Archive for August, 2011

Watery Wednesday #155: Italian Garden

August 31, 2011

Lily pads in the Italian Garden, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 2011.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

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.

I’ve posted a couple of times about the Italian Gardens at the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina, where we celebrated Betsy’s birthday.

Koi and reflections in an Italian Garden pool, Biltmore. August 5. 2011. (Photo by Betsy).

The Italian Garden is a water garden with three pools filled with water lilies like the ones above.  The pools also contain Koi, which Betsy captured along with a reflection of the cloudy sky.

Water lily in the Italian Garden, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 2011.

The water lilies were beautiful and showed some of the most vibrant colors I have seen in water lilies.

Water lily in the Italian Garden, Biltmore. August 5, 2011.

I liked the color of this lily as well as the reflection in the water.  The bee in the blossom was a nice bonus.

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Our World: Welcome Home

August 30, 2011

Welcome Home Rose, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. August 25, 2011.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by five wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

This is the scene that has greeted us when we turned into our driveway this week.  The rose, appropriately enough, is named Welcome Home.

Scenic Sunday: Jasper Forest

August 28, 2011

Jasper Forest in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. June 13, 2011

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

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.

Petrified wood falling to the valley floor from a bluff opposite the overlook at Jasper Forest. June 13, 2011.

Jasper Forest is a valley in the Petrified Forest National Park that was once covered with petrified wood.  The petrified wood was encased in the bluffs that surround the valley, and when erosion removed the softer rocks, the petrified logs tumbled and accumulated on the valley floor.

Petrified wood at the base of a bluff in Jasper Forest. The forest gets it's name from the reddish-brown color of the petrified logs. June 13, 2011.

The valley was once filled with fallen logs, but commercial collectors plundered it in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The collectors would then sell the petrified wood as souvenirs.  Outrage against the plundering of Jasper Forest helped lead to the establishment of Petrified Forest as a National Monument in 1906.

A partially exposed petrified log in Jasper Forest. It, too, may tumble to the valley floor in a few centuries. June 13, 2011.

Jasper Forest got it’s name from the opaque reddish-brown color of the petrified wood found in the valley.

SkyWatch Friday: Virginia Skies

August 26, 2011

Devil's Backbone Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia. August 5, 2010.

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 feel I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the past several days, so I went to my archives for this sky picture.

In August of last year Betsy and I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway north from Asheville, North Carolina, into Virginia.  The Parkway is one of our favorite drives, and we had a beautiful, but cloudy day.

When we stopped at the Devil’s Backbone overlook in Virginia, we found a beautiful blue hole in the clouds with sunlight streaming through.

Dragonflies

August 25, 2011
Dragonfly at the Italian Garden on the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina.  August 5, 2011.

Dragonfly at the Italian Garden on the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 2011.

While Betsy and I were in the Italian Garden at Biltmore, I was photographing water lilies when this dragonfly started flying around the blossoms I was trying to photograph.  When I moved to a different flower, it also moved.  I didn’t have the proper lens to get macro of the dragonfly, but I liked the way the wings looked in the sunlight, so I got the picture above.

Dragonfly at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 2011.

A little later I got him in a better pose.  I haven’t had much experience capturing critters like these, but I did like the way these pictures turned out.  I may have to try this again with the proper lens.

Watery Wednesday #154: Biltmore Reflections

August 24, 2011

Sky and clouds reflected in a pool in the Italian Garden, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 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.

While taking pictures of some of the water lilies in Biltmore’s Italian Garden (you can see that HERE), I noticed this reflection of the sky in the water of one of the pools.  I couldn’t resist trying to capture the reflection (above).

Italian Garden, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 2011.

A little later I noticed a reflection of the house in the water.  It looked pretty good even if it was crowded among the lily pads and other aquatic plants.

Italian Garden, Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 2011.

I found a spot with a little more clear water and was able to get  more of the house in the reflection.

Note:  I’ve tried to make the pictures larger when they are clicked and double-clicked.  Let me know what you think.

My World: August’s Full Moon

August 23, 2011

Full moon behind clouds, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. August 13, 2011.

We had a full moon on August 13, and I was looking forward to getting a good picture of the moon that evening.  Unfortunately, it seemed that Mother Nature had other ideas.  The day was very pleasant with a few clouds, but the clouds increased as evening approached.

The moon did a pretty good job of hiding behind the clouds when I first went out, but I noticed that the clouds were moving fairly quickly, so I stayed out with my camera, hoping for the best.

The full moon, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. August 13, 2011.

I finally got this almost cloud-free picture.  Maybe I’ll have better luck next month.

Scenic Sunday: Biltmore’s Italian Garden

August 21, 2011

The Italian Garden on the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 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.

We celebrated Betsy’s birthday a couple of weeks ago by going to the Biltmore Estate.  We have season passes and try to get there every month or so to see the beautiful gardens.  There are several gardens on the estate, which change with the seasons, and each is beautiful.

We spent most of our time on this visit in the Italian Garden, which is the garden closest to the house.  The garden was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed Central Park in New York City) as an outdoor room for George Vanderbilt and his guests.

One of the pools in Biltmore's Italian Garden. August 5, 2011.

The Italian Garden contains three symmetrical pools full of aquatic plants, beautiful lawns and classical statuary.  There are benches which invite people to sit and enjoy the beauty around them.  (To see another treatment of this photo, click HERE).

Water lilies, Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina. August 5, 2011.

Much of the beauty of the Italian Garden comes from the gorgeous blossoms of the water lily.

SkyWatch Friday: Plateau Evening Skies

August 19, 2011

Evening skies in Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. August 7, 2011.

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’ve posted several sky photos from our trip out west, commenting on the pretty sunsets out there.  But we can have pretty skies here on the Plateau of Tennessee as well.

I went out to the front yard one evening last week after the sun had dropped below the ridge to the west of our house.  The yard and road in front of the house were in deep shadows, but the clouds in the sky to the east were a beautiful red/gold.

The Agate Bridge

August 18, 2011

The Agate Bridge at the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. June 13, 2011.

The Agate Bridge in the Petrified Forest National Park is a 110-foot long petrified log across a gully washed out by centuries of flood waters.  The stone log, which was harder than the sandstone around it, resisted erosion and remained suspended as the softer rock beneath it washed away.

After the Petrified Forest National Monument was established in 1906, conservationists felt the bridge needed architectural support.  In 1911 masonry pillars were erected beneath the log.  In 1917 the pillars were replaced by the concrete span seen in the picture above.

Current National Park Service philosophy allows the natural forces to continue to act upon unusual features.  If it was discovered today, the Agate Bridge would be left in its natal state.  Even with the support placed under it nearly a century ago, the same forces that created the Agate Bridge will eventually cause it to fall.

For another perspective of the Agate Bridge click HERE.