Archive for April, 2012

Our World: Roaring Fork

April 30, 2012

Roaring Fork, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. April 23, 2012.

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

Last Monday Betsy and I took a trip to the Smokies — a place we like to visit several times a year.  We decided to drive the Roaring Fork Motor Trail behind Gatlinburg since it had been several years since we had driven that road.

The road follows Roaring Fork (hence the name) for much of the way, so we stopped quite often to take in the beauty of the stream.  I was happy for the opportunity to try out my new variable density neutral filter, which allows me to use extremely slow shutter speeds.  The exposures for the photos in this post were from 15 to 24 seconds.

Roaring Fork, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. April 23, 2012.

We were mostly interested in the flowing water and cascades of Roaring Creek, but the moss-covered rocks in and bordering the stream were also interesting and beautiful in their own right.

Roaring Fork, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. April 23, 2012.

I’ve decided I rather like the way the long exposures smooth out the water while preserving the sense of motion.  I’ve got a lot to learn about using this filter effectively, but I’m pleased with the results of this first experiment.

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SkyWatch Friday: Storm Front Coming

April 27, 2012

Sky and clouds seen from a rest area in western North Carolina. April 3, 2012.

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

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.

On our way to Asheville, North Carolina, in early April, Betsy and I stopped at a rest area along I-40 in the  mountains of western North Carolina.  The day up to that point had been sunny and bright, but the weather forecast was calling for rain.  While at the rest area I noticed the clouds over the ridge line.  The sky was still blue, and there were still white clouds in the sky, but the gray clouds were moving in.  We did, in fact, get rain later in the day.

Fast Forwarding Through Spring (2)

April 25, 2012

Blatant iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 9, 2012.

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

Our iris have continued to put on quite a display this spring.  They’re scattered in several beds around the yard, so we can enjoy them out of just about every widow in the house.  I shared four of our irises in an earlier post (click HERE), and I will now show four more.

Blatant (above) is probably the most vibrant iris in our yard.  We’ve had it for several years.

Clarence iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 8, 2012.

Clarence is a newer iris in our yard.  It is also a re-blooming iris.  I really like the different shades of blue in the blossom.

Electric Shock iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 12, 2012.

Is the color of this iris electrifying?  This is Electric Shock.

English Charm iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 12, 2012.

English Charm has some beautiful pastel colors.  This, too, will bloom again later in the year.

The Dream Goes On

April 23, 2012

Cane Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2012.

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

In my lasts post (click HERE if you missed it) I explained why Fall Creek Falls State Park is such a special place for Betsy and me.  Saturday we visited the park again, and did many of the things we did eleven years ago.  The weather Saturday wasn’t nearly as nice as it was back then, but we’re still glad we went.

We did check out most of the waterfalls, although we took a nearly 2 mile hike between two of them which we didn’t do on that first visit.  The water levels were somewhat low, but the falls were still pretty.

Betsy at Cane Creek Cascade, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2012.

My bride is every bit as beautiful as she was eleven years ago.

George Hole, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2012.

But for the life of me I can’t figure out where the old man sitting with her came from.

The best part of the day. Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2012.

The weather may not have been perfect, but I got another kiss which made the day perfect as far as I’m concerned.

Once Upon A Time

April 20, 2012

Betsy at Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2001.

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

I like to think of myself as a realist who doesn’t believe in fairy tales, but sometimes fairy tales do happen and come true.

Once upon a time I asked a beautiful, blonde preacher to go to Fall Creek Falls State Park here in Tennessee with me on April 21, 2001.  We had gone out a couple of times before that day, but this was our first ‘big’ date.

When we got to the park we drove to the lodge and walked along the lake for a while.  That’s where I took the picture  above.  When I took that picture I was thinking how lucky I was to be out with such a beautiful woman.

Fall Creek Falls and Coon Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2001.

After talking at the lake for a while, we visited the waterfalls which give the park its name.  There wasn’t a great deal of water going over Fall Creek Falls (on the left in the picture above), but we both thought it was very beautiful.  Fall Creek Falls and Coon Creek Falls (on the right in the picture above) were the first two waterfalls we saw together.

Betsy and George at Cane Creek Cascade, Fall Creek Falls State Park. April 21, 2001.

Fall Creek Falls State Park contains five major waterfalls and we saw all of them.  By the time we got to Cane Creek Cascade we were holding hands (Yeah!).  It wasn’t too much later that I got my first kiss.  (Double Yeah!!!)

Now you know how our waterfall ‘collection’ got started.  Since that wonderful day we have visited over 450 different waterfalls.  We’re still visiting waterfalls, Betsy is still beautiful, and we’re still holding hands.

NOT The End.

Fast Forwarding Through Spring

April 18, 2012

Hell's Fire iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. March 31, 2012.

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

Our iris usually begin blooming during the latter part of April, but they have been much earlier this year.  Hell’s Fire, the iris above, bloomed on March 31.

Autumn Bugler iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 2, 2012.

Autumn Bugler followed on April 2.  It gets its name from the fact that it will bloom again this fall.  It’s nice to have it bloom more than one time each year.

Floor Show iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 5, 2012.

When we got back home from North Carolina on April 5 we found two more iris in bloom.  Floor Show is another iris that will bloom for a second time later in the year.

Honey Glazed iris, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. April 5, 2012.

The other iris we found blooming was Honey Glazed.  It’s one we’ve had for the longest time since we moved here, and we can always count on getting many beautiful blossoms from it.

Our World: Marigot, St. Martin

April 16, 2012

Looking out to sea from Fort Louis, Marigot, St. Martin. September 11, 2001.

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

I’ve gone to my archives to get these photos taken in the ruins of Fort Louis in Marigot, St. Martin.  Betsy and I hiked to this hilltop ruin while on our Caribbean cruise in 2001.  Our ship had docked on the Dutch side of the island, and we joined a bus trip to the French side.

Marigot Bay, St. Martin. September 11, 2001.

The best thing about the old fort was the view it offered of the Caribbean and Marigot Bay.  The sky was a pretty blue and the water was a marvelous blue-emerald color.  All in all, the view was spectacular.  But that beauty was in many ways almost surreal.  These pictures were taken on 9/11.

SkyWatch Friday: Mount Nebo Sunrise

April 13, 2012

Sunrise from Sunrise Point on Mount Nebo, Arkansas. March 2, 2012.

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

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.

As I’ve mentioned several times, Betsy and I love to watch sunsets from ‘our’ cabin on Mount Nebo in Arkansas.  It’s nice to sit on the patio and enjoy the setting sun.

Sunrise on Mount Nebo, Arkansas. March 2, 2012.

It’s possible to see sunrises on Mount Nebo as well, but it involves more effort.  Not only do we need to get up very early, we need to drive to Sunrise Point.  But we do that at least once each time we visit Mount Nebo.

Sunrise on Mount Nebo, Arkansas. March 2, 2012.

All of these pictures were taken on the morning of March 2, 2012.  Yes, we did have to get up early, but I think it was all worth it.

Watery Wednesday: Fall Branch Falls, Georgia

April 11, 2012

Fall Branch Falls, Blue Ridge, Georgia. February 13, 2012.

(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.

Betsy and I keep an eye out for new waterfalls when we travel.  We usually take one or more of our waterfall books and even notes we have made as a result of internet searches for waterfalls.  I guess you could say we like to be prepared.

We planned to spend a couple of days in Hiawassee, Georgia, over Valentine Day this year, and on our way we found ourselves near Blue Ridge, Georgia.  Betsy remembered reading something about a waterfall near Blue Ridge, so she got out our book and gave me the directions to Fall Branch Falls.

Fall Branch Falls is off the beaten path, but we got to the trailhead without too much difficulty.  The hike itself was fairly short and very pleasant.  We got to the viewing platform and had this beautiful waterfall all to ourselves.  What a wonderful way to break up a trip.

Our World: Biltmore’s Walled Garden

April 9, 2012

The Walled Garden at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. April 3, 2012.

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

Betsy and I paid another visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, last week.  We went specifically to see the tulips in the Walled Garden.  George Vanderbilt wanted the Walled Garden to be a ‘garden of ornament’, so the garden consists of symmetrical flower beds arranged in patterns.  The picture above shows one side of the Walled Garden as seen from a hill overlooking the garden.

Tulips in the Walled Garden at Biltmore. April 3, 2012.

There were tulips of many different colors planted in the flower beds.

Tulips in Biltmore's Walled Garden. April 3, 2012.

Even the border flower beds along the road contained beautiful tulips.

Betsy and me in the Walled Garden at Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina. April 3, 2012.

But the prettiest flower in the entire garden was my beautiful bride.