Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Posts tagged “Nature

The day after Hurricane Ophelia: the slow return to normality

Hurricane Ophelia
Just before it hit ireland
Monday 16th 2017

The day after Hurricane Ophelia

The below images taken during on a walk up in the Grange hills between south county Kilkenny and Tipperary are from lunch time today, looking at them its hard to believe that only yesterday, Ireland for the first time ever in its history was hit by a full Hurricane force storm. Yesterday between the hours of 9am for county’s Kerry and Cork and then around 2pm for ourselves locally we had storm force winds of between 150kph and 130kph.

In the Morning the Irish met office via the media had informed everyone to stay inside and had issued a RED weather alert for the complete country, again for the first time in Irish history. In a very impressive way, almost everyone pulled a chair close to the fire and waited for Ophelia to arrive. When she finally did get to county Kilkenny, she did not come calling slowly or with any manners, she just came at us with full force gusts and left some three hours later. We have had two such storms locally since 2014 with storm Darwin back in February 2014, which I posted on back then. During both these storms you can do little but sit and wait, however listening and looking out of the window is just shocking and basically very hard to do.

In 2014 when Darwin left she left with many of our local forests lying on the floor, as such I think Ophelia had little left to get her teeth into, as its only just over two years in the forests themselves since, the areas Darwin cleared are still empty of trees.

Yesterday evening we had many roads blocked with roadside trees, along with trees down on the river banks and in public parks .

The main effects this time nationally has been the loss of power with some 360,000 homes left without any electric supply, Ireland’s water systems also works mainly from electric water pumps so this supply for many has also been cut off.

This morning the weather had returned to normal , in fact it was a great and clear and sunny day, walking around at lunchtime for me the most noticeable thing is that the trees have all been stripped of any leaves, they have gone from the start of autumn colors to winter nakedness in only 3 hours, it’s really noticeable that instead of yellow and brown leaves sitting by the road sides, having naturally fallen, we have roadsides covered in green.

So Goodbye Ophelia and welcome to a peaceful sunny Tuesday in the Irish landscape, even if we are still in shock and only just starting to recover ……

Gallery from 17th Oct 2017 – the day after Ophelia


5 Images for the week, Friday.

Evergreen trees
Holly tree berries
Nature photography Nigel borrington


Friday Poetry : The Genesis of the Butterfly, by Victor Hugo

The Genesis of the Butterfly
Nature Photography
Nigel Borrington

The dawn is smiling on the dew that covers
The tearful roses; lo, the little lovers
That kiss the buds, and all the flutterings
In jasmine bloom, and privet, of white wings,
That go and come, and fly, and peep and hide,
With muffled music, murmured far and wide.

Ah, the Spring time, when we think of all the lays
That dreamy lovers send to dreamy mays,
Of the fond hearts within a billet bound,
Of all the soft silk paper that pens wound,
The messages of love that mortals write
Filled with intoxication of delight,
Written in April and before the May time
Shredded and flown, playthings for the wind’s playtime,
We dream that all white butterflies above,
Who seek through clouds or waters souls to love,
And leave their lady mistress in despair,
To flit to flowers, as kinder and more fair,
Are but torn love-letters, that through the skies
Flutter, and float, and change to butterflies


Mid-summers day : A gallery of the sun 2016 to 2017 ……..

T


Nature without words (Woodcock Butterfly) a moment in the sun

macro photography
Woodcock Butterfly
Nigel Borrington


Nature without words (Bumble bees)- Solo images (Ballykeefe nature reserve, county Kilkenny)

A bumble bee collecting nectar
Ballykeefe nature reserve
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington


Nature without words – Solo images (Ballykeefe nature reserve, county Kilkenny)

A bumble bee in flight
Ballykeefe nature reserve
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington


Hairy Wood Ants (Formica lugubris) photographic project

Hairy Wood Ants (Formica lugubris) photographic project

Over the last few years I been involved working on a project around county Tipperary,Ireland involving photographing nests of Irish Wood Ants (Formica lugubris), this has been one of the most interesting photo project I have ever worked on.

The images in this post are captured between 2014 and 2017 ….

These Ants are on the international endangered species list and exist in locations that are kept reasonably private, just to find and get to see these nests themselves is a task and an amazing feeling.

When you get closer to the nests for the first time you will notice just how large they are (3 feet off the ground) and how many Ants that each colony contains, each nest can hold tens of thousands of Ants, the entire surface of the nest is on the move with Ants coming and going from small entrance holes. This flow of movement is 24 hours long during the months that the Ants are active.

They create a clear trail through the woods as they clear a path, traveling both outwards from the nest and returning again with food for the Queen Ant living deep in the ground under the nest itself.

It is thought she lives in a protected area some two meters underground.

In order to protect themselves and nest with its queen, they can shoot out acid some four feet from their bodies.

I will be working on this project most of this summer and look forward to each return, watching these wonderful Wood Ants is an amazing experience and working around them with a camera is great fun.

Gallery 2017

Gallery 2014

Irish wood ants 11

Irish wood ants 9

Irish wood ants 4

Irish wood ants 8

Irish wood ants 6

Irish wood ants 7

Irish wood ants 8


The end of springtime – Fallen flower – a garden poem

Fallen Garden flowers Nigel Borrington

In the Garden at eight am
I witness the end of Springtime
flowers of green, blue and purple
falling all over the table top

I place my cup of tea down
a moment frozen, soon moves on
as more of these blooms fall all around me
soon it will be summer time

clearly the flowers know, against all hope !
time moves on
never stopping
never frozen
never pausing for anyone ……


What do Hover flies and Insect see with their compound eyes ?

Nature Photography
Macro image of a Hover fly
Nigel Borrington

Hover Flies, such as the this one above, look at the world in quite a different way than humans do. The structure and function of a flies eye are completely different from ours, and so they see shapes, motion and color differently. Flies are also able to see light in a way humans cannot.

Structure of a Compound Eye

Compound eyes are made up of thousands of individual visual receptors, called ommatidia. Each ommatidium is a functioning eye in itself, and thousands of them together create a broad field of vision for the fly. Each ommatidium is a long, thin structure, with the lens on the outer surface of the eye, tapering to a nerve at the eye’s base. When the ommatidium receives light, it is filtered through the lens, then a crystalline cone structure, pigment cells and visual cells. Every ommatidium has its own nerve fiber connecting to the optic nerve, which relays information to the flies brain.


Flies Can’t Focus

A human’s eye is attached to muscles that allow it to move, expanding the field of vision and making it possible for the eye to gather more information about its surroundings. Instead of moving their eyes, flies receive information from several different points simultaneously. A flies eyes are immobile, but because of their spherical shape and protrusion from the flies head they give the fly an almost 360-degree view of the world. In a human eye, the pupil controls how much light comes into it, which is focused by the lens onto the retina. The retina then relays information to the brain via the optic nerve. Because fly eyes have no pupils they cannot control how much light enters the eye. With no control over how much light passes through the lens, the fly cannot focus the image it sees. Flies are also short-sighted — a visible range of a few yards is considered good for an insect.

The Mosaic Effect

The best analogy to describe a flies vision is to compare it to a mosaic — thousands of tiny images convalesce, and together represent one visual image. Each one of these pictures represents information from the fly’s individual ommatidium. The effect is much like how we see stippling or newspaper print — up close the image is a lot of tiny dots, but take a step back and it’s a complete image. The more ommatidia a compound eye contains, the clearer the image it creates.

Motion Detection

There’s a reason why flies are especially jumpy creatures that take off at the slightest flinch. A flies vision is nowhere near as clear or effective as a human’s, but it’s especially good at picking up form and movement. As an object moves across the fly’s field of view the ommatidia fire and stop firing. This is called a flicker effect. It’s similar to how a scrolling marquis works — with lights turning on and off to give the illusion of motion. Because a fly can easily see motion and form, but not necessarily what the large moving object is, they are quick to flee, even if the moving object is harmless.


Interpreting Light Waves

Flies have limited color vision. Each color has its own wave frequency, but flies have only two kinds of color receptor cells. This means they have trouble distinguishing between colors, for instance discerning between yellow and white. Insects cannot see the color red, which is the lowest color frequency humans can see. However, houseflies have the ability to see polarized light, but humans cannot differentiate between polarized and unpolarized light. Polarized light is light in which the waves travel only in one plane.