Posted tagged ‘natchez trace’

EYE CANDY: The Natchez Trace Parkway

April 20, 2010

Redbud and zig-zag fence along Natchez Trace Parkway

Stretching 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway follows the path of a centuries-old foot trail. Moccasins and boots trod this path for centuries, and it later became one of our first national scenic parkways. In the depths of the Great Depression, Congress authorized the parkway as a public works project. The National Park Service later became the agency in charge of the road, and they’ve done a fine job of maintaining one of the most beautiful roads in America.

The Redbuds in this photo essay burnish the Tennessee portion of the parkway. Here the road curves gracefully through the hills, as if destined to be there. During my brief mid-April visit, spring was at its peak; emerging oak leaves mingled with the Redbuds and Flowering Dogwoods to create a lovely pastel landscape … that would be described as “eye candy” by those who think themselves too sophisticated to enjoy the splendors of nature. As for me, I never tire of such sights.

Redbud at the edge of the forest

Traditional split rail fences zig-zag along the parkway

Redbud and Flowering Dogwood intermingle in a haze of blossoms

Is anything more beautiful than a Redbud in spring?

Backlit by the morning sun

Redbud is in the pea family, and is inconspicuous the rest of the year

Redbud is my favorite flowering tree, in case you hadn’t guessed!

For more information about driving the Natchez Trace Parkway, start with the National Park Service’s website: http://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm.

To see my web site, which includes photographic prints for sale, please go to LeeRentz.com. To see thousands of my photographs in large file sizes for use in magazines or other printed materials or electronic media, go to my PhotoShelter Website.


FIRE ANTS: Getting Up Close and Personal

May 8, 2008

While driving part of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi on April 19, I spotted a box turtle crossing the road.  Since I didn’t have any photographs of this species, I drove on a few miles to find a safe place to turn around, then went back.  The turtle was still crossing the road.  So I helped out the slowpoke by lifting the turtle up and moving it to the road’s shoulder, for which the reptile thanked me with a hiss.  Then I proceeded to make a nuisance of myself by photographing the turtle up close and personal.

First I photographed the turtle from a human perspective, looking down at the creature from a high angle.  This is the way we normally see turtles, so it is a good approach for showing identification cues.  But I like to get in close and show creatures from an eye-level perspective, so I laid down on the ground and with a macro lens, began photographing the turtle’s face.

Then all hell broke loose!  I stuck my elbow into a Fire Ant nest, and within two seconds it felt like there was a strong electric current running through my elbow.  I leaped up, frantically brushing ants from my arm and dancing on the roadside.  Later, I counted 22 pustules on and around my right elbow and the spots itched for days.  Fire Ants swarm, then use pheromones (communicative scents) to tell each other when to sting, and it all comes at once.  Meanwhile, I swear the turtle was laughing at me.

On the other hand (or elbow), my close-up photograph showing the face and red eyes of the creature is a winner, and is much more engaging than the higher level shot.  This is what I mean by getting up close and personal with animals, and it usually works well in photography.  Later, I identified the turtle, using Google on my iPhone, as a Three-toed Box Turtle.

This is part of a weblog documenting my travels and photography. I am primarily a nature photographer, and you can see more of my work at http://www.leerentz.com

Click on the photographs below to see a larger version with captions.


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