Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not-so-Wordless Wednesday

a lunar landscape in Plaine des Sables, La Réunion

Since we have a total solar eclipse today and as part of the celebration of 40th year of man’s first step on the moon, here are some “lunar” landscapes.

the "solitary" panorama goes on and on...

Well, of course, the shots are not really from the moon. It is from the southern part of La Réunion Island and the landscape is not caused by meteorites hitting the area (as in the case of the moon) but by volcanic eruption.

a deserted yet spectacular vast landscape giving you a certain sense of freedom

And I don’t think the moon sky would have this color as the lunar atmosphere is not the same as that of the earth’s. But I believe many who have visited the Plaine des Sables (literally means Sand Plains) on the way to Piton La Fournaise would have imagined it as traveling across the lunar surface.

alone but not lonely... that is what the view conveys...

For us who didn’t and with a very high probability of never setting foot on the moon, I guess this is the closest thing we can have to a lunar experience (well, at least, to me) *smiles* . And the vista that greeted us when we reach this place is that of extra-ordinary beauty. To use the title of Buzz Aldrin’s new book, the view is really one of Magnificent Desolation.

magnificently desolate

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Peak with A View

Pic du Midi Bigorre in Hautes-Pyrénées

To continue with the moon series, this is the Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the French Pyrénées. The observatory, with its clear and wide view of the sky, was used by NASA to “map the moon’s surface for the Apollo landings.” (source: Time Magazine, July 27, 2009, p.49)

a half-moon... the view from the observatory must be much more spectacular on a clear night

The structure consists of an observatory, a museum… and a hotel! And with the whole complex located at 2865m above sea level, the view must be really heavenly (pun intended :))… especially on a clear balmy night. Just imagine the view as the sun sets in the horizon and the ice-capped mountains are bathed in a golden glow. And as the dusk turns into night, the evening is lit, one by one, by stars until the sky is a like a black velvet showcasing thousands of twinkling diamonds.

the Pic du Midi viewed somewhere between Col de Tourmalet and Col de Aspin in Bigorre

And since Pic du Midi is only accessible by cable car from the ski station of La Mongie in Hautes-Pyrénées, there’s no sound of vehicles to disturb a moonlit night as you walk among the stars *smiles.* One day, when I have overcome my fear of heights, I would love to visit this place (from la Mongie to Pic du Midi, the cable car goes up/down around 1000m above sea level). For the mean time, I have to content myself with seeing it from the road to Col de Tourmalet.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fly Me to the Moon

one of the many facets of the moon

To commemorate the 40th year anniversary of man’s first step on the moon, here are a few photos I was able to take with some of the moon's irregular surface visible.

a nearly-full moon

When I was a kid, I would always wave to the moon believing that the man who lives there can see me… well, that is when I’m not imagining flying witches, mischievous goblins or other magical nighttime creatures bathing in the moonlight glow *winks*.

a full moon bathed in a golden glow

Cheers to the 24 men who flew to the moon and played among the stars *smiles*!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

a chameleon peeping out from its "hiding" place

Here are some shots of chameleon we saw at the Mascarin Botanical Garden, La Réunion.

its curled long tail

It’s called lendormi in creole. It means “the sleepy”. I guess it’s because it moves quite slowly.

the "spiny" back

When taking a picture of it, avoid using the flash. It will make them blind. Without their eyesight, it would be difficult for them to find food. And they will die eventually. So, please refrain from using the flash *smiles*.

a close-up shot

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