July 31, 2011

Panola Mountain State Park is Peaceful

Halloween Pennant Dragonfly
I ventured out to Panola Mountain State Park today. This park is very close to Atlanta... a must see for busy Atlantans. Even though I may have a broken toe... (It's certainly injured.) I made my way slowly around Lower Alexander Lake. There were many flirty mockingbirds flying in and out of the trees. I had three rabbit sightings and captured two different dragonflies on SD card.
PATH Foundation Arabia Mountain Trail

Except for the occasional airplane traveling above the park, there were just the welcome sounds of nature. I didn't bring my bike, but this park maybe one of the only Georgia State Parks with a road bike path. The PATH foundation has partnered with the park to create a 12 mile path through the middle of the park.

Because the park is a national natural landmark, all hikes on Panola Mountain are guided and a $7/per person fee is required with your advance reservation. Panola Mountain is an 100-acre granite monadnock This park hosts a permit only "Power of Flight" bird viewing area. So, arrive prior to 5 PM to obtain your permit.

All Ears!

July 29, 2011

Time after Time

So, we've been home for almost a week. And, today I found myself telling my campers (journalism camp) that I take the same flowers "time after time." Imagine waiting a whole year for your subject to reappear. This is what I do! Most times, I have a photograph in my mind the second and third year. Sometimes I lose interest. But these words today brought to mind Cyndi Lauper's melodic song below.

Time after Time

Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,
and think of you
caught up in circles confusion--
is nothing new
Flashback--warm nights--
almost left behind
suitcases of memories,
time after--

sometimes you picture me--
I'm walking too far ahead
you're calling to me, I can't hear
what you've said--
Then you say--go slow--
I fall behind--
the second hand unwinds


if you're lost you can look--and you will find me
time after time
if you fall I will catch you--I'll be waiting
time after time

after my picture fades and darkness has
turned to gray
watching through windows--you're wondering
if I'm OK
secrets stolen from deep inside
the drum beats out of time--


if you're lost...
you said go slow--
I fall behind
the second hand unwinds--


if you're lost...
...time after time
time after time
time after time
time after time

July 24, 2011

The Kansas Flower Farm

17 miles to The Flower Farm
603 miles Nashville, TN
176 miles Birmingham, AL

We drove to Gardner, Kansas this morning to take a look at The Flower Farm. I purchased three pretty echinacea with dark pink petals and deep centers.

The lighting in the greenhouses was gorgeous for photography. Keep this tip in mind when shooting photographs!

The beginnings of Christmas poinsettias were a nice discovery.

Hens and Chicks

I also think this greenhouse had a beautiful collection of hens and chicks. I think the response by an employee when I asked her what the big flowering hen and chick was... "Could be a rooster?!?" was very funny. Here is the light pink flower.

July 22, 2011

Wide Open Spaces in Kansas

606 miles

We drove across Colorado and Kansas today. What a great way for the children to learn which order the states are in and where they are relative to each other.

As we drove along Interstate 70 (I rarely travel back and forth from a place the same route... even at home). We needed somewhere to stop for dinner. I already learned on my journey across Oklahoma to keep the car filled up with gas. But like the sparce gas stations, there weren't a lot of restaurants in Kansas, so I headed South towards Salina, Kansas when we were hungry, which is 5 miles off of the interstate.

We found Martinelli's Little Italy  using the new iPhone app called AroundMe. The restaurant is located at 158 S Santa Fe in Salina. It was a great value. And, the food was all served quickly. Our waiter was friendly and efficient. I especially liked the caesar salad and manicotti.

Across the street you will find Steve Martin on July 31 and Josh Turner on Aug. 19.  This is a city not to be missed.

And, we happen to be listening to the Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis. Notice the name of the theater here... This story is set in 1963. The audio book is a collection of short stories that all fit together and work separately if you have listeners fading in and out. The African American family ultimately makes a road trip to Birmingham, AL. They have just arrived in Birmingham in the book. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

July 21, 2011

Colorado Sunrise

171 miles

It's another new day... The sunrise was pretty this morning from the Denver area. To me, the background is just as important as the flower color. Notice here the difference with almost the same photograph.

All I did was change my angle. The red background is tree bark mulch.

July 18, 2011

Lightning Near Arches National Park in Utah


412 miles

We drove back and forth to Arches National Park yesterday. The drive was very scenic, and we finished up The Lightning Thief audio book. (And we saw a lot of lightning!) And the children watched the movie again. I wrote more about this children's book in a recent post.

"Zeus has His Say"

I just learned from National Geographic photographer Peter Essick at a seminar how to shoot lightning. He said to use F8 and 1/30 of a second. He also said to set up your camera on continuous shooting on a tripod. To set up my Nikon D-90 press the button on the top of the camera that looks like a picture of multiple photographs stacked on top of each other; then, spin the rear dial to cycle through the options. H will shoot 4.5 frames per second as long as you hold down the shutter. Check your camera manual for other cameras.  I took about 400 photographs and ended up with three nice lightning images.

I recommend this park for exploring with children because it is a quick drive through the park. You can stop as often or as little as you want. I felt as though we all saw the park pretty thoroughly in a couple hours. We were lucky that it rained while we were at the Sand Dune Arch; this was our favorite part.

Sand Dune Arch -- "The Playground"

"Stoney End"

July 17, 2011

Rio Grande Recreation Trail

Cutleaf Coneflower
A sight to see for sure. This 39.5 mile trail connects Aspen, CO to Glenwood Springs, CO. The trail has a very moderate climb because it was built in the old railroad cooridor. We rode 14 miles yesterday and 9 miles today. These images were created along the trail.

Mount Sopris from the Rio Grande Trail

Common Milkweed

July 15, 2011

Maroon Bells and a Couple Car Accessories

184 miles

We watched the end of "The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan on TV Wed. night, which spurred the children to plug in the audio book in the car on our drive to the mountains. The book is well written and entertaining. The children (middle and high school aged) are anxious to get back in the car to turn on the CD player. This story is the story of three children on a quest. Rick Riordan has created a modern day setting and incorporated Greek mythology characters and stories, which adds to the tale. I recommend the The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Book 1 (Percy Jackson & the Olympians) for all ages.

This morning I drove to view the Maroon Bells outside of Aspen listening to Sara Evans through DirectDeck HandsFree adapter for the iPhone. the device works great to play my music and place and receive telephone calls through the car speakers. Here is one of my photographs of the mountains and a pretty daisy I found in the field nearby.

July 14, 2011

Rainy Denver and Santa Fe Georgia O'Keefe Museum

393 miles

We made it to Denver last night. Here is a night shot of the city taken from the Highlands with my iPhone.

But I forgot to write about the Georgia O'Keefe Museum yesterday. We visited the museum in Santa Fe.  There happen to be an interesting exhibit titled, "Shared Intelligence: American Painting and the Photograph." The show included many paintings that were garnered from photographs. Andy Warhol, Thomas Eakins, and David Hockney all had images in the show to illustrate this point.

The museum showed two films: a succinct video on O'Keefe and another about the special exhibition. The artists in the film or their historians explained that (in some cases) they projected their photographs on to the canvas and painted from the projection.

July 13, 2011

New Mexico Sunrise

280 miles

Here are a couple photographs taken North of Santa Fe off of highway 285.
I am not certain from studying on the Internet, but it looks like it is the Great Sand Dunes in the far distance, which is in San Luis Valley, Rio Grande rift.

Santa Fe is an enjoyable city. We cycled some in the relatively flat roads. There was a band playing in the plaza this evening. The food was delicious, a mixture of regions and cultures. Lots of beautiful items to be had at the numerous shops.

July 12, 2011

724 Miles

724 miles

Not much opportunity for photographs yesterday. We drove a lot, so that we could get to Santa Fe sooner. Here is an Oklahoma sunset taken in Wetherford, OK.

July 11, 2011

Memphis is All about Music

304 miles

Mud Island Sunset
We made our way to Memphis. The city is in the SW corner of Tennessee and on the border of Arkansas. The Mississippi River divides the two states. There are four bridges that cross the Mississippi at Memphis. Here is a pretty sunset of Mud Island, which is on the mississippi river and maintained by the City of Memphis and below "Six Birds on a Wire."
Elvis, Johnny Cash and B.B. King all got their start in Memphis, TN. We visited the Rock N Soul Museum. The exhibit was educational and a good value. It was very easy to walk to from downtown. I told one of my children that some time "easy is better." The movie we saw at the beginning had sections repeated later on the listening devices. This needs to be fixed because I wasn't as interested in listening after that happened a couple of times.

At the end of the museum there was a Beatles Hidden Gallery Exhibit of photographs by Paul Berriff. He was a 16 year old boy when he began photographing musicians. On the left is the gallery's explanation of the exhibit. I thought this could be motivating to my fellow photographers.

I included this small write up about printing of the photographs, as an example for art shows. His photographs were flawless and entertaining.

July 10, 2011

A New Day

226 miles

Today is the first day of our summer road trip. This year we are traveling to Glenwood Springs in Colorado from Marietta, Georgia. Our first stop is Selma, Alabama, which takes us180 miles out of our way. We stopped here because a customer at an art festival told me about the bridge in Selma after seeing my photograph titled Freedom.

The Selma bridge called the Edmond Pettus Bridge is the site of Bloody Sunday during the Civil Rights Movement. Here are my photographs from this morning. I hope you enjoy following along. We are off to the Voting Rights Museum and then Memphis.

You can read about last year's road trip to Florida here.
and 2009's trip to NY and Massachusetts here.

July 07, 2011

Monopod is the Perfect Camera Accessory

I personally don't carry a lot of camera equipment because I like to travel light and tire from the weight. I want to share with you this gem Targus Monopod I purchased one day when I forgot my tripod and was on vacation. I needed something inexpensive because I already had a fairly nice tripod at home.

We stopped at Walmart and I found this monopod pictured on the left. I use it all the time now. I keep it stowed in the floorboard of my car to the left of the driver's seat parallel to the door. This way I habitually check to make sure it's in the car when I sit down. It is 21 inches tall closed up. The monopod extends to 58 inches. Of course, I do have to hold my camera with this tool, but it helps me keep the camera still, which is the point because my new Nikon lens is too heavy to hand hold. As I am beginning to shoot birds up high, I am shopping for a sturdy tripod, but thought I would pass this photography tip. My lightweight monopod helps me get the shot!