Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Yay Hilton Head Vaca!

I have so been looking forward to our long-planned vacation in Hilton Head! It marks a transition week between the just ended school year and a summer full of home improvement, book projects and other to-do items.

I will chronicle our Hilton Head trip with photos. Lots of rain was forecast, which had us worried. We end up getting two clear and sunny days for what we really wanted to do: soak up some sun on the beach.

Five days on Hilton Head was a blast. Friday we drove the short distance to Savannah to have dinner and spend the night. Our trip culminated in a short visit to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
Checking out the beach soon after our arrival 
Nice leading lines, beach, clouds and HDR effect

Monday, May 14, 2018

Marked Dolphin Photographed in Charleston Harbor

Look closely at this photo (click on it), which I took in March while visiting Fort Johnson, which is on James Island along the Charleston Harbor.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Leaping Lizards- Check Out These Scuffling Skinks!

What an unusual sight to see in my backyard a couple weekends ago! Be sure to watch the video below! I stepped out on the back porch and heard sounds in the pine straw. I first thought it was a squirrel, then got a little closer and saw a long thin body with a reddish head and thought it was a snake.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jail Visit with Students- Hopefully Not the Last Time!

On April 23 it was the last regular class for my College of Charleston course "Beyond the Grave: What Old Cemeteries Tell and Teaching the Living." The activity planned for this final session was anything but regular.

My intrepid students on their way to jail! 
We visited Charleston's notorious Old City Jail, which more accurately should be called the Charleston District Jail.

It was raining as we left our classroom for the 10-minute walk to Magazine Street where the jail was constructed way back in 1802.

I was appreciative of my students not complaining about the walk in the rain. They were, in fact, pretty excited- if not a bit scared- about the "haunted" tour that awaited us. What a way to end the semester we all agreed!

The rain made the jail look even scarier 

Randall Johnson, our guide from Bulldog Tours, was excellent. I have been on these tours maybe half a dozen times with a different guide every visit.  Each guide has been very good, with different stories to go along with a few mainstays.

Johnson, a self-described "homey from West Ashley," sure looked ghost guide part in his black clothing from head to toe, including the bowler hat on his head.

The rain had eased by our 7 p.m. arrival so he was able to give us a quick overview of the jail's origins, its long history of difficult if not deplorable conditions for prisoners, and its probably long overdue closing in 1939.

"Fourteen thousand people died here," Johnson said, "so there are lots of spirits inside."

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Picture Perfect Day for an Air Show!

I read it had been seven years since the last air show at Joint Base Charleston (formerly known as the Charleston Air Force Base). The base, its personnel, and the big C-17 Globemaster cargo planes have been pretty busy with wars overseas.

So it was nice to hear that the gates would be open to the public on Saturday, April 28 for a first-rate display of American warplanes on display and others flying overhead with pinpoint precision and aerobatics.  The event was officially called the Joint Base Charleston 2018 Air & Space Expo.

B-1 Lancer bomber provided shade to dozens of air show patrons

There were an impressive number and variety of planes to see on the tarmac. Many were open for people to go aboard, with airmen and officers on hand to help them get in and out safely and talk and answer questions about what the planes do and what they do. 
B-52 Stratofortress from Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport, La., where Alesia and I lived years ago

Sunday, April 29, 2018

New Plant Begs the Question: I'm Your Daisy- Or Am I?

I took this photo today from my back porch. I bought this orange “Garvinea Sweet Glow Gerber Daisy” to add a little pop to the backyard plants.
The late afternoon sun cast a nice light on the flower, making it stand out from the background. I like too how the birdhouse looks in the background as well as the pine trees and other foliage.  

On my iPad I used Snapseed to process the image, applying its HDR and Faded Glow effects, then found a frame that I like.  

I really started this post as a test in hopes I could do blog posts on my iPad. But, alas, I found I could not add the photograph on the iPad.  I was able to save the writing, but, darn, couldn't put in the picture, so here I am back in the office (instead of my comfy sofa) on my PC finishing up this post.

So, through this exercise I've learned a couple things: iPads and Blogger aren't very compatible and also that my "Gerber Daisy" as the label reads is really a "Gerbera Daisy" and according to this Southern Living article I may be lucky if the flower lasts a few weeks.

Well, glad I have this photo at least!  

Sunday, April 8, 2018

How In The World?

That's what I was left wondering when I saw this tire stuck in a tree about 25-30 feet high in a median along Interstate 26.

How in the world did that tire get up there?

I have seen some terrible car accidents in the three-plus years I've been commuting to my job in Orangeburg. This site is a real head-scratcher.

I first noticed the tire a few weeks ago. I jotted down the location so I could remember where to look for it.  It's on the left side of I-26 west about three miles before the intersection with I-95.

This is a pretty remote section of I-26. One day last week, I decided it was the time to pull over and take some photographs.

Traffic was light so I felt safe to pull over. Another landmark is that you can see the exit sign for St. George and Santee. Note the sign in the distance ahead from my car.

I snapped this after I took several photos.

So, after parking, I carefully crossed the interstate and
approached the tree with the tire. It is, as stated, located in the

In this image, you can see how high up in the tree the tire is lodged. Or maybe I should say parked...ha ha.

Yep, here it is, perfectly and securely stuck in the split "V" of this tree. Nice catch, right?

I could not think of a logical story of how this happened. When I shared the story and these photos with someone, he theorized that it came from a truck carrying a load of old tires. For whatever reason, this tire flew out of the back and ended up here.

Good thing it didn't hit a car!

This explanation makes sense. Anyone else with ideas, please let me know.

Just to prove I was there, I guess.

So, the tall tale of the treed tire has been told.

A few days later when there was no traffic behind me I slowed down and took slow motion video with my iPhone7.

Check it out below. The tire can be seen about three seconds into the clip.

What can I say, it's normally a very dull drive!

Three seconds in, see the tired tree, so to speak.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Mystery Birds!

I took this yesterday in my backyard. Note the pink azaleas in the background. 
I took two bird photos recently that I have so far been unable to identify.  So I'm turning to my go-to site for such situations: whatbird.com. The fellow birders who patronize this website are always very helpful, accurate and quick too.

Photographed along a street last weekend in Asheville, N.C.

I will update this post as soon as I have correct identifications.

Here's the verdict. The dark one above is a European Starling, which I suspected.
The other one is a White-throated Sparrow.

Thank you whatbird.com people!  I had one identification and a second confirmation. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Panoramic Views of Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery

With my iPhone 7, one of my favorite features is the "Pano" or panoramic photo setting. Every now and then I'll put down my Canon DSLR and give the iPhone's pano setting a shot, if I think a wide perspective might produce something interesting.

As many pictures that I have taken at Magnolia Cemetery (about which I have written two books filled with my color photographs), it wasn't until this past Saturday that I tried the pano approach.  Please click on the images to see them larger.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hankering to Hike? Check Out Dungannon!

The entrance is easy to miss if you drive by too quickly! 
This is a remote place not too far south of Charleston that is perfect if you hanker to hike.

This website gives a bit of information about the Dungannon Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area. It is located off Highway 162 between Rantowles and Hollywood.