Category Archives: outdoor

Worldwide Photowalk 2017

This past Saturday, October 7th, I got up early and drove to Southport, North Carolina, and participated in of Scott Kelby’s Workwide Photowalk. On the first Saturday of October each year, photographers and enthusiasts around the world get out their cameras and meet up at a designated location in their town to walk around and take photographs, socialize, make new friends, win prizes and be a part of a great cause during Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk®. This year was particularly special because it marks the 10th Anniversary of the Worldwide Photowalk®. Some of my friends from the St James Plantation Photo Club and from the Coastal Carolina Camera Club were attending and had asked me to join in with them.  Other camera bugs from the surrounding area participated as well.

Founded in the mid-1700s with the establishment of Fort Johnston, and officially designated as the town of Southport in 1792, this coastal community is dotted with centuries of history around every corner. Visitors will find a myriad of ways to soak up the local legends and stories via walking tours, bus / vehicle tours, and even boat tours, or can set out on their own adventure by popping by some of the town’s quintessential sites. The Fort Johnston Museum & Visitors Center offers an inside glimpse into the fort’s 250+ year history, (as well as plenty of visitor information for newcomers), while the Old Brunswick County Jail is a fascinating jail-turned-museum that operated for 70 years after it was first built in 1904. For a far-reaching perspective of the local culture, head to the NC Maritime Museum which features artifacts from the Civil War, the American Revolution, and even the original Native American residents. Suffice it to say, in a town as old and historically rich as Southport, history can be uncovered around every corner.

Here are a few images I made from this years Photowalk.

casting casting skelton anchor shrimper shrimpers

Also posted in art and entertainment, photography, Shrimp Boats, travel

Along the Causeway

The causeway at Huntington Beach State Park is a great place even if you don’t have a lot of time. Today was another rainy, grey, dreary kind of day and I took advantage in a break in the rain to make a run to the causeway. It was also low tide so I was hopeful that there would be a lot of feeding activity from the local birds. I was also hopeful that I would see a Rosette Spoonbill as one has been seen the past several days.

Much to my disappointment there was not a lot of activity AND the Spoonbill had not made an appearance, at least not while I was there. I was able to get a few shots and thought I would share them with you.

swimming gator gator head observation deck egret ibis orb spider

Also posted in art and entertainment, huntington beach, inlet images, murrells inlet, South Carolina, state park

CNPA Wildlife Presentation

If you attended the CNPA-Myrtle Beach June meeting today, you were subjected to a “Wildlife” presentation from Yours Truly. If you weren’t able to attend, here is one of the wildlife images you missed and a little information about this guy —

 

Wildlife - Green Iguana

Green Iguana

 

The green iguana (Iguana iguana), also known as the American iguana, is a large, arboreal, mostly herbivorous species of lizard of the genus Iguana. It is native to Central, South America, and the Caribbean. Usually, this animal is simply called the iguana. The green iguana ranges over a large geographic area, from southern Brazil and Paraguay as far north as Mexico and the Caribbean Islands. They have been introduced from South America to Puerto Rico and are very common throughout the island, where they are colloquially known as “Gallina de palo” and considered an invasive species; in the United States feral populations also exist in South Florida (including the Florida Keys), Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
An herbivore, it has adapted significantly with regard to locomotion and osmoregulation as a result of its diet. It grows to 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) in length from head to tail, although a few specimens have grown more than 2 metres (6.6 ft) with bodyweights upward of 20 pounds (9.1 kg).
Commonly found in captivity as a pet due to its calm disposition and bright colors, it can be very demanding to care for properly. Space requirements and the need for special lighting and heat can prove challenging to an amateur hobbyist.

Also posted in photography, travel

Prague Gardens

While in Prague a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I explored the Prague Castle. However, before we toured the castle we took some time to visit the gardens outside the castle. There were blooms everywhere! 

The first image you see below you may have seen on my personal FaceBook page. After looking at it I thought it might be a good candidate for Fractalius treatment. I have not played with Fractalius for a while but think I like the result, seen in the second image below. 

prague gardens

prague gardens

The Royal Gardens are historically the most valuable of all the castle gardens. Founded in 1534 by Ferdinand I. Habsburg, they were inspired by Italian designs; the current form of the garden, however, follows the English adaptation of the 19th century. One of its greatest treasures is the Singing Fountain, one of the most beautiful fountains in Renaissance Europe. The southern gardens (Paradise, Ramparts and Hartig Gardens) spreading along the southern facade of the Prague Castle offer striking views of the Lesser Quarter, Old Town and nearby Petřín.

Also posted in art and entertainment, Camera phone, flowers

Pineapples of Moorea

Pineapples may be cultivated from a crown cutting of the fruit, possibly flowering in 5-10 months and fruiting in the following six months. Pineapples do not ripen significantly after harvest.

Pineapples can be consumed fresh, cooked, juiced, or preserved. They are found in a wide array of cuisines. In addition to consumption, the pineapple leaves are used to produce the textile fiber piña in the Philippines, commonly used as the material for the men’s barong Tagalog and women’s baro’t saya formalwear in the country. The fiber is also used as a component for wallpaper and other furnishings.

The flesh and juice of the pineapple are used in cuisines around the world. In many tropical countries, pineapple is prepared and sold on roadsides as a snack. It is sold whole or in halves with a stick inserted. Whole, cored slices with a cherry in the middle are a common garnish on hams in the West. Chunks of pineapple are used in desserts such as fruit salad, as well as in some savory dishes, including pizza toppings, or as a grilled ring on a hamburger. Crushed pineapple is used in yogurt, jam, sweets, and ice cream. The juice of the pineapple is served as a beverage, and it is also the main ingredient in cocktails such as the piña colada.

While on the island of Moorea last spring we took a tour that (among other places) went through a pineapple field. Below are a couple of images of what pineapples in the field look like and a third picture that I took just to be a little different. Click on the image to have a larger view. Hope you enjoy them.

pineapple

pineapple

pineapple

Also posted in French Polynesia, photography

Belin Memorial UMC Garden

I am a member of Belin (pronounced Blaine) Memorial United Methodist Church. It sits right on the inlet of Murrells Inlet and is quite a famous landmark. There is a garden area between the Family Life Center and the cemetery and this garden is tended to by a group of volunteers. These gardening volunteers do a wonderful job year round. 

Although it is still February I was surprised with all the color in our garden. Several different varieties of daffodils, gerbia daisys, and other assorted colorful blooms. 

Pictured below are some of the Gerbia Daisys I found there. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

(click on image for larger view)

yellow gerbias

 

#murrellsinlet, #belin, #discoversc, #southcarolina, #canon, #myrtlebeach, #mymyrtlebeach, 

Also posted in Belin, flowers, garden, murrells inlet, photography, South Carolina, UMC

Full Moon Calendar 2017

Yesterday, January 12th, was the first full moon of 2017. Yesterday was also the first time this year I was asked “When is the next full moon?” 

Many cultures have given distinct names to each recurring full moon. The names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. The Farmer’s Almanac lists several names that are commonly used in the United States. The almanac explains that there were some variations in the moon names, but in general, the same ones were used among the Algonquin tribes from New England on west to Lake Superior. European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names.

This is when full moons will occur in 2017, according to NASA:

Date Name U.S. East UTC
Jan. 12 Wolf Moon 6:34 a.m. 11:34
Feb. 10 Snow Moon 7:33 p.m. 00:33 (2/11)
Mar. 12 Worm Moon 10:54 a.m. 15:54
Apr. 11 Pink Moon 2:08 a.m. 07:08
May 10 Flower Moon 5:43 p.m. 22:43
June 9 Strawberry Moon 9:10 a.m. 14:10
July 9 Buck Moon 12:07 a.m. 05:07
Aug. 7 Sturgeon Moon 2:11 p.m. 19:11
Sept. 6 Harvest Moon 3:03 a.m. 08:03
Oct. 5 Hunter’s Moon 2:40 p.m. 19:40
Nov. 4 Beaver Moon 12:23 a.m. 05:23
Dec. 3 Cold Moon 10:47 a.m. 15:47

 

Other Native American people had different names. In the book “This Day in North American Indian History” (Da Capo Press, 2002), author Phil Konstantin lists more than 50 native peoples and their names for full moons. He also lists them on his website, AmericanIndian.net.

Full moon names often correspond to seasonal markers, so a Harvest Moon occurs at the end of the growing season, in September, and the Cold Moon occurs in frosty December. At least, that’s how it works in the Northern Hemisphere.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are switched, the Harvest Moon occurs in March and the Cold Moon is in June. According to Earthsky.org, these are common names for full moons south of the equator.

January: Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Mead Moon
February (mid-summer): Grain Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Wyrt Moon, Corn Moon, Dog Moon, Barley Moon
March: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon
April: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon
May: Hunter’s Moon, Beaver Moon, Frost Moon
June: Oak Moon, Cold Moon, Long Night’s Moon
July: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon
August: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf Moon
September: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, Sap Moon
October: Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, Waking Moon
November: Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, Hare Moon
December: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon

Here is a shot I took of last nights Wolf Moon – Aooooooooo

Wolf Moon

Wolf Moon, 1/12/17

Also posted in moon, murrells inlet, photography, South Carolina

Super Moon

Step outside on December 14, and take a look at the moon. Not only will the moon be full, but on that day, the moon will be at its closest point to our planet as it orbits Earth. This makes the December full moon a supermoon.

The term supermoon has entered popular consciousness in recent years. Originally a term from modern astrology for a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit, supermoon now refers more broadly to a full moon that is closer to Earth than average. But why is the moon closer to Earth at some times but not others?

Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to Earth than the other (apogee). The word syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon!

This coincidence happens three times in 2016. On October 16 and December 14, the moon becomes full on the same day as perigee. On November 14, it becomes full within about two hours of perigee—arguably making it an extra-super moon.

The full moon of November 14 was not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.

The supermoon of December 14 is remarkable for a different reason: it’s going to wipe out the view of the Geminid meteor shower. Bright moonlight will reduce the visibility of faint meteors five to ten fold, transforming the usually fantastic Geminids into an astronomical footnote. Sky watchers will be lucky to see a dozen Geminids per hour when the shower peaks. Oh well, at least the moon will be remarkable.

How remarkable?

A supermoon, or perigee full moon can be as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than an apogee full moon. However it’s not always easy to tell the difference. A 30% difference in brightness can easily be masked by clouds or the competing glare of urban lights. Also, there are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. Hanging high overhead with no reference points to provide a sense of scale, one full moon looks much like any other.

Low-hanging moons, on the other hand, can create what’s called a “moon illusion.” When the moon is near the horizon it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects. The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience.

A supermoon is undeniably beautiful as we saw on October 16 and this week November 14. We can see that beauty again on December 14: mark your calendar and enjoy the super moonlight.

super moon above princess super moon over crazy sister marina

Also posted in art and entertainment, marshwalk, murrells inlet, Night photography, South Carolina

Sydney – Day Two

On the morning of our second day in Sydney we met up with some other folks for an arranged tour to the Blue Mountains. As we got closer to the mountain region it quickly became foggy and overcast. A mist hung in the air but our spirits were not dampened. Although the fog made it hard to see things at a distance, it just meant we had to concentrate on things closer to us. We headed to Scenic World!

Covering an area 60 to 180 kilometres west of Sydney, the Greater Blue Mountains region includes Australia’s most accessible wilderness area. Changing in elevation from near sea level to 1,300 metres, the area covers 1.03 million hectares with dominant geographic features including sandstone plateaux, escarpments and gorges.

The Greater Blue Mountains region has been inhabited by indigenous Australian Aboriginal people for thousands of years. The area protects over 700 known places of Aboriginal cultural and historic significance, and is home to six Aboriginal language groups – Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Dharawal, Darug, Darkinjung and Wanaruah.

The area consists of eight adjoining conservation reserves and national parks, supporting more than 100 of the world’s Eucalypt species and more than 400 kinds of vertebrates, including mammals, birds and reptiles.

A place where civilization meets wilderness, the region provides a unique blend of conservation and tourism. Visitors are never more than minutes away from the edge of spectacular escarpment, outdoor adventures, great food and wine, shopping or relaxing in at a heritage guesthouse.

In 2000, the Blue Mountains was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List, acknowledging the region’s natural heritage of outstanding universal value.

There is  a 52 degree incline riding the steepest passenger railway in the world, the Scenic Railway. At the bottom we entered a Jurassic rainforest on the Jamison Valley floor with a 2.4 kilometer elevated boardwalk for minimal impact on the environment.

Along the way back into Sydney we stopped at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Here we were able to experience much of Australia wildlife upclose and personal. Liz was especially thrilled to get her hands on a Koala!

Scenic World

Scenic World

Foggy Blue Mountains

Foggy Blue Mountains

Incline Railway

Incline Railway

Palm

Palm

Valley bottom

Valley bottom

Scenic Cableway

Scenic Cableway

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Dinner time for Mr. Koala

Dinner time for Mr. Koala

Liz loving on a Koala

Liz loving on a Koala

Black-Necked Stork (I know it is green, but that's the name)

Black-Necked Stork (I know it is green, but that’s the name)

Echnida

Echnida

Komodo anyone?

Komodo anyone?

Pink Cockatoo

Pink Cockatoo

Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil

Wallaby

Wallaby

Also posted in art and entertainment, Australia, photography, Sydney, travel

Golden Eagle

A few months ago I was able to spend some time with my eldest daughter in Statesboro, GA. She is faculty at Georgia Southern University. The University has a Center for Wildlife Education where (among other things) they provide a home for injured birds that would not be able to survive in the wild. When I visited they had a beautiful Golden Eagle. This gorgeous bird caused me to do a little research and here is what I found.

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

This powerful eagle is North America’s largest bird of prey and the national bird of Mexico. These birds are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their heads and necks. They are extremely swift, and can dive upon their quarry at speeds of more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour.

Golden eagles use their speed and sharp talons to snatch up rabbits, marmots, and ground squirrels. They also eat carrion, reptiles, birds, fish, and smaller fare such as large insects. They have even been known to attack full grown deer. Ranchers once killed many of these birds for fear that they would prey on their livestock, but studies showed that the animal’s impact was minimal. Today, golden eagles are protected by law.

Golden eagle pairs maintain territories that may be as large as 60 square miles (155 square kilometers). They are monogamous and may remain with their mate for several years or possibly for life. Golden eagles nest in high places including cliffs, trees, or human structures such as telephone poles. They build huge nests to which they may return for several breeding years. Females lay from one to four eggs, and both parents incubate them for 40 to 45 days. Typically, one or two young survive to fledge in about three months.

These majestic birds range from Mexico through much of western North America as far north as Alaska; they also appear in the east but are uncommon. Golden eagles are also found in Asia, northern Africa, and Europe.

Some golden eagles migrate, but others do not—depending on the conditions of their geographic location. Alaskan and Canadian eagles typically fly south in the fall, for example, while birds that live in the western continental U.S. tend to remain in their ranges year-round.

Also posted in Birds of Prey, Eagle, photography Tagged , , , |