Full moon on New Year's Eve-Happy New Year!

I wish you all Happiness and Joy and Blessings for the New Year.

Happy New Year from Maia

Happy New Year 2010

New Year Wish

Perhaps a bit wiser,
a bit kinder, too,
a little bit braver,
a heart that's more true,
a touch of believing
I've not known before,
in joys I'm receiving
a little bit more.

A little more anxious
to reach out my hand,
despite hurt or problems
to still understand,
accepting the heartache
that life often brings,
a little more beauty
in life's simple things.
Full moon on New Year's Eve
A prayer when I'm weary
as onward I trod,
a little more trusting,
believing in God,
'tis this I would wish for
within moments dear,
not a lot - just a little
this wondrous new year.
--Garnett Ann Schultz

As you probably all know, we have fool moon on this beautiful New Year's Eve.
For those of you who have a cloudy night here is the picture.


Winter in the city-cityscapes

These are some photos I've taken in a beautiful snowfall before Christmas.
I've captured just a few winter cityscapes this winter and the snow is gone already.
Winter evening scene with Christmas light glitterWinter evening in the city-snowy cityscapeFirst snowfall on a silent evening

Searching for colors-reflections in baubles

As you probably know, the heavy snowfall all over Europe and in my country too caused a real chaos in peoples holiday plans.
Tree under snoe-winter scene
It also gave us a lot of beautiful snow photos, mostly black and white.
It seems, all this beautiful snow was just a Christmas eve present. It melted on Christmas day, all of it and now things are back to normal. No more free hosting in railway stations and airports, no more blocked traffic.

There are many beautiful colors, reflections and sparkles around the Christmas tree in this holiday season.

I even have my puddles back for beautiful, colored reflection photos.

Christmas eve-Night Before Christmas!

It's Christmas eve!

I wish your all and your dear ones a joyful Christmas eve!
"May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love."
~Author Unknown

Christmas greeting card

Christmas quotes and jokes

"Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
-- Washington Irving

"Christmas is not in tinsel and lights and outward show.
The secret lies in an inner glow. It's lighting a fire inside the heart. Good will and joy a vital part. It's higher thought and a greater plan. It's glorious dream in the soul of man."
-- Wilfred A. Peterson

Christmas bells on a Christmas tree

"When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow,
We hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago,
And etched on vacant places
Are half-forgotten faces
Of friends we used to cherish,
and loves we used to know."
-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Christmas is the season when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money".
~Author Unknown

Christmas presents under a Christmas tree

"Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice."
~Author Unknown

"Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree."
~ Charlotte Carpenter.


Puddle shots - reflections in a puddle

For most people, a puddle that arises every time it rains is just annoyance but for others is a real pleasure.
No, no, I'm not talking about puddle-jumping, though that's a pleasure too, for small children or for these two Hen sparrows. They don't mind taking a bath and puddle-jumping in the freezing water. This morning these puddles were frozen.Two hen-sparrows in the puddleFor a photographer, puddles are amazing windows to amazing images.
The same puddle offers an endless variety of images, really interesting shots.
Just walking around a puddle or changing the angle, lots of images are waiting for someone to capture them.Franciscan Church reflection in the puddle Puddle shots are an interesting way to capture the mirror image of buildings, reflections of beautiful clouds in the sky and the street life reflected upside down in a puddle.
This is the reflection of the Franciscan Church in Cluj (my town), built between 1260 and 1290.Gothic cloister window in the puddle
and this one reflects the Gothic cloister near the church built in 1390.
Franciscan Church in Cluj-Biserica Franciscana
Here is the real picture; this is the Museum square in the old center of the town. Besides the puddles near the sidewalk, for some unknown reason the clock on the church tower has no hands any more. That doesn't mean it is timeless.
Check out some photos of the beautiful Baroque style interior of this church.

Election day on - St.Nicholas Day

This Sunday is a very important day in Romania. There are two important event on this day;

Election day.

About 18 million Romanian eligible voters have to choose between incumbent President Traian Basescu and social democrat Mircea Geoana.
The third-place candidate in Romania's presidential election (first round) Crin Antonescu, threw his support behind the Western-backed socialist who faces the centrist president in a runoff seen as key to the country's emergence from political and economic crisis.Road with granite stone pavement  leading to the church.
Romania has been without a government since Oct. 13 when Parliament dismissed Prime Minister Emil Boc in a no confidence vote.
Weeks of political instability led to a euro1.5 billion ($2.2 billion) IMF loan being suspended until Romania has a government and a budget for 2010.
"St. Mary" Calvaria Church - Roman Catholic
"St. Mary" Calvaria Church in Cluj
As today is St. Nicholas day too, most Romanians go to church first. I'm sure they will all receive a good advice to choose the less worth choice for the elections.
St. Nicolas Day greetings

St. Nicholas's day.

December 6th is St. Nicholas's day, an European holiday tradition regardless of religion.
The tradition of St. Nicholas is not synonymous with the role of Santa Claus in the U.S..
In many European countries, the celebration of St. Nicholas is separate from the Christmas holidays, and sometimes St. Nicholas Day is the main holiday for gift giving.

St. Nicolas Day gifts-vintage greeting card
In anticipation of St. Nicholas's nightly visits, children put their shoes or stockings in front of the fire place or in the window for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts during the night. They sing traditional songs and provide a carrot or hay for the horse. At night on Dec 5th/6th St. Nicholas visits many homes and Black Pete, his the helper, puts gifts and candy in the (good) children's shoes. St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded for oneself.


Gingerbread house-gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread cookies are traditional treat in Holiday season, especially at Christmas.
One of my dear childhood memories is linked to these fairy tale treats.
As little kids, my brother and I, we were waiting impatiently for our parents to come home from some artisan fair and bring us gingerbread cookies.
red gingerbread hearts
If in some part of the world they are not known, I'll tell you what they are:
Gingerbread cookies are cute, colorful pastry made with honey and spices, covered with a variety of candies and icing.
gingerbread Christmas treeGingerbread cookies
They have all kind of shapes; the most well known is the gingerbread man and the gingerbread house but there all kind of seasonal themes like Christmas trees , hearts, bunnies, edible gingerbread necklaces, Santa boots.
gingerbread bunnies
Here by us, they can be bought at artisan fairs on special occasions.
When homemade, it is a great joy for kids to cut out the figures. Though I don't like them homemade; because of my childhood memories, they must be a market gifts.


Baking the sweetly decorated houses covered with a variety of candies and icing, are popular Christmas decorations and a
gingerbread house-lebkuchen
very old tradition.
It is believed gingerbread was first baked in Europe at the end of the 11th century, when returning crusaders brought the bread and the spicy root back from the Middle East.
Ginger had properties that helped preserve the bread, it wasn't merely flavorful.
According to some researchers, the first gingerbread houses may have appeared as a result of the popular Grimm's fairy tales.
gingerbread necklaces

According to other food historians, in the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, the brothers Grimm were writing about something that already existed.
In our modern wold there are amazing Gingerbread house building competitions taking place. For those of you who live in Asheville (NC) or nearby, there is an amazing display of gingerbread houses at Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa in Asheville on November 18, 2009-January 3, 2010 on Mondays-Thursdays.

Crows gathering-silver sky

I took this silver sky picture during a visit to the cemetery. At first it was quiet but after a few minutes everything changed and the familiar late autumn scene of crow congregation began. The crows perched by the hundreds in the treetops above the cemetery gathering into huge flocks making a terrible noise with their 'kra-kra-kra'.
Some people find them very fascinating birds. Crow behavior and ingenuity provoked legend and myth in dozens of cultures across centuries and continents.
They say that crows are the most social and intelligent species of all birds; they respond to human actions, imitate a large number of sounds including whistles, cats, machines and the human voice.

Crows are curious too; shiny objects like bits of glass fascinate them.

This is the hooded crow,

or 'hoodie' is to be found across northern, eastern and southeastern Europe, and the Middle East. It has a two-color plumage; the body is a dirty gray, while the wings, tail, head and bib are black.
and this is a

carrion crow (Corvus corone)

They are very similar; both are around the same shape and size but this one is just black.

I've found this beautiful drawing of the two, previously mentioned birds.
This image comes from the book "Natural history of the birds of central Europe" (Naturgeschichte der Vögel Mitteleuropas) of 1905 or his earlier works. The copyrights for those books have expired and this image is in the public domain.

Johann Friedrich Naumann (February 14, 1780 – August 15, 1857) was a German scientist and editor, the founder of scientific ornithology in Europe.

Playing with the rainbow - light refraction

Rainbow on command! This was what I witnessed today and it was so very beautiful and wet.
After more than a week of fog and dark days, today it was a beautiful sunny day.
At this time, everywhere in the city people are decorating whatever they can. As I was watching some workers decorating a huge Christmas tree I witnessed the most beautiful decoration from nature itself: a rainbow playing with the fountain.Rainbow play with the fountain
Every time the fountain pushed the water high, the rainbow appeared; after a few minutes the fountain shuts down and than starts again. Each time the rainbow was back.
I pooled my small camera from my purse and made some photos.
Unfortunately, after a few, not very successful shots my battery died.
Rainbow-refraction of light
Rainbow near the fountain
You still can observe (if you try hard) on the photos the red light at the top of the circular arc, which is usually visible at this steep angle with respect to the ground. I don't know why but I was somehow disappointed because I always think about rainbows as being something special, something you can't just have when you want it.
Now I had to wake up of my daydreaming and admit that it is just physics, just light refraction.

Refraction, is the bending of light ray when it passes from one medium to another; in this case the sun's rays when they enter or leave the water drops. Light passing into the water from the air will travel more slowly in the water than in air which causes the ray of light to bend. By bending the light rays, white light is separated into its constituents (the seven colors of the rainbow).
The small droplets of water suspended in the air act like a prism that disperses the light.
It is a familiar effect to anyone, especially for a painter or photographer, that has ever looked at the broken image of flowers in a glass vase.
At the end I have a question for you: did you know that a rainbow can actually be a complete circle. From the ground we see the top half of the circle since the bottom half is prevented by the presence of the ground. From a small plane you can look both upward and downward and if you are very lucky it is possible to view the complete circular bow.
If anyone has such a photo, please let me know.
See some other light effects in this earlier post.
Full circle rainbow
Here is a full rainbow circle captured from an airplane.

Pink gerbera dasies-macro photography

Pink gerbera flowers for Thanksgiving!

Gerbera daisies are one of my favorite flowers, though we have them only in the flower shop.
Gerbera flower is native to South Africa and it is member of Asteraceae family, just like sunflowers, daisies, chrysanthemums and asters.
I like the bold and striking appearance of these daisy-like flowers.
Here are a few gerbera macros, a Thanksgiving gift for everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Pink gerbera macro photo
Pink gerbera daisy close-up

Gazania, the treasure flower - macro photos

The gazania, or treasure flower is another amazing artwork of mother nature.
This vividly colored,exotic flower still holds strong these days, despite the short periods of freezing. Gazania is native of South Africa but it grows everywhere and provides great beauty with almost no care. The only thing they need is sunshine.
Yellow gazania close-up macroOrange gazania close-up macro

A typical characteristic of the Gazania flowers is that they close up on overcast days and in the evenings, just like tulips, dandelions and many other flowers do.
I took these photos some weeks ago when these beautiful, vividly colored, daisy-like flowers were still smiling.

Yellow gazania macro

Look at this unreal, wild color combination with splashy stripes or rings of contrasting colors.
The Gazania flowers bloom in many solid colors from bold, brilliant yellows to oranges, reds, pinks and more.

Bright yellow gazania close-upOrange-red gazania close-up
Red gazania pattern close-upGazania pattern close-up

See some more gazania macros and their reflection in a raindrop.

Notice the shadow - light is the reason!

Light and shadow; that is a fascinating subject.
Light is everything. Light means color and shadow.
I've just found this great meme called "Shadow Shot Sunday" at Hey Harriet blog, with stunning light/ shadow images.
Light and shadow make things come to life on a photo and they are on everything.Shadows and lights on autumn leaves Even though we don't notice them, subtle shadows help create a physical existence, bring substance to photos.
Without its shadow an object is not defined in space, it seams to float in thin air.
Light and shadow add visual interest and provide dimension, perspective.
Butterfly close-up

The appearance of light and shadow tells us a lot about the surfaces and textures of the elements in a composition and also guide the eye to the focal point.
The softer the light, the softer the shadow. The stronger the light, the darker and sharper the shadow and these strong shadows create amazing forms.

Shadows and lights in the park

Visit Shadow Shot Sunday for many beautiful light/shadow shots.

For beautiful scenery photos from all around the world visit Scenic Sunday.


Afternoon walk-last colors of autumn

Some more autumn colors and sunny days before the colorless winter definitely takes them away from us.Last autumn leavesAutumn trees-yellow leaves
Sunny autumn day-river sceneEnjoying the last sunny days on the banks of the Somesul Mic river.

Search for photos, macro photos or paintings.


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