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

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

One of the few good things I can say about Twitter is that literally every possible interest on the planet is represented. And so if you happen to be interested in birds that are passing through or hanging out in New York, there are several Twitter feeds that will keep you up to date.

Which is how I became aware that a yellow-breasted chat was frequenting Verizon Plaza, a nondescript corporate park not far from my apartment. Every day I was sure it would be gone, heading south for the winter, and every day there were more pictures on Twitter. I was sure that nothing would inspire the bird to leave town faster than my attempting to see it, but I walked over there yesterday between errands and found a small crowd with long lenses and binoculars surrounding a tree. And there, preening for its adoring audience, was a tiny yellow bird.

Since I was in the middle of shopping I didn't carry a big lens, so the picture isn't great, but it's still an unexpected treat in the middle of Midtown Manhattan.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Saturday reflections

Here's some typical New York architecture dancing across the smooth shiny surfaces of a car.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Urban poetry

There are far too many of these around the city. It's a long road back.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

NGC 7822 is not known as the Question Mark Nebula, probably because it actually looks like a question mark (or maybe a very fat exclamation point) and that would make too much sense. It's a large star-forming region in the constellation Cepheus.

Image Credit and Copyright: Yizhou Zhang

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Saturday reflections


A restaurant on Ninth Avenue last year, during the lockdown.

It has since reopened, unlike so many others.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Urban poetry

A car wash that is clearly not “open 24 hours”—on the Westside Highway in Manhattan.

Thursday, October 21, 2021


You know you're a photographer when....your reaction to being unable to sleep is grabbing your phone to take pictures of the shadows on the ceiling.

But that abstract was irresistible!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

This image isn't as jaw-dropping as some of those big, flashy nebulae that I post, but it's actually quite interesting.

This is known as Einstein's Cross; it is a galaxy, or at least the effect caused by one. I've posted a few pictures of the Abell 370 gravitational lens, where the cumulative gravity of the galaxy cluster acts as a giant lens magnifying and distorting the light that passes through it. This invisible galaxy is doing something similar. It sits between us and a distant quasar, and its gravity distort's the quasar's light into that cloverleaf shape.

Image Credit and License: J. Rhoads (Arizona State U.) et al., WIYN, AURA, NOIRLab, NSF

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

A tufted titmouse ponders the change of seasons.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Saturday reflections

The reflections are minimal in this one, but I like it anyway: the last store window in Asbury Park.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Urban poetry

Street signs in Asbury Park. The past few years have been hard on all of us.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

NGC 6559 is a nebula cluster in Sagittarius, about 5000 light years from Earth.

The stars in this image are so dazzling; I keep thinking I'm actually looking at a painting, a woman by Klimt maybe, draped in a cloak of stars.

Image Credit and Copyright: Roberto Sartori

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Bonus bird blogging

The beach at Point Pleasant, full of black-backed gulls.

Sunday bird blogging

This downy woodpecker in Central Park Friday had obviously found an avian buffet in that tree. He was digging away when I arrived, and was still going at it when I passed by again on my way out.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Bonus reflections

Beach house facing the sunrise.

Comic Con is taking place this weekend, and remembering how much fun I had taking pictures of attendees a few years ago, I was very tempted to abandon my homework and go looking for photo opportunities.

But I didn't, mostly because I still have such a huge backlog of photos to process from my recent ventures outside the city. (And homework.) But also because it doesn't yet feel like a world where something like Comic Con is possible—or desirable. Not yet.

Saturday reflections

Another store window in Asbury Park.

Friday, October 8, 2021


The colors and detail in these images of waves fascinate me. This is one way photography has a definite advantage—freezing the moment so you can look at it without the distraction of motion.

It makes me think of Sylvia Plath: the freakish Atlantic/Where it pours bean green over blue. I do see what she meant.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

End of the season, part 2

The beaches are actually closed only to swimmers—no lifeguards on duty—so walking and wading and watching the sunrise are acceptable year round.

End of the season

I am fairly confident that palm trees are not indigenous to New Jersey, but they do give a festive (and only a little tacky) air to this restaurant on the boardwalk.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Sunrise in the temperate zone


Astronomy Tuesday

A slightly different sunrise than the ones I saw a few days ago.

At the South Pole, the sun should make its first appearance after the long winter at the equinox, but because of the lensing effect of the Earth's atmosphere, the first sliver appears a few weeks early. And once it finally emerges, it takes its time -- the sunrise can take up to two weeks.

Image Credit and Copyright: Martin Wolf (U. Wisconsin), IceCube Neutrino Obs., NSF; ht: Alice Allen

Monday, October 4, 2021

Days of Heaven

There's kind of an Andrew Wyeth feel to this landscape that I love. It makes me think of prairies and pioneers, not dunes at the Jersey Shore.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ

Cookman Avenue in downtown Asbury Park on a perfect afternoon in early fall.

Sunday bird blogging

A pair of great black-backed gulls guarding their section of the beach at Point Pleasant.

This is the largest species of gull in the world. When a flock of them swoops towards you on the sand, they are quite intimidating, and they owned this beach.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Bonus reflections

The AirBnB was a block from the beach, so there were sunrises. And photographs of sunrises.

I love the way the sun reflects as three bright spots on the water.

Saturday reflections

These reflections in a store window look very strange and mysterious to me, like something I might have seen in Tehran or Istanbul, but this was in the rather prosaic downtown in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

We stopped for lunch on our way to Point Pleasant, and I had maybe the best grilled cheese sandwich of my life at Talula's (cheddar cheese with caramelized onions and apple slices on sourdough -- yum -- also something I was not likely to find in Istanbul or Tehran) and it was all charming, but definitely not exotic.

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Big Man

Many of these benches along the boardwalk are dedicated to friends or family; this one is a memorial for all of us.

UPDATED: We walked the boardwalk one last time this morning before heading back to the city, and when we walked past this bench, I said, “Good morning, Big Man.”

As we passed, I turned back to see what it said on the other side, and it was, “Back at you.”

Jersey Shore

The (mostly) deserted boardwalk in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, early this morning.

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