Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie!

My wife and I are complete saps for our dog, Cheyenne.  When we go anywhere, we always come home with too many pictures of the dog.

So when I downloaded the images from Jane's camera and I spotted this one, I just had to post it even though I did not take the picture.  Cheyenne is on the travel trailer sofa with her head propped up on the arm of my chair pushed against my laptop case.  It is so hard for a dog to get comfortable, but she can sleep anywhere!

Who could resist such a cute face?


Friday, October 31, 2008

Placid Warrior River

After harassing the wildlife, Dr. Tim Coleman and I took a leisurely trip up the quiet morning Warrior River.  I snapped this just before we turned around to head back to the river house.  This was October 3rd, and you can see just the slightest color in the foliage.  It would be interesting to get the same shot in about a month to see how it changed.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wildlife on the Warrior River

After the fog dissipated, Dr. Tim Coleman and I headed out in his boat for a little morning fishing.  We were not the only one's fishing.  This fellow was looking for a good breakfast, I think, but we were a menace to him.  I did not have have my 300mm lense, so we coasted the boat as close as he would let us so I could get this picture with my zoom lense, 24mm to 120mm.  Just after I took this photo, he leapt into the air, but the photos of him flying did not come out clearly.

I think if he could have filed an injunction against us for harassment, he would have.  We snug up on him two more times including one with him standing on a big branch in a tree.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Warrior River Webs

I've been a meteorologist for over 40 years, but I don't recall any weather folklore about spiders or webs.  But I have noticed around my house and on this river trip with Dr. Tim Coleman the large and prolific number of spider webs.  There is one between my trees and my neighbors house that must be ten feet across.  I cannot remember a year with so many of them.  It will be interesting to see how the winter shapes up.

This photo is actually two webs, one on each side of the dock handrail.  The early morning fog which was quite dense for a short period of time has condensed on the webs leaving fine water droplets that sparkled in the early morning sun.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Boat Dock in Fog

After the beautiful sunset on the Warrior River on Thursday, October 2, which you can see in the post below, we awoke to a foggy morning with visibility close to zero.  As I emerged from the river house owned by Tim Coleman, I saw the boat dock somewhat obscured in fog and thought it made a nice picture.  A boat could have been 100 feet away and I would never have seen it.

There is something mighty comforting on a warm Fall morning when you are shrouded in fog listening to nature come awake.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Warrior River October Sunset

On a recent trip with Dr. Tim Coleman on the Warrior River west of Birmingham, AL, we took a quick spin on the river to chase a tug - and some fish.  We caught the tug - see the post below - but no fish, not even a nibble.

But we did catch a beautiful sunset.  This is looking generally west-northwest along the Warrior River not far from the Tim's river house.


Warrior River Tugboat

I recently had an opportunity to go with a friend, Dr. Tim Coleman, to his river house on the Warrior River.  It was my third trip, and we often try to go in the afternoon, stay overnight, and come home the following afternoon.  It makes for a more interesting trip than just driving down for a quick trip on the river.

To get to the house, however, you have to travel by boat.  It is a short distance, so we usually load up the small boat kept at a boathouse near the road, motor over to the house, unload our provisions, and then sit around or take a short boat trip.  We sat around on this trip, but decided as the the sun was setting to see if the fish were nibbling.  They weren't, so when a tugboat went by, we took off on a tug chase and caught it about a mile from the house.  I had no tripod, so I managed to get this handheld shot at about a tenth of a second.

I love the deepness of the colors and the reflection in the water.  The photo has not been re-touched in anyway.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mushroom Condo

This photo was made at Cheaha State Park on Mt. Cheaha in early August.  When I saw this cluster of mushrooms, it immediately brought to mind a cluster of high rise condos, hence the title of this post and picture.  It was actually located on the campsite next to the one where we were located.  And I got creative with the camera putting it nearly on the ground, letting it auto-focus, and snapping the picture.  I then looked to see how it was composed and this one came out well.

The mushrooms were growing out of an old stump which is very hard to see since there were so many mushrooms.  Unfortunately the cluster did not last long and was completely wilted just a day or so later.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nature Unleashed

One of the main objectives of my recent Chicago trip besides seeing my daughter was to see the "Nature Unleashed" exhibit at the Field Museum.  My daughter is a photo-holic and just loves using my Nikon D70S, so I loaned her the camera to take a few shots to prove that I was there.  Of course, in today's digital age, I could do this with Photoshop, but I didn't.

"Nature Unleashed" is a tremendous exhibit developed by the Field Museum with a focus on natural disasters and educating people about them.  They tackle topics like tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  Naturally my interest was with the hurricane and tornado portions of the exhibit.  And there was one aspect to the tornado portion of the exhibit that blew me away - sorry for the pun.  Professional storm chaser Tim Samaras designed a cone with seven cameras pointing in all directions that he was able to place in front of an oncoming tornado.  So you step into the middle of seven screens and watch the tornado come right at you.  The center of the tornado passed within feet of the cone, so it is about as close as you can get to going through a tornado.  We were so taken with it we went through the video presentation about nine times - it only lasts about 3 minutes.  Unfortunately I cannot show you any photos of the exhibit since they asked that no photos be taken inside the exhibit.

The exhibit is supposed to go on the road in 2009 and might come to Atlanta, but that has not been firmed up.


Chicago Air Show

During my visit to Chicago over the weekend of August 16 and 17, a big event going on was the Chicago Air and Water Show.  The Air Show featured the Navy's Blue Angels from Pensacola, FL.  I did not actually attend the show, that is, I did not go to the Air Show viewing area along Lakeshore Drive.  But an Air Show like this one takes up lots of sky, so as my daughter and I were doing our site seeing, we could often catch glimpses of the various planes.

Just after getting off the 'L' at the Sheridan stop, we heard the planes, so we stayed on the elevated platform and watched them come overhead.  The main action, naturally, was along the lake front, but it was pretty exciting for us to see them come right over us as they made their turns on the northern side of the Air Show main stage area.

I captured several shots of them flying in formation, and yes, I enhanced this one just a tad to bring out the colors in the airplanes.  If you want to get some great information on the Blue Angels, their web site is  It was such a treat to get to seem them and without braving the huge crowds along Lakeshore.


Chicago Skyline

My good friend, Leigh Bratina, has made a very nice post about me and my photo blog on her Blog site, so I'm going to try to get back into the groove posting some of my amateur photos.  I saw Leigh during the municipal election yesterday, and her posting has kicked me into action.

The shot above was taken on my recent visit to Chicago to visit my daughter, Rebecca.  When I visit, we usually do the touristy thing and really cram a lot of visiting and activities into a few days.  More about the visit to the Field Museum in another post.

The shot above is from the Sears Tower in Chicago which at the time of my visit was still the tallest building in Chicago.  That will probably be changing in the near future with a new taller building under construction.  The observation floor is 103 which is about 1300 feet or so above the streets of Chicago.  The view is commanding and the visibility was great the afternoon we were there.  In this photo you are looking over the city and out over Lake Michigan.

So let's hope I can stick to posting a few more pictures.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pinhoti Trail

Cheaha State Park is one of my favorite spots with all of its natural beauty.  Last weekend, March 16, 2008, there was a dedication of the connection of the Pinhoti Trail to the Appalachian Trail.  Hikers can make the trek all the way from Alabama to northern Maine.  I took this picture as I was leaving the ceremony marking the connection with a big marker which shows the blaze and the trail marker if you ever want to hike the Pinhoti Trail.

It always amazes me to see how things change.  I had not been to Cheaha during the winter season since the weather is not nearly as good, but it was fun to see things without the leaves.  Each season has its own beauty and the lack of leaves meant that I could see landmarks that are not normally visible during other times of the year.

The Alabama Hiking Trail Society conference was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed being with the group talking about hiking and weather.  I hope to go again.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Buck Creek Festival

This is a picture I took at the last Buck Creek Festival in 2007 looking over the entrance to the event.  The event for 2008 is a little over two months away and will be held May 9th and 10th.  It is a completely free event that the Buck Creek Festival Committee works on all year long.  Behind the trees in the background is the Helena Amphitheater where the music plays.  And we have a great diversity of music for everyone.

We are not a big festival, but it sure is nice to come to the park and stroll around, listen to some great music, chat with friends and neighbors, and just have a generally swell time.

Hope to see you there.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gees Bend Ferry

This was our primary destination in a daylong outing from Paul Grist State Park near Selma, AL, to Gees Bend near Camden, AL, in late March, 2007.  Gees Bend is an area isolated by a large bend in the Alabama River.  Gees Bend to Camden is only about 4.5 miles by air but over 40 miles by road and bridge.  A ferry ran here for a long time but went out of business and the State of Alabama with local help re-established the ferry. We wanted to ride the ferry which is just something we don't get to do where we live.

And we wanted to take in the Gees Bend Quilters, a group of women who have gained National prominence as stories have been told and written about the area.  Absolutely wonderful, relaxing trip with a very special ride on a ferry boat.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Strange Equipment

I'm not making fun of anyone or anything.  Sometimes you just run across something that is hard to understand or explain.  Such is this picture taken on the ferry that runs between Camden, AL, and Gees Bend across the Alabama River.

The ferry is completely steel.  So when I saw the axe, I just could not help myself but chuckle.  I'm sure if I took a swing with the axe, it would making a resounding noise and fly out of my hands as soon as it came in contact with any part of the ship.  I'm really guessing here, but I wonder if this is not some sort of ferry boat tradition from days when ferry boats were made of wood.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Taken March 2, 2008, it was a bright sunny day with an afternoon high of 76.  Lots of people were out enjoying an early taste of spring, so I grabbed the camera and stopped by the Buck Creek dam to see what I might catch.

There is a nice patch of land right below the dam that you can get to without getting wet thanks to a small, metal foot bridge.  I took this photo looking generally east across the dam at a set of buildings that will eventually hold businesses.  The dam was down to a very small trickle only a month ago, but some nice rain in January and February have helped our drought situation and produced a nice flow of water coming over the dam.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Historic Orrville, AL

Last year (2007) in March we spent a little time at Paul Grist State Park about 15 miles north of Selma, AL.  For an outing, we made a trip to Gees Bend which is just north and across the Alabama River from Camden, AL.  The attraction was two fold.  First, we wanted to see and ride the Gees Bend ferry.  Second, we wanted to take in some of the rural country that the area represents.

Our trip to Gees Bend meant going through Orrville, a small rural Alabama town that has seen better times.  An unexpected surprise was to find the beautiful old house you see pictured above with double chimneys - on both ends.  Obviously built in a day when fireplaces were the primary source of heating and cooking.

It is always worthwhile to travel on the roads less traveled.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Cheaha Deer

One of our favorite past times while we're camping at Mt. Cheaha is to watch the wildlife.  We started taking a 50-pound sack of cracked corn with us last summer, so the deer really like us to visit.  Cheaha campground is pretty rocky, so we usually pile up the corn on two or three flat rocks about 20 to 50 feet from our travel trailer.  The deer usually come in the morning shortly after sunrise and again around sunset - sometimes in the middle of the day but not as regularly.

On one trip, the campers next to us offered to loan me the use of their 300 millimeter telephoto lense.  Of course, I jumped at the chance to use it (and now I have my own), so when the deer came a couple of hours later, I snapped this shot which I think highly of.  In case you didn't notice, there is a second deer in the background in the upper right quadrant of the picture.  This is the second picture I've submitted to the Alabama Hiking Trail Society's annual conference and photo contest.

I'm amazed at how well this picture came out.  I was using a lens that I had no experience with, a camera that I'm still learning about, shooting wildlife that are only 40 feet away, not moving to frame images so I don't spook the deer - you get the idea.  But I am so proud of this picture.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Very Bright Sun Dog

Back in the first half of February, I had an opportunity to fly on the ABC 3340 helicopter to view and video damage in Lamar County, Alabama, as well as that at Caledonia, MS, where a school had been hit by a tornado.  Enroute back from Caledonia, we stopped to refuel at the Fayette airport, and I snapped this photo of a very brilliant sun dog in the afternoon sky.  I cannot remember a seeing a sun dog as bright or as large as this one in quite some time.

There was not enough cirrus cloud in the sky to create a double, but that really didn't matter since this one was so bright and so large.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Buck Creek Dam, Helena

One of the main highways through Helena, AL, where I live is 261 which crosses a bridge over Buck Creek next to a small dam.  The dam was built a long time ago and there is still some old machinery sitting on the banks from a time when the dam was fully utilized.  This picture was taken from the deck of Incahoots, a local restaurant owned and operated by Harold and Claudia Deason, on the banks of Buck Creek.

We have not seen much water flowing over the dam for about the last year as the area of Central Alabama has been in an exceptional drought condition for many months.  January and February of 2008 have seen some typical rain for these months, so water is once again flowing over the dam making a nice photo.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Top of Alabama

One of my favorite places in all the world is also the highest spot in Alabama, Mt. Cheaha.  Cheaha State Park is located there and we just love camping there when we can.  This picture is one I took on a little photo jaunt around the park last Fall.  The colors were slow to change, but I think you can see the hint of color there.

I'm going back to Cheaha in mid-March to speak at the annual conference of the Alabama Hiking Trail Society (AHTS).  The AHTS sponsors a photo contest at their meeting, so I've entered this photo along with one I took of my deer (actually Cheaha's deer) which I'll use to make another post.  So wish me luck on this.

This picture was taken on the very top of the picture I posted on February 10 (click here)


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kathryn Tucker Windham

One of my favorite people in all the world is Kathryn Tucker Windham.  She is a marvelous storyteller and is probably the person who singlehandedly got me interested in storytelling.  She resides in Selma, AL, where there is a storytelling festival each October during the second weekend - the Selma Tale Tellin Festival.  It is a wonderful two evenings of some of the finest storytelling anywhere.
The photo above I took when Miss Kathryn visited Helena, my hometown, for a special one-time event in July, 2007, hosted and arranged by Helena's Library Director, Victoria Ashford.


Christmas Sky

Enroute to a wonderful Christmas 2007 dinner with friends, I was stunned to see a rather complex sky with numerous waves.  I've taken to carrying my camera on a regular basis, so I pulled into a cemetery to grab a couple of shots.  The problem was that I could not see all of the sky - oh, is that a good reason to add to may equipment arsenal?  The view above is five "waves" but the series of "waves' extended both to the left and to the right of the photo you see.  My good friend, Tim Coleman, is doing research at UAH on gravity waves in the atmosphere, an absolutely fascinating topic.  In a nutshell, the air acts like a fluid, so just like the waves we see in the ocean, there are waves in the atmosphere - we just can't see them unless the moisture helps out be evaporating or condensing as seen here with the undulation of the air.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Picture of Mt. Cheaha

You'll hear me talk me talk a lot about Mt. Cheaha.  It is the highest point in Alabama and a tremendously scenic place to enjoy.  My wife and I enjoy going there and staying in our travel trailer, but there are also chalets and hotel accommodations.  When we go, we usually take 50 pounds of cracked corn for the deer.  Needless to say, they love to see up pull into a campsite.  In fact, some of the pictures I'll be posting here will be of the deer.


Blog Starting Post

Hello, this is the first post to my digital photography Blog.  I post on regular basis to the Blog at which focuses on weather.  But as many people know, I am a serious amateur digital photography enthusiast, so I thought I'd start my own Blog here for the express purpose of posting digital images that I have taken.

My interest in photography has always been high.  In fact, I used to have a Besseler black and white enlarger and my own dark room.  But I have been a big digital photography enthusiast since I got the first digital camera - a Sony Mavica with floppy disc storage.  I now use a Nikon D70S which I am still learning about even though I've had it for over two years.

I use Adobe Photoshop CS3 which I dearly love.  And that, too, I'm still learning about because there is sooooooo much to know and do with Photoshop.

So this is my introductory post.  I will say that I hope/plan/intend to post one picture a day with a small explanation of the scene.  This Blog will be primarily for family and friends to take a look at photos I've made.  The photos will come from whatever I've taken and I also hope to post one a day.  That goal may be loftier than I can achieve - we'll see.

But no matter what, enjoy.