Autumn at Burgess Falls State Park

The Middle Falls

I thought I would share a few photos from this past Monday’s hike at Burgess Falls State Park. The autumn colors are beautiful there this time of year. My guess is that this cold snap we’re entering into today will have the remaining leaves changing rather quickly. It was most certainly a cold, wet, nasty day outside today, but Monday’s hike couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween!

Burgess Falls in Autumn #1 Burgess Falls in Autumn #2Cliff Wall Cascades

Ridge Top Trail Sign

Ridge Top #1 Ridge Top #2

Burgess Falls Dam

Downstream

Above the Dam

Autumn Flagpole Setting Sun

Looking Forward to Autumn

Looking Forward to Autumn

I’m looking forward to seeing how the landscape changes around here. The chill in the air today was perfect for this first day of autumn. (I’m finding mixed messages online about the autumnal equinox. The Old Farmer’s Almanac says September 22nd at 10:29 pm EDT, and Google and others say September 23rd.) Unfortunately, I didn’t take a spectacular photo to commemorate the day because I was busy playing with a new toy, an acoustic guitar given to me by a friend over the weekend. Oh, JOY, I’m loving it! Truly, I am. I had one years ago, but never got around to learning to play it well. All I can really do is pluck out a tune, one string at a time. Luckily, there’s plenty of how-to videos and websites around to guide me through. I still say playing a piano is much easier, though. My fingertips are so sore!

I took these photos a week ago Sunday, 9.14.14. I’m pretty sure the insect is a Margined Blister Beetle, Epicauta funebris. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. It caught my eye as it was an insect I had never seen before. It was a pretty smoky grey and black and kind of fuzzy. I’m not finding a whole lot of information about this beetle. Given the word “funebris” in its taxonomy, I’m left wondering if it is part of nature’s clean-up crew, one of the insects that feeds on dead animals or something (?). Educate me if you know. 🙂

Margined Blister Beetle

And Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Watching Leaves

Watching Leaves by pixygiggles
Watching Leaves, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

It has been so windy today with the storms that are moving through. I was surprised to see how quickly the road in front of our house and our yard were completely covered in leaves. Yesterday, there were only a few down, nothing really, compared to today. When I first glanced outside, it looked as if Mother Nature decided to dump them all at once. Even the pine trees outside the computer room have suddenly turned brown with pine needles falling everywhere.

The humidity inside the house was stifling; so I opened the door for a little while, much to our cats’ delight. Each one took a turn at the door, sniffing the air and trying to pounce through the glass at the falling leaves as they drifted around the porch.

Tonight, I find myself with my small flashlight attached to a belt loop on my pants because the lights have flickered so much. Perfect weather for Halloween! ;P

Day 290 Autumn Caterpillar

Day 291 Autumn Caterpillar by pixygiggles
Day 290 Autumn Caterpillar, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I didn’t get my walk last week, so I went today. This caterpillar was by far my favorite find of the day. I have no idea which species it is, and I’ve exhausted all of my usual identification tools. I’ll have to ask for some help on Project Noah with this one. If anyone recognizes it, please, do tell. I’m obsessed with knowing the proper names for all of my finds.

Cane Creek Park is full of color as the trees transition into their autumn splendor. I love the scent in the air that accompanies autumn and the cool, brisk temperatures.

The allergies, I could do without. The walk relieved the dull headache I’ve had for the past couple of days, at least, temporarily. It returned with a vengeance as I made my way back home. I’m thinking some hot tea and Benadryl might be in order for the evening.

Update: The good people over at Project Noah solved the mystery yet again. This is a Smeared Dagger Moth caterpillar, Acronicta oblinita.  It is best use caution with this type of caterpillar because they can “sting” if handled.

Day 287 Tree Afire

Day 288 Tree Afire by pixygiggles
Day 287 Tree Afire, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I have been trying to get a decent photo of this tree in our yard for over a week, now. The colors have been simply gorgeous! Previous photos turned out disappointing because the colors seemed to bleed together into a massive blob. Today, I tried something different. I had read online that using a polarized lens filter can help reduce the glare of autumn foliage. Since my camera is only a point and shoot, I have no way to change lenses. Instead, I had to get a little creative. I shot this photo while holding my sunglasses directly in front of the camera’s lens. I was amazed to see that it actually helped cut out a lot of the glare, even though I still didn’t get that nice blue sky I was looking for. I’ll keep experimenting, but this one is far better than my previous attempts.

What other non-conventional, creative methods have you guys used to capture interesting shots?

Day 266 Welcome Autumn

Day 266 Welcome Autumn by pixygiggles
Day 266 Welcome Autumn, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

This wasn’t exactly the photo I had planned for today, but I missed that perfect sunlight earlier. Time just wasn’t on my side. I do like the silhouette of the chestnut in the sunset in this one. From this point the days grow shorter, temperatures begin to fall, and the trees burst with color as if to celebrate the end of the growing season and prepare for the long rest over winter.