Wallpapers April 2009

Flooded by Hume Dam in the 1920s, the Murray's riverbanks were once thick
with river red gum trees that captured moisture and helped drive cycles of rainfall.
The skeletons of submerged trees are now visible in a ponded portion of the river's upper reaches,
 exposed by the lowest water levels in decades.

A grand expression of royal power, Hatshepsut's mortuary temple rises against a desert bluff at Deir el Bahri.
Reliefs in the porticoes record the greatest triumphs of her 21-year reign.

Dovekies dive for copepods and nest on rocky slopes.

Rump vegetation and crusty soils dapple the Macquarie Marshes, a 494,000-acre wetland in the Murray-Darling Basin used mainly for wheat growing and cattle grazing.
About 10 percent has been set aside as a protected nature reserve.
Farmers depend on irrigation.
 Environmentalists regard the wetlands as critical to birds and other wildlife.
They're locked in a tug-of-war over what little water still flows into the marshes, after upstream farmers siphon off their share of the Macquarie River.

United Arab Emirates--Peninsulas of prosperity, the "fronds" of the $14-billion Palm Jumeirah -- the first of three planned resort islands in Dubai -- jut into the Persian Gulf.
Building began in 2001; it may end in 2013.

In a scene at Deir el Bahri, men carry a myrrh tree to Egyptian ships in Punt, a land still not clearly identified.
 Hatshepsut sent a trading mission down the Red Sea to procure luxuries there in about 1470 B.C.

Playing on plastic may rile the lawn bowling purist, but for the  Bowling Club in South Australia,
replacing natural turf with an artificial surface made sense nine years ago.
The club saves water and members can play year-round.
 Criticized at the time, the club now looks practically clairvoyant.

Up before the sun, a worshipper arrives on the grounds of the Spassky Monastery in Murom on the Oka River.
Now undergoing careful restoration, the centuries-old buildings were badly damaged during the Soviet era, when troops were quartered inside.


A thorough cleaning by Polish conservators has revealed the vibrant colors that adorned the sanctuary of Amun-Re when it was first built at Deir el Bahri.
Two small patches on the wall at right--where a bearded Hatshepsut makes an offering--show how thickly the soot from candles and oil lamps built up over many centuries.

Indonesia--See dusk in the Dampier Strait through a half-submerged lens and glimpse two distinct worlds.
Under a cloud-slung sky, fishermen work on wooden boats.
 Beneath a mirror-calm surface, waters flash with baitfish.

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