The Monkey Puzzle Tree

An unusual thing of beauty!

Sometimes, one comes upon an object that is unusual, that catches the eye. Such was the case of a tree that I saw in the garden of Dunvegan Castle.

Araucaria araucana (commonly called the monkey puzzle treemonkey tail tree, piñonero, or Chilean pine) is an evergreen tree growing to 1–1.5 m (3–5 ft) in diameter and 30–40 m (100–130 ft) in height. It is native to central and southern Chile, western Argentina. Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Auracaria. Because of the longevity of this species, it is described as a living fossil. It is also the national tree of Chile. Its conservation status was changed to Endangered list by the IUCN in 2013 due to the dwindling population caused by logging, forest fires, and grazing.

Monkey Puzzle Tree

As you can see from the people standing next to the tree, this tree is impressively tall; I would estimate this tree to be between 20-25m tall, which is an impressive sight.

This particular tree stands in the gardens of Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the MacLeod of MacLeod, the chieftain of clan MacLeod. This castle on the Isle of Skye is well worth the visit, as its gardens are a thing of beauty!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round Up 143

Hanging in the breeze!

Welcome to the 143rd round up of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

You certainly breezed through this week’s challenge! Your posts were a blast to read, as you shared lots of breezy experiences with some fantastic photography, poems and stories! I really enjoyed those soap bubles and the action sports that you captured! There were also a number of really tender posts. Thank you for putting your creative spirit into this week’s posts!

I just hope that you have as much fun reading these posts as I did!

Over the years, an on-going breeze can bend trees…


This tree stands in a field not too far away from our home. On this particular day, I noticed the amazing lines drawn by the clouds in the sky, which caused me to take a walk into the field. Between the lines and the color, I was not disappointed by this great scene!

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

  1. Brian kicks things off a gorgeous photo in Bushboys World, which shows the gentlest breeze!
  2. In a wonderful post in Une Photo, un Poéme, Nicole shows how the breeze is captured for everyone’s benefit!
  3. Sarah’s post in By Sarah shows us some warm breezes that look like a great place to visit!
  4. Shelley’s post in Quaint Revival explains her love for Paris with all the right reasons!!
  5. Sanah’s awesome post in A Pause for Nature shares a bit of smoke that linges on the breeze…
  6. Kammie finds some rather breezy places in Nut House Central; looks pretty interesting!
  7. Those pennants captured in theonlyD800inthehameau are a wonderful example of shooting the breeze!
  8. In Pictures without Film, we capture a hint of a breeze in a fantastic post!
  9. In Don’t Hold Your Breath, we get a wonderful post about the Temple of the City God in Shanghai.
  10. Stella’s post in Giggles and Tales has lots of great photos of breezy scenes!
  11. With a great photo in the post in Ghost Dog we can definitely feel the breeze; a significant breeze at that!
  12. In Junk Boat Travels, Jackie captures some colorful dream catchers in Mazatlan!
  13. This week, pensivity101 shares the experience of the breeze, whispering through the trees and a stunning poem!
  14. Xenia sounds like she may be ready to head inside for the Winter in WhippetWisdom, where books await!
  15. Ann-Christine finds a stunning breeze that she captured with a great photo in To See a World in a Grain of Sand.
  16. In a great post in Chateaux des Fleurs, we find all the tools that we need for generating a breeze!
  17. In a lovely post in Don’t Forget the Half, we learn about a great visit to Florida and the good times that were had!
  18. A very appropriate post in Geriatri’X’ Fotogallery we wait for just enough of a breeze!
  19. The photo shared in Victoria’s Light is truly lovely with a sailboard enjoying the breeze!
  20. Jase’s post in Proscenium speaks of a one track mind and shares a lovely Winter breeze!
  21. In a great post in Heart2Heart, we find ways to brave the wind and sea and really enjoy it!
  22. In A Day in the Life, there may be a bit more than a breeze, but it looks like a wonderful beach day regardless!
  23. Debbie captures a truly lovely representation of the breeze in her photo in Travel with Intent; one can almost feel it!
  24. Na’ama’s photo and poem in Na’ama Yehuda capture the breeze with a wonderful touch!
  25. In Land of Images‘ post, the breeze may provide some natural exfoliation!
  26. Cee’s photos in Cee’s Photography showcase some great breezes, particularly with that soap buble!
  27. In Photography OCD, we are treated to a fantastic photo that shows bending with the wind.
  28. Maria has another wonderful photo in KameraPromenader; they look to be having a lot of fun!
  29. Sandy finds that the wind has its way in her post in Out of my Write Mind, with a bit of snow for good measure!
  30. This week’s entry in Willowsoul might generate a significant breeze when eaten!
  31. Susan takes us to San Jose her Musin’ with Susan post, where there was quite a breeze among the palm trees!
  32. Hammad has a great post in the Blog of Hammad Rais, as he shoots the breeze perfectly!
  33. Liz’s post in One Million Photographs has us dreaming of the breeze through the cherry blossoms!
  34. Woolly shares his enjoyment of watching the breeze in the grasses in Woolly Muses, with lovely images!
  35. Irene’s post in Heaven’s Sunshine shares a lovely view of sunflowers in a gentle breeze!
  36. Robert shares some stunning photos in Photo Roberts Blog, of which I really like the soap bubbles!
  37. This week’s post in One letter UP – diary 2.0 shares a tender moment between a dad and his son, and the fun of raking leaves with a breeze!
  38. Another fantastic entry from sgeoil captures the breeze, in what looks like a great place to wander!
  39. In a lovely post in Poetry in Pictures, there is a gentle flower that is truly pleasing!

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

WPC Final Week – Favorites – Pt.4


The Final WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has presented their final theme of All-Time Favorites, which, while being a bit sad that it’s their last prompt, is a great way to finish.

Sometimes the images that I favor are rather simple and straightforward, such as today’s choice.  What is simpler than a tree in a field?

Such as this tree that has stood the test of time…


What caught my attention, and caused me to take this shot, is the evidence of wind’s influence on the growth direction of this tree. While it spread in many directions, so as to catch the Sun’s positive influence, there is a noticeable lean to this lovely tree.  Also, the deep yellow tones in the field, as contrasted against the deep blues of the sky, contributed to my interest…

What this tree told me, more than anything else, is the value of persistence, against the elements and to stand across the years.

Have a great day!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Time

Enduring time!

Welcome to Week 100 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge.  My apologies for being late posting this week’s theme, as I’m trying to catch up with work after being in Europe for all of last week on a business trip and getting ready for my next trip to the Middle East at the end of this week.  I will post the round up of last week’s theme of Forces within the next 24 hours.

As I test your patience, I thought it might be interesting to make that part of the theme for this week, selecting Time.  Of course, Time can be depicted in many ways, from the image of a clock, or the rhythmic swing of a metronome, to Times Square or whatever catches your creative eye!

Here is one aspect of time…


This is an image that I captured about 9 years ago, in a field not far from where I live.  Noticing the sky and the enduring struggle of this tree against the forces of time, I just had to capture its persistence…

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’m looking forward to seeing the time of your life in images this week!

Dunvegan Castle Gardens

A puzzling example

As part of the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge theme of Tour Guide, I thought it might be of interest to find something that ties back to this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge of Exotic.

My favorite island of the Inner Hebrides is Skye, for its amazing, rugged landscape and mountainous range that are just a dream to photograph, as every different incident angle of light creates a completely new environment, sometimes even otherworldly.

One of the interesting places to visit on the isle of Skye is Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the MacLeod of MacLeod, chief of the Clan MacLeod. Probably a fortified site from the earliest times, the castle was first built in the 13th century and developed piecemeal over the centuries. In the 19th century the whole was remodelled in a mock-medieval style. The castle is built on an elevated rock overlooking an inlet on the eastern shore of Loch Dunvegan, a sea loch.

Monkey Puzzle Tree


The castle sits on a massive site on Skye, much of which is cultivated into a stunning garden that includes many exotic species, such as the tree in this photo.  The people standing next to it give you a sense of the scale of this wonderful tree.

If you’re ever visiting Skye, the castle and its grounds are well worth a look!

Have a wonderful day!

A Tree Grows

Conceptual attempts

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge provides the theme of Growth.

In this third post in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, I thought to go into a completely different direction to an image that I put together just over ten years ago.

At the time, I was taking a class in Conceptual Photography, working on how to bring forth ideas through images, with these ideas being more than what is shown in the image.  This course was a lot of fun, as it allowed me to express some things in my mind through photographic challenges, as well as stretch me both mentally and technically.

The instructor kept us very challenged through each assignment and his critiques were on point and very constructive. Some of my images got quite a bit of praise from him, but the one that I am sharing here did not.  Despite the fact that I agree with his reasoning, I still like this image…

A Tree Grows

My idea here was to contrast the organic against the rather sterile, futuristic background that is reminiscent of architectural fronts of buildings.  The image is a composite with a artificial background (the reason for the criticism) and a bunch of grapes picked clean, except for a single grape.

Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful day!

Good day, Sunshine!

Wisdom and light

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the wonderful theme of ooh, Shiny!; on Monday I posted a piece with a bit of reflection to celebrate a bit of occlusion of the Sun by the Moon (no totality in New England).

This time, let’s take a look back at one of the images that I still enjoy from my Yoga Tree series…

The Wise Tree

This image is definitely among the top of my list of Yoga Tree photographs, particularly, as it was one of the very early ones in the series; it was not the first, but certainly is the first to convince me that there was a lot to capture of this wondrous tree.  Oh, and yes, this is an iPhone shot as well.

Hope you enjoy!