Archive for August, 2013

The image of these red trees against the waterfall backdrop is magnificent.

Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, New Zealand

Situated in the centre of the South Island, along the pass between Canterbury and the West Coast, Arthur’s Pass National Park is the third oldest national park in New Zealand. The main road between Christchurch and Greymouth (SH73) travels straight through the centre of the park. One of the world’s great train journeys – the TranzAlpine Express – also passes through the park, offering dramatic views of the mountains and plains.

tree-red-tree-waterfall(Photo Credit: HITTHEROAD photography)

The top of this spectacular fall (131 metres) can be seen from the main road, but a walk to the base of the waterfall is well worth doing in any weather, any time of the year.

A signpost just north of the Chalet Restaurant points to the carpark where the walk starts. The track goes up the side of the Bealey River and over two footbridges before zig-zagging up steps through the mountain beech forest to the waterfall’s base. Return the same way.



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Temperate Rainforests can be found on the west coast of North America but the one I want to show you today is located on the other side of the Pacific.

The Yakushima Forest, Japan.

The lushness of the forest on Yakushima is what grabbed my attention.


Some of the best preserved examples of forest are found in Kirishima-Yaku National Park on the Island of Yakushima off of Kyūshū in a very wet climate (the annual rainfall is 4,000 to 10,000 mm depending on altitude).


Because of relatively infertile soils on granite, Yakushima’s forests in higher elevations are dominated by a giant conifer species, Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica), rather than deciduous forests typical of the mainland.

yakushima-jomonsugi-panorama-(屋久島の縄文杉 – Jōmon Sugi)

Jōmon Sugi  is the largest specimen of Japanese Cedar on Yakushima.


The top photo is a common wallpaper image. I was not able to find out the name of the photographer. If anyone can help me with this, I’d appreciate it.

The bottom image by Luke O’Brien. Check out his other wonderful Yakushima photographs here and here!

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Thanks once again to NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for this amazing Photograph.

Explanation: What type of cloud is that? This retreating cumulonimbus cloud, more commonly called a thundercloud, is somewhat unusual as it contains the unusual bumpiness of a mammatus cloud on the near end, while simultaneously producing falling rain on the far end.

Retreating Thunderstorm at Sunset Panorama(Credit: Amazing Sky Photography: Alan Dyer)

Taken in mid-June in southern AlbertaCanada, the cloud is moving to the east, into the distance, as the sun sets in the west, behind the camera. In the above image, graphic sunset colors cross the sky to give the already photogenic cloud striking orange and pink hues.

A darkening blue sky covers the background. Further in the distance, a risingwaxinggibbous moon is visible on the far right.


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You don’t have to go out of town to see some spectacular trees. A lot of the best trees are right in the city.

The American Elm.


This shot was taken in Central Park, smack dab in the middle of one of the world’s all time best Big Cities.

New York, New York. The place so nice, they had to name it twice!

I love Central Park. And I love these trees. Being in Central park in autumn… the leaves, the colours… makes you feel like you’re in a movie. You expect to see Woody Allen or Ben Stiller or Meg Ryan & Billy Crystal just out of the corner of your eye.

One of my favourite places in the whole world. How I would love to be standing on the Gapstow Bridge right now.


Image Credit: Chris Schoenbohm

Regarding this photo, Mr Schoenbohm says, “I went up to the Mall Area in New York City’s Central Park yesterday to capture some of fall color starting to happen in the city.  The wide sidewalk here is lined with  American Elm.  These trees are grand, with large, erratic branches that look and act like the octopus tentacles from 1000 Leagues Under the Sea.  (Remember that ride at Disney World? – Ha, I’m getting old). The leaves all change in harmony in this area of the park because it’s the only type of tree around, making for a postcard-like shot.  I was even able to capture the famous sidewalk with no tourists and vendors present because of the rain we had yesterday.”

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Ashdown Forest, West Sussex, England

Sometimes, it is not just one single tree that catches my attention. Every once in awhile, a forest captures my imagination.

When I first saw this photo, I was reminded of the scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring when the Nazgul were approaching the Shire.


It’s the tunnel effect that really gets me. Beautiful but at the same time a bit eerie.

A combination of ‘where does this lead?‘ and ‘what’s coming this way?’

Stunningly beautiful. Magic.


(Photo Credit: Colin Michaels)

Ashdown Forest is an ancient area of tranquil open heathland occupying the highest sandy ridge-top of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is situated some 30 miles (48 km) south of London in the county of East Sussex, England. Rising to an altitude of 223 metres (732 ft) above sea level, its heights provide expansive vistas across the heavily wooded hills of the Weald to the chalk escarpments of the North Downs and South Downson the horizon.

Ashdown Forest’s origins lie as a medieval hunting forest created soon after the Norman conquest of England. By 1283 the forest was fenced in by a 23 miles (37 km) pale enclosing an area of some 20 square miles (5,200 ha). 34 gates and hatches in the pale, still remembered in place names such as Chuck Hatch and Chelwood Gate, allowed local people to enter to graze their livestock, collect firewood and cut heather and bracken for animal bedding. The Forest continued to be used by the monarchy and nobility for hunting into Tudor times, including notably Henry VIII, who had a hunting lodge at Bolebroke CastleHartfield and who courted Anne Boleyn at nearby Hever Castle.

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Explanation: An unusual type of solar eclipse occurred last year. Usually it is the Earth’s Moon that eclipses the Sun. Last June, most unusually, the planet Venus took a turn. Like a solar eclipse by the Moon, the phase of Venus became a continually thinner crescent as Venus became increasingly better aligned with the Sun. Eventually the alignment became perfect and the phase of Venus dropped to zero. The dark spot of Venus crossed our parent star.

venus-sun-ultraviolet(Venus eclipse – the small dot on the 3-colour ultraviolet sun image) [1]

The situation could technically be labeled a Venusian annular eclipse with an extraordinarily large ring of firePictured above during the occultation, the Sun was imaged in three colors of ultraviolet light by the Earth-orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, with the dark region toward the right corresponding to a coronal hole. Hours later, as Venus continued in its orbit, a slight crescent phase appeared again. The next Venusian solar eclipse will occur in 2117.

Thanks, once again, to the amazing minds down at NASA for this mind-blowing image.


[1] Image Credit: NASA/SDO & the AIA, EVE, and HMI teams; Digital Composition: Peter L. Dove.

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750-year-old sequoia: Sequoia National Park, California

I like trees in general but every once in awhile I’ll run into one that really takes my breath away.

Tree-750yrold-Sequoia-SequoiaNatlPrk-CA(Now that’s a big-ass tree!) 

The first time I saw giant trees like this was in 1985 in Muir Woods in Northern California about 12 or so miles north of San Francisco.

They must be experienced to be believed. No amount of description will do them justice.


(Photo Credit:  Michael Nichols/National Geographic Creative)

Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25, 1890. The park spans 404,063 acres (631.35 sq mi; 1,635.18 km2). Encompassing a vertical relief of nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 m), the park contains among its natural resources the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mount Whitney, at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) above sea level. The park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park; the two are administered by the National Park Service together.

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