Monday, March 28, 2011

Japanese Cherry Blossom

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You know that spring is getting a firm grip on nature when the Japanese Cherry Blossom trees in our street look like this.

Japanese Cherry Blossom

My study is on the first floor, so I have these wonderful colours outside my windows at eye level, and late in the afternoon the sun shines through the pink foliage, almost setting it alight. Magical!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another Beautiful Day

When I still lived in Sweden, one of the most welcome signs of spring was the Wood Anemone. In London I did not get many chances to see any, but here in the German forests I have reacquainted myself with them. They thrive in deciduous surroundings, and you most likely find them where there are beeches. So when we went for a soul-refreshing walk today, we spotted some along the narrow road cutting through the woods.

Wood Anemone

When we came to our watering hole, a café by a small lake, we discovered somebody had parked their means of transport on the other side of a little stream.


I enjoyed a Bitburger, a German favourite.


After a quiet, long while most people started to leave to make it home before sunset. The equestrians got in the saddle again, some with much difficulty.

Saddling up

We started walking back past a fishing pond with its tranquil water and soul-soothing atmosphere.


Crossing the open landscape with its farmland in spring mode, we met an old gentleman on his bike. This fellow is nearly ninety years old and cycles every day for hours. I see him everywhere, very often, and we always say hello and smile at each other, I with my camera and he with his binoculars. No wonder he has lived this long. Young people, take note! Exercise and fresh air go a long way towards a long life.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Macro Spring

We have had 15 degrees today and wonderful sunshine. I could not resist the temptation to try my luck with some close-up images of the forsythia outside our front door. Little insects were whizzing and buzzing around, and I tried desperately to keep up with them; aiming, focusing and hoping they did mot move before my remote time delay had activated the shutter! Not easy, I have to say.

I cropped the best and thought I ought to brighten up my blog with some beautiful spring colours. Here you are!


Ladybird on forsythia


Fly on forsythia

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Walk at Sunset

It was not particularly warm, just 8 degrees, but the sky was clear, and the sun was about to set, so those glowing sun rays painted trees in intense colours which were reflected in the water. I have cropped some images, sharpened them and made them slightly brighter, but I have not increased the colour at all. I find nature’s own colour saturation quite impressive.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Judge Carmen at Maastricht Carnaval

AA Pic of the Week 125 w

At the carnival in Maastricht I stood for quite a while on a bench in a crowd in front of a stage. A male choir kept the audience warm with their enthusiastic singing, even at one stage singing about what I was doing. Mrs S said, they are pointing at you, saying something about photo. Neither of us understand much spoken Dutch, and I wondered if I had offended somebody, but my fears were unfounded. It was a song about taking photos, that word being mentioned many times accompanied by the lead singer pointing at me. I could only smile back in return and point my camera at somebody else in the crowd. Nobody seemed to mind, several of them (in particular women for some reason) more or less posing, smiling into the camera. But the best shots are normally of people who are unaware of the photographer.

This week’s picture is not one of outstanding beauty, but more of outstanding happiness on a man’s face. This bespectacled gentleman was dressed as Carmen, red dress with black dots and black wig and all. But the hair piece had been slightly dislodged and looked more like a black version of an English judge’s court wig and a Caribbean pirate’s floppy hair combined!

Judge Carmen had bumped into a couple he knew, but who did not recognise him at first in his outlandish outfit, so he had to “identify” himself. He laughed heartily at their reaction.

What I like in particular about this split-second out of the five seconds it all took, is that it tells a whole story, in a blink, his expression being representative of the atmosphere of this annual event, sheer joy, fun and some silliness.

Happy at Maastricht Carnaval

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Carnaval in Maastricht

We have often passed through Maastricht on our way to or back from France, but we have never had time to stop. To make it worse, it is less than an hour from where we live, so we decided to go there yesterday. We know the Germans are keen on Karneval, and we have been to Duesseldorf and seen all the fancy dress, happy people and all the colours on earth. What we did not know, was that the Dutch are as keen on partying during the carnival season. Yesterday was grey and cold, but that did not dampen the spirit. Just look at these snaps.

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