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

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Proof that I am actually in Washington

The very crowded South Lawn at the White House on Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll.

We did not attend.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Common Morpho

I spent the most time chasing these frustrating little guys around the butterfly room.

The underside of their wings has a beautiful pattern in browns and golds, but the top is this brilliant blue. Unfortunately as soon as they touched down they tended to close their wings and keep them closed, as in the top photo where several of them are hanging out on a piece of pineapple.

I really wanted a picture of the blue wings, and while none of these are great, I did, quite literally, sweat for them.

More flutterbyes

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Well, this was unexpected. I went to the Natural History museum to see an exhibit of award-winning travel photographs. The photos were wonderful, but I spent more time in the butterfly room, despite heat, humidity and more than one screaming child who was terrified by the big bugs flying everywhere.

I wasn't prepared to take macro photos on this trip, but some of the butterfly shots came out better than I thought they would. Here's a monarch sipping oh so delicately from a delicious pink flower.

More Easter Sunday pictures

Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter pastoral

It turned out that I could eat again after all. Yesterday we had a late brunch in Fairfax, then spent the afternoon driving through the countryside of Northern Virginia.

How ridiculously beautiful is this? It was just a perfect day -- we sang Take Me Home, Country Roads in the car, stopping for the occasional photo, wandered through village streets ducking in and out of little shops, and had tea in Georgetown instead of dinner.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

Happy Easter to all who celebrate -- here's a redwing blackbird in Central Park.

I am suffering from a food hangover this morning after an amazing Passover-Easter celebration at a restaurant called Gravitas. Fifteen people, six courses with paired wines, and lots of laughter and lively conversation. I can't drink much these days, so I had only a taste of most of the wine, but the food was exquisite -- savory matzo ball soup with shaved truffles, poached halibut with chive vinaigrette, and a rabbit dish that was one of the best things I ever ate.

But I'm definitely not used to feasting until midnight, and I'm moving very slowly this morning. I threw on enough clothes to visit the Starbucks down in the lobby, then immediately returned to bed with my laptop, my coffee, and a chocolate Easter egg.

I may emerge before noon. We'll see.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday reflections

Here's something a little different -- a park bench by the Azalea Pond in Central Park reflected in the water.

Yes, I'm in Washington not New York, but don't have any pictures to post yet. We had a long bus trip down the gray, grim, and very wet Eastern Seaboard yesterday, but today was such a perfect spring day I didn't even miss the cherry blossoms.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Lights, camera, action

I was going to call this urban poetry, but it isn't really, even by my very loose definition.

I went to a television taping last week -- one of the perks of being retired in New York -- and these are the lights on the ceiling of the studio.

It was fun, and they gave everyone in the audience a huge bag of L'Oreal products, so I won't be running out of shampoo any time in the next year.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Urban poetry

Garbage bins outside brownstones on West 57th Street.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Speaking of pretty pink flowers...

I'll be in DC next week -- unfortunately, that's two weeks past peak cherry blossom.

Fortunately, peak cherry blossom in Central Park is right now.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

Here's a pretty pink rose for this beautiful spring day. This is the Rosette Nebula in Monoceros (the Unicorn.)

Image Credit and Copyright: Jean Dean

Monday, April 15, 2019

Notre Dame

One of my favorite places in the world is gone.

I'm crying while I watch the news. Notre Dame survived the Revolution, the Commune, the Occupation, and now it's been destroyed by a fire. I've been there so many times; it's always been the first place I go whenever I'm in Paris. The interior never failed to soothe and inspire -- that hushed darkness, lit by those magnificent windows.

I took this picture in 2017 -- it does not capture their beauty, but today I'm grateful to have it.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Bird blogging

A great blue heron in Central Park.

If the universe had meant me to be productive this week, there wouldn't have been daily marathons of Game of Thrones every afternoon and evening. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday reflections

This is possibly the most New York reflection ever -- a new building near Hudson Yards, across the street from an old brick skyscraper.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

That's the International Space Station, seen against a beautifully detailed moon.

Image Credit and Copyright: Eric Holland

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Bonus bird blogging

Another photo from the Pool Friday -- those Canada geese aren't close enough to qualify this as much of a birding picture, but I love the way they're framed by the willow fronds that are just starting to turn green.

Sunday bird blogging

This grackle is really flaunting the iridescence.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Bonus reflections

Bare trees over the Pool in northwest Central Park during a gentle spring rain yesterday.

I met up with a birding group, but we gave up after one circuit of the lake. There were a few interesting birds -- flickers, field sparrows -- but there was a lot more rain. We're going to try again next week.

Saturday reflections

Here's a rainy spring sidewalk in New York. Apparently puddle reflections have become quite trendy on Instagram, so once again I am ahead of the curve. (That is, of course, a joke -- I manage to navigate most curves life throws at me, but getting ahead of them is not one of my talents.)

Friday, April 5, 2019

Antarctica flashback

I've been processing old photos in fits and starts. Most of them aren't that interesting -- they're the ones that get passed over during the many rounds of sorting, usually because there are better pictures I'd rather work on.

But I love this one. This was taken at the Chilean Air Force base on King George Island while we were waiting for the plane back to Punta Arenas. Such brilliant light, and the day before the wind and snow had been so bad we couldn't leave the ship.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Urban poetry

Entrance to a parking garage in Hell's Kitchen, with a sign truncated into being a New York koan.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

For some reason, this picture makes me want to intone Space: the final frontier.

NGC 1333 in Perseus shows a reflection nebula, with the bright blue of starlight reflected off the interstellar dust.

Image Credit and Copyright: Steve Milne, Barry Wilson - Processing: Steve Milne

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

I hadn't seen one of these beautiful creatures in ages -- a red-bellied woodpecker at the feeders in Central Park.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday reflections

Looking out from the mall at Hudson Yards and seeing it reflected back.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Urban poetry

I meant to post this yesterday, but I was working on an art project and meeting a friend for lunch, and just forgot. How time flies when you aren't employed is something that continues to astonish me.

Here are two pedicabs parked on the street next to more traditional cabs. They're for the tourists obviously, but I did ride in one of these years ago when I was leaving a work event late on a bitterly cold, blizzardy night and there were no taxis to be had. I was reasonably warm under the awning and it was surreal to glide so slowly through the snowy streets, behind plastic sheeting like the temporary walls surrounding delis and flower stands in the winter.

I negotiated a cheaper than usual price for the ride before I got in (the usual fare is $5.00 a minute) but it still cost me three times as much as a regular cab, so I will almost certainly never do it again. But I do love that memory, of the snow whipping past, the driver a black shadow with legs pumping, and the empty streets vague and magical through plastic windows.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

I like the question mark shape of these three galaxies, collectively known as Arp 194 (the third one is the smaller oval on the right side of the top galaxy.)

It's theorized that the bottom galaxy passed through the top galaxy sometime in the last 100 million years. The trail of gases still between them has become a star nursery, full of brand new, bright blue, baby stars.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble; Processing and License: Judy Schmidt

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

A house finch, perched in a satisfyingly gnarly tree in Albany.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Vessel

The center of the Hudson Yards development is this climbable piece of public art, a tower of copper-clad staircases designed by Thomas Heatherwick.

Some people are called it the Shawarma, or the Giant Wastebasket. I think it looks like an overly precious parking garage, and I haven't yet gone inside (there was a long line the first day; now there are timed tickets so not too much of a wait, but I'd rather wait until nobody cares.) It's definitely photogenic, although the owners initially tried to implement a very restrictive photo policy that allowed them to have rights to any pictures, which makes me less than eager to share my own.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Urban poetry

An abstract of facades at Hudson Yards, a new shopping/living complex built over the old rail yards west of Penn Station, which opened last week.

It's a ten-minute walk from my apartment, so I went down there Saturday despite a fierce wind that moaned across the plazas like the soundtrack to a bad horror film. I got some interesting pictures, but overall, it's not all that impressive. (One of the articles in the Times compared it to “a gated community in Singapore.”)

If you've been dying to go to Sally Hershberger for an $800 haircut but didn't feel like schlepping all the way to Barney's, or have felt that the lack of a Neiman Marcus store in Manhattan was nigh unbearable, you might feel that Hudson Yards fills a real gap. I think that most of us will find that it can comfortably be ignored.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

The star cluster NGC 3603 consists of hot young stars, formed perhaps a million years ago. You can see how the rapid star formation carved out the center of the gas cloud surrounding the cluster.

Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

A chestnut-backed chickadee in Pleasanton. You can't really see the chestnut in this picture except on the top of his head. The New York chickadees all have black heads.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Saturday reflections

As it's (finally) almost spring, here's one last snowy winter street.

All that reddish brown is actually a brick building across the street, reflected into abstraction by the slushy water.

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