landscape

Posted by Ellen

This year in Philadelphia, spring is coming ridiculously late, but it's coming. One sign that gives us high confidence in spring's imminence involves the tips of the crocus stalks, which are just now beginning to poke their way up out of the cold, wet ground. They'll be blooming soon, maybe within the week.

In the high meadows of Bulgaria's Rila Mountains, tallest peaks in the Balkan Peninsula (2925 m), spring always comes late, and crocuses don't bloom till the middle of June. This picture was taken two springs ago on June 19, 2012.

To catch the bright red glow on the ridge rocks, photographer Evgeni Dinev had to climb up here the day before, hauling up a tent, tripod, and all his camera gear. He snapped the shot at sunrise.

Posted by Ellen

As today's contribution to the occasional series "Places We've Not Been and Have No Business Trying to Write Anything About," please consider this roofscape scene taken in Lijiang village, a UNESCO World Heritage site high in the hills of southwest China, near the border with Myanmar.

Human habitation in Lijiang has been continuous since before there was such a thing as a roofscape, or even a roof; paleolithic cave-dwellers were here. The ancient Silk Road passed through here. Townspeople grew wealthy through trade and tribute, and they began to rebuild their town in more elaborate, decorative styles.

Civilization was flourishing here in the thirteenth century. And fortunately for some, within about eight hundred years, give or take, the tourists showed up.

Posted by Ellen

The cold and the storms both showed up in Philadelphia this week, but somehow the effect we see here in a high mountain valley in the Tyrolean Alps is a little more dramatic and astonishing than it is out on the streets and sidewalks of Brotherly Love. Pretty much all we've got in town right now are slashing rains and chill.

Posted by Ellen

Both of these Brittany Spaniels–bird dogs, for certain sure–believe they're onto something, here in a Pennsylvania marsh where just a few short months ago, sunflowers were smiling.

Posted by Ellen

Horses are washed in the Eden River before being paraded through town for the Appleby Horse Fair last June.

The annual fair is Europe's largest gathering of gypsies and travellers. It is also one of the oldest fairs in England, occurring every June since 1685, when King James II granted a royal charter permitting a horse fair "near to the River Eden" in Cumbria; an estimated 10,000 English and Welsh gypsies, Irish travellers, and Scottish gypsy/travellers assemble for the fair to buy and sell horses and catch up with friends and relatives.

In recent years, the gypsies are joined by about 30,000 non-travellers (muggles?)  who travel to Appleby to see the gypsies and their horses.

"Appleby Horse Fair is not an organised event," warns a local government publication aimed at potential tourists. "There is no set programme for anything happening. The horses are washed and trotted up and down the flashing lane.

"There is a market on Jimmy Winter's field selling a variety of goods–some traditional to the gypsy/travelling community–and other. To arrange to sell on that field, please contact Jimmy Winter....

"There is no horse auction. Sale arrangements are made buyer to seller for cash. The price will usually include extra for Luck Money."

Tourists are also warned that accommodations in the vicinity during fair week will be "rarer than hen's teeth. If you have a tent, however, you may be able to camp at Holme Farm Field. Speak to Mrs. Bousfield."

Posted by Ellen

Smokestacks of Israel's largest power plant, Orot Rabin, loom over the beach at Hadera, north of Tel Aviv. The plant's coal-fired turbines produce almost one-quarter of Israel's electricity.

The low structures leading from the chimneys to the left edge of the picture are part of the power station's coal port offshore in the Mediterranean, where ships offload 18,000 tons of coal every day.

The plant is called Orot Rabin–Rabin Lights–in remembrance of Israeli President Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995. Electricity generated here lights much of the country, producing something like the memorial lights of Jewish tradition, helping to keep alive the memory of those who are gone.

Posted by Ellen

The Montenegran town of Kotor, as viewed through an opening in its Byzantine-era fortifications. Behind the domes are smokestacks of one of the umpteen dozen cruise ships that visit Kotor nowadays while steaming along the Dalmatian coast.

Posted by Ellen

Villa at sunrise, San Quirico d'Orcia.

Posted by Ellen

Moscow in the background.

Posted by Ellen

Apple hired National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson to go up into the Scottish highlands and shoot some scenery with an iphone camera.