Month: November 2012

Colony Collapse Disorder In Honeybees

The first photo here is of a modern beehive. Well, ‘modern’ is a relative term, and in this case it means that it is a design that has been around since the 1850s when the Reverend L. L. Langstroth noticed that when the space between two walls of a hive are further apart than about the width of a finger, bees will not ‘bridge’ the gap and build honeycomb between the walls. So with the discovery of the ‘bee space’ as it is called, beekeepers could build hives in slats that could be removed with the honeycomb intact. This was a great advance on the older ‘skep’ that you can see in the other photo. The problem with the skep (which had been around for several centuries) was that it had to be pulled apart in order to get to the honey. And that is bad for the bees (not surprisingly). Bees In The USA Did you know that the honeybees in the USA are imports? They were imported from Europe as long ago as …

The Queen’s Paintings

These three paintings are from an exhibition of some of the Queen’s paintings that have been exhibited in the gallery adjoining Holyrood House here in Edinburgh. The exhibition finished on November 4th, and the Queen in question is Queen Elizabeth II, and Holyrood House is her palace. These three paintings were on the first wall of the exhibition. The one on the left is Portrait of a Man by Frans Hals (1630). The middle one is Thomas Kiligrew and William, Lord Crofts by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1638). The one on the right is Agatha Bas by Rembrant van Rijn (1641). The story of the van Dyck painting is that Kiligrew has just lost his wife and is wearing her wedding ring on a black ribbon around his wrist. In his hand he has a sketch for his wife’s mausoleum. His secretary, Lord Crofts, is holding a piece of paper on which is written a draft of a eulogy. Kiligrew has a terribly sad, almost reproachful look on his face , as though he is …

Fantasy Planet

As soon as I saw these mushrooms in the supermarket, I thought they’d make great photographic subjects. I’m sure not everyone goes around the shops with photography in mind, but I loved the colours and symmetry – and photography is an excellent excuse to get in close and ‘see’ the subject. It’s funny in an odd kind of way, the way that I (and probably lots of us) need a method, a way, of slowing down in order to see things. I know we can’t go around permanently with a dreamy look on our faces, closely examining the veins on a leaf or the colours in a soap bubble. If we did, it would take us a week to do the washing up. Still, it’s nice to slow down sometimes. Nibble, Then Photograph Normally, I get in first and photograph – and then we eat. But there were so many little unobtrusive bits in the mushrooms that we both got in and nibbled a bit when we got home. We decided that the mushrooms looked …