Category Archives: photography

Great Blue Heron

Yesterday I visited Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, SC. While there I had to visit their Audubon Swamp Garden.

The Audubon Swamp Garden is a unique world where trees grow from the water, islands float, and everywhere wild creatures go about their secret lives. It boasts a diversity of living things almost unequaled anywhere else in America. Thousands of plant and animal species coexist amongst the cypress and tupelo gum trees, surrounded by blackwater. Each year, hundreds of egrets, herons, and other waterfowl nest within feet of the walking path. You can explore this wild and otherwise inaccessible landscape on boardwalks, bridges, and dikes.

As I was walking through the Swamp Garden I happened to spot a Great Blue Heron perched on a nest very high up in a tree. The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight. This stately heron with its subtle blue-gray plumage often stands motionless as it scans for prey or wades belly deep with long, deliberate steps. They may move slowly, but Great Blue Herons can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap up a gopher. In flight, look for this widespread heron’s tucked-in neck and long legs trailing out behind.  I was fortunate to get a shot of this magnificent creature. I hope you enjoy it.

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Creativity

Digital Camera World has posted in interesting article on creativity! Here is a link to 52 different photography projects that can keep you busy in 2015! Most can be done regardless of the weather.

Click here to start getting creative.

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Swizzle Inn

In May of 2014, my wife and I took a Celebrity cruise to Bermuda. It was an absolutely wonderful trip. Visited a gorgeous island and made many new friends.

Our first day there was taken up with a tour. Our tour guide was fantastic. On our way back to the ship, we (there were 8 of us) asked to stop at the Swizzle Inn. Most of us had heard about it and we had driven past it earlier and we wanted to experience it. I thought you might like to learn a little about it too.

Located at the Bailey’s bay near Crystal Caves, Swizzle Inn Bermuda is the oldest pub in the island, opened in 1932 and set up in a 17th century roadside house. It is run by the Correia family through generations. Swizzle Inn is known to have created island’s famous drink, The Rum Swizzle. It’s a mix of Goslings Black Seal  Rum, Gold Rum, orange & pineapple juices, and bitters. I found Rum Swizzle fairly strong, however noticed the islanders taking pitcher full of this drink :-)
The restaurant here offers British and Bermudian dishes. As you enter Swizzle Inn, there are thousands of business cards and graffiti pasted all over the walls. It’s customary to leave your business card or scribble your name on the pub’s colorful walls. The furniture in the pub have a rustic look. The guest book dates back from 1942.
The Bermudian magazine rated the swizzleburger, a bacon cheese burger made at Swizzle Inn, as the best in Bermuda. Serving primarily pub fares, some of the freshly prepared favorites include fish and chips, conch fritters, and shepherd’s pie. These items are at least a notch above typical Bermudian pub grub.
If you get to go you will not regret it!
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Yellow-throated Warbler

The yellow-throated warbler (Dendroica dominica) is the most common member of the genus Dendroica in the southern United States, where it is known for being a harbinger of spring. It is aptly named for its brilliant plumage, with the bright yellow throat and breast, along with the white patch on the side of the neck, distinguishing this largely blue-grey bird from similar species. Other characteristics of the yellow-throated warbler include a white belly, two white bars on the wing, black streaks along the side, a long black bill and brown legs and feet.

The yellow-throated warbler is a migratory species, and during the winter it is found throughout the Caribbean, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico as far as Texas, and east to the Florida peninsula and the Bahamas. It breeds in the eastern and central United States, where it is found as far north as Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

There are currently no known major threats to the yellow-throated warbler. In fact, this species’ range is currently expanding, possibly due to the restoration of many areas after the effects of large-scale deforestation in the nineteenth century.

The warbler pictured below was seen at Punta Sur, Cozumel, Mexico.

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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!

My trip to El Cedral was via Cozumel Cruise Excursions!

 

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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.

My trip to the lighthouse was via Cozumel Cruise Excursions!

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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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