Beanblossoms Bottom Nature Preserve

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Southern Indiana is limestone country, and the rocky ground is sometimes less than ideal for farming. So people move north to Purdue, and the abandoned farms get converted into nature preserves.

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An excellent example is the Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve, fabulously maintained by the Sycamore Land Trust.

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The fact that we are in former farmland here means that the landscape is more uniform than in a natural wooded area, as all plants are roughly at the same age.

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Little drainage canals and ponds are perfect spots to witness rapid growth and decay.

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There is nothing spectacular here that would merit a visit say from New York. But if you are seeking a contemplative view, there will always be a new one.

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Paris at Night

Paris has many things to offer, and not few of them are best savored at night. One popular option is to take the RER to La Défense, and take a look at La Grande Arche.

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This monumental building was designed by Johann Otto von Spreckelsen and Erik Reitzel, and is one of several Grands Projets by France’s former president François Mitterrand.

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Its shape is inspired by a common projection of the hypercube into Euclidean space.

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Like every good piece of art, it is worth looking at from different angles.

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I took these pictures in the summer of 1991, just before a backpacking trip to the French Alps.

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The platform under the Grande Arche is typically so bright and the area behind so dark that
the casual visitor will not notice what the long time exposure reveals.

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Gestundete Zeit (Sand Art III)

My first digital camera was a Fuji Finepix 1400. Yes, the 1400 means that it had a staggering 1.4 Megapixels. That pretty much filled the screens these days, and also the memory cards. The first trip I took the camera to was to Amrum, an island in the North Sea. As I only had a really small memory card at first, I had to reduce the image size. Back then this was fine. Today they look puny.

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Visiting Amrum in winter seems like a dumb idea: No rolling in the dunes, no swimming in the sea during long summer nights. Instead, hikes along the frozen beach during brief days, and sauna in the evening.

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The tides flood the extended beaches and leave behind compelling patterns, which are brought out to perfection by the low sun.

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Freezing and thawing helps to make patterns that the waves alone don’t accomplish.

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The coastline looks like the alien landscape of a cratered moon.

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I wish I could come up with sculptures like these: Simple, but utterly compelling.

Trillium Sessile

Now that June has arrived, it is time to say goodbye to the trillium sessile, the most common trillium in Indiana.

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It is beautiful already in its budding state, where the characteristic 3-fold symmetry is broken.

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Like the four leaf clover, there is the rare exception of a quadrillium.

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Here is the same plant in full bloom.

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I have revisited the same spot in subsequent years, but haven’t seen it again. Some things are not meant for repetition.