Burgess Falls - Main Waterfall #2

Burgess Falls – Main Waterfall #2, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

These last 3 photos complete my visit to Burgess Falls on April 1st. I have more photos of this waterfall than any other in my area because I visit it so regularly. I’m obsessive about photographing it. I know this, but I’m also fascinated by the differences in each photo I have taken. These differences are subtle on some days, quite dramatic on others. No two visits have rendered the exact same photo, e.g. June 6, 2010, visit and October 5, 2012, visit. Going back through my photos, I found 9 different visits, most of which have no photos uploaded at this time. At the risk of being redundant, I’m not even sure if I should upload the remaining previous visits. At some point, I would like to have a photo representing each month of the year, perhaps, for a future calendar. It’s a little harder to get out there, though, during the winter months, especially if there’s snow and ice. However, my collection won’t be complete without one or two of those.

 Burgess Falls - Main Waterfall #1

Burgess Falls – Main Waterfall #1, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Obviously, the flow of water depends on the amount of rain we’ve had. I thought maybe there were some larger dams upstream from Burgess Lake that might contribute to the stronger flows; but after looking over Google maps, it appears that Falling Water River flows into Center Hill Lake, not the other way around, lol. Not only do I have no sense of direction, but I think my understanding of potamology is a little off, too.

 Burgess Falls - Middle Waterfall

Burgess Falls – Middle Waterfall, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I hope you guys enjoyed this series of photos over the last week and a half. Please, share your thoughts and suggestions. For me, taking the photos is the easy part, the fun part. Coming up with something to write about them, on the other hand, well, that’s a lot harder for me. Words just aren’t my “thing.” I suppose I could have just simply shared the images, but I think it’s important to constantly challenge myself in this way.

Burgess Falls Dam #2

Burgess Falls Dam #2, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Burgess Falls Dam #1

Burgess Falls Dam #1, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

 Burgess Falls Dam and Lake

Burgess Falls Dam and Lake, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I’m suffering from “word constipation” today, so it seems fitting to share the photos of Burgess Falls Dam. ;D

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) #2

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) #2, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Blue-Butterfly Day
By Robert Lee Frost

It is blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) #1

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) #1, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

More information about the Spring Azure, Celastrina ladon (Cramer, 1780), can be found at: Butterflies and Moths of North America.

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It’s no secret that I absolutely love spring! Everything returns to life, and all the color comes back in the world. I know I take a lot of very similar photos each year. To my regulars, I can only say, bear with me. I have to get the flower/blossom photos out of my system. What can I say? It’s an obsession.

Perhaps, these first two are a type of Anemone? Both of them and the next two were taken at Burgess Falls last week. These blossoms were the only ones I saw there. I caught the scent of Trailing Trillium; however, they aren’t blooming yet. Those plants were still fairly small. These next two are the same plant. Every single year, I have to look up this flower; and every single year, I’m left uncertain as to whether or not it is Periwinkle or some other phlox. I’m almost certain, this year at least, that it is Vinca minor. Apparently, last year I uploaded a photo of this plant to Project Noah and got an ID. Now, if I could just get it to stick in my brain….

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The one below I did edit a bit to brighten up the blossom because it was in my shadow. I loved that I found one still curled up like this. Hopefully, I’ll get around to sketching it this year.

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The remaining photos are all from today. I walked around our yard to see what all was blooming. Every spring these tiny Common Blue Violets and Confederate Violets pop up everywhere, all over the yard. I love these little flowers! If we ever move, I’m digging some of these up to take with me.

Common Blue Violet Confederate Violet

I had to laugh when I opened up this next one on my computer to view it. I didn’t even notice the tiny insect on this blossom while I was photographing it. It’s a close cousin of the strawberry, from the same family, Rosacae, commonly known as a mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica, sometimes called Potentilla indica). It also grows all over our yard. The blossoms are incredibly small, themselves, let alone the tiny insect. I’m surprised my camera captured it! (Click on the photo to view larger.)

Wild Strawberry (with a surprise insect)

My neighbor has a lot of these Forsythia bushes in his yard. They are so beautiful! This one is right on the corner of our properties. One day I would love to live somewhere where I can have my own huge flower garden; but for now, hopefully, my neighbor doesn’t mind that I admire his plants each year. I should really make it a point to tell him how much I appreciate their beauty.

Forsythia Blossoms Forsythia Blossom Close-up

The Bradford Pear Trees blossomed quickly with the heavy rains last week and are already shedding their blossoms for leaves. These trees are in another neighbor’s yard and hang over the fence, making it easy to get a few photos each year. Even with all the problems we’ve had living where we do for last few years, mostly with neighbors and landlord issues, these blossoming trees, all the wildflowers, and the natural beauty of this particular area is one of the reasons I love it so. It’s not all bad; but at this point, it’s time to move on. I really hope we find a better place soon.

Bradford Pear Tree Blossoms #1

I probably could have edited this next one to brighten it up a bit, but I left it as-is. I hate that I didn’t get a nice blue sky, though; yet I liked this one because of the hint of a roof-top in the background.

 Bradford Pear Tree Blossoms #2

Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.

From: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes – Adventure 10: “The Naval Treaty, Part 1” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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I’m surprised I’ve never shared any photos from downstream the main falls at Burgess Falls. There’s an old abandoned mill (maybe?). I’m not really sure exactly what it was. According to the park brochure, “By the late 19th century, a gristmill and sawmill were in operation on the river here.” My best guess is that this was part of one of those. It’s a fascinating find. It almost feels haunted as nature reclaims this part of history.

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I can’t imagine how these pieces fit together or worked. They’re absolutely HUGE! Beneath the structure, it’s cool and damp. What is it about human nature that makes people want to graffiti places like this? I suppose it’s no different than cave men painting their battles or hand prints on cave walls, marking their territory or to simply say, “Hey, I was here!” At least the graffiti here isn’t as bad as some places I’ve seen. There was just a lot of so and so loves so and so, lol. No doubt, bored teenagers.

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I really like the front facing wall. I’ll have to make sure to hike back out there later in the year when everything grows over a little more. I bet it will be beautiful once the vines start growing again and things green up a bit more.

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If you’re interested, there’s a few more photos of these “ruins” in my Burgess Falls set on Flickr or you can click on the thumbnails below. Not sure if “ruins” is the appropriate description. I really racked my brain trying to remember the photography/art term for “the act of nature reclaiming man-made structures” and came up blank. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. I know there’s a word for it; but it totally escapes me, now. If anyone else knows the word I’m thinking of, please, feel free to share!

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Ladybug View

Ladybug View , a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I can’t get over how blue the sky is in these photos from Tuesday. It was such a beautiful day! I got as close to the waterfall as I could to take this one, at great risk to my camera, I might add. Even though I worried that the dampness might be too much for it to handle, I took the risk; and everything turned out okay. I noticed a couple of ladybugs on the rocks next to me right after snapping the first one. The photo below was the best one I got. It was a little hard to see what I was getting. I loved this one, though. The water droplets give you an idea of the level of mist we endured; but that mist was cool and refreshing after the climb down.

Mist Covered Ladybug

Mist Covered Ladybug, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Burgess Falls 4.1.14

Burgess Falls 4.1.14, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

April 1, 2014 Stone Balancing

April 1, 2014 Stone Balancing, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

When I saw Michael Grab‘s fantastic skill at stone balancing, my curiosity was piqued. How does he do that?! His work and the balancing skills of others like him inspired me to give it a try. The above photo is my latest attempt, taken yesterday at Burgess Falls. I’m no Michael Grab, but I can understand the allure of practicing such an art form. It’s like a form of meditation. I was surprised at how easily these 7 rocks fit together once I calmed my hands and took a few deep breaths.

In an article I read titled, The Secret Behind How This Guy Balances Rocks Is Very Unusual. Can You Guess It?, Grab explained:

“The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of ‘tripod’ for the rock to stand on. Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another. In the finer point balances, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters. Some point balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching. Parallel to the physical element of finding tripods, the most fundamental non-physical element is harder to explain through words. In a nutshell, I am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.”

I had two other attempts at stone balancing that I never got around to sharing, so I thought I would include them here as well. The first is from October 1, 2013. I think that was 5 stones, not counting the one it’s sitting on.

 October 1, 2013 Stone Balancing

October 1, 2013 Stone Balancing, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

And these next two are from February 24, 2014. The first was a measly 3 stones, but an attempt, nonetheless. The second try was a total of 5 small stones. I knew I wasn’t satisfied with the first attempt, so I decided to try again right before I left the park that day. This was closer to the trail’s beginning at the cascades. Both of these were poorly photographed. However, in my defense, it was really cold that day, lol.

February 24, 2014 Stone Balancing #1

February 24, 2014 Stone Balancing #1, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

February 24, 2014 Stone Balancing #2

February 24, 2014 Stone Balancing #2, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I look forward to trying more of these in the future. I’ll agree that it is a meditative process; and it’s certainly soothing to my anxious mind, especially with the heavenly sounds of nature – birds singing, water flowing, grasses rustling – in the background. I’m left wondering, do you knock them down when you’re done? Hmm, I think that would somehow shatter the peacefulness. I chose to leave these as they were, allow nature to take her course. Hopefully, others might find it an inspiration to pause and give it a try, as Michael Grab inspired me to do.

A Model Butterfly

A Model Butterfly, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

This is by far my favorite photo from my outing today at Burgess Falls. Is this an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)? I’m pretty sure it is; but there are so many butterflies and moths, many quite similar to one another. There were several of these out there today. This one was the most patient and fearless, allowing me a few photos. I’ve missed seeing life and color on my hikes these past couple of months. It’s nice to see everyone coming out of hibernation.

While hiking and climbing up and down that steep hillside of rocks, my thoughts turned to “hope.” What is it? What does hope really mean? I was happily encouraged when I saw the butterflies because to me, butterflies are the perfect symbol of hope. The Monarch butterfly, in particular, somehow manages to migrate “from Mexico to northern USA and southern Canada, a distance of about 4000 to 4800 km (2500–3000 miles).” That’s quite an accomplishment for a creature so delicate and fragile. Also, the butterflies’ metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and finally, to butterfly bestows hope to the curious observer that change is possible in so many ways. At least, it does for me.

More photos to come this week. I took quite a few today, but I think I’ll only post a few at a time, per day this week to try to get myself back in the habit of posting to my blog more frequently.

Green Eyes

Posted: March 31, 2014 in Cats, Photography
Tags: , , , ,

Green Eyes

Green Eyes, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

One more post today since I cleared off my camera earlier and found this photo of Dasha. She’s such a patient model, especially when she’s in her favorite spot on my lap (getting a belly rub). Those eyes! I was surprised that I captured a perfect reflection of the lamp in her pupil.

Sketching Emotion

Sketching Emotion, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I began this page spread in my sketchbook last night before bed. I finally took a day for drawing and listening to music today in order to finish it up because lately, I’m finding that if I don’t take the time, there’s no time left in the day for me to practice. This pretty much turned into a collage of faces, expressing various emotions. Anger is a hard one to draw. It turned out looking more like shock or surprise. I drew mostly from photos and artwork that crossed my path online last night and today, and unfortunately, didn’t keep track of who I was drawing from. I may still fill the white space with words or a journal prompt or something like that. Not sure yet, but I want it to be something to keep with the theme of emotion. Feel free to share a critique!