In Awe of Nature is a way to share my passion of nature through my photography.

I feel privileged to witness amazing beauty around me; my day brightens when I get the chance to stare in the eyes of a deer or a bear, to see a beautiful flower, to hear a bird’s song; to be intreagued by the patterns on a leaf; and to capture this through the lens.

So much can easily be overlooked in a busy day; and yet it brings me so much joy when I do slow down to appreciate it.

I hope my passion can help others enjoy, and appreciate all the wonders around us.

Indian Pipes

Indian Pipes
Indian Pipes

There is something magical about finding Indian pipes (Monotropa uniflora) in the deep shaded woods. I always feel like I have found a treasure.  The short stem (3-9 inches) and single nodding flower contains no chlorophyll, and has scale like bracks instead of leaves.  The entire plant is translucent white with hints of pink.  It has an elaborate root system which helps the plant get nutrients and is one of the mycotrophic (myco means fungus and trophic means nutrition) wildflowers.

A grouping of these ghostly plants are usually found among the leaf litter in June or July in moist soil. The flowers are pollinated by a small bee after which the flower straightens up and forms the seed capsule. The seeds are dispersed by the wind.

Blue Jay fun facts

Blue Jay portraitBlue Jays are one of my favorite birds.  Of course, being a birder, they are all on my favorite list, but childhood memories make them special.

Here are some fun facts:

Blue Jays:

  • Are easy to identify with no variations between male and female;
  • Have a loud harsh voice and can mimic sounds especially hawk calls;
  • Raise their head crest as a sign of aggression;
  • Eat insects, acorns and other nuts, and seeds;
  • Sometimes eat bird eggs and carrion;
  • Cache food for leaner months – usually in the ground;
  • Will come to platform feeders for sunflower seeds;
  • Are intelligent and adaptable;
  • Are from the same family as crows;
  • Jointly build a nest in a tree fork with twigs, roots, leaves, mud, etc.;
  • Have 1-2 broods with 2 to 7 bluish eggs with brown spots;
  • Incubate around 17 days;
  • Both feed young in nest for about 20 days;
  • Both continue to feed young 1-2 months after fledging;
  • May migrate in large flocks while others stay in the same location.

More information can be found as: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue_Jay/overview

Enjoy spotting these cool birds!

Nature is amazing!

Red newt in elf stage

Through my photography I want to share my awe of nature.

Right after a rain shower near Roan Mountain, Tennessee, I saw dozens of these red efts, the juvenile stage of the eastern newt.  I had to be careful not to step on them and found a few willing to be photographed. (Notice that I got to eye level with the subject to create a connection and added a little fill flash.) After the rain passed, the efts returned to their moist hiding places.

What a wonderful experience to see so many of them.


Backyard fun!

Having heard that our neighbors had spotted deer and a fawn in our wooded area, I sent my husband out to get some field corn (the stuff hunters use to lure the poor unsuspecting animals). I was, of course, only trying to get some cool photographs of them! So, we set a large dish of corn on the edge of the wood that we could watch from the house.

Neither one of us paid much attention during the first few days, but we noticed that something was eating the corn. On day three – I watched – and sure enough – it was not the deer. We had thought perhaps the greedy large squirrels – but they seem to prefer the sunflower seeds and hulled peanuts we put out for the birds.

It was CROWS! That is what our effort had brought us. They seem very cautious, and watched from the trees for quite a while before descending, branch by branch to the dish of corn. Three came and then left, but returned after a while. Some brave chickadees also took a few kernels. So, I will be watching the birds and still waiting to see the deer!

Greater White-fronted Geese

Great White-fronted geeseI am a lucky enough to live near the Biltmore Estate. Sure the house is beautiful, but I really like to walk the grounds. The gardens are well tended and I always find something to photograph and something I hadn’t seen before. Every visit is different.

I enjoy walking around the lagoon, a large pond with many Canada Geese, various ducks, a Great Blue Heron, a Green Heron, and recently I saw a new bird  – the Greater White-Fronted goose. In the photo you can see that they are smaller than the Canada goose and how they got their name.  They were likely on their way, as the following week I did not see them.