Tell us what pictures you have taken recently (that are interesting)


If he looked like that at me I would not only give him the chicken, I would also lay an egg for dessert. :)


How well can they see directly in front of them? And what’s that dollop of slime below his left eye?


A crocodile tear.


They have binocular vision, so they can see very well directly in front of them. They have a horizontal plane of focus (rather than the point that we have) so they really only look directly at you when they want to judge distance (or when they’re moving towards something).

The glob of slime, I’m not actually sure. He hadn’t eaten anything recently, and it doesn’t look like plant material from the pool. It wasn’t there this morning. Perhaps a bird passing overhead sneezed.


In the next two posts, I’ll share some pictures from the past 6 weeks. A couple of hikes and a 2-week trip to various Fijian islands. Fiji is the nicest place I’ve ever been to in terms of the people living there. Also dirt cheap. We rafted, went to the island that Tom Hanks was cast away on, did some fishin’, and much more. Just great people. Very few Americans, but the Aussies and Kiwis were also a delight. Also got to stay at Perry Mason’s old place, which I found pretty cool. I am getting pretty good at travelling for cheap!

Exploring Fiji:


After getting back from the South Pacific, it’s been time to get into hiking more. The mosquitoes in the Rockies are terrible this year, too, plus it’s hotter than last year, I think. Anyway, the photos below are from a couple of trips to the Cloud Peak Wilderness. Long drive to get there.

And lastly, going back to my old stomping grounds. I no longer have a place there, but my friend Yue still lives there! Fun!


I was thinking about going back to Bali but looking at the flight times now I am thinking Fiji (half the freaking flight time). Will have to wait at least a year because of other vacations but man, that’s some amazing vistas.


I love that picture of the night sky!


@Gendal, I have not been to Bali, so I’m jealous! But the issue of flight time is big, as I don’t get as much vacation time as I’d like. I haven’t been to the Maldives or Seychelles for the same reason. The direct flight to Nadi on Fiji Airways is incredibly convenient in comparison. Take off, finish dinner, fall asleep, and you wake up to breakfast and landing. Very easy on the leave and on the body.

@robc04, thank you. I liked seeing new stars and enjoying the ridiculously nice weather!


From a recent hike. Didn’t see a single other person for 30 miles.


I really like the top picture. Do you have a higher rez version of it?


@Hal9000 as always, thanks for sharing. Your pics always take me places. Amazing.

So the weekend before last I went to the Bluedot festival at Jodrell Bank here in the UK, home to the Lovell telescope, one of the biggest and most powerful radio telescopes in the world. It’s an awesome sight. But the festival itself is such a wonderful thing combining music, science, comedy, art, food, drink and other activities. It’s such a good mix of people (family friendly and accommodating to wheelchair users too) and the atmosphere is always great. The line-up was superb this year with The Flaming Lips, The Chemical Brothers, Cassetteboy vs. DJ Rubbish, and The Elvis Dead (The Evil Dead 2 performed through Elvis songs) being personal highlights.

Throughout the weekend I was shooting video (just on my phone) to practice video editing at home for work (it was hugely distracting – I hated being That Guy holding his phone up during performances – and not to mention, difficult while holding a pint!), but I was able to take a few snaps as well that I’m really happy with.

The Flaming Lips’ opening:

The Chemical Brothers when they unleashed their robots:

On the Friday we managed to get into the main area just after the gates opened and there was this amazing sound coming from the stage. “Huh” I thought, “No band was scheduled this early…”. I walked over and, there I was, with one other guy, watching Wayne Coyne walking back and forth from the main stage to the sound desk getting the sound tuned for the performance later that day. We’re talking Also Sprach Zarathustra (or the song used in 2001) to kick things off. I’m not a selfie guy and I didn’t have the brass to approach him anyway but I managed to take this snap of him watching the rest of the band perform which I thought was pretty cool in itself:


@geggis, thanks! I mostly want people to get out and use their National Forests, but of course any travel is nice. Speaking of which, I’ve never been to a concert. While I love opera, pure concerts have never appealed to me. This one you got all the great pictures of, though, can you tell me more about it?

Because to be honest, science+humor+music sounds pretty amazing, and I think it might get me out to a crowded place, which I generally am not wont to do!

PS-That balloon picture is awesome. What camera are you using? Very vibrant and crisp!

PPS-Will post some pics from my most recent weekend soon enough, Lord willin’! Did a 56-miler, lost 10.9lbs!


I’ll say now that concerts are generally very loud, at least over here, which always bothers me but I love live music so whatcha gonna do?

Most festivals I’ve been to have a certain crowd but Bluedot is really quite varied which I think is down to the focus on science, as well as music, comedy and art. It’s pretty crazy how that slight twist changes the entire atmosphere from something that can be quite raucous to something that’s… I don’t know, gentler and more civil I guess. Kids being accommodated has a cooling effect too. Like, one day, my girlfriend and I were sat on a picnic blanket overlooking the main stage while Gary Numan was playing and suddenly a light spray of liquid went over us. Immediately after there was a guy on his knees apologising profusely with a half empty cup and I asked what was in it. “Gin, do you want some?” “No no, but that’s an expensive drink to be spilling!” Next thing this little girl comes just into view and his arm shoots out while shouting “Tig!” and then he runs off. He was just playing with his daughter it seemed. At other major festivals, that liquid would probably have been beer or piss with no apologies or tigging dad! We thought it was really funny and cute.

The thing is, and this is what draws me and my girlfriend to these variety festivals, is that you can float around and graze on whatever takes your fancy. The science talks were queuing out of the tents so you needed to be organised to get in to see those but the music was pretty damn accessible all weekend. Oh! On the Thursday The Hallé orchestra played to Blue Planet on a big screen behind them, shortly after a talk on Blue Planet 2 with some of the producers. It was a seated affair, which I’d never seen before at a festival, but it was a real treat as the sun went down.

Another thing is that there’s lots of stuff at festivals that you just come across and fall in love with. After The Elvis Dead ended on Sunday we were heading back to camp and I saw these rows of queues in the dark. I traced them to lines of telescopes and looked up to see the clear night sky – star gazing! We eagerly joined the queues and for the first time in our lives we got to look at Mars and Saturn for real. Mars was pretty boring, just a kind of warm dot in a sea of black but with Saturn you could see its rings and moons (like specks of cornflour), but bright white! I think we all had a moment peering at them and the experts helping people at the front were very friendly. I overheard some telescope geeks say that the equipment was worth around £1000-£4000 a telescope. I’m guessing we’ll not get a much better view down here!

So, yeah, I think my advice would be to just research different festivals and choose one that you think would appeal to you most broadly. Most folk I know just don’t like the idea of them because they’re away from their creature comforts or, I dunno, can’t wash their hair for a few days! I think it’s a shame to toss out such amazing and unique experiences for such trivial reasons. I’d also add that I’m not wild about crowds of people either (your pictures always look so wonderfully free of anyone!) but again, the festival sort of inclines the types you get.

The pictures were just taken on my LG G3 smartphone. It’s got a very capable camera despite its age but with bright, low and flashing lights it’s inconsistent. That was definitely one of the better ones I took amidst plenty of duds!


Here are some pics from our trip to Austria. The pictures don’t do the places justice. I don’t have my software for correcting exposure or other corrections.


Castle Neuschwanstein

Mountains above Innsbruck

South Tyrol Italy

Prettiest cemetery I’ve seen with every grave having beautiful flowers

Hohe Tauern National Park


I have to say to this day, Austria is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever had the good fortune to see. I know what you mean, though; I tried to show off some pictures to people, and they just didn’t seem to get it. “Yeah, mountains. Yeah, greenery. Cool buildings. Nice castle.” There’s just something completely different about being there, I guess.


great pix! Makes me want to hop in the car & head down to Austria for a roadtrip.


Thanks! It’s so worth it, especially if you aren’t too far,

Another great thing about Austria is the price of food. 3 euros for a good sandwhich or a small bucket of blueberries. 1+ euros for a bottled yogurt smoothie. So many things were either cheap or reasonable.


I live in Germany I think the prices are pretty similar, so that probably won’t be much of an issue.

From Cologne to Innsbruck is still a bit of a drive (450mil / 700km), but definitely doable.


Oh hey Rendezvous Peak. I’ve been there!

Working on a few trips and don’t have too much to show for it as of yet. But saw some amazing things:

Stehekin/Lake Chelan:

Mt. Baker:

Mt. Baker Wilderness/Welcome, Washington:

Santa Cruz, California:

Sausalito Harbor:

— Alan