Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunset St. Patrick's Day

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back. 
May the sun shine warm upon your face; 
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, 
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

As the sun was setting on St. Patrick's Day, this Irish holiday, I hope you had the chance to celebrate. Perhaps you kissed the blarney stone, if you found yourself in Cork, Ireland, or sipped an Irish green beer or found a four leaf clover or looked for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, you spent the holiday, I hope you celebrated joyously. From this Irish gal to all of you folks, Luck of the Irish to you! Sunset captured St. Patrick's Day in Hendersonville. Go easy on me. I've never felt my sunset images met my standards. Not to mention I had to shoot from my car. Thanks for stopping by. ENJOY!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Kentucky Woman Series: Among the Magnolias II

Come along as we continue my Kentucky Woman Series. I want to share more of my time at Bernheim with you. I consider Bernheim sacred. I have spent many seasons visiting here. I have captured thousands of images of bees and birds and trees and flowers. I have photographed the colorful pink and yellow Japanese Magnolia blooms in Spring. I have hiked leaf strewn forest paths in Autumn. I have even driven the heavily laden snow covered road next to the arboretum in the dead of Winter. Every season at Bernheim has a story to tell and I have visited in every season to see that story told.

In Spring, the Canadian Geese and tiny Goslings swim around Lake Nevin. In Summer, the Yellow and Black Swallowtail Butterflies flit in and out of the Butterfly bushes. The Autumns, oh, the Autumns are especially gorgeous. The entire forest drive is a sea of yellow and orange with dots of red thrown in here and there. There are more gifts here given us by Mother Nature than any one person can count.

Today, I share images of the beautiful yellow Japanese Magnolias in bloom from past visits. It takes a tremendous amount of patience to wait as Winter's grip lets go and Spring begins to open up with its Daffodils and Crocus and Magnolia blooms. The reward is worth the wait. I captured these beautiful blooms on especially warm Spring days in the arboretum. The aroma from the Magnolia blossoms filled the air as I walked around the trees. It enveloped my senses and left me virtually intoxicated.

I especially love to peruse my archives after a visit in search of the best image to crop closely revealing the intricate details hidden in the center of the blossom. The Magnolia species has approximately 210 genus. These ancient flowers are said to have existed long before bees even evolved. Beetles are the main forager of these trees. Perhaps that is why their stamens and pistols are so tough. They need to be hardy to withstand the damage beetles can do. What's that old saying, beauty isn't everything.

When you walk among the Magnolias at Bernheim, you can't help but notice their craggy branches. They appear as ancient as the species itself. There are various species of yellow and pink Magnolias throughout the arboretum, in various sizes and shapes of blooms as well. I've witnessed each and every one. Thing is, I believe the largest and hardiest blooms open later than their far daintier counterparts.

I have a love affair with Mother Nature. I admit it. Bernheim only makes my love affair even more worth the while. This place is near and dear to my heart, and for long as I'm walking the face of this Earth, I will return here as often as time and distance allows.

I hope you will allow me to share a true story. I remember visiting Bernheim for the very first time on a field trip in elementary school. I sat at the picnic table and ate my lunch with all the other kids. Then afterwards we were allowed to wonder around the woods. Low and behold, I climbed high up on the hill above the picnic area, and became so enthralled with the woods that I nearly got left behind. Until a head count revealed someone was missing from the bus. I remember being up in the woods when I heard a voice from down below calling my name. I climbed back down the hill, and sure enough, I was the last passenger to get on the bus. This really happened. I kid you not. Could it be that even at an early age I knew this place was special.

I will forever be a Kentucky Woman in every sense of the word. And every time I write another post in this series, I am reminded of that. I thought this might be the last of my series, but I feel another installment could be in order. Stay tuned. ENJOY!

Linking to Stonegable The Scoop

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Kentucky Woman Among the Japanese Magnolias

For a brief few weeks in very early Spring, even before the first official day arrives, Bernheim Arboretum's Japanese Magnolia trees burst forth with a stunning display of color. Witnessing this event over the course of those weeks requires perseverance. As the old adage says, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The first Japanese Magnolias customarily spring forth even before the other trees in the arboretum. These trees set among the other ornamental trees just outside the gates of the arboretum. As the earliest days of Spring approach, these particular trees ready themselves with vivid dark pink buds, ready to burst open, while the temperatures continue to fluctuate between Winter and Spring. The vivid pink Magnolia buds find their moment, at just the right temperature, and open to reveal glorious pink blooms.

As I walked among the arboretum trees in year's past, deep green fuzz appears as buds. Soon slick buds of varying pinks will adorn the craggy branches mixed in with the blossoms themselves. The sun and shade illuminates the petals revealing various hues of pink. Large clusters of Japanese Magnolia buds and blooms are present on every branch on every tree in a display of brilliant color.

One particular Spring the temperatures were especially mild leaving the beautiful Magnolia blossoms to linger on the branches. On that visit I walked among the trees, stopping at one point, as I realized something amazing. I took a breath and smiled. The pungent fragrance of Magnolia blossoms filled my senses. I gave thanks to the warmer temperatures for allowing the blossoms to give up such a magnificent aroma. Everything around me was enveloped in beauty to see and smell.

As a photographer, you want to take the most breath taking photos when you are capturing images of flowers. As blooms clung to branches wide open, the stamen inside revealed a landscape all its own. I attempted to capture its beauty as I came in close to the blossom snapping images. Some blossoms opened only slightly while others seemed to open as though to welcome you in.

Anxiously awaiting early Spring, with its varying degrees of temperatures, requires patience. Knowing the end result will be glorious buds, in various hues of lavender and pink, helps to ease the pain. Seeing the visual display of magnificent buds and blossoms and taking in the fragrant scent of Japanese Magnolias leaves you feeling as though you have experienced something truly magical. God surely planned it this way and I am so utterly happy he did. I hope you will plan a trip to Bernheim during this season. And I hope you will experience what I have in years past. I will be back with a second post on this subject. Only it will feature the hues of yellow that are displayed alongside the pink Japanese Magnolias. I hope you will come back. ENJOY!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Kentucky Woman in the Bluegrass State

The Kentucky Bluegrass area is like no other place to visit in the States. As you travel the back roads, along the designated Kentucky Scenic Byways, you pass famed horse farm after horse farm, and you soon come to realize just how beautiful this area really is. Horse barns are painted in reds and greens with most all of them beautifully adorned in various styles of cupolas.

On this particular drive on a beautiful Summer's afternoon, I happened upon this gorgeous scene along the byway. Vintage, stacked limestone fencing, a large pond with tall Cattails and a sweeping Weeping Willow tree decorated this property with this beautiful horse barn featuring multiple cuplolas. Stunning is all I could think of as I stood photographing this landscape.

As I meandered along the byway, I passed this beautiful scene of hay bales scattered all throughout this farm field just waiting to be scooped up and hoisted onto a long trailer for safekeeping elsewhere.

Driving around the Midway area all along the byway, I took in the beautiful Bluegrass horse farms. I stopped in my tracks, however, when I happened upon this black stallion grazing aimlessly in this clover covered field. He was such a gorgeous subject to photograph. Did you know it's not easy photographing horses because they constantly swish their tails back and forth.

Just for good measure, and knowing full well I had several images of foals laying around in the fields or sticking close to Mom, I wanted to add this image. This foal was sticking very close to its Mom and never ventured far from her as I stood capturing images. This obviously was taken on another trek to the area in early Spring when the foes are plentiful to photograph.

Farther along the byway, I passed this large black barn with a metal roof sitting off in the distance. Tobacco plants were growing high in the field and hail bails were resting off to the side of the farm road as I stopped to photograph this image. It was mid to late Summer so the tobacco fields were nearing ready to put up the crops. Did you know putting up tobacco is a hard, hard job and quite tedious to say the least? I remember when my family visited my great uncle's farm in Marion County, Kentucky, and watching as they completed the time intensive and quite labor intensive putting up of the tobacco.

On a side road, very near to Keeneland Race Track just outside of Lexington, I happened upon a field of dairy Goats grazing in the warm Summer sunshine. A cute brown and white one kept an eye on me as I stopped to capture images. Aren't they adorable?

As a Kentucky born woman, now living in Tennessee, I am reminded of my visits to Midway and Lexington as I browse my archives. The famed, Bluegrass horse farms with the gorgeous thoroughbreds and stallions, dot the landscape. The adorable foals as they run about the fields or lay nearby always staying in close proximity to their Mothers. The quaint cupolas that adorn the horse barns. The black wooden fences and the old stacked, limestone fences that surround the parameters of the many famed horse farms. And finally, the crisp green Kentucky Bluegrass that tops off all this gorgeousness with every twist and turn in the road. I must get back here soon. I hope you enjoyed my trek around the region as much as I did sharing it with you. ENJOY!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Can Spring Be Far Away?

This week the temperatures are going to be in the 70's here in Tennessee as well as the Eastern United States. I wonder if Winter is really done or the warm temperatures are just a tease. Something tells me that we have not seen the last of Winter. I found this beautiful Japanese Magnolia bloom in my archives recently. Every time I pass over it I linger. It is so beautiful. I would love to be able to capture the Japanese Magnolia trees and the Crab Apple trees in bloom at Bernheim this Spring. Perhaps I can. Have a wonderful week. ENJOY!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Yawn, Great Blue Heron

The fisherman stands sentry on an old worn tree stump near the shoreline patiently fishing for his next meal. Many a Great Blue Heron fish Old Hickory Lake up and down both sides of the peninsula every day here in Hendersonville. Today, I headed out briefly and happened upon this Heron perched on this old stump at the park. There wasn't much sun this afternoon, but I managed to catch a few images of him in what little bit of sunshine there was, before heavy cloud cover began to move in.

We have had every Winter accessory it could bring us here in Tennessee this year. Snow, ice, sleet, rain, rain and still more rain. Darn if the groundhog didn't see his shadow and announced six more weeks of Winter. UGH! As I snapped photos of the Heron, he looked my way and yawned. It was as if he echoed my thoughts on Winter. Speaking of, there is a front coming through in the early evening as I write this post. Thankfully, it's been too warm for the precipitation to stick, but still there it is. Spring has been on my mind a lot lately. I hope wherever you are, you have had a wonderful weekend. ENJOY!