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Posts Tagged ‘Augusta GA’

During the winter months, my macro lens doesn’t get used much, but I was happy to have it with me during my recent trip to Georgia when I spotted this beautiful flower in bloom at the Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center in Columbus. I’m pretty sure that it is a variety of spiderwort ( g. Tradescantia), a commonly seen flower where I live, but not in February

I grew to love this kind of shot when I first started shooting with Cindy Dyer, my photography mentor and muse. She infused me with a love for macro photography and for botanical subjects that is re-energized each spring. As I look at this image, I imagine her telling me how much she likes it, but also gently reminding me that I should have shot it with a tripod to get the extra degree of sharpness and more precise framing.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What was the mission that prompted this Great Egret to launch himself into the air?  His mission, it seems, was to continue to harass a Great Blue Heron that he had previous forced out of a prime fishing spot. As you can see from the second photo onward, the egret headed straight for the heron and only at the last minute did he veer off. (I may post some photos later of the initial encounter, but I especially like these in-flight photos.)

I took this series of photos a couple of weeks ago, when I was in Augusta, Georgia, at the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The setting and the perspective were not completely natural, but somehow I ended up with an image of a female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) that I really like.

I ran across this cardinal almost two weeks ago when I was just starting my exploration of the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, Georgia. She was perched almost directly overhead on a wire and seemed to be warming herself in the rays of the morning sun. It was the start of a beautiful sunny day and already the skies were blue.

Georgia was already well into spring and you can see some of beautiful colors of the flowering trees in the blurred background. I managed to get the facial area of the cardinal in pretty sharp focus, which contrasts nicely with the background.

It won’t be long before we have flowering trees in Northern Virginia, where I live, but at least we have daffodils in bloom to remind us that spring is finally here.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I am finally posting some more photos of the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) that I spotted a couple of weeks ago when visiting the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, GA.

Previously, I posted a photo of the armadillo standing on his hind legs, but I thought it would be interesting to post some additional shots of the armadillo in action.

I grew up in New England, so the armadillo qualifies as an exotic animal for me, although there are probably folks in Texas and elsewhere that view armadillos as pests. I am completely fascinated by the texture of his shell, particularly the tail, and tried to highlight it in the photos.

The armadillo spent most of its time rooting about in the grass and most often his head was not visible, which was a challenge for photos. Even when I moved relatively close, the armadillo seemed so focused on what he was doing (or so near-sighted), that he paid no attention to me.

I actually had two mini-encounters with him. The first time, he scurried pretty back to the swampy field from which he had emerged when he sensed my presence. I retreated from the immediate area and returned to find him in the same location. This time, after getting his fill of insects (or whatever else he was eating), he lumbered back to the swampy field.

So far, there are no armadillos in my neighborhood in Northern Virginia, but Wikipedia notes the armadillo’s rapid expansion northward, primarily because of the lack of natural predators within the United States, little desire on the part of Americans to hunt or eat the armadillo, and the animals’ high reproductive rate. Eventually, armadillos are predicted to reach as far north as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

As I studied up a bit on armadillos, I learned that armadillos can contract (and pass on) leprosy (yikes!), so you won’t see me handling any armadillos. Additionally, Nine-banded Armadillos have an unusual reproductive system, in which four genetically identical offspring are born, the only mammals in which polyembryony is reliably manifested, according to Wikipedia. This trait makes them particularly suited for certain types of scientific and medical tests that need consistent biological and genetic makeup in the test subjects.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I was really struck by the unusual poses of these Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) that I encountered while walking along the canal path in Augusta, GA. The only other time that I saw Black Vultures in a tree, they were roosting and looked large and menacing.

These two vultures look like they have adopted a hawk’s approach to hunting by perching on a tree and waiting,  rather than by circling endlessly in the skies as other vultures do.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Walking along the Augusta Canal for a final time yesterday morning before returning home, I encountered this spider, hanging in the air from a concrete supports of an overpass, and took shots of him without a flash and with one. After being starved for insects over the winter (photographically speaking), I was thrilled to have a chance to photograph one.

I probably should have taken out my macro lens, which I had with me in my bag, but opted instead to shoot with the 55-250mm zoom lens that was on my camera. It was still relatively early in the morning and the the spider was mostly in the shade, so lights was an issue. I upped the ISO to 800, but still needed an exposure of 1/8 of a second at f/9. Fortunately I had my tripod with me, so I used that to get a relatively sharp shot. I shot with the zoom at 250mm and used manual focus.

The first image was with natural light and the second one was taken using the camera’s built-in flash. The light coming from behind the spider in the first shot helps to illuminate the spider’s legs, which look almost translucent. The flash in the second photo reveals some additional details of the spider, although it did add some reflections, because I did not have a diffuser for the flash.

Which one do you prefer?

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Today I visited the Phinizy Swamp Nature Park in Augusta, GA, hoping that I might see an alligator. Although I did not spot an alligator, I did encounter this Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) in the Park. (You can actually count the nine bands).

Initially the armadillo was rooting about in the grass and he startled me a bit when he stood up. I was close to ground level and was looking through my telephoto lens, which made the movement seem a little threatening.

I was surprised to see an armadillo in Georgia—I tend to associate them with places like Texas and Oklahoma—but apparently their range is expanding. Information on the internet suggests that armadillos are mostly nocturnal and come out around dusk. I have no idea why this one chose to be out in the middle of the day.

I may post some other photos of the armadillo, but I thought that this pose was unusual enough to justify posting an image immediately.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Savannah Rapids is the starting point of the Augusta Canal, which was built in 1845 as a source of power, water and transportation for Augusta, Georgia. The Canal was designated a National Heritage Area by Congress in 1996 and now serves primarily as a recreational area. (Click on this link for more details on the history of the canal, which served an important role for the Confederacy during the Civil War.)

On a beautiful morning, I walked along the raised tow path for several miles, with the canal on one side and the Savannah River on the other. The trees were starting to bud and even to flower and even to flower on a day that got up to 75 degrees (24 degrees C). Spanish moss was growing on many of the trees, giving them a look that seemed exotic to me.

Here are a few photos I took of the structures associated with managing the flow of the water in the canal. I love the weathered wood and stone and the interplay of light and shadows and reflections.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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This morning I went out exploring a bit in Augusta, GA, where I am attending a family wedding, and came across this Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura). The morning rays helped to highlight the beautiful details of its feathers, so I can live with the fact that the wire on which the dove is perched is not exactly a natural setting.

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