Friday, December 2, 2016

Prayers for Great Smoky Mountains & Gatlinburg

As I sat and watched the wildfires descend upon Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and into Gatlinburg and Sevier County, Tennessee, my heart ached. I normally trek to the Smokies once or twice a year. I have thought about nothing else but the people and the hardship ahead. I have also wondered how the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail was impacted. Many people can't take long trail hikes and this is one drive that anyone can do in their car and be totally immersed in the forest while the Roaring Fork River rushes downstream. It's a breathtaking place. Thankfully, most of Tremont is alright and Cade's Cove was unaffected by the fires.

Lives lost, lives perished with no trace, homes destroyed, businesses devastated. All over Tennessee and neighboring states, firefighters have traveled to the Smokies to help with the wildfires. We had some rain this week, but there is heavy rain coming this weekend and hopefully it will push East. I pray it will push East. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the 'most' visited park in the entire United States and I hope it stays that way in spite of everything that has happened. And pray for the families in south central Tennessee who lost loved ones, homes and businesses, as well, due to tornadoes the day after the wildfires. And a week prior to this six small children were taken from us by a crazed school bus driver in Chattanooga. Needless to say, Tennessee has been hit especially hard by tragedy in the past two weeks. Tennessee will bounce back, but in the meantime, I ask for your prayers. Thank you. Carol

SPECIAL NOTE: Do you believe in Climate Change. It not, watch just two episodes of the 'Years of Living Dangerously' on the National Geographic Channel. It's an awakening! Sadly, Americans have the highest carbon footprint globally. Yet, the worst areas affected right now by our ever warming ocean is not the U. S., but areas like the Philippines and the Amazons where the majority of the population live well well below the poverty level and who's entire existence and livelihood depends upon the land, and especially the ocean. If we do not take action now, fifty years from now there will be floods, hurricanes and wildfires, not to mention droughts, the likes of which we could never ever imagine.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving America

Fall is quickly giving way to the cold temperatures and snowy days of Winter. Before Fall is a distant memory, I want to share an image I captured at Radnor Lake about a month ago when Fall's color was in full swing. It was a beautiful day with bright blue skies and warm temperatures. As I walked along the trail that hugged the lake shore, I stopped to snap this image of a beautiful yellow Maple tree in the bright sunshine.

And here again is another image I captured at Radnor Lake on a very, very warm day back in mid January of this year. On this outing, I walked the entire three miles around the lake. On the north side of the lake, a gaggle of Wild Turkeys meandered across the trail in front of me. They were not the least bit shy about the visitors on the trail. It was a treat to photograph them up close. They didn't linger long and all the while pecked at the forest floor. I figured it couldn't be a more appropriate time to share this pic than on Thanksgiving Eve. Before I leave you, I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you share a joyous day with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving! ENJOY!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

There Will Be Spring

Early Spring, Crab Apple Orchard, Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, Kentucky

As we watch the last of Autumn's leaves float wistfully to the ground, covering our lawns and fields and forests,
 we anxiously await the first snows of Winter, with its light fluffy flakes that fall gently onto the landscape, leaving a blanket of white.
Winter comes with it blustery winds and drifting snow and a cold that chills to the bone. 
Least we forget, on the horizon is a season of salvation. There will be Spring. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend as I leave you with this beautiful image I captured in years' past of the gorgeous Crab Apple orchard at Bernheim. I miss the beautiful serenity of Bernheim's landscape. Have a great weekend all. ENJOY!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Blue Nile Water Lily

A beautiful Blue Nile Water Lily as I captured it on my trek to Gibbs Gardens. As I gingerly walked about the Waterlily Gardens in early August this dainty looking Blue Nile Water Lily struck my eye. I hope your week is going well. It's been too too busy for me. The holidays are fast approaching. Before I leave you today, here is a tidbit I put together to wet your whistle. ENJOY!

The 'Happy Holidays' are fast approaching. 
There will be Tom Turkey aplenty and let's wish one and all Seasons Greetings. 
Next comes the Black Friday hustle accompanied by Light Up wherever you are. 
Let's Deck the Halls and afterwards we can Shop Til You Drop. 
Kiddos await jolly Ol' St. Nick where he will Dash Away, Dash Away, Dash Away All.
The Ball Drop in Times Square as we sing a chorus of Auid Lang Syne!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sailboats on Old Hickory Lake

One of my favorite things to photograph are sailboats. I have long had a passion for these free spirited, take me where the wind blows, boats. This is the yacht club on the south side of Old Hickory Lake. Many a sailboat calls it home.

It was late in the day as I made the drive around Old Hickory Lake north to my home in Hendersonville. I decided to make the ten minute drive back to the yacht club before leaving the south side of the lake. The sun was at a fairly decent descent so the light wasn't too awfully harsh. There was a subtle hint of Fall color on the trees in the distance.

Fall in middle Tennessee was subdued due in part to lack of rain. Drought is slowly creeping from southern Tennessee to middle and northern parts of the state. It is more severe in northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. This time last year it was a monsoon from a hurricane that came up from the Gulf in October and the remnants of the storm brought rain across the northern most part of the South. ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Scenic Bald Cypress Trees

Such a beautiful view of the Bald Cypress Trees and Fall colors of the surrounding forest at the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, Duck River Unit, on my visit recently. Hope you are having a wonderful week. ENJOY!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Duck River Unit, TN National Wildlife Refuge

There are several units of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge, and the Duck River Unit is one I have wanted to visit for some time. I knew from being a frequent visitor to Tennessee's page on the website that the majority of waterfowl are located in far reaching areas of this refuge. That was quite accurate, as way off in the distance I could see a flock of American White Pelicans, not to mention quite a few Great White Egrets, wading in a huge wetland area. Choosing to stay on the gravel roads, I stopped in several spots to capture images of the wetlands and waterfowl as best I could. Bald Cypress Trees were plentiful in one swamp and had turned their customary burnt orange hue for Fall.

Not far from the Bald Cypress Trees in my first image there sat four Cormorants perched on a large tree branch in the middle of the wetland sunning themselves, accompanied by a lone Turtle. It was very difficult to get a decent shot as they were a good distance away so I had to crop significantly. My apologies. I snapped a few images in the car and then as I went to get out they flew off.

Just to the right a distance from the Cormorants stood a Great Blue Heron wading in the water as he fished for a meal. He too was not happy as I exited my car and hightailed it flying off making quite the ruckus as he went.

Down a side road I traveled quite a distance, got out of my car and walked a bit finding myself between two large wetlands. I scared something up as it lifted off and flew away in a hurry. I snapped a few images not even knowing what it was. Turns out it was an American White Pelican of all things. I didn't get to see it up close at the refuge, but my software helped hone in on it. It's Hunting Season in the refuge which could explain the waterfowl being so skittish. I didn't get to the west side of the refuge. Perhaps another day. ENJOY!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Afternoon Light in the Color Garden

Afternoon light saturates the beautiful Chrysanthemums, Elephant Ears and Coneflowers in the Robert Ellis Color Garden at Cheekwood. I walk among the flower beds watching as a Gulf Fritillary flies from bloom to bloom spreading pollen as he sucks up the nectar. The pattern on his wings only God could conjure up. Fall temperatures are slowly creeping into Tennessee after record setting highs this week. I have absolutely no plans for the weekend and that's a very good thing because it has been an especially busy and stressful week. We gain a whole hour this weekend as we 'fall back'. Don't forget your clocks. ENJOY!