iPhone Friday

Idle hands can find something to do

Over the years we gather a lot of pictures on our mobile phones (remember to back them up!), so it’s fun to look back and see what we have.

Here’s an image from April of 2020…

Floral Study

This is what happens when I sit at the table in my sister’s house in the Netherlands and have nothing much to do. If I remember correctly, I used one of the portrait settings that was available on the iPhone Photo app at that time to have stage light simulation on the flower. As it was in a black vase most of the background went to black nicely.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round Up 204

Popping up toward the sky!

Welcome to the 204th round up of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

I very much hope that all of you and your families are doing well during these trying times; please stay safe and healthy!

The posts that you created for the theme of Spread were definitely a wonderful spread! Not only did you share some gorgeous photos in your posts, but your thoughtful approaches created some surprises for me in your interpretation. Well done!

It was a joy to read all of your posts, and take in the wonderful photography; thank you for the effort that you put into them!

Spring brings us new hope…

Crocuses spreading their petals

These crocuses broke through a tapestry of autumn leaves, reaching out to the nourishing power of the Sun. It’s lovely to see the petals spreading and inviting the occasional passing hungry bee to touch down and pick up some pollen. I found some of these clutches of flowers, as I was wandering around while my wife and our youngest Cardigan were taking a herding lesson.

Please enjoy the following blog posts:

  1. What a great way to kick off this week’s responses in the post in Don’t Hold Your Breath! There’s more than one spread in here, as the wonderful spread of food helps with the spread of our human body. Well done!!
  2. Sarah starts her post in By Sarah with some great wings and then has us looking up to see Nature spreading in front of us! Great post!
  3. Brian certainly made ma laugh with the first photo in his post in Bushboy’s World; that is quite the character. Also, a great looking sky!
  4. Xenia brings us a stunning set of views in her post in whippetwisdom, where she is spreading the light that will help guide us through these times. Beautifully done!
  5. That is quite the spread that has been laid out in theOnlyD800intheHameau; a chance invitation to a wedding can result in a lovely feast!
  6. Maria shares a truly stunning photo in her post in Kamerapromenader, as she captured the eagle-owl at just the right moment with its wings spread!
  7. ackie takes an approach to the theme that had not come to my mind in JunkBoat Travels; although, it stands to reason that you want to spread the nuts to introduce them into fudge! Wonderful post!
  8. Nandini spreads the love in her post in queennandini; I particularly like the thought of a smile spreading from one’s mouth to their eyes! Great imagery!
  9. I agree with Diane’s opinion about Marmite in her post in pensivity101; those blankets are much better than spreading marmite on anything!
  10. Tatiana finds a gorgeous spot to go for a walk in her post in TravelWays, getting some fresh air is definitely a great thing to do during these isolating times.
  11. Woolly is going for a bit of controversy in his post in WoollyMuses, as Vegemite is definitely not to everyone’s liking 🙂 Time to compare Vegemite and Marmite?
  12. Ann-Christine really captured the majesty of the young eagle-owl that is being released in her post in To see a world in a grain of sand…! The spread of those wings is truly impressive!
  13. Pat captured the spread of a tree beautifully in her post in Thoughts and Entanglements; it always amazes me how trees can overcome just about any obstacle that we put in their way!
  14. Deb’s photo of the orangutan doing what it does so magnificently in her post in Twenty Four is stunning! It’s truly amazing how much reach these primates have!
  15. David delivers another set of stunning photos in his post in David M’s Photoblog! Those pelicans in flight are simply spectacular!
  16. As the past spreads out behind her in the mirror of life, Sandy’s words in Out of my Write Mind generate a sense of optimism on how to live life fully!
  17. Nicole captures the spread of the river Ouse beautifully in her post in Une Photo, Un Poéme. Gorgeous photo!
  18. The progress of the dandelions that we get to enjoy in Geriatri’X’ Fotogallery is not welcomed by everyone, as they may mar the perfection of one’s lawn. Their spread is a thing of beauty, though!
  19. TiongHan is trying to give us a sense of odors he experienced in a wonderful post in TiongHan’s Blog; I can imagine that the scent of an open-air tannery would be rather pungent to behold!
  20. Robert shows his eye for capturing the right moment, as the wings spread for take-off in his post in Photo Roberts Blog; magnificent photos!
  21. In a lovely post in One letter up ~ diary 2.0, we get to enjoy that blanket of clouds that holds the light at dusk for us to cherish before the onset of dark.
  22. Debbie captures the spreading of the word in Travel with Intent with a great set of photos that tell the story of interesting travels!
  23. Klara shares a nothing short of stunning photo in her blog Sliku svoju ljubim II, which was taken at a location that is on my bucket list! The arches are just gorgeous!
  24. If the Sunday brunch spread in Musin’ with Susan is any indication of her taste in food, I’m ready to partake! Clearly, Susan knows how to enjoy brunch! Also, go check out Susan’s week in review in Musin’ with Susan, as there are more great photos there! Love the shot of the yellow tie, as it’s striking!
  25. Irene is clearly blessed with a wonderful area to visit in the Indiana Dunes National Park; the sunlight spreading across the vast landscape in Heaven’s Sunshine is spectacular!
  26. Teressa shares something rather special with us in Another Lqqk, as Grandma’s quilt is not only beautiful, but also precious through the memories that it invokes!

Please let all these wonderful authors know how much you enjoy their blog posts!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Memories

Remember and appreciate

Welcome to Week 135 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!  No, you didn’t miss the round up of last week’s theme of Trio; it will be a day or two late, as I’m trying to catch up on my photo processing of a charity event for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress that I photographed this weekend.

As I looked at some of your entries for last week’s triple threat of fun, I know that you’ll be entertained by the results!!  For this week’s theme, I’m leaning in a direction that is driven by personal events of the past week, as our oldest dog, Bette, passed away last Tuesday.  This led me to the theme of Memories, which I will revisit this week in a post with memories of Bette.

In your interpretation of this theme, feel free to use your creative minds and share any memories that you would like of the kind of your choosing.  Don’t hesitate to go for the whimsical!

Here’s an interpretation to get you going…


This poppy was one of several that I captured during our visit to Ostia Antica last year; there were many that grew among the amazing ruins in the excavation of Ostia Antica, which is an incredible site to visit.  This entire locale is filled with memories from times long gone by, as it gives an indelible impression of life during Roman times.

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • 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)!!

Can’t wait to see what triplets will grace your posts!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round Up 110

Rings of fire and truth!

Welcome to the 110th round up of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!  What great variety in response to this week’s theme!!

There were some creative entries that took the direction of the classic rings, which were awesome; then again, others took completely different approaches in finding shapes within Nature or life around them, and even going down metaphysical paths to find rings within life itself.  You provided some very touching posts that shared deep insights and important thoughts about our lives.  Thank you all for the work that you put into all of them!

I very much enjoyed reading your posts!  Please let each other know how much you appreciate all these great entries!

Here’s another ring-based image to add…

Zone Plate Yellow No. 2

The lens type that I used for this shot is a zone plate lens, which causes a circular interference pattern that produces beautifully soft images, such as this one.  This black-eyed susan looks at her best in the bright light!

The following were this week’s participants in the challenge with links to their posts:

  • Sarah shares a beautiful image of her and her husband’s wedding rings in By Sarah, which must have been taken shortly before their wedding ceremony.
  • In pensivity101, we get a gosling scrum, where the downy little goslings are all huddled together in a tight ring.
  • Ed provides us with a warning in his blog, In My Mind’s Eye, as the warning ring looks upon us with fearsome power!
  • In an awesome post in Don’t Hold Your Breath, we get to see monitor lizards up close and personal!  They are indeed very interesting creaturs!
  • Xenia’s post in whippetwisdom connects the ring of light with the circle of life in a wonderful haiku and photos.  Xenia’s second post is in her blog Tranature brings us stunning swans in gorgeous images.
  • In a perfectly executed photo in theonlyD800inthehameau, we get introduced to a fantastic water feature in the city of Bath!
  • In Feel Purple, we get treated to a great photo showing off the rings that appear when we cut strawberries!
  • Cee found rings in a number of formations in great photos that she put together for her blog Cee’s Photography; beautiful!
  • Ron’s post in Progressing into Solitude captures a number of rings, ranging from an art installation to onion rings!
  • Donna definitely captured some shiny objects in her blog No-Madder Nomadder with a great shot of rings and shiny spheroids!
  • Sometimes, the rings can be around us in common places, as demonstrated with great photos in Chateaux des Fleurs!  Well done!
  • In a great post in the blog My Forever, we get to see one of the rings that Nature provides us…
  • In a very creative post in Syncwithdeep, we get a large variety of rings, each very interesting!
  • Debbie’s post in her awesome blog Travel with Intent, shows us what can be done with great art, even when it’s a bit dotty!
  • Brian’s entry in his cool Bushboy’s Blog finds a couple of rather creative rings, of which I particularly like the rings within rings…
  • Margo explores a variety of rings in her post in That Little Voice, where we get asked the question whether each is a ring…
  • In Intentionally Lola, we are treated to a wonderful, touching post that questions the continued symbolism of wedding rings: does the eternity of the bond really still hold true?
  • Yinglan brings us two very different rings in her blog This is Another Story, with one simple and the other complex!
  • Susan spins us a lovely post with lots of wheels in her blog Musin’ with Susan!
  • With another great post in Land of Images, we get to see a beautiful circular water feature in the Chalice Well Gardens in Glastonbury.
  • This week, Nicole puts together a truly wonderful post in Doar Nicole, inspired by the yellow belt around her shoe and filled with beautiful photos and poetry!
  • In a truly touching post in So Not Simple, Mariyaah gives us a close-up view of living with tuberculosis, which is something that many of us may not be aware of in this day and age.
  • Hammad’s post in The Blog of Hammad Rais takes us away from the common ring into a variety of other rings!
  • This week’s post in Woolly Muses shows us broken (and not repaired), engagement and really useful rings!
  • The Chill Mom posts a wonderful fiddlehead image in her awesome blog Hyper Child Chill Mom!
  • From Na’ama Yehuda, we get a great shot of some rather ancient looking bells waiting for a ring!

I hope that you enjoy these posts and let the authors know!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Bloom

A flowering moment!

Welcome to Week 47 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge. Your entries for last week’s theme of Structure were an absolute joy to read and peruse!  It looks like the entries are just getting stronger every week!

For this week’s theme, I’m drawing once more from the images that I captured during a visti to Tower Hill Botanic Garden.  While I absolutely love exploring the textures and structure of leaves, there are some other things that attract my attention.  Such is the case for the image that brings us to the theme of Bloom!

The word bloom is interesting to me linguistically, as in Dutch the word for flower is bloem, which is pronounced bloom.  For that very reason, I’d encourage you to think about all the nuances that you sense when you hear the word bloom; use these to inspire your exploration of creative possibilities when you select your photos!

So here’s that image full of bloom…


This beautiful flower stood out among the sea of green, just beckoning to be noticed.  The only thing that was missing, were some hummingbirds to sip the nectar.

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • 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 know that your entries will be blooming fantastic and fun!  Have fun unlocking those creative juices!

Just a Flower

Simple beauty from within

In life, we often get caught up in the daily complexity of things, that maelstrom of inputs and activities that pulls us in all directions.  These are the times when it is most important to simplify, so that we can gain control and make progress in our journey.

Particularly at the junction in history, where we find ourselves, it is all too easy to get swept along the currents of emotion and constantly paddle like mad without true direction.  Let’s grab on to what is important in our lives and our friends’ lives and cherish and preserve each moment, as if it may be the last…

Simple Beauty

This tulip stands alone amidst a sea of green, as a reminder that singular focus will help us accomplish more.

May your day be calm and fruitful!

Inspired by WordPress Daily Post prompt of Simple.

Season’s Anticipation

Now that Winter is in full swing in New England, just before the equinox, our thoughts start going out to future seasons.  During this week, we have been railroaded by the cold of the Trans-Siberian Express that caused temperatures to drop to 1F (-17C), which, when combined with a good amount of wind, made it rather chilly.  Today, it’s snowing and we expect about 8 inches of the beautiful stuff.

You can expect some Winter photography from me during this season, but I also am thinking about what Spring will bring (it includes a trip to Italy, which is part of the reason for looking ahead).  Thoughts of Spring brought me to this photo that I have not published before.

Canyon Light

I captured this flower a couple of years ago at Tower Hill Botanic Garden.  It never has really provided me with what I really wanted, as I don’t feel that I got the depth of field exactly the way I wanted to.  Therefore, I am curious to hear your thoughts about this image.

Inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Nature’s Beauty

Beauty surrounds us!

Welcome to episode 28 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge! From the very sweet theme of last week, I thought it might be a good week to turn back to Nature and share some of what you find to be Nature’s Beauty!

Nature flaunts her beauty all around us, so that it is entirely up to us individually to recognize it and capture it with our cameras.  Therefore the challenge to you is to find some examples of the beauty that you find in Nature and present it in such a way that it cannot help but convince each of us that it is truly beautiful!

This image is from a recent trip to the Netherlands when I found this natural beauty just outside the Botanical Garden of the Technical University in Delft.

Bird of Paradise

This is one of the showiest flowers out there, and it never fails to make me stand in awe of the astonishing constructs that come from nature.

For those who’d like to participate in this weekly challenge, the rules are the following:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • 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)!!

For those who’d like to participate in this weekly challenge, the rules are the following:

I’m confident that there will be lots of fun images that truly show off the best of Nature!  Remember to have fun and use your creativity!!

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 1D MkIII using an EF24-105mm f/4L lens. Exposure settings were at 1/200 second with f/6.3 and 400 ISO.

Flower on Friday

My kingdom for a tulip!

As this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge has the them of flowers, I thought it might be nice to share another flower image on this lovely Friday.

This particular image is a rather straightforward one that looks to simply highlight the main subject in an uncluttered manner; sometimes that is all it takes to get  a pleasing image of a single flower, such as this tulip.

Simple Beauty

Of course, tulips are an interesting subject to anyone who grew up in the Netherlands.  All of us are likely to connect the tulip to the Netherlands and the Tulip Mania of the 17th century when speculation drove the price of single tulip bulbs up to the equivalent of a herd of cattle and beyond.  But did you know…


Islamic World

Cultivation of the tulip began in Persia, probably in the 10th century.  Early cultivars must have emerged from hybridization in gardens from wild collected plants, which were then favored, possibly due to flower size or growth vigor. The tulip is not mentioned by any writer from antiquity, therefore it seems probable that tulips were introduced into Anatolia only with the advance of the Seljuks.  In the Ottoman Empire, numerous types of tulips were cultivated and bred, and today, 14 species can still be found in Turkey.  Tulips are mentioned by Omar Kayam and Celaleddin Rûmi.

In 1574, Sultan Selim II. ordered the Kadi of A‘azāz in Syria to send him 50,000 tulip bulbs. However, Harvey points out several problems with this source, and there is also the possibility that tulips and hyacinth (sümbüll, originally Indian spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) have been confused.  Sultan Selim also imported 300,000 bulbs of Kefe Lale (also known as Cafe-Lale, from the medieval name Kaffa, probably Tulipa schrenkii) from Kefe for his gardens in the Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul.  Sultan Ahmet III maintained famous tulip gardens in the summer highland pastures (Yayla) at Spil Dağı above the town of Manisa.  They seem to have consisted of wild tulips. However, from the 14 tulip species known from Turkey, only four are considered to be of local origin, so wild tulips from Iran and Central Asia may have been brought into Turkey during the Seljuk and especially Ottoman periods. Sultan Ahmet also imported domestic tulip bulbs from the Netherlands.

The gardening book Revnak’ı Bostan (Beauty of the Garden) by Sahibül Reis ülhaç Ibrahim Ibn ülhaç Mehmet, written in 1660 does not mention the tulip at all, but contains advice on growing hyacinths and lilies.  However, there is considerable confusion of terminology, and tulips may have been subsumed under hyacinth, a mistake several European botanists were to perpetuate. In 1515, the scholar Qasim from Herat in contrast had identified both wild and garden tulips (lale) as anemones (shaqayq al-nu’man), but described the crown imperial as laleh kakli.

In a Turkic text written before 1495, the Chagatay Husayn Bayqarah mentions tulips (lale).  Babur, the founder of the Mughal Empire, also names tulips in the Baburnama.  He may actually have introduced them from Afghanistan to the plains of India, as he did with other plants like melons and grapes.

In Moorish Andalus, a “Makedonian bulb” (basal al-maqdunis) or “bucket-Narcissus” (naryis qadusi) was cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens. It was supposed to have come from Alexandria and may have been Tulipa sylvestris, but the identification is not wholly secure.

Introduction to Western Europe

Although it is unknown who first brought the tulip to Northwestern Europe, the most widely accepted story is that it was Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, an ambassador forEmperor Ferdinand I to Suleyman the Magnificent. According to a letter, he saw “an abundance of flowers everywhere; Narcissus, hyacinths and those in Turkish called Lale, much to our astonishment because it was almost midwinter, a season unfriendly to flowers.”

However, in 1559, an account by Conrad Gessner describes tulips flowering in Augsburg, Swabia in the garden of Councillor Heinrich Herwart. In Central and Northern Europe, tulip bulbs are generally removed from the ground in June and must be replanted by September for the winter. It is doubtful that Busbecq could have had the tulip bulbs harvested, shipped to Germany and replanted between March 1558 and Gessner’s description the following year. Pietro Andrea Mattioli illustrated a tulip in 1565 but identified it as a narcissus, however.

Carolus Clusius planted tulips at the Vienna Imperial Botanical Gardens in 1573. After he was appointed director of the Leiden University’s newly established Hortus Botanicus, he planted some of his tulip bulbs here in late 1593. Thus, 1594 is considered the date of the tulip’s first flowering in the Netherlands, despite reports of the cultivation of tulips in private gardens in Antwerp and Amsterdam two or three decades earlier. These tulips at Leiden would eventually lead to both the Tulip mania and the tulip industry in the Netherlands.

Carolus Clusius is largely responsible for the spread of tulip bulbs in the final years of the sixteenth century. He finished the first major work on tulips in 1592, and made note of the variations in colour. While a faculty member in the school of medicine at the University of Leiden, Clusius planted both a teaching garden and his private garden with tulips. In 1596 and 1598, over a hundred bulbs were stolen from his garden in a single raid.

Between 1634 and 1637, the enthusiasm for the new flowers triggered a speculative frenzy now known as the tulip mania. Tulip bulbs became so expensive that they were treated as a form of currency, or rather, as futures. Around this time, the ceramic tulipiere was devised for the display of cut flowers stem by stem. Vases and bouquets, usually including tulips, often appeared in Dutch still-life painting. To this day, tulips are associated with the Netherlands, and the cultivated forms of the tulip are often called “Dutch tulips.” The Netherlands have the world’s largest permanent display of tulips at the Keukenhof.

Technical Details

This image was captured using a Canon EOS 5D MkII using an EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.  Exposure settings were at 1/125 second at f/6.3 and 400 ISO.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Flowers

A dandelion is a dandelion

Welcome to the seventh installment of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!  As Spring is everywhere in the northern hemisphere, I felt inspired to doing a theme that comes with the season: Flowers!

Of course, the beauty of flowers in their many forms should make it easy to create a stunning photograph of them…  Then again, what makes for a great floral image, as opposed to a rather pedestrian one?

I my opinion, the first thing with any flower photo is that it should be exposed properly, ensuring that there is good sharpness and contrast to the image (there are exceptions to this, when creating more abstract floral images).  Composition should not be forgotten, as poor composition will detract from the power of the image.  And a bit of creativity does help 🙂


For those who’d like to participate in this weekly challenge, the rules are the following:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please use the tag #fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week
  • Have fun creating something new!!

With this topic, I’m confident that there will be many great images!

Technical Details

This image was captured using a Canon EOS 5D MkII using an EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.  Exposure settings were at 1/125 second at f/7.1 and 400 ISO.

photo roberts blog 2

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