The Supermoon

The Moon at full perigee, the coinciding of full moon and shortest distance to the earth. Also known as the Supermoon. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The Moon at full perigee, the coinciding of full moon and shortest distance to the earth. Also known as the Supermoon. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

These days there is a lot of fuzz in the media regarding the so-called Supermoon, some even believe this is the end of the world as we know it…

Fear not, this is the rare occasion when the Moon is at it’s closest to the earth, or perigee, coinciding with a full Moon. It makes the Moon look slightly bigger and brighter, but only by approximately 12%, so in reality you wouldn’t really know, as it is already quite small on the sky. If it’s close to the horizon it will however look bigger due to an optical illusion. Super or not, it doesn’t really matter, just enjoy the view! The above image was taken yestaerday, with the Supermoon as seen from my home in Stavanger, Norway.

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Sakhalin, Russias largest island

Russia, Sakhalin. Okhotskoye is a small village at the south east coast of Sakhalin, not far from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Residential buildings are mostly made of wood. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Russia, Sakhalin. Okhotskoye is a small village at the south east coast of Sakhalin, not far from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Residential buildings are mostly made of wood. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Sakhalin island, just north of Japan and off the east coast of Russia, has led to many bitter disputes between the two countries. The island is today part of Russia, and is Russia’s largest island.

I visited the island last year, and have added several images to the photo gallery.

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Winter in Grand Canyon

United States, Arizona, Grand Canyon. Sunset at Lipan Point, with sunrays hitting some of the peaks. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

United States, Arizona, Grand Canyon. Sunset at Lipan Point, with the last sunlight hitting some of the rock formations. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

I recently came back from a trip to western United States, including a couple of days at the Grand Canyon. It was still early February, so I was afraid we would meet some really bad weather up there. To my delight we had cold but nice and sunny winter conditions, with some snow in parts of the park.

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Baku, capital of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku. Baku city view with tha harbour and the Caspian Sea in the background. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Azerbaijan, Baku. Baku city view with the harbour and the Caspian Sea in the background. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Click here to see some newly added images from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. I visited the country last year to do a job there, and had a few hours to spend in the city. Baku is probably derived from the old Persian name Bād-kube, meaning “Wind-pounded city”. It can also mean “Mount of God” from Baghkuh, which one also can compare to Baghdad.

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A visit to Morocco

Bab Agnaou is one of the nineteen gates of Marrakech, Morocco. (Bjorn Grotting)

Bab Agnaou is one of the nineteen gates of Marrakech, Morocco. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

I have just added a new gallery with images from Morocco taken during a visit some time ago. Follow this link to take a look; Morocco Photo Gallery. Some panorama photos is included as well.

The roundtrip started in  Marrakech at the foot of the Atlas mountains. This amazing city with its old medina, the largest souk (traditional market) in Morocco and one of the busiest squares in Africa, Djemaa el Fna, is absolutely worth a visit, and full of photo opportunities.

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The dung rolling scarab beetles

Dung beetles are beetles that feed partly or exclusively on feces. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Two dung beetles doing what they do best. Many dung beetles, known as rollers, are known for rolling dung into spherical balls, used as food or egg chamber. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Now, what is it NOT to love about dung beetles? Actually I can’t think of anything. Take for example the fact that most of the about 5.000 subspecies feed partly or exclusively on feces. Why don’t they ever consider another diet, you may ask? But that is exactly the recipe for their success. Remember Darwin never said “survival of the strongest”, he said “survival of the fittest”. The most adaptable species will succeed, and dung beetles have definitively found their niche.

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Giraffe – The Cameleopard

Giraffe at sunrise in Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Giraffes feeding on leaves, acacia trees are among its favorite food. At sunrise in Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

How about some images of giraffes, the tallest animal walking the earth?

These are images I took during a visit to the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa a while ago. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi is located 280 km north of Durban, and is the oldest proclaimed park in Africa.

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Lions vs Giraffe

Young male lions feeding on a fresh kill; a giraffe. Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Young male lions feeding on a fresh kill; a giraffe. Kruger National Park, South Africa. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

It was our last day in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, and early in the morning we were heading through the park towards the Paul Kruger Gate in a large tourist bus when all traffic suddenly came to a full stop.

Looking out of the window I could clearly see the reason why; a small group of three young male lions had very recently brought down an adult giraffe, and were feeding on the carcass just a few meters from the roadside. A red track of blood could be followed to the other side of the road, were the actual kill had taken place.

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Penguins on the Beach

Boulders Beach near Cape Town in South Africa has a colony of African Penguins which settled there in 1982. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Penguins on Boulders Beach. It is a popular tourist stop because of a colony of African Penguins which settled there in 1982. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Until I visited South Africa a couple of years ago I’ve never seen a penguin in the wild.  And I certainly didn’t expect to meet some on the African continent. But there they were, happily bouncing around on a beach not far from Cape Town. Boulders Beach is a sheltered bay located on the Cape Peninsula near Simonstown. Also known as Boulders Bay, it is a part of the Table Mountain National Park.

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From Iceland to the Moon

Iceland. The area close to Askja was used during training for the Apollo program. The main objective in Askja was to study geology. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

Iceland. The area close to Askja was used during training for the Apollo program. The main objective in Askja was to study geology. (Photo Bjorn Grotting)

The phrase “The area was used during training for the Apollo program to prepare astronauts for the lunar missions” is commonly used when trying to attract tourists to the Askja area on Iceland and similar desolated locations. You can see it all flashing before your eyes; heroic astronauts jumping around in bulky space suits, trying not to fall over in the moonlike landscape.

Well, it is a common misconception that the Apollo astronauts traveled to wastelands on earth to get used to the bleak hell of the barren moon. As someone said: “for that they could have stayed in Houston”. I’ve never been to Houston, so I cannot say…

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