CFFC: Circles Everywhere

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Circles, Curves and Arches, and for this post I am focusing only on circles, which are abundant!

Circles are everywhere – in nature, in art, in architecture, in daily life. I find circles in modern sculpture,

C 20180405_181224
Sculpture in front of Northlight Theater, Skokie, IL

art museums,

20190915_134527
Glass sculpture, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA
20190915_134613
Glass sculpture, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA
20190915_140709
Dale Chihuly, glass sculpture, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

light fixtures,

DSC01452
Bamberg Cathedral, Bamberg, Germany
20170520_153200
Wedding venue, Woodbury, MN

in decorative displays,

20170520_153853
Wedding venue, Woodbury, MN

floor patterns,

20190627_153559
Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

and buildings.

dsc02452.jpg
Downtown Tacoma, WA

Circles are also common in nature, such as the sphere of the setting sun,

SONY DSC
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

or a flower,

DSC02445
Dahlia, Point Defiance Park gardens, Tacoma, WA
20190825_192502
Sunflower, The Moorings, Arlington Heights, IL

and even on animals.

DSC04143.JPG
Hyena, southern Serengeti, Tanzania
SONY DSC
Cheetahs, southern Serengeti, Tanzania

In nature and human-made structures, circles, both 3D and two-dimensional, are everywhere,  in all sizes, patterns and colors.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists: My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things is the subject of Lens-Artists’ photo challenge this week.

I love cats, especially my sweet tortie Hazel.
20190531_125417
I love flowers and enjoy taking good photos of them.  There is plenty of this subject matter at Chicago Botanic Gardens! This is their May foxglove display.
20190531_095928
20190531_100037
My favorite thing in the world is traveling, and I always take my camera along! I like to take photos of buildings, especially doors and windows,

20190114_090548
Old Jerusalem church door
20190114_143806
Door at Peter of Gallicantu Church in Jerusalem
20190102_165647
Arched entrance, Eskaleh Ecolodge, Abu Simbel, Egypt
20190114_083031
Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
SONY DSC
Stained glass window, Jerusalem

ruins,

20190114_090823
Archaeological site in the heart of Old Jerusalem
SONY DSC
Jewish graveyard, Jerusalem

everyday objects,
20190102_120647people,

SONY DSC
Tanzanians waiting for a bus in Arusha

landscapes, sunsets,

20181228_065323d
Sunset along the Nile, Egypt
SONY DSC
Arches National Park, Utah, USA

wildlife…whatever there is to see!

SONY DSC
Hyena, Tanzania

I also love art, especially folk art. (Below, Nubian folk art objects, Abu Simbel, Egypt)
20190102_165712.jpg
20190102_165720

20180106_140230
Painting by Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral, Art Institute of Chicago

 

 

Predators and Prey in Ndutu-Serengeti

Feb. 9, 2018

The first thing I saw this morning was a yellow weaver tending to his nest, just outside the main building at Ndutu Safari Lodge.

SONY DSC
Yellow weaver finishing its nest

On our morning drive, we saw some lions – first a female pair, one of whom is pregnant and the other wears a collar. There is an interesting story about this 5-year-old lioness. SONY DSCLast July, on the Internet there was a story of a leopard cub being nursed by a lioness as if it were her own. The lioness lived in the Southern Serengeti and was tagged – it was the one we saw today! SONY DSCI didn’t hear any details about the story, but apparently the leopard cub had lost her mother and the lioness had lost her cubs, because she was lactating. So the handlers gave the leopard cub to the lioness to nurse, which she readily accepted.

SONY DSC
The pregnant lioness, probably the sister (litter mate) of the other
SONY DSC
The pregnant lioness’s face was covering in tiny flies, which she made no attempt to bat away. Right after I took this picture, she lay down on her side, the bugs still crawling on her face!

After we moved on, we saw several other animals – some predators and some prey – including buffalo,

a group of male Grant’s gazelles,

SONY DSC
two gazelles sparring

some zebras,
SONY DSC

SONY DSCand a martial eagle in a tree.SONY DSC
Not long after seeing the lionesses, we came upon some male lions. One was a mature adult with a full mane, SONY DSC
while the other two were young – one of them had a mane which still amounted to little more than some extra tufts of hair on his neck. These two were most likely brothers – lions often hang around with their litter mates; the brothers cooperate in seeking prey and guarding territory. They were just lying around, same as the females – they may have gotten a meal during the night.SONY DSC
And speaking of meals, we next encountered a pair of jackals,SONY DSCand a group of hyenas.SONY DSC

SONY DSC
This many hyenas together generally indicates that there is a possible meal nearby, and soon afterward, we came upon a large group of vultures, so we knew they were feeding – or about to feed – on carrion. SONY DSC

SONY DSC
Actually, all these animals were waiting their turn, because a Marabou stork was picking the last meat off the bones.
SONY DSCProbably a young wildebeest, Livingstone said. All that was left was a skull picked clean and a rib cage the birds were getting the last morsels of meat off of. Then the bones would be left to dry up, adding to the scattered bones that litter the area.

The animals that feed on carrion definitely have a pecking order, although the major spoils go to whichever animal found it first. Soon we came across a couple of hyenas eating the remains of a young wildebeest, with the buzzards waiting impatiently nearby.SONY DSC
Whenever the hyenas took a break from eating, the vultures moved in. SONY DSCOne of the hyenas finally got tired of this and yanked the carcass away and had its fill. SONY DSC

SONY DSCWhen it was done, the hyena simply walked off, and the vultures took over to pick the remains clean. SONY DSC

SONY DSCThe afternoon drive was very different and at times a bit scary, at least for me. We were with Livingstone again but with different people in the truck with us.

There was more evidence of death: a half-eaten zebra surrounded by vultures and a Marabou stork, who apparently had had their fill, letting the jackals move in.
1009

1011 (2)
Here on the southern Serengeti we saw large herds of migrating wildebeest. Those at a distance looked like an army of ants moving along in a line.
SONY DSC
We saw a herd much closer, walking on the shore of Lake Ndutu.
DSC04267.JPG

SONY DSCThe lake was in their migratory path, so they would eventually have to cross it, many accompanied by their young alongside them. They chose a relatively shallow area to cross.SONY DSC
Even so, some of the calves, in spite of their mothers’ proddings, would probably not make it – either getting lost in the crowd, unable to keep up with the herd or make it across the water.   Finally, late in the day, we saw a wildebeest calf, abandoned and alone. There was no sign of the herd. We knew that calf would not live to see morning.
SONY DSCWe search for, hoped to see leopards. Where would a leopard be in late afternoon? In a tall tree, high up – it would need a strong, thick branch that was more or less horizontal.

Meanwhile, I added to my list of animals I have seen: two owls in a tree, making low, short hoo-hoo sounds; SONY DSCan eland close-up;SONY DSChippos out of the water and close enough to see their faces;

and various other birds.
SONY DSC

DSC04161.JPG
Secretary bird

I think Livingstone got lost or tried to take too many shortcuts – he not only cut across flat plains, but also down washes and up the other side, rocky banks, over thorny bushes. Every time we approached some harrowing driving challenge, I held on tight and tried to look away. At first it was funny, but eventually I became annoyed. All this extreme bumping and jostling was not good for my sensitive stomach right now. 987.JPG
I trusted his driving skills, just felt that it was unnecessary to do so much off-road jostling and bumping.

But then as the sun began to go down, I realized he was in a hurry – we were supposed to be out of the reserve by sundown. I think we made it with only a couple of minutes to spare!SONY DSC

Coming up: More of the beautiful wildlife around Lake Ndutu in the Southern  Serengeti!

New Life and Danger in Ngorongoro

Feb. 7, 2018

705The wildebeests (also known as gnus) in the crater don’t take the long migration of the Serengeti, but they’re always on the move to find better grassland. Large herds of them migrate from one side of the crater to another. Most of the time, you also see zebras migrating alongside the wildebeest herds. They have a mutually beneficial relationship with the wildebeest – the zebras can remember the route, while the wildebeest can smell water.SONY DSCIt’s calving season and many wildebeest females had newborn calves alongside them – the mother of this newborn was still expelling the afterbirth.SONY DSCAnother one gave birth (we could see its legs hanging down) in a field near the road. DSC03898 (2)There seemed to be a sort of “gnu nursery” over there, where several newborns were either lying down or trying out their legs. SONY DSC

SONY DSCThe newborn we’d seen being born tried to nurse, but his mother wouldn’t let him – she kept nudging him forward to get him to walk. SONY DSCShe knew there was danger nearby: several hyenas lurked on a hillside, keeping their eyes on the herd for easy prey.
2-7 hyenasA short time later, several hyenas passed us, two with traces of blood on their muzzles and paws – they’d had their meal!
SONY DSC

SONY DSC
We saw two kinds of gazelles – Thomson’s gazelles are the smallest …SONY DSC

SONY DSCand Grant’s gazelles are larger, about the size of impalas.
SONY DSCGazelles are a subgroup of antelope in which both male and female have horns. That is how you know impalas are not gazelles.  Another non-gazelle antelope is the eland, quite a bit larger than impalas.

SONY DSC

Other animals besides hyenas, gnus and lions that were sighted today: a couple of rhinos  way far off; rhinos tend to stay away from the roads and other animals.
SONY DSC
hippos, foraging on land…SONY DSC
but mostly submerged in the water – we could see their snouts when they came up for air.
SONY DSC
Baglafecht weavers, who tried to steal our food while we were having a picnic lunch…
SONY DSC..and a jackal finishing off a meal with her pups.

SONY DSC

CB&WPC: Animal Heads

For Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week, with the topic of Heads or Facial Features, I am featuring animals of Ngorongoro Crater.

Photos in black & white (or nearly so) allow one to see details that normally wouldn’t stand out, such as the individual hairs on this vervet monkey’s head:
SONY DSC

The horns on this male Thomson’s gazelle are quite spectacular.
SONY DSC
Close-ups of heads emphasize an animal’s facial expression, such as this African buffalo chillin’ in the grass…
SONY DSC
or this zebra foal’s curiosity.
SONY DSC

Profiles of heads show their contours, such as this beautiful lioness…
SONY DSC
…and the self-satisfied expression of a hyena who has just finished a meal.
SONY DSC

Hippo mostly submerged
DSC03989 (2).JPG

Finally, I can’t resist including this picture of Van Gogh’s eye from a self-portrait (taken at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam).
20180131_115554 (2)

High drama in Ngorongoro to follow!!

 

CFFC: Safari Haiku

Note: I wrote most of these haiku myself and took all the photographs. The haiku “Photography” was written by Dale Berman (my husband); “On Safari” (with slight modification) and “Origins” were written by other members of our Tanzanian Safari group.  Posted for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wildlife.

Wildebeest
Is it possible
that the gnu knew? Or was he just
a bewildered beast?

20180207_070944
Wildebeest is the Afrikaans name for gnu.

Zebra
Zebras’ stripes, black, white
Black and white and black and white
But no two alike.

SONY DSC
Baby zebras have brown stripes which gradually turn black.

 

Migration
Zebras know the route.
Wildebeest can smell water.
They move in tandem.

SONY DSC
Zebras and wildebeest are often seen together. They have a similar goal: to find the best grass for the season.

 

Lions
Are lions lazy?
They’re always lyin’ around.
First: hunt, eat; then rest.

SONY DSC
Female lions live in a pride with their cubs. Both male and female adult lions often hang around with their litter mates of the same gender.

 

Thomson’s Gazelle
Constantly swishing
black tail of Thomson’s gazelle
back and forth and back.

 

Genet
Whiskers and black spots
Curious big eyes, ringed tail
It is not a cat!

2-8 genet at Ndutu Safari Lodge3
This captivating animal is a carnivore which eats small prey, such as mice and lizards. Although cat-like, it is not related to cats. 

 

Impala
Graceful impala
Big ears constantly alert:
Predators nearby.

SONY DSC
Impalas are the most common gazelle seen on the African plains.  They are often seen in all-male and all-female groups. Only the males have horns.

 

Leopard
The elusive leopard
High in the acacia tree
Descends for a meal.

SONY DSC
Leopards can be hard to spot – they usually spend the day high in a tree.

 

Hyena
Ugly hyena
He feasts on young wildebeest
Bloodied and cackling.

SONY DSC
Hyenas are not dogs, but often work together to hunt their prey. They also feed on carrion.

 

 

Hyraxes
Small, furry creatures
Living in rocky kopjes
Elephant cousins?!

SONY DSC
Believe it or not, this guinea pig-sized animal is a distant relative of the elephant!

 

Ostrich
Ostrich on the plain
Long neck craning, pink legs run
Flurry of feathers!

SONY DSC
Male ostriches have black feathers and pink legs. Female ostriches have grey feathers and their legs are slightly lighter in color.

 

Giraffe
High above the ground
Ungainly shape yet graceful
Nibbling tops of trees.

SONY DSC
Giraffes grow to 17-18 feet. Their young at birth are 6 feet tall! 

 

 

Elephants
With mud-caked skin, they
Lumber on African plains
Their youngsters close by.
SONY DSC

Weaver
Pert yellow weaver
Weaving a nest to impress
He hopes she approves.

SONY DSC
Male weavers (see his head sticking down just under the nest?) make nests out of grass, twigs and other things they find. The female weaver will move in with the male that makes the best nest!

A watery life
Just their snouts protrude
out of the water to breathe.
Hippos in a pond.

SONY DSC
Hippos prefer to spend much of their day in the water. However, they can be seen on land looking for grass. 

 

On Safari
Dust swirls ‘round the truck
As more jeeps gather nearby
Big cats wish us away.
SONY DSC

Origins
We all started here
Herds migrate; hunters follow.
The bright continent.

2-8 Oldupai-map of sites where fossils of early man were found
The top two photos show an ancient buffalo skull and that of an ancestor of humans: homo habilis. The dots on the map show archaeological sites where hominin remains have been found.

Photography
Pictures were taken
Memories are kept alive
Trip not forgotten

2-13 group photo at Ang'ata Camp, Serengeti
Group photo taken the morning of our departure, including the staff at Ang’ata Safari Camp at Serengeti National Park.