Kopjes

Catching Some Rays in the Serengeti

Lions sunning on top of a large rock, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

As we were driving across the Serengeti, we began to see huge boulders and isolated stacks of rocks jutting from the plains. They were a stark contrast to the endless grass covered plains. The granite and gneiss outcroppings in the western Serengeti are called kopjes. They are over 550 million years old; the surrounding rock/soil through which they protrude is over 1200 million years old. The ancient stacked rocks are the result of volcanic activity. Serengeti soil is composed of volcanic rock and ash covering an older layer of metamorphic rock. The softer rocks and ash eroded, revealing the granite kopjes. The rock formations are an important part of the Serengeti’s ecosystem. They provide habitat for a plants, animals, insects, birds and reptiles. Lions often use the kopjes as vantage points to look for game and predators and as lounging areas. The kopjes pictured here is one of the simpler formations we saw.

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Wonder of the Natural World

Migration

Migration, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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Uneven Surface

Bark

Bark, Coastal Redwood, Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Brea, CA

The soft, fibrous bark of the coastal redwood is fire resistant. Tannins in the bark, which can be up to 12 inches thick on a mature tree, help protect the tree from insect damage. California’s coastal redwood is the tallest tree on earth, reaching as high as a 30-story building. Trunks as wide as 27 feet have been noted. The bark in the photo is from a younger example of a tree that can reach 2000 years old. On older trees, the bark is bright orange-red.

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A Man’s Best Friend

A Man and His Dog

A Man and His Dog

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Tournament Ready

Knights In Shining Armor

Armor and weapons from the Museo Stibbert in Florence, Italy, is on display at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. The exhibit, “Knights in Armor,” runs through January 13, 2019. The Museo Stibbert ‘s collection of more than 50,000 items includes over 16,000 pieces of  armor and weaponry focusing on European, Japanese and Islamic armor from the 15th to 19th centuries. The collection belonged to Frederick Stibbert, an avid collector of armor and art, who was born in Florence in 1838. When Stibbert died in 1906, he willed his museum and collection to the municipality of Florence.

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Reflections

RiverSide Reflections

Reflections, Weisman Art Museum, designed by Frank Gehry (1993 and 2011), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

I have to admit, I am not a fan of Frank Gehry designs. And I am not a fan of where the University of Minnesota stuck the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum Gehry designed. It is out-of-sync with the Art Deco student union and the 1940 dormitory it sits between. Because it hangs on the edge of a bluff overlooking River Road and the Mississippi River, it does catch unobstructed reflections from the sky and the Washington Avenue Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River. The actual reflections on the brushed stainless steel panels are more subtle. I enhanced them for dramatic effect.

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