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Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Gentleman Frog in Rayne Louisiana


Last summer Jan and I went on a road trip to Louisiana to see my sister Alice, brother Bill, and tour the town. Rayne, Lousiana is a small town about 30 miles west of Lafayette, and the town's claim to fame is that it is the "Frog Capital of the World." There are many frog murals on store walls around town, and each fall the town celebrates with a Frog Festival. The festival has been a huge success, and the crowds grow each year. There are many frog-related activities, games for the children, and the most popular food served is... you guessed it, fried frog legs! Well, I'm not sure about that, but there are many booths and food stands with all kinds of delicious treats.

While on the tour, we spent a few minutes at the Jaques Weil Community Center, where there are many frog-related souvenirs, clothing items, and books about the history and people of the area. As you might imagine, the predominant culture of the town and area is French Cajun. And the most outstanding feature (at least in my opinion) of Cajun culture is the food! There are several cookbooks and cooking related items for sale there as well.

Behind the center is a small courtyard featuring a frog pond, many beautiful plants and flowers, and a frog statue. I couldn't resist taking the photo. I hope you enjoy it.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

(click on the photos to see them larger)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Eastern Tiger Swallowtail~~~~~~~~~~~~

What luck! We were heading out for one of our regular trips to Houston a few months ago, and I had brought the camera with me. Saw this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail resting on the yellowbell leaves, pointed the Z5 and clicked.
Wish I had taken a few more, but we can't go back, can we?
To see another few shots of Eastern Tigers on the North American Butterfly Assn website, go to:

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail from NABA

Click on the image to see it more closely. Hope you have a great and wonderful day!

Michael Ziegler

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cooling off at Turner Falls, Oklahoma

(click on the photos to see them full size)



My leg injury is preventing me from doing much outdoor photography these days, but it is healing and I should be back out and about sometime in December.

In the meantime I wanted to post some photos I took earlier this year at Turner Falls Park in Oklahoma. Jan and I had gone to a wedding in Ok City and on the return drive down I-35 we saw the sign beckoning us to see Turner Falls. We decided it would be a while before we got back this way and it would be good to take a side-trip and see the sights.

There were many campers, bar-b-que'rs, waders, sunbathers, and swimmers along the river below the falls. It was a moderately hot day, sunny with some clouds and everyone looked like they were having fun. We had just rounded the curve in the walking trail leading to the falls when I saw this fellow getting ready to jump into the water. No time to line up the shot, just pointed and shot. I think it came out ok!


The photo above looked like kind of a "postcard shot" of a cabin with a small stream running beside it, and a small "waterfall" in the foreground. I liked the way it looked and spent some time getting close enough to the water to get the shot I wanted. You can click the photo to enlarge it (can do this with any photo here) I hope you like it.




There is a "castle" on the park grounds that was fun to climb up to. It was hand built by a college professor and his students. But the main attraction besides the food stands and local artists were the falls themselves.



The photo above was taken looking downriver from the falls, showing the high cliffs on either side of the river. It was sunny, warm, and very peaceful that day...
Enjoy the photos, and have a great Thanksgiving day!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My 2005 Trip to Lost Maples TX

My buddy (and my daughter's father-in-law) Richard Price is heading down to Lost Maples TX on Monday, since he has Veterans Day off. I hope to take some photos of this year's foliage, and compare to these that I took on our last trek that way. I took these photos in 2005, around the 20th of November. The year was very dry, so the foliage was "so-so."
I took these shots with my trusty old Minolta Z4040 4 megapixel camera. Pretty much set everything on Auto and pointed and clicked. I was just beginning to get the "photo bug" and mainly wanted to see what the camera would do. Made plenty of mistakes but some came out OK. I hope to do better this year!



The rains this year have been lots more plentiful (excluding these last two months!) so I am hoping that the display will be better. I have been checking out one of the many websites devoted to these beautiful treasures, and I include one here. This is the one I go to most often to check the progress of the fall color-change:


http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/lost_maples/foliage.phtml



I am very excited to be heading back to the Lost Maples area. It is quite a trek away from Austin, and I don't know how far into the woods I'll be able to go on crutches, but I will do my best. I can't wait to see what the Nikon D70 can do with these wonderful trees. I will post some photos when I return.
Thanks again for checking out my blog. I am really enjoying this, and I hope you'll come back often. Bye for now!
PS: the Lost Maples website says that the colors this year haven't been up to snuff due to the warm weather we've had recently. We didn't get a chance to go take photos as I had hoped, but maybe it was just as well. The photos on the site showed that the foliage was very similar to the photos I took above. We are having a very cold snap tonight which should last through the weekend, so maybe that will help.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

No picture tonight. There is something broken with Blogger's upload process. The help folks say it'll be fixed soon.
I had a couple of good ones. I will try later.
Thanks for visiting.
Mike

Saturday, November 3, 2007

On to the Next One...

(click on the photos to see them larger)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Pipevine Swallowtail~~~~~~~~~~~~

I went out this morning to see what would be feeding at the firebushes in my mother-in-law's yard, hoping that the hummingbirds would be out. The sun was bright and warm, too warm for November, but I sat and hoped. The hummingbirds must be migrating south, because none appeared. But there were two pretty butterflies that were chasing each other around between nectar snacks. I shot several photos of this guy, and caught him just as he flew off the flower and on to the next. I got another shot of same butterfly, and will post that one soon.


I did some research (thanks Google!) and ran across the North American Butterfly Association's website. They had lots of butterfly photos, and the best I can tell, this one is a Red Spotted Purple. I am probably wrong, but of all the pictures they had, mine was closest to this species. If you'd like to see the different butterflies on their site visit:

http://www.naba.org/chapters/nabast/photogallery.html


I got a reply to an email I sent to butterfly expert Berry Nall, and he says this one is a Pipevine Swallowtail. Thanks Berry!
Another butterfly expert, Will Cook, not only sent me the name, but also a webpage with a photo and a bit of info about the Pipevine Swallowtail:
http://www.carolinanature.com/butterflies/pipevineswt.html

I am learning a new camera, a Nikon D70, since my trusty Dimage Z5 was damaged on Enchanted Rock. Used a 70-300 telephoto lens with the camera on continuous mode to catch the right moments. The D70 is much more complicated than the old one, but I hope to be a quick study.
The second photo side view of the same butterfly, is now up. Thanks for stopping by. Come back often!