Flamingos, Homosassa Springs, FL

I took this photo years ago when we went to Homosassa Springs.  I love the way the colors of the flamingos pop among the greenery and the way the water seems quite abstract.  It almost seems like a painting.

Flamingos

Chincoteague Pony

Several years ago Ann Marie and I spent a three day weekend on Chincoteague Island, Virginia.  These days Chincoteague might not be as popular as Hogwarts, but kids have been reading about a pony named Misty of Chincoteague since 1947.  I was one of those kids.

The term “Chincoteague Pony” is actually a bit misleading. The ponies live on Assateague Island, an island in the states of Virginia and Maryland.  There are two herds of ponies, one living on the Maryland side of the island and one living on the Virginia side.

Also, Chincoteague ponies are more horse-like than pony-like.  Legend says that the ponies are descended from Spanish horses that swam ashore from shipwrecked Spanish ships.  The small size is probably due to the poor diet of the animals, which live on plants of the salt marsh covering much of the island.

Horse or pony, the feral equines of Assateague Island are quite beautiful.  Every July, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department holds a Pony Penning Day.  Healthy, older foals are auctioned to raise money for the fire department, and to keep the herds at a healthy level.  Not all the horses purchased during the auction leave the island.  Some bidders donate the money to the fire department and allow the horse to be released back into the herd.

Chincoteague Pony

Johns Hopkins Glacier, Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is aptly named.  There are over 1,000 glaciers in the park, the most famous of them being the 7 tidewater glaciers.  Johns Hopkins Glacier is one of the few tidewater glaciers that are actually advancing.

Johns Hopkins Glacier gets its start on the east slopes of Lituya Mountain.  Lituya Mountain was the site of two of the largest landslides in history.  In 1958 an earthquake kicked off a landslide that dropped an estimated 40 million cubic yards of rock into Lituya Bay.  The resulting tsunami measured nearly 1,700 feet high and was the largest tsunami ever recorded.

In 2012 another landslide, measuring 5.5 miles long and .5 miles wide, fell on Johns Hopkins Glacier, and was possibly the largest recorded landslide in North America.

I like the way the glacier seems to form a series of steps or terraces leading back  from the bay.  The weather, as usual in Glacier Bay, was overcast, so the colors are quite muted.  You do get a bit of the unique blue hue of the glacier ice in the center of the glacier.

The scale of the photo is a bit misleading.  It looks like we were quite close, but we were actual a few miles away.  Glacier Bay is a beautiful, wild place.

Johns Hopkins CFX Graduated ND

Flamingo, Florida

Flamingos get a bad rap.  They’re so much more interesting than their use as tacky lawn ornaments would indicate.

The bird gets its name from the Portuguese word flamengo, which means “flame-colored”.  The pink coloration of flamingos comes from their diet.  Flamingos ingest large amounts of plankton and the beta carotine in causes the pink color.  American flamingos are brighter than European flamingos because there are higher levels of beta carotine in the diets of the American birds.

Interestingly, the flamingo exerts less energy by balancing on one leg that it does by standing on both legs.  Flamingos experience much less body sway when standing on one leg than on two.

I like the bi-tonal aspect to this photo.  I think the dark green of the water contrasts nicely with the beautiful pinks and oranges of the bird’s plumage.

Flamingo

Cloud Chamber, NC Art Museum

This interesting little structure is called Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky and was designed by British artist Chris Drury.  It’s an interactive artwork.  You enter the chamber, close the door and sit quietly in the dark until your eyes adjust.  There’s a tiny hole in the roof that serves as a pinhole camera.  Once your eyes adjust you can see the trees that surround the Cloud Chamber projected on the walls of the chamber.  It uses nature to create art.

The Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum is full of interesting artwork.  There’s also an amphitheater where moves are shown and concerts are held.  We’ve had some wonderful evenings at the park, watching a movie while, many miles away, lightning puts on a free light show against the clouds.

Cloud Chamber

Fire Pink, Kennesaw, Georgia

This beautiful little flower is a Fire Pink and was growing at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.  Fire Pinks are one of my favorite wildflowers.  Despite being a relatively small flower, it’s hard to miss.  The bright red color stands out against the dappled shade of the woods behind the flowers. A member of the carnation family, the Fire Pink is a favorite of the ruby-throated hummingbird, which feeds off the flower’s sugary nectar.

Fire Pink

Grizzly Bear, Denali

During our stay at Denali, we took a Tundra Wilderness Tour.  The tour lasted about seven hours and went deep into one of the wildest of our National Parks.  The views were stunning and we were fortunate enough to see a great number of animals, including this grizzly, who was just a few yards away from our bus.  He’s quite an impressive creature and doesn’t seem to be too worried about the bus that’s sitting in front of him.

Denali Grizzly

 

Red Boathouse

This photo was taken many years ago, with a film camera, at a small lake in North Georgia.  I was lucky enough to be the only person visiting that particular spot that day and was able to enjoy the quiet peace and beauty of the lake and woods.  I was taken by the way the man made object looked so at home in the natural setting.  I also like the faded red of the boathouse is complemented by the reddish tint in some of the foliage.

Red Boathouse

Alaska Wilderness

Sometimes I’m left with the feeling of awe at the beauty of nature.  Alaska’s wilderness left me feeling that way over and over.  Even now, two years later, the places that left the deepest impressions were not the tourist locations, but the natural places we saw in passing.

I don’t know exactly where this mountain and valley are located in Alaska.  I can only tell you that I took the photo as we passed by on our Alaska Railroad journey from Denali to Anchorage.  It leaves me with an appreciation of the power and majesty of nature.

Alaska Landscape

Branches

Another example of how you can find beautiful things anywhere.  We have a tendency to see things at eye level.  Sometimes just changing your viewpoint can result in a rewarding photograph.  Looking up through the branches of the trees gave me this interesting view of a small piece of the world.

Old Tree