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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ostriches

Ah, the eternal dance of courtship!

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Eland

Meet the eland (Taurotragus oryx).  This one happens to be a young male.  Duh, you say.

Okay, let’s pretend we can only see the front half of the animal.  How can we tell its gender, since both male and female elands have horns?

For one thing, the horns of a male eland will get longer and more tightly spiraled than that of a female, but it may be too early to tell, especially if there isn’t a similarly aged female eland around for comparison.

A third way to differentiate gender in elands is the dewlap.  Only male elands develop a dewlap, which is the dangly flap of skin below the neck.

Doesn’t this young eland have a dapper dewlap?

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Today is the 142nd Anniversary of the first lighting of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse near Pescadero, California…but something tells me it was lit a little bit differently in 1872!

The lighthouse–tall, slender, elegant and a bit bedraggled–is under the “care” of the California State Park system.  That explains why it’s been closed since 2001 when a chunk fell off the top.  (Note the very attractive chain link fencing surrounding the lighthouse so it doesn’t try to escape!)  The state of California can’t–or won’t–come up with the money necessary to repair and restore the grand old dame, and open the tower back up to visitors.

It’s a darn shame, because I’ve climbed up to the top of the lighthouse many times before it was closed, and the views on a clear day are stunning.

The lighthouse used to get fully lit at the top once a year on its anniversary, which was an annual photo-op not to be missed if you were in or near San Mateo County in mid-November.  Sadly, that doesn’t happen anymore.

But this year, the lighthouse got lit up from the outside.  Images were projected onto the outside of the lighthouse starting at sunset.  The images began with a series of fractals, then there was a series of paintings by the late Galen Wolf, a local artist, and finally some nature photographs.

There was an announcement made that the show would be delayed past it’s 5:30 PM start time because there was “too much light” in the sky.  Sigh.  My favorite images are the handful I made during the tail end of the “blue hour” when there was still enough light in the sky to distinguish the clouds and the foreground.  The images made after dark don’t have anywhere near the drama.

This is my favorite.