Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Memorable Memorial Day Weekend Beach Visit

 Sunday we wanted to hit the beach for the first time this year but feared fierce traffic delays and mobs of fellow sun worshipers at beaches closer to Charleston.

So we made the just more than an hour drive to Edisto Island and we’re glad we did, finding the traffic light, and parking easy close to the sands.

The beach here was pretty crowded but the tide was going out so “social distancing” was not a problem.

The skies were clear with temperatures in the low 80s. Just a pleasant few hours all around. We didn’t want to get too sunburn so we’re careful not to stay too long. The large American flag near where we set up our chairs added to the positive Memorial Day vibe. And the water was very refreshing too!



Thursday, May 21, 2020

ACE Basin Excursion- “At Least (Bittern) A Lifer” Bird For Me

What better way to celebrate the end of another school year- and what a strange one it has been thanks to the coronavirus pandemic- then to head south to one of my favorite Lowcountry nature preserves.

It’s a long drive (59.5 miles from my house to this entrance sign, taking about one hour 10 minutes) to the Bear Island Wildlife Management Area, but well worth it to experience a vast protected preserve interesting in its layout and teeming with wildlife, especially alligators (avoid these) and multitudes of bird species.

The trip was a pleasant one as I drove with my window and sunroof wide open on a very mild mid-May day.

The time flew by as I listened to a favorite podcast (“Civil War Talk Radio”) that I hadn’t heard in a few months since school was closed as COVID-19 began to hit and shut down America.

It was only 60 degrees when I arrived at 9:30 a.m. at Bear Island (official location is TiTi Road, Green Pond, S.C.).

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Birding COVID-19 Style?

It wasn’t intentionally a “shelter at home” precaution but the ongoing pandemic safety measures gave me more time to think about taking some neat bird photographs without even having to go outside.

Our new hummingbird feeder purchased at Wild Birds Unlimited is located on a window along our back porch, attached to a colorful frog figure we have had there for years.

The window is also perpendicular to our sunroom where our main television is located.  The TV is in the same line of sight (through another window) of the hummingbird feeder.

As the precious little birds started to become regulars at the feeder we would see them coming and going at all times of the day.

And soon my photographer mind hit on the idea of trying to take quality close up pictures of the male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

I know from experience that these tiny creatures are very fast and difficult to photograph. Previously we had a hummingbird feeder in a different back porch spot. Sitting as still as possible in a chair on the porch I patiently tried to get decent still images of these flighty birds with some success.

But I knew this new inside-to-outside shooting set up could be much more efficient and successful.  I had recently cleaned all the windows so I gave another cleaning to the window through which I would be shooting. And I took off the screen.

I was able to get a nice clear tight focus on the feeder, and steady too thanks to the tripod. I set the timer on my Canon SX50 to two seconds, knowing this would help with steadiness and focus (pressing the button to take a photo moves the camera slightly).


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Rosy Sunday Morning Thanks to Mr. Grosbeak


A casual Sunday morning, sheltering in place on the back porch, reading the newspaper and drinking coffee. Another picture-perfect spring day was unfolding.

Quickly, it got even better when this fancy fellow stopped by my all you can eat bird food buffet just 15 feet away from where I sat.

Knowing the time it can take to get through the Sunday paper I had my camera at my side. Glad of that I was!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Pandemic Pandemonium- Corona Leave Us Alone-a!

“Wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar” is the definition of pandemonium. Pandemic we all know as a worldwide epidemic.

“Pandemonium” may not be the best word for the headline of this post. The past several weeks have not been filled with wild and noisy disorder. COVID-19 has been the silent killer causing an orderly shutdown of societies around the world.

Early March appointment at my dermatologist. Just a precaution
after I said at check-in that I had recently been out of the country. I was
in Portugal in late January/early February but told the
woman I was in Italy. I don’t think she thought my joke was funny. 
But, hey, I like alliteration so I’ll stick with Pandemic Pandemonium.

It would be a sin if I didn’t post about the coronavirus crisis, the most disruptive world event since the 9/11 terror attacks 19 years ago.

So far, my family and I have been spared hardships. For that, I am grateful to God above. With our children living in New York City and Chicago, Alesia and I have worried about their well being, especially #1 son in the Big Apple.

What I want to do in this post is share my photographs that capture the big and little picture of what much of the world has been seeing and experiencing.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Alligator’s Pearly Whites

An afternoon excursion on a pretty spring day led us to the nearby King's Grant neighborhood that 
has a nice park where a golf course used to be.





Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Azaleas!

It should be an uplifting time of the year here in South Carolina’s Lowcountry with winter giving way to spring this week. But there’s a certain bleakness to life today as America shuts down in unprecedented ways so coronavirus won’t claim lives on an epic scale.

So the beauty in our yard right now provides a bright and colorful contrast to the daily drab and troubling news of this worldwide pandemic.

The only bad thing about azaleas is that their blooms do not last long. So we all must enjoy them while we can!

Southern Living magazine calls azaleas "the number one must-have plant in the South." Well, we've got a bunch of them in different colors so that makes me happy and proud.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Music To My Ears!

Asheville, N.C.- As the nation and world cancel major events amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, rock music throbbed through a thousand fans at the Orange Peel.

Alesia and I saw one of our favorite bands during my Spring Break this week. Silversun Pickups was as good as hoped (even better!) March 11 at this venerable venue.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Hello Cedar Waxwings!

I don’t often see the interesting masked Cedar Waxwing, but have twice the last two weeks, once in my backyard and then in my front yard. They like the berries on our holly shrubs- and the water in the birdbath. American Robins have been accompanying the Waxwings. The two birds seem to be partners in crime!

This first photo shows the Waxwing’s yellow-tipped tail and red-tipped wings.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Visions of Portugal: Liking Lisbon!

Thanks (many!) to my wife Alesia I had the golden opportunity to visit Lisbon, Portugal where Alesia was on a two-week business trip. My trip, from last Thursday to Tuesday (Jan. 30-Feb. 4), was a wonderfully enriching experience.

We stayed at the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel and Spa, which is centrally located in the city. Our room on the 25th floor had a great view of Lisbon, the Tagus River, the red 25 de April Bridge and the majestic Christo Rei (Christ the King) monument (seen at the top of this first photograph).

My one-word impressions of Lisbon and Portugal, in no order: ports (as in wine), tiles, mosaics, friendly (as in the Portuguese people, many of whom speak English), historic, cod (fish), discoveries, fishing, navigation, churches, monuments, and steep (streets).
.
To follow are my visions of this ancient city, one of Europe’s oldest and most historically influential.