Smoky Mountain Iris

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I thought I might share another image from my recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This time we will meet the Dwarf Crested Iris another one my favorite wildflowers that grace the mountains of Tennessee.

Great Smoky Mountain Wildflowers

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Since the wildflower season has been so poor here in the Madison Indiana area I decided to head south to the mecca of wildflowers….The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A good decision that turned out to be the weather was perfect and the flowers were blooming all over the park. I could post hundreds of images but I thought I would just stick to a view of my favorites with a little info about the flower.

One of the flowers that I really wanted to capture on my trip was the Painted Trillium.

I was able to capture quite a few images of this beautiful trillium and found over two hundred plants not ready to bloom but within a few years should make for a beautiful site.

Thanks for taking a look.

A Grateful Return

Been nearly one year since I posted anything to this site and a lot of that is due to a busy lifestyle, job, plain laziness but probably the best excuse was a heart attack and open heart surgery that I experienced on March the 27th. Yep I had the big one and followed it up with open heart surgery, it was the last thing that I ever expected to happen but happen it did. I really don’t want to get to deep into it the doctors already did that for me , but I have been given a great prognosis and I am continuing on with life with a few behavior modifications. I am very thankful for all the support from my family and friends and the great work by all the doctors and hospitals that put me back together again. So now on to something a little more to my liking and that is sharing some of my work with everyone, I don’t even know where to begin I have captured so many images in the last year but I guess I will just start posting some my favorites and go from there !! One from last fall at Clifty Falls State Park here in Madison Indiana, was a beautiful morning with all the sunbeams streaking down thru the fog that made for a surreal scene.

                                                                    clifty sunburst fall 2 2014                     

Luna Moth | Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Wildflowers aren’t they only thing I get to photograph, here is an example of a wonderful Luna Moth that I came across on a recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I found this wonderful subject laying on a boulder getting ready to take flight, and for what seemed like an eternity this beautiful flying flower stayed in this one position and let me capture some really incredible images of it !!

I was really blessed to find such a beautiful and majestic creature, most specimens of moths that I come across seemed to be severely battered, but this beauty was in all it’s glory and I was so thankful for such an experience. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look, hope you enjoy the image !!

 

 

luna moth great smoky mountain national park 2014

 

Synchronous Fireflies | Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In early June I was able to attend an event I have been hoping to see for quite some time, and that is the Synchronous Fireflies of the Great Smoky Mountains. Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns.
Fireflies (also called lightning bugs) are beetles. They take from one to two years to mature from larvae, but will live as adults for only about 21 days. While in the larval stage, the insects feed on snails and smaller insects. Once they transform into their adult form, they do not eat.

Their light patterns are part of their mating display. Each species of firefly has a characteristic flash pattern that helps its male and female individuals recognize each other.  Most species produce a greenish-yellow light; one species has a bluish light.  The males fly and flash and the usually stationary females respond with a flash. Peak flashing for synchronous fireflies in the park is normally within a two-week period in late May to mid-June.

No one is sure why the fireflies flash synchronously. Competition between males may be one reason: they all want to be the first to flash. Or perhaps if the males all flash together they have a better chance of being noticed, and the females can make better comparisons.

The fireflies do not always flash in unison. They may flash in waves across hillsides, and at other times will flash randomly. Synchrony occurs in short bursts that end with abrupt periods of darkness.

Here is a pic from the Firefly Event,  the pic doesn’t do it justice. This is truly an event that must be witnessed, even after a few days I still couldn’t convey the words on exactly what happened !!

The lights from the fireflies moved in waves up and down Elkmont Valley where we positioned ourselves, the pattern seemed to start far from us and be in strips of thousands of lights and would then stream across the bottom right toward us and then stop at our feet.

Then continuing on across the road at our backs towards the other side of the valley floor. There would be burst of 5 flashes quickly then it would stop for 10 seconds or so and then repeat in an almost frenzied fashion !!

The human reaction was incredible, when we first arrived hundreds of people were packed along the old roadbed that runs along the valley floor, many with lawn chairs and blankets making you think you were attending a fireworks show.

At first as the light faded you could feel the crowd growing impatient, people were laughing and talking and when one little firefly would appear they would remark is that it…I even began to wonder myself !!

The Park Rangers assured us to be patient and wait for the show, When it started the crowd was amazing, people at fireworks display usually oh and ah thru the whole event, but here there was an incredible silence as if the fear of your voice would scare them off and they would stop the beautiful display they were sharing with us.

Many in the crowd were brought to tears, including my wife, they were overwhelmed with such joy and amazement that the emotion displayed was almost as cool as the fireflies !!

Ok after this way too long post here is the pic, like I said before they are not that good and they don’t really represent what I witnessed but it is something I will have forever to help me remember that warm wonderful summer evening !!

fireflys 2 2014