Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The death mask was not unusual in the past, preserving a person`s likeness at death.
This mask is to celebrate the life of a bloom which has a very short life. It does make up for it`s little time here, by having the most entrancing scent, and a large crown of petals surrounding a crowd of worshippers at the alter of fertility.
At Planet Earth, you may browse the images individually or watch them as a slideshow. Most of the images were taken as long exposures of 4 secs, or 8 secs. & bathed with light from a simple flashlight. They are taken as an experiment in light & also to honor it`s commitment to the dark. The blooms open in one hour just at sunset. They put out a gorgeous scent to attract a certain moth to them, & as the mid-morning sun warms up, they fade away. I started with this one short cactus years ago & was hooked on them after the first bloom a few years later. Now I have 8 or 9 of these cactus, & get about a dozen blooms a year from them. Some of these images are from years past but some are from tonight & they will not be around tomorrow at noon.
Enjoy them while you can.
In just a short amount of time these blooms accomplish what old oak trees accomplish in a hundred years, yet they are both equal in their purpose, to be part of planet earth.
Have a long life, please.

Monday, July 30, 2007


 hermit DSCN2585
Hi, my name is Andrea Finglespritz, & as you can see, I`m having a bad hair day. The sky is not blue, the result of a Yellow Tang, swimming right behind me. I`m mired in this brown stuff underfoot, which I can only guess at it`s origin. Hey there, whoa Andrea. That`s a nice fish behind you. It`ll be gone soon, & that brown crap, is really interesting.
I saw it at the bottom of a display tank at a fish store & I knew it promised to become the swan to the ugly duckling.
I had one of the store workers throw it in a bag along with a few snails.
At the time it was only a piece of rock with a brown encrusting spot on it.
I put it in my reef & it soon began to grow , eventually encrusting the whole rock
Within two years it started growing knobs out of the brown covering & they started to grow into branches.
After three years it is a prized coral, with purple & green tips from which protrude the polyps of the coral colony.
Everything turned out perfectly.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


This Elephant Ear or Giant Cup, comes in different textures & colors and is named because of it`s size.
These "Rhodactis" eat food, including fish, by enclosing it in a large cup.
I have observed the one in these images many times during feeding. It can close quite rapidly & I would estimate the time to be faster than I can run & get my camera in my office next door.
Sometimes I run really fast.
As you`ll see in the slide show, I did get a shot of one eating the "catch of the day", a Yellow Watchman Goby.
I came home for lunch a few years ago, & giving my reef a quick look over, I noticed the poor Gobi, looking at me, as if to say, "DON`T JUST DO SOMETHING, STAND THERE".
You will also see a Maroon Clownfish with suicidal tendancies. Click on Planet Earth to see the Elephant Ear in action.
If you click on the flower in the header, you`ll see an Orchid show for Olivia, since she thrills us all with her daily marvels.
Please have a nice week.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Sometimes things just don`t click into place. A few days ago I was cutting some fiberboard [MDF] & must have breathed some in. I`ve had a massive headache for two days.
It`s mellowing out a little, but I`m still scatterbrained. [What`s new].
I took some shots of the moon framed in some large cactus in the yard, & tonight this bloom opened up.
To have the moon in focus along with the cactus, I take two shots, one with the moon in focus, & the other with the cactus in focus, then superimpose them on each other.
I then erase the out of focus areas on one & the corresponding area on the other. A slide show of the moon & bloom is on "PLANET EARTH"
This image on the opening page shows the frustration he has trying to compose some poetry, but is at a loss trying to find a word that rhymes with "silver". I believe he won`t find one because there isn`t a word of that nature.
In the header at the top of the page, the thumbnail takes you to my young friend`s lizard.
He has quite a collection of reptiles & lets some of them wander around in the dense plantings around his house.
His name is Adam.
Show him some encouragemant by checking out the slide show of his buddy.
Please have a nice weekend.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


This wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus [Valenciennes, 1839], a cleaner wrasse, swims the reef crest operating his cleaning station.
Fish come to the station, & offer to be cleaned. The wrasse inspects the fish for any pests or parasites , then removes them as part of his lunch.
Most do not fare well in a captive situation, so it is better to leave them in the wild, so as to not deplete the natural population.
They serve a very important function on the wild reef, by keeping the parasites off of other fish.
This little wrasse, is not harmed by other fish no matter the size.
A strange thing occurs at night with this wrasse, as well as some other wrasses. It creates a sheath of mucus around itself, & sleeps in it, a little transparent sleeping bag.
You may want to go to "Planet Earth" to see what`s "Under Noah`s Ark".

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


This eel a "Reverse Goldentail" is named for it`s reversed color pattern. Normally the eel would be brown with a mottled yellow pattern.
This one, the colors are the opposite. This occurance in nature is quite rare & maybe happens in one out of 200.
Accordingly, the price of an eel so strking, demands a few more bucks, but it`s a big bang for the dollar.
This eel was a rescue, & lives with a Rabbitfish, a Rose BubbleTipped Anemone & assorted other animals that compliment the environment of the tank.
These animals are at the other end of my compound, housed in a complex of 5 interconnected tanks but segregated into a safe environment for each one of them.
You may go to "Planet Earth" to see a slide show that will show you this eel & it`s tank system neighbors.
Enjoy these beautiful animals, & Please have a nice day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I`ve built up a few ponds over the years, & this one is so close to my place that I do try to visit as often as possible.
On the box to the right on the front page, you should be able to go view more images of this beautiful spot.
Once I started loading images, I found the pond might offer more insight into how our Planet Earth is a collection of remarkable
& diverse little places, by adding images from a previous visit.
Enjoy your day at the pond.
Please, feel free to ask questions, or give out your knowledge, on the subject of ponds or anything else for that matter.
I am not well versed in how these "blogs" work but linking from Planet Earth, should allow you to see the set of images called A Day At The Pond.
The spirit mask is facing directly towards the sky as a warning to overflying birds to not come here & eat Choi.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Her story begins in what is now called Nova Scotia, in French, it is Nouvelle Ecosse meaning New Scotland.
The year was 1604, & a settlement Acadie/Acadia was begun. These Acadians farmed & expanded their settlement & lived in peace & harmony with the Indians of the MICMAC tribes, who incidentally 300years later gained renown for their ability to work high steel, having no fear of heights.
Quite separate from other settlements the population grew to maybe 15,000 in the next 140years. They had no quarrel with the French, & remained neutral in any conflict between them & the British. When the Acadians refused to take sides with the British against the French in 1755 is when the tragedy of Evangeline begins. The British decided to break up the settlements of Acadia by exiling them. Thus the GREAT EXPULSION began. The British did not simply exile these peaceful people but forcibly separated husband & wife, brother & sister. Evangeline, promised in marriage to one of my ancestors, was torn from her true love. The British loaded these people on ships & off loaded them in diverse ports up & down the Eastern coast, & up accessible river ports.
Some of these people ended up in Louisiana, later to become “Cajuns”, from Acadians.
Evangeline wandered throughout the land, always hoping to reunite with her betrothed.
As an older woman, never having stopped her search, she ended up in Philadelphia nursing the poor. During an epidemic in the city as she was caring for the destitute sick, she finally found her lover who died in her arms.
I have personally been to many places that have taken up “Evangeline” as a personification of the Acadians, in Nova Scotia & New Brunswick.
In 1845, the mostly forgotten history of the Acadians was revived by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, when he started writing the poem EVANGELINE, A Tale Of Acadie.
As this is “Ladies Night” at my place, I wish to honor all special ladies with this tale, & especially Evangeline, who you may notice, is one of the Lifetime Achievement Award

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I walked into a Malibu restaurant one evening 15 years ago with my daughter.
I noticed, in a booth midway down the length of the place, two couples, one facing my entering & the other with their backs to me.
I overheard the man facing me in the booth remark, “Hey, check out Charlie Manson”.
The other couple turned around & looked towards me, but reacted to their booth-mate`s statement with not enough hypocrisy & knew I had seen them staring, when they pretended to be looking for a waiter.
I ordered my favorite food & let my daughter take her time perusing the menu, like a big girl. Our vegetable salads were brought & I kept looking puzzled, whenever the waiter was near. I finally pretended to be curious enough, & called him over. I asked him if he knew the two couples at the booth, or, if he at least knew their names. When he said, “No”,
I asked him to please go over to them, & explain that I thought they looked familiar to me, & to ask them if they were possibly, the Tates & the LaBiancas.
Diligently, he went over & innocently explained about how they had seemed familiar to me, & if in fact, they were the Tates & the LaBiancas. They had been in 'after dinner' mode, but that quickly changed into, 'let`s get the hell out of here' mode. The man who had brought up Charlie Manson, quickly came over to our booth & apologized profusely & that he was so sorry he had said what he had. I explained that it was quite unfair to characterize me as a leader of killers while I was peacefully enjoying a meal with my daughter. I also told him that the lesson I wanted him to learn was because of the fear ingrained in him, by the ignorance of his tutors, he might one day, miss recognizing a great person, one, maybe maligned, because of deformities, or race or any other perceived affliction.
I apologized for being so cruel to him & his group, but that if I had not, he would never have learned a lesson, from someone so habituated to his kind of remarks. I asked him to please reconsider judging the next person that might be different & even better, to acknowledge that person with a smile, like I was doing now.
All this time the waiter, was keeping busy close by, hanging on every word I said.
The man shook hands with me, apologized again, & left.
As I was taking care of the tab, the waiter came up & explained that he only understood what I had asked him to do, when they reacted.
He told me, “That was too cold, man, too, too cold. What was so cool was how you talked to him, good on you.”
The man, opened a coffee shop at the other end of Malibu a month later & we became good friends.
If you take a card or envelope & hide half of the image above, [left or right] you will see how easy it is to picture the face as a whole. Now do the same with the opposite side & see that it is very easy. You may see two different faces when you do that but viewing the image without the hiding card, it is one face, one person. When you see someone try & look for the other side of what you are perceiving while at the same time trying not to keep a hidden side of yourself.
This image, a composite of a bronze of William Shakespeare & of my reprobate brother, was inspired by something dada sent me.
Keep them coming, dada.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I think we all have thoughts, of someone who helps us, or guides us on our journey.
I remember, sometimes immediately after an unexpected event that could possibly have been fatal,
or years later, with the culmination of a chronologically long set of circumstances, a feeling of having been under protection.
I never really think of acting, with that feeling of protection in place, before I proceed, as if, no matter what, I`m protected.
I never even think about it. Yet whenever I escape the grasping fingers of harm, I attribute it to a power beyond me.
Although I feel positive that there is a guardian watching for any harm that may befall me, I think it`s unfair the protection is not forthcoming for all the poor innocents that suffer horrors on a daily basis.

Friday, July 20, 2007


"Nubia was also called the Kingdom of Meroei.
Nubia, the hottest and most arid region of the world, has caused many civilizations to be totally dependent on the Nile for existence.
Historically Nubia has been a nucleus of diverse cultures. It has been the only occupied strip of land connecting the Mediterranean world with "tropical" Africa."
When I started the dig, I knew immediately that treasures awaited me. There was something about the smell of the earth, packed as hard as sandstone, Here a glint of gold, there a hint of shape, or was it a shadow.
For the next week, the trenches got deeper & more promising as we were cheered on by small but significant discoveries.
One, a result of the first glance of gold, had been carefully excavated, then even more meticulously extricated from it`s hold of stone.
It was a bag made of leather, from an unknown animal`s skin. It was tooled with intricate designs that looked like a sorceror`s mandala. The golden glimpse had been clasps & buckles.
I have not seen a similar piece as this since.
The tedious work, because of the fragility of the first find, became even more focused as I started to uncover facial features.
That the entombed artifacts, gave up their nature only as fast as they could be uncovered whole, did not asuage my optimism, so dig & brush & scrape I did.
The unbearable heat was forgotten, in the joy of removing, not one, but two of these beautiful cultural treasures.
At this point, I decided to get in my truck & head home for a break. I headed up the coast in Malibu, & went to Pizza Hut, for some takehome.
Tomorrow would be another day, on the remodel I had undertaken for a client whose home had been inundated with a mud flow, from Topanga Canyon. Now that the basemant was cleaned out, I was trying to figure out how to remove a 911 Porche from the position it was in, half in & half out of a wall near the two car garage. These are two masks I uncovered.
The leather bag I dug out, along with the masks in 1980, is still one of my favotite bags, & elicits curious remarks yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


 tamale tom DSCN5765
This Tomato Clownfish Amphiprion frenatus Brevoort, 1856 is a rescued fish from a Vet`s office. I would never take any animal to that vet, after seeing what neglect the fish I rescued, were suffering. All the fish I took from him, [4 in total] are absolutely beautiful & in good health now. This clown called Tom, or Tommy Tomato, for short, is trying to get his pet anemone to grow, so he can better cuddle up in it.
This anemone has split numerous times into two clones of itself. From the original one, and I cannot tell the "mother" clone from any other, I have given away or traded or sold approximately a dozen. Although harmless to the Tomato, I get stung almost by just looking at it. It gives a little rash all over your body, but that goes away in about three months. NOT
I`m only kidding, folks.
It is an irritating rash, but you do have to be in close proximity to it. I now hardly feel it but still try to keep my distance. For instance I would never try & grab one bare handed, something one would never do anyway. It`s always, "handle with care" as with any living creature.
When I throw food in the tank at feeding time, the Tomato will often bring food into it`s orfice, & swim off to get some for itself.
I try & not keep anemones on principle, but I`m glad mine split so often, as my giving them to others, lessens the depletion of a little ecosphere in the ocean.
Factoid: When removing an anemone from the wild, you start a devastating chain of events that ultimately annihilates the little universe around it. The exact same destruction of this "universe" will happen if you remove the clownfish, also called an Anemonefish.
This happens because if you remove the clown, the anemone will be killed by a predator, free to do so, without the protection provided by the clown, & if you remove the anemone the clown will be killed by a different predator but will be dead nonetheless. From there, all other animals will lose the stabilizing presence of the symbiosis between the two.
The juvenile clowns will perish from lack of food, provided by the eating of the waste from crabs, who have been decimated by other predators, till all life, in a once small but thriving ecosystem, has disappeared. All this, a direct result of removing only one "card" in a house so fragily built.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This ANNA`S hummingbird was raised by my lovely wife Teri.
It is now a free flyer, but comes & let`s me take shots of her when Teri calls her in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


A Flame Angelfish, Centropyge loricula [Gunther, 1874]
This Flame Angel is about two & one half inches long, but may grow about one more inch, at full maturity in the wild.
As with many of my specimens, this one was brought to me by a, tank maintenence, friend.
The tankmates he was introduced to, weren`t taking kindly to him, so he brought it here for my tank.
There is always a chance that a new fish may not act, according to the shared knowledge, of other reefers, or chronicled observations in the wild. This is a slightly marginal "reef safe" fish.
In other words, depending on what other species are in your tank, that you are very fond of, this may not be a good addition. Some people keep large clams, but this fish will pick at it`s mantle.
It may also pick & nibble on your beautiful collection of Zoanthids, or snack on large polyped corals.
This one turned out just fine, maybe because it remembers the nice home it came to, after being bitten & harrassed, but then sometimes I wonder why a coral disappeared.
I`ve had this fish for about five years.
One thing I must address, to any one who think these fish are held captive in a small enclosure, respectively.
The fish or any other creature that is motile, in my tanks, would not inhabit a space any larger than what I offer, in the wild.
This also allows the fish to have a longer life, away from predators, & other possible pitfalls that are innumerable in the ocean of the fittest.
There are two exceptions to fish habitat size, that I have. Although they are rescued fish, I do not turn any fish away.
I will place the fish in friends larger tanks or accomodate them in mine.
These two are both Tangs, & normally range a larger area, but are very comfortable, where they reside, in seperate tanks.
Flames & Blue Tips.

Monday, July 16, 2007


As you know, Tues.`s post is dedicated to the ladies.
Tonight we honor Ms. NDD, a lover of all things "Clown".
This Clownfish, Amphriprion ocellaris Cuvier,1830 is sometimes called a False Percula.
It will easily form a relationship with most anemones, but it is not a requirement for it.
It usually will find a spot beneath a coral head, & use that area as a headquarters, so to speak.
A docile fish, it is very clownish in it`s behavior, but that has nothing to do with nomenclature.
In this image, it is displaying unusual behavior, different from it`s normal routine.
It usually hangs out at the Green Bubble coral & I immediately noticed the change. Most problems in a reef are noticed intuitively. Just walking by, I can tell if something is different, & always investigate for the cause.
In this instance, the Clownfish was fine, it`s just that never, over the years, had I seen it taking a bath in the Green Torch.
I picked up a camera & started shooting. This is one image, of a few dozen I was able to take, & until he revisits that coral, I may never again have the opportunity .
Hopefully, this image will be one, that tonight`s honoree, Ms NDD, will be pleased with.
On another note, I will be putting a link in the comments, that will take you to "The Bowling Shirt".
Also, I have a clickable thumbnail on the right, showing a baby bird in it`s nest.
I will be periodically updating the little chick`s progress, but there will be a "Planet Earth" image otherwise.
The image in the Header, is also clickable.
Thank you, Ms NDD.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


This DISCUS, a beautiful fish from the Amazon basin, is a freshwater one.
This one in particular, I had air freighted to me from Wa. state along with 5 other ones.
They were the size of a quarter when I received them.
Discus are color blind when it comes to breeding, so any one color will pair up with a different colored one, to create surprises, that are then selectively bred for the Discus lovers around the world. A shy fish, the discus will react in blind fear, & dash off into the tank wall, if you are not careful when entering into the area where it is kept. I created a species specific tank for them with many plants & a school of "Dither" fish. Fish, for a poorly known reason, can react, seemingly instantaneously, similar to flocks of birds that one can see wheeling around & turning in unison. The strange thing about fish is that they don`t have to be a member of a particular school, nor to even be a schooling fish, to react like all the others. The dither fish are usually a much calmer fish that won`t panic easily. As long as these fish are acting calmly, the Discus are reassured & feel that there is nothing to panic about.
So now we have a tank with these Discus, a nice little school of fish, which in my case, were NEON TETRAS, maybe an inch long keeping the tank calm. Added to this were Ghost Shrimp, a few bottom dwellers & various other species to make up, an as near natural habitat as possible.
I used to call them "Pot Fish" for their calming coolness. This one pictured, at over 6" was until recently on exhibit & Not For Sale, at a local fish store. I placed all the fish from the Discus tank & all the fish from an 8' long freshwater community tank, with knowledgeable fish keepers from within my marine network. I am converting the tanks to saltwater reefs, as I `ve become, in my opinion, able to concentrate more on the sometimes more complex demands of reefs, without having to separate two disciplines.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


tank reflections 1
This shot of one of my reefs, is unusual, in that it is lit with natural sunlight, streaming in from an opened skylight. The coral organisms on a reef are mostly photosynthetic. One thing I should point out is that everything in my tanks, are animal, & not vegetable. I do not have any plants on my reefs.


BETTA XENIA  FLAT DSCN1420This graceful glider of the deep, is a COMET, or Marine Betta. Calloplesiops altivelis [Steindachner, 1903]
This extremely hardy fish will feed out of my hand. Absolutely non aggressive, though don`t tell small shrimp that, it`s defense is to head into a hole in the reef, then stop with it`s tail left protruding out.
It then flares out, resembling a more dangerous eel, made more convincing, with it`s eyespot.
I`ve had this gorgeous Comet for years, & it is my gentle persuader, announcing feeding time.
It comes out onto the reef crest & with a graceful thrust, floats across, flashing it`s gold & blues, a sure attention getter.
Here it is exiting a cleft in the reef structure, & in it`s shadow, the strange movements of the pusing Xenia, mesmerize.

Friday, July 13, 2007



The Final Hour

The buttressed sea cave is entering it`s dark cycle, preambled by the fading light of a glorious day. Go gently, my warm friend. Go gently into night.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


After a long day fishing, this hideaway, viewed surreptitiously from a sea cave, seems the perfect shelter.
This vantage point is on the beach where we saw the lobster boat earlier. Soon a setting sun should complete this day at the beach.


By adding a foreground element to a rescued image, we also create more dimension, & a little more interest.
lobster boat & PELICANS 5409


Sometimes, a shot that is not entirely attractive, because it`s not in good focus, can be salvaged by creating an oil canvas for it.
lobster boat painting 5409

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Malibu Waterspout 1- 5258
A sudden storm, that I had predicted would occur & including the possibility of waterspouts, came to pass three days later.
What a lovely surprise that I had a camera with me when it did happen.
Always have a camera with you. You never know when nature decides to strut it`s stuff.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This guy should scare the bejesus out of the cat.

Pirates lair

Welcome all ye who enter here.
No Bogarting,
Show respect with
A: A smile.
B: The secret handshake. [you know it already, or you wouldn`t be here.]
C: A knowing nod. [subtle]
D: A demur wave. [ shy young ladies, like the "demur" thing.]
That`s it.
No harm will come to those who show respect to all.