Saturday, July 26, 2014

Beach Trip!


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The kids go back to their year round schools on Monday, and we had one last track out fling at the beach yesterday.  We headed down to the Aquarium at Fort Fisher and then to the Fort Fisher Recreation Area.  We've visited the aquarium many times, and our trip yesterday was pretty short.  Our NC Zoo membership gets us in for free, so we can enjoy a midday stroll and then hit the nearby beach.  They've added a new playground and fossil dig area near the snack bar, and there is a new butterfly exhibit too.  Luna the albino alligator is now in with the rest of the alligators, and there is a new juvenile bald eagle on display in her old spot.


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In my thinking, the weather and water temps were perfect yesterday.  Both were near 80.  We were never hot or cold...just right and best of all no sunburn.  Between our suntan lotion and the clouds, we were protected well from the harsh beach elements.

 I got a lot of good pics with the water camera although it was cloudy and I had to work to adjust the contrast and brightness on them.


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spiderweb at the Linn Cove Viaduct


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I was able to take this neat spiderweb shot with the help of Donnie's finger to get the focus right.  This web is soooooo tiny and delicate, and the light was very low.  I'm glad I had the help!  What an odd square shape but interesting natural pattern.


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The spiderweb shot was taken while walking on the Tanawha Trail under the Linn Cove Viaduct.  What a fascinating engineering feat and beautiful spot in nature.


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Linville Caverns, North Carolina


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Our first stop in the mountains on Monday was Linville Caverns.  First time for all of us and pretty neat.  We came prepared with jackets for the 50 something temp inside and signed up for the tour.  While we waited, I took some butterfly pics and enjoyed the nearby stream.  The tour lasted about 20 minutes.  They ask you not to touch the structures in the caverns except in one very narrow spot where they want to slow down the growth.  They did a demonstration of total darkness too...wow.


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Wahoos Tubing on the New River


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During our mini mountain vacation on Tuesday, we went tubing with Wahoos on the New River.  This was our first time tubing, and we had a great time.  We went on a 2 mile about 2 hour tubing trip and then repeated:-)  The New River is low this year and a few times we weren't going very fast or the wind took us the long way, but mostly we just slowly traveled down the river relaxing as the kids played with some other kids on the trip.  If you haven't been, I highly recommend it.  Tubing is great for kids and adults alike!

This video is me being totally silly.  It will make you dizzy.

Video

Linville Falls, North Carolina


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Our family went on a mini vacation to the Boone, NC area Monday and Tuesday of this week.  On Monday, we went to Linville Caverns, Linville Falls (Chimney and Erwin overlooks), and the Linn Cove Viaduct.  The rain held off, and despite no sun, we had great views and a fantastic time.  I hope to go back to the falls again and go on the trail that goes around the back side of the falls.  That trail also lets you go won to the river itself.

I used OnOne's ColorEfex Pro filters to process this shot.  I like what they do better than using my Photomatix HDR tools.

Here's a horizontal but similar view.


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Here's a video of the falls too.

Video I was reminded of the beautiful photography of Rob Moody as I enjoyed this view and remembered his Watkins Glen waterfall shots. We spent about 90 minutes on our hike.  I'm sure the other trail would have added another 90 minutes to our trip, but it was going on 5pm and threatening rain, so we called it a day. Here is the family collage of views on the trail and of the falls.
SmugMug Link I'll share some pics of the caverns and viaduct another day.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

FAITH


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It was my goal all along to make words out of the alphabet letters I collected over the last 26 weeks.  My daily today is the word FAITH and below I've shared HOPE and LOVE too.  I used the PhotoScape software Combine feature which makes vertical and horizontal merging of photos simple.  You can downlod PhotoScape for free here.  I am still missing the letters U and W and hope one day I'll be inspired to shoot and process those letters too.


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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dragonfly Perch


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I took this picture of a dragonfly in my yard today.  I've been really lazy about taking too many picture outside this year because I just can't stand either mosquito bites or insect repellent.  After I mowed, weed eated the yard, and blew the driveway, steps, and porch, I decided a few pictures were in order since I was already geared up for outside and hot and sweaty.  While there are very few butterflies around, I am noticing many dragonflies and damselflies.

I was pleased to get in 4+ miles and nearly 8000 steps on my Fitbit doing the yardwork.  Donnie would use the tractor to mow, but I want the exercise.

Here's another dragonfly.


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And a butterfly.


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