case (looks edible perhaps?).  This is a Rectangular Triggerfish, Balistapus rectangulus, also know as (in Hawaiian) humu humu nuku nuku apua'a.  Merry Christmas to all our gracious readers.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

One Last Fish Picture; Have a Merry Christmas!

Uhu (in Hawaiian) or Parrotfish grazing algae off of the coral.  Have a Merry Christmas!  Hope you are all with friends and family and creating happy memories.

Christmas Eve Was Sunny with Scattered Showers...

Here I am, hard at work photographing fish...  Then, back home for a shower and off to the festivities.  Well, with a beach just moments away, why not a quick dip in the morning prior to the Christmas gathering?  I might even have burned a few calories chasing fish around with my camera!

Ulua Just Like on TV!

Huge School of 'Omilu (One species of Ulua, a.k.a. Caranx melampygus) swimming by the camera on shallow reef.  These were around 3 feet long and there must have been a good thirty fish in the school.  They were doing lazy circles around me as if they were curious.  They were perhaps 3 feet away from the camera.  Talk about heart thumping, exciting experiences!  That was fun.  I had thought I would have to fly to Midway to see this but no, right here in Honolulu.  It's nice to see the fish population rebounding after so many years of overfishing.

Surfing Sandy Beach

Surfing just outside the rocky shoreline at Sandy Beach, Oahu, Hawaii.  The surfers would surf within about 20 feet of the rocks before veering off, sometimes closer.  If I tried that, I'd be in the hospital for sure.  The Winter waves at Sandy Beach are pretty sizeable as well (not pipeline sized but big enough for some serious action).  Hats off to these guys.

Chicks Out for a Stroll

Chicks out strolling with Mama chicken among the cats at He'eia State park. The cats (another picture) must be well fed as they leave the chickens alone, preferring to sleep the day away. On another note, I saw ducklings today. Is it Springtime or what?— at He‘eia State Park.

* Moa = Chicken in Hawaiian

Sunday, December 22, 2013

On Fifi, On Spot, On Pluto, On Rover....Happy Holidays to All!

Reindog (yes, it is a long way for reindeer to fly so...on Fifi, on Spot, on Pluto, on Rover...).  Here's to wishing you all a happy holiday season full of friends, family and good memories.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Nehu, Stolephorus purpureus, a Hawaiian Anchovy

Nehu, Stolephorus purpureus, a Hawaiian Anchovy, was used for bait in the Hawaiian Tuna Fishery, back when tuna were still caught by pole and hook.  Here, a large school congregates along the shoreline to avoid predation by larger fish.


Waikiki Beach Panorama.  After brief but heavy showers, the clouds cleared off and made way for a steamy, tropical day.  Mele Kalikimaka to one and to all!

Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle, taking a breath after browsing on seaweed on the bottom at Ala Moana Beach Park.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Yellow Fin Anthias

Yellow Fin Anthias, Odontanthias fuscipinnis, is a rare Hawaiian deepwater Anthias that is seldom seen.  These have been artificially raised from eggs collected off of the surface of the ocean.  It's still unclear to me how they figured out that the eggs were there in the first place, but it is quite an achievement!

Peppermint Angelfish

Peppermint angelfish, Centropyge boylei, a very deep water, social angelfish that is, so far, quite rare in captivity.  So rare, in fact, that this is reportedly one of two fish in captivity and the only one on public display.  It was collected during an expedition funded by the Smithsonian Institution.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hibiscus: Pohai Ke Aloha

Hibiscus hybrid: "Pohai Ke Aloha" at the Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market.  I've been known to show a little weakness for the occasional hibiscus hybrid although I find that they are not overly fond of San Diego Winters.

Citron Butterflyfish

Chaetodon citrinellus, the Citron Butterfly, is somewhat common throughout the Indo-Pacific but is rare in Hawaii.  I consider myself fortunate to have seen one of these and, of course, it's always an event when I spot a new fish, bird, or critter.  It's even more exciting when I manage to take a clean picture of it as well!  This was at Queen's Surf at about 4 feet depth.

Will the Real Unicorn Please Step Forward?

Large Unicorn Tang, Naso unicornis, spikes extended (perhaps because I was a bit close), at Queen's Surf, Hawaii.

Here's a headshot showing the horn up close and personal.  This fish is also known as the bluespine unicornfish.

Note that Unicornfish are in the family acanthuridae.  They are also known as tangs or surgeonfish, for the sharp, knife-like spines at their tail that can slash you pretty badly if you attempt to grab them by the tail.  In some surgeonfish species, the spines are venemous, although I have not, thankfully, experienced this firsthand.  Most are peaceful herbivores, grazing in large schools along shallow reefs (although a few species also live on small invertebrates).  I jokingly refer to the surgeonfish as the cows of the sea.  In aquariums, they will strip a tank bare of macroalgae in a day or two...so, if you have a macroalgae problem, these are your fish.  Noteably, the macroalgae also provides the tangs with needed micronutrients, preventing the pitting that you sometimes see in tank fish that are not fed an occassional meal of macroalgae.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Saturday, December 07, 2013

San Diego Pottery Tour

There are some awesome finds at the San Diego Pottery Tour including a broad variety of work, from artistic to functional and from playful to formal, by many of San Diego's best potters and ceramic artists.  Here are just a few of the cool ceramic works that I really liked.  The tour provides an opportunity to see local artists studios as well as some of their finest work at reasonable prices, just in time for the holidays.  You can find out more about the San Diego Pottery Tour at: http://sdpotterytour.com/.

 Ceramic Bowl with Stone Finish by Pierre Bounaud

 Serving tray with leaf pattern by Pierre Bounaud

  Serving tray with geometric pattern by Pierre Bounaud

 Friendly DragonFly by Hasuyo Miller

Pitcher by Hasuyo Miller

Friday, December 06, 2013

December 2013 San Diego AOS Awards

 Cycnodes Jumbo Ecstatic 'Sunset Valley Orchids' AM 88 pts.
 Dendrobium eriiflorum ‘Wonderful Willie’ CCM 85pts.

 Fdk After Midnight 'SVO Dark Beauty' FCC 91pts.
Fdk Enter Night 'Sunset Valley Orchids' AM 88pts.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Repotting Time for the Orchids

What happens when engineers pot orchids?  Think parallel processing.  Potting orchids, doing laundry and cooking at the same time!  Recipe for disaster or a model of efficiency?

I discovered some divisions of some very special (and very large) plants.  Thats the thing about repotting, it's like having a reunion with your old friends.  Imagine trying to untangle several 40+ growth Cattleyas that have grown over each other (including an awarded intermedia orlata and a gorgeous Lc. Aloha Case) tangled up with some Epi. stamfordianum albas.  They were all growing really well up in the sunny corner of the greenhouse. 

Finally, I'm stopping for the evening...I'm out of sun, out of moss and out of bark (and running low on pots).  Looks like a bark run tomorrow.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Korean Double Layer Celadon Vase

Large Celadon Jar with Double Layer (vase inside a vase) Openwork Technique and Crown Design by Mr. Choi In-Gyu, on display at the American Museum of Ceramic Arts.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  May your day be full of family, friends, good food and fond memories.

*I never realized how beautiful wild turkeys are until I saw them up close, with the sun reflecting off of their iridescent feathers.  They are, in my humble opinion, up there among the most stunning American birds for beauty.  It leads one to wonder what we might have if we had bred domestic turkeys for beauty rather than for food.  It could have been the domestic peacock!  This one lives in the aviary at the San Diego Safari Park so she's well fed and safe from the Thanksgiving festivities.

**No turkeys were harmed in the creation of this photo. ;-P 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Metallic Glaze Teapot by Pierre Bounaud at AMOCA

Metallic Glaze teapot by Pierre Bounaud on display at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, California.

Korean Celadon Dragon Vase

Celadon Bottle with Inlaid Dragon Design by Mr. Kim Seong-Tae of Songweol Ceramics, on display at the American Museum of Ceramic Arts.  Most were also available for sale.  I really liked this one but, alas, it was priced at around $47,000 so a picture will have to do.  The clay is carved and inlaid with different colors of slip to create the pattern and then glazed with a clear celadon glaze.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Northern Red Bishop

Northern Red Bishop or Orange Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus).  These are found from Senegal to Northwest Kenya and have also been naturalized into Puerto Rico and the West Indies.  In nature, these small weavers nest in tall grass where they weave spherical nests.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

At the Kayak Rental

The kayaks were neatly stacked in rows for the evening.  The low rays of the evening sun made for great reflections.

Cattleya labiata

Cattleya labiata.  From a distance, this looks like a semi-alba but, if you get close, you can see that it has a light lavender blush.  This plant was brought into judging last night.

Cattleya bowringiana variety alba

Cattleya bowringiana variety alba.  This is a rare albanistic variety of the normally sparkling lavender C. bowringiana.  Most of the albas out there that I have seen are actually semi-albas with a teensy bit of bluish-lavender in the throat.  I suspect many if not most arose from selfings of C. bowringiana 'Tower Grove'.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Korean Ceramics Masters

Jar IV by Mr. Ju Eon-Sik, on display at the American Museum of Ceramic Arts (AMOCA).  The texture looks like dry, cracked wood.  I remember seeing some awesome ceramics when I used to fly out to Korea.  I only regret not having bought more of them (but there is only so much space in the house...).

Cattleya guttata variety coerulea

Cattleya guttata variety coerulea.  Cattleya guttata is native to the hot, shrubby sand dunes of Brazil where they sometimes grow to 5 or 6 feet in height, throwing huge spikes of gorgeous waxy blooms.  This is a coerulea form, which is a somewhat uncommon, recessive color mutation, most typically found in Cattleya species and hybrids.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Cycnoches cooperi

A reasonably dark clone Cycnoches cooperi.  These are native to Brazil and Northern Peru and tend to prefer warmer growing conditions.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Pierre and I carved jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.  It seemed pretty festive and, if we carve them tonight, they should still be fresh and sassy for Halloween.  I used a paring knife to carve the holes and an old teaspoon to scrape out the seeds.  Pierre had some really cool micro-saw like tools that he uses for pottery.  I think they both worked out just fine!  Here are the results.

The Pumpkins, pre-carving.

Arnold's pumpkin, the one toothed wonder!
 Pierre's pumpkin, with the shy pumpkin grin.
 The finished Jack-o-lanterns in all their glory.  A little candlelight made them look positively scary (boo!).

Dendrobium victoria reginae

Dendrobium victoria reginae, hails from the mountains of the Philippines where it grows at about 4000 to 8000 feet.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Masdevallia macrura

Masdevallia macrura.  These hefty Masdevallias are found in Columbia and Ecuador from around 6000 to 8000 ft. elevation where they grow on mossy rocks.

Cattleya guttata

Cattleya guttata.  This clone resulted from the selfing of a coerulea type.  This species is native to low coastal dune habitat in Brazil.  At just under 3 feet tall, this is a first bloom seedling; they can grow upwards of 5 feet tall.  They pass along the glossy sheen and the upright multi-floral habit to their offspring.