Exploratorius Redux

Atelier Aquarell & Fotografie

Tag Archives: Point and Shoot

Serene And Peaceful Now

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Gettysburg Battlefield in the spring
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania — May 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

It’s hard to believe, but this pastoral scene was once the epicenter of a pivotal battle of the American Civil War — Pickett’s Charge in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  This is the viewpoint of the Confederates, looking toward the Union lines — a hard-fought contest that resulted in a decisive defeat for the South (with over 50 percent casualties) and effectively signaled the beginning to end for them, as they never fully recovered from their losses here.

While the total casualties at Gettysburg over a three-day period were appalling for both sides (23,049 for the Union and well over 23,000 for the Confederates), it still didn’t match the one-day total for both sides at Antietam, just 9-months prior to the battle here and which remains the bloodiest day in US history.

Toxic Beauties

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Azaleas in our front yard
Central Maryland — April 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

Every time I do background checking for a new post, I discover something new and interesting — like azaleas are highly toxic and that bees are deliberately fed on the nectar of azaleas in some parts of Turkey to produce something known as “mad honey“, which has mind-altering properties that are occasionally lethal.

Fruit In 16 Weeks (Or Less!)

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Apple tree blooms
Central Maryland — April 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

The fruit trees are now blooming and some — like our local peaches — will have edible harvests in just another 8 weeks.  We are normally able to buy our first white peaches of the year around July 4th, so things are beginning to pick up!

More Spring Purples

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Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) is now blooming
Central Maryland — April 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

Just down the road from us, there is a stunning display of wisteria.  When I took this photo, the air was humming with hundreds of bumble bees — all eager to enjoy the fresh blooms.

A Cloud Of Flowering Dogwood Blossoms

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Dogwood tree in full bloom
Central Maryland — April 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

This specific flowering dogwood tree (Cornus florida) is one of my very favorites in late April (yes, I have lots of favorite trees — so what?).  It’s right next to the exit of one of the many buildings where I work, and in the spring becomes just an utter cloud of creamy white blossoms — especially pretty when back-lit by the morning sun.

Each year I eagerly look forward to the day when I can just stand at this spot for many minutes at a time, and absorb the warmth and peaceful beauty that permeates that special area.

Watching The Day Go By

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Bayside at Assateague Island National Seashore
Assateague Island, Maryland — August 2016
Rollei 35 SE + Zeiss Sonnar 40/2.8
Kodak Ektar 100 + Commercial C-41 processing

When I was a kid, I’d go someplace that was quiet and solitary, sit and get comfortable, then observe.  Sometimes it would take just a few minutes for me to begin noticing movement around me… other times it would take a long period for critters to realize I wasn’t a threat and resume what they were doing.

The image above was like that.

It was shot from an elevated boardwalk within Assateague Island National Seashore, and there wasn’t another soul anywhere around me.  So I just sat and watched.  This looks like a empty, utterly desolate scene — but in fact, it was actually teeming with life… you just had to be patient and look for it.

The Red Buds Are Blooming

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Redbud (Cercis) tree in full bloom
Great Falls Tavern, Maryland — April 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

Do you like vibrant pink blossoms?  If so, now is the time to go out and enjoy redbud (Cercis) trees.  Guess what else likes — really really likes — redbud trees?

Beavers!

We once lived on a property that had a small pond which attracted beavers like there was no tomorrow.  There were a large number of redbud trees on the property, including one that was just inches from the house.  Every year the beavers would tear into those redbud trees just as they hit peak color, including the one that was right next to the house.  Eventually the damaged tree became such a safety hazard that we had to cut it down… a sad day to be sure, but the beavers had chomped almost completely through it, and the trunk was in danger of taking out our roof.

So if you’re seeing redbud trees without any damage around the lower trunk area, then there may not be any beavers lingering about.

Endangered Vista Near Chaco Canyon

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Buttes near Chaco Canyon
Whitehorse, New Mexico — November 2009
Leica D-LUX 4 + 24-60mm

If you have any interest at all in the incomparable vistas of the American West, there are some real beauties near Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.

Fracking locations near Chaco Canyon
April 2018
Image credit: Sierra Club

Sweeping… vast… open… empty…

For all who crave the big skies and vast emptiness that the West can offer — this region offers flat-out stupendous panoramas that appear to be utterly devoid of human activity.

But I don’t know how long they will remain that way, as the current administration seems hell-bent on destroying the Federal protections to the region and handing everything over to oil and gas firms.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the following map of all the fracking operations that have already begun to encroach most of the northern and eastern sides of Chaco Canyon.

When we last visited Chaco Canyon nearly a decade ago, there were a few solitary oil rigs visibly dotting the landscape every now and then while we drove for hours through the area… but nothing like the density of the fracking operations that exist now.

Some articles to read for further details can be found here and here.