Jan 152017

Lest anyone wonder about global climate change, the warming is quite real, and is manifesting itself in earlier and earlier bloom times for spring flowers around the world.  Still, it was a bit of a surprise to see my backyard maple tree coming into bloom — and aswarm with pollinating flies — in the middle of January.  I took these photographs about a dozen steps from my back door, using my iPhone (and, for three of the four, my Ztylus macro lens).  It took a wee bit of patience to find a cooperative bee mimic fly; the task was made more difficult by the fact that nearly every branch was well above my head.  My efforts were, at last, rewarded with a couple of images.




Jan 102017

Today brings another collection of images from my time in Utah in October.  These feature the geologic landscapes of Snow Canyon State Park, outside St. George.  I was most struck by a hillside in the park that evoked Checkerboard Mesa in nearby Zion National Park.  The geometric pattern in the rock is most likely the result of both bedding planes in the desert sandstone and perpendicular expansion joints caused by removal of overlying rock (through erosion) and freeze-thaw events caused by water getting into the rock.




Jan 092017

There is something soothing about viewing ancient petroglyphs after a stressful day of racing about.  So here are some images from my October trip to St. George, Utah.  These petroglyphs are found in and around a couple of slot canyons in Snow Canyon State Park, just outside the lovely community of St. George.





Jan 082017

It is a brisk Sunday in Georgia — cold enough with wind chill for some area churches to close, in a part of the country where going to church is as natural for most as breathing.  I ventured as far as my backyard with bare hands and my iPhone camera, with plans to shoot a few ice photos and then begin to tackle a fallen apple tree (though claimed at last by ice, it has been dying slowly over the last few years due to black knot fungus).  I did take a few photographs, and then made a half-hearted attempt to remove one of the tree’s limbs before retreating inside.





Jan 072017

As I geared up for a Georgia snowstorm — possibly even three or four inches — I contemplated what photographs I might take of the local landscape blanketed in white.  The storm arrived with drizzle and occasional moderate rain.  The overnight air temperature dropped into the 20s, but a warm air mass overhead prevented the precipitation from changing over to snow.  The ground, meanwhile, remained fairly warm.  The result was a fairylike coating of ice on trees and shrubs in my yard but no snow.  I wouldn’t call the result icicles — that would be a bit pretentious a term for these frozen droplets of water, most extending an inch or less from the tip of a leaf.  So I will call them “ice drops” instead.  After photographing quite a few of them, I was surprised to find that they lent themselves well to semi-abstract compositions.  I took all of these shots with a Ztylus macro lens and my iPhone 5 camera; I made a few edits in Snapseed, mostly square crops and selective changes to image brightness.  Enjoy!




Jan 062017

As we prepare for snow here in Georgia (and I eagerly await a photography outing to capture the southern landscape robed with white), I will pause to share another set of images from late 2016, on my same trip out to St. George, Utah as the images from yesterday. These are from the desert of far southern Nevada,

It was to protect the petroglyphs at this Nevada site (just a few miles from the edge of the Arizona Strip) that Gold Butte National Monument was established by President Obama just one week ago.  Back in October, when my brother and I went hiking there, the site was just a much-visited patch of BLM land, home to the mysterious Falling Man petroglyph along with many others.





Jan 052017

There is a belt of nearly empty land in northern Arizona called the Strip (not to be confused with the far more commercialized one a bit to the north, in Nevada).  Running from the southeastern Utah border, it spans the space between Utah to the north and the Grand Canyon to the south. Few paved roads traverse it, though it is riddled with four-wheel-drive routes and gravel roads that verge on four-wheel-drive.  With my brother, I ventured from St. George, Utah into the Strip in mid-October, 2016.  The journey ultimately claimed a car tire (via a slow leak that took multiple efforts to diagnose, a leak that ran like a vein across many future outings, including a grand venture to the Grand Canyon, North Rim) but provided both a rigorous hike (that ended most precipitously in a steep descent down a scree slope covered in thorny and spiky desert plants, when the trail vanished and left us stranded quite a few hundred feet above and a mile away from our car).  On the way back home, just shy of the Utah line, we visited a petroglyph site.  Little Black Mountain, situated on BLM land, encompasses a number of boulders etched with various images and designs strewn along the bottom of a small mesa; some of the petroglyphs there date back 6,000 years.  In case you find yourself on the Arizona Strip someday (or lodging in St. George and having a spare tire in your car), here is a link to further information about the site:  https://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/cultural/lil-blk-mtn.html.





Jan 042017

Today, I continue my recent Florida adventures with a collection of images from the Key West Butterfly and Nature Observatory, the only butterfly house I have ever visited that has actually obtained permission to breed many of the nonnative butterflies on exhibit there.  Butterflies swirl and glide about everywhere as one walks the curving and recurving path through the space; I could almost have pointed my iPhone camera at random, snapped a photo, and found at least one butterfly in view.  Below are a few treasures from my trip, which was the second visit there — the first was two years ago, just a few scant days after my yearlong photography project ended.








Jan 032017

I took both of these photographs from the same place — the edge of a raised wooden boardwalk surrounding Rum Island Springs on the Santa Fe River near Fort White, Florida.  The first image, taken with my Ztylus fisheye lens, captures the colorful, inviting world of the riverine landscape, with its shallow, perfectly transparent waters and woods still in leaf in early December.  Turning, I saw an intriguing little beetle making its way along the edge of a wooden railing, the inspiration for the second photograph with my Ztylus macro lens.  They are worlds apart yet geographically adjacent — a reminder that there is so much to notice wherever we are.  One photo cannot possibly capture the experience of being in a place; as I found two years ago, even a full year of inhabitation is not enough to grasp it fully.  As I consider my upcoming trip to Australia, I am humbled, reminded of Thoreau’s proud declaration that “I have traveled widely in Concord.”  The challenge is to slow down enough to notice what is there — to let the inhabited landscape speak to you, in colors, forms, and furtive movements glimpsed out of the corner of an eye.

Jan 022017

A spring pool along the Santa Fe River in north-central Florida holds the blue of sky and the green of water plants.

In Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, it is another in a string of gray days of intermittent rain, drizzle, and fog.  My sunroom (not quite an apt name) is flooded again; it was built on the original concrete slab patio of the house, and has considerable issues with drainage.  I find solace in knowing that our drought of many months may indeed be at an end.

Meanwhile, on screen, I find a delight in returning to this blog, like meeting up with a long-lost friend and picking up where I had left off.  I have photos a-plenty to bide my time these next couple of months, until I leave for Australia.  On less foreboding days, I hope to make a few ventures into the woods.  I still walk Piney Woods Church Road, though now once again it is nearly always with dogs in tow.  Since two years ago, my days have been eroded, my precious moments lost to additional teaching responsibilities (not necessarily unpleasant, but frequent and insistent).  This year, I will strive to reclaim them; I have embarked on an eight-week course of mindfulness meditation, I have two daily readers for pondering (more about them in a future post), and of course there is the time I will devote (apt word, that) to daily entries here.

Meanwhile, I share with you this photograph from along the Santa Fe River, near Fort White, Florida, from early December, 2016.  A side-channel of the river led to this spring-fed pool, where aquatic plants flourished.  The blend of blues and greens brought longed-for color to the grays and browns of the winter woods.