pezzcado
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Island Hopping Koh Kham, Thailand

My New Year trip with family at this amazing island, Koh Kham, in Sattahip, Thaiand. Clear blue water and white sand make this place a heaven on earth
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@pezzcado cool thanks! I've pretty much only ever used Nikons but I'm always curious
@shannonl5 Thank you :) I use Fuji X-A2.
These photos are so great! What kind of camera do you use?
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Larix kaempferi - Japanese larch, Karamatsu (Japanese)
Conservation Status Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern This species has a fairly restricted range in central Honshu, Japan. It is an extremely important timber tree and although it has been heavily exploited over time, there has been supplemental re-planting of the species essentially for commercial reasons. The provenance of the supplemental material is unknown, and it is likely that this comes from forestry sources, which is most likely improved or at least had some selection involved. It is impossible to distinguish natural trees from planted individuals, and there is also inter-breeding, so effectively the whole population is slowly being altered over time to being of mixed genetic origin. To what degree this genetic contamination results in any genetic decline is not known. As it is impossible to distinguish between the wild population and the introduced population, the species has to either be assessed as Data Deficient or Least Concern. Larix kaempferi is a species of mesic sites, occurring from the hills to high in the mountains (500 m to 2,300 m a.s.l.), on the south face of Fuji san it reaches 2,900 m. Unlike the other NE Asiatic larches it occupies better soils, often of recent volcanic origin, and is never found on peat. It is commonly found in association with other conifers, e.g. Pinus densiflora, Picea jezoensis subsp. hondoensis, Tsuga diversifolia, Abies homolepis at lower elevations, and Abies veitchii at higher elevations, but it is clearly a sub-climax species. Several broad-leaved tree genera are present at the lower elevations, e.g. Quercus, Fagus and Betula. Pure 'scrub stands' may occur at the upper limit of trees. Has been heavily exploited in the past for its timber – was used for house building, etc. But after logging, seedlings were planted back in the area again. So although the natural population has been logged, because there has been supplemental planting the exploitation can be considered not to have been that damaging as far as we can tell. The question is whether or not the seedlings were from the same subpopulation or were from a different subpopulation, or worse yet, from cultivated (improved) sources. Without further knowledge about the provenance of the seedling material one has to assume that these are introductions and thus over the long-term the population remains fairly stable. Phytopthora ramorum has been recorded to be sporulating in Larix kaempferi plants planted in Europe: if this were to spread to the native population in Japan, it could pose a problem. Japanese larch is an important timber tree in Japan and in Europe (Scotland), where it has been introduced in 1834. The wood is similar to that of European larch and is used for construction, railway sleepers, pit props and the pulp industry. It is also a frequently planted amenity tree in parks and large gardens and a limited number of cultivars are known. In Scotland, a spontaneous hybrid occurred around 1900 between Larix kaempferi and Larix decidua which was named Larix x eurolepis Henry (but is correctly named Larix x marschlinsii Coaz based on an earlier crossing event) and shows marked F1 hybrid vigour or heterosis. Its seed cones resemble those of Larix kaempferi with recurved scale apices, but are larger. This fast growing hybrid became much favoured by foresters and has been propagated and planted widely in many parts of Europe, often involving back-crosses with either parents. Despite this greater production of timber per ha/year of the hybrid, Japanese larch remains an important plantation tree for timber on poorer soils, where neither the hybrid not the other parent do so well and where much of Europe's plantation forestry is situated (the better soils being occupied by agriculture mostly for food crops). Part of the range falls inside a protected area, but much is outside. Larix kaempferi has also been planted back into the Yatsukaga-Chushin Kogen Quasi National Park. https://conifersgarden.com/encyclopedia/larix/larix-kaempferi
Collection of Late Philanthropist Don Marron
The Wall Street Journal described three New York galleries as "longtime rivals" for selling the collection of late philanthropist Donald Marron. Pace, Gagosian, and Acquavella planned to privately sell over 300 works totaling US $450 million. Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Ed Ruscha, etc. are among the artists included. How exactly the trio managed to pull it off, particularly with competition from Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips, may never be public knowledge. “The joy of private sales,” quipped Pace president Marc Glimcher. Many in the industry were surprised by this agreement. In recent news reports, three prominent auction houses were reported to have engaged in aggressive negotiations. The Wall Street Journal report noted that the houses guaranteed that at least $300 million would be paid for the paintings by Donald Marron's widow, Catie Marron. The auction house may be assertive because of its new owner, Patrick Dahi, and the need to make a big splash in its first year. Michael Plummer, the co-founder of Arvest Partners, saw potential in a Christie's partnership. According to a report that cites Pinault, "We know [Christie's owner François] and his family like taking risks on big deals." There are good reasons for the auction houses to be aggressive. According to Artnet Analytics, 35% fewer lots crossed the auction block in 2013 with an estimate above $10 million than in 2012. Additionally, many are concerned that Brexit, Coronavirus, and the upcoming US elections will continue to impact markets. The three New York galleries who won the rights to the collection are framing it as a critique of the auction model, which will make matters worse for auction houses. Glimcher said one of the main reasons the trio teamed up was to "make a point" about how galleries can compete with auction houses. Glimcher told the Wall Street Journal that the talk about numbers and bidding was uninspiring to [Catie Marron's widow]. “Private sales are private, and sometimes that’s an advantage.” A previous report from Artnet highlighted the conceivable procurement of Donald Marron's assortment by a significant sales management firm as motivation to anticipate a turnaround "from a genuinely fair 2019." Now, those expectations lie in the assortment of land big shots Harry and Linda Macklowe, whose separate from procedures prompted a court-requested offer of their assortment, worth an expected $700 million. Artnet anticipates that those pieces should go to sell as right on time as spring. In the interim, Pace, Gagosian, and Acquavella get ready for the offer of Don Marron's 300+ piece assortment. The threesome will have an occasion on April 24th, observing Marron's achievement. In spite of the fact that it is indistinct which compositions or drawings will feature the occasion. Furthermore, the exhibitions likewise are not precluding the chance of selling a few pieces before that date. They can't bear to sell the assortment gradually. Among a couple of subtleties, we think about the association is that Pace, Gagosian, and Acquavella consented to purchase any piece from Catie Marron that they can't sell. "It was a large chunk of change, so we need to convey—we can't send any works back to her," Bill Acquavella of Acquavella Galleries told the Wall Street Journal. Be that as it may, while it is a tumultuous time for the exhibitions, it is additionally a significant second to respect the memory of Don Marron. Marron established the Wall Street firm D.B. Marron and Co. in 1959. His initial gathering enthusiasm lay in Hudson River compositions. In any case, he developed to see the value in more present-day pieces as time passed by. He proceeded to assist PaineWebber for more than 20 years with their assortment as the organization's administrator. What's more, he filled in as the leader of the Museum of Modern Art, where he likewise gave pieces from his assortment. He passed on of a coronary failure last December, matured 85. Media Source: AuctionDaily
Top 5 Native Water Plants for Your Garden
Water gardens have been famous in both private and public locations since ancient times. Water has always been calming to all of our senses. Water also provides for the life that lives around your pond. With their unique colors and forms, water plants offer a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors that will make your water garden an incredible oasis. There are so many native water plants that are used all over the world to make the gardens more alive and green. Here, you can read about the five best water plants for your garden or pond that raise the beauty of nature and give oxygen to the environment. Monkey Flower With several different native species you have options when it comes to flower color. Monkey Flower is an upright perennial that attracts Butterflies, Bees and other pollinators.Mimulus on average grow up to 18-24 inches, does well in shady areas. Arrow Arum This perennial plant grows best in bogs and shallow water, reaching heights of 2-3 feet on average. This water garden plant gets its name from its arrow shaped leaves. At one time there were 40 different varieties along with different colored blooms. Also does well in shady areas. Bog Bean They naturally grow in boggy and watery areas and have 3 parted green leaves and white to pinkishstar shaped flowers. Flowers generally late spring to late summer.Menyanthes trifoliate also known as buckbean is a very hardy plant that does well in full sun to part shade Golden Club A common emergent water plant that grows with green erect strapped like leaves that float on top of the water. With a waxy texture the leaves repel water. Orontiumaquaticumflowers are long and cylindrical with tiny yellow flowers. Give it full sun for best flower color. Horsetail Horsetail is one of the oldest surviving plant life forms and one of the most requested pond plants. A very hardy and easy to care for true aquatic plant. Stems can remain green even in cold climates, whether you choose the hymale (full size) or the scirpoides (dwarf) variety plant they will offer a great contrast in your pond. Both do well in sun to part shade. Conclusion So, these are some of the best native aquatic plants that you can put into your pond. Consider the size of the plant, water depth and the amount of sun they require when selecting waterplants for your pond. Now, it's your turn to make your water garden plant more attractive with these beautiful water plants.
Pinus durangensis - Durango pine, Pino blanco, Pino real (Spanish)
Conservation Status Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened The large extent of occurrence and the area of occupancy based on comprehensive locality sampling and a grid width of 10 km because this is a forest forming species, both place it outside a threatened category. However, exploitation has reduced formerly “extensive pure forests in Durango and southern Chihuahua… to only scattered, open stands over most of its range” (Perry 1991). It is therefore listed as Near Threatened as it nearly meets the criteria A2cd; B2ab(ii,iii,v) for listing as threatened. Although this decline has not ceased there is insufficient data to allocate one of the threatened categories. The change in status since the previous assessment of Least Concern, can therefore be seen as a genuine recent change. Populations have been substantially reduced within the last 25 years due to exploitation, fires and forest clearance. The decline is ongoing. In the Sierra Madre this species is an important constituent of the 'yellow pine' forest, where it occurs in pure stands or mixed with several other species of pine, e.g. Pinus arizonica, Pinus leiophylla, and Pinus engelmannii, or in pine-oak forests. This pine is adapted to grow on shallow, rocky soils, but its better stands are found on deeper soils, where it can successfully compete with most other pines. The soils are mostly derived from volcanic rock. At the highest elevation Pinus durangensis occurs with Abies and/or Cupressus lusitanica, at the lowest with Juniperus deppeana and Pinus oocarpa. Other pines are Pinus montezumae, Pinus teocote and in the southern part of its range Pinus ayacahuite can occur with it. In addition this species is associated with Quercus sideroxyla, Quercus rugosa, Pinus ayacahuite and Pseudotsuga (Garcia and Gonzalez 2003). Durango pine is an important timber tree. It grows straight and tall and is (or was) abundant and wide spread in many areas within its range. Logging from natural stands at the current rate is unsustainable and plantations are now being attempted in the state of Durango. The timber is used for construction such as roof beams, general carpentry, furniture, floors, and plywood. This species is virtually unknown in horticulture. https://conifersgarden.com/rare-conifers/pinus-durangensis
Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah
The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco. Located in the foothills on the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the Province of Ouarzazate, the site of Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley. The Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. The ksar is a mainly collective grouping of dwellings. Inside the defensive walls which are reinforced by angle towers and pierced with a baffle gate, houses crowd together - some modest, others resembling small urban castles with their high angle towers and upper sections decorated with motifs in clay brick - but there are also buildings and community areas. It is an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques. The oldest constructions do not appear to be earlier than the 17th century, although their structure and technique were propagated from a very early period in the valleys of southern Morocco. The site was also one of the many trading posts on the commercial route linking ancient Sudan to Marrakesh by the Dra Valley and the Tizi-n'Telouet Pass. Architecturally, the living quarters form a compact grouping, closed and suspended. The community areas of the ksar include a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts, a fortification and a loft at the top of the village, an caravanserai, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish) and the Sanctuary of the Saint Sidi Ali or Amer. The Ksar of Ait- Ben-Haddou is a perfect synthesis of earthen architecture of the pre-Saharan regions of Morocco. Criterion (iv): The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is an eminent example of a ksar in southern Morocco illustrating the main types of earthen constructions that may be observed dating from the 17th century in the valleys of Dra, Todgha, Dadès and Souss. Criterion (v): The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou illustrates the traditional earthen habitat, representing the culture of southern Morocco, which has become vulnerable as a result of irreversible socio-economic and cultural changes Integrity (2009) All the structures comprising the ksar are located within the boundaries of the property and the buffer zone protects its environment. The earthen buildings are very vulnerable due to lack of maintenance and regular repair resulting from the abandonment of the ksar by its inhabitants. The CERKAS (Centre for the conservation and rehabilitation of the architectural heritage of atlas and sub-atlas zones) monitors, with difficulty, respect for the visual integrity of the property. Authenticity (2009) In comparison to other ksour of the region, the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou has preserved its architectural authenticity with regard to configuration and materials. The architectural style is well preserved and the earthen constructions are perfectly adapted to the climatic conditions and are in harmony with the natural and social environment. The large houses in the lower part of the village, with well conserved decorative motifs, are regularly maintained. The construction materials used still remain earth and wood. The inclination to introduce cement has so far been unsuccessful, thanks to the continued monitoring of the «Comité de contrôle des infractions» (Rural Community, Town Planning Division, Urban Agency, CERKAS). Only a few lintels and reinforced concrete escaped its vigilance, but they have been hidden by earthen rendering. Particular attention is also paid to doors and windows giving on to the lanes, to ensure that the wood is not replaced by metal. Protection and management requirements (2009) Protection measures essentially relate to the different laws for the listing of historic monuments and sites, in particular the Law 22-80 concerning Moroccan heritage. The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou currently has a five-year management plan (2007-2012). This management plan is the result of two years of reflection and workshops involving all the persons and institutions concerned with the future of the site, in particular the local populations. The recommendations of this plan are being implemented. Furthermore, two management committees have been established (a local committee and a national one) in which all the parties are represented and cooperate in decision-making. As well as managing the property, CERKAS ensures coordination in the implementation of this management plan. visit our site for more informations...
Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory 185mm & 600mm Lens Tests
ABOVE - The Griffith Observatory sits in Griffith Park above Los Angeles and is surrounded by miles of hiking trails from which you can snap shots of the amazing view. In 1896 Colonel Griffith J. Griffith donated 3,015 acres of land on the South face of Mount Hollywood for the specific use of building an astronomy observatory for the public. His desire was to make astronomy more accessible to the masses and in his will he stipulated that the Observatory always be free to the public. Opened in 1935 the Griffith Observatory offers one of the best views of the Los Angeles basin and skyline in addition to offering the best public access view of the now famous "Hollywood Sign", and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean to the West. I took two old all-manual Pentax lenses that I'd had converted over to Canon EOS mount lenses to test their focus sharpness and overall quality. There are several reasons why old non-automatic focus lenses that can be converted to Nikon or Canon mount should be including economy and optical quality. First thing is first - why would you choose to shoot with an all-manual lens when there are numerous AF lenses that provide better metering, better color representation, and better center to edge quality? The most compelling answer is money. The images above were shot with a $25 camera shop discount bin lens. Add another $20 for a quality Pentax M42 screw mount to Canon EOS mount adapter (one with the contact strip that tricks the camera into metering through the lens) and you've got a 185mm f/3.5 lens for $45 that takes sharp, crisp, beautiful photos. Unless you are a still photographer that likes taking their time to set up a shot these "discount bin" lenses are really much more appealing to the videographer on a budget. Since the "movie mode" on most DSLR cameras emulates true motion picture digital cameras and only shoots in full manual mode, the playing field is leveled and these lenses can become the better choice. Especially if you are going to shoot in a location where you may not want to expose a ridiculously expensive lens to the elements. ABOVE - Always fun to capture a moment like this - a hiker takes a photo of the LA cityscape below him with his cell phone while about 1/2 a mile above him I take a photo of him taking a photo. These are the moments a photojournalist lives for. Unplanned, unscripted... just being at the right place at the right time. The Griffith Observatory is a great place to get panoramic shots of Los Angeles. LA is an amazing city where the sprawl of urban development meets the beauty of the ocean and mountains of the Pacific Coast. The photos above were shot with the same 185mm Pentax lens as the previous group. This lens when opened up to f/16 provided a high level of optical clarity from center to frame edge. Everyone has heard about "smog" - and for many years LA has been ranked as one of the worst cities in North America of air quality. An estimated 122 days of each year the mix of automobile emissions, ozone, and fine particulate matter conspire to tip the LA basin's air quality over the American Lung Association's levels of acceptable air pollution. The good news is that LA has been one of the most aggressive cities in the United States in fighting air pollution and over the past two decades it has improved each year. LA, which topped the list of large US cities with the worst air quality, has been moving down the list from the top spot for several years now. Ozone pollution is 1/3 less and fine particulate matter is 1/2 less than levels recorded 15 years ago. The thing about air pollution is that heat from sunlight makes it worse... so hot, sunny, summer days are the days where smog becomes a factor, especially if the air is stagnate and devoid of significant breezes. You can see in some of the photos above that there appears to be odd dark spaces in various sections of the frame... this is air pollution. These photos were taken on one of the hottest days of the summer and therefore air quality was affected. But don't let it stop you from visiting LA... the city for more than 2/3rds of the year has air that meets or exceeds the guidelines set for air quality by the American Lung Association. ABOVE - After taking several shots with the Pentax 185mm f/3.5 lens it was time to test the hulking monster of a telescope that is the Vivitar 600mm f/8 lens. The sharpness was pretty poor. The length was cumbersome and truthfully it just wasn't a very well made lens. But for $50 - it's a freakin' telescope! LOL. I think using it for pure knock around stuff like watching a sporting event from the hill behind the stadium - it's perfect. Shooting professional quality images that you can use commercially - no so much. There's an interesting phenomenon in Los Angeles that has to do with real estate... the higher you can place your house on a hill; the more valuable your house (and property) are. What is really interesting about most of LA that you almost never see in movies and TV is just how mountainous the area is. The neighborhoods surrounding Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory are all connected by snaking mountain roads. I took photos starting at the base of the mountain that the observatory sits on and started working my way, street by street back towards the base of the observatory. It's about 1/2 mile down the slope where the homes end and the protected land of the observatory and park start. As you move closer to the top of that boundary, the homes become larger and more grandiose. Some of the houses sit on estate sized properties with garden paths, gazebos, and pools. Others are terraced and appear to sit right on top of each other. Granted, these homes cost upwards of $10-20 million dollars each. In the end I kept the 185mm lens and sold the 600mm lens. The 600mm - although quite capable of bringing far away subjects in close, lacked the sharpness and detail I'd have preferred for a video or astronomy lens (another thing a super-telephoto is useful for). In regards to the Griffith Observatory - it is an amazing landmark and utterly beautiful facility that is one of the 10 must-see attractions (in my opinion) when you visit Los Angeles. The views are stunning and if you are worried about air pollution - don't be - the Observatory sits high enough and far enough away from the city that air pollution isn't a factor there. BELOW - A stitched panorama made with about 10 individual shots taken with a Nikon 105mm f/2.5 lens. This is about 90 degrees of the view from the Griffith Observatory. © Copyright, Jon Patrick Hyde, 2015