Category Archives: photography

National D-Day Memorial

The National D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford, Virginia — the community suffering the highest per capita D-Day losses in the nation. The Memorial honors the Allied forces that participated in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II.

With its stylized English Garden, haunting invasion tableau, and striking Victory Plaza, the Memorial stands as a powerful permanent tribute to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of D-Day participants. The Memorial is encompassed by the names of the 4,413 Allied soldiers who died in the invasion, the most complete list of its kind anywhere in the world.

Visitors can expect both an educational experience as well as an emotional one, as they walk the grounds at the Memorial and leave with a clear understanding of the scale and sacrifices made during the largest amphibious landing the world has ever seen. On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 ships and 11,000 aircraft supported the invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in France. The D-Day cost was high with more than 9,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded as the march across Europe to defeat Hitler began.

The Memorial is supported by contributions to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization.

Some photos I took while there are below:

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Smallest Drawbridge

Somerset Bridge is a small bridge in Bermuda. Connecting Somerset Island with the mainland in the western parish of Sandys, Somerset Bridge is reputedly the smallest working drawbridge in the world.

The original bridge was built in 1620, and much of its structure remains, although the bridge was largely rebuilt in the mid 20th century. The original bridge was cranked open by hand, whereas the current bridge consists of two cantilevered half-spans, separated by an 18-inch (46 cm) gap bridged by a thick timber panel. The entire width of the drawbridge measures 32 inches. The panel is removed whenever a yacht wishes to pass beneath the bridge, allowing the unstayed mast to pass through the gap. A captain must wait for a passer-by to assist in opening the drawbridge.

On a series of Bermudian dollar banknotes issued from 2009, the bridge is featured on the reverse of the pink five dollar note, along with Horseshoe Bay and opposite an Atlantic blue marlin.

Nearby buildings often take their name from the bridge, such as a post office a park and, until October 2008, a sports club.

This image was shot during our visit to Bermuda May 2014.

Smallest Drawbridge

Worlds Smallest Drawbridge

Oahu – the last stop

Our final stop on this fantastic adventure was the island of Oahu. Both of us had been there before; Liz for a brief visit and I was stationed there ’73-’76.  The Solstice docked early in the morning and our flight outbound was not until later in the evening. We decided to sign up for a tourist trap bus tour of southeast Oahu.

From the Hawaiian monarchy to the attack on Pearl Harbor, an exploration of Oahu’s history reflects the key influences that have impacted all of Hawaii. In 1795, King Kamehameha I led his forces in the legendary Battle of Nuuanu near the scenic precipices of the Nuuanu Pali Lookout. This pivotal battle resulted in the conquering of Oahu and the eventual unification of the Hawaiian Islands under one rule in 1810.

Seven Hawaiian monarchs followed after Kamehameha the Great. King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) permanently established the Hawaiian Kingdom’s government on Oahu. King Kamehameha IV (Alexander Liholiho) and his wife Emma’s summer retreat, the Queen Emma Summer Palace, can still be visited in Honolulu’s Nuuanu Valley today. King Kalakaua, also known as the Merrie Monarch, built the majestic Iolani Palace in Downtown Honolulu. Queen Liliuokalani was Hawaii’s last reigning monarch after American colonists overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom in a controversial coup in 1893. In 1898, Hawaii became a territory of the United States.

The 1800’s were a time of great change for Hawaii. Christian missionaries became influential after King Kamehameha II (Liholiho) ended the traditional kapu (taboo) system. Many of the historic churches on Oahu are reminders of Christianity’s influence, such as Kawaiahao Church in downtown Honolulu, which was a place of worship for Hawaiian kings and alii (royalty). Soon, new commerce emerging from whaling, sugar and pineapple industries resulted in an influx of western settlers.

As agriculture boomed in the late 19th century, plantation owners found themselves in the midst of a labor shortage. Immigrants from Japan, China, Korea, Puerto Rico, Portugal, Russia and the Philippines arrived to work in the plantations. Today, this mix of ethnicities is the source of Hawaii’s multicultural population. Visitors can step backward in time to explore this era at Waipahu’s Plantation Village. You can also still see the smoke stack of the old Waialua Sugar Mill as you drive toward historic Haleiwa town.

In the early 1900’s, agriculture began to wane and Hawaii’s visitor industry began to grow. In 1901, the Moana Hotel opened on the beach in Waikiki. Today the Westin Moana Surfrider is Hawaii’s oldest resort still in operation. The Halekulani Hotel opened in 1917 as a cottage colony and was rebuilt as a luxury hotel in the 1970s. The Aloha Tower opened in 1926, and was the tallest building in Hawaii for four decades. In 1927 the iconic Royal Hawaiian Hotel opened and was nicknamed the “Pink Palace.”

On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor pushing America into World War II. The surprise attack was aimed at the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy and its defending Army Air Corps and Marine Air Forces. The attack damaged or destroyed 12 American warships, destroyed 188 aircraft and resulted in the deaths of 2,403 American servicemen and 68 civilians.

In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States. Completed in 1969, the Hawaii State Capitol is located in Downtown Honolulu, behind Iolani Palace.

From the largest museum in the state, Bishop Museum, to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, Oahu is home to numerous landmarks and significant points of interest that shed light on the fascinating facets of Hawaii’s past.

Rabbit Island away from Oahu

Rabbit Island

Waimanalo Bay Beach not like Oahu

Waimanalo Bay Beach

Waimanalo Bay Beach

Waimanalo Bay Beach

lighthouse

Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Kaluahole Channel

Kaluahole Channel

Halona Cove

Halona Cove

nuuanu pali pass

nuuanu pali pass

Lookout

Nuuanu Pali Lookout

Hawaiian Chicken

Hawaiian Free Range Chicken

Also posted in Hawaii, lighthouse, travel

Auckland

Auckland stretches over volcanic hills, sitting between the twin Waitemata and Manukau harbours. Often known as The City of Sails, Auckland has more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world. With so many bays, beaches and islands, glistening waters seem to beckon from every point.

Maori people are first thought to have settled in the Auckland region approximately 650 years ago. Auckland would seem to have been a highly sought after area due to its rich and fertile land. The name given by the early Maori for the area, ‘Tamaki’, meaning ‘battle’, would seem to confirm this.

The volcanic cones that are dotted all over Auckland became natural sites for pas, or fortified Maori settlements. Several of the best known lookout areas in Auckland, such as Mount Eden and One Tree Hill, bear the traces of these pas.

Fierce inter-tribal conflict in the 1820s led to there being little organized Maori resistance to European settlement, and by 1840 the British had either beaten or bought out (generally for a few trinkets) the Ngati Whatua tribe.

The onset of systematic European settlement can be traced to 1840. New Zealand’s first governor, Captain William Hobson, chose Auckland as the capital. Hobson decided upon the name Auckland, in honor of his patron and former commander, Lord Auckland (at that time, the viceroy of India). Many of the other place names in Auckland bear the influence of Hobson’s patron. Lord Auckland’s family name was Eden, and a great many parts of the city bear this name.

Auckland is New Zealand’s center of commerce and industry, and is perhaps the most vibrant, bustling and multicultural city in New Zealand. Auckland is the biggest Polynesian city in the world, and this cultural influence is reflected in many different aspects of city life.

Welcome Sign

Welcome Sign

Sky Tower

Sky Tower

Rocky Shoreline

Rocky Shoreline

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill

View from Mt Eden

View from Mt Eden

View from Mt Eden

View from Mt Eden

Marina

Marina

Maori Statue

Maori Statue

Bayside

Bayside

 

Also posted in art and entertainment, New Zealand, travel

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, outdoor, Sydney, travel

Sydney – Day One

After a 17 hour non-stop flight from Dallas, we landed in Sydney around 6AM Wednesday April 6th.  Obviously is was too early to check in to our hotel/apartment but they had told us we could store our bags there and we could play tourist until check-in time. So after storing our bags, we walked off in the direction of Darling Harbor and Kings Warf. We had signed on for a Harbor Luncheon Tour that left out of Kings Warf and decided our legs could use the exercise after being on the plane that long. We stopped at a little coffee shop/bistro/bakery type of place and got a snack and watched the city come alive with workers scurrying off to work and students headed to classes.

One of the first things we noticed in Sydney was how clean the air was. It was actually revitalizing. The folks in Sydney we a cheerful bunch also. Twice, just to confirm our directions, we randomly stopped people on the street to make sure we were headed in the right direction. In both instances the folks we stopped were most helpful.

There is a lot of construction going on in the Darling Harbor area so apparently the economy is on a rebound. There were lots of tourist type sight seeing boats coming and going. We saw a replica of the HMS Endeavor (Capt Cooks ship), and other monuments throughout the shoreline. Below you can see some of the sights we saw:

 

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Cape Bowling Green Lighthouse

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Replica-HMS-Endeavor-web

Replica HMS Endeavor

Bradleys-Head-Light-web

Bradleys Head Light

HMAS-Sydney-Main-Mast-Memorial-web

HMAS Sydney Main Mast Memorial

SOH-under-bridge-web

Sydney Opera House under bridge

SOH-closeup-web

Sydney Opera House closeup

SOH-with-flag-web

Sydney Opera House with flag

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

Morris Island Lighthouse

What was once a beacon to ships out to sea now juts out of the Atlantic Ocean as a reminder of days gone by.

The Morris Island Lighthouse, a defunct lighthouse just north of Folly Beach on Morris Island at the entrance of the Charleston Harbor, stands just a few hundred feet off the coast. Its light never shines, but it remains a beloved historical site for both locals and vacationers.

The 161 foot lighthouse tower was completed in 1876 for $149, 993. A Fresnel lens powered by lard oil shone light out over the water to guide ships safely to shore. Although the sole function of the lighthouse was to provide safer navigation for ships and vessels, the lighthouse itself was frequently at risk.
Morris-Island-Lighthouse-between-branches-web
During its run as a working lighthouse, it was partially destroyed by a cyclone in 1885. In 1886, an earthquake shook the lens of the main light out of position and cracked the tower. Though these incidents provided blows to the lighthouse, nothing threatened the structure as much as the rapidly encroaching water.

In 1876 the lighthouse stood 1,200 feet from the coast, but when jetties were created in 1889 to protect shipping lanes, natural erosion was intensified and the ocean crept closer and closer. By 1938, the erosion was so great that the lighthouse became automated. Less than 30 years later in 1962 the lighthouse was too close to the shore and state officials ordered it to close.

The Morris Island Lighthouse was replaced by Charleston Light on the north side of nearby Sullivan’s Island. Now the lighthouse is preserved by the State of South Carolina and is under a 99-year contract with Save the Light, Inc. to preserve the historical structure through stabilization, erosion, and restoration. Save the Light also hosts events to raise funds for the preservation of the relic. Currently, a cement barrier is being constructed to help further preserve the tower.

Also posted in Charleston, Folly Beach, lighthouse, Morris Island Lighthouse Tagged , , , , |

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, outdoor Tagged , , , |

A Trip to Ripley’s Aquarium

This morning I decided to make a visit to the aquarium up in Myrtle Beach. The times I had been there before were during tourist season and of course the place was packed with little munchkins everywhere. Now I like little munchkins as much as the next person, but for getting photographs in an aquarium it is a lot easier with not too many people around.

Here are a few images from todays visit.

Bronze Frog

Bronze Frog

Pair of eels

Pair of eels

Jelly Fish

Jelly Fish

Lion Fish

Lion Fish

Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish

Redish-webResting-web

Taking Better Photos

Here’s a nice post from Petapixel on taking better photos.

40 Tips to Taking Better Photos

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