Mouth of a Cave, Spring Mill State Park

Mouth of a Cave, Spring Mill State Park

We took a nice hike along a trail that had old-growth hardwood, then walked down a lovely set of old stone steps down into a sinkhole that housed a dock, rock-walled dam, and cave entrances on opposite sides.

Since the weather was swinging to warmer temperatures and rain, the snow was melting quickly. Ice fell off the sides of the caves and plopped into the creek. This being karst country – a land dimpled by sinkholes and caves, the creek hardly had a chance to see daylight, plunging back into the limestone after 50 yards.

Carve away, creek!

Taken at ISO 100, F14 for 4 seconds to blur the creek. Processed in Lightroom to fix chromatic aberration, sharpen, and highlight rock walls. Darkened the front of the image slightly to better highlight rocks.

Photographing Liquid Sunshine

Strolling around the yard this morning, plastic bag strapped to the camera to shield it from the drizzle, yielded the photos below. I’ve been attempting the photography rule of shooting lighter, edging the histogram to the right without clipping it off. When done, this supposedly creates better results since you’ve allowed more data to get to the camera’s sensor. Of course, this only applies if you are shooting in the RAW file format [think of it as a digital negative].  It also helps to drag your tripod around in the rain – hard to get good results when handheld with low light. Hence, I had to make two attempts – would have been easier to just use the tripod!

Open Eye to the Sky

I’ve been reading a book by Richard Louv called The Nature Principle.  Louv, adamant about reconnecting society with nature, describes how our identity as people in communities, as well as individuals, isn’t just based on names of towns or states, but also the natural world that we are a part of. He starts his point with “While most of us recognize where we live by its cities, buildings, places of business, even sports teams, how many of us identify with and understand the beauty, wonder and actual functioning of the natural ecosystem which supports us, and of which we are a part?” He continues and gets to the heart of the matter: “…the natural world connects people to their authentic selves” and proclaims “You can’t know who you are until you know where you are.”

Yes!

Humans love labels. We label our selves according to profession, hobbies, what we wear and eat and watch on TV, all so we can categorize each other and find like-minded individuals. But according to Louv, our picture is incomplete. We are much more than our artificially-fabricated, meticulously-crafted selves, part of us is the nature around us.  Without it, we aren’t grounded; we aren’t a part of the bigger picture.

The lamentable part is that most people will never realize that a piece of them is missing, that they are actually a part of this natural world! Louv suggests many ways to reconnect with that part of ourselves, making the book worth reading for anyone.

I haven’t lived here long, but the newness of this place has long worn off, for a while leaving me feeling blah about my surroundings. Recently, I’ve found just paying attention more has helped this reconnection. So has reading Louv’s book. I also decided to freshen my perspective by stepping out of my comfort zone and attending local walks and talks on a variety of nature-related subjects. The knowledge and passion others embody is just amazing! While I may not understand all they speak of, the new information [and new worlds!] they share helps cure the “post-newness blues” of someone who is used to moving every six months!

Below, the photos show that lately the grey skies have opened up and are showing signs of seasonal change over our heads here on the coast:
Eye to the Sky

Orion, a winter constellation, is just starting its nightly trek across the sky. Here it climbs just above the horizon at midnight or so.

A sun halo in high clouds from yesterday. Oddly, the last time I photographed one, ravens flew past, too.

Friday Night Lights: Blue and Yellow

Friday Night Lights: Blue and Yellow

I know it’s not Friday, but it was when I took this shot, and I’ll be honest, I can’t wait until next Friday. I haven’t done a meme in a long time either, so maybe I’ll try this out for a while.

Here goes:

The Pleiades are the bright blue cluster to the left of the power pole. Seven [or eight] brighter stars can be seen, but the cluster as a whole has more than 1,000 stars in it. They are young, ~100 million years old, and currently passing through a ‘dust cloud’ that reflects their light.

Capella is a yellow star straight to the left of the Pleiades and the brightest star in this shot. While very similar to our Sun in color, this star is actually two [much more common in the universe than our single star] giant yellow stars that are nearing the end of their lives. They are older than the Pleiades at 400 million years, but only have about a tenth of the years compared to our Sun’s age.

Milky Way at Houda Point

Milky Way at Houda Point

It’s not too often, except for this summer it seems, that you can see the stars on the beach around here. The marine layer/stratus/ground fog/plain ol’ fog gets in the way most nights. Lucky for us, the haziness held off just long enough for the Milky Way to show. By the time we started to head back up the hillside, everything–including the dog, was covered in dew! Not good if you’re toting camera equipment around.

This is the Milky Way as you face south. Scorpius is to the right, including Antares, a red supergiant so large that, if it were our Sun, it would extend past Mars until almost Jupiter [in other words, we’d be toast!]. It is in the top 20 of brightest stars in our sky.