A Nice Surprise

I was at Old Hickory Wildlife Management Area on Saturday (2/16/13) taking bird photographs.  On the way home I decided I was hungry and headed through Donelson, TN to grab a bite to eat.  I was sitting at a stoplight waiting for it to change and happened to notice a sign alongside the highway that reads “THP Col. Elmer V. Craig Memorial Highway”.  It was quite a surprise since Col. Craig was my father. 



My parents were divorced when I was quite young so I did not know my father very well.  We met several times as I was growing up, birthdays and Christmas, fishing a few times, dinner a few times, but we were never what could be called “Close”.  I did always have the greatest admiration for him, and followed his career through the Tennessee Highway Patrol closely, and it was A Remarkable Career for a remarkable man.

He died on May 3, 1989 and my mother died on April 28, 2010.  I miss you both and always will.

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Cars and Zombies!

Lots of things happen around here in the fall.  Our summers are miserably hot and humid and in the fall people start to get out once again and enjoy the nice, cool weather.

This weekend was no exception and Saturday morning I headed for downtown for several reasons.  I headed for the only remaining decent local camera shop (Durys) and then headed over to Centennial Park to a car show sponsored by the Nashville British Car Club and then to one of my favorite annual events, the Nashville Zombie Walk!  Both were great events, and I had a great day in mild fall weather!

There are a few shots below of both events.  More of the car show are Here and more of the Zombie Walk are Here so enjoy!

As to my vacation a couple of weeks ago, it rained a couple of days, I had things come up that had to be dealt with for a couple of days, and other than getting some rest it wasn’t much of a vacation.  I did manage to get to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga one day.  I was going to the Chattanooga Zoo however it decided to rain all day so I went to the aquarium instead.

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Late Summer Update

I’m not real sure where the last half of the summer went, but I’m certainly glad it is gone.  This has truly been a horrendous summer around here with record highs set 10 times.  We have sweated and sweltered and now it appears that things are finally cooling off for a little while.  OF course before we know it we will be in the midst of winter and I’ll be complaining about that again.

I’ve been here and there since I last added a page here though:

I’ve taken a bunch of Hummingbird shots at Edwin Warner Park
 
I toured a World War II LST
 
I went to the Dragon Boat Races for the third year
 
And I completed a 52-week Photo A Week Challenge
 
I Also visited the Nashville Zoo a number of times
 

So, I’ve been a busy but I certainly am glad it’s cooled off!  I’m off this coming week and plan to head to Chattanooga to visit the Chattanooga Zoo again, and then head for Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains and see if I can see a bear or an elk to photograph!  Check back in a week or so, there might be something new here!

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Lane Summer Smash IV

The Lane Motor Museum here in Nashville hosted the Fourth Annual Summer Smash on July 14.  As with previous years they used their LARC LX 8 to crush a couple of cars.  Just seeing something that mammoth move is amazing, and to see it completely flatten a couple of cars is really cool in my opinion.  Jeff Lane demonstrated some of the museum’s more esoteric exhibits before the show as well.

There are many more photographs from the museum on This Page of my photography web site, and the Summer Smash photographs are at the bottom of the page.

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Chattanoga Zoo

I visited the Chattanooga Zoo in Chattanooga, TN for the first time on July 5.  To be honest I didn’t even know there was one there until I happened to read about it somewhere.  As expected it was hot and the animals were not all that active, but some were just beautiful.  I’m going to go back when it is a bit cooler because there are some exhibits there that I want better photographs of!

There are more photographs from the zoo on This Page of my photography web site.

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Heat Wave!

Nashville is in the midst of a heat wave like never before.  Literally!  On June 28 we had a high of 105 degrees that displaced the previous record for that day that dated back to 1925.  On June 29 we had a high of 109 that was an all-time record high for Nashville.  It is supposed to continue through the weekend with 106 forecast for Saturday and 104 for Sunday before it starts to abate somewhat.  There’s not going to be a lot of outdoor activities for me this weekend, you can count on that!

We never had much of a winter in late 2011 and early 2012.  It got cool but never got cold for this region.  I wondered all season whether we were going to pay the price during the summer and it appears that I’ve gotten my answer now!

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Clouded Leopard Cubs

The Nashville Zoo released 5 new Clouded Leopard cubs and this evening was the first time I have seen them.  It was late in the day and hot so I didn’t stay long, but I will certainly be back for more shots of these kids!

They behaved just like the kittens that they are; running, jumping, playing, and just enjoying their lives. 

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Tennessee Aquarium

The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, TN is something I have wanted to visit for a long while so I finally decided to to it.  It was the first time there for me but it won’t be the last!

The aquarium is divided into two buildings, one for salt water and one for fresh water.  There are also birds, butterflies, otters, and other animals scattered around the exhibits.  It is a really interesting facility and I do plan to get back again in the near future!

There are additional photographs from my visit on This Page of my photography web site.

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Memorial Day 2012

Tomorrow, May 28, 2012, is Memorial Day in the USA.  It is a day set aside for remembering those men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  To most of us it is simply a day off of work, a day for enjoying the outdoors, and the traditional beginning of summer.  It should be much more to all of us.  Please take a moment during your day tomorrow to think about what it means, and keep in mind that had those people not died for what they believed in we might not be able to celebrate this day at all.

I wrote the paragraph below on my web site a couple of years ago after visiting a 9/11 memorial service.  After writing it I realized that it was appropriate to more than just 9/11 so I repeat it here.

It should be noted that I’ve received a bit of flack for my comment on the president in the following paragraph.  It has been suggested that regardless of my personal feelings I should respect the president as the leader of my country and the commander in chief of the US Armed Forces.  I will repeat here what I have told them: First, one of the luxuries of having a web site, and one of the freedoms of living in this country, is in being able to say what I believe and I will not apologize for my beliefs.  Secondly, the title of Commander in Chief is a title bestowed by law and the title of President by vote.  Respect is something that must be earned on an individual basis.  I do not give it freely or simply because it is expected.  My respect is something that must be earned.  If you disagree please feel free to click the [Back] button on your web browser to leave my web site.

Want to know who the American Hero is?  It isn’t an entertainer or media personality or sports figure or politician.  It sure as hell isn’t that dimwit in the White House right now.  The true American Hero is the kid next door who wears the Marine Corps uniform.  It’s the kid who traded his pizza delivery uniform for desert camo.  It’s your daughter’s best friend who is now in the Air Force.  It’s all of the mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and brothers and sisters who wear the uniform of ANY of our armed forces.  It is the firefighters and the police and paramedics and air evac crews.  They are ALL heroes in my book.  Every single one of them.

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Fun Times!

Lots of things going on in May around here.  The Tennessee Renaissance Festival is each weekend, so far I’ve been once, and the Great Tennessee Airshow was in Smyrna, TN on May 12 & 13.  Photos from the Renaissance Festival are on This Page of my photography web site and photos from the Air Show are on This Page of the same site.  Here are a few “Teasers”!


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Zoo Photo Safari

The Nashville Zoo occasionally has “Photo Safaris”.  The name is somewhat misleading since we don’t “Safari” anywhere however they do bring out some of their education animals, those that are not normally on exhibit, for us to photograph.  This is the second one I have been to, photographs from the first are Here.
First up was a Pygmy Screech Owl.  He was injured once and came to the zoo from Walden’s Puddle.


Next up were a couple of easily-recognizable animals:


Fourth was a magnificent Bengal Eagle Owl named Archimedes.  You can find a couple of other shots of him Further Down This Page that I took in January, 2011.

The sunlight caused him to squint and hid his magnificent orange eyes however if you follow the link above to photos of him farther down the page those shots show them in all their glory!


And finally was an African Serval named Billy.


There are a many other photos taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my photography web site.

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A Few (more) From The Zoo

Like last weekend I went by the Nashville Zoo for a while today.  It was ostensibly to get some exercise for my back per my doctor’s recommendation, but also like last weekend I wasn’t without my camera!

There are a many other photos taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my photography web site.

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Zoo Walk

My doctor told me to get out and walk around some to help the pain in my back so I decided that walking around the zoo with a camera only made sense.

There are a many other photos taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my photography web site.

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Another Tennessee Winter

Yes, I am still around and shooting, I just haven’t been posting a lot of photographs here.  A lot of them have been going onto my New Web Site as opposed to here, and to be honest I really haven’t been shooting anything very interesting.

I did get some good shots of a Blue Heron at Couchville Lake late last year:

 

A Common Loon on Radnor Lake one morning:

 

Some Snowy Owls and Spectacled Owls at the Nashville Zoo:

 

And some Ring-Billed Gulls at Centennial Park:

 

All of these and more are on This Page of my web site.

Spring is coming soon and things will start to pick up.  There are Hunter’s Auto Expo and another Photo Safari at the Nashville Zoo in March,  Kars for Kids in April, and an Airshow and the Tennessee Renaissance Festival in May.  While this has been a remarkably mild winter in Tennessee I am still ready for spring.  As usual I’m tired of brown trees and gray skies and am ready for some green in the trees and blue in the skies!

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Making Some Changes

I’m making some changes to my web site and I’m not 100% certain how I am going to structure things yet.  I registered the domain at www.SC-Photo-TN.com for most of my photography pages and I’m not certain how I am going to incorporate this blog into that site.  I may move these pages to the new site, I may just leave them here.  I’m really undecided at this point.

So far my efforts have been to move my “Tennessee In Photography” pages to the new site since that is actually its purpose.  There are a lot of photographs and a lot of effort involved in those pages so I’ve been busy with that.  I also keep adding new photographs so I really haven’t given this blog the attention it needs for the past few weeks.

I’ll figure out something but I don’t know what that will be yet.

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Backyard Friends

We have a permanent population of Gray Squirrels that live around our house.  I think I could sit and watch their antics all day long, even though they can empty my bird feeder in a day or so.  Below are a couple of photographs of them.  Notice that the squirrel in the second photo must be a “High Society” squirrel since he holds his pinkie finger out while he eats.

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Hoot Owl

I bought a new lens last week and was walking around Radnor Lake on Sunday taking photographs of Bluebirds and Woodpeckers.  While walking back to the parking lot I saw a flash of white wings in the woods beside me and looked over to see a large Barred Owl (more commonly known as a Hoot Owl) sitting on a limb beside the road.

He was about 25′ from me and wasn’t real concerned about me taking his photograph or the other people who stopped to look.  His eyes kept closing so I suspect he was just winding down from a night’s hunting.  Whatever the reason I was thrilled that he chose that exact moment to land on that exact limb since this was the first time I’ve ever seen an owl in the wild.

Edit – November 12, 2011 – I was at Radnor Lake again this morning and while walking down the road I was saying to myself, “Right about here is where I saw that Owl last week.”  I looked up on the limb he was sitting on last week and lo and behold there he was again so I had to take a few more photos of him.  This makes twice in my life I’ve seen an Owl in the wild.

Looking at the trees in the background it is easy to see how much the trees have changed in the past week.  Last weekend they were full of color and this weekend there are very few leaves left.  Winter is drawing close.

There are some other photographs of this bird on This Page of my web site.

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Arizona Again

I flew to Arizona to visit friends again in mid-October but I had an ulterior motive this time.  The NHRA Arizona Nationals were at Firebird Raceway that weekend and I wanted to see it.

We also visited the Desert Botanical Gardens, one of my favorite places in Phoenix, to view some huge wooden insects and an enclosure full of Monarch Butterflies.

As always my hosts are what made it so great.  Without you guys it would have been a hollow and boring trip. 


There are other photographs from this trip on This Page of my web site.

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22nd Annual AACA Car Show

The 22nd Annual Antique and Classic Car Show put on by the Battlefield Region AACA was held today at Cool Springs Mall.  I missed the first 21 events so I figured I would go by this one for a while.

It was a huge event with a couple of hundred cars on display.  Everything from antiques to exotics, perfectly restored and adding their own brilliance to a beautiful fall day.


There are other photographs from this event on This Page of my web site.

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WERA Motorcycle Roadracing – Fall 2011

The WERA boys were back in Nashville for their second race of the year.  Unfortunately it will be the last time since the Nashville Superspeedway is closing down permanently in October.  It was great having you guys here.


Lots of additional photographs from this event on This Page of my web site.

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Dragon Boat Race

The Fifth Annual Dragon Boat Race was held at the Riverfront Park in Nashville on August 20.  It’s a really interesting event with teams racing traditional Chinese dragon boats on the Cumberland River.  A pre-race show is put on by the Chinese Arts Authority of Nashville.


Then four by four the teams raced up a prepared course along the river:


A great event and a lot of fun to watch.  I just wish they would hold it a little bit later in the year when it isn’t quite so hot outside.

There are other photos taken at this event on This Page of my web site.

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Quest (almost) Completed

Years ago I worked with a bunch of duck hunters.  One day one of them mentioned Wood Ducks to me, and described their appearance (this was long before the internet and Wikipedia).  I decided then and there that I was going to get some photographs of some, and asked where I could find them in this area.  I was told that they were all over the place; ponds, lakes, anything with water.  So off I set with my little camera, weekend after weekend, with never a Wood Duck to be found.

Fast forward to 2010.  That would be nearly 35 (that’s thirty five!) years later and I still haven’t seen a wood duck.  While walking around Radnor Lake with my camera one day a man asked if I had seen anything worth photographing.  I told him that I hadn’t and he said, “I haven’t either.  Just a pair of Wood Ducks up the lake a bit.”  I said, “Uh, did you say Wood Ducks???” and he said, “Sure.  Want me to show you where they are?”  I said that I certainly did and he pointed them out to me.  About 200 yards away and me with a little 300mm lens.

OK, at least I can finally say I have seen some Wood Ducks but I’d sure like to see some a bit closer than a mile away.

Fast forward a bit more to August, 2011.  I went to an outing with some people from my office today, and was lazily floating around on Center Hill Lake on a pontoon boat.  Some ducks came up close to the boat and one of the guys started feeding them some crackers which brought them even closer.  I looked at them and saw brown feathers and said, “Just a bunch of Mallards …” since this area is covered with Mallards and this time of year both the hens and drakes are brown.  Then I figured what the heck I’ll shoot a couple of photos of them anyway.  When I looked I saw that bright orange eye and said to myself, “Uh, those aren’t Mallards, those are Wood Ducks!”

So I’m getting closer!  All I have to do now is find them in spring plumage and I’ll have completed a 35+ year quest.

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Workmanship

Take a look at the workmanship in the instrument panel below:

The instrument panel is from a 1948 Simca-Gordini Type 5 race car on display at the Lane Motor Museum here in Nashville.  Notice how the aluminum backing has swirl marks in it.  That swirling is called “Engine Turning” and it is not easy to do, or rather it was not easy to do in 1948.  The effect is accomplished by chucking a grinding wheel in a drill press.  The press is lowered onto the aluminum until the grinding wheel barely touches and scratches the finish.  The material in the press is then moved slightly, the press is lowered again to form an overlapping pattern, and then repeated over and over again.  It was a time-consuming artistic touch, but well worth the effort in my opinion.

There are many more photographs taken at the Lane Museum on This Page of my web site.

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Happy Fourth!

Happy Independence Day to all!  Enjoy the fireworks and remember why we are able to celebrate our continuing independence and freedoms.


There are several other photos taken this weekend on This Page of my web site.

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A Few From The Zoo

We had some nasty thunderstorms come through the area this morning which killed my idea of riding my motorcycle.  Once it quits raining around here it’s like a sauna which makes wearing riding gear quite unappealing.  I decided I’d go to the zoo for a little while because there are a couple of new guys there I wanted to see.

And here is one of the guys I went to see.  This is one of a pair of Clouded Leopard cubs.  They are only a month or two old, I think.  One of the docents said that they are still being bottle-fed so they are quite young.

There are two of them and they behave just like house cats at this point.  They were chasing each other around, pouncing on anything that moved (limbs moving in the breeze seemed to be a favorite), and just plain enjoying life.

There are a many other photos taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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Back To The Renaissance Festival

I went back to the final day of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival on Memorial Day.  It’s a great event and the opportunities for “People Photos” are never-ending.  It’s a shame it only comes around once a year!

There are a number of other photos from the show on This Page of my web site.

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Zoo Photo Safari

I attended a “Photo Safari” at the Nashville Zoo this morning.  The name of the event was a bit misleading since we didn’t go anywhere except the amphitheater but it was still quite interesting.  The host brought out five of the zoo’s education animals, those that aren’t normally on display in the zoo, and we got to take photographs of them.

This little guy was first up.  He’s a Pygmy Screech Owl.  There are a couple of additional photos of him Here since I’ve run across him once before.  His keeper had him out one morning last February while I was walking through the zoo and I saw him then.


Next up was Charlie.  Charlie is a Prehensile Tailed Porcupine from Australia.  At least I was told he is from Australia, I didn’t catch his accent.

Charlie is an interesting creature, and quite friendly, at least toward his handler.  We weren’t allowed to handle him since those quills are actually hard and bony feeling (the handler passed some of them around and they feel a lot like finger nail material).  If you rub him the wrong way, so to speak, you get a perforated hand.  His handler was wearing heavy leather gloves and one went right through it.


Then we saw Vincent.  Vincent is a Blue Tongued Skink.  I didn’t get a photograph of his blue tongue, but I did see it.



Fourth was Maisie.  Maisie is a Corn Snake and I think I heard that she is indigenous to this area.  She got the name Maisie from the American Indian word for corn, Maise.


The last exhibit was the highlight of the day and one I’ve been hoping to see since he was born last year.  Blitz is a Eurasian Lynx, born of the pair of Eurasian Lynxes living at the zoo.  They are named Ugo and Ilvy and there are photos of them Here.  Ugo also has the honor of being the masthead photograph for this blog, right at the top of the page.

Blitz is one year old.  He was born May 1, 2010 at the zoo.  Watching him it is so easy to understand that he is a big cat at heart since he behaves just like a house cat in many ways.  Every move seems to be thought out in advance and is so graceful with no wasted motion.  He rolled over in the grass and licked his paws to wash with, just like every other cat I’ve ever seen.

All in all it was quite interesting and something that I will probably do again when it is offered in the fall.

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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2011 Tennessee Renaissance Festival

Last year was the first time I visited the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, and I’ve been looking forward to its return since then.  It is really a fun event to visit, especially for a photographer.

There are a number of other photos from the show on This Page of my web site.  I hope to visit the event at least once more this month so more will probably be added.

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Great Tennessee Airshow 2011

There used to be an airshow at Smyrna, TN each fall, and I was there each and every time. I think that for a number of years they stopped having it since I never heard anything about it. Regardless, it is back and it was this weekend! And once again I was there.

There were a number of aircraft on static display, and at 11:35 the airborne festivities started.  The highlight of the show was a performance by the US Air Force Thunderbirds but some rain starting an hour or so before they flew ran me off.  I got to see the F-15 fly though so I still went home happy!

There are a number of other photos from the show on This Page of my web site.

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WERA Motorcycle Roadracing – Spring 2011

The WERA boys were back in Nashville yesterday for their spring race at the Nashville Superspeedway, and for once the weather was great.  Mid 70′s, clear skies, lots of sunshine.  A touch of wind that probably gave some of the riders a bit of heartburn, but from the infield I thought it felt great.

We started watching the races at the same spot on the infield that I went to Last Fall.  At this part of the track the riders have slowed down from the half mile main straight and made a hairpin turn into the infield.  They make a second 180° hairpin turn and then head back onto the back straight.  My guess is that they are probably doing 50mph or so in the turn and accelerating to 70+ going back onto the back straight.

A little later we moved to a spot on the front straight right where the riders were getting on the brakes after screaming down the front straight.  My guess is that they were doing close to 150 mph at this point.

Notice in the last photograph that the rear wheel of the motorcycle is a couple of inches off the ground … at around 150 mph … in a curve!

There are many more photos from the race on This Page of my web site.

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Kars For Kids Car Show 2011

Dawn today was more of a separation of grays. It rained all night and was still raining lightly when dawn tried to fight its way through the clouds. The sun never did manage to penetrate the cloud cover but the machinery on display in Brentwood today had its own inner light that brightened everything around it.

There are a couple of dozen photos from the event on This Page of my web site.

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Nashville Night

I love night photography.  Everything is very high contrast and low key, and the colors are bright and vivid.  The art is in the wash of light itself.

There are many more photographs of Nashville itself on This Page of my web site and there are a number of night shots on This Page of my web site.

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Trains at Cheekwood

There is a display of “G”-scale trains at Cheekwood from April 9 through December 31.  I wanted to go by there before the weather had a chance to work on the trains and buildings, so I went today, the day it opened ;)

The exhibit is right beside the Visitor Service Center and consists of about a half dozen trains running on about 1,000′ of track through a woodland setting.  There are models of some well-known buildings in Tennessee, and all in all it is very well done.


There are about 20 more photographs taken at the exhibit on This Page of my web site.

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BMX Practice

I stopped at Hamilton Creek Recreation Area to watch the kids practice BMX this afternoon.  Not a lot going on so I didn’t stay very long, I did like these three photos though.

Lots of air on this one!  Sorry about the power lines but at this particular track it’s hard to avoid lines and poles.
 
At first this looks like just a bad shot with everything blurry.  Look closer and you’ll see that his face and hips are in good focus.  I guess those are the only things on these bikes that aren’t in motion when they are pushing pretty hard.

 
I liked this one because of the focus on this young man’s face.  He’s focused on what he’s doing but at the same time he looks like he’s having a lot of fun.

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Tulips at Mid-Day

A couple more photos of the tulips at my office before they are gone.  This was the first day we’ve had a little bit of sunshine for a week so I grabbed these at lunch.

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Meerkats

I really enjoy the Meerkats at the Nashville Zoo.  Unlike some of the animals these little guys are never still, never calm.  They are always on the move, running or playing or digging.  Even in the safe environs of the zoo there is always one who is on “Sentry Duty”, and he (or she) will stand on a rock or plant and watch out for any predators that might be lurking among the visitors.

In January a litter of pups was born, and I just happened to be there when they first popped out of the burrows.  A few photos of them are Here.  The newborn pups are growing like weeds and some newer photos of them are below.

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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Oberlin Steel

I decided to walk around Centennial Park for a while today, and while there noticed a percussion group setting up.  The band was a group of students from Oberlin College, and they were great.  Lots of energy, but the thing I noticed most was how much some of them were truly enjoying the experience.  A few photos are below and there are some more on This Page of my web site.  Thanks for the show guys!  It was great.

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Tulips At Dawn

The Tulips behind my office bloomed beautifully a couple of days ago and I thought that I should get some photos of them.  I usually get to the office about the time the sun is coming up so this morning I took my camera and tried to get a couple of shots with them against the dawn sky.  They aren’t bad but aren’t really what I had envisioned.

I grabbed another shot later in the day but given the fact that the temperature dropped from the mid 70′s yesterday to the upper 40′s today they did not open up.

 

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At The Zoo

One of the nice things about living close to the Nashville Zoo, as well as being an annual member, is that I can go by there for a little while to “Try Things” with my camera gear.  I don’t have to wonder whether or not I can view an animal, they are nearly always right where they are supposed to be!

I purchased a new teleconverter for my camera and wanted to see how well it worked so I stopped at the zoo for a little while today.  The TC lets my little 300mm lens stretch itself out to 420mm focal length, but at the cost of one f-stop of light and a slight reduction in sharpness.  I’ve had a 2x TC for a long time, but it costs 2 f-stops and the loss in sharpness is terrible most of the time.  This new one is much, much better and I’m quite pleased with the results so far.

The young Giraffe below is named Suzasita and she was born in November, 2010.  Her parents Margarita and Congo are in the first photo with her.

Of course I can’t go by the zoo without a shot or two of Ming and Mei!  Ming was up in his tree hiding but Mei was snoozing under some bushes.

The Hyacinth Macaws are always riotous.  They frequently squabble among each other, but as can be seen by the grin in the second photo it’s all in good fun!

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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Hunter’s Custom Auto Expo 2011

The drab old buildings of the Tennessee State Fairgrounds were filled with bright colors and chrome this weekend as the Hunter’s Custom Auto Expo once again visited the facility. Dozens of custom cars and trucks were on display for us gearheads to drool over. I’ve included a couple of photographs below and there are several dozen more on This Page of my web site.

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Radnor Lake

Radnor Lake in Nashville is a beautiful little place most of the time.  The hills south of Nashville form an 85 acre lake that was once the private preserve of L&N Railroad executives.  Today it is a State Natural Area open to the public.  The only caveat being that visitors have to live within the a set of voluminous rules that prevent most of the activities normally associated with a state recreation area.

Be that as it may, the area is a wonderful place for photographers with plenty of wildlife, birds, trees, and water.  A couple of photographs of the area are included below and there are dozens more on This Page of my web site.

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Lane Motor Museum

The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville is a really cool place for gearheads.  Lots of vintage and modern cars on display with no barriers between the viewer and the vehicle.  Many of the vehicles on display are quite unique and several are one of a kind.

A few photos from my visits there are included below, and there are many more on This Page of my web site.

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Let Sleeping ‘Gators Lie …

The best thing to do in cases like this is to just let sleeping ‘Gators lie right where they are!

Taken at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

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Schmidt’s Guenon

These animals are so expressive I think I could watch them all day.  They seem to be inordinately intelligent and just looking at their faces it is easy to feel that they are actually wondering what I’m doing.  They are one of my favorite exhibits at the Nashville Zoo and I stop to visit them each time I’m there.

I have had a difficult time getting good photographs of them though.  Their paddock is fenced and heavily shaded.  They frequently sit up in the trees and I find myself shooting against the sun or with a high-contrast background or something.  Today was not a lot better but one of them was sitting on a rope right by the edge of the viewing area.  I was hanging over the barricade, shooting almost straight up, through the fence, and through some branches.  I like the way it turned out though.

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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Chihuly at Cheekwood

There was an exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass sculpture at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens in Nashville from May 25 through October 31, 2010.  I visited several times because I found that the placement of glass sculptures within the foliage of the gardens to be just magnificent.


At night many of the exhibits had spotlights on them, and with the darkness behind they seemed to take on a life of their own.


There are many more photographs of the exhibit on This Page of my web site.

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BMX Practice

Music City BMX had a practice session at their track in Hamilton Creek Recreation Area today so I stopped by for a little while to watch and take a few photographs.  Kids and adults of all skill levels were out enjoying the mild February weather and practicing for their first real race next month.  I’m hoping I can manage to get by there for that, it will be interesting to say the least!

Oh, and sorry about the power lines and poles that appear in just about every photograph.  There are service lines and poles leading to the track and then light poles inside the track with more wires leading to them.  It was hard to find a spot where they weren’t in the shots.

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Tiny Owl

This tiny little owl was sitting on her keeper’s hand while I was walking through the Nashville Zoo today. I think I heard the keeper say that he is a Pygmy Screech Owl but I could be wrong. I know I heard him state that he had been at the zoo for the past five years so he is fully grown.  He appeared to be a little annoyed at being out in the cool, windy weather but I’m certainly glad that he was!

For an idea of how small he is look at the photographs.  He is sitting on his keeper’s hand and his thumb is clearly visible for size reference.

That “Woodland Camouflage” he wears is perfect to! Imagine him sitting against a tree and his feather patterns would blend in perfectly. Unless he made a sound I’m sure I’d walk right by and never even see him.

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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2010 Tennessee Renaissance Festival

I had never been to a Renaissance Festival until this year, however that is a mistake I won’t make again.  It was really interesting with a wide diversity of people, costumes, and appearances.

I don’t shoot “People Photographs” very often, I primarily focus on animals and nature, but some of them turned out decently.  A few are included below and there are many more on This Page of my web site.

    
    

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Eurasian Lynx

This is a pair of Eurasian Lynxes at the Nashville Zoo.  The female is on the left and is named Ilvy.  The male, on the right, is named Ugo.  I used a cropped version of the photograph of Ugo for the masthead photograph of this blog.  They are beautiful cats but tend to be difficult to photograph.  They frequently stay at the back of their pen or pace around close to the fences.

In May, 2010 Ilvy gave birth to a cub named Blitz.  I haven’t seen him yet but I hope to at some point.

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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Meerkat Pup

Such a BIG world out here! That had to be his first thought …..

This Meerkat pup is probably about 3 weeks old, but this is apparently his first visit outside their underground burrow. They are born underground, open their eyes at about 2 weeks, and venture outside for the first time at about 3 weeks. The first three weeks of his life have been in an underground burrow and then all of a sudden he sees the real world.

As I walked by their area at the Nashville Zoo today there were about a dozen Zoo staff members, including the Zoo photographer, inside the pen. I talked with one of them and she said that this was the first time that they had been seen. There are three pups and apparently they first appeared above ground about 20 minutes before I got there.

How amazing to see something like this. His first views of the world! What thoughts were running through his mind? So big? So bright? So frightening? I was so lucky to walk by at just the right moment.

This was the only one of the three that I saw, and after a few minutes the “Babysitter” (as the adults that watch over them are called) grabbed the scruff of his neck and took him back into the burrow.

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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Rhinocerous Hornbill

These are the best two photographs I have of this unusual bird. He is a resident at the Nashville Zoo however he normally says way up in the top of the trees in his area, and his area is fenced. Today he was down close to the ground playing with his toy (a piece of bamboo on a rope) and I managed to get a couple of decent shots of him.

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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Portrait of Ming

Ming is a Clouded Leopard living at the Nashville Zoo with his sister Mei. Clouded Leopards are amazing cats with traits not found in any other species of feline. Their short legs and long tail provide them with unbelievable agility when climbing.

Their area of the zoo is one of the areas I always have to stop at when I visit. I could watch them all day long. They are absolutely amazing creatures.

There are many more photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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WERA Motorcycle Racing

I had never been to a WERA motorcycle race so when I found out that one was being held at the Nashville Superspeedway I had to go and resolve that oversight!  The races were great, the September weather was great, and I had a wonderful time.  I hope they do it again this year because I will certainly be there.

There are many more (as in about 200!) photographs of this race on This Page of my web site.

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On Frozen Pond

Simple approach and landing guys, nothing to it. Gear down … flaps down … now just follow me around on final … and here we go …

Watch your spacing #2, stay in formation until the break.

Oh crap! Fouled runway! Missed approach! Missed approach!

Watching these Canada Geese land on the frozen lake at Centennial Park was a hoot. They would fly a normal approach but when they touched down and started sliding on the ice I could almost see the confusion on their faces. Things were just not working out the way they were accustomed to. This one handled it pretty well and just slid across the ice, but a couple of them weren’t quite as graceful.

There are many other photographs taken at Centennial Park on This Page of my web site.

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Red Panda

This Red Panda lives at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. I had a hard time getting photographs of him because 1) He frequently sits in the top of a tree with his back to the viewing area, and 2) The area in which he lives has a lot trees around it and is frequently dimly lighted. Over time, and several visits to the zoo, I did manage to get a few decent shots of him though. Even the good ones aren’t quite as sharp as I’d like because I had to shoot quite slow or use a high ISO.

There are many other photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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Portrait of an Owl

This is Archimedes.  He is a Bengal Eagle Owl and a resident at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.  The photographs were taken during a class at the zoo and he appeared to be quite annoyed at being removed from his nice warm kennel and exposed to the 35 degree temperature outside.

Despite his feelings I was thrilled at the opportunity to take his portrait.  Those striking orange eyes are mesmerizing and that ferocious look on his face enhanced the pose.

There are many other photographs taken at the Nashville Zoo on This Page of my web site.

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A Little Trip To The Desert

Tennessee in late winter is gloomy and dreary most of the time.  Brown trees, brown bushes, gray skies, cold temperatures, and lots of rain.  An occasional day of brilliant sunshine and blue skies will pass through but for the most part Tennessee isn’t a spectacular place to spend a winter.

For that reason I’m always grateful when I’m invited to visit my friends in the Valley of the Sun during the winter.  Arizona in the winter is everything that Tennessee is not.  Brilliant crystal clear blue skies, warm temperatures, and the ability to get outside without a heavy coat are such a treat.  We make up for it in the summer when it’s 120 degrees there and only 90 here, but this time of year they definitely have the weather advantage.


Arizona winter on the left
Tennessee winter on the right.

Last week, to escape the mid-winter doldrums, I flew to Arizona to visit my friends for a few days. While waiting at the airport after I arrived in Phoenix I noticed an oddly familiar yet forgotten feeling. What is that? Oh, I remember! I’m standing outside and I’m getting HOT! Odd as it may sound to some, to those of us from the eastern half of the country standing outside in January and feeling hot is an unfamiliar occurrence.


One of my friends was out of town so I didn’t get to visit with her, but I did get to spend time with Kobi and Sasha (Kobi is the one trying to hide behind the shades and Sasha is the yellow, furry one)

These guys are very special to me. They invite me into their homes, always make me feel welcome, and allow me to escape the winter weather for a few days. I don’t know what I’d do without them.


We went to the new aquarium at the Arizona Mills Mall,


We went to the Wildlife World Zoo …


We even caught part of the Rock and Roll Marathon …


We saw a couple of movies, had a lot of great food,and speaking for myself, had a great four days.  Thanks for having me!  Take care of yourself, I miss you guys already.
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