Saturday, March 31, 2007

April 2: Bowman's Root

I found these growing along an overlook on the North Carolina side of the Smokies.

April 1: Wake Robin (Purple or Red Trillium)

This trillium is also known as "Wake Robin" because it blooms about the time that robins return for the spring. Another common name is "Stinking Benjamin" because, yes, the flower does smell bad. One guide book I have describes the scent as "wet dog"!

My Favorite Time of Year

One of my many favorite times of the year is wildflower season. Last weekend, I had the pleasure of finding my first wildflower of the year:

I believe this is marsh marigold; it was certainly growing in a wet environment. I also had my first run-in with skunk cabbage:

In any case, last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to take many hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains and on the Cumberland Plateau in East Tennessee during spring wildflower season and throughout the summer. Those hikes resulted in two things: 1) more wildflower pictures than I know what to do with, and 2) a "Wildflower-A-Day" theme for my April blog posts so that I can put the pictures to use!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Look Who's Come Out to Play

Does anyone know what kind of snakes these are, and what they're up to?

They were small, hardly a foot long from tip to tail. Their patterns looked different from a distance. Then I zoomed in on the picture, and it may just be that one snake has a darker version of the same pattern. They stayed near each other, sometimes entwined, for the few minutes we were watching. I need help from an experienced woodsman (that's you or HTP Video, Salty Dawg!) :)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

And the Prize Goes to ...

I'm not as puzzling as I thought - I have two correct answers already on my "Figure This Out" post.

I was in Sequoia National Park, inside a long-ago fallen sequoia, focusing on a much smaller tree outside. The flash lit up the mossy interior of the log, making for the unusual shot. A plaque near the log explained that, throughout its history, it had been used as a shelter, a stable, and a tavern - it was that big! This picture was taken looking down through the length of the fallen log in question. Please ignore the random tourist in the shot :)

For correctly guessing the location of the shot, our winners receive a trip to .... beautiful Atlantic City!!!

Our first stop is for a bit of history:

Absecon Lighthouse is one of the few remaining historic structures in Atlantic City. This is taken looking at the top of the light from the steps of the front porch.

Now, on to some glitz and glam:

Of course Atlantic City is best known today for its splashy casinos. The Taj Mahal certainly was dedicated to its Indian theme, inside and out. The cashier at the Absecon Lighthouse told us that one of the oldest casinos, "The Sands," would soon be demolished to make way for a brand new and even larger casino.

And finally, a stop for some sustenance:

This neon lady is offering up a steaming bowl of "pho." Pho is a Vietnamese soup that comes in a bunch of varieties, depending on the type of meat you order. But all pho seems to have rice noodles, bean sprouts, and fresh herbs/hot peppers/limes to add in once served. We had lunch here - delicious! This was one of the most filling bowls of soup I've ever had!

Hope you had fun ;)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

And One Tenth

On a recent trip, Justin's car reached a milestone.

After several test shots at 111,110 miles, I was able to capture the fleeting moment - 111,111.1. You have to wonder what other drivers thought with multiple camera flashes going off inside our car.

The way this car runs, it may be around for 222,222.2!

War Paint

In reality, these markings indicate a change in the direction of the trail. But in my imagination, this tree is prepared for whatever battle may come its way.

This is an imperfect effect. I know you're not supposed to attempt flowy waterfall pictures without a tripod, but I did it anyway. I tried to fix the focus problems in Photoshop, and that was imperfect, too. But it was still fun to play around with the effect and the software!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Another Puzzler

This one should be a little easier ...

Figure This Out

What exactly are we looking at here, and where was I when I took the photo?