Harakka.

From Ice Swimmer, stunning shots! The island in the photos is Harakka (“magpie”) photographed in May, February and March. The photo taken last May is from a sightseeing​ boat, the rest are from Uunisaari island, to which there’s a bridge in wintertime. Click for full size!

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© Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved.

A Greed of Goldfinches.

Also, an anguished fucking climate change! For a few brief days, the weather here was unseasonably warm, and there were actual bare spots of ground to be seen here and there. It was enough to trick the Lilac into budding prematurely. The snow came back, and with it, freezing weather. All the noise about an hour ago prompted me to look out my studio window, where there were many goldfinches gorging themselves on the buds. Click for full size.

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[Read more…]

Kliluk in nsyilxcen.

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In the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, lies a lake like no other. Known as kliluk in nsyilxcen, it is a site of deep spiritual and cultural significance for the Syilx Okanagan people. Throughout winter and into spring, this lake looks like any other body of water, nestled away in the rolling hills with a shallow depth and shimmering surface.  However, as the summer sun grows hotter and its rays beat down on the lake, water evaporates, lowering the surface level over time. As the water level drops, interesting shapes begin to break the surface.

As the summer heat drives on, it becomes clear that these shapes are sections of giant circles, which are normally lying invisible just below the surface. Now, with the hot summer providing no relief or added water, the circles continue to reveal themselves. Colourful pools of water appear at their centre, displaying gorgeous hues of yellow, blue and green. These beautiful ‘spots’ give this magical lake its English name – ‘Spotted Lake’. The lake’s beauty is only half the story though – its history is fascinating as well.

‘Spotted Lake’ has no outflow; no river or creek to drain it, and receives all its water as run-off from the surrounding hills. Each year, as snow melts and flows into the basin, it brings with it minerals and salts, which accumulate year over year, century over century. As the summer sun evaporates the water, the salts become exposed and the spots change in size and colour over a matter of months, creating these beautiful fluctuating hues, based on the mineral composition of each spot.

You can read more here. And a couple of videos:

Cool Stuff Friday.

At some point between the age when you were accidentally sticking them up your nose and the first time you heard your hip crack, Legos went from being a kids toy to a real tool for creative expression. Today, Legos range from ultra basic to extremely high-tech, and if you’re looking for an excellent example of the latter, look no further than a build commissioned by aerospace and defense contractor Arrow. Arrow’s ad team hired Brazilian designer and Lego genius Arthur Sacek to construct a jaw-dropping Lego robot capable of turning a single sheet of paper into an airplane, and then launching it — a metaphor for Arrow’s own business — and the result is just awesome.

Now to the really neat stuff – building the machine!

Via BGR.

Voting is now open for the Smithsonian Finalists! Go look, and vote, too!

© Michael B. Hardie. All rights reserved.

© Michael B. Hardie. All rights reserved.

Looking for Lost Cattle.

Some more of Kestrel’s amazing work: I finished off some tack for someone and got some pics with a new set-up for the background. I’ve set the doll up so he looks like he’s looking for lost cattle here. Will send a couple more of this set, of romal reins, braided headstall, pencil bosal (“bosalito”) with mecate and hanger and spade bit. I’m only showing the bosalito and mecate with hanger, here. The  saddle is totally wrong but it’s the only one finished at present.

I think the background works amazingly well, and serves to highlight such beautiful work. Click for full size!

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You can see the hand made sterling silver buckle pretty good in this pic. Also you can see the tassel (the vaqueros call it “la mota”).

You can see the hand made sterling silver buckle pretty good in this pic. Also you can see the tassel (the vaqueros call it “la mota”).

aaaand here you can see all the gear that a vaquero or buckaroo would use. First the young horse is taught to respond to the bosal, then gradually taught to carry the spade bit, while the rider uses first the mecate reins and then gradually starts using the romal reins.

aaaand here you can see all the gear that a vaquero or buckaroo would use. First the young horse is taught to respond to the bosal, then gradually taught to carry the spade bit, while the rider uses first the mecate reins and then gradually starts using the romal reins.

All images © Kestrel, all rights reserved.