Category Archives: photography

El Cedral

El Cedral is the oldest Mayan Ruins on Cozumel Island, dating back to 800 A.D.

Once the hub of Maya life on Cozumel, this was the first site found by Spanish explorers in 1518, and the first mass in Mexico was reportedly celebrated here. These days, there’s little evidence of its past glory. It is believed to be hundreds of years old and faint traces of the original paint and stucco are evident. El Cedral is different in shape from the typically small and low structures found on the island, suggesting it was used for major ceremonies. Nearby is a green and white cinderblock church, decorated inside with crosses shrouded in embroidered lace.

During the 1800’s, El Cedral was used as a jail. Today, the area is occupied by a small farm settlement. Every May there is a fair held at this location called Festival de Cedral, with several days and nights filled with traditional ceremonies, dancing, music, bullfights and a cattle show.

On display we found a Mayan Calendar and several depictions of Mayan Gods. If someone can ID them, please comment below!

 

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Faro Celarain Lighthouse

Punta Sur marks the southern point of Cozumel and is part of the Parque Punta Sur, a 247-acre  ecological park that covers the reefs, beaches, lagoons, and low forest of the surrounding area. The reef system is also part of the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park.

The Celarain lighthouse (Faro de Celarain) sits on the Punta Sur promontory (Punta Celarain) and is part of a nautical museum.  Built in 1901, this charming lighthouse is a mere babe compared to the nearby ancient Mayan lighthouse, El Caracol. Located on the southernmost tip of the island in the 250-acre Parque Ecoturistico de Punta Sur, Faro de Celarain houses a small museum featuring an exhibit on navigation history, and the lighthouse keeper’s home, as it was when he lived there. The building is open to the public, so you can climb to the top for panoramic views of the coast and nearby environs.

Some of the sandy beaches are protected to allow hatching for sea turtles. Observation towers have been erected at the Columbia lagoon to watch wildlife. Off Punta Sur is the Devil’s Throat scuba diving area, while in the closer reef visitors can snorkel. The dirt road area is accessible to off-road vehicles and allows some tours to access the area as part of a guided excursion. At the end of the dirt road you will find 2 beach clubs, Papito’s Beach Club Restaurant and Bar as well as the Punta Sur Beach Club. Included in the entrance fee to Punta Sur Park is a view overlooking the Colombia Lagoon for bird watching, sightseeing, crocodile observation and more.

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Ring-billed Gull

In most of the northern part of the United States the Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) is a winter visitor, less common than the Herring Gull. However, in some inland areas and in the Deep South it is the more numerous of the two species. It often nests in very large colonies; as many as 85,000 pairs nest on a single island in Lake Ontario. By contrast, colonies of Herring Gulls seldom number more than a few score pairs. Mischaracterized as a seagull, this bird readily follows farm plows or scatters over meadows after heavy rains to feast on drowning earthworms.

Today, while out running some errands, I stopped at Morse Park and this Ring-billed Gull posed proudly for me!

Click on image for larger view:

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Tamron Deal

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2014 Geminids meteor shower

In 2014, the Geminids will peak between December 13 and 14 in 2014. A 3rd quarter Moon may make it too bright for observers to view the shower.

Northern Hemisphere observers should try their luck right after dark, while those in the Southern Hemisphere should try to catch the shower after midnight.

The Geminids can be annually observed between December 4 and December 17, with its peak activity being around December 14. The shower owes its name to the constellation Gemini from where the meteors seem to emerge from in the sky.

Unlike most other meteor showers, the Geminids are associated not with a comet but with an asteroid – the 3200 Phaethon. The asteroid takes about 1.4 years to orbit around the Sun.

The Geminids are considered to be one of the more spectacular meteor shower during a year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak.

While it is not necessary to look in a particular direction to enjoy a meteor shower – just lay down on the ground and look directly above and you are bound to see some meteors – astronomers suggest looking towards the south to view the Geminids. As a general rule, the Geminid meteor shower intensifies after midnight and produces the greatest number of meteors for a few hours, centered around 2 a.m. That’s true no matter where you are around the globe, and it’s true whether the moon is up or not.

Give your eyes at least 20 minutes time to adapt to the dark. Often, meteors come in spurts and are interspersed by lulls. So give yourself at least an hour to watch the Geminids.

You don’t need special equipment – only a dark, open sky. Simply look upward and enjoy the company of family and friends.

 

Pineapple Fountain – A different look

One of the most eye-catching fountains in the whole city, Charleston’s famous Pineapple Fountain stands in Waterfront Park, in the downtown district. The Pineapple Fountain has become one of the city’s most photographed landmarks and symbolizes hospitality.

I have posted this image previously, but this time have taken a different “look” at it. Hope you enjoy it!

Click on image for larger view

 

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Reworked Image

This morning I reworked an older image that I had taken on the Inlet side of Belin Memorial United Methodist Church here in Murrells Inlet. Here we are close to the beginning of Advent and obviously this picture was originally taken during Lent! I liked the “rework” and thought I would throw it up here for your comments.

Click on image for larger view:

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Cirrocumulus Sunset

Yesterday evening, just before sunset, I walked outside and saw some amazing cloud formations. I instinctively knew that a spectacular sunset was awaiting and I quickly jumped in the car and headed toward Hunting Beach State Park, one of my favorite sunset spots. Along the way I convinced myself that I would not make it in time. So, instead I stopped at the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk and walked out onto Veterans Pier.

The clouds I saw are called Cirrocumulus. Cirrocumulus is one of the three main genus-types of high-altitude tropospheric clouds, which also includes cirrus and cirrostratus. They usually occur at an altitude of 16,000 ft to 39,000 ft. They are small rounded puffs that usually appear in long rows. Cirrocumulus are usually white, but sometimes appear gray. Cirrocumulus clouds are the same size or smaller than the width of your littlest finger when you hold up your hand at arm’s length.

When these clouds cover a lot of the sky, it is called a “mackerel sky” because the sky looks like the scales of a fish. Cirrocumulus are usually seen in the winter time and indicate fair, but cold weather.

I think they made for a spectacular sunset. Check out the images below and tell me what you think!

(click on image for larger view)

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Wood Storks and Ibis

Late yesterday afternoon I went to the causeway at Huntington Beach State Park to shoot the sunset. I went a little early with the hope of being able to shoot some of the many birds and ‘gators that frequent the area. Tucked back away off to the side I spotted these Wood Storks looking for their dinner. A close look showed that the Wood Storks had been joined by two Ibis!

Click image for larger view:

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New Gallery!

Today I added a new gallery to the website. This gallery consists of old barns and other such outbuildings found along old country roads mostly in Horry County, South Carolina. Go take a look!

http://www.billbarberphoto.com/galleries/old-barns/