Friday, January 31, 2014

Watching the snow fall

Watching the snow fall by andiwolfe
Watching the snow fall, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.
A few days ago I shared a photo I made of this lovely baby and her grandfather watching a snow storm from the North Market second floor. I asked the mother if she would like for me to make a photo of her with her daughter. I sent a color photo to her, but I like the black and white portrait even more than the color one. The soft light from the large window is perfect for portraiture. This is the kind of lighting the master painters of the past centuries used. Lighting just doesn't get better than this...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Greener Grocer

The Greener Grocer by andiwolfe
The Greener Grocer, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.
The North Market of Columbus, Ohio is the best place to find fresh and wholesome food in the downtown and Arena District. There are many different types of shops (bakeries, butcher shops, fish market, spices, wines, flowers, produce, etc.). If you like to shop for food in Paris, you will love this place.

This photo is from the Greener Grocer's stall. I subscribed to a market bag last season, which is a special feature from the Greener Grocer. Each week a selection of local produce was packed into a grocery bag and delivered to my campus.

If you're in central Ohio, be sure to check out the North Market. Your taste buds will thank you.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow rollers

Snow rollers by andiwolfe
Snow rollers, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.
How many of you have had a chance to see such an interesting winter phenomenon? We've had some very unusual weather this week. Subzero temps, snow, and high winds = perfect conditions for nature's snowballs to form. Chunks of snow dislodge and start moving across the surface of the snow. This only happens if the ground is already covered with ice, there's a wet snow, and high winds.

This scene is down the street from where we live - at a park that is exposed to the wind. I took the photo right before sunset, and, I assure you, it was very cold. The temp was around 0°F with a windchill of -10°F.  I had on my winter layers, so only my fingers got cold, but winter photography can be a bit of a challenge.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Which way did he go?

Which way did he go? by andiwolfe
Which way did he go?, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.
The North Market in Columbus, Ohio is a fantastic place to visit - especially if you're into good, wholesome food. This photo is from a walkabout this past Saturday morning.

Steve had signed up for a photo walk sponsored by Midwest Photo Exchange. I tagged along to give myself a break from writing lectures and grading papers. We both enjoyed the morning, especially the lovely French pastry we consumed after we were done taking photos.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Watching the snow fall

Watching the snow fall by andiwolfe
Watching the snow fall, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.
Saturday's snow storm was pretty interesting. I was at the North Market in Columbus, Ohio for a photo walkabout that Steve had signed up to do, which was sponsored by Midwest Photo Exchange. After walking the market for about an hour, we bought some pastries and went upstairs to relax. A family was gathered around a table near a window, where this grandfather and baby were watching the snow falling outside.

The light was so beautiful on the faces of these two. Steve pointed it out to me, and I went over to introduce myself to the family and ask if I could do some informal portraits in that lighting. They were very friendly, and it turns out that we have some mutual connections through my department at OSU. The mother of this lovely baby is friends with one of our graduate student alumni. Small world, eh?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dintong Lake is a busy place

Late afternoon sun in Changsha, China, along the shores of Dintong Lake. This place is very busy with boat and barge traffic. The view here is from Yueyang Tower.

The smog in China is pretty severe, and it was hard to see the landscape. In this case, the smog worked to the photographer's advantage in giving this peach glow to the late afternoon sky.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Yuelu Academy

Yuelu Academy by andiwolfe
Yuelu Academy, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

This architectural gem is well worth visiting if you are in Changsha, China. The university has been in operation since before 1000 CE. There are lovely courtyard gardens, walkways, stairways, and other visual feasts...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Yueyang Tower

Yueyang Tower by andiwolfe
Yueyang Tower, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Yueyan Tower (Changsha, China) sits atop a slope leading down to the shore of Dintong Lake. There are massive walls and stairs lining the edge of the site. It's easy going down, but some people need a bit of an assist to climb back up to the tower.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yueyang Tower

Yueyang Tower by andiwolfe
Yueyang Tower, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

This is an interesting site on Dintong Lake in Changsha, China. The tower has been rebuilt many times. It is prone to fire, being made of wood and all. The tower was used in ancient times as an observation point for naval exercises on the lake.

I was particularly interested in some of the architectural details and the use of color. Red and yellow are the dominant color schemes - red for the upright components, and yellow ceramic tiles on the roof.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pickerington Ponds - winter teasel

I love the early morning light in winter, but I'm not crazy about the low temps and wind chill factors.

Today's weather calls for another blast of Arctic air. I wouldn't mind this so much if I didn't have such a long walk to where I teach my midday class...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Snow bunting

Snow bunting by andiwolfe
Snow bunting, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

These birds are pretty amazing. They're currently in their non-breeding plumage, which I actually find more attractive than their breeding outfit. Steve said they remind him of budgies - they do seem rather comical with those faces, I suppose. From watching them for a couple of hours, they seem to be quite intent on eating as many seeds as possible, and only in the safety of the flock. There were some Cooper's hawks in the area, so I suppose this safety in numbers thing probably is a good defense strategy.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter birds

Winter birds by andiwolfe
Winter birds, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.
I would have used the title, "snow birds," but that has a different meaning around here. Yesterday, Steve and I joined some friends to visit a farm up in Delaware county that is owned by an enthusiastic nature lover and his wife. Each winter they feed the birds with corn from their fields. There are literally thousands of snow buntings, horned larks, and lapland longspurs in a mixed flock gleaning the fields and taking advantage of the kindness of these folks. I've never before seen so many of these birds in one flock.

The weather was very cold with a very strong wind. I was dressed in winter layers - smartwool and capilene for the long underwear, fleece and hiking pants for the next, down and snow pants for the outer. I had my winter boots on, my windstopper hat, and a scarf, plus gloves. I was actually quite comfortable except for my fingertips, which always get cold doing winter photography.

To make this photo, I was kneeling in the snow, just waiting for the flock to get spooked. I wish I could describe the sound that they make during take-off. It's a lovely winter serenade....

Click on the image to see a much larger view. These birds are very beautiful.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pick n Pay

Pick n Pay by andiwolfe
Pick n Pay, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.
Most of my trips to South Africa have included some down time in Cape Town. My 2013 field season was just too short, and chock full of travel and camping to distant parts of South Africa, so I didn't get to the waterfront until the day before I flew home.

My reason for the visit was to purchase a few gifts, and to buy myself a pair of crocs - wonderful inventions for camping. My friends, Dennis and Gigi, wore crocs around the campsite, after a long day of work. They're great for slipping on and off and for not having to take a few minutes to unlace hiking boots before crawling into a tent.

While we were at the mall, I took a few street photos as we were waiting for Gigi to finish some grocery shopping. I'm still learning the ins and outs of my Fuji XE-1, but it has a nice monochrome conversion setting, which is what I used here.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

African darter in flight

African darter in flight by andiwolfe
African darter in flight, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Sitting on the rim of the vlei at DeHoop Nature Reserve in South Africa, I saw many of the local birds flying by. Our campsite was about 10 meters or so above the vlei, which was a perfect perch for watching darters, herons, cormorants, gulls, terns, ducks, hammerkops, and flamingos in flight.

African darters are rather elusive birds for a photographer - they are usually very aware of one trying to sneak up to make a photo. This was the best view I had of an African darter during my entire three week field season.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter Sunrise at Pickerington Ponds

A very cold morning after a lovely snowfall. Winter photography has its charms, but it is certainly a challenge to keep the fingers warm. The temperatures were way below freezing on this particular morning. Because I have all my gear from the trek to Everest that Steve and I did in 2009, I was comfortable except for my fingers....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

China - transportation is interesting there

China by andiwolfe
China, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

I was at the Forestry Institute near Cypress City when this interesting farm rig rolled by on the road where we were parked. What struck me, aside from the contraption, was how comfortable the driver appear there on that box...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dintong Lake is a busy place

There is a lot of barge and commerce traffice on Dintong Lake. We were visiting Yueyang Tower during the late afternoon. With all the smog in the sky, the lake was a rather mystical place.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sand pattern

Sand pattern by andiwolfe
Sand pattern, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Back to South Africa for my photo today. I made this photo of beach grass on a sand dune at DeHoop Nature Reserve. I spend a lot of time in sand dune systems during my field seasons to study a parasitic plant (Hyobanche). I've come to appreciate the stark beauty of this landscape, the wind and rain patterns on the dunes, and the attempts of vegetation to reclaim the space.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Yuelu Academy

Yuelu Academy by andiwolfe
Yuelu Academy, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

A visit to Yuelu Academy October 24, 2013: This is a beautiful place to visit. The site has been an academic institution for more than 1000 years. The architecture is stunning, and the courtyards are charming.

My group from the International Wood Culture Society symposium on Taxodiaceae was primarily interested in the use of wood at this site.

I enjoyed exploring the architectural details, and it was nice to see Ginkgo trees in their native land.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Foresty Institute - Hunan Province, China

During a visit to the Forestry Institute near Cypress City, China, we walked through one of their forest plots. This abandoned house was a long a stream.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Street scenes in China

Street scenes by andiwolfe
Street scenes, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.
Cypress City, China. This mountain town in Hunan Province is a bustling place. After touring the nearby Forestry Institute, we had lunch at a restaurant adjacent to many shops along the main street.

In China, one can always see people using storefronts and sidewalks as extensions of their living space. I was impressed by the social cohesion present in every community I visited, even if it was just a brief stop. I also got a kick out of the motorcycles that were topped with an elongated umbrella - not very aerodynamic, but it seems to do the trick to keep the rain at bay, or, more likely, the sun.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Yueyang tourist market

Market by andiwolfe
Market, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Every tourist site in China has a market for trinkets and souvenirs. This one was adjacent to Yueyang Tower (Changhsha, Hunan Province).

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Chinese swap meet

Swap meet by andiwolfe
Swap meet, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

One of the sites I visited in Changsha, China, was the Bamboo Scripts Museum. An antiquities market was going on, in the form of a swap meet, in the plaza adjacent to the museum. The artifacts for sale were intriguing. If I had had any cash, I would have been purchasing some of these items. I was restricted to feasting on the visual splendors of jewelry, ceramics, wood carvings, etc. People watching was also a good option here.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine by andiwolfe
Eastern White Pine, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Another winter photo from Inniswood Metro Park. The back lighting on the cones and needles caught my eye.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine by andiwolfe
Eastern White Pine, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Inniswood Metro Park - usually the park is a highlight of spring and summer. However, it is also very beautiful in autumn and winter.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Architectural detail

Architectural detail by andiwolfe
Architectural detail, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

One of the doors at a building at the Yueyang Tower site in Hunan Province, China. I loved the play of light and shadow on this carved panel.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Sunrise at Waterman Farm - 01/04/14

The Buckeyes may have lost the Orange Bowl last night, but the sunrise over campus was pretty spectacular this morning....

Friday, January 03, 2014


Hyobanche by andiwolfe
Hyobanche, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

I spent three weeks in South Africa for my field work on Hyobanche. This is a lovely species that I will describe this coming year. Tentative name is Hyobanche laidleri, named after my good friends Dennis, Gigi, Nicholas, and Chris Laidler. This family has been my family away from home while in South Africa since 1999, when we first met. All have been with me in the field, and they all have enthusiasm for my research project.

Two notable field seasons with the Laidlers: 2003 when I had Nick and Chris along for a trip to Lesotho and the Drakensberg highlands, and this year for a three week trip to work in several national parks: West Coast, Namaqua, Richtersveld, and Agulhas. This year was truly the best ever!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Grey heron

Grey heron by andiwolfe
Grey heron, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Another beautiful bird spotted at DeHoop Nature Reserve September 13, 2013. This species looks very similar to our North American blue heron.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Pickerington Ponds

Pickerington Ponds by andiwolfe
Pickerington Ponds, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

Happy New Year! I hope 2014 brings you much joy.