Why we are here:

Our signature Bible passage, the prologue to John's Gospel, tells us that Jesus (the Logos) is God and Creator and that He came in the flesh (sarx) to redeem His fallen, sin-cursed creation—and especially those He chose to believe in Him.

Here in Bios & Logos we have some fun examining small corners of the creation to show how great a Creator Jesus is—and our need for Him as Redeemer. Soli Deo Gloria.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Tweaking Nature

I’m not a great fan of making alterations to God’s creatures—or images thereof. I generally limit processing of my photos to cropping for composition and minor adjustments of brightness and contrast where necessary. A sharpening tool comes in handy as well when things are a little fuzzy.

Some subjects, however, just seem to produce bland images, no matter how carefully I compose or expose (and I am not a foreigner to careless composing and exposing). Yarrow, a plant plentiful in the meadow, presents one of those challenges. Even to bring out the delicate detail and color, especially of the central disk, requires some drastic measures.

As you can see in the present gallery, I went a little crazy. Not stopping at subtle enhancement, I ventured into the bazaar and abstract.

But a little crazy creativity is fun once in a while. Enjoy. (Click on the images to enjoy them bigger.)

Preening on the Patio

(Click on the images to enlarge them.)
The tireless Celery Farm volunteers have imported tons of rocks, soil and wood chips to build an erosion-retarding platform in front of the Warden’s Watch tower. A bench provides a ground-level resting and observation place for human visitors. But of course the resident Canada geese have taken over, contributing droppings and feathers to the patio. The pictured pair were grunting and preening as if they owned the place—and indeed, they do, along with more than 200 other bird species.

Canada geese are beautiful birds, but overpopulation makes them less than popular in the eyes of many. Even getting to Warden’s Watch can be a problem at times—and the use of the boot scraper a necessity upon leaving!

The opportunity to rest for a while and peer out over peaceful Lake Appert makes the goosy nuisance a mere footnote to one’s otherwise pleasant visit. And the opportunity to photograph both the geese and a vista of the lake was made possible by using a Sigma 10mm lens.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Of Clouds and Clubtails

After I had filled my tank with barely sub-four-dollar gas in Waldwick, I looked up and saw some promising cloud formations. So I doubled back to the Celery Farm for a quick visit to Warden’s Watch. The clouds were interesting, if not spectacular (no calendar shots here).

Aside from the clouds, the platform railing was aflutter with male Common Whitetail dragonflies, as well as the pictured specimen, the only Odonate that cooperated for portraiture. I’m calling it a Unicorn Clubtail and I’m calling myself an expert, having glanced at a couple of books and websites. :-) A very nice gallery of clubtail portraits can be seen
here. Tom Murray must be a very patient guy!

Whatever the species, this insect packs a load of engineering into a relatively small chitin-wrapped package (but imagine the equally sophisticated equipment crammed into a fruit fly’s miniature airframe). We shouldn’t hesitate to swat a fly or mosquito, but as we do, we should reflect on the magnificence of the creature we are deconstructing. And there is certainly no reason to flatten dragonflies, as important to their ecosystems as they are. But that’s another story.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Primitive and Advanced—a Couple of Primitive Botanical Terms

If a flower has regular floral parts and lots of them (especially stamens and pistils) botanists call it “primitive”. If it has irregularly shaped petals—or if some floral parts are missing—and few stamens and pistils, they call it “advanced”. As far as I’m concerned, that terminology is primitive. It is evolutionary jargon. Since botanists tend to be confused about the supposed evolution of the flowering plants, they ought not throw around those words, trying to snow themselves and the rest of us with evolutionary “just-so” stories.

So enjoy staring at the photos of a few “primitive”, “advanced” and really advanced flowers and flower heads—and see if you can still dare call any of these highly complex, intelligently designed beauties “primitive”.

Here the flowers appear in roughly reverse order, from "really advanced" in the case of the fleabane, to primitive in the case of the multiflora rose and buttercup. The fleabane is actually a composite flower head, with dozens of ray flowers and disc flowers. The birdfoot trefoil has the typical irregular legume form.

All were photographed at the Celery Farm Natural Area at the end of May. Click on the photos to see the flowers WAY bigger than life.

A Mist is Good for a Smile--and Flare is Fair Photographic Fare

Cool spring mornings are often misty mornings. Overnight temperatures fall below the dew point (the temperature at which relative humidity becomes 100%) and water vapor is forced to condense around microscopic dust nuclei. And voila, we can celebrate Ground Fog Day.

On the road, ground fog is a bad thing. It often concentrates in low spots. When we drive into it, the visibility becomes zero, and panic, chain collisions and other woes ensue. On the other hand, a misty sunrise at the Celery Farm offers a delightful, almost mystical (no puns, please) experience. Let the photos speak.

By the way, nobody dare say that water itself, in whatever state (solid, liquid or gas), is a bad thing. After all, without it we would be powder, and life would not be. It’s a very special little molecule with unique properties. The Creator “done a good thing” when He created H2O. He uses it in blessings as well as in judgment (See Genesis 7).

Flare, in photography, is generally not a good thing, unnatural as it is. It happens when light, especially from a bright source like the Sun, starts reflecting and refracting around in the elements of the camera lens and produces odd effects—general haziness and loss of contrast, as well as bright, colorful geometric spots and streaks in the photographic image. Flare is annoying when it spoils a picture, but it can be put to artistic use, either on purpose or by accident. Again, let the photos speak.