It's Christmas!


It's Christmas, it's Christmas
Each merry bell chimes
A time for remembering
Old friends and old times
A time for warm greetings
Old ties to renew
And a time for good wishes
For good folks like you!


One of the real joys of the Christmas is the opportunity to say "Thank You" and to wish you love, joy and happiness.
With this Christmas card of red poinsettia flowers, I wish you all

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas poinsettia-card from http://colormagicphotography.com
Read more >>

Christmas wallpaper on black

A present with a golden bow, for you.
Today's free Christmas wallpaper is golden on black background.

"If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away."
Author unknown

You are free to download it for non commercial use.
Christmas wallpaper on back-http://colormagicphotography.comImage use:

Click on the image to enlarge, right click and choose save image as to save it to your PC.
You may need to resize/crop them for your own needs.

Christmas candles and candlelight on a dark background is another desktop wallpaper you could be interested in.
Click this link for more free Christmas wallpapers.

You can use these free images as desktop background, webpage background, greeting card or in any of your projects but you can't sell them of claim that they are yours.
All photos in this free Christmas series are web quality, not for print.
Read more >>

White Christmas-free Christmas card

A Christmas card with bells, baubles, silk bows and a present for you.
This is today's free Christmas card.

We had no snow yet in our region though there were heavy snowfalls all over our country.
It looks like there is no White Christmas for us this year.
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white
Feel free to download the card for your personal use.
Christmas card with bells, baubles, silk bows-http://colormagicphotography.com
Right click on the image and choose save image as to save it to your PC. You are free to use it for your own needs but you can't sell it of claim that it is yours.

Here is another Christmas card.

Have a look at all greeting cards!
Have a wonderful White Christmas!
Read more >>

Your free Christmas greeting card

Today's free image is a Christmas greeting card.
I hope you like it. Feel free to download it for non commercial use.
http://colormagicphotography.com
Click on the image to enlarge, right click and choose save image as to save it to your PC.

Here is another free Christmas card.

You can use these free images as desktop background, webpage background, greeting card or in any of your projects but you can't sell them of claim that they are yours.
All photos in this free Christmas series are web quality, not for print.
Read more >>

Christmas candles-free image

Candles are one of the most important Christmas decoration elements.
Many different types of candles with different designs, color and scent are popular as centerpieces on the Christmas dinner table, on Christmas wreaths or simply to lighten a dark window sill ay Christmas time.

Used in different arrangements, grouped or single candles, they all bring joy and light in our homes and souls with their soft glow.
Besides being use in all Christian holidays, candles are also a symbol of the passing years of human life as it slowly burns or melts away.

"A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away."
~Eva Logue

And now it's time for today's free picture:
Christmas candles-http://colormagicphotography.com
Image use:
You are free to download all these Christmas images for non commercial use.
Click on the image to enlarge, right click and choose save image as to save it to your PC.
You may need to resize/crop them for your own needs.

You can use these free images as desktop background, webpage background, greeting card or in any of your projects but you can't sell them of claim that they are yours.
All photos in this free Christmas series are web quality, not for print.

 High resolution images with beautiful candle light can be purchased for a very low cost, royalty-free, by clicking on the link. 
Read more >>

Christmas bells-free wallpapers

There is no Christmas without Christmas bells; Santa couldn't find his reindeer in the dark without the Christmas bells on the sleigh.

So must my free wallpapers have jingle bells too to cheer you up and bring you joy and happiness.

Download these free Christmas bell images if you like!

Carol of the Bells
Golden Christmas bells-free wallpapers - colormagicphotography.com

Hark how the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away

Christmas is here,
bringing good cheer,
to young and old,
meek and the bold,
Christmas bells on blue background-wallpaper on http://colormagicphotography.com
Ding dong ding dong
that is their song
with joyful ring
all caroling

One seems to hear
words of good cheer
from everywhere
filling the air

Oh how they pound,Red Christmas bells-free background wallpaper on http://colormagicphotography.com
raising the sound,
o’er hill and dale,
telling their tale,

Gaily they ring
while people sing
songs of good cheer,
Christmas is here,

Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas,Christmas bells on black background-wallpaper
On on they send,
on without end,
their joyful tone
to every home
Dong Ding dong ding… dong! Bong!
~ Lirics by Peter J. Wilhousky
Download high resolution image of the golden Christmas bells isolated on white background royalty-free!

Click here for more free Christmas wallpapers.

Image use:
You are free to download these Christmas images for non commercial use.
Click on the image to enlarge, right click and choose save image as to save it to your PC.
You may need to resize/crop them for your own needs.

You can use these free images as desktop background, as greeting cards in an e-mail or in any of your projects but you can't sell them of claim that they are yours.
All photos in this Christmas series are web quality, not for print.
Download high resolution Christmas related, royalty-free images here.
Read more >>

Waiting for Santa-Christmas Eve background photo

Waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve with a glass of milk and some cookies. That is what today's free background image is about.
It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air. - W. T. Ellis

Christmas Eve-free background image-http://colormagicphotography.com
Image use:
You are free to download all these Christmas images for non commercial use.
Click on the image to enlarge, right click and choose save image as to save it to your PC.
You may need to resize them for your own needs.

You can use these free images as desktop background, webpage background, greeting card or in any of your projects but you can't sell them of claim that they are yours.
All photos in this Christmas series are web quality, not for print.

Come back tomorrow for a new background picture!
Read more >>

Golden gift box with Christmas bells-free wallpapers

A shinny golden gift box and red Christmas bells is the theme of today's free Christmas images.
The theme is isolated on different backgrounds for different tastes or situations.
Feel free to download the one you like, or all of them.

Golden gift box on black background - http://colormagicphotography.com Golden gift box on blue-wallpaper from http://colormagicphotography.com
Golden present and red bells-http://colormagicphotography.com Christmas background with snowflakes, gift box and bells-http://colormagicphotography.com
You can download just the bells or the golden box on transparent background (png) to use it on your blog (in small size).

Image use:
You are free to download all these Christmas images for non commercial use.
Click on the image to enlarge, right click and choose save image as to save it to your PC.
With so many different screen resolutions and aspect ratios you may need to resize/crop them for your own needs.

You can use these free images as desktop background, webpage or blog background, greeting card or in any of your projects but you can't sell them of claim that they are yours.
All photos in this Christmas series are web quality, not for print.

Come back tomorrow for the next free image.

Download Christmas backgrounds royalty-free!
Read more >>

Free Christmas images for my friends-background photos

This is the time of year where we all want to give back and share.

I'll post a free Christmas photo every day for you. This is my way to say thank you to all my visitors and readers.

You are free to download all these images for non commercial use.
Click on the image to enlarge, right click and choose save image as to save it to your PC.
You may need to resize them for your own needs.

You can use these free images as desktop background, webpage background, greeting card or in any of your projects but you can't sell them of claim that they are yours.
All these Christmas photos are web quality, not for print.

Have a wonderful holiday season!
Merry Christmas-free background from http://colormagicphotography.com
Don't Save It All For Christmas

Don't get so busy that you miss
Giving just a little kiss
To the ones you love
Don't even wait a little while
To give them just a little smile
A little is enough
.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
.
So don't save it all for Christmas day
Find a way
To give a little love everyday
Don't save it all for Christmas day
Find a way
'Cause holidays have come and gone
But loves lives on
If you give on
Love...
~Avalon

Come back every day for a new Christmas photo.
More Christmas images for sale at Shutterstock:
Read more >>

6 free wallpapers with window frost texture

6 wallpapers with window frost patterns for you to download.

The lacy, delicate texture of frost crystals on the window glass will soon become old days memory, with the new generation, isolated plastic windows.

Window frost pictures are lovely background images for the cold season and winter holidays.
Download and use them on your website, blog or desktop.

Window frost patterns 1-free wallpaper from http://colormagicphotography.com Fern frost-free wallpaper from http://colormagicphotography.com
Frost texture-free wallpaper from http://colormagicphotography.com Window frost 4-free wallpaper from http://colormagicphotography.com
Window frost pattern 5-free wallpaper from http://colormagicphotography.com Frost crystals on window glass-http://colormagicphotography.com
Image use:
You are free to download all these Christmas images for non commercial use.
Click on the image to enlarge, right click and choose save image as to save it to your PC.
With so many different screen resolutions and aspect ratios you may need to resize/crop them for your own needs.

You can use these free images as desktop background, webpage or blog background, greeting card or in any of your projects, for personal use.
You can't sell or distribute them, neither claim that they are yours.

All images are web quality (low resolution), not for prints.
High resolution images of beautiful, feathery frost patterns  and frost crystals on window glass for commercial use can be purchased at a low price, royalty-free by clicking at these links.
Come back tomorrow for the next free image.
Read more >>

Pink-magenta orchid-closeup picture

This is how my pink-magenta orchid looked like when I bought it.
These flowers are gone now but a new stalk is emerging. The blooms should open sometimes around Christmas but I doubt that they'll be as pretty as the first flowers.
pink-magenta orchid - closeup photo
See also some lovely yellow orchids with red speckles.
Read more >>

Autumn silence-peaceful rusty fields

Though it's chill in the air, the autumn sun is still quite warm for mid November.
Watching the deep blue sky contrasting the silent, rusty fields and gently swirling, golden leaves feels me with peace.

Autumn silence-rusty fields against the blue sky
See more autumn colors reflected in the lake.

"There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!"
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
Read more >>

Smokie performed at Cluj Arena on October 9

The famous British rock band Smokie performed at Cluj Arena on October 9, right after the Scorpions' concert, on October 8.

On this second night of the inauguration concert series, Smokie delighted over 20,000 people, about the half of the overall capacity of the new Cluj Arena stadium.
The rain and cold kept people at home. This time they didn't flock to the stadium like they did a night before, for the Scorpions' concert.

The band appeared on the stage half an hour late. At this time the frustrated audience was already whistling but it was all forgotten instantly as the band began to play.

Smokie began their performance with a new song, after greeting the audience with "Good to be home, in Cluj-Napoca":


The closing song: Who the f... is Alice?

Read more >>

Scorpions and Smokie-mega concerts at Cluj Arena

Scorpions delighted their fans with a fantastic concert on October 8 at the inauguration of the Cluj Arena stadium.

Over 40,000 fans invaded the new Cluj Arena on Saturday evening, to admire their idols, the legendary German rockers.
The concert was part of the mega farewell world tour, the "Get Your Sting And Blackout World Tour", including worldwide concerts.

The 90 min. long show opened with the song "Sting in the tail" from the band's recent album, followed by other new and older, famous songs like "Rock Me Like a Hurricane", "The best is yet to come", "Wind of Change", "Still Loving You" or "Big City Nights".

Here are the Scorpions live at Cluj Arena:
Rock You Like A Hurricane - Live



When The Smoke Is Going Down - live

Today, on October 9, Smokie, the English rock band is on stage in the series of mega concerts marking the inauguration of the new Cluj Arena.
Read more >>

Cluj Arena Stadium-opening

The new Cluj Arena Stadium was officially opened on Saturday 1, free to visit and photograph for everyone.
The stadium is ranked as an UEFA Elite stadium and is able to hold 30,201 people (Wikipedia).
The City and the Government paid for it 45 million euros plus another 800,000 for exterior equipment. For that money, the new stadium is fairly mentioned as the jewel on the Somesul Mic river banks.
The name comes from the city name, Cluj-Napoca, for those new o this blog.

Though it was late in the afternoon, there were so many people visiting the new investment that it was hart to get a picture of the stadium alone. It was dusk when I took this first shots, a north view of the stadium.

Cluj Arena Stadium-North side view at duskHere is an interior detail with the new, light colored seats.

Cluj Arena-interior details of seat rowsAnd the playground with beautiful green turf (for now).
We hope it will last longer than the 230 million euro worth, new National Arena in Bucharest, opened last month, where the turf was completely ruined on the first held football match, in less than 10 minutes.

Cluj Arena Stadium-playground with green turfIn the next days the Arena will be the home of several concerts; the Scorpions will delight their fans on the 8th of October and Smokie performs the next day, on 9 October.

In the meantime it is pitch dark outside and black clouds are gathering on the sky.
Traffic is blocked by the crowd and by cars parked everywhere, so I decided to walk home. It was a good opportunity to try out my Nikon's night shot capabilities.

So, this is my way home, along the river. It was a beautiful, sunny, autumn day, still chilly because of the strong wind blowing all day long. The moon is up for the moment but those black clouds will cover it soon.

I took this picture from a bridge, the lights going till the next bridge, where I'm almost home.

Somesul Mic river Cluj-night viewI reached the second bridge here and take a look back; there is the Arena in the middle of the distant background and the lights in the right are from the autumn fair held also Saturday and Sunday.

Somesul Mic river at nightOn a closer look you can see in the next photo, the barbeque smoke over the lights at the fair. I missed the fireworks last night but I'll visit the fair right now. It is still open today and I'm hoping for some nice photos.

Autumn fair in Cluj from the distance-night shotThese last photos were taken from a metallic bridge, shaking constantly under the passing crowd, with no tripod and at a very high ISO. These are low quality pictures for web use, there is visible camera shake too but still I'm satisfied with Nikon D3100 night shots on a pitch black night.
Read more >>

Yorkshire Terrier-toy dog picture

I met this sweet Yorkshire Terrier in front of the neighborhood grocery. He is not much longer in size than his master's shoes but still a "big dog in a small package".

These toy dogs are very sweet but Yorkies have very different behavior towards strangers.
This little Yorkie looked friendly but became very yappy as soon as I pointed my camera at him.
That's understandable, many dogs have had a bad experience at some point in their lives, with photographer shooting with flash.

He stopped barking as soon as he realized that he is not the pack leader but still wouldn't stay still for a moment. Each time I tried to take a shot he was out of the frame, except this one photo, out of five.
Yorkshire Terrier sitting near his master's feet-portrait photo
Read more >>

Create a menu for a simple static page-Blogger

This tutorial is about creating a menu on a simple static page, after hiding all widgets.

In my previous tutorial we customized a static page, better said, downgraded it to a simple page, by hiding all widgets, including the menu.

But what if I still want a menu somewhere on the page, with a few links?
This was the question of one of my readers of the previous tutorial and a very good one.

On each static page you have a link to your home page at the bottom of the page, by default.
In case you would like some kind of navigation with more links, just place your links in a div (or span) container and place the div where you want the menu.
You could also create a two column page if you want to show more content.

Step by step:

A. Create a menu

  1. First let's create a class for a minimal styling of this menu. Name it as you wish, let's say "navigation".
    I give you three examples below with the menu placed in different locations on the page:

    1. horizontal top navigation:
      .navigation {text-align:right;padding-bottom:10px;padding-right:20px;}
    2. horizontal bottom navigation:
      .navigation {text-align: center; margin-top: 10px; padding:5px; background: #DEE9F4;}
      This one has a background color, you can change or delete the color code in red.

    3. vertical navigation on the sides:
      .navigation {float:right; width: 100px; margin-left: 20px; padding: 1px; border:1px solid #DEE9F4;}
      .navigation a {display: block; padding-left:5px; background: #DEE9F4; margin:1px;}
      This one has a background color, margins and a border.

      Choose one of the above situations and place this code after the rest of style code before the closing style tag, as shown in the hiding all widgets tutorial.

  2. Create a simple link list with your links and place the class in front of the list like this:
    <div class="navigation"> <a href="http://firts page url">Home</a> | <a href="http://second page url">Portfolio</a> | <a href="http://third page url">About Me</a> | <a href="http://fourth page url">Contact</a></div>
    Replace the code in red with your own url-s and the green one with your tab's text.

  3. Insert this code where you want it in your page content, meaning:
    - at the beginning of your post content for position a and c
    - at the bottom of the page, after the content, for position b. Delete the vertical bars from between the links for the option.
    - if you copy the above list code, your editor must be in Html mode when you paste it.

    This is just a modest link list, don't expect anything fancy.

B. Create a two column page - magazine style:

Now that is really easy and you have a better control over your content.
Divide your page in two with two div containers, float one to the left and the other to the right, like this:
<div style="width: 90%; float: left;">CONTENT HERE</div><div style="width:10%; float: right;">VERTICAL NAVIGATION</div>
<!--Clear the divs if you want some more content bellow them-->
<div style="clear: both;"></div>
Change the width of the columns (in red) as you wish!
Here is an example of magazine style page: Demo

That's all for today! Please ask if you have questions.
Read more >>

Hide the sidebar, footer and all widgets on Blogger pages-create a simple page

This tutorials explains how to hide the sidebar, footer, even the header if you like, with all their widgets, on specific static pages. The given code will be inserted directly in the static page and will affect only the page it is inserted in. No template editing is needed.

This way you can create a clean, simple page, let's say for a gallery or whatever purpose you need one.
Blogger's flexibility and permission to design your page as you like it is one of the main features for which so many people prefer this platform.

The implementation of the code in this tutorial is much easier and clearer (I hope) but it will change only one single page.
To hide the sidebar and other elements on all pages/posts please go to my two previous tutorials about hiding the sidebar on both layout and designer templates.

With this tweak it is also much easier to create a different design for each of you static pages, with just a few lines of code.

Here we go but first things first:Demo

Hide all widgets contained in header, sidebar and footer

Step 1. Identify your template:
  • Go to Design | Edit Html and look for this word in your template with the search feature of your browser (Edit menu | Find or Ctrl+F) "fauxcolumns"

  • if you find it, you have a new (designer) template,

  • if not, you probably but not necessarily have an older (layout) template.
You will find the code for both template types bellow in differently colored boxes.
Step 2. The basic code:Now that you know your template type, you can select the code that is right for you.
We will hide all widgets in one step by hiding the container they are situated in, like header, sidebars, footer etc.

2.1. Open a static page in the editor or create a new page; work in HTML mode,
2.2. Select from the following two codes the one that is right for your template; the two codes do the same job but the one in the white box is for older (layout) templates and in the yellow box is the code for newer (designer) templates.
If there is only one code than it is the same for both template types.
2.3. Copy and insert one of the following codes directly at the top of your static page, before the content, not in the template, exactly as you see it.

Code for older, layout templates:
<style type="text/css">
/*<![CDATA[*/
#header-wrapper,#crosscol-wrapper,#sidebar-wrapper,#footer {height: 0; visibility: hidden; display:none;}
#main-wrapper{float: none; width: 100%; margin 0; padding: 0;}
/*]]>*/
</style>

Code for new templates:
<style type="text/css">
/*<![CDATA[*/
.header,#crosscol,.main-inner .column-right-outer,.main-inner .column-left-outer,.footer-outer, {height: 0; visibility: hidden; display: none;}
.main-inner .columns {padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px;}
/*]]>*/
</style>


Now write your page content if it is a new page, preview and publish or update your page.
The code will produce different results according to your own template but it will affect only the specific page it is inserted in, nothing else. Experiment on a newly created page or on an existing one and customize it to your liking. I've included a few customization ideas in the final code, down the page.  Try them, nothing can go wrong.

We're done here, unless you have widgets to hide in the main area too.

Step 3. Hide all widgets in the main section

What else we may want to hide? In case you have any widgets in the main section that you would like to hide, like ads in widgets or Linkwithin widget, just insert the specific widget id in the same line as the other hidden elements. First you have to find out the id of that widget. These widgets usually don't have a title, so

How to find out the widget id?

To keep it short and easy, open your widget for edit from the quick edit wrench and give the widget a title, let's say "My ads" (temporary). Now save the widget and go to Design |Edit Html. Don't click the expend widget template but find with your browser the new title you just gave the widget. It will look something like this:
<b:widget id="HTML39" locked="false" title="My ads" type="HTML">
There you have your widget id highlighted in red, with its own numbering, of course (not 39). See bellow how to insert it near the rest of hidden elements.

Customize the look of the page - Layout fine-tuning

See how the page looks like and read along for customizing it, if needed, like:
  1. Restrict the main area, as now it spreads over the entire width of the page (code for both template types):
    .post {width: 80%; margin: 0 auto; padding: 0;}

  2. Change the background of the content area and the text color, also add some space around the top of the content:
    #main-wrapper{background: #ffffff; color: #000000; margin-top: 100px;}
    .content-inner {background: #ffffff; color: #000000; margin-top: 100px;}
  3. Align the title to the center:
    .post h3 a {text-align:center; padding:15px;}
    .post-title {text-align:center; padding:15px;}

  4. Hide Linkwithin widget: #lws_0

  5. In case you see some vertical or horizontal lines crossing the page, those are left over borders from the sidebar or some other element. Check which element has borders and hide them. The example bellow is for the sidebar:

    #sidebar-wrapper {border: 0;}

    .fauxcolumn-left-outer .fauxcolumn-inner { border-right: none; }
    .fauxcolumn-right-outer .fauxcolumn-inner { border-left: none; }
All these customizations are optional and I've included them in the final code, in case your page needs a facelift.

Final code:

<style type="text/css">
/*<![CDATA[*/
#header-wrapper,#crosscol-wrapper,#sidebar-wrapper,#footer,HTML19,#lws_0 {height: 0; visibility; hidden; display:none;}
#main-wrapper{float: none; width: 100%; margin-left: 0; margin-right: 0; margin-top:100px; padding-left: 0; padding-right: 0; background: #ffffff; color: #000000;}
.post {width: 80%; margin: 0 auto; padding: 0;} .post h3 a { text-align: center; padding:15px;}
/*]]>*/
</style>

<style type="text/css"> /*<![CDATA[*/
.header,#crosscol,.main-inner .column-right-outer,.main-inner .column-left-outer,.footer-outer,HTML19,#lws_0 {display: none;}
.main-inner .columns {padding-left: 0px; padding-right: 0px; background:none;} .content-inner {background: #ffffff; color: #000000; margin-top: 100px;}
.post {width: 80%; margin: 0 auto;}
.post-title {text-align:center; padding:15px;}
/*]]>*/
</style>

Select the customizations you like and delete the rest from this final code. All values can be changed (color codes, width, etc.), I highlighted a few of them in blue, you find the rest.

Step 4. Add a menu to this page

But what if you still want a menu somewhere on the page, with a few links?
I added this last optional step as an answer to a reader's question. A very good question indeed!
Please read the next tutorial if you would like to have a few links in a menu, on this simple page.

This would be all for a normal Blogger template.
See also the other two tutorial, mentioned in the first part of this one, you will find many examples, demo pages and also answers to your questions.
If you still have questions, please ask.

Sometimes you want to hide the main widget itself (main section) in order to create a separate archive page or label (category) page.
"The best angle from which to approach a problem is the Try-angle."
~unknown author
Read more >>

Pink summer roses-rose close-up photos

Summer is almost over and most of the flowers are burnt by the summer heat.

Even dressed in their faded autumn colors, roses are still charming.
Rose unfolding-closeup
Pink summer roses-garden roses
Read more >>

Ganoderma applanatum-Artist's fungus on white willow

Our beautiful willows are infected by Ganoderma applanatum- bracket fungus.

The old weeping willows and white willows on the banks of our river are a symbol of the town. On my last walk I discovered that two of a group of five white willows are infected.

While Ganoderma applanatum-shelf fungus is a useful decomposer of logs and stumps but it also lives as a parasite on living trees, causing butt rot.
Ganoderma infested White willows near the river
This fungus is a common cause of decay and death of many types of trees, especially maples, alders, birches, beech, apple, poplars, cherry, plum, oaks, willows, and elm.

The fungus attacks the tree trunk's thickest part, at the base, near the soil line.
It may take several years but finally the fungus kills the host tree.
There is no treatment or control once a tree is infected, it is only a matter of time until it dies.
shelf fungi brackets grouped in horizontal rows
Artist's conk, on its other name, produces very distinctive, shelf-like brackets grouped in several horizontal rows. Often there is only one bracket produced on an infected tree. The fungus is a perennial and grows for 5 to 10 years, reaching over 50 cm across.
Ganoderma applanatum produces the largest brackets of any fungus.
They are rough and have a woody feel. Their upper surfaces are dark reddish-brown to black, with a creamy-white margin.
Ganoderma applanatum - Artist's Conk-close up
The underside of the bracket is white to light yellow but turns brown when scratched or bruised. Artist's Conk-tree fungus
Because of this property of the conk, artists use it as a natural medium for drawing and painting, hence the names Artist's conk and Artist's fungus. You can carve writing or pictures in it and the drawing naturally darkens.

They are attached to the tree over most of their width and very hard to detach. I intended to bring one home to paint on it but these are too small and already dirty, as you can see in the picture above.

I just hope the other willows will not be infested by the the mycelium of the fungus. This place will never look the same without the old weeping willows.

See more tree fungus pictures at this other post.
Read more >>

Female Common Blue butterfly-Polyommatus icarus pictures

The Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) is the most widespread, small butterfly across Europe. It is a member of the Lycaenidae family and can be found in Asia and North Africa as well.
Its habitat is anywhere, where its food plants are found: a variety of grassland, meadows, woodland clearings but also in waste ground and urban habitats.

The female Common blue is usually brown, with a row of orange-red spots on the outer edges of the wings that fade along the forewings. Sometimes she has a blue dusting near the body.
Male upper sides are an iridescent lilac blue with a thin dark brown or black border on the wings.
Both female and male have a white fringe on the outer edges of the wings but their coloration is variable within local populations.
Common blue female butterfly-Polyommatus icarus-upper side
The underside of both sexes are similar in pattern. Besides the row of orange-red spots on the outer edges of the wings, they have about twelve black centered white spots on the hind wings, nine on the forewings and an elongated spot in the middle of each wings.

The presence of the blue tingle in a female Common Blue is highly variable, some are almost completely blue, others completely brown. She can be easily confused with the Brown Argus which is also a member of the blue subfamily (Polyommatinae). They can be differentiated by the pattern on their underside:
- the Common Blue has an extra spot, closer to the body (marked with A), before the elongated spot in the middle of the forewing, that is absent in the Brown Argus.
Female Common blue butterfly-wings' underside pattern
- unlike the Common Blue, Brown Argus has an extra spot on its hindwings, very close to the spots on the leading edge, forming an 8 shape (marked with B).
Brown Argus butterly-wing pattern
Photo source: Wikipedia

Female common blue head down on a grass leafThere are two generations a year, the first brood flying in May and June.
I've snapped this one right at the start of the second brood that emerges at the end of July. They should be around for the whole of August and even September.

Males are the more active , so more difficult to capture. The female spends most of her time nectaring, resting and egg-laying.
She lays a single egg at a time on the upper side of a grass leaf or on young shoots of their food plants.
On boring, cloudy days this species roosts head down on a grass stem, like in the picture at the left.

Their preferred food plant is Bird's foot trefoil but they feed on Black Medick, White Clover Trifolium repens, Lesser Trefoil Trifolium dubium and Common Restharrow as well.

Pictures were taken in my neighborhood, at the Somesul Mic river banks in Cluj-Napoca (by me).
Read more >>

Nesting House Martin pair and baby birds-pictures

I'm following a breeding House Martin pair from the beginning of June. They built their nest in the window opening of my neighbor, at the 4th (the last) floor. I tried several times to take some photos but they are just flying in circles and are afraid to come to the nest when they see me in the window.

I decided not to stress them too much but now that the chick are so big that they could fly away any moment, I decided to insist with the photos. Besides my big hart, I admit that I had another reason to delay these photos: I usually get so involved when taking pictures that I forget to watch my steps and often step in unpleasant things. This time it was a 15 m high step but the photo session ended without acrobatics.

Here are the photos taken with a trembling hand:

"There are three of us, but I'm the boss, at your left."
Two House Martin chicks in the nest
Their black head and upperparts are hard to distinguish in the pictures because of the shadow on the wall but their pure white underparts are quite well visible.

"I'm not ugly, I'm hungry and you scared my food away with your stupid camera."
House Martin baby bird with wide open beak
Here is the entire gang calling loud for their mom.
Picture of House Martin nest with three baby birds
O.K., I'll try from inside the room. I'm afraid of heights anyway.
As soon as I left the window, one of the adults landed immediately at the nest.

Though the picture taken from indoors is not clear, you can see a wide open baby bird beak at the right of the adult bird.
House Martin bird feeding the chicks
Another unsuccessful shot taken during nest building, in June. It was almost dark outside.
I admired their art of nest building, from several layers of mud, reinforced with grasses, hair and various soft materials.

House Sparrows often try to take over the nest during construction, sometimes with success.
Once the nest is complete, the entrance at the top of the nest is so small that the sparrows cannot take over.
House Martin -nest building on a window frame
In turn, House Martins would wall-up House Sparrows by closing the entrance of the mud nest with the intruder inside, an old legend says.

Have a look at the colorful greenfinch, in breeding season.
Read more >>

Watermelon street vendors-pictures

New watermelon supply is arriving at the street corner.
Watermelon street vendors come to us from over 500 km, from the south-east of the country.
They have a very harsh life, practically living and sleeping near their watermelons from early summer till early fall.

This year they will have a very low profit, if...
Supermarkets are loaded with watermelons at a very low price (30 cents/kg), almost for free. I have a hunch that this price has something to do with the exploding watermelons back in May, when Chinese farmers applied a chemical growth accelerator on watermelons, causing them to explode in the fields.

While these people were unloading two trucks full of watermelons, I tried to capture one flying in the air.
Watermelon street vendors-unloading watermelons
I asked this vendor for permission to take a photo and she was so kind and happy about posing for me that she even insisted to reward me with a cantaloupe melon, for free. I still don't understand why.
This was the first time in my life that I took a photo of someone, no questions asked.
Proud watermelon vendor-portrait
Cantaloupe melon on the table
Read more >>

Search for photos, macro photos or paintings.

Archive

Do you want to create a separate archive page for your blog too?
If yes, click the link above to go to the tutorial.