Thursday, May 2, 2019

Wildlife Walk, Radnor Lake State Park

Come hike with me as I walk the lake trail at Radnor Lake State Park today. Did I mention we will get to visit with some of the local wildlife as we take a walk on this bright sunny day with temps hovering in the high 60's. Radnor Lake is in the middle of metropolitan Nashville surrounded by large neighborhoods, so it gets a lot of visitors.

After about a mile into the lake trail, I turned toward the aviary trail and hiked another quarter mile into the woods. To my surprise as I neared a clearing in the woods, a huge bird flew up from the clearing and perched in a nearby tree. I have never seen an Owl in the wild, until today! A gorgeous Barred Owl sat perched in a tree perfectly positioned for picture taking. Every now and then he would turn his head all the way around and stare down at me. I was about 200 yards away on the path. You suppose he knew he was the star of my show! Did I mention this is a Life List Bird!

The trail to the opposite side of the lake cuts through the lake and a swamp. As I walked I peered into the water and saw something swimming parallel with the trail. A Muskrat swam past me and disappeared into the deep water carrying a large stash of vegetation. Lunch!

As I peered into the depths of the swamp, a huge Turtle swam by. He didn't seem to mind the company at all.

The Turtles were out in force sunning themselves on downed branches in the lake close to the shoreline.

There were various species of Turtles sunning themselves. I hope they put on sunscreen.

As I turned to make my way to the aviary, I snapped this image looking back at Radnor Lake. It's a beautiful lake and quite large. The perimeter lake trail, if you choose to hike it all the way around, is three miles. I did the entire hike on my first trip here to Radnor Lake in 2016.

I wished I could contain my excitement at seeing my first Owl in the wild. Needless to say, when I checked out my images in Lightroom, I had some fantastic photos of the Barred Owl. He had a sleepy look on his face as he sat motionless lazily sunning himself. His perch was the perfect spot for me to capture quite a few pics of him. I doubt he knew he was the star of my show!

Hopefully, you've enjoyed this hike around Radnor Lake. It's a beautiful park and very flat surfaces to walk on with half of the lake trail paved. I want to go back soon to see if I can capture the Barred Owlettes. Word is they fledged, but perhaps they will come back to the nest. The nest was on the opposite side of the lake from where I hiked, so I didn't make it there on this visit. Have a wonderful weekend all. ENJOY!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

A Walk through Cheekwood - Happy Easter!

Come take a walk with me as I take in the flowers blooming in the Robert Ellis Color Garden at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. This gorgeous garden was adorned with red and yellow Tulips in every size and variety that the landscapers could possibly imagine.

Visitors may have surrounded me as I meandered along the garden path, but it was as though I were totally alone in the universe, as I took in every vibrant red and stunning yellow Tulip popped open with sunshine diving deep into its inner beauty.

The deep reds and yellows were laden with black centers and large stamens. The varieties of Tulips was astounding with single and double and even peony shaped Tulips all around.

Oh, Cheekwood how you out did yourself on this glorious Bloom Fest celebration.

Every Spring I attempt to capture the beauty of the Crepe Myrtles as they stand sentinel keeping a watchful eye over the stunning blooms around them.

Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Jonquils, Petunias. Thank you Cheekwood for a glorious Bloom Fest. I take my hat off to you!!

I wish each and every one of you a very peaceful and Happy Easter. May your day be filled with sunshine and bright blue skies. And may all the wonders of Easter surround you. Whether it be chocolate bunnies and dyed eggs or a sit down feast of scrumptious baked ham with all the trimmings, I wish everyone peace and joy on this glorious day of Resurrection. ENJOY!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Cheekwood Bloom Fest 2019 ... Lavender and Purple Hues

What a headline! Just hang on because we're talking purple and lavender hues. A feast for your eyes!

This is a double flowering Tulip called Tulip Blue Wow. Where it got this name, I haven't a clue. But the Wow part of the name definitely says it all for me.

Say 'hello' to a gorgeous deep Burgundy Lace Tulip. I don't know which I love more, the deep burgundy hue or the lace tips that look slightly cut into the flower.

Purple Hyacinths and yellow Tulips, what more can one ask for. A stunning garden display that sits behind the Botanical Hall in the Robert Ellis Color Garden.

Capturing the full sun lit lavender Tulips was a challenge. So I bent down and snap a few pics of the Tulips with the sun shining in front and my pics snapped from behind. This is the result. You be the judge.

The Purple Hyacinth and orange Violets were a big hit on my Facebook page. You just never know what will inspire people. Matters not, because all I want is to inspire whether it's a purple Hyacinth or a waterfall. Inspiration is all I'm looking for.

Searching far and wide, I never found the name of this Tulip and failed to check the garden marker. Many of the flower petals stood wide open offering up a bird's eye view of the inside and the stamen. So gorgeous.

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens is situated just south of Nashville proper and today is the last day of Cheekwood's Bloom Fest featuring many, many, many species of Tulips, as well as Hyacinths, Jonquils, Violets and more.

I had hoped to find some cloud cover when I arrived yesterday based on the meterologist's forecast, but instead found full sun. It can be quite difficult to capture the best images in full light when shooting flower photography. Don't let that stop you. Inspiration lies in every single petal you capture.

 I hoped you enjoyed this journey through the purple and lavender hues of Bloom Fest this year. I'll come back soon with gorgeous red and yellow Tulips. You won't want to miss that. ENJOY!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Burnt Cove, Deer Isle, A Decade Ago

When is the last time you took a trip down memory lane? I have embarked on that trip again today. Taking a decade's old journey back in time, I find myself on a remote island off the coast of Down East Maine. On the western edge of Deer Isle I find Burnt Cove. Carved into the landscape surrounded by quaint, clapboard houses and large, granite boulders, this tiny cove is the consummate Maine setting. Heavy clouds hang low in the sky, on this warm Summer's day, giving every element a larger than life feel. I snap images moving my viewfinder a tad left, then a tad right.

After photographing Burnt Cove, I drive the narrow, winding back roads further south on Deer Isle. Using a map, I hug the coastline taking in the scenery. An hour passes and I make my way back to Burnt Cove with anticipation. Just as I had suspected, the low cloud base had lifted giving way to blue skies. Have you ever seen such a beautiful Maine setting as this. Needless to say, the red clapboard house is a priceless find.

The granite boulders that hug the coast, as they do in most Down East shorelines, coupled with the dense Fir trees that grow right up to the water's edge, sets the perfect scene. My love affair with coastal Maine, and an equally passionate love affair with sailboats, brought me to the farthest northeastern state of the U.S. I can only hope if I journeyed to this remote area today that I would find a similar landscape. However, I know there is nowhere, in this our United States, that is safe from urban sprawl. So lucky to have captured these images at a time when coastal Maine was still rugged and unspoiled. Time really can stand still. All you need do is press your shutter release button. Click, and the scene is yours forever.

I have a very lazy weekend ahead with only a few chores. Perhaps the out of doors, which constantly beckons to me, will take over and I'll find myself by the lake shore today. Who knows. ENJOY!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Stonington, Through My Lens

If I could go back to Maine, I would go in a heart beat, but I have other fish to fry. So I scan my image library and sigh. There is no place quite like Maine. It's beautiful. It's rugged. It's unique in so many ways. I drove into Stonington, Maine, on Deer Isle, on a very foggy, Summer's mourn and headed straight for the waterfront. I reached the dock just in time to see this beautiful tall ship making its way across the harbor.

As the fog began to lift, I drove from one side of town to the other, creeping slowly through a busy, tiny town to find the opposite side of the harbor. As I approached the waterfront, camera in hand, this beautiful tall ship was sailing by. I absolutely love the old dock in the foreground with the sea gulls perched on top.

With the fog fully lifted now, I turned and made my way to the car, having driven way out on the main dock. Before I got in the car, I looked up and saw this scene. The quintessential Maine clapboard houses sitting next to the the water's edge, while a wharf side restaurant complete with log stilts jutted out in the harbor itself. What a perfect setting. Stonington is such a quaint, albeit teeny tiny town, situated on the southern most edge of Deer Isle. If you have never visited, you've missed out.

Before getting back in my car, I also noticed these small boats tied up to a smaller dock. The sun was bright and the water was a gorgeous blue. I couldn't not snap a few photos. This tiny town is so remote and isolated, and to think of the harsh Winters, and to see that tourism was, and still is, thriving here was such a comfort. I am amazed to think about the fishermen making a living out on the open ocean working their lobster traps, but that is exactly what they do.

Before leaving Stonington, I stopped at a small shop in town. Curiosity took over as I walked to the back of the shop next to the waterfront. A small sailboat was floating aimlessly through the harbor. At the water's edge lay a tangled mess of rope and bright pink buoys. Oh, how perfect. Throw in a bit of rocky coastline that Maine is so famous for and you have the perfect seaside image.

If I visited Stonington today, I would stay a while and snap more images and immerse myself in this quaint, tiny seaside town. I had dreamed of this trip for years and to live it was absolutely surreal. I'll be back with my next stop at Burnt Cove on Deer Isle. And yes, I've shared this trip before, but I just couldn't not share again. Can you see why. I hope you are staying warm in the throws of this Polar Vortex with negative degree days and even colder nights, not to mention snow squalls in the north every other minute. And before I leave, goodbye January. You seemed so short and sweet. Oh, and least I forget, these beauties (photos) were all taken with slide film on a manual Pentax camera. Take that you DSLRs! ENJOY!