Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Synchronous fireflies ready to light up forest

Synchronous fireflies light up the forest in early June (Photo from Great Smoky Mountains Association website)
Although an annual visitor to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I only came to learn a couple years ago of an unusual event.

It usually takes place the first couple weeks of June at the Elkmont Campground which is about six miles from Gatlinburg, TN

Campers have a front row seat. Others who want to experience the event, can put their name into the hat, for the first time this year, through a lottery system.

It is the annual Synchronous Firefly display.

The fireflies, according to the recreation.gov. website are “one of only a few species in the world known to synchronize their flash patterns.”

The Elkmont campground fills us pretty fast early in the year for campers wishing to see the display.

The lottery, for others, begins this year because of the overwhelming response of people wanting to view the event.

Individuals can submit their names for the lottery drawing beginning Friday, April 29 until Monday, May 2.

It is recommended that those who want to enter the lottery to go to the www.recreation.gov website and search for “Firefly Event” and for more information.

Earlier this year I thought I was out of the running as far as being able to view the fireflies.

I guess this is one lottery that I am going to enter.

Next post: May 3, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Trying to get coastal Smoky Mountain feeling

Our Coastal home surrounded by woods

Travel plans for my wife and I this week are to move -- into a new house.

We will be leaving the home we have lived in for 45 years. 

The new house is just a mile away. It is one for which my wife and I drew up plans.

Nice-sized screen porch for anytime of year
We purchased the property 15 years ago, and liked it because it is situated somewhat in the middle of town, but has a forestry look to it. 

North-facing porch for outdoor activities
It is a wooded location that reminds us of the mountains. As we age, and may not be able to travel as much, we wanted a place that would give us that Smoky Mountain feel. 

Plenty of firewood from our own trees to use in wood-burning stove
Hard to believe that feeling can happen along the south Mississippi Coast, but that's the way we look at it.

Maybe next week we'll get back to a more "travel-type" post.

Next post: April 26, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Enhancing can add some 'pop' to pictures

Enhanced photo

I would like to say that the above picture was all natural.

But I can't. It was enhanced and then worked on a little more.

I like “natural” color in photographs.

Not the “enhanced” kind.

And most of the time it is easy to get some good color.

But sometimes, some pictures can be weak and need a little boosting for a better pop.
Original photo
Usually, I don’t do that.

But this past week, after looking at some sunset pictures taken by another individual, I wondered if the photo was enhanced.

It was a great sunset shot with all the vibrant reds one could want.

“And I didn’t use any filter,” she said.

I took her word for it. 

I was a little miffed. — At myself.

Enhanced photo

Original photo
If one wants to get some good sunset pictures, they need to be out at sunset with their camera.

I don’t usually walk the beach in the evening.  If I want to be there, I have to make an effort.  But that doesn’t happen much.

So I decided to find some pictures I had already taken and try to boost the image.

The above photos show the original color and then another past the point of being “enhanced.”

Enhanced photo

Original photo
I like the reworked shots, but I don’t know that I am into that type of time-consuming project that I would rework all of my pictures.

When some of your shots don’t look so good, maybe it is time to hit the “enhance” button and then go a few steps farther changing the colors and contrast.

Next post: April 19, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring is budding out in the mountains

My wife and I, for the most part, travel to the Great Smoky Moutnains area mostly during the summer.

There are a lot of things hidden during that time.

But it’s not a bad thing.

The mountains put on a different look during the late fall, winter or early spring.

During the summer, a lot of terrain is hidden behind the multitudes of trees with thousands of leaves. But that disappears in other times of the year, when the trees are barren.

Houses that we couldn’t see before majestically appear. Roads, paths, waterfalls and trails, not to mention hillsides and ridge lines are move obvious.

During our recent visit during the Easter week, spring had already begun its brilliant display.

The trees were just beginning to bud out. In a couple of months, the leaves will be back to their old ways of shading the countryside and blocking the view.

The Nantahala Outdoor Center area of North Carolina, especially the Rivers End Restaurant, is one of our favorite stops now.

The area was already experiencing the transition from winter to spring as trees were budding out while there were already some splashes of color on others.

Next post: April 12, 2016