Konstanz

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An impressive city that lies on the edge of Lake Bodensee and borders Switzerland. Lakeside it reminded me very much of Lausanne on lake Geneva but it was much nicer in many ways, despite a rather grey overcast day.

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The Imperia statue that towers over the harbour entrance.

I think ‘magnificent’ is the best word to describe this rotating work of art, although I am sure it is not everyone’s cup of tea. I thought it was one of the most interesting sculptures I have ever seen. I particularly liked that it rotated slowly once every four minutes, something I have not seen before, making it a sort of kinetic sculpture. Its rotation was hardly perceptible but once you noticed it had moved it had a surreal lifelike quality.

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The origins of the statue are also very interesting. Check out Wikipedia.

The lake, which is more like an inland sea and the surrounding marshes that divide Germany from Switzerland are a haven for bird life with many varieties of ducks, divers and seabirds.

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The red crested pochard (above) and (below) three expert divers: The great crested grebe, cormorant and a merganser. Just a small sample of the many species I saw in the space of just an hour.

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Meanwhile lurking in the harbour were plenty of huge fish. The one shown below was at least a meter long but I have no idea what type of fish it was, although a passerby did mention carp.

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There is no shortage of interesting architecture and picturesque places to visit. The old town covers quite a large area and is right next to the lake’s edge.

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… and you can take a ferry to Switzerland from here or simply just walk to the border in five minutes from the main station …

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… an early morning highspeed catamaran leaves Konstanz harbour for Friedrichshafen.

 

2020 vision

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As I prepare to create my 2020 calendar, I discover I am lost for ideas. I want to move away from the wildlife theme for next year but struggle to find a new theme.

I was considering landscape textures and moving more towards an abstract arty theme but have yet to create anything that looks halfway interesting. So this afternoon, just for fun, I tried texture painting some landscape photos onto spheres in Blender 2.8.

If nothing else it helped me better understand how this function works. So here’s a small sample of some of the spheres, which used among others, snow, rice field and bird photos. Would it make a calendar? Probably not, but hopefully it may lead to some other ideas.

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Sud France

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The scenery is spectacular along the south coast of France as I head from Barcelona to Montpellier. Water stretches both side of the train and occasionally it seems like we are traveling in some sort of high speed boat. Masses of flamingos, herons, egrets and birds of prey can be seen along the marshy strips of land. A nature paradise, perfect for wading birds and ducks.

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Flamingos group together on an inshore lake as the sun sets behind them.

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Two flamingos wade in shallow water with their heads down.

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What appears to be a siege of herons heading south, maybe for the winter. Below more flamingos on the waters edge.

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Return to the Outback

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Rattling along at 300kph through the outback on my return leg.

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I have taken loads of interesting photos along the way but unfortunately I forgot to take my camera cable for transferring the images. So here are a couple of mobile phone shots until I download the other images. Even at 300kph it is possible to capture quite good images of the Spanish outback because the landscape is huge, so only passing trees tend to blur which give them a nice sense of speed too …

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… a perfect sunset as we near the Camargue and southern France.

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Barcelona – Malaga

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Sweltering hot sunshine outside Barcelona station but a landscape of water does much to help temper the heat. I have yet to discover what those bizarre towers are dotted around this concrete and water landscape. They look like lighthouses but are too far from the sea for that.

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An almost empty restaurant car and very relaxed journey headed for Barcelona.

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Traveling in style at high speed through the heart of Spain’s outback. Scenery that never fails to impress me despite much of it being desert-like and barren. The restaurant car is always a great place to record the passing scenes and have a cup of coffee of course.

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Olive trees can be seen littering the hard baked sandy earth inland …

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… and sometimes there is little sign of vegetation.

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Autumn

It’s a mild autumn day and perfect for a stroll among the falling leaves. The squirrels are out in force today and the first one I encounter is just a few feet from my doorway. After that I see several more collecting nuts ready for their winter hibernation.

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It is still so mild that even butterflies are out and I also see another hummingbird hawk moth but fail to photograph it. However while sorting through my images I came across two nice photos I had overlooked in my eagerness to post the previous humming hawk moth photos.

Meanwhile I reflect on today’s welcome news that eleven supreme court judges have unanimously ruled against Boris Johnson. I think it is the first time I have felt any relief since the start of the whole Brexit saga. It is a great day for the rule of law, if not democracy.

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Just minding his own business … zen-like.

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‘Nuts whole hazel nuts’ … a mouthful of nuts ready for winter

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The hummingbird hawk moth close up from my last encounter.

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Note the particularly long proboscis.

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A red admiral butterfly seen for the first time this year.

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A jay finds a convenient wooden handrail to perch on.

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… and sheep are doing their best to keep the grass trimmed on the hillsides.