Category Archives: Animals

Cherry Blossoms for Kyoto

September 29, 1997 – May 12, 2013


Cherry trees bloom en masse in early spring in Japan, but the white-to-coral petals shed and die very quickly and the peak bloom is only a week or two. There is a celebration called hanami associated with the peak bloom, which often entails picnics and drinking with old friends under the cherry trees.

Sakura season is a highly visible sign of spring, the beauty of nature, renewal of life, and first love…but can also represent the transience and fragility of beauty, life, and love.

Sakura evokes both the new beginning of spring and the transience of passing from one stage of life to another.

Godspeed, Cherry Blossom Princess.


The Dog in the Road

Google Plus is a paradise for photographers and artists. The richness of sharing of images and dialogue is seductive.

The photographers and artists that I go back to over and over for inspiration end up in my “Favourites” circle. And I want to share one with you.

Anssi Lehtonen doesn’t say very much about himself, but his photographs speak for him. There are superb macros and domestic tableaux that stop you in your tracks with secondary meanings. Superb execution, visual irony, and more than a trace of the wild.

Anssi’s image of the dog waiting in the road touched me deeply, as it will touch all of you who have known canine companionship.

For more of Anssi’s images, visit



The spiral staircase at the Art Gallery of Ontario, shot from below with my Nikon D300s and tarted up in Photoshop to look like a rainbow nautilus shell. The stair, by Frank Gehry, is 11 residential floors high.

The curvature and pearly sheen of this image reminded me of a nautilus shell, although the spiral is not the same. The nautilus shell, in fact, presents one of the finest natural examples of a logarithmic spiral.

According to Wikipedia, nautiluses are the sole living cephalopods whose bony body structure is externalized as a shell. The animal can withdraw completely into its shell and close the opening with a leathery hood formed from two specially folded tentacles. The shell is coiled, aragonitic, nacreous and pressure resistant. The nautilus shell is composed of 2 layers: a matte white outer layer, and a striking white iridescent inner layer. The innermost portion of the shell is a pearlescent blue-gray. The osmena pearl, contrarily to its name, is not a pearl, but a jewellery product derived from this part of the shell.

Internally, the shell divides into camerae (chambers), the chambered section being called the phragmocone. The divisions are defined by septa, each of which is pierced in the middle by a duct, the siphuncle. As the nautilus matures it creates new, larger camerae, and moves its growing body into the larger space, sealing the vacated chamber with a new septum. The camerae increase in number from around four at the moment of hatching to thirty or more in adults.

Image: Copyright Jan McCartney 2012 All rights reserved.

Caught: The Paintings of Heiko Müller

I’m inspired by painter Heiko Müller whose work turns over the log of Mother Nature and exposes quite another world. His work is informed by renaissance and flemish art as well as comic culture, and you will find hints of Durer and Ensor.

This one, though, caught my attention today as I look forward to the opening, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, of the paintings of Jack Chambers, a local artist whose art film, The Hart of London, exposed our uneasy relationship with nature as our towns encroach on habitats. This is particularly poignant today as we read about the 50 animals from an exotic zoo in Zanesville, Ohio, most of whom were summarily gunned down by police after their owner set them loose then committed suicide.

Like the doe that was hit by a car then shot four hours later by police a few blocks from my house last month. Like The Hart of London.

Laika’s First Snowfall

Need to get to your Buddha Place? Here’s Laika the husky puppy.

Chasing Ambulances

Heather Pyrcz, from Nights on Prospect Street

It’s sad but not unexpected to see American news aggregators and marketing companies coming out of the woodwork to feed off the tragedy in Japan, perpetuating Facebook rumours and vitriol to generate advertising click-through revenue from a self-absorbed mob. The Japanese, who have other things on their minds right now besides the arrogant demands for a news scoop, must just be shaking their heads.

Please move on to the story of Knut or some cute You Tube video. You know who you are.

Softbank Dog

Night Sky:



More Softbank Dog videos by Tsuresu

H/T to The Misanthropic Shiba!