In a busy city like London, you need to know your islands of solitude. For me, one of them is the Royal Geographic Society (RGS) in Kensington, of which I am a lifetime fellow. It has everything I need: an excellent collection, a good creative spirit living in the walls, quiet corners, and of course interesting fellows to talk to. Until September 5th, there is also the Travel Photographer of the Year 2015 Exhibition on show. Admission is free. The exhibition has attracted nearly 130 thousand visitors in the last three years. It is an interesting setting, because beside the excellent photographic work on parade, also the way of making this partly a rainproof outdoor exhibition in the Society's garden, is quite creative. From the desk I sit during the days, I can observe the visitors walking through the courtyard. There are always nice scenes in front of me, when I take my eyes up from the texts and maps in front of me and refocus. The photos are excellent. The submissions are from photographers all over the world. Also, the way the competition is structured, is very interesting. Perhaps some of you want to enter next year?
Yesterday I visited the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London. Amazing pictures. Wildlife photography today is far more than "only" documentary. On the lawn of the museum, they installed a butterfly house, which reminded me of the one in the making at Dundee Park, Mission Beach (Australia). This is the forth time, I came across butterflies. First of course, like every boy in the countryside, I had a little collection of species which I caught back in the fields in the Westerwald and pinned them to a wall. Then I got quite interest in tropical butterflies, when living on Lamma Island in the South China Sea (see the photo gallery below). Earlier this year, we helped a bit our friends Thomas and Lina Baur in Dundee Park with moving earth inside their butterfly house under construction. It was amazing for me to learn, how picky butterflies are on plants for feeding and breeding, and I realized how important floral diversity really is for them. I was frequently told by Chinese silk producers that this is a big problem on the Chinese part of the Silk Road, where the mulberry trees are cut down and there is a shortage of feed for silk worms now. Instead the farmers grow nuts.
The few butterfly shots below are taken on Lamma Island in 2008 - 2011.
Arrived in London. Quiet weekend, working on lecture preparations. Tried whether the coffee shop of the British Museum or Tate Modern are more conducive to do such thing. I preferred the British Museum for the spirits living in the walls, and Tate for the esprit (that't more French, isn't it?) in the halls. Another thing I noticed, was that I completely forgot over my years of corporate brain drain, the poetry which was so present to me ages before. So, from now on I will recite and remember one poem per week. Will start with the ones which I knew by heart before. That's easier. I commence with Shakespeare's Sonnet XIV, as this always reminds me of the limits of my mathematical models. And I am not so far next week from Stratford upon Avon.