Tag Archives: News

Photos with a wow factor

I know I’m no Annie Leibowitz (more’s the pity) but I plug away at my love of photography, gradually learning more and slowly seeing improvements in my art.  It’s hard not to compare yourself to others however and there are those even on Flickr whose work I just find totally enchanting (here ) or that simply blows me away (here and here) .  Best keep your head down and plug on for fear of being totally discouraged, I think.

Sometimes however, I come across a photo that has such a wow factor that it makes me think ‘that’s it’.  Pack away all the gear because that is incredible and probably, for me, totally unattainable.

Jose Luis Rodriguez has just won first prize in this year’s Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.  This was a shot that apparently took him years to plan and that he had even sketched out on paper beforehand.  The planning shows.  If I attempted this I’d get a blur of fur as the wolf disappeared out of shot.  Jose’s shot is so crystal clear, well lit and well timed that it looks just like a storybook illustration brought to life.  Hats off to Sr. Rodriguez, he’s a worthy winner.

Leaping wolfYou can read more about the competition and the winners in other categories by visiting here.

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Filed under media, Photography

Mafia 'sank ships of toxic waste'

World issuesI’m not one of those people who pays no attention to the news because it’s all so depressing.  If you’re one of them, in my view you’re playing with fire and are likely to get burned.  Apart from anything else, while you’re skippididoodahing along and paying no attention, leaving everyone else to get on with it, your freedoms and rights could well be rapidly eroding.  It’s too late to wake up and complain after the fact.

There are, however, undoubtedly times when I wish I hadn’t read the news, especially when it pertains to things over which I really do have no control.  Take today.  The title of this post is taken from a headline on the BBC website, and with dread in my heart I started to read.  To precis what it says: A Calabrian mafia informant says that the mafia have gone into the highly lucrative business of toxic waste disposal, but in order to cut corners and save money have been sinking ships containing toxic waste, including ‘nuclear’ material, in the Med.  The Italian authorities are currently investigating a shipwreck off Italy’s SW coast in order to try and corroborate this claim.  They have already found yellow barrels lying close to the wreck which have labels saying that they contain toxic waste.  If proven, shipwrecks of 30 other sunken vessels off the coast of Italy and Greece would need to be investigated.

Please tell me it isn’t so.

…And now I need to go and bury my head in housework, shopping, photo editing and if there are any around, the odd little fluffy kitten or two.

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Filed under environment, Green issues, media, world

Weird and Unusual

The Daily Telegraph today has a round-up of what they describe as the world’s weirdest animals.  Many of these I’ve seen before, some are entirely new to me, some are entirely new and pretty creepy.  I’m not going to put the pics of the creepier ones here – go on over and see them for yourself…starting with the ‘star-nosed mole’ from North America … a little chap who I’m afraid draws an immediate shiver from me (although I’m quite sure I don’t do much for him either)!

blobfish

The Blobfish, which hovers just above the sea floor, gobbling edible matter that floats past it.

(I love the ‘face’ of these fish – they look distinctly fed up with their lot in life)!

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Filed under environment, media, Smile / Humour, web memorabilia

Rescuing Bibi

I must admit that I find human beings frustrating, complex and often simply beyond my comprehension.  We sometimes do such unspeakable things to those around us.  However we are also capable of such kindness and selfless courage in order to help not just fellow humans but also helpless animals.  Today’s Mail Online has a story that covers the rescue of Bibi, a tiny Maltese schitzu. Bibi was blown by a strong wind into the ocean and might have drowned had it not been for a brave and kind-hearted member of the public, Raden Soemawinata. Positive news stories like this are a joy to see.

Bibi Rescue1

Bibi rescue 2

Bibi rescue 3

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Filed under media, modern life, People watching, web memorabilia

Car versus horse

Just saw this clip on the lunchtime news.  I’ve had runaway horses running down a narrow lane towards my [old style] mini a few years back.  It was very scary.  I knew at least one of us was going to be badly hurt.  As it happens, and miraculously, at the very last minute they veered off through the opened gate of an adjoining field.  I think the gods were with us that day.  As indeed they were in this instance – both driver and horse were only slightly injured:

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The Talented Mr. Ripley

Jude LawAccording to TMZ.com, via the Daily Mail (which is where I read it), Jude Law is to be a daddy again after a one night stand with ‘unknown model and actress Samantha Burke’.  I used to really admire Jude, until he fell from grace by turning into too much of a bad boy for my liking.  I think we hear altogether too much about stars’ personal lives nowadays.  I rather like the idea of old Hollywood where the PR machine worked overtime to keep superstars up on their [shaky] pedestals.  It gave us someone to admire, someone to look up to, a world of glitz and glamour to fantasize about.

I always thought Jude fitted into the category of a ‘beautiful’ man and in this photo particularly he reminds me of images I’ve seen of James Dean – same fine features and with piercing eyes.  He definitely has the look of old Hollywood about him. 

Like all of us, his beauty has waned a little with time but I still have a bit of a soft spot for him, mainly because he is in one of my all time favourite films –  The Talented Mr. Ripley.  I don’t think anyone else could have portrayed the character of Dickie Greenleaf as well.  He is the ultimate ‘golden boy’ and Jude himself is probably at his most beautiful.   If by any chance you haven’t seen this film and you like old Hollywood glamour with a Hitchcock edge, go and seek it out.  It’s visually beautiful, glamorous…and chilling.  Definitely my kind of movie.

My Friday video is the film’s trailer but before I go, and whilst we’re on the subject of Mr Ripley, equally worth seeing is ‘Ripley’s Game’, starring John Malkovich as an older, wiser and therefore more chilling Ripley. …In fact, having talked about both, I think I might get in some nibbles and libations and make a double bill of these two tonight.  

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A question of ownership

SealThe city of San Diego as been given 72 hours to remove seals from a beach at the area of La Jolla so that children may use a concrete paddling pool there.  The pool was originally built and gifted to the city by a local philanthropist in the 1930s and nowadays contains such high levels of bacteria that there are signs advising people not to use it …. yet they still do.  (…??!…candidates for the Darwin Awards no doubt…)

As you might expect with one of these ‘man versus the environment’ issues, passions are running high.  City authorities are now at loggerheads with those who say that the seals are a valuable tourist attraction, the seals need a period of rest each day and that the area should instead be made into a sanctuary for the animals.

As the seals are a federally protected marine species, the only suggested solution is to employ someone to walk up and down the beach with a public address system loudly playing the sound of dogs barking .  (Torture for nearby human residents too I would have thought). Of course, passions are so inflamed that authorities feel that the person with the dog barking address system will need police protection – probably 2 officers will do.

I suspect the seals have always visited this beach and maybe back in the 1930s, when La Jolla was a quiet little seaside resort, shared use of the beach by man and animal wasn’t perceived to be a problem.  During the 1990s seal visitors increased and coincidentally, by that time there had also been an explosion of human visitors and residents.

LaJolla_Seals2I was at La Jolla a couple of times in the 1990s and my visits gave me magical memories that I treasure and make me want to visit again some day.  Forget the man-made attractions of cafes, restaurants and up-scale boutiques because I can find those around every corner.  What I can’t easily see in very many places, and therefore made my visit so special that I’d like to return some day, was the beautiful coastline and particularly the ability to get close to a large gathering of wild seals.  People had gathered too – some on the beach just yards away from the seals, some standing up on the little harbour wall.  All of us just quietly watching, all no doubt enjoying an all too rare opportunity to get so close to an aspect of nature that we rarely see.

In my opinion it would be a huge mistake to try to remove the seals.  Not only will it be costly to keep two policemen on ‘seal patrol’,  if the annoying public address system does the trick the seals may move on, but they may well take up residence on the very next beach along, causing a nuisance to swimmers, surfers and beachgoers there.  If they should sadly disappear entirely from the La Jolla area then I think that the town will notice a big drop in visitor numbers.  To me La Jolla without the wildlife is just another pretty coastal town and I (along with many others, I suspect) will have little reason to return.

Then there is the bigger moral question of who really owns this or any other piece of  coastline?  Is it ever ours to trade – to sell or to give away, imposing our will on all those who share it?  I’d argue that the marine life was there long before man and so we have a duty to be good new tenants, finding ways, wherever humanly possible, to discretely share the same space.  Besides which, is it really so difficult for us to find another place for a toddlers’ paddling pool?

La Jolla_Seal beach

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Filed under environment, Green issues, modern life, People watching, Photography, world