Monday, August 31, 2015

Beautiful Fall Creek Falls

Just outside of Nashville, about an hour's drive east, sits the rugged Cumberland Plateau. The plateau is the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains. It stretches in eastern Tennessee from Alabama all the way to northern Kentucky and rises over 1000 feet above the region around it. To say it is a waterfall lover's 'paradise' is putting it mildly. A few of the major waterfalls in the area include Fall Creek Falls, Rock Island Falls, Cummins Falls and Burgess Falls.

The largest and most visited state park in Tennessee is Fall Creek Falls State Park. I spent an afternoon at the park photographing the infamous 256 foot Fall Creek Falls which is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Fall Creek State Park has numerous waterfalls, cascades, gorges, streams and even a large lake. There is also an inn with a restaurant and an outfitters shop and general store in the park.

In Fall Creek Falls State Park you can view Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades. I was able to take a hike to a suspension bridge and catch a glimpse of Piney Falls through the foliage. It was getting late in the day so I didn't drive to Cane Creek Falls. Photographing Fall Creek Falls with Fall foliage surrounding it is on tap for my next visit. Having forgotten my tripod clamp on this trip, these images were captured while my camera rested on the barrier at the overlook to minimize camera shake. I was surprised they came out as well as they did considering I didn't use my tripod.

This outcropping is situated to the left of Fall Creek Falls at the overlook. You feel as though this beautiful gift of this spectacular waterfall is more than enough, and then you turn and see this gorgeous limestone outcropping jutting far out into the gorge. So beautiful.

This last image of the enormous gorge was taken along the drive through the park. What magnitude this gorge area is. It is amazing to think all of these gorges and waterfalls are situated within one state park, but it's true. This was my first adventure to the Cumberland Plateau, but definitely not my last. What a way to spend an afternoon. There were areas within the park especially around the gorges that reminded me of the Smoky Mountains. ENJOY!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Water Lily, Bernheim Arboretum

There were several white Water Lilies gracing the pond that sits in front of the Pavilion at Bernheim on Sunday.

I have posted a few images recently of Water Lilies at Murfree Spring Wetlands, but couldn't resist one more photo as the Water Lilies at Bernheim were gorgeous. ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dog Days, Bernheim Arboretum

Summer is winding down here in Mid America. Already there is a chill in the air at night. As I headed out of Louisville this past weekend, I stopped for a brief visit at Bernheim.

Many of Summer's blooms have already waned, but there were still a few flowers hanging on all around the Pavilion. Bumble Bees were swarming a long row of bushes along the walkway leading away from the Pavilion. Supposedly, this is the Seven Son flower. I don't remember seeing it in bloom in Summers' past. The Bumble Bees were all over the blooms like maniacs.

My niece's wedding went off without a hitch. The newlyweds are in Jamaica this week on their Honeymoon. Fortunately, Hurricane Danny hasn't posed a threat. And I don't believe the hurricane that's tracking right behind Danny will either as it seems to be taking the same path as Danny and will no doubt head up the Eastern seaboard. Hope you are having a great week. It's been in the mid eighties here in Nashville this week with very low humidity and I am so very, very grateful. I'm also off deadline and hoping to get out later this week and take a few more images. ENJOY!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Crimson Phalaenopsis

There are so many gorgeous Phalaenopses blooming at Opryland Hotel that there were almost too many to photograph. But I tried!

This beautiful deep crimson Phaelaenopsis had to be one of my favorites. There was only the one that I noticed in the Cascades Canopy, but one was all it took.

It has been a very busy two weeks. I am on deadline with the magazine and readying myself for a trip back home to Louisville this weekend to attend a wedding. I haven't been home in almost six months. I am anxious to see my two sisters and their families. And seriously, aren't weddings fun. Especially when all one has to do is show up looking all scrubbed and coufed. Perhaps I will capture a few wedding images to share. And if all goes as planned I want to make a stop on the way back to Nashville at Bernheim. ENJOY!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Water Lilies, Murfree Spring Wetlands

There's a change in the air. Can you feel it. Here in the South cooler weather is finding its way into our daylight hours, while evenings begin to shorten and a coolness envelopes the night air. I will welcome Fall as it grows closer. Summer's dog days of heat will soon vanish replaced with a change of season. Emerging colors of crimson, orange and various hues of yellow will brighten the landscape.

Fall pumpkins already grace the local markets. Soon Fall decorations in every shape and size will follow. Pumpkins, gourds and bittersweet, along with scarecrows, stacks of corn, harvest moons and pumpkin rides. After a record setting heat this Summer, I am eager for the change in the season.

Leaving the Sunflowers at Batey Farms after a brief stop, I drove over to visit the wetlands, just as the rain was diminishing. The Water Lilies were turned in for the evening. The humidity was heavy. A lone female Wood Duck was milling around in the swamp picking through the pond weeds. I would have captured a better image so I could share, but my long lens was at home. ENJOY!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Simple Sunflower

Is there anything more gorgeous than a beautiful yellow Sunflower?

Despite the raindrops, I captured a few more images of the Sunflowers at Batey Farms today. Some of the Sunflowers were fading and others hung over from the rain. But all in all, it was still a beautiful sight. ENJOY!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sunflowers, Batey Farms

After spending the afternoon leading a great group of folks on our first outing together at Murfree Spring Wetlands, I stopped to grab a bite to eat at Parthenon Grille in Murfreesboro. I chose to sit at a table next to the bar. I struck up a conversation with a young couple sitting at the bar about the outdoors. They mentioned their 14 foot Sunflowers they had planted this year. After showing me a photo of just what they were describing, I realized these had to be the tallest Sunflowers I had ever seen in my life. I asked them if they knew of any Sunflower fields close by.

These beautiful images are just a few close ups of the Sunflowers I captured upon following the couple's directions to what has to be the most gorgeous Sunflower field I have ever laid eyes on. Seriously, words could not describe it. Batey Farms decided to plant what has to be at least 50 acres of Sunflowers. It was surreal to pull up and see this enormous field of Sunflowers that seemingly went on forever right before me.

I wasn't sure who to thank more, the couple at the bar, or the Batey Family for planting such a gorgeous plot of Sunflowers. As a side note, I saw more tripods floating around in that field of Sunflowers than I think I will ever see again in my lifetime, and who could blame them. I want to go back to capture some images when the light isn't quite so harsh but it will have to be quick or the Sunflowers will be gone. Thankfully, the temperatures weren't in the mid 90's as they have been for weeks. So it made for a pretty good day to be outdoors in the sun. ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Purple Phalaenopsis

Another view of one of the more colorful Phalaenopsis Orchids or 'Moth' Orchids currently blooming at the Opryland Hotel last weekend.

For those of you wanting to see some of the photos of the hotel itself, I will share some images of the Delta Islands canopy soon. The Delta Islands canopy was the most diverse area in the hotel with shops, restaurants, cascading waterfalls and a river running through it where you could grab a leisurely pagoda ride. Back soon. ENJOY!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pink Moth Orchids

This beautiful specimen is a Phalaenopsis Orchid, better known in some circles as the 'Moth' Orchid, and was one of many species of exotic flowers found blooming throughout the Opryland Hotel.

As I walked around the hotel grounds in and out of the many canopies, bright pink and white blooms, and occasionally the subtle lavender blooms of the Moth Orchids greeted me. There is no doubt that every time one lays eyes on the stunning colors of this Orchid, a smile surely comes to your face. ENJOY!

Linking to The Scoop on StoneGable

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

White Water Lily, Garden Conservatory

Beautiful White Water Lilies were blooming everywhere throughout the Garden Conservatory and Cascades at Opryland Hotel yesterday. Something I didn't realize, the White Water Lily also goes by the name of Fragrant Water Lily, as it has a fragrant scent. Although I would imagine for the average individual it might be hard to smell that scent what with the Lily being too far away in the water to get a sniff. I love the large Lily Pads.

There are several atriums at Opryland Hotel, the Magnolia South, the Garden Conservatory, the Cascades and the Delta Islands. There is also a large Exhibition Hall and an Event Center. And did I mention the ginormous number of guest rooms the hotel offers. I want to stay in one, but we are talking a twenty drive from my place so I guess that won't be happening anytime soon. This being my initial visit I counted on a great deal of walking. Boy was that an understatement. Knowing I wanted to see most of the atriums or canopies as they call them, I got to every one except the Magnolia South. Got to see that one soon. Every canopy had steps going up and down eveywhere and escalators and elevators and walkways galore. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan to visit.

When you feel you have the best perspective in any one of the canopies, walk across to the opposite side and you will see a better one. I need to go back soon because they just started putting up decorations for the holidays. Did I mention the Rockettes have a show during the Holiday. I may have to see that. The decorations, I am told, are stunning. Have to see those too. I loved the way there were shops all around the Delta Islands and restaurants in or near all of the canopies. I ate lunch at Solara Cantina Mexican Restaurant. It was really scrumptous. Back soon. ENJOY!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thai Orchid, Garden Conservatory

A gorgeous Thai Orchid was only one of many species of exotic flowers I discovered this afternoon as I walked around the Garden Conservatory at Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

Walking throughout the various atriums that make up Gaylord Opryland Hotel, I discovered a world of exotic flowers, plants and trees mixed in with a winding river, various waterfalls and ponds, as well as shops, restaurants, and of course, the hotel itself. What a fantastic place to visit on an extremely heat laden Sunday afternoon. The heat index was near 100 today and has been for the past few weeks. I know we haven't even made it to August yet, but I surely could use a few Fall 'feeling' kind of days right about now. Back soon. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In and Around Nashville

Let's take a peek back at the many places I have traveled 'In and Around' the Nashville area this past Spring and Summer.

1. White Tailed Deer, Long Hunter State Park, Hermitage, Spring
2. Sailboats, Percy Priest Lake, Hermitage, Spring
3. Great White Egret, Cross Creek National Wildlife Refuge, Dover, Summer
4. Edgar Evans Mill, Smithville, Summer
5. Belle Meade Plantation, Nashville, Spring
6. Wood Duck Pair, Murfree Spring Wetlands, Murfreesboro, Summer
7. Ox Eye Sunflower, Bison Meadow, Nashville, Summer
8. Rare Tennessee Purple Coneflower, Couchville Cedar Glade, Hermitage, Summer
9. Great White Egret, Old Hickory Lake, Hendersonville
10. White Narcissus, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Nashville, Spring

I enjoy reading all of your kind notes you leave me in the COMMENTS section of each post. I hope you will leave me a note as to where you have been so far in 2015. ENJOY!

Linking to Saturday Critters and Our World Tuesday

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Maximilian Sunflower, Bison Meadow

In the middle of a suburban neighborhood just south of Nashville, sits a two and a half acre plot of land known as The Bison Meadow. This meadow was set aside and preserved for its historical importance by a Tennessee Bicentennial Project back in 1994. The Bison Meadow is a terminal branch of the Old Natchez Trace. This 'old Indian path' was followed not only by Indians and pioneers, but also by buffalo, elk and other large animals who crossed through on their way to a salt lick near the Cumberland River.

The meadow has a variety of tall grasses, shrubs and a much wider variety of wildflowers that grow throughout the year. There is a path carved through the meadow. However, I only managed about a ten minute walk on it before I surrendered to my car. The heat index is unbearable. I did snap several images, one of which was of this Maximilian Sunflower. The Maximilian Sunflowers were plentiful throughout the entire meadow and were growing at heights of at least ten feet or higher. I cannot wait for the heat to break so I can spend more time outdoors. I hope your weather is better wherever you are. I have thought often of the Chattanooga terrorism victims who lost their lives this past week, as well as their families. Chattanooga is a little over a hundred miles south of Nashville. The terrorist worked in Franklin which is a town just south of Nashville and one I often frequent. God can only make sense of these terrorist attacks. I know I cannot. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Forgotten Fences

Walking among the wildflowers in the cedar glade, I turned to discover this old fence post standing alone off in the distance and wondered just what purpose it had served in another lifetime.

A few of the species I identified from my walk in Couchville Cedar Glade included Yellow Coneflowers, Tennessee Coneflowers, Daisy Fleabane and Roseroot, as well as many others. ENJOY!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bee in My Bonnet, Bug in My Plant

I captured this beautiful Queen Anne's Lace with accompanying 'hanger on' at Couchville Cedar Glade. Have a fantastic weekend all. I hope to get outdoors at some point, albeit it is going to be 95 degrees this weekend, with the heat index in the 100's, with the only relief being the occasional thunderstorm. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Water Photography, Tremont, GSMNP

Beautiful tiny waterfalls can be found all up and down the gravel road that leads back into the Tremont section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just east of the Townsend exit. All one has to do to find these tiny falls is look for them.

I spent some time photographing these waters a few weeks back on my Spring outing searching diligently for the perfect elements essential for a great waterfall image. One needs water rushing over rocks, of course. But, water rushing over boulders is even better. Take that a step further and add moss on the rocks coupled with the large granite boulders and what a great combination. Throw in a tree along the bank with low hanging branches. Then as you stand with your tripod attempting to photograph this beautiful scene, you realize there are variations in the water falling off the rocks which could bring a dimension to your image you hadn't planned on. Hopefully, these elements will still work well together.

There's one other thing that can impact your composition. The wind. The wind would not cease blowing the leaves just the faintest bit so I could never quite get the perfect shot of the water with the leaves sharp and crisp. UGH! No worries. I am not out to win the Nobel Prize for waterfall imagery. Just hoping to create a gorgeous scene that hopefully, you as my reader, will be able to transport yourself to.

Stand with me here in this spot and take in all of these gorgeous elements. Are you there yet? Can you hear the water? That breeze that wouldn't stop blowing the leaves, well it's a nice touch as the sun shines brightly and the water rushes fiercely over the rocks heading down river. Back soon. ENJOY!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Stopping by briefly to wish everyone in America a Happy 4th. I am a tad bit under the weather so I won't linger. Just wanted to wish everyone a 'sparkly' holiday. ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Yellow Water Lily

Such a beautiful bloom as I walked around the pond that housed several types of aquatic plants at Murfree Spring Wetlands a few weeks ago. No matter that I have photographed many a Water Lily. For some reason whenever I see another one I simply have to capture an image of it.

While these beautiful blooms are usually quite large, they also have such a delicate feel to them. And the fact that they are smack dab in the middle of a pond doesn't hurt either. The Independence Day weekend is almost upon us. Are you ready to get your red, white and blue on? Have you purchased the traditional firecrackers and sparklers, perhaps readied the grill for a nice thick juicy steak or a burger or hot dog? If not, better get busy. ENJOY!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Evin's Mill, Highland Rim

Nestled against the western tip of Tennesesee's Highland Rim situated at the base of the Cumberland Plateau sits Evin's Mill. The land the mill sits on today was purchased in 1824 and three separate families built mills on the land over the years. Finally, in 1937 Edgar Evins bought the property and two years later built Evin's Mill.

The mill doesn't operate today and sits on privately owned property with an inn situated across the creek accessible via the boardwalk. The Evin's family was politically prominent during the racially charged '60's. If you reside in the States you no doubt have heard of Edgar Evins and his tragic death.

The area around the mill is a typical country setting with a woods on three sides. The drive was only about forty minutes from my place and made for a nice Sunday afternoon. As I stood next to the pond, looking out at the mill to capture this image, the Common Pond Hawk Dragonfly buzzed around my feet.

The oppressive heat here in Tennessee has finally broken. We're now enjoying temperatures in the 70's and 80's with virtually no humidity and I, for one, am so very thankful to the Weather Gods. I hope you had a fantastic weekend and are looking forward to a wonderful week. ENJOY!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Beaches and Shores

It is a little known fact that I must have a lake, an ocean, a seashore, a riverbed, or if all else fails, just a pond nearby to make all things right in my world. Water is one of the many driving forces that nurtures my world. Add to that a forest or a woods or a grassy plain, or even a mountaintop overlook, and my world is so much more. The many elements that make up our world also enrich our lives in ways we never imagined.

Oftentimes, I view photographs such as those like Jean's from the quaint island of New Zealand, or Barb from the snow covered Rockies in Colorado, or Frank from 'across the pond' in England, or Steve from the windswept coasts in New England, and I wonder just what it would be like to live in one of those beautiful places.

Then I remember a thought shared years ago, that I am sharing my world and its many experiences, through the images I capture. And that makes 'your' world so much more. I gathered a few of my favorite images I have captured over the years to share with you today. Images such as these from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the shores and the bays of Lake Michigan, and Nantucket Island off Cape Cod, to share with you today. ENJOY!

Linking to Skywatch Friday and Foodie Friday and Everything Else