Last Saturday morning, I woke up shortly after the sun had awakened and Huntley Meadows, one of the local wildlife refuges, beckoned. There was only one thing that made me think that maybe, just maybe, I should stay in bed. The sky was overcast and the weather casters predicted about two inches of rain for the weekend. I was pretty sure I wanted to just go out, go for a short hike, and take some pictures. There was, however, something weighing on my mind. It was grey. It was dull. What pictures were there to take in such a day as this? In short, while I knew what I wanted to do, how will the reality of the on and off drizzle mesh with my idea of taking pictures of birds in spring? My heart said go ahead. My head asked why? How so?
Sometimes the head wins out. Sometimes the heart flutters too much and like the sweet smell of sampaguitas, the feeling envelops you, and the world feels new. Is new. The dawn of a new day. A little muted, perhaps, but alive with possibilities.
And so it was that three hours was spent walking around in the on and off sprinkles from the sky. And sometimes, the sun decided to tease a little warmth into the cool May morning. The heart may be a lonely hunter at times, but then again, it can only be so. For in the ups and downs and ups in life, we find our way to life lived, a life lived well.
How so? The answer is simple. Make it so. And here are the pictures to prove it.
After a slew of fairly warm days, I decided to take a walk at one of the local wildlife refuges in Northern Virginia. Huntley Meadows is one of my favorite places to take walks (with a camera, of course). There is a central wetland (fairly small) that hosts an abundant variety of birds (especially during the warm months of spring to fall). In the midst of a relatively warm winter, there have been days that observers reported a wide variety of birds in the refuge.
Yesterday (Saturday) was not one of those days where birds were plentiful and easy to find. I am sure that trained eyes would do better than I did, but it was barely above 20F when I left for the refuge (about ten miles away), after the sun had been up an hour. Surprisingly, there were a fair number of people walking around the park. And there were a fair number of disappointed photographers.
It was cold. And for the day (at least in the morning), the birds were few in number. Oh, there were ducks of several sorts and there was an osprey (or something like it) that flew over the boardwalk for a scant ten seconds. Aside from that, nothing. It was a cold day for this human. I suppose the birds don’t really want to go out and about when the wind is brisk and the sun barely peeking out of the clouds.
Oh well. There were still ducks.
Autumn in Northern Virginia. Huntley Meadows in Alexandria, Virginia. In the middle of suburbia, the woods and wetlands remind you of the true beauty that nature brings.
The boat across Jenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park afforded us an incredible view of the Tetons. Upon reaching the shore, the mountainside trails beckoned. Up we went, some slower than the others. In due time, the spectacular waterfall that would be one of the hallmarks of this trip came into view. The Teton peaks may give Grand Teton National Park its name, but the lakes, the waterfalls, the flowers of spring, the clean air, the beautiful mountainside hikes, and so much more make this park better than grand. Eloquently beautiful, sublimely inspirational, incredibly inspiring – no superlatives can truly describe this jewel of the national park system.
Some of the most pronounced tidal height differences can be found in Nova Scotia. Hall’s Harbour, a small town with the big tides.
Sometimes, you are bereft of ideas. What to write. What to photograph. In times like these, you might as well try to do something different. Experiment. It may not result in a great photograph or award winning prose. Still, to try and fail is a lot better than to sit around and doing nothing. Here are two pictures. When I looked at leaves frozen in the wetlands at Huntley Meadows, I started to think of tar pits. The trees, even without their leafy canopies, were obstructing enough of the sunlight so that the water seemed darker than one would expect. At the moment I took the picture, I imagined the leaves being trapped in resin (or tar) for millions of years. And today was the start of their fossilization. Fossiliced. An apt title. It’s different alright.
A few weeks earlier, when the supermoon was rising, I decided to take a picture of the larger than normal moon. The problem is, that a picture of a full moon, even a supermoon, looks similar to other pictures of the full moon. I’ve taken pictures of the moon before. I didn’t have time to drive around to find a suitable (e.g. beautiful view) of the rising moon. What to do? Silhouettes. Leaves against the defocused lunar disk. A spectacular photograph? Hardly. Still, I’ll take a look at this image again one of these days. And if I’m lucky, another idea (maybe even a better one) will be born.