Friday, May 20, 2016

Late May at the Rookery

As the sun began to fall low in the sky, the Herons in the Rookery on Old Hickory Lake, continued to fly in and out of the trees. As I peered up into the Rookery, although the leaves were fully out on the tree, I could make out countless Herons in all shapes and sizes. Keeping their privacy in mind, I stayed away from the Rookery itself, but decided to walk under a smaller tree nearby which stood away from the rookery. Not realizing I scared up several Black Crowned Night Herons in the tree. One flew up into the Rookery, while the other flew up on top of a shorter tree near the Rookery. I moved just close enough not to make the Heron fly away and snapped these images.

In spite of the wind picking up, the Heron kept a firm grip on the branch and stayed put. There must have been twenty birds in the Rookery, not to mention several Herons flying in and out, with one flying in carrying a huge twig. More nest building going on. Amazing! I am not certain how long into the year the courtships and nest building goes on, but my best guess would be that it will come to a close soon as the hot days of Summer are fast approaching. I did take note that the juveniles I could make out in the nests had grown to a good foot or more. It bears mentioning here that I did not adjust the color on these images. The blue hour was upon me and very evident in the images I captured. It bears mentioning I broke out the Summer header today. With the exception of this week, the weather here in Tennessee has felt more like August. This week the temps dropped like a rock, but they are bouncing back and fast. So incredibly happy it is the weekend. A major deadline is nearly behind me and I am so relieved. Everyone have a wonderful weekend. ENJOY!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Out of the Nest

One of the many juvenile Great Blue Herons who have called the Heron Rookery on Old Hickory Lake their home this Spring is finally out of the nest. He has to make his way in the world. Can you imagine? As he stood motionless for probably half an hour, his parents stood close guard over him, both Mom and Dad. Finally, he flew off. I love his scruffy headed look. It's as though he just got up out of bed. And in some ways he had. He only stood about a foot tall in comparison to his 3 foot tall parents. We kept our distance from the threesome so as not to scare him or them. The rookery was a busy place with Egrets, and Black Crowned and Great Blues coming and going. ENJOY!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Heron Fly By

One of the many images I captured this past weekend during my workshop. It was a complete success and the ladies enjoyed the Heron Rookery immensely as did I. If I only knew what this guy was saying to me as he flew by, but sadly I don't speak heron. You have to admit though, he is a beauty. As were all of the Great Blue Herons, and there were quite a few, over on an adjacent peninsula near the shoreline. Apparently, some fishermen had scared them out of their nests when they pulled up right under the rookery. Fortunately, they pulled out shortly after we arrived and we made sure to keep a safe distance from the rookery so as not to disturb the families. ENJOY!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Southern Magnolia

Southern Magnolia trees are found throughout all of the Southeastern United States, although they are more common along the Gulf coast and the southern Atlantic shore. While Palm trees dot the landscape in the southeastern states, Bald Cypress trees grow in the Louisiana swamps, and rows of Georgia Peach and Florida Orange trees thrive in groves throughout Georgia and Florida, one would think one of those trees would be synonymous of the South. Not so. The Southern Magnolia holds that crown.

As images of the old Southern Plantations are conjured up, the Southern Magnolia tree undoubtedly comes to mind. I can see the Southern Belles sitting under the Magnolia trees in their long flowing dresses sipping glasses of sweet tea and chatting about their Southern gentlemen. Those are bygone days obviously. You can, however, still tour many of the old plantations around the South to this day, and no doubt, you will find a Southern Magnolia tree or two growing on the grounds.

Every Spring I would spend time at Bernheim photographing the Japanese Magnolias with their blush pink and pale yellow blooms. While there are few Japanese Magnolias here in Nashville, Southern Magnolias are plentiful. I hope to capture a few more photos before the heat browns the pedals and the gorgeous blooms wither. Have a great week all. ENJOY!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Heron Hotel

After several failed attempts, due to weather, I was finally able to hold the Bird Photography Workshop today. The weather could not have been more perfect. The temperature was in the low 80's and there was a nice breeze that seemed to pick up as the day went on. It goes without saying photo after photo after photo was taken in and around Old Hickory Lake. We photographed Great Blue Herons, Great White Egrets, Black Crowned Night Herons, Canadian Geese, Goslings, Mallards, Osprey, and well, you get the picture.

At our last stop at Lock 4 Park in Gallatin, just north of Hendersonville on Old Hickory Lake, I captured this image of the Heron Rookery. This rookery totally escaped my mind until Martha, a charming lady in the workshop, pointed it out to me. At the Heron Rookery in Hendersonville, watching the ladies in the workshop snapping photos was a lot of fun. They had a great time capturing images of an immature Great Blue Heron standing her the shoreline while its Mom and Dad were on guard not too far away. Great company and a great time was had by all. I wanted to share this particular image as every time I see it it reminds me of a hotel what with the various levels of heron nests, hence, the name the Heron Hotel. Hope you are having a great weekend and the weather is cooperative wherever you are. ENJOY!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Field of Dreams

As the warm months of Summer approach, 
I dream of long Summer nights, the hot sun sets low in the sky.
A soft breeze cools the warm night air.

As I drive down the dusty country road,
fields of corn sway in the late day breeze,
insects flit in and out of the rows in earnest.

The last light of the day falls below the horizon.
The sky turns a pale pink hue as another day draws to a close.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Vintage Barn

As I searched fervently on a winding country road for the rumored yellow Canola fields blooming just north of Nashville, I happened to pass this vintage and pretty dilapidated barn sitting near the edge of the road. As I stopped and turned around, knowing I had taken a wrong turn to find the Canola fields, I stopped a good distance from the old barn to capture several images.

It couldn't have been a more perfect day to stop and snap a few images of a vintage barn out in the middle of the countryside. I love the tan grasses in the field and the gorgeous blue sky with the white fluffy clouds. It's the perfect contrast. I like the way the old vintage conveyor was still perched up against the loft almost as though it had just been used. I don't think I have ever seen an old conveyor still in place. I wonder why the farmer didn't take it down. This area of northern Tennessee is filled with flat farm land and so beautiful. There's nothing like vintage America to make you appreciate times gone by.

It's a rainy, rainy weekend here which meant a postponed photography workshop. Aside from the last two weekends, every weekend for months past have been rainy here in middle Tennessee. This Spring has been exceptionally wet which has kept me from scheduling any other workshops and no meetup group outings. I hope May proves to be a dryer month so I can get outdoors a tad more. Enjoy your weekend all! Back soon. ENJOY!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Yellow Canola Fields

After learning about a farm in northern Tennessee, not far outside of Nashville, with blooming Canolas, I had to take a drive this weekend in hopes of finding it. After a good deal of turning down this road, turning around and backtracking and then turning down that road, eventually I found the farm. Sure enough, there were several fields on both sides of a country road in full bloom with yellow Canola flowers for as far as the eye could see. It was a beautiful sight, not to mention a definite pick me up, what with the bright yellow blooms.

I read online that canola is not only an edible oil for consumption by both humans and animals, but it is considered to be one of the healthiest plant derived oils. As I was snapping photos one of the farmers stopped and mentioned that the Canola fields aren't planted every year. I hope your week has been a good one. The weekend is upon us and I will be conducting my second photography workshop. I will teaching Bird Photography and fortunately, for this workshop I don't have to travel. There's a ton of bird photography hot spots right out my back door all up and down Old Hickory Lake. Wish me luck! ENJOY!