CALIFORNIA COASTAL ZEBRA? It was a strange sight, travelling along California Highway 1— the beautiful coastal road. There, standing amid a herd of cattle was a zebra! I wondered for some time why a rancher would keep a zebra among cattle. A little on-line research provided the answer. It seems that cattle grazing with zebra actually gain more weight. In the wet season, grass grows fast. It gets tall, fibrous and unappetizing to the cows. The zebras eat these top shoots on the tall grass. That, in turn, causes regrowth of shoots at the base of the plant, nearest the ground. The fresh shoots are tasty to the cattle and they eat more, causing them to gain weight more quickly than fields without zebras. And, apparently, the cattle and zebra get along with each other quite well.
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, 70-300 DX zoom lens at 70mm, f4.9, 1/250 sec, f25, ISO 1000 Copyright photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography.
THIEPVAL MEMORIAL GRAVESTONES: The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Battle of the Somme bears the names of more than 72,000 men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme and have no known grave. Over 90% of those named on the memorial died between July and November 1916. Standing in front of the giant Thiepval Memorial is an Anglo-French tribute that consists of 300 British Commonwealth and 300 French graves. The British Commonwealth graves are marked with rectangular headstones in white stone. On the British headstones is the inscription “A Soldier of the Great War / Known unto God.” The French graves have grey stone crosses. The French crosses bear the single word “Inconnu” (‘unknown’). The cemetery’s Cross of Sacrifice bears the following inscription: “That the world may remember the common sacrifice of two and a half million dead, here have been laid side by side Soldiers of France and of the British Empire in eternal comradeship.”
Shot handheld with a Nikon D40X, Nikkor 18-2oo lens at f14, 1/250 sec., ISO 1600. Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography
BLUE CHAIRS, GREEN GRASS, SOYBEAN FIELD: This shot was taken in southern Ontario on the northern boundary of Durham Region. The field crop behind the chairs is soybeans– a large cash crop in the Province of Ontario where approximately 2 million acres are planted annually. The crop is increasingly grown elsewhere in Canada and enjoys a good export market. For exported beans, the biggest buyer (2006 data) is Japan, followed by Malaysia, the Netherlands and Iran. The beans have many uses. They are grown for specialty foods, oil production and livestock feed. Ever eat those artificial bacon bits? Yummy? Chances are they were made from soybeans. They have industrial uses as well. Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, was an advocate for the use of soy for plastics, paints and fibres. Printing inks are often made from soy and it’s even used as an eco-friendly lubricant and in candles and crayons. Soybeans are also good in biodiesel. Makes me want to sit in one of those blue chairs and dream up another use for this magic bean!
Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, AFS 70-300 DX lens at 155mm, 1/320 sec, f18, ISO 1000
Photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography