Tag Archives: nature

Sentinal


oak-tree-black-and-white-photography_88283It stands tall, apart from its neighbors

Stoic, resolute

Displaying the scars of time.

 

Lightening blackened,

The trunk still looks strong,

A testament to tenacity

Yet, Limbs crack off without warning

Falling to the ground.

Acorns pile up along with last fall’s leaves.

Most are eaten, some are buried

Destined to sprout and grow.

Birds congregate on oaken branches

Conversing with each other

A woodpecker has drilled its home near the top.

Nature slowly destroys the oak,

As the oak sustains nature.

 

 

 

 

Close Up


My dad is a fantastic amateur photographer. He’s got a knack for capturing images of people or of scenery in a way that is very appealing. My oldest brother Alan, also has wonderful skill with a camera. I have a few photos that he took of my granddaughter Helene’ a few years ago, and they are stunning.

I’ve always wanted to take good photos, but have never really mastered the art. Partially, its because I’ve not really had that great a camera to work with. I’ve either had very basic models that did little in functionality, and much in blur. Cell phones have advanced their camera options significantly over the years, but their shutter speeds suck. I’ve missed so many great opportunities. Actually i’ve taken lots of photos, of average to poor quality, with a few good ones scattered therein.

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to the mountains for a family gathering. My dad noticed me trying to take  cell phone photos of a favorite local waterfall, and of an unusual mushroom I saw along the trail. He asked if I had a decent camera. I didn’t, of course A few weeks later, I was sent a wonderful entry level digital he’d had lying around. Its far and above what I’ve ever used before.

So far, I’ve taken a few  photos of some of the grandkids, three of Gary trying to cook dinner on his grill, and photos of some flowers in my back yard. Its the flower photos I’m the most pleased with.

I love nature, and trying to capture its beauty can be a challenge. Prose and poetry is a medium I’m familiar with, and I’m not giving it up anytime soon. I just want to expand my creative horizons a bit.  I am looking forward to getting photos of animals, leaves, and flowers,  I see around me. like this one.

Backyard Clover

Backyard Clover

Yes, its clover. Isn’t that cool? You can see the details of a tiny patch of yard, and its beautiful.  The bee of course was faster than I. She was about 18 inches off camera by the time I snapped the photo.

The very first photo I took with my new camera had to be of a cat. Miko gladly posed for this. That she is sitting on me determined that.

Miko's close up.

Of course I’m gorgeous, as you can plainly see.

I will enjoy my new toy, and the opportunities to capture, life, family and nature. With the camera digital, I can quickly delete all the blurry shots.

 

My Dad and the bird


My dad is a retired mechanical engineer. When he retired, he and Mom moved to central Florida. Where they built their retirement home. They installed an above ground pool with a wonderful deck around it and the pool was enjoyed by children and grandchildren for quite a few years. When mom passed, dad kept the pool up for a few more years then decided that it wasn’t worth the trouble of keeping it up just so it would be used a couple times a year. So he decided to give a new purpose…wildlife habitat.

My dad has long had a fascination with nature, in his usual unique way. He seems to lack a fear of things in the wild, although he still has maintained respect for creatures in their natural habitats. I remember one summer were we went to Silver Springs near where dad lives now. Mom worried over dad the entire day. Why? Because he’d decided that then was the perfect time to get some great photographs of the abundant alligators at the springs. He wasn’t quite content with shots from a distance, but kept creeping closer and closer to the large reptiles before he snapped the photo. It was almost like he was hoping to catch the remains of dinner stuck between the teeth of the gator. Fortunately for all of us, those alligators were quite well fed and too lethargic to chase any shutterbugs with more daring then sense. At least that’s what we told ourselves.

For dad to end up turning the backyard pool into a nature pond was not really a surprise to us kids. He’d gotten some water hyacinths from one of the local rivers, and the eggs stuck to the bottom of the plants soon hatched little frogs and fish. Eventually other wildlife found themselves attracted to this created habitat and visited Dad’s pool in hopes of catching a snack. One of them was a hawk.

One day dad was outside sitting by the pool/pond and a hawk landed on the deck railing at the far end from where dad sat. The two watched each other for a few minutes before the hawk flew off. To dad’s surprise, the hawk returned a few days later. Over the next few days, the hawk would show up, so dad decided to see if he could make friends with the visiting bird. One evening he He got a piece of meat from his refrigerator and set it on the deck railing then sat to see what would happen. For awhile nothing, but eventually the hawk flew down from a branch nearby and snatched the meat off the railing. Then over the course of several months, dad put a piece of meat closer and closer to his vantage point to see what would happen. During that time the bird would take her treat closer to closer to where the human sat.

Then one day, Dad decided to see if he could get the bird really close. He sat on a bench and put a piece of meat on the empty space next to him. Sure enough the hawk, now named Henrietta, swooped down and took her treat. Now it was time for the next phase of this man\bird training, to see if he could hand feed Henrietta. It took several more months but eventually Henrietta would fly over and snatch her meat right off of dad’s heavily gloved fist.

Dad has a wonderful photograph of the hawk picking up her treat right off of dad’s upraised hand, but I’d never seen this event in action. Last week I was in Florida to stay with dad. He’s recovering from bypass surgery and was still in the hospital until a couple of days after I arrived. We were all sitting at the table eating dinner the second night he was home when I happened to look out the back window over to where the pool deck was. There on the far railing sat a hawk. “Dad,” I said. “I see Henrietta.”

Sure enough it was the hawk. We went outside, and I grabbed my camera in hopes of getting some video. Dad, who’s recovery is nothing short of miraculous, grabbed a piece of chicken from dinner to see if he and Henrietta could put on a show. Sure enough the hawk grabbed her treat right out of my Dad’s hand. Sadly my camera didn’t capture that first session. It always helps to check the batteries before trying to capture amazing footage. It took another day to catch Henrietta and my Dad in action, and the brief video shows this unique relationship between man and nature.

To Admire Nature


photo courtesy blogs.wvgazette.com

Right now I am listening to one of this signs of the coming season in the form of a thunder storm. I love storms for some reason. The sounds of thunder, the watching lightening light up the terrain, and even the excitement of seeing lightening strike a tree, like it did in my back yard last year to me is something wondrous to behold. There is to me something utterly fascinating about the things that nature does. Be it the ever changing seasons to those big events such as a tornado, or a geological event such as a volcano or earthquake. My little inner science geek gets all giddy when I hear about weather or geological events, and know that our planet has a whole lot of interesting things going on upon or just under its surface every single day.

As with anyone else I am saddened when an event such as a storm or other natural event causes loss of life and property. I know that is part of the price we pay for living on this planet. There is little we can do but prepare defensively and get out of harm’s way if we are able, when such things occur. Yet my fascination with those events still remain strong. I like standing at a window watching a thunderstorm give off its light show, even though I know by a window is not the safest place to be, I also enjoy viewing videos of exploding lava domes, footage of pieces of glaciers falling into a bay, or the seeing a photograph of a Saharan camel caravan crossing by the camera’s point of view in the wake of an incoming sand storm in the near distance. For some strange reason, video and photographs of the glorious power of nature at work are not quite enough for me. Even though I have lived in places where mild earth tremors occur and once lived practically on top of an ancient fault line, I have never personally felt any tremors. Either my vantage point was sheltered from the modest movements of the earth, or I am attuned to only the more obvious occurrences. The closest I have come to any out of the ordinary weather or geological events was when, then Tropical Jeanne crossed through the NC mountains. Former hurricane Ivan had passed through just 10 days prior bringing strong gusting winds, but to me Jeanne was more memorable. I had never seen sustained winds like that, or rain coming at the house at an almost perfect horizontal. I spent the night with both storms with a close eye on the ancient Black Walnut tree that sat less then 20 feet from my house. I didn’t want the tree to fall on my house and foolishly thought my vigil would prevent such and occurance. I kept trying to imagine what higher winds or heavier rainfall would be like and couldn’t. Yet I was still curious. Continue reading