Tag Archives: Travel

Travel Theme: Meeting Places

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Meeting Places.

Bethesda Terrace and Fountain in NYC’s Central Park—

Bethesda Fountain

where you can blow bubbles

Blow bubbles

get married

Get married

have a conversation

Have a conversation

row on the lake

Row on the lake

and dance discreetly

Dance discreetly

or not so discreetly

Dance not so discreetly

Travel Theme: Purple

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Purple.

What's this??

What’s this??

Several times during our recent paddles through Southern Florida, we came across these large squishy creatures, brown with white spots, flapping their wings just under the water’s surface—

A swimming sea hare!

How is this connected with the theme of Purple, you may ask? Well, the connection was established as soon as I picked this one up out of the water. It immediately started oozing a dark purple liquid onto my sprayskirt. I hastily put it back into the water.

Actually, I was expecting this (although I wasn’t expecting the animal to be quite this trigger-happy). For this was an Aplysia, a sea-slug commonly known as a sea hare—and, as it happens, one of the experimental animals that we work with in the lab (although we work with a slightly different species). So I am very familiar with its defensive mechanisms. Rather like squid, a disturbed Aplysia releases, along with other secretions, a cloud of defensive ink.

This ink is deep purple—perhaps the most intense purple color I have ever seen. No wonder that such ink (from a different species of mollusc) was in antiquity the basis of a much-prized dye, Tyrian or Imperial Purple.

I don’t have a photo that does the color of the ink justice, so here’s one by another photographer that begins to give some idea—

Aplysia californica releasing ink

For much more about Aplysia and its ink, including a video of the ink release, see here.

Travel Theme: Decoration

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Decoration.

Inspecting the decorations at the 2012 and 2013 Tugboat Races—

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Tattoo decorations 2
Tattoo decorations 3
Tattoo decorations 4

We look forward to this year’s North River Tugboat Race & Competition!

Twist in the Sky for a Happy Fourth of July!

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge today is Twist. Just in time for the Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth!

These were last year’s fireworks (more photos are here). We’ll see what tonight will bring!

Here‘s another kind of Twist, in response to The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge, which also had Twist as its theme only a month ago.

Shine On, Happy Summer!

By Vladimir Brezina

The Summer Solstice occurred this morning, so we in the Northern Hemisphere are now officially into Summer. Happy Summer, everyone!

(Or, of course, to those in the Southern Hemisphere, Happy Winter!)

And, very appropriately for the occasion, Ailsa’s photo challenge this week is Shine

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(Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, 2011. Story and more photos here.)

Travel Theme: Shine

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Shine.

Moonshine, inside and out—

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Travel Theme: Fresh

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Fresh.

Yesterday I saw that the ground under the mulberry tree on the corner is littered with fallen mulberries. It’s that time of the year!

And that means that, on our next Manhattan circumnavigation, at a certain spot we know, we’ll be able to pick fresh ripe mulberries right from our kayaks!

Mulberries!
Right from our kayaks
These are red
And some are already ripe

Travel Theme: Unexpected

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Unexpected.

We were expecting a peaceful paddle through autumnal marshes and creeks. We were certainly not expecting the locals to put up such strong resistance—

Local defenses

Come to think of it, we’ve already had Unexpected as a photo challenge theme. Here‘s another fellow who was quite prepared to defend his turf :-)

Weekly Photo Challenge & Travel Theme: Split-Second Story in the Big City

By Vladimir Brezina

This week’s Photo Challenge is Split-Second Story, and Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge is Cities.

A perfect conjunction!

For yesterday and today were days of Manhattanhenge, that urban astronomical phenomenon in which the sun appears, for a brief moment just at sunset, at the ends of the cross-streets of Manhattan’s street grid.

Of course, the sun has to be visible at sunset. Yesterday was cloudy. Today was more promising. So I joined the Manhattanhenge-watching crowd—smaller than usual this year because of the uncertain weather—at 57th Street and Park Avenue. As we waited, a rain shower moved in. (Now I know how astronomers must feel, waiting nervously for that once-in-a-century conjunction or eclipse, only to have clouds move in at the last minute…)

But just at the moment of sunset, the sun appeared through the mist!  I got a few photos.

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But the visibility was not ideal, and in addition I realized only too late that at the end of 57th Street there is a big building, across the Hudson in New Jersey, that blocks the view! As another photographer standing next to me remarked, Jersey always screws things up…

The spectacle was much more impressive last year at 42nd Street:

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… and in 2011 at 34th Street:

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But there’s always another chance—Manhattanhenge repeats on July 11th and 12th!

Travel Theme: Metal

By Vladimir Brezina

Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge this week is Metal.

A few close encounters with New York Harbor metal—

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Red rust
Yellow garbage barge
Orange rust
Black barge
Blue rust
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