Latest Entries »

Rockingham Penguin Island

I’m proud to be able to boast that our little city of Rockingham, Western Australia, is home to a race of adorable tiny little creatures. These are the Little Penguins, so-called for their small stature.

image

The Little Penguin, or Fairy Penguin (I love that name!), is the world’s smallest species of penguins. They stand little more than a foot high. End to end, one would fit nicely from the crook of your elbow to your fingertips, that’s how tiny they are. They can be found along the coastlines of southern Australia. In New Zealand they are called Blue Penguins. Rockingham, Western Australia is about the furthest north these little critters go, and we are all the better for that. Penguin Island hosts the largest colony of Little Penguins in Western Australia.

image View showing Penguin Island in the forefront, and the Rockingham mainland in the background.

imageShowing Penguin Island and behind it, Seal Island. The large island with a causeway is Garden Island, Western Australia’s largest Naval base.

Penguin Island is called that because…well, obviously because it’s where the colony of penguins live. But not just penguins call the island home – on Penguin Island itself, and on its neighbouring islands are large colonies of pelicans, seagulls and seals. You can take a tour in a glassbottomed boat further out to sea and see playful dolphins, and even swim with them. On Penguin Island there are several nature walks (watch out for raucous seagulls guarding their nests, eggs and young!), a picnic area (bring your own food and drink), caves you can explore, even the occasional basking sealion on the beach!

image

image

image

image

image

For both the ferry to Penguin Island and dolphin tours around the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park area, Rockingham Wild Encounters is the sole operator.

image

There is a tidal bar or sandbar from Rockingham across to Penguin Island, and people were allowed to walk across until recently…the sandbar unfortunately does not go out in a straight line, like a bridge, but curves and zig-zags underwater, and is extremely difficult to see underfoot when the tide is rising or in strong winds. Step off the sandbar and you would plunge into the sea, or worse, be swept by strong currents onto jagged rocks.

I recall reading about an unfortunate family from India who had just had a picnic on Penguin Island on 28th December 2010. They, along with around 10 other tourists, had either missed the ferry or wanted to experience walking on the sandbar. The tide started coming in, so they quickened their pace to get back to the Rockingham shore. Unfortunately, the 2 Indian wives were swept off the sand bar into the sea, and their husbands jumped in to save them. The women and other tourists were subsequently rescued, but the men drowned. These days, there is a huge sign on the beach strongly discouraging anyone from using the sand bar.

image

So, please, if you are planning to visit Penguin Island, do it safely. Take the ferry. The cost of it covers you to and from the island, and you can also combine it with the cost of the Penguin Island Discovery Centre Show aka feeding time for the Little Penguins. You can see them up close and learn about their habits, watch them swim, play and eat. They really are the sweetest little things.

image

image

image

Penguin Island is closed to the public during the penguins’ winter nesting period, from June til mid-September each year. But the wildlife cruises are still operational all year round. During the breeding season, there are up to 1000 pairs of Little Penguins on or around Penguin Island. The penguins that you see on show are either orphaned or rejected and rescued and are now permanent residents of the Centre, or those found injured and nursed back to health.

Where I live, each morning at sunrise, large flocks of wild birds fly over my house: seagulls, pelicans, cockatoos of all colours – white, pink and white, green, black. The cacophony is unbelievable and enough to wake the dead! And the same happens at sunset each day. I absolutely love it.

image

(All photos courtesy of Google images).

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Some ads from the 1950s and even earlier: (as seen on Pinterest)

image

image

image

And who uses these appliances?

image

That’s right! The lady of the house! Look at that beatific smile on her face as she irons, washes, hangs out the clothes, sews, scrubs and mops! Doesn’t she look like she’s enjoying every last second of it?

(Cue sound of DJ scratching record)

Luckily, you’ve come a long way, baby. Here are some household appliances, gadgets and innovations the modern house already has, should have, or will have in the very near future: (images also taken from Pinterest)

image

image

image

image

image

image

All to make your life much easier…after you’ve just returned home from a long day at work and find that you’re still expected to cook, clean and tidy up after the kids and the husband.

Luckily, there are always willing slaves to help you out…The following images are from a witty little book called “Porn for Women” ;).

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Like I said, you’ve come a long way, baby!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Take one old garden bench.
Add one found bookcase, minus the shelves.
Add 30 litres of potting compost. Scrounge around the house and gather together various succulent plants and what not.
Plant in bookcase planter.
Add smooth pebbles from old pond. Tamp down.
Water with watering can.
Add various plastic toy animals.
Stand back and admire.
Enjoy!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Everyone has high and low periods in their lives, it’s only normal, as Life is constantly changing and never the same.

Whenever I feel low, one of the things I do to help raise my spirits is to look on Google Images and Pinterest for affirmation quotes. It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in the way I’m feeling, that countless others have experienced the same and lived to tell the tale. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Here are just some of my current favourite affirmations or sayings, for a positive outlook on Life when it gets you down. (Courtesy of Google Images and Pinterest).

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

So, whenever you’re feeling not so on top of the world, remember to Stay Positive. It’s only Change. Choose Happiness!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Dušan Beňo is an amazing Slovakian photographer specialising in Macros of insects. Enter his microcosmos here.

Dušan’s photographic skills are not limited to Macros; he is also a dab hand at human portraits, animals and flowers, as evidenced on his site.

Here is what I managed to glean about Dušan, from various searches online:

He is a student of Matej Bel University in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.  He’s 27 years old and has been shooting and specializing in macro for over 7 years. Dušan loves the details of his insect subjects and finds their bright colours and characteristics charming. His favourite camera is the Canon MP-E, which he considers the best universal lens for macro shooting.

Here are some examples of Dušan’s magnificent insect Macros:
dusan-beno-insect-eye-photography-L-6bP1Kt

insects-wasp_2379034k

amazing-macro-insect-photography-by-dusan-beno-photos-015

DusanBeno02

Dusan-Beno-13

insects-5_2379028k

DusanBeno13

buzzerMidge_2111390i

insekti

potd-weevil_2378772k

Dusan_Beno_makrosiemka1

makro-nasekomye-2

106987_dusan-beno10

44602

 

Here’s a photo of Dušan, the photographer, himself. Keep up the wonderful work!

Dusan Beno

I also found a YouTube video by Dušan himself which showcases his wonderful insect Macros:

 

Visarute Angkatavanich hails from Thailand and has a wonderful talent for photographing fish. I keep fish, but I can never get mine to stay still long enough to be photographed properly ;-). And my photos of fish never come out as envisioned. Quite possibly because my weapon of choice is a mobile phone camera and not a professional SLR with all the bells, stops and whistles attached to it. And definitely because I am not a patient person who’s willing to sit for hours watching for the perfect photo opportunity. I’m like that proverbial Panda that eats, shoots and leaves lol. Visarute uses specialised lighting and crystal clear water to shoot his subjects. (I have problems getting my fish tank water to stay clear and my subjects to stay alive long enough!)

Visarute is perhaps most famous for his portraits of Siamese Fighting Fish or Betta Splendens. A fitting tribute, for these fish originate from his own homeland and are part of a rich cultural history going back to the 19th century and Siamese royalty.

Here are some examples of Visarute’s glorious Bettas, courtesy of Google Images:

siamese-fighting-fish-visarute-angkatavanich-07

 

12345

 

VisaruteAngkatavanich2

 

DSC_38501

 

siamese-fighting-fish-portraits-visarute-angkatavanich-5__880

 

siamese-fighting-fish-portraits-visarute-angkatavanich-9__880

 

e2678f07-2feb-426b-9589-c41d26088a68-620x573

 

6a225b24-3139-49ea-93c0-528b6e8bf9db-620x592

 

5

 

601169_10151411980146167_1896860314_n

 

black

To me, it seems almost balletic, the way the wavy fins appear to dance in mid-air. The Betta Splendens is a beautiful fish in its own right, and Visarute has managed to enhance its attributes even more, with his photographic prowess.

I also found on Google some examples of Visarute’s photography that are Not of the Betta Splendens. This leads me to believe that he is flexing his photographic skills and observing the characteristics of other types of animals, no doubt in the near future we shall see more of his astounding works.

fish-7

VisaruteAngkatavanich9

tumblr_mce1pztVXF1r1w416o8_1280

rabbit fish
cuttlefish

lion fish

guppies

 

Portrait of Visarute Angkatanavich and his beautiful young family (from Google Images):

Family portrait

 

I contacted Visarute on Facebook, and asked if he would like to add anything to my post here. He told me that his work is available on Amazon through this link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=art_artist_search?node=6685269011&field-keywords=Visarute+Angkatavanich

 

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Alexander Semenov is a marine biologist with a wonderful sideline in undersea photography. You may recall recently that I posted up some images of jellyfish in a previous post. Some of those images may well be by Alexander Semenov. This young man is no landlubber, preferring a life on the high seas!

In Alexander’s own words:

In 2007, I graduated from Lomonosov’s Moscow State University in the department of Zoology. I specialized in the study of invertebrate animals, with an emphasis on squid brains. Soon after, I began working at the White Sea Biological Station (WSBS) as a senior laborer. WSBS has a dive station, which is great for all sorts of underwater scientific needs, and after 4 years working there, I became chief of our diving team. I now organize all WSBS underwater projects and dive by myself with a great pleasure and always with a camera.

When I first began to experiment with sea life photography I tried shooting small invertebrates for fun with my own old dslr camera and without any professional lights or lenses. I collected the invertebrates under water and then I’ve shot them in the lab. After two or three months of failure after failure I ended up with a few good pictures, which I’ve showed to the crew. It has inspired us to buy a semi-professional camera complete with underwater housing and strobes. Thus I’ve spent the following field season trying to shoot the same creatures, but this time in their environment. It was much more difficult, and I spent another two months without any significant results. But when you’re working at something every day, you inevitably get a lot of experience. Eventually I began to get interesting photos — one or two from each dive. Now after four years of practice I get a few good shots almost every time I dive but I still have a lot of things that need to be mastered in underwater photography.

And the most important thing — I love Sea.

Some images of Alexander’s amazing sea creatures, courtesy of Google Images:

creatures-of-the-deep-alexander-semenov-04

breathtaking-undersea-aliens-interview-with-deep-sea-photographer-alexander-semenov.w654

Weird_Space_11

tumblr_mib1ogUtK61rbz4b6o1_1280

Alexander-Semenov-02

2436-Syllidae-7s

Polychaete-Syllidae-unidentified-2

UnderWaterBeautyRevealedByAlexanderSemenov3-600x399

Semenov-underwater_2845404k

Alexander-Semenov9-650x487

b5161cab1d2428ee57060f9e2450e9ce

2_Clione_sp

Limacina-species
stalked-jelyfish

cforce-Alexander-Semenov-Cyanea-capillata-flower

limacina-Alexander-Semenov

 

And here are a couple of photos I found of Alexander Semenov himself, one as he is, and one with his underwater photography and diving gear:

alex

profile_picture_by_half_scientific-d4ca4o8

 

Alexander Semenov’s underwater photography can also be found on these sites:

https://m.flickr.com/#/photos/a_semenov/

We owe a debt to Alexander and other photographers of his mien, who constantly work tirelessly to bring us images of deep sea creatures that we would otherwise never encounter in our daily lives. Maybe “work” is not the right word for what Alexander does, it is clearly his passion and more a way of life than a hobby.  It is his calling.  He’s one of the lucky ones who actually does what he loves for a living. Thank you, Alexander Semenov!

Postscript: Alexander replied to my email enquiry and provided some further insight to his aspirations. His newest and most ambitious project is Aquatilis, a 3-year expedition on the high seas to capture images of deep sea creatures. This will be an epic, scientifically important project. Please show your support if you can!

Aquatilis TV

Aquatilis Indiegogo Crowdfunding

Aquatilis Flickr

Appreciation

I was leafing through the latest issue (August 2014) of one of my favourite home decor magazines, Elle Decoration, when this image caught my attention.

image

It wasn’t so much the sofa itself that got to me, it was the caption on it. “I found this sofa on the side of the road”.

Two disparate thoughts struck me simultaneously. One was “Oh, how lucky for this person to have found such a fabulous sofa on the street”. The other, much louder thought was “Why would anyone throw out such a beautiful piece of furniture?”

Granted, that sofa might have become shabby from years of wear and tear. It might have been soiled or damaged by water or the elements, the springs in its seat might have been broken. It might even have been thrown out to make way for a more modern sofa.

What makes me angry is why the previous owner did not see it fit to repair that sofa, restore it to its former glory, give it another lease of life. Why was it summarily chucked out on the street? No doubt when that sofa was brand new, its owners loved and admired it, they sat on it and ran their hands over its velvet seat, carressed its detailed curves and carvings, boasted about it to their friends and family. Family portraits were taken on it with pride, it featured at christenings, coming of age parties, birthdays, weddings, funerals, Easter, Christmas. For years it was literally part of the furniture, like a beloved pet, a faithful retainer.

So, for such a wonderful object to meet such an ignominous end on the side of a road, that is the real tragedy.

But, luckily for it, someone with an eye for beauty and potential spotted this treasure before it could be carted away to some dump somewhere. Someone brought it home, cleaned it up, repaired it, gave it new padding and covers, filled in any chips, cracks or breaks. Someone gave it Love again.

It’s said that we don’t appreciate something until it’s gone. Well, here is a prime example. And what saddens me more is that this metaphor can be so easily translated to human relationships. Sometimes we take others for granted so much so that we fail to appreciate what they do for us, until they stop doing it.

Here are some quotes on Appreciation that I’ve taken from Google Images.
image

image

image

We could all learn a lesson or two from that old sofa.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

You and I
We are like Water and Oil
We meet, we exchange pleasantries
We may even like each other
Or even fall in Love
And delude ourselves into believing
That our Souls may co-mingle

But in truth
We are like Water and Oil
We are two Oceans
Two Seas
Two Rivers
That meet but do not mix

We are too different
We are like Water and Oil
Put us together
Shake us together
- we may give the impression
That we are together
But ultimately
We will go our separate ways

You and I
We are like Water and Oil
The one Ingredient that
Could have forged us together
with strong bonds
- the Emulsifier -
Or call it Love
That is the one thing that we lost
Along the way
- You threw it to the winds on a whim
With someone else

You and I
We are like Water and Oil.

Poem by AlyZen Moonshadow

I was inspired to write this poem by personal circumstances and by these images, which show where bodies of water meet but do not mix. Scroll down to the bottom image for an explanation of this natural phenomenon.

imageRhone River meets Arve River in Geneva, Switzerland.

imageCaribbean Sea meets Atlantic Ocean

imageWhere the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean at Cape Leeuwin, Augusta, Western Australia.

imageJialing meets Yangtze in Chongqing, China

imageThe Rio River meets the Amazon River in Manaus, Brazil

imageGulf of Alaska

And the most famous one, perhaps, of the Gulf of Alaska (the one that went viral):
image

I found the following excerpt from this site: http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/7748/is-there-a-place-in-the-world-where-two-oceans-meet-and-they-dont-mix

Kent Smith, a.k.a Flickr user kentsmith9 claims to be the original photographer of this image.

He writes:

I thought this was the most unusual thing I saw on the Alaskan cruise in the water. These two bodies of water were merging in the middle of the Alaskan gulf and there was a foam developing only at their junction.

I thought this was an example of a Halocline described on Wikipedia. A few people have commented that a Halocline is more of a horizontal phenomenon and this is more vertically oriented.

I am pretty confident that what you are seeing is a result of the melting glaciers being composed of fresh water and the ocean has a higher percentage of salt causing the two bodies of water to have different densities and therefore makes it more difficult to mix. I’m told they will eventually mix given enough time.

People have asked me if I just happened to look out over the edge of the ship deck and see this. Actually I had been on the deck for quite some time when I noticed what appeared to be a shadow cast by clouds over the ocean about 5 miles in front of the ship. As we approached the shadow I realized it was something different. I took many shots up to the point I shot this one, but never posted them until a year after this image went viral. I really posted them to convince people I did not Photoshop this image.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Let’s just say I’m going through some upheavals in my life. Not of my own doing, mind, but it happened and now someone’s got to pick up the pieces and move on. And that person is me. I don’t know how, but I know I’ll do it.

I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves, for they do so far better than I ever could.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

All images from Google Image search results under “Epiphany Quotes”.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,213 other followers

%d bloggers like this: