Autumn sunrise

I love autumn. The colors in the sky, the colors on earth… they’re magical.

Autumn sunrise
Autumn sunrise over the old nut tree. (Shot with Pixel 4; minor post-processing.)

This morning, it was the sky.

What if cameras were able to show what we see with our own eyes? Hélas! Ce n’est pas possible… pas encore.

P.S. Five minutes later… and the colors were gone.

Autumn sunrise, 5 minutes later
Only five minutes later…

The forest of Marchaevo (a short photowalk)

On 11/Sep./2021, we went to Marchaevo village. There is a nice forest right next to the village where we may go every once in a while. It’s not a very popular place so we could enjoy some peace and quiet — which is always a nice thing. :-)))

The forest of Marchaevo: An experiment with ants, beginning.
An experiment — let’s give some tangerines and bread to the red-black ants… and see what happens a couple of hours later!

The forest of Marchaevo:
Just a crop of the previous photo. I love all the details that the Pixel 4 was able to capture in this macro.

The forest of Marchaevo: Onopordum acanthium.
A Scottish thistle, also known as Onopordum acanthium.

The forest of Marchaevo: Brambles.
Brambles. They were tasty, too, not only beautiful!

The forest of Marchaevo: The Peaceful Forest
“The Peaceful Forest”

The forest of Marchaevo: The Peaceful Forest, Part II
“The Peaceful Forest, Part II”

The forest of Marchaevo: A magical web.
A magical web.

The forest of Marchaevo: Birches at sunset.
Birches at sunset.

The forest of Marchaevo: The experiment with ants, three hours later.
The experiment, three hours later — the bread has 100% disappeared; while the tangerines were still work-in-progress. :-)

The forest of Marchaevo: A deer.
A deer, staring at our car!

When we were going back to Sofia, Ani suddenly saw a deer! A young beautiful deer. We have never seen a deer around these places — but lo and behold! here it was. We tried a shot or two, but of course, a digital zoom is no match to an optical one and the photos were blurry and pixelated. Still… more important is that we saw this beautiful animal. :-)

The deer stared at us for a minute or two, and we stared at the deer. Then it left — jumping elegantly, it soon disappeared in the woods next to this meadow.

This was the most magical thing of that day…

*update* (10:37): Ani made a better photo — still blurry but it’s better, here’s a crop:

The forest of Marchaevo: A deer. [photo by Ani]

Jean-Paul Belmondo is no more…

Jean-Paul Belmondo died yesterday, at the age of 88.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/06/movies/jean-paul-belmondo-dead.html

A few quotes from this article published in the New York Times:

Later in his career Mr. Belmondo professed an unpretentious modesty, shrugging off his success, but at his box-office height in the 1960s, he was anything but modest. In an interview with the film critic Rex Reed in 1966, he all but sneered at American fans who were lining up to see his movies. “I do not blame them,” he said, puffing on a cigar and stretching out his long legs underneath a table at Harry’s Bar in Venice. “I am worth standing in line to see.”

***

More and more Mr. Belmondo became known for popular adventures, usually comic thrillers. And he became famous for elaborate stunts in which he took great pride in performing himself. He hung from skyscrapers, leapt across speeding trains, drove cars off hillsides. Co-stars said he seemed all but fearless. While shooting one scene in South America, he was warned that a river, into which he was about to plunge for a scene, was filled with poisonous snakes and piranha. Mr. Belmondo grabbed a chunk of corned beef and slung it into the murky water. When nothing happened, he jumped in and filmed the scene.

***

A year later the marriage had ended in divorce. Mr. Belmondo had three children with Ms. Constantin. The eldest, Patricia, died in a fire in 1994, but their younger daughter, Florence, and a son, Paul, survive him. The divorce was rumored to have resulted from a romance by Mr. Belmondo with one of his co-stars, Ursula Andress. He and Ms. Andress did have a long-term public relationship after the divorce. He was later romantically involved with another actress, Laura Antonelli. But not until 2002, when he was 70 years old, did he marry again, to 24-year-old Nathalie Tardivel. That marriage ended in divorce six years later. They had a daughter, Stella, who also survives him.

As a kid, I watched quite a few movies with Jean-Paul who at this time was at the peak of his career, notably L’As des As (Ace of Aces) and a few others. I will miss his bright smile — but I can still re-watch some of his best movies…

Jean-Paul Belmondo in Ace of Aces (L'As des As)

Vitosha mountain, the plateau above Kumata chalet — a short walk

Yesterday, it was Tuesday, just a regular day full of work and other tasks. But the kid suggested in the morning, “Hey dad, can we go see the nice plateau near Kumata chalet? After you have finished work?” and I said, “Sure, why not?”.

And so we went there — we reached the plateau right before sunset, after harvesting quite a few wild raspberries along the path leading up. :-) The air was clear and fresh, the raspberries were perfect, and the sunset was beautiful.

All in all, it was a very good idea to run away from the big city for a couple of hours! (And while high up in the mountains, we could forget all the bad news of late…)

While we were heading home, we saw a wild baby fox crossing our road carefully — we don’t have a photo proof of this but some things should better be kept in our hearts and memory, I think…

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Vitosha, the plateau above Kumata chalet

Soon, more “afternoon adventures” like this one, I hope. :-)

The Moon and the Earth

Recently I stumbled upon this interesting project — “Earth” (http://www.tobyord.com/earth).

“Only 24 people have journeyed far enough to see the whole Earth against the black of space. The images they brought back changed our world.
Here is a selection of the most beautiful photographs of Earth — iconic images and unknown gems — digitally restored to their full glory.
— Toby Ord”

The Earth from the Moon -- Apollo 8, 24-Dec-1968

Apollo 8 — ‘Earthrise’

One of the most famous photographs of all time, it was taken by Bill Anders and is the first colour earthrise.
It is displayed here it is in its original orientation, with North up. We can see night falling across Africa and clouds over Europe and the Americas.
Because it was one of the first photographs of Earth in public circulation and highlighted its fragility by contrast with the barren lunar surface, Earthrise became an environmentalist icon.

‘It was the most beautiful, heart-catching sight of my life, one that sent a torrent of nostalgia, of sheer homesickness, surging through me.’
— Frank Borman, Apollo 8

‘We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the earth.’
— Bill Anders, Apollo 8

Visit the project’s page to see more stunning images of our home as viewed from the Moon 50 years ago!

Simona’s latest drawing — “Flowers”

I am so proud of our (now 9 years old, how time flies!) daughter, and so is Ani! Because, for some reason or another, she is not drawing much the last few weeks, but one evening (May 6th, 2021, to be exact), she sat down and started copying a nice drawing… and lo and behold! after at least two hours of careful, focused work, she was ready.

Simona's drawing -- 'Flowers'

This is a good drawing on many levels, and it made my heart sing! :-)

I believe that when we make art of any kind (be it music, drawing, writing, poetry, or anything else), we become better, more relaxed, more “zen”, if you like.

And, yes, Simona was copying another illustration, but so what? We all learn while we copy other people’s work, and it’s OK — and not only because Picasso said so years ago. We also create new things while copying, we better master our craft, and we create new value.

“The quote in this form was a favorite of Steve Jobs but he but he was probably (mis)quoting Pablo Picasso who said “Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal” – who in turn might be rephrasing Igor Stravinsky, but both sayings may well originate in T. S. Eliot’s dictum: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn.” – The origins of this quote itself is an example of great artists stealing.”
(# source)

I hope to see our daughter drawing again with such zeal, one of these days. Our world has become a bit dark place lately (and not only because of the COVID-19 pandemic, raging around the Earth since the beginning of 2020) so every little piece of art gives us more light. And we need this light. :-)

Today.txt

Brilliant advice!

If you do this and only this, today will be a good day.
https://johnhenrymuller.com/today

(Found it via @johnhenrymuller‘s Twitter.)

And the TXT is so simple:

“If nothing else, today I am going to ___________.
I am going to do this by ______ then _____ then ______.
If I do this and only this, today will be a good day.

Have a great day! :)”

I will definitely try this technique!