Smile! The world is a beautiful place (^_^)

Fujinon XF 18-135mm Ois R WR F/3.5-5.6

2018-51

Happy 4th advent! Wishing you all happy holidays!

Here’s a picture I took a few days ago; The NEMO science museum here in Amsterdam. The building was designed by Renzo Piano who’s also famous for designing Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Chard in London, and The Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC.

The bicycle bridge leading to NEMO is called ‘Mr. J.J. van der Veldebrug’ (bridge number 1939), and this year it’s part of the Amsterdam Light Festival. The artwork was made by Dutch artist Peter Vink.

 

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2018-50

Happy 3rd advent!

The annual Amsterdam Light Festival has begun. I haven’t had time to check out all the art pieces yet, but here are two of them that I photographed the other day – “Two Lamps” and “Spider on a bridge”.


2018-48

Hello December 🙂 and Happy 1st advent!

This afternoon I was in Muiden, a cute little town about 15 km south-east of Amsterdam. Weather conditions weren’t great for photography, but a friendly sheep posed nicely in front of the Muidersloot 🙂 This castle was built in 1280 but demolished in the year 1300, then rebuilt about a hundred years later. (If you’re interested, you can download free ebooks with more information here.)


2018-47

The beautiful sunny autumn weather we enjoyed last week is gone. Amsterdam is grey and cold now… Winter is coming!


2018-44

Week 44! A couple of days ago, I attended a workshop called “Moonlight with owls”. It was really nice, although a bit too dark to take pictures. But I got to see and hold a few owls, they’re such impressive and beautiful birds. Here’s a picture of Bean, a beautiful Bengal eagle-owl (Bubo bengalensis)


2018-33

This pretty little butterfly is called Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) in English, “Small Fire butterfly” in Dutch, and “Small Goldwing” in Swedish.  I’m not sure, but I think (guess) one reason why it’s “gold” in one place and “copper” in another is because the colours of this butterfly varies slightly depending on where it lives.

I was lucky to find one sitting in the warm sunlight (usually they’re very active in bright sun) and was able to shoot it (I mean photograph) slightly backlit which really brought out its beautiful colours. Notice that the orange at the tip of the antennae also matches its wings, very stylish!

Update: Last week, WordPress didn’t recognize my weekly post as a post, thus it didn’t show up in the Reader of those who subscribe to my blog. Luckily, this issue seems to be resolved now!


2018-32

Week 32! No exotic or unusual butterflies today, but happy to see them just the same 🙂 Have a nice week!

Update 8/13: According to WordPress, this blog post from yesterday doesn’t exist and this site was last updated 8 days ago. Therefore, this post doesn’t show up in the WordPress Reader either  😦  …. If you read this, thank you for visiting my blog.


2018-31

Today I’ve been photographing dragonflies in Diemer Vijfhoek 🙂 I still don’t have a macro lens; these were taken with XF18-135 and all are cropped. Anyway, here are four beautiful dragonflies and some brief information about them. Hope you’ll like!

(1) Vagrant darter (Sympetrum vulgatum) – male

Quick fact: It hovers and then, as the name suggests, darts out to surprise its prey. Then they take their catch to a favoured perch to eat it. Very similar to the Common darter (Sympetrum striolatum), but it has a “hanging” mustache.

(2) Black-tailed skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) – male

Quick fact: It’s a narrow-bodied, medium-sized, straight-sided dragonfly. It can be seen flying low over the bare gravel and mud around flooded gravel pits and reservoirs, before landing on the bare shore to rest in the sun.

(3) Migrant hawker (Aeshna mixta) – male

Quick fact: It’s not a particularly aggressive species, and may be seen feeding in large groups. Hawkers are the largest and fastest flying dragonflies; they catch their prey mid-air and can hover or fly backwards, although the Migrant hawker is smaller than other hawkers.

(4) Black-tailed skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) – I’m not sure, it’s either an immature male or a female

Quick fact: They breed in very large number in newly flooded gravel pits. (See also above.)


2018-30

Damselflies! Click to view slideshow:

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Dragonflies and damselflies are closely related, both are part of the insect order Odonata. However, they are not the same! Odonata includes about 5,900 species of which about 3,000 are dragonflies (suborder Epiprocta, infraorder Anisoptera) and about 2,600 are damselflies (suborder Zygoptera).

Here are five differences to look for:

★ Size: Dragonflies are generally much larger. The most common dragonfly in The Netherlands (Ruddy darter) is 3.4-3.6 cm long and has a wingspan of 6 cm. The most common damselfly in The Netherlands (Blue-tailed damselfly) is 2.7-3.5 cm long and has a wingspan of 3.5 cm.

→ Fun fact: the largest extinct dragonfly had a wing span of 70-75 cm (roughly 30 inches)!

★ Eyes: Dragonflies have much larger eyes than damselflies, their eyes take up most of the head and they are wrapped around from the side to the front of the face which kind of makes it look like dragonflies are wearing snow goggles. Damselflies also have large eyes, but the eyes are clearly separated and appear on each side of the head. →See picture below!

★ Body shape: Dragonflies have bulkier, stocky bodies that appear shorter and thicker. Damselflies have long and slender bodies.

★ Wing shape: Both dragonflies and damselflies have two sets of wrings, but the shapes are different. Dragonflies have hind wings that broaden at the base, which makes them larger than the front wings. Damselflies have wings that are the same size and shape for both sets, and they taper down as they join the body, thus becoming quite narrow as they connect.

★ Position of the wings when resting: Dragonflies hold their wings out perpendicular to their bodies when resting, so they look like small airplanes. Damselflies fold their wings up and hold them together across the top of their backs, from a distance they kind of look like a very thin safety match.


2018-29

Hello 🙂

Here’s a picture of a Map (Araschnia levana), the butterfly best known for having two forms: levana (spring brood) and prorsa (summer brood). levana individuals are primarily orange in colour, and prorsa individuals are mainly black with some white markings. This here is a summer brood showing off its beautiful underside (a map like pattern which look the same in both broods)-

Here’s a picture I took during my vacation in Sicily, a beautiful Violet carpenter bee (Xylocopa violacea)! This bee is huge, about 3 times the size of the biggest bumble bee we have here in Holland. Unfortunately I only had an old iPhone at hand, in real life its dark blue-purple colour was much nicer.

I like big bugs and I cannot lie