Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In photos: Anatomy of a tulip

With spring just in arm's reach, I've had cherry blossoms and tulips on the brain. Yesterday on my other blog I wrote about the upcoming Festival of Spring at Burnside Farms out in Haymarket which inspired me to do a post on this blog today.

Over the years I've taken lots of photos of tulips and this morning I decided to zoom in on a few of them and see what detail was captured. Taking macros is something I haven't done much of, but is on my list of things I want to practice with this year.

Here is the results of my cropping of a few tulip photos - different varieties. Most of these did not have edits, but a couple I sharpened up a bit.

I didn't realize I'd captured some dew on this photo until I zoomed in
I'm not sure what variety this tulip is, but I just love the petals!

This one was taken downtown at the Tulip Library run by NPS - This is found just a short distance from the Cherry Blossom Festival

Another one from the Tulip Library

This one was taken at Burnside Farms in 2013

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Visiting the Bear's Den at the Bear Mountain Zoo

Today's post continues at Bear Mountain State Park. Last week I shared photos of our feathered friends that have taken up residence at the park's zoo, and today we visit the bears. For decades, Bear Mountain Zoo has been well-known for its bear den. Growing up as a kid, I can remember the huge crowds standing and waiting to get a glimpse of these magnificent looking creatures.

Every so often I get to go back to Bear Mountain and still enjoy watching the bears and, yes, even decades later, the den still draws a crowd. These photos are a mix taken in 2012 and 2014.

Feeding time at the Bear's Den at Bear Mountain Zoo

Getting ready to chow down

Taking a break to have a cool drink on a sunny day

Heading down the slop underneath into an area of the bear's den visitors cannot see

Related post: Feathered friends at Bear Mountain Zoo

Friday, March 27, 2015

Raindrops on crocus (and hyacinth)

This morning we had a glorious temperature all day. Woke up to the 50s and the temperature steadily rose throughout the day until we hit about 74 degrees. We did have a light rain in the morning so as soon as it cleared up I decided to go exploring in my yard.

The crocuses are out in full bloom here in Northern Virginia and it was warm enough where they opened up and smiled today unlike the last several days. I also discovered some of the hyacinth (I have three different colors) have also started to open.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Feathered friends to be found at Bear Mountain Zoo

The Bear Mountain State Park is one of my favorite places in New York. Part of the reason is nostalgia, but the other part is just because it's so beautiful. The way it overlooks the Hudson River, the woods, the wildlife, the landscape...I could go on.

Another interesting aspect of the park is the Bear Mountain Zoo. The zoo only keeps regional animals, ones that have been hurt or abandoned at birth and unable to survive on their own. I'll probably do several posts on this park and zoo, but today's photos I wanted to focus on some of the feathered friends that call the park home.

Here you can see the vultures sunning themselves. They are clearly not "in captivity" as they can fly in and out of this area. Believe it or not, this photo was taken in the bear's den!

Swans, ducks and geese all share residence in this pond

Close up look at the swan and goose setting next to one another
Here I was trying to capture the duck, but ended up liking the way the trees reflected in the water.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sunrise at Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island

Long Beach Island is such a beautiful place. Today's post is a series of sunrise photos I took in 2013 at the Barnegat Light beach, which is located on the northern end of LBI.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed viewing the sun on this day.

Reflections on the sand

I think I was trying to capture the bird flying over the water near the sun, the bird didn't come out, but I liked the way the water was captured

Wave breaking

Taken on my walk out to the beach as the sun was just peeking over

Monday, March 23, 2015

Squirrel spotted on one of my morning walks this week

I took this photo earlier in the week as I was out trying to see what aspects of spring I could spot here in Northern Virginia. This squirrel caught my eye and he was so cute I had to stop and see if he'd pose for a photo. Was happy he didn't move (at least not until after I was finished).

Saturday, March 21, 2015

First day of spring in Northern Virginia (2015)

Yesterday we didn't wake up to sunny and blue skies, instead we got grayish rain and snow. This was a nicer outcome than the 1-4 inches being predicted the day before as today temperatures are expected to climb into the 60s with lots of sun.

Some photos from the first day of spring in Northern Virginia 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Views of the St. Louis Arch (2005)

It's been a while since the last time I visited the wonderful city of St. Louis. For about a year's time in 2005 I was a frequent visitor to the city and had some time to explore. Today's post shows various views of the St. Louis Arch. The first one was taken in January 2005, the following two in April of the same year.

Standing underneath the St. Louis Arch
Side view of the Arch during a spring day
We took a boat ride down the Mississippi River in April 2005 and this was one of the views looking back as we headed up (or down?) the river.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Seeking cicadas in Northern Virginia (2013)

In 2013 it was anticipated the Brood II cicada population would explode in the Mid-Atlantic region. We did have a lot of "noise" that year, but many of these critters were not visible, at least where I live. So wanting to see the cicadas, I took a trip down Manassas to see if I could spot some (it turned out to be a rainy day).

With the rain, I didn't want to trek through the Manassas Battlefield, so I ended up at Northern Virginia Community College and walked through a trail near a parking lot. There was some beautiful music going on but I didn't get to spot too many. While not seeing the buzzing about I had expected, I did find evidence of their presence.

Sounds of cicadas - taken at Northern Virginia Community College in 2014

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunsets on Treasure Island, Florida

One of my favorite places to visit in Florida is the Gulf shore. Lots of great beaches and things to see and do. Some of my most memorable trips were to Treasure Island. Today's post looks back on one of these sunsets of days past. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

California scenery: Driving through the beautiful mountains

Today is my third post in a series of photographs from a day trip we took in California when traveling to San Francisco. We left the city and headed north and ended up on a lovely mountain road which took us through farmland and eventually the Pacific Ocean. To this day I have no idea of the route we took (pre-GPS days and we literally decided to just "drive"), but we did pass through a town called La Honda. (By searching on Google Maps, and judging by where we ended up, I think we may have taken Route 84?)

Some of the things we saw on that mountain road -

Almost out of the woods!

Friday, March 13, 2015

California scenery: Taking a ride through farmland

In my last post I revisited my first and only time seeing the Pacific Ocean. It was a fun journey finding our way to the coast. Along the way we traveled through mountains and farmland before unexpectedly seeing the Pacific (this was pre-GPS days for us!), we kind of sort of used a map if memory serves, but mostly followed the roads that looked interesting with gorgeous views.

Today's post highlights the farmland we passed through just before seeing the Pacific Ocean.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

California scenery: Taking a ride along the Pacific on Route 1

I've only been to California once, back in 2006, but fortunately we managed to see and do a lot for the 7 days we were visiting. Most of our time was spent in San Francisco, but we did take a day to just "drive". We ended up on an interesting journey. One that took us through some beautiful mountains, farmland and eventually (and unexpectedly!) coming out on a road where the Pacific Ocean was smack in front of us. We were hoping to see the ocean, but seeing it so unexpectedly made it even better.

Today's series of photos was taken after we reached the Pacific coast. We started at San Gregorio Beach, stopped at several beaches along the way and our trip ended around Santa Cruz (as time was running out and we had to get back to San Francisco). It was a lovely day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Photos from the National Cherry Blossom Festival

It's only 9 more days until the National Cherry Blossom Festival. It looks like most of the festival won't experience peak views, however that doesn't stop the fun. For 2015, the National Park Service anticipates the cherry blossom peak will occur on or about April 11 to April 14. When it does happen, it's usually pretty spectacular. 

I usually try and head downtown every year to see the blossoms. Here are a few shots from 2013 and 2014.

cherry blossoms in washington DC
Washington Monument

cherry blossoms in washington dc
Close up from last year's cherry blossoms

cherry blossoms Tidal Basin Washington DC
In 2013 was the best peak views I'd seen to date

cherry blossom peak views DC
Jefferson Memorial during peak views in 2013