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New Hampshire happenings…

There isn’t just one story to tell since I’ve been back at my friend’s house in NH. We mostly just talk and talk. And eat. Ice cream for lunch one day, but lots of other good stuff too. I see the birds in the feeders out front, and the squirrels who torment my friend to no end by eating all the bird seed. We’ve visited the Squam Lake Nature Center and gardens. But mostly we laugh at ourselves when we can’t quite remember the word we are searching our brains for. Our opinions of the state of the country and universe are as in sync as ever. Grow old along with me… and be my forever friend.

A charming statue in the garden.
A runaway ballerina caught my eye too,
A coyote laying in the sun,
A bear keeping in the shade.
We finally found bees.
Lots of bees.
A lovely stone church in our travels.
More hummers at home,
Even with a nice background we were shooting through the window and had reflections to deal with.
This little guy was enjoying the feast out front until the squirrels destroyed the feeder.
Who me?
'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, exploring new places, friends, fun, kids, learning, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Odds and ends…

I was chauffeur driven for a week in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, which means I was taking pictures from the car, a lot of pictures. Now when I look at my pictures I have some that never did fit into any post I made already, but I liked them, so here goes. The feature photo is one of the four tunnels we drove through every day we were in NC. Two tunnels were longer, but that doesn’t make for as interesting of a picture.

Mingus Mill. A destination in the park, but one that didn’t yield as many pictures for some reason.
I loved seeing these silos along the roadside in Bryson City. After wishing to stop each time we drove past I finally said something and my driver kindly obliged.
This view escaped us the first couple of times we passed by, but once we noticed it we made it a point to stop for a picture.
The actual water wheel in action. Just for show at a shopping area.
This is a view into the house at the farm museum at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. I noticed this boy standing still, looking into the room, after the rest of the family had moved on. I wondered, hoped really, that he was trying to imagine life in those days.
Just a flower that caught my eye.
This carving is outside the Indian museum in Cherokee, NC.

I’m so glad that we made this trip. My computer is full of images of lovely fall scenery. I was initially disappointed that all the hills weren’t ablaze with color, but once I found myself traveling through tunnels of foliage overhead I was quite happy with the fall foliage we did see. It was a nice trip, but it’s also nice to be home…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, exploring new places, friends, fun, making memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, Natures little dramas, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Elk sighting…

We pulled the car over to join the line up of cars on the side of the road just beyond the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, NC. We quickly saw the female elk that everyone was getting out of their cars, toting their phones and cameras, to photograph. She had just emerged from the tree line, and was wandering into the pasture to graze. More females followed her, emerging by twos and threes, or just one at a time. I had seen elk before, but not in such a natural setting. In Yellowstone they had taken over the streets of a town, and the rangers weren’t so much herding the elk as they were herding the people who were getting too close to them. In Colorado Springs I saw them on a lawn of a business on one corner of a busy intersection, with a traffic light and constant traffic just a few yards away. The elk were not fazed by either of these situations.

First came one female elk, testing the waters perhaps?
Others followed soon after.
She seemed to lead the herd, or maybe her collar made her seem more official to me.

What was so different about this situation was the appearance of a huge buck, sporting a very impressive set of antlers. He also emerged from the tree line, and was bugling, and obviously rounding up his herd, which had scattered a bit. It’s the season of ‘rut’, so he was probably establishing his dominance to any other bull elk in the vicinity. It was interesting that a lone female quite a distance away, but in the same pasture, was of no interest to him, beyond a glance in her direction now and then. She apparently didn’t belong. Despite his attentions the females slowly continued to wander in the general direction of the road, and the dozens of people lined up beside their cars, intent on getting their pictures. And as they wandered so did the bull, right towards us, until a female ranger suddenly ran a short way into the pasture, waving her arms, and shoo’d the gals back to the center. I thought she was carrying a camera and long lens, but I was corrected, it was a tranquilizer gun. I’m happy to report that it wasn’t necessary to use it, at least on that day. I guess seeing the beautiful scenery, and having a chance to see the animals going about their business in the same way that their ancestors had done, is the entire point of a visit to our national parks, isn’t it?

He was so far away, just in the treeline and I thought a picture would be difficult.
Then he stepped into the light, he had work to do.
He was quite an impressive sight.
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Have I mentioned?

I know I mentioned that I wasn’t particularly gracious when I found myself driving the endless hairpin turns as we traveled the last 20 miles to the cabin. But I don’t think I mentioned that the entire rest of my trip was chauffeur driven, including the first part of the drive home. That’s the part with the hairpin turns and the frustrating traffic approaching Atlanta. Whew! So I spent one of the days we were there, the day that it stayed overcast most of the day so the light was soft and the colors were nice, shooting iPhone pictures out the windshield of the car. I have, on occasion, tried to shoot pictures out the windshield while also driving, a practice that I don’t recommend since it rarely leads to a good picture, not to mention the danger involved. But with a chauffeur it was hard to resist trying for shots as the scenery was gorgeous but there was nowhere to stop and take pictures. The feature photo is one of my more successful of those shots.

We were at a higher elevation, as well as the softer light, so the colors really seemed more vivid.
Ordinarily I’d have cropped out the people at the bottom of the picture. But as you can see they are aiming their phones across the parking area. I wonder if they ever turned around and looked behind themselves?
I don’t know that I stand and savor these views since I’m usually in such a hurry to take a picture, as if someone is about to snatch the view away.
Rocks and water again.
The water is so clear.
The sound of the water was nice too, and all the while you were under a canopy of gold and orange leaves.

The drive to get to the Smokies may have been long and frustrating at times, and the lack of wifi for the entire stay, as well as not even having TV for the first two days, may have been enough to spoil the trip for some people. But our focus was to get out and take ever more pictures, so that’s what we did. Plus I had downloaded books from Audible before we left, just to use my points before I quit the app, so we listened to a Vince Flynn book for the two TV-less nights. Now we need to listen to the end to see if everyone lives happily ever after. Which is what we seem to be doing…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, exploring new places, friends, fun, Just do it, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, sky, travel

Mountain views…

A friend has now arrived in The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and found quite chilly morning temperatures. I’m wondering how this will affect the color of the foliage so I decided to put up my pretty, but not peak, foliage pictures before I see hers. We were quite happy with our taste of fall, but I might be jealous once I see her pictures. I’m sure it’s a lovely place to visit in any season, but displaced New Englanders seem to miss the fall display more than any other season of the year.

I know we tried more than once to get the morning clouds sitting in front of the mountain views. This was my only successful attempt.
I had a polarizer filter on the camera for this picture. It will help enhance the sky, or so I was told. To be honest my iPhone pictures were just as good. I find that annoying in a way, like using the phone is cheating since it does all the work. But it is a more expensive camera than my Canon, so why am I surprised?
These are from Clingman’s Dome, just the parking lot level, we didn’t climb to the observation tower. I will find out what I missed when my friend posts her pictures since I know she’ll be up for the climb.
I would look at a view and think how pretty it was, and then if I looked again I thought it was prettier the second time. Hence so many similar pictures.
From one of the observation stops along the drive through the park.
Every stop was beautiful when shared with a friend and while enjoying perfect weather.
Endless views as you drive through the park.
Those hillsides will be so gorgeous soon.
Another stop for lunch with a rocky stream to photograph.
There are many waterfalls in the park but most of them requite an uphill hike to get there, so we didn’t attempt them. But this little one was right on the roadside.
I imagine that there are times that a lot more water is tumbling down that hillside.
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Oconoluftee Visitor Center…

This feature photo needs a title. How about “The Little Outhouse in the Smokies?” We were still on our first full day of our trip, and we had heard that this visitor center had a great farm display, as well as occasional visits from elk. We thought we could plan our trip, acquire some maps, and, hopefully, see some elk. We didn’t see them that day, but stay tuned because we did eventually see them. I look at these scenes and think of how hard life must have been in those days…

Here you have the farm house, amazingly devoid of tourists. Like us! LOL.
The house again. It was explained that the owner split the logs and used the halves on opposing walls. A skilled technique.
Further signage pointed out that pigs were essential on a farm in those days. They had large litters of piglets and they provided sustenance.
This rooster really did seem to be ruling the roost, but he did tolerate all the visitors well.
I liked this view of the barn from the walking path better than any of the other photos of it that I took.
Here we have the barn and some of the equipment that might have been used. The fencing surrounded the corn crop, another essential to the quality of life in those days.
More farm buildings, those are corn cribs in the back.
Flowers along the river.

Another objective of the trip was to practice using filters to improve your landscape photos as well as to photograph falling waters and make the water appear more silky. I was new to long exposure photography, but I did manage to get a couple of pictures. I had to toss most of the ones I attempted to take. It seemed that every bend in the road revealed a scene that made you want to stop the car and take pictures. And we were still on our first day in the park.

It will take a lot more practice to figure out this technique.
There were rocky little waterfalls in every stream along the roadside. Many opportunities to take even more pictures.