I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beauty break

To wander in the fields of flowers, pull the thorns from your heart. -- Rumi

I don't know about you, but any thorns I pulled from my heart this week would probably have been left as little surprises on the seats of the many people who annoyed me to the point of tears.

These flowers are cheap shrink-wrapped roses at the corner deli, and the pictures were originally intended just for Instagram. But after Photoshopping them into abstraction I liked the results so much I'm cross-posting here.

I'm making no promises about those thorns, by the way, so let's hope everyone is nicer to me today.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Here's a picture of our own beautiful planet for a change. I've been making plans for visiting Chile on my way to Antarctica, but this is one place I probably won't see: the salt flats in the Atacama desert, as seen by the European Space Agency.

Copyright Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data [2016], processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

Returning from the exotic Middle East, this is as American as you can get: a robin pausing to listen for breakfast on one of the lush green lawns of Central Park in summer, before hopping as far away as he can get from the annoying woman with the camera.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday reflections

Since I'm doing some housekeeping, here's a reflection shot I never posted: the scalloped facade of the World Trade Center in Abu Dhabi.

Friday, June 23, 2017


Two pictures of the stonework inside the Umayyed temple.

The Umayyed temple

You can't see much of the temple in this picture, but I like the waving grasses and the old stones off in the distance.

Above the amphitheater

A few more pictures of the Citadel: a portal in the stone walls, another view of the modern city beyond the ruins, and one more picture of the Temple of Hercules, just because it's spectacular.

Amman flashback: the Forum

Two more looks at the forum -- one from in front of the amphitheater entrance, which gives you a sense of how huge it is, and the streams of people that are constantly coming and going, and the other from the terrace on top of the hill across the street (the stone walls you can see in the picture on the left.)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Faces of Amman

I promised more pictures from Amman, but it turned out that I had a lot I hadn't even looked through yet. So I'm still sorting and cleaning up, but here's a start.

The top two pictures are in the forum in front of the amphitheater, which is a fun place for people-watching -- I only wish I'd had a lot more time there! The men on the bottom right were walking on a nearby street. I saw the two teenage girls from the taxi on the way back to my hotel.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Urban poetry

I took this with my phone on my way to work this morning: getting ready to greet the summer solstice with yoga in Times Square.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Another chapter in When Galaxies Collide!

This is HGC90, one of the so-called Hickson Compact Groups. Three galaxies are distorting one another with their gravity, leading to no doubt bruised feelings and furious star formation.

Image Credit: NASA; ESA, Hubble Legacy Archive; Processing: Oliver Czernetz

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

A blue jay in shadow, in front of a burst of bright early summer greens.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday reflections

I love these colors, on West 52nd Street in New York.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Urban poetry

Lights and shadows in the (mostly) empty lobby of an office building on a Saturday.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Here's another look at the Dumbell Nebula, number 27 on Monsieur Messier's list of things that are not comets.

This was taken by the Subaru Telescope, one of the many in the prime viewing location atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The Subaru is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

Image Credit and Copyright: Data; Subaru, NAOJ, Assembly and Processing; Roberto Colombari

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

This lovely creature hiding up in the branches is a great crested flycatcher. They're allegedly quite common, but this was the first one I ever managed to see, much less photograph.

This week I confirmed my booking for Antarctica in January, after I was waitlisted on my first two date choices. (My friend Jayne thinks I'm crazy to book things so far in advance, but I've learned the hard way that if you dither too long you may be out of luck. Hotels can usually be cancelled and flights can be rearranged, but for tours you just have to take a deep breath and commit.)

So I'm dreaming of glaciers and snow during these bright hot days of early summer.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Friday, June 9, 2017

Another look

Here's the French building again, in context, with a few of its neighbors.

Urban poetry

In New York, it always pays to look up.

This is the Fred F. French Building on Fifth Avenue, one of the first Art Deco skyscrapers. There are a pair of stunning faience panels at the top, with sunbursts and Assyrian-style griffins, and many years ago when I was first working in New York, I used to stand on the terraces outside our offices and look down Fifth Avenue at the north-facing panel and wonder, What the hell?

Most of the exterior is just brick, but the setbacks all have this bright terra-cotta trim in varying patterns. It's not what you notice first, but it's worth taking a look at.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Astronomy Tuesday

Another beautiful shot of Jupiter from the Juno probe, this time seen from below where the horizontal bands around the planet that we're used to seeing are much less noticeable.

Who knew Jupiter was so blue? It looks like swirls of painting on a porcelain bowl.

Image Credit: NASA, Juno, SwRI, MSSS, Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran

Monday, June 5, 2017

Welcome to the working week

I've been meaning to post a few pictures from Amman that I never got around to, so here's one to get me started: a man chatting with a policeman on a cigarette break in the Roman amphitheater.

It's allegedly late spring, here in New York many months later, but the weather hasn't been much warmer than it was that winter day in Amman.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday bird blogging

Sex in the city: a frisky pigeon trying to get lucky on an underpass.

Saturday, June 3, 2017


A bonus photo, and a shout-out to the reality-based community: neat triangles of light carved by the shadows on an iron fence on West 37th Street.

After all the abstracts I've been creating recently, there's something reassuring about patterns and the geometry of simple shapes. And you don't get much more reality-based than rivets on an iron fence.

Saturday reflections

Here's the kind of gaudy garish color I took out of the last picture -- a very abstract reflection, with only the word “Mercedes” in the top right corner to tell you that this came off a car.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Urban poetry

42nd Street, seen through a wide-angle lens.

Even in black and white, it's nothing like the gritty street of hookers and hustlers and drunks and druggies I used to avoid when I first moved to New York.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Just for fun.

This started out as a photo of the pipes and vents and other structures on a nearby roof, taken from my hotel room in Chicago. I switched the colors and added some double exposures, and ended up liking the result very much.

Because reality feels highly overrated these days.

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