January Squares: Jerusalem Twilight

For Becky’s January Squares with the topic _____light, this is a sequence of three photos taken from a lookout (Mt. Scopus, I think) when we first arrived in Jerusalem. The sun was setting, below the horizon, so these are views of Jerusalem at twilight.

The Golden Dome on Temple Mount takes center stage in this twilight photo – as other buildings of the old city fade, its colors remain clearly visible.
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A minute or so later, I zoomed in on the glowing clouds of the sunset.
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Temple Mount dominates the Old City again, now with surrounding street lights glowing and lights on in surrounding buildings.
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Taken with Sony alpha 68 with 300 mm zoom lens, on January 11, 2019.

Weekly Prompts Photo Challenge: Yellow

I’m just barely making it for Weekly Prompts Photo Challenge: Yellow!

Tulip in my garden
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Proliferation of dandelions (they’re more prolific this year than I’ve ever seen!)
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My grand-nephew Joshua’s T-shirt (doesn’t he look spiffy?!)
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Mexican-style tiles in a bathroom at a Chicago wedding venue (there’s some yellow in almost all of these!)
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Outer wall in Rishon le Tsiyon, Israel
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Sunrise in Tiberias, Israel (looking out on the Sea of Galilee from our hotel room)
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Sunset clouds, Jerusalem, Israel
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Colorful Israeli poster at Tel Aviv airport
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Egyptian flower, near Aswan (I’m starting and ending with flowers!)
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A Photo a Week: The Beauty of…

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge this week is Beauty.  This is a difficult one to choose only a few photos, for the Earth is full of beauty, natural and manmade! So I am going to choose some of my favorite “beauties” from my photo collection.

Beauty of a sunset: Rio de Janeiro, from the top of Sugarloaf. Every time I go to Rio, I make time to go to the Sugarloaf late in the afternoon, taking the cable car up to the top. I like to watch the sunset from there, and little by little, the beaches grow dark and lights begin to wink on. And up there, I see this view.
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Beauty of Sedona, Arizona: Everyone nowadays knows about Sedona, right? It’s been “discovered.” But back when I was a teenager, I went to a private high school there with the majestic Cathedral Rock as a backdrop. Few people even knew Sedona existed then. I still think Cathedral, viewed from the campus of Verde Valley School, is the most beautiful sight in Sedona. I took this shot late in the afternoon last June.
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The beauty of a national park. That’s a hard one! I love national parks and find great beauty in all of them. I should post a picture of the Grand Canyon or Yosemite here, but they are iconic. Instead I chose a scene at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, which we visited last June. I had always wanted to see it, but never had a chance until last year.
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I have to include one more, which was taken in 2016 at Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska.
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All these beauties are majestic scenery. I appreciate beauty on a macro level also: an animal, a flower, etc. This is a beauty of a flower – the lotus – which is sacred to many cultures. I took this shot last July when the lotus was in full bloom.
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The beauty of a cat (my Hazel, of course!)
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The beauty of a tree in autumn
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I thought of including manmade beauties, but that would take too long – I find beauty in almost everything! Besides, the greatest beauty in the world is the beauty of nature.

Circles on Route 66

A little preview of our road trip on Route 66!  Travel With Intent has a weekly challenge on Sundays, and this week the theme is circle. What better place to find circles than on Route 66, “America’s Road,” which celebrates our car culture??  Here are some random “rounds” from our trip.

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One of several painted mini-cars in downtown Pontiac, Illinois

 

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This plaque honors World War II veterans depicted in a mural in Cuba, Missouri.

 

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New Mexico’s state symbol is the “Zia” sun sign from the Pueblo tribe. This “Great Seal” of the state of New Mexico appears on the floor of the rotunda of the state capitol, in Santa Fe.

 

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The ceiling of that same rotunda. Unlike other state capitols, Santa Fe’s does not have a dome and the building itself is round.

 

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Stained glass window in Cathedral Basilica San Francisco in Santa Fe, NM

 

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Bumper sticker on a car in Arizona

 

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An abandoned gas station somewhere in New Mexico was adorned with brightly painted bicycles.

 

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Motel parking lot, San Bernardino, California

 

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Woven basket over fireplace at El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, NM

 

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Ancient petroglyphs on volcanic rock at Petroglyphs National Monument, NM

 

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Round barrel platforms at sunset over the Mississippi River, western Illinois

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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The pregnant lioness, probably the sister (litter mate) of the other

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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,

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two gazelles sparring

some zebras,
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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

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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

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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.
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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.
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We saw a herd much closer, walking on the shore of Lake Ndutu.
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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.
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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!

WPC: Rise/Set

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge this week is sunrises & sunsets.  On safari in Tanzania, we were often up by sunrise, leaving sometimes before breakfast to be able to observe animals early in the morning.

Sunrise – Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania – Feb. 7, 2018
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Sunrise, southern Serengeti, Tanzania – Feb. 10, 2018
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Just as often, we were just returning for the evening when the sun set. All vehicles are required to be out of the national parks at sunset. This last picture was taken just as the sun was getting low in the sky and the sky beginning to glow yellow and orange, silhouetting an acacia tree.
Sunset, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania – Feb. 11, 2018
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