petals of metal (friday foto finder: floral)


A gate in Barcelona, with stylized blooms and thorns.

For somebody who is not especially partial to flowers, I sure do take and post a lot of photos of flowers. I guess that’s why this week’s friday foto finder theme of “floral” made me think to find something floral that wasn’t actually flowers. Turns out I also did that once when the theme was “flower,” what with my iron flowers of hardware on a rusty vintage tractor. This time, though, I have a range of metal flowers from near and far that were actually designed to depict flowers.


Close-up of the Barcelona blooms.


Another fence in Barcelona.


Flower-shaped window grates at Boston University.


A Dublin streetlamp with shamrocks. (More leafy than flowery, but still flora if not actually floral…)


An iron bench with a flower pattern (and a lion face) at a Massachusetts farm.

To see what other flowers have been picked for the theme, and/or to share your own, check out the fff blog.

gallery of tree bark

As I was walking back to my car after my lab meeting in Boston last Friday, my eyes were drawn to the patterns, colors and textures of the bark of one of the trees growing along the sidewalk. In this case, it was the range of rounded blobby shapes, in muted greens and oranges, that attracted my attention, and made prompted me to take a photo. Of course, this is not an isolated incident. Tree bark has caught my attention far and wide, and over many a year. Here is a sampling of some bark to be found in my photo library.


More bark at BU, but clearly from a different tree. April, 2010.


Another tree in Boston, this time in March, 2012.


Boston, 2012, March. (Again. It was a good year for tree bark.)


Oakland, CA, January, 2011.


May, 2014, Malahide, Ireland.


Massachusetts, May, 2014.

I actually have no idea what kind of trees any of these are, come to think of it. I’m pretty sure not oak and not maple, but beyond that, I have no clue…

Have you hugged your tree today?

Today is Earth Day, and I can’t say that I did much to commemorate it. I didn’t drive anywhere, so at least I didn’t consume as many fossil fuels as some days. And I did appreciate some trees, though I didn’t photograph them. Instead, I will share some old photos of my children hugging a tree.


This photo is one I shared ages ago, so I guess it’s recycled. But recycling is good, right?


And here’s one I don’t think I’ve shared, so it’s like I’m planting a new tree (photo).

Next year, perhaps I will set some higher goals to express my appreciation for the planet.

3 unrelated photos

Here are three completely unrelated photos I’ve taken over the last decade.


Parking garage. Providence, RI. 2005.


Window blinds. Oakland, CA, 2011.


Porch and railings, Massachusetts, 2014.

signs of spring springing up

Now that the snow has melted and the nights aren’t super cold, signs of spring are springing up all over.


Leaves are starting to pop out on the shrubbery.


Moss is perking up.


Forsythias start blooming.


And the rare and elusive tree seal makes its first appearance in the maple tree.

a cute newt

Okay, truth be told, this is probably not a newt. Dr. Google informs me that while all newts are salamanders, not all salamanders are newts. It is, though, definitely an amphibian, and I’d say quite a cute one.

We found this little character while on a trip to my mother-in-law’s a couple of years ago. To give a sense of scale, the maple seeds shown were probably about 2 to 2 and a half inches long.

tadpoles and teeny tiny toads

Among the other various and sundry candidates for yesterday’s photo theme of “cute,” I considered some other baby animals. In particular, these teeny tiny toads came to mind.

The nearby zoo includes, in addition to the various animal enclosures holding non-native animals, large open areas that are home to native flora and fauna. There is a deer park that stretches over many acres of woods that includes a pond. From late May through maybe early July, visiting the deer enclosure also gives you the chance to see these little guys.

Sometimes the pond edges are positively teeming with tadpoles, lining it with dark blotches that can be many feet across.

They are a constantly moving mass.


I find it fun to look for tadpoles that are transitioning. Zooming in, you can see that many of these guys have legs as well as tails. Some just the back legs, some back and front.

And apparently once they are finished growing their legs and losing their tails, they feel compelled hop on out of the pond.

The path alongside the pond is sometimes hopping with them, carelessly crossing paths with oblivious humans with their big stompy feet. (Or others perhaps less oblivious, with their giant hands and their cameras.)