The dawn

It’s not often I wake up early enough to see the dawn. I usually work late into the night, because I find that’s when I can gather my thoughts and be at my most productive — when I’m alone, the noises of the day have subsided and the only sounds I hear are the reassuring churning of the hard drive platters in my Drobo and my own breath.

When I do manage to wake up early (or work through the night and into the dawn), I get these gorgeous, glorious views of the Earth waking up as that huge fireball called the Sun starts to light things up. Mind you, I’m not talking about the sunrise. It’s the dawn, also known as the daybreak. It’s when the darkness of the night starts to fade away and shapes begin to form out of the mist. It’s when things unseen become seen.

I thought I’d publish a gallery of various photos I’ve taken in recent years of the dawn. Some of the photos are from places where I’ve lived, others are from places I visited and most are from the road. My wife and I would often just get in our car and drive to some town where we had business in the middle of the night, so we’d be there in the morning. The roads were quiet and it was an experience unto itself to be in the middle of nowhere, our car a capsule of civilization and warmth in an otherwise cold place at a cold time, its headlights eyes, peering out into the darkness and making sense of it. Now that we have a small daughter, there’s no night driving. We’re too exhausted. We’re happy to take any and all sleep we can get. Which is what I’m going to do after publishing this post, because it’s way past midnight here.

This gallery isn’t exhaustive, it’s a work in progress (I hope I’m around for a long, long time to capture countless more dawns on bits and bytes) but I think it’s beautiful to look at and I hope you do too. Enjoy!

Springtime in our garden

This marks the third year in a row that I publish photos of flowers from our garden. It’s gotten to be somewhat of a tradition. These beautiful flowers are a source of joy for us and I hope that by sharing them with you, some of that joy brightens up your day as well.

This year, we’re particularly happy about our tulips. Ligia loves collecting various tulip bulbs and seeing the beautiful flowers they make each year. You’ll see a number of parrot and ruffled tulips among our photographs. I counted rococo, black parrot, apricot parrot, silver parrot and a very special bloom which I call striped peppermint, which I chose as the featured image for this post.

I freely admit I am a novice when it comes to flowers and botany, so please correct me if I made any mistakes with the names of the tulips.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and to share a few Christmas scenes from my house, taken today. Featured below is our little angel Sophie, who’s going to turn 2 in just a few short months.

Sophie

Summer in our garden

I took these photos back in June in our garden. The apricots weren’t yet ripe but almost all of the flowers were in bloom. Ligia and I took daily walks in the garden, which is something we still love to do. The raspberries were ripe and I ate a handful every morning while they were in season. Enjoy the photos!

Slopes and peaks from the Southern Carpathian Mountains

There’s a majestic beauty in these mountains that’s much more appreciated if you walk on them, rather than drive through on the Transfagarasan or the Transalpina. Their scale is easily underestimated from the car, until you step outside and size yourself next to a peak that seemed small just a minute ago, or you start climbing it and quickly run out of breath. Physical fitness aside, the overwhelming feeling when you’ve immersed yourself in their environment is one of awe and respect.

Signs of Spring

Who says we can only look at spring photographs in the spring? On my site, in this little virtual world I’ve created, spring comes whenever I want it, and now’s a perfect time for it. Here’s a set of photos of spring flowers, with a heavy concentration of daffodils. And if you’d like to see even more such gorgeous photos, see this post. Enjoy!

National Arboretum – Part 2

A little over four years after publishing the first series of photographs from the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, here’s part two, containing a mix of photos from the outside gardens and various enclosed ones, including the Bonsai Exhibit.

Selected photos from the set are highlighted below and you can find all of them by going through the gallery posted at the bottom. Enjoy!

Morning fog, Virginia countryside

In my book, there are only a handful of things that rank as high as taking a walk in nature, in the midst of soft, lightly glowing morning fog. This was one of those beautiful mornings I won’t soon forget.

Photos taken in the Virginia countryside, near the very interesting rock formation called Natural Bridge.

Kuroshio Sea

Video from Kuroshio Sea, the 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world, by Jon Rawlinson. Set it to play full screen and enjoy it. It’s quite peaceful. Seeing the silhouettes of the people set against the backlit aquarium will give you the proper scale for all the fish in there. Great stuff.

Kuroshio Sea – 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world – (song is Please don’t go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

Flowers, upclose and personal

Over the course of a few days, I recorded macro footage of flowers, then picked the best sequences, edited them and set them to a nice, soothing soundtrack. The end result is this — a short video that should get you nice and relaxed. It goes along nicely with my video of garden insects, also filmed in macro mode.

You can see the video at blip.tv, Vimeo and YouTube. There are a few photos that go along with this as well.

You can do better

A couple of weekends ago, I was walking on the quay near the Casino in the city of Constanta. There was this girl sitting on one of the benches with a guy, supposedly her boyfriend. Her curly hair reminded me of my wife, so I watched them for a bit, to see how they fit together as a couple. I was disappointed.

The girl seemed nice, but the guy, a classic douchebag if I’ve ever seen one, kept forcing her to kiss him, pulling her toward him, and fondling her. She tried to resist, to keep a little distance and admire the view (it was a beautiful spring day) but all this douchebag wanted to do was to feel her up. Finally she gave in and let him have his way. That’s when I turned away, disgusted.

There are so many girls who simply give in. They’re pressured into relationships they don’t really want to have, into sexual acts they don’t really want to perform, into marriages where they’re not happy, and the list goes on, ad nauseam. They think a douchebag is all they’re entitled to in their lives. They think they’ve got to put out in order to get the relationship started and keep it going. They think abuse is normal.

None of that is normal. You can do better! Have a little self- respect. You will get the right guy, and he’ll be nice to you. You just have to be pickier, and have a little patience.

Have a look at my wife. It goes without saying that I think she’s hot. She could have had plenty of guys. But when she dated, before we met, she demanded respect from all those guys, didn’t fool around, and kept herself for her husband. You know what? Instead of being scorned for not putting out, she was respected all the more for her decision.

Ligia

So really, it all comes down to how much self-respect you have for yourself, and what you choose to do with your life. If you’re not going to respect yourself, no one else will. Don’t put out. Don’t be like the girls in this other post. Wait for the right guy, or even more, look for the right guy. Don’t give up along the way. Don’t let every stranger that enters your life have dessert before they get through the main course. Put them through plenty of tests before they get to the goodies. Don’t cheapen yourself. Each and every one of us has a God-given capability to be more than we think we could be. I say reach for the sky, and see what happens.

Afternoon view

 

A japanese maple from our neighborhood, bathed in afternoon light. Taken in North Bethesda, MD, USA.

A japanese maple from our neighborhood, bathed in afternoon light. Taken in North Bethesda, MD, USA.

I wanted to try something new and to post a photo directly from my photo catalog. I like the way this looks, more so than posting directly from my Flickr account.

The tree is a Japanese maple, and it lives in our community, in North Bethesda, MD, USA. We were walking one afternoon, and I just knew this was a photo opportunity not to be missed. I have a few more photos from our community in my North Bethesda set, and several thousand more to process and post…