What a Beautiful Day!

Today was spectacular! The weather was perfect, and everything about the day warbled spring!

I started the day heading over to pick my mother up for breakfast.  On the way over (less than half a mile, by the way), my daughter and I managed to rescue two animals from being hit by a car.  Granted it was my car, but that’s beside the point.  Before we even got out of the neighborhood, we happened upon a mama bird giving her baby a flying lesson.  Unfortunately, Junior ended up sitting in the middle of the road. My daughter hopped out and got the little fluff-ball out of the road while mama bird watched and squawked a bit nervously.  Then, on my mother’s dirt road, I had to hit the brakes, because there sat a turtle basking in the sun.  My daughter hopped out again and gingerly picked that little guy up and put him on the side of the road out of the way too.  Then it was off to breakfast!

After breakfast, my daughter headed off to work, and Mama decided she wanted to go for a walk (as neither of us really wanted to go home and cut grass).  My feet weren’t quite dressed for the adventure, so we headed back to my house for shoes, water, and of course, my camera.  Then we headed off to Turner Lake Park to walk some trails and photograph whatever caught my fancy.  Boy were there some things to photograph today!

Turtles ruled the pond today!  There were more turtles there today than I have ever seen!  On this log alone, there were 19!

May 02, 2018Turner Lake34.jpg There were at least three different species as far as I could tell, and they were everywhere. I took more photos of turtles on this one day than I have taken in all my years of photography put together.  It was fantastic!

Along the trails, Mama and I talked and talked, and I spotted some small butterflies, a frog, some flowers, some insects…the usual stuff.

As we headed out of the woods and back around the lake, I happened to spot a Great Blue Heron across the water.  I watched him for a bit and took quite a number of photos.  Mama had a bit of trouble seeing him from that distance because he blended in to his environment so well.

As we made our way back toward the car, we stopped by where the geese hang out.  They are pretty used to people hanging about, so they went about their business of preening and napping.  And of course, I sat and watched and photographed.

A couple of squirrels wanted in on the photo shoot too, so I took pictures of their cute little selves.

As we walked away from the geese, however, we saw a very unfortunate little casualty.  A big brown bat was flopping around on the shore.  He seemed very injured and not very interested having anything bother him in what I believe were his final moments.  It was quite sad.  He was quite beautiful.

Then I saw the Great Blue Heron fly over to our side of the pond, so I was able to get a few great shots of him up close.

Then, we headed over to the dock to see the ducks.  There were a few of these guys hanging about.

As we walked out on the dock, I noticed quite a commotion going on in the trees near the water’s edge.  Some birds were having quite a fit over something.  Curious, I headed over to take a look.  I watched them fussing about and carrying on for a bit, and then I noticed what all of the commotion was about.  It appeared that a black racer had invaded the little bluebird couple’s humble abode.  I assume he made a meal out of their future offspring…very sad and unfortunate, but I suppose it is the “circle of life”.  I’ve never really photographed a snake before, so I seized the opportunity born from this unfortunate event.  I was able to get fairly close as he was in a tree and not likely to be able to get at me (though I think he was more afraid of me than the other way around).

We spent about three hours out there at the lake, and we thought we were done with our little adventure.  But just as soon as I turned down the drive to take Mama back home, I had to stop again.  There on the side of that little dirt road sat two little bunny rabbits.  My daughter grabbed the camera from the back of the car, and I was able to get a couple of good shots before they hopped away.

What an amazingly beautiful day!

 

 

Old Car City

Well, the year of 2017 found me twice in this gem of a place in the middle of nowhere in White, Georgia. It is a true photographer’s heaven, especially if you love old cars, junkyards, and the beauty of nature reclaiming the landscape. It’s not too shabby for getting those creep factor shots in either…a bit eerie when you’re wandering about in there alone. No need to worry though. The owners are fantastic, the trails are well worn, and the signage along the way is quite entertaining.

When my photography club set up this outing, my first thought was, “If only I had known about this place while my Daddy was still alive. He would have loved it!” This thought was only confirmed as I arrived there and began wandering about.

When you first go in, you might stumble upon some interesting, and maybe even creepy things …like dolls. “Dolls?” you ask, “in an old car junkyard?” That’s right…dolls.

You just never know where you might find one…or twenty…lying about. Now, I don’t think they move about, so you might be safe. But one just never really knows, you know.

You’ll mostly definitely stumble upon an old bicycle line-up.  It leads the way into the heart of the city.

Oh, and another doll. I forgot about her. I think she’s been waiting a really long time for a ride.

There are also other odds and ends scattered about, like old cash registers, chairs, cans…you name it, and you can probably find it in there somewhere.

Oh, and there’s another doll I missed. Strange how they mysteriously pop up. Hopefully, we won’t run into any more.

Did I mention that there’s a bit of an artistic flair to this 32-acre masterpiece?

Now, be sure to put your walking shoes on and take some water and snacks when you head out there (because I know you’ll want to see this place for yourself).  There are 6 miles of walking trails, and trust me, you’ll get wandering about and turned around and travel the same trail twice or more, and that 6 will turn into 10 pretty quick! Well, maybe not quick, because it’ll take you all day and probably a couple more to see everything. And if you spread your visits out like I did, you might just find a few things change in the newer parts. Then you’ll have to see it all again.

Well, thankfully no dolls showed up in the middle of those trails. I was beginning to get a little worried. So now I guess it’s time to get to what you really wanted to see…all of those old cars.

Mother Nature decided to put her artistic touch throughout the city, and I think she got a little carried away with a few of her pieces.

But for the most part, nature and machine blend quite nicely.

I thought we were safe from the dolls, but I see one popped up on the hood of a truck. That little one is especially creepy.

While you’re there, don’t miss all of the cool hood ornaments.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Some of those aren’t actually hood ornaments. But hey, at least we didn’t run into anymore creepy dolls.

So, I hope you enjoyed the journey, and if you ever get the chance, head on out and see this place for yourself.

Happy trails!

Fort Yargo (Part 1: Mushrooms)

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I set out on a hiking adventure. We headed out to Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Georgia. With miles of lovely hiking trails, a beautiful lake, beaches, and dozens of picnic areas this park is a happening place to be on a warm late-summer day.

Now, I bet you’re expecting lots of lovely scenic photographs of this wonderful state park; however, I must disappoint you in this for what caught my attention on this particular day was…mushrooms. Lots and lots of mushrooms of different sizes, shapes, and colors dotted the sides of the trails and begged to become my models.

And become my models they did, along with a spider, a couple of butterflies, a few flowers, and a baby lizard (well, I actually found him at home, but he gets to make his appearance here as well). I did my best to identify these fungi, but alas, I am not as adept at describing fungi as I am at describing insects, so my research did not go as well as I would have liked. I did identify a few, however.

The most common mushroom adorning our trail was the Amanita cokeri, or Coker’s Amanita. I managed several lovely photographs of these stately, pimpled, albeit poisonous, fungi.

White Amonita White Amonita White Amonita White Amonita

My favorite photos, however, were of this Mama Amanita sheltering her baby.

White Amonita (with baby) White Amonita

Another favorite of mine was the red-capped Amanita Parcivolvata. It most closely resembles that typical toadstool known for its psychoactive qualities, the Amanita muscaria. This little guy, though, is quite poisonous, so I don’t recommend consuming him in any form. Unlike his toadstool cousin, this guy sports a concave cap with lovely distinctive gills on the underside. Under his quiet canopy of leaves, he made a perfect model.

Amonita Parcivolvata Amonita Parcivolvata

This next fuzzy little guy I almost passed over until my husband pointed him out. I wasn’t sure how interesting other people would think he was, and determining that I couldn’t just go around photographing every mushroom in the forest, I decided to pass him by. My husband, however, changed my mind when he noticed him too, and for that I am grateful. Not only did he make a good model, but he has a really cool name too. He is called The Old Man of the Woods.

.Old Man of the Woods Old Man of the Woods (monochrome)

Now, I’m not quite sure about the identification of this next guy, but from what I could find, he is known as a Tylopilus Felleus. He was first classified as a Boletus Felleus but was later transferred to Tylopilus because of his pink spores (that is if I have gotten his identification correct). He is also porous on the underside, unlike his gilled cousins that we have seen so far. He made quite a striking model.

Boletus felleus

This next monster of a mushroom was quite impressive. She sported a lovely pinkish flat top that was nearly twice the size of my husband’s hand, and probably was at least twice the size of mine. She was also hiding a baby under her porous cap while our brave firefighting minion, Dave, protected their forest home (and had his picture taken with the Monstrous Mommy Mushroom).

Fort Yargo (watermarked)-58 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-59 Dave is ready for some firefighting action Dave fights mushroom fires

This next little flock of fungus I identified as Turkeytail Fungus. It is quite a lovely shelf fungus that feeds on decaying trees on the forest floor.

Turkeytail Fungus Turkeytail Fungus

The rest of my lovely models haven’t been identified as of yet (and if you happen to know, feel free to leave a comment on this post…I’m a little obsessive about identifying my subjects).

Fort Yargo (watermarked)-70 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-68 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-64 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-63 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-62 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-55 Amonita Parcivolvata Fort Yargo (watermarked)-18 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-16 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-11 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-10 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-4 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-2 Fort Yargo (watermarked)-1

Now, keep in mind as you venture into our Georgia forests that most of our dear mushroom friends are quite poisonous, so it wouldn’t be wise to be adding them to your afternoon salad in the park.

And that, my friends, concludes our mushroom adventure.

But wait! There’s more! And trust me, you won’t want to miss this! (Warning: if you suffer from arachniphobia, you will not want to read tomorrow’s post.)