Osprey Hovering In Flight

photograph of an Osprey hovering in flight, copyright 2016 by Doug Couvillion

Osprey’s are one of many fishing birds that will hover in mid-air when they see a potential meal.  To stop themselves they push their wings forward which creates the dramatic shape displayed here.

If you click on the image, above, you can see a larger version of the photo, which shows more detail.


Just Above The Waves

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I love watching pelicans glide effortlessly over the ocean.  They hang in the air, sometimes just inches off the water, bobbing up and down with the passing waves.


Making The Mandala

I normally post a single photograph at a time but today we visited the Virginia Holocaust Museum where a group of Tibetan monks was working on a mandala.  It was an inspiration to witness the patience, concentration and precision of the monks at work.  To give you a better feel for the whole scene I decided to post a series of photos.

The Tibetan Buddhist art of mandala is a practice in which the participants create an elaborate, beautiful mosaic of colored sand.   They work on the mandala for many days, adding little bits of colored sand to fill in each section.  The sand is added slowly and precisely to create crisp, clear lines.  When the mandala is finished the monks sweep up the sand and discard it in a river.  The process is both meditative and a practice in impermanence.

This monk was working alone when we arrived.  His concentration was remarkable.

photograph of a Tibetan monk concentrating on adding sand to a mandala

Despite the crowd of people watching, the monks remained focused on the task at hand.

photograph of a crowd watching Tibetan monks make a mandala

One of the monks gets more blue sand to add to the mandala.

photograph of a Tibetan monk getting colored sand to use for a mandala

Up to three monks worked on the mandala at a time.

photograph of two Tibetan monks working on a mandala

photograph of Tibetan monks working on a mandala

Here you can see some of the vibrant colored sand used to create the mandala.

photograph of the colored sand used by Tibetan monks to make a Mandala

I’ll leave you with a classic Buddhist wish, part of the metta bhavana, or “loving kindness”, practice…

May you be well.

May you be happy.

May you be free from suffering.


Morning At The Huguenot Bridge

photograph of Richmond's Huguenot Bridge taken from the James River

Canada Geese preen and sun themselves on rocks below the Huguenot Bridge early one August morning.


Grackle In The Surf

photograph of a Grackle in the surf in Corolla, NC, USA, copyright 2016 by Doug Couvillion

This Grackle seems to have learned a few things from the Sanderlings on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  It waited for the waves to bring tiny mollusks and crustaceans into the shore and then tried to catch them before they dug into the sand.  I captured this image just as the Grackle realized the wave was a little too big.


Pink Cattleheart, I

Photograph of a Pink Cattle Heart butterfly

The Pink Cattleheart is a large, black butterfly with striking red, pink and white markings.


Little Brown Butterfly, I

Photograph of a small, brown butterfly

I haven’t been able to identify this butterfly.  It was at the Butterflies LIVE exhibit at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden so it may not be native to the United States.  If anybody knows the species I’d appreciate a comment.


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