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

Melting Ice, Yukon Territory, 2016

I admit it.  I had preconceived ideas about what the Yukon Territory would look like.  For years, I had read books where tough men in heavy parkas and mukluks fought their way through snowstorms and across glaciers in search of gold.  Luckily for us, our visit to the Yukon was much less work.

I was blown away by the beauty of the place.  I expected wilderness, which was everywhere, but not the fantastic colors- the greens of the shrubs and grasses growing around the rocks, the wildflowers in bloom and that wonderful deep blue sky.   It was late Spring so there was still plenty of snow and ice, but the plant life was taking advantage of the warmer temperatures and longer days.

With this particular photo, I love the way the melting ice reflects the sky.  I also like the way the stream leads you to the mountains where it finds its beginnings.  The Yukon was a fascinating place and provided a great opportunity to photograph some amazing landscapes.

YT Melting Ice

Ice

Sometimes you can find opportunities in small places; in this case it was a bucket.  We get some hard freezes in North Carolina.  A few years ago we had several days of extreme cold and the water buckets in the dogs’ kennels froze.  I tipped the buckets over to let the sun warm them enough that the ice would separate from the bucket, and when I picked the buckets up there were bucket-shaped pieces of ice.  The exterior of this particular piece had ridges and trails where air had slowly made its way through the thawing ice, leaving a very abstract pattern that’s vaguely reminiscent of an aerial landscape photograph.

New Ice

Monarch Butterfly

Sometimes you don’t have to go far to experience beauty.  One summer our butterfly bush was covered with Monarchs.  They’re constantly moving from one flower to another, but I managed to catch this beauty as it settled down for a few seconds to feed.  I really like the way the colors of the butterfly and the flower pop against the washed-out sky.

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