Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Erbulunga Flora & Fauna

As well as beautiful scenery, I've been enjoying nature here in Corsica. Despite the time of year, there are still quite a few flowers around, and a few insects and lizards and birds.

It's always interesting to see different plants than we get at home.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

These are similar to our ladybugs, but not quite the same.

Untitled

And I'm pretty sure we have insects very similar to these:

Untitled

One of the lizards (skink presumably), common but often too speedy to photograph.

Untitled

Quite a few cormorants around.

Untitled

Sadly, there doesn't appear to be a lot of sea life. A few small fish in the water, but the tide pools are empty compared to the BC coast. After much searching I finally found this one small crab.

Untitled

Slugs and snails were out on a rainy day.

snail

Interesting tree bark:

tree bark

See all 34 photos as a slideshow or overview

Erbalunga and Cap Corse

We arrived in Corsica (an island that is part of France) by ferry from Nice to Bastia. We stayed just outside Bastia in the small coastal town of Erbalunga. This was one of my favorites of the places we stayed in Corsica. The hotel had nice gardens, the ocean was close by, and there was a patisserie (bakery) across the street.

The first morning I looked out the window and saw there was a nice sunrise, but by the time we got going it was ending. The next two mornings I got out earlier to catch it. Of course, that meant I took a ton of sunrise photos!

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

The morning light was also nice on the old buildings.

Untitled

As usual, I loved the details of light and color and pattern.

Untitled

shadows

Untitled

The stone tiled roofs (common) must be heavy, but the shingles wouldn't wear out!

Untitled

We spent a scenic day driving around Cap Corse, the peninsula on the north west end of Corsica.

The Genoans (who ruled Corsica from 1284 to 1755) built a lot of round towers all over Corsica to defend against North African (Barbary) pirates. The new wind turbines made an interesting contrast with the old towers.

Untitled

Untitled

We even managed to find a few wineries to visit :-) One of the common grapes is Neilluccio, which is either indigenous to Corsica or else identical to Sangiovese from Italy. (you'd think DNA would tell?) Regardless, they make some nice wines with it. Most of the wine is red or rose, not much white. The rose were a beautiful orange / peach color.

Untitled

There were lots of small hillside villages, each with at least one church, and often with cemeteries with elaborate mausoleums.

Untitled

Untitled

We even spotted paragliders in several places, including these ones near Saint Florent. They launched from the ridge behind them on the right and landed on the beach.

paragliders

Saint Florent had an impressive citadel.

Citadelle de Saint-Florent

See all 49 photos as a slideshow or overview

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Reflections from Nice

Being around water, I've been taking lots of reflection photos.

ocean reflections

ocean reflections

Usually I like to make the images high contrast and bright colors, but occasionally I'll find one that seems more suited to a softer look.

ocean reflections

Some of these were taken on the ferry from Nice to Corsica. Usually open ocean would be too rough for reflections, but it was a calm evening.

ocean reflections

Similarly, the open ocean would usually just be shades of blue,  but the pink clouds at sunset added some color.

ocean reflections

See all 15 photos as a slideshow or overview

Nice, France

After our paragliding tour we took the train from Salzburg back to Vienna, left our paragliders in storage, picked up our backpacking gear and headed for Corsica with a brief stop in Nice, France. Unfortunately, it rained a lot, but it was still interesting to see a different part of France. (I'd only been to Paris and the French alps before.) The buildings have lots of balconies with metal railings that reminded me a little of New Orleans. And pastel colors that we don't tend to see in our cities.

after the rain

As usual, I enjoyed the smaller passageways in the old town, and details that catch my eye.

narrow street

menu and flowers

I'd recently read (if that's the right word) a book of photographs of reflections (Chasing Reflections by Eli Reinholdtsen). They were  reflections in windows and puddles, very different reflections than my usual light on water ones. So after all the rain, with water everywhere, I tried a few in that style.

buildings reflected in puddle

palm trees reflected in puddle

The pigeons were also taking advantage of the puddles to have a bath.

pigeon bath

The other common city birds were the collared doves. Interestingly, these only spread from Asia to Europe in the last 70 years. I wonder what triggered their dispersion?

Collared dove

Despite it being autumn, there were still quite a few flowers around (at least, compared to Saskatoon!)

flowers

flowers

Of course, I found some abstract subjects as well.

water drops

unfocused beach

Thankfully, the sun came out in the afternoon. Lots of people came out on the waterfront and beach.

Nice beach

Nice harbor

From Nice we took the ferry to the island of Corsica, passing the city state of Monaco (where Monte Carlo is), the second smallest country in the world. (the smallest is the Vatican)

Monaco and Monte Carlo

clouds

The sun set just as we were getting to Corsica and a full moon rose.

moon

See all 41 photos as a slideshow or overview

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hummingbird hawk-moth

I was wandering in the gardens at our hotel A Cheda near Bonifacio, Corsica taking photos when I was excited to notice a hummingbird hawk-moth feeding on the flowers. This was the first one I've seen. (This is a European/Asian species but there are similar ones in North America.)

It is amazingly similar to a hummingbird (convergent evolution), hovering over flowers to feed and zipping between them. I didn't notice but apparently they even make a "humming" noise.

I had my camera ready, but even then it was hard to catch since it didn't sit still for very long. I managed a few decent shots:

Hummingbird hawk-moth

Hummingbird hawk-moth

Hummingbird hawk-moth

I would say it was around 5 cm long (2 in).