Archive for April, 2011

SkyWatch Friday: Castillo de San Marcos

April 29, 2011

Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, Florida. August 4, 2009.

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

I was working with some pictures taken back in August, 2009, when I came across this picture of a watch tower and walls of Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida.  Since I captured the fortress under a bright, but cloudy, Florida sky, I thought this was an appropriate picture for Skywatch Friday.

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Betsy and I enjoyed our last blogging break so much that we are taking another.  Hopefully we’ll be back about May 9.

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Down Memory Lane: The Ming Tombs (1987)

April 28, 2011

One of the places I visited on my first trip to China in 1987 was the Ming Tombs, which are about 30 miles northwest of Beijing.  The Ming Tombs refer to the mausoleums of 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty, which ruled China from 1368 to 1644.

The first two Ming emperors ruled from Nanjing in the south of China, but the third emperor, Zhu Di, moved the capital to Beijing.  It was Zhu Di who began building the Forbidden City and who built the first of the Ming Tombs.

One of the most unusual of the thirteen tombs is Dingling, the tomb of Zhu Yijun.  This tomb in an underground palace complete with a throne room for the spirit of the emperor.  I was fortunate enough to be able to tour Dingling.

The tombs are approached along a Spirit Way, also known as the Avenue of the Animals because of the large stone animals and officials who stand guard along the road.

The Ming Tombs are truly fascinating both for the architecture of the structures and for the glimpse they provide of Chinese culture and history.  If you are ever in Beijing, the tombs are well worth a visit.

To see larger versions of these pictures and others, click HERE.

Watery Wednesday #137: Piney Falls

April 27, 2011

Piney Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2011.

This is my post for Watery Wednesday.  To see more of our beautiful watery world, or to join and post your own pictures to share, click HERE.

Piney Falls is a beautiful waterfall in Fall Creek Falls State Park here in Tennessee.  Unfortunately the waterfall is practically inaccessible.  This photo was taken with my long lens from the overlook about half a mile away.

My World: Iris in Bloom

April 26, 2011

Honey Glaze Iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 22, 2011.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

We were down to one lonely tulip in the front yard, but then the iris started blooming and we are once again enjoying beautiful blossoms.  The first iris to bloom was Honey Glazed, which is shown above.

Blatant Iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 22, 2011.

It would be hard for me to pick a favorite, but this one — Blatant — would certainly be in the running.

Clarence Iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 23, 2011.

Another iris that is blooming is Clarence.

All three of these are re-blooming iris, so if Mother Nature cooperates we’ll have another show in October.

Scenic Sunday: Back to the Beginning

April 24, 2011

Fall Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2011.

This is my post for the Scenic Sunday meme, which shares beautiful scenes from around the world.  To see more Scenic Sunday posts, or to join and show your own pictures, click HERE.

This past Thursday Betsy and I went to Fall Creek Falls State Park here in Tennessee.  Fall Creek Falls is one of our favorite places to visit.  We had our first ‘big’ date there on April 21, 2001, and we’ve gotten back there on the anniversary just about every year since.  The picture above shows Fall Creek Falls, one of six waterfalls in the park.

Betsy and George at Cane Creek Cascade, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2011.

It was this first date that got us started ‘collecting’ waterfalls.  We’ve visited over 430 different waterfalls in the past ten years.

I also got my first kiss on that day — a tradition that I’ve happily continued.

SkyWatch Friday: Caribbean Sunset

April 22, 2011

Sunset in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, American Virgin Islands. September 10, 2001.

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

I went to my archives to get this picture of the evening sky in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.  It was cloudy as the sun went down, but the sun still cast a nice reflection on the water among the boats anchored in the harbor.

Fun With Our Geotracker

April 21, 2011

As many of you know, Betsy and I have a geotracker which allows us to determine the location of pictures that we take.  We’ve had it for a year, and use it whenever we take a trip.

Last week’s trip to Biltmore Estate was no exception.  We turned the geotracker on before we left home and were able to track our journey on Google Earth.
The map above, which can be enlarged by clicking on it, shows our journey from Fairfield Glade, Tennessee,  to Asheville, North Carolina.  As you can see we traveled almost the entire way on Interstate 40.  We timed our trip to miss rush hour in Knoxville, Tennessee, when traveling both ways.

This image shows the Biltmore Estate and the things we did once we got there.  This image, too, can be enlarged by clicking on it.

When we got to Biltmore we drove past the house and parked near the Conservatory.  It had been our intention to see the tulips first, but the azaleas were so pretty as we drove in that we decided to visit the Azalea Garden first.  So we walked over to the path to the Azalea Garden and walked through that garden down to the Bass Pond.  We then hiked around the west (left) side of the Bass Pond to the waterfall at the southern end.  We then walked back through the Azalea Garden to the Walled Garden where we enjoyed the tulips in bloom.

I’ve now given you a bird’s eye view of our trip to Biltmore, thanks to our geotracker.

Watery Wednesday #136: Bass Pond Falls

April 20, 2011

Bass Pond Falls, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. March 14, 2011.

This is my post for Watery Wednesday.  To see more of our beautiful watery world, or to join and post your own pictures to share, click HERE.

As most of you know, Betsy and I find it hard to go any place without looking for a waterfall or two.  When we were at Biltmore in February we noticed a Waterfall Trail, but didn’t have time to check it out.  Last week we walked that trail and came to the waterfall shown above.

True, Bass Pond Falls is man-made.  The falls is formed by a dam built to create the bass pond.  But it is still a pretty 15-foot drop.

My World: Tip-Toeing Through the Tulips

April 19, 2011

Tulips at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. April 14, 2011.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

The Walled Garden (so-called because it is surrounded by a wall) at Biltmore is a formal garden with symmetrical flower beds arranged in patterns.  When we were there last week, most of the blooming flowers were tulips.

Tulips at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. April 14, 2011.

Most of the beds contained two varieties of tulips, selected for their complementary colors.  Sometimes the differences in the shades were subtle, as in this bed of purple tulips.

Tulips at the Biltlmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. April 14, 2011.

The tulip beds at Biltmore were a riot of rich and beautiful color.

Scenic Sunday # 143: Biltmore Azaleas

April 17, 2011

Azaleas and a dogwood tree at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. March 14, 2011.

This is my post for the Scenic Sunday meme, which shares beautiful scenes from around the world.  To see more Scenic Sunday posts, or to join and show your own pictures, click HERE.

This past Thursday Betsy and I returned to the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina.  We went to see the tulips as part of their Festival of Flowers, but once we got there we were so taken by the beautiful azaleas and dogwoods in bloom that we checked out the Azalea Garden first.  The picture above was taken near the start of the path through Azalea Garden.  The colors were absolutely spectacular.