Tag Archives: photography

Sunburn – Factoids and Public Service Announcement…

Even when it’s lovely and cool you can still sunburn, so cover up or put on some sunscreen!

 

I went to a fly-in on Sunday, it was so windy I had to hold my hat most of the day. Other than the flying hat, it was gorgeous weather. Enjoyed watching the planes take off and land. Didn’t get fantastic photos, but I felt like I was on the hunt trying to catch them and get my timing right.

I also learned firsthand just how much debris a helicopter sends flying…

 

Noticed a few hours after getting home that I was *really* pink. Oops!

 

After hunting down my aloe and downing a lot of water, I remembered reading something about the specific cause of sunburn.

 

Sunburn is the body’s reaction to damage to the skin cells caused by UV-B light.

 

Ultraviolet light damages cells by messing with their DNA.

 

If there are two thymine (the T of the famous CGAT) bases in a row it can cause them to fuse together. This puts a kink in the DNA strand. That messes with reading and replication and is what either kills or irritates the cells.

 

(There’s a more complex discussion here if you’re so inclined. I first ran across this factoid in Sam Kean‘s new book, The Violinist’s Thumb. Scientists have found that whether or not damage occurs depends on just where two Ts are stacked together when the ultraviolet light strikes. It takes tiny segments of a second for the damage to occur, which is part of the reason you can sunburn so quickly.)

 

Almost all animals and plants have enzymes to fix T-T kinks in DNA, but along some evolutionary path mammals lost them. Which is why we all can sunburn. Yay?

There was also a bit of a car show, everything was scrunched together, but I loved the idea of the massively overhauled hot rod reflected in the staid still original paint of a classic car.

Leave a comment

Filed under Natural Science

A Garden

Not really in the mood to write or research, but wanted to at least pop by. So a photo I took awhile back at a sort of local farm, Edmondson’s to illustrate one of my favorite poems. Edmondson’s also happens to be my favorite place to get pumpkins, has been since a family friend took me as a kid.

 

H.P. Lovecraft always brings to my mind eldritch creatures with too many tentacles, creepy seaside communities and a haunting violin. And then there’s this poem a friend introduced me to years ago. For something completely different and haunting in it’s own way.

 

A Garden

 

by H. P. Lovecraft

 

There’s an ancient, ancient garden that I see sometimes in dreams,
Where the very Maytime sunlight plays and glows with spectral gleams;
Where the gaudy-tinted blossoms seem to wither into grey,
And the crumbling walls and pillars waken thoughts of yesterday.
There are vines in nooks and crannies, and there’s moss about the pool,
And the tangled weedy thicket chokes the arbour dark and cool:
In the silent sunken pathways springs a herbage sparse and spare,
Where the musty scent of dead things dulls the fragrance of the air.
There is not a living creature in the lonely space around,
And the hedge~encompass’d quiet never echoes to a sound.
As I walk, and wait, and listen, I will often seek to find
When it was I knew that garden in an age long left behind;
I will oft conjure a vision of a day that is no more,
As I gaze upon the grey, grey scenes I feel I knew before.
Then a sadness settles o’er me, and a tremor seems to start –

For I know the flow’rs are shrivell’d hopes – the garden is my heart.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

November Guests

It’s New England and late fall, that practically requires a mention of Robert Frost. So at risk of sounding terribly traditional, here is one of my favorite poems for the season.

My November Guest

 

My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,

            Thinks these dark days of autumn rain

As beautiful as days can be;

She loves the bare, the withered tree;

She walks the sodden pasture lane.

Her pleasure will not let me stay.

            She talks and I am fain to list:

She’s glad the birds are gone  away,

She’s glad her simple worsted gray

            Is silver now with clinging mist.

 

The desolate, deserted trees,

            The faded earth, the heavy sky,

The beauties she so truly sees,

She thinks I have no eye for these,

            And vexes me for reason why.

 

Not yesterday I learned to know

            The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow,

But it were vain to tell her so,

            And they are better for her praise.

(Robert Frost, A Boy’s Will, 1915)

 

I was both pleased and amused to find a like minded person when I went searching for pieces to assemble an etsy treasury on this poem. Someone else had gotten there first and come up with a marvelous collection of pieces. 

For another moment of seasonal show-and-tell, I wanted to share a photographer that I’ve had the pleasure of watching for quite awhile. My favorite images are her fungi, she’s quite the connoisseur. But her Autumn Path seemed most appropriate to accompany Frost, wrong continent though it may be.

Really Bad Feather Day III by MorrighanGW

Here’s another favorite photographer okay, and wirewrapper, she’s amazing at that too!  (It’s possibly very unfair.)

She takes wonderful bird and animal photographs that often brighten my day. Sometimes literally, she’s had a rash of gorgeously colored birds recently. Though the crabby owls, like this guy at the California Raptor Center will probably always be my favorites…  And sometimes I get to learn something new about about unusual species when I ask possibly silly questions. (She’s also very patient.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry