Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Day of Hiking Pisgah National Forest

After spending a day at Biltmore and the NC Botanical Gardens in Asheville, we needed to get out into the woods for some hiking.  We drove down to Pisgah NF near Brevard, North Carolina.  This is know as "The Land of Waterfalls" for good reason.  Our hiking book lists about two dozen waterfalls within a few miles of Brevard.

Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

We only got to two falls - Looking Glass Falls (left), which is right on the road, and Moore's Cove Falls (right), which is a short hike of 6/10 mile.   Looking Glass Falls is a popular spot, because it is easy to get to, but also because it is a beautiful waterfall.   The best spot to shoot these falls is standing in the middle of the stream.  Since it was still in the low 60's and the water was even colder, I decided to climb out on some old logs for this shot.

Moore's Creek Falls is about 50' high, with not a lot of water flowing over the falls.  The cool part about this one is you can walk behind the falls.

We decided to hike to the top of Looking Glass Rock, which took a few hours to complete.  During the winter, water flowing down the sides of the rock freezes into ice, creating a glistening coating that makes the rock a “looking glass.”   The panoramic view from the top was fantastic.  You get a sense of the beauty in the photo below.   One interesting thing about this hike is the helicopter pad about a mile from the top.  It's a natural smooth rock area that the crews use as a landing spot when they need to rescue injured rock climbers.

The best part of this day of hiking was the wild flowers that were in bloom the third weekend in April.  There were Jack In The Pulpit, Foam Flower, Wild Violet, several varieties of Trillium, and some we couldn't identify.  There were many others that had not bloomed out yet.  We wish we could go back the next two weekends to see what else is blooming.

Several more photos from this day of hiking are available in the Pisgah National Forest Photo Gallery.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Intro To Macro Photography

Ray Austin (Dragonfly Digital) and I did a short class on macro (close up) photography for the Eastman Camera Club on April 8.  In that session we went through several slides and examples and also showed a lot of the equipment we talked about.   I can't show you the equipment here, but I can show you the slides we used for the class.  Most of the information is self explanatory. Drop me a note if you have a question. 

Slides are available here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Other Great Blogs I Follow

Ever notice the list of blog sites on the right side of my blog page?   If you're interested in photography and outdoor activities, you might want to check out these other blog sites.  You can easily brose them from my site.  The newest entries are listed at the top, but don't stop there.  Some bloggers post daily, but some of the best are weekly or even monthly.   Check them out and add some to your Blog Roll.

The last site I added is The Blue Ridge Field Journal by Andrew Young.   I just discovered this site when looking for some info on waterfalls in the Brevard NC area.  Lots of great info on this site.  Be sure to browse his archives either by date or category.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Beauty of Laurel Run Park

We are so blessed by the flowers in our world.  The same flowers that we hurry past without hardly noticing.  Rarely do we stop, bend down, and look at the tiny beauty God put into these gifts.   A passion for outdoor photography has caused me to notice and appreciate what we have, often right under our feet.   Stop and look up close and see God's glory!

Laurel Run is a small park just west of Church Hill, Tennessee is home to one of the most beautiful and varied wildflower displays around.  Each year around the first two weeks of April the hill sides, pathways, and creek sides come alive with color and beauty. 

The Eastman Camera Club took a Wildflower Hike and Photography trip to this park on April 10.  Since I was leading the trip, June and I did a little scouting trip on Good Friday.   On Good Friday the temperatures were in the upper eighties.  On the morning of April 10, they were mid the mid-thirties!  Quite a change in just eight days.

When we were there on Good Friday, several of the wildflowers had not bloomed or the blooms were not open.  We had several days of unusually warm weather and by the 10th many of these blooms were gone, but a whole new batch of wild flowers had bloomed to take their place.   We were blessed with two completely different wildflower outings.

I have posted severl photos from these two weekends at Laurel Run Park 2010.  I invite you to browse on over there and enjoy some of God's smaller creations.

"Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into." ~Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Flower Macros

Spring Time!  The flowers are blooming all around, in the garden, wildflowers in the park, and even weeds in the lawn!   This is a great time to enjoy God's creations.  Look closely at a flower or leaf.  Now look closer.  It's amazing what you can discover in the delicate details in these little plants.   

I enjoy getting out and taking close up or "macro" photos of flowers in the spring.  So far I've taken pictures of tulips, crocuses and mountain laurel growing in the yard.  On Good Friday I went to Laurel Run Park near Church Hill Tennessee and got pictures of wildflowers that had just opened.  This was a scouting run for a Camera Club outing on April 10.  Unless we have a freeze between now and then the wildflowers will be even more beautiful a week from now.

The photo on the right is a tulip leaf.  For years I've ignored the leaves waiting on the flowers.  Now that I've looked closer I see the beauty in all parts of the flower.   I call this one "A Cup of Light"  because it looks like the light is about to spill over the top of the leaf.

I've started a Macro Flower album on my website and will be adding pictures to it all spring.  You can go to it directly via this link -  Macro Flowers Album   Be sure to keep checking back every so often as I add more photos of the flowers of springtime.

The yellow and purple photo on the left is a purple crocus.   When you're taking photos that close up, the range of focus or depth of field is extremely small.   In this case only about 1/8" is in focus. 

The orange and while photo on the right is a white crocus.  

Finally, this is a red tulip petal.  It was taken in the morning when the sun was low and shining across the petal and through the water drops.

There are more photos in the Macro Flower album and I'll be adding more over the next several weeks.  I hope you enjoy these.