The WordPress Daily Prompt has the theme of Cloaked. This is a very interesting topic, as it can range from deep space to simply wearing a cloak (whatever happened to good old-fashioned cloaks with many pockets?)
The one thing that came to mind immediately was one of the images from a beach excursion during January of 2015; we had just had a tremendous amount of snow, which created one of those rare opportunities to photograph the beaches in the snow. The beaches were very much deserted, as it was not great swimming weather; and with the snow, the landscape was silent and beautiful.
A cold day at the beach…
With the gorgeous light and frozen scenery, it made for a fantastic day to be out there photographing. With ample layers and warm boots, there was no limit to what we could see!
Welcome to Week 78 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge.
It definitely took me hours to appreciate all of your wonderful entries for last week’s challenge. The round up for those entries will appear a bit later today, as I am still catching up from my wonderful weekend guitar retreat (a post about that later in the week!)
This week is inspired by another walk along the beach; this one was during a recent, very snowy Winter, when I joined a group of intrepid (and hardy) photographers, as we went exploring various beaches on the last day of January. There was lots of snow on those beaches, which was phenomenal, but I also captured this week’s theme: Sand!
Now, I know that your creative minds are jumping all over this right away! And you say, quite rightly, that Sand can also be a verb… Yes, it’s not just a pretty fun material for beaches, so take this one in the direction of your choosing and have some fun with it!!
Here’s the view of that sand…
What drew me into this faux dune landscape were the ridges that had been carved into the sand, next to the glacial water; you know that it was cold, as salt water freezes at a lower temperature. Peering over a ridge, this gave me the sense of looking across a desert landscape at the edge of an ice ocean.
The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:
Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!
I’m looking forward to seeing what you find in your sandbox, belt-sander or hourglass…
Also, an appropriate image for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme of Scale.
Inspired by the WordPress Daily Post theme of Shallow.
There was ample opportunity to go swimming at the beach, if it weren’t for the fact that she was afraid of all that might be swimming in the refreshing ocean water with her. She had seen Jaws, after all, and Piranha and several other movies that reminded her that the water was not hers alone. Luckily, she found some shallow water…
After a great 10 days of work in Israel, which were highly successful in building a connection with my new team, it is great to be home again! It’s great to be able to hug my wife, sleep in the bed that my body recognizes as home, a sleep in late with the dogs.
That said, I’m looking forward to getting some more time in the future to explore Israel beyond what I have seen thus far; I’ve seen some pretty sights, but haven’t had the time yet to take a trip to Jerusalem and absorb some of the antiquity and spiritual richness of that city. Of course, there’s the Dead Sea and plenty of other sights to visit.
Here’s another look at the beach in Herzliyah, which is just a stunning view of the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s a great place to visit, but there’s no place like home!
As my body is still fighting against the time zone difference (translation: sleep deprivation), I decided to go for a long walk along the beach this morning to at least show my brain that there’s daylight at this hour. By my standards, the weather is wonderful, as it’s a rather humid 67F (appr. 19C), which is a far cry from the light snow that is falling at home…
As the wind is in-land and the surf’s not too shabby, there are 100s of people out in the water surfing along the beach. If there were a bigger surf and bright sunshine, this might look like California!
The vantage point is between a set of concrete barriers in a stormdrain that empties into the beach.
After looking at the beach over the past week, which for most of us brings vision of warm Summer days, I thought it might be interesting to look at something that is a wonder of a different season: Snow!
Snow is definitely not among the favorite forms of precipitation for everyone, as, in even small amounts, it can hinder travel, unless one is prepared for it. For me, snow is a contributor to amazing landscapes, so I always look forward to a beautiful snowfall that gives a complete different expression to the landscape that we see every day.
Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft, white, and fluffy structure, unless subjected to external pressure. Snowflakes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Types that fall in the form of a ball due to melting and refreezing, rather than a flake, are hail, ice pellets or snow grains.
To connect back to last week, I present an image that contains both beach and snow…
Snow crystals form when tiny supercooled cloud droplets (about 10 μm in diameter) freeze. These droplets are able to remain liquid at temperatures lower than −18 °C (0 °F), because to freeze, a few molecules in the droplet need to get together by chance to form an arrangement similar to that in an ice lattice. Then the droplet freezes around this “nucleus”. Experiments show that this “homogeneous” nucleation of cloud droplets only occurs at temperatures lower than −35 °C (−31 °F). In warmer clouds an aerosol particle or “ice nucleus” must be present in (or in contact with) the droplet to act as a nucleus. Ice nuclei are very rare compared to that cloud condensation nuclei on which liquid droplets form. Clays, desert dust and biological particles may be effective, although to what extent is unclear. Artificial nuclei include particles of silver iodide and dry ice, and these are used to stimulate precipitation in cloud seeding.
Once a droplet has frozen, it grows in the supersaturated environment—one where air is saturated with respect to ice when the temperature is below the freezing point. The droplet then grows by diffusion of water molecules in the air (vapor) onto the ice crystal surface where they are collected. Because water droplets are so much more numerous than the ice crystals due to their sheer abundance, the crystals are able to grow to hundreds of micrometers or millimeters in size at the expense of the water droplets by a process known as the Wegner-Bergeron-Findeison process. The corresponding depletion of water vapor causes the ice crystals to grow at the droplets’ expense. These large crystals are an efficient source of precipitation, since they fall through the atmosphere due to their mass, and may collide and stick together in clusters, or aggregates. These aggregates are snowflakes, and are usually the type of ice particle that falls to the ground. Guinness World Records list the world’s largest snowflakes as those of January 1887 at Fort Keogh, Montana; allegedly one measured 38 cm (15 in) wide. Although the ice is clear, scattering of light by the crystal facets and hollows/imperfections mean that the crystals often appear white in color due to diffuse reflection of the whole spectrum of light by the small ice particles.
The shape of the snowflake is determined broadly by the temperature and humidity at which it is formed. The most common snow particles are visibly irregular. Planar crystals (thin and flat) grow in air between 0 °C (32 °F) and −3 °C (27 °F). Between −3 °C (27 °F) and −8 °C (18 °F), the crystals will form needles or hollow columns or prisms (long thin pencil-like shapes). From −8 °C (18 °F) to −22 °C (−8 °F) the shape reverts to plate-like, often with branched or dendritic features. At temperatures below −22 °C (−8 °F), the crystal development becomes column-like, although many more complex growth patterns also form such as side-planes, bullet-rosettes and also planar types depending on the conditions and ice nuclei. If a crystal has started forming in a column growth regime, at around −5 °C (23 °F), and then falls into the warmer plate-like regime, then plate or dendritic crystals sprout at the end of the column, producing so called “capped columns”.
A snowflake consists of roughly 1019 water molecules, which are added to its core at different rates and in different patterns, depending on the changing temperature and humidity within the atmosphere that the snowflake falls through on its way to the ground. As a result, it is extremely difficult to encounter two identical snowflakes. Initial attempts to find identical snowflakes by photographing thousands their images under a microscope from 1885 onward by Wilson Alwyn Bentley found the wide variety of snowflakes we know about today. It is more likely that two snowflakes could become virtually identical if their environments were similar enough. Matching snow crystals were discovered in Wisconsin in 1988. The crystals were not flakes in the usual sense but rather hollow hexagonal prisms.
Types of Snow
Types of snow can be designated by the shape of the flakes, the rate of accumulation, and the way the snow collects on the ground. Types that fall in the form of a ball due to melting and refreezing cycles, rather than a flake, are known as graupel, with ice pellets and snow pellets as types of graupel associated with wintry precipitation. Once on the ground, snow can be categorized as powdery when fluffy, granular when it begins the cycle of melting and refreezing, and eventually ice once it packs down into a dense drift after multiple melting and refreezing cycles. When powdery, snow drifts with the wind from the location where it originally fell, forming deposits with a depth of several meters in isolated locations. Snow fences are constructed in order to help control snow drifting in the vicinity of roads, to improve highway safety. After attaching to hillsides, blown snow can evolve into a snow slab, which is an avalanche hazard on steep slopes. A frozen equivalent of dew known as hoar frost forms on a snow pack when winds are light and there is ample low-level moisture over the snow pack.
Snowfall’s intensity is determined by visibility. When the visibility is over 1 kilometer (0.62 mi), snow is considered light. Moderate snow describes snowfall with visibility restrictions between 0.5 and 1 km. Heavy snowfall describes conditions when visibility is less than 0.5 km. Steady snows of significant intensity are often referred to as “snowstorms”. When snow is of variable intensity and short duration, it is described as a “snow shower”. The term snow flurry is used to describe the lightest form of a snow shower.
A blizzard is a weather condition involving snow and has varying definitions in different parts of the world. In the United States, a blizzard occurs when two conditions are met for a period of three hours or more: A sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h), and sufficient snow in the air to reduce visibility to less than 0.4 kilometers (0.25 mi). In Canada and the United Kingdom, the criteria are similar. While heavy snowfall often occurs during blizzard conditions, falling snow is not a requirement, as blowing snow can create a ground blizzard
This image was captured with a Canon EOS 1D MkII with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens attached. Exposure settings were at 1/50 second at f/20 with 400 IS
Last week, we looked up to the sky for our source of wonderment in the clouds. This week, it’s time to get our heads out of the clouds and plant our feet firmly in the sand on the beach, as that’s where we’re heading: the Beach.
You might think that beaches are nothing more than simple deposits of sand, where enough erosion has taken place to grind rocks into grains of sand. However, I’m sure that many of you have visited beaches that have varied greatly, ranging from beaches with various colors of sand ranging from bright white to beautiful black and even pink, or beaches with pebbles.
One of the aspects that I enjoy at beaches is that the interaction between land and water creates very interesting patterns, be it in sand or pebbles.
The development of the beach as a popular leisure resort from the mid-19th century was the first manifestation of what is now the global tourist industry. The first seaside resorts were opened in the 18th century for the aristocracy, who began to frequent the seaside as well as the then fashionable spa towns, for recreation and health.
One of the earliest such seaside resorts, was Scarborough in Yorkshire during the 1720s; it had been a fashionable spa town since a stream of acidic water was discovered running from one of the cliffs to the south of the town in the 17th century. The first rolling bathing machines were introduced by 1735.
The opening of the resort in Brighton and its reception of royal patronage from King George IV, extended the seaside as a resort for health and pleasure to the much larger London market, and the beach became a centre for upper-class pleasure and frivolity. This trend was praised and artistically elevated by the new romantic ideal of the picturesque landscape; Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon is an example of that. Later, Queen Victoria’s long-standing patronage of the Isle of Wight and Ramsgate in Kent ensured that a seaside residence was considered as a highly fashionable possession for those wealthy enough to afford more than one home.
Seaside resorts for the working class
The extension of this form of leisure to the middle and working class began with the development of the railways in the 1840s, which offered cheap and affordable fares to fast growing resort towns. In particular, the completion of a branch line to the small seaside town Blackpool from Poulton led to a sustained economic and demographic boom. A sudden influx of visitors, arriving by rail, provided the motivation for entrepreneurs to build accommodation and create new attractions, leading to more visitors and a rapid cycle of growth throughout the 1850s and 1860s.
The growth was intensified by the practice among the Lancashire cotton mill owners of closing the factories for a week every year to service and repair machinery. These became known as wakes weeks. Each town’s mills would close for a different week, allowing Blackpool to manage a steady and reliable stream of visitors over a prolonged period in the summer. A prominent feature of the resort was the promenade and the pleasure piers, where an eclectic variety of performances vied for the people’s attention. In 1863, the North Pier in Blackpool was completed, rapidly becoming a centre of attraction for elite visitors. Central Pier was completed in 1868, with a theatre and a large open-air dance floor.
Many of the popular beach resorts were equipped with bathing machines, because even the all-covering beachwear of the period was considered immodest. By the end of the century the English coastline had over 100 large resort towns, some with populations exceeding 50,000.
Beaches are the result of wave action by which waves or currents move sand or other loose sediments of which the beach is made as these particles are held in suspension. Alternatively, sand may be moved by saltation (a bouncing movement of large particles).
Beach materials come from erosion of rocks offshore, as well as from headland erosion and slumping producing deposits of scree. Some of the whitest sand in the world, along Florida’s Emerald Coast, comes from the erosion of quartz in the Appalachian Mountains.
A coral reef offshore is a significant source of sand particles. Some species of fish that feed on algae attached to coral outcrops and rocks can create substantial quantities of sand particles over their lifetime as they nibble during feeding, digesting the organic matter, and discarding the rock and coral particles which pass through their digestive tracts.
The composition of the beach depends upon the nature and quantity of sediments upstream of the beach, and the speed of flow and turbidity of water and wind.
Sediments are moved by moving water and wind according to their particle size and state of compaction. Particles tend to settle and compact in still water. Once compacted, they are more resistant to erosion. Established vegetation (especially species with complex network root systems) will resist erosion by slowing the fluid flow at the surface layer.
When affected by moving water or wind, particles that are eroded and held in suspension will increase the erosive power of the fluid that holds them by increasing the average density, viscosity and volume of the moving fluid.
The nature of sediments found on a beach tends to indicate the energy of the waves and wind in the locality. Coastlines facing very energetic wind and wave systems will tend to hold only large rocks as smaller particles will be held in suspension in the turbid water column and carried to calmer areas by longshore currents and tides. Coastlines that are protected from waves and winds will tend to allow finer sediments such as clays and mud to precipitate creating mud flats and mangrove forests.
The shape of a beach depends on whether the waves are constructive or destructive, and whether the material is sand or shingle.
Waves are constructive if the period between their wave crests is long enough for the breaking water to recede and the sediment to settle before the succeeding wave arrives and breaks. Fine sediment transported from lower down the beach profile will compact if the receding water percolates or soaks into the beach. Compacted sediment is more resistant to movement by turbulent water from succeeding waves.
Conversely, waves are destructive if the period between the wave crests is short. Sediment that remains in suspension when the following wave crest arrives will not be able to settle and compact and will be more susceptible to erosion by longshore currents and receding tides.
Constructive waves move material up the beach while destructive waves move the material down the beach. During seasons when destructive waves are prevalent, the shallows will carry an increased load of sediment and organic matter in suspension.
On sandy beaches, the turbulent backwash of destructive waves removes material forming a gently sloping beach. On pebble and shingle beaches the swash is dissipated more quickly because the large particle size allows greater percolation, thereby reducing the power of the backwash, and the beach remains steep.
Compacted fine sediments will form a smooth beach surface that resists wind and water erosion. During hot calm seasons, a crust may form on the surface of ocean beaches as the heat of the sun evaporates the water leaving the salt which crystallises around the sand particles. This crust forms an additional protective layer that resists wind erosion unless disturbed by animals, or dissolved by the advancing tide.
Cusps and horns form where incoming waves divide, depositing sand as horns and scouring out sand to form cusps. This forms the uneven face on some sand shorelines.
This image was captured with a Canon EOS 1D MkII with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens attached. Exposure settings were at 1/50 second at f/20 with 400 ISO.
What a joy to see the word Tourist come up as the Daily Prompt! It doesn’t get much more wide open than that, as on the best of days, we are all tourists and enjoying the trip that we’re on in our daily lives.
As many of you are aware, I recently had the pleasure of doing a wee bit of touristing during my work trip to Israel, so for this wonderful Wednesday, I’m sharing a moment from that trip…
Life’s a beach when you get to watch the sun set over the Mediterranean while having a great meal!
Sometimes when we look at the world around us, we notice patterns around us that make us wonder where they came from. Entire television series have been dedicated to this topic, such as ‘Ancient Aliens’ on the History Channel. Of course, for these shows it does help to have an interesting haircut that makes the viewer wonder what might be going on under that hair…
Well…I’m not going for the unusual hair style to increase interest in my images, but there are moments when my mind leaves the planet and comes up with some alternate explanations for what I see. Such are these Alien Snake tracks; silicon-based life forms settled on the beach and made their getaway before we could track them down…
Not exactly Ancient Aliens, but rather modern, recent arrivals from an exo-planet in the Hydra system…
This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II with an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens. Exposure settings were f/10 at 1/125 second and 400 ISO.