Common Brimstone Butterfly

(Gonepteryx rhamni)
Neandertal, Germany – July 2019

At 12 months, the common brimstone butterfly has the longest life span of any butterfly in Central Europe. It is the only butterfly that hibernates freely in the vegetation. By the freezing point of its body fluids lowering substances, it is able to withstand frosts of up to minus 20° C, even if it is completely covered with snow.

In March the common brimstone butterflies become active again and in April a new life cycle begins with the laying of eggs.

Common Brimstone Butterfly ♀︎

Toronto

Ontario, Canada – October 2018

The largest city in Canada offers incredible perspectives. After New York City, it is the city with the second highest number of skyscrapers in North America.

Toronto, Harbourfront

The city has a very well-developed public transportation system with subway, tram and bus lines.

Toronto, King Street West

The “Gardiner Expressway” is the city highway and runs on a bridge construction in the area of the city center. Therefore, you see practically nothing of what is on the ground and you literally “fly” over it and between the skyscrapers.

“Chinatown – Next Exit” is written on the blue sign between the glass towers.

Toronto, Chinatown – Next Exit

The contrast couldn’t be bigger. Above the cool, modern architecture of concrete, steel and glass and one floor below a lively and colorful quarter that lives up to its name.

Toronto, Chinatown

The scenery reminds me of the dystopian films of my youth, such as “Bladerunner” or “Brazil”.

This impression was intensified when we drove out of town on the Expressway. There the skyscrapers step back and make room for billboards on which advertising flashes and squiggles. They are the only spots of color in this gray world.

Toronto, Gardiner Expressway

Niagara Falls

Ontario, Canada – October 2018

Their inflow is controlled in the course of their use to generate electricity by humans, their environment mutates into a kind of Disneyland for the masses of tourists and at night they are illuminated in the most impossible colors – including pee yellow. Nevertheless, they are an impressive sight. View from the Canadian to the US side of Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls

Monarch Butterfly

(Danaus plexippus)
Indiana, USA – September 2018

The monarch is known for his long migrations from eastern North America to his wintering grounds in Mexico. This specimen allows itself a small rest on its up to 3600 kilometers long journey at our front door.

Monarch Butterfly

Northern Paper Wasp

(Polistes fuscatus)
Indiana, USA – October 2018

This wasp species lives in North and Central America and is quite common in human settlements. The images were taken with a macro lens and the wasp has thankfully held still long enough for me to achieve a greater depth of field using focus stacking.

Northern Paper Wasp
Northern Paper Wasp

Mating Wheel Bugs

(Arilus cristatus)
Indiana, USA – October 2018

These predatory bugs are common in North America but not very numerous. After I had first observed and photographed a single specimen, about two weeks later this freshly in love couple ran into me. She marched with him piggyback slowly but purposefully towards the next tree, which she then climbed and finally disappeared into the top.

The Wheel Bugs are considered very useful for pest control. They are quite peaceful creatures, but if they feel threatened, they can sting very painfully.

Mating Wheel Bugs
Wheel Bug
Wheel Bug

Bug on cloverleaf

Indiana, USA – September 2018

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to figure out what kind of bug it is yet. The little gnome was busy cleaning himself after he had apparently relieved himself (yellowish drop). I feel a bit like a voyeur watching a bathroom scene.

Bug on Cloverleaf

Saguaro

(Carnegia gigantea)
Arizona, USA – July 2017

In the Sonora Desert, the characteristic column cacti determine the landscape. These cacti, also known as Saguaro, grow very slowly and only thrive in frost-free altitudes. At the age of 10 years they are only about 4 cm high. The first flowers appear after about 40 years and 2.5 m height, the first branches at the age of about 65 years and about 6 m height. They reach heights of about 12 to 15 m and above and are then over 200 years old.

Saguaros

Meteor Crater

Arizona, USA – July 2017

The impact of a meteorite about 50,000 years ago caused this crater. It has a diameter of about 1,200 m and a depth of 180 m. It is surrounded by a wall that rises about 30 to 60 m above the plateau. The meteorite consisted mainly of iron, had a diameter of 45 m and weighed 300,000 tons.

Meteor Crater
Meteor Crater

In 1871 the crater was discovered by European settlers and geologically investigated shortly before the turn of the century. It was first thought to be an impact crater, but no traces of iron could be found inside, so that it was assumed to be a form of volcanism. At the beginning of the 20th century, Daniel Barringer, who did business in mining, learned about the theory of a meteorite impact. Hoping to find large amounts of iron and nickel there, he secured a claim on the crater, but found no metals either. In 1960, further research showed that the crater was indeed formed by a meteorite impact, but that the meteorite itself was almost completely evaporated.

The crater is still privately owned and marketed as a tourist attraction.

San Francisco Volcanic Field

View from the crater rim to the northwest over the San Francisco Volcanic Field. This is a field with more than 600 volcanoes. The cause is assumed to be a hotspot over which the North American plate moves westwards. The most recent eruptions were only 800 years ago. On the left is the stratovolcano “San Francisco Mountain”, whose highest peak “Humphreys Peak” is 3,850 m high and the highest point of Arizona.

Ship Rock

New Mexico, USA – July 2017

The name couldn’t be more fitting. Like a ship on the horizon, this rock formation sails over the waving steppe landscape of the prairie. This remainder of an eroded volcanic vent rises 483 meters above the surrounding plain. For the Navajo the “winged rock” is of great religious and cultural importance.

Ship Rock
Ship Rock