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Monday, January 17, 2011

Glacier National Park

This is one of my favorite places to visit.  Kalispell Mt is where you can fly into.  There are a number of little motels to stay and you can rent a car from the airport.  I found that my standard camera bag did not fit on the tiny plane that I flew in on and one of my polarizer cases got broken from it being shoved in a compartment. So be sure to travel light or have a hard case for under the plane.  Keep your car gassed up.  Its a really long long drive between gas stations in this area.

Glacier is not far away and  you could easily spend days here.  Also there is the National buffalo ranch just south of Kalispell as well which makes for a great day trip.  Its on about any map.  Also 9 pipe is great for birding.  I could have easily spent a couple weeks in this area.    The helicopter ride in Glacier is a great way to see the landscape.

One thing that no one told me is that Montana is kinda like Alaska.  It stays daylight there a very long time.  Being from the east coast I was used to it being dark around 6 or 7 pm.  NOT going to happen there.  It did not get dark until around 10 or 11 pm.   I had to get one of those sleep mask.   Anyway the extra daylight did not go to wast.  It gave me time to push myself and get in a few extra shots since my trip was only a week.

Also if you get the chance go to the Tripple D game farm and sign up for a few classes.  You can stay on the property for a reasonable price and work as your home base.   This is a little expensive but well worth every penny.

Wolf Pups at Play
Mountain goat blocked my path.

Lake McDonald

Logan Pass

For lens take your wide angle, and zoom.   Good hiking boots and a variety of clothing.  Layers.  I went in July and hiked through snow capped mountain tops. 

48.2005°N, 114.3151°W

Lazy 5 Ranch

Here is a good one for the kids to come along.  A pick up truck is a good way to go if you have one.  There are a lot of animals and some of them will follow you around and even try to get in your vehicle.  There is a variety of things to see,  zebra, long horn cows, buffalo,elk, ostrige, antelope, birds and much more.  If you don't want to drive through then take the hay wagon ride. 

This could be an all day event.  I would suggest a wide angle for most everything.  You will be close up to most animals.  A large part of this is wooded so flash is a must.

The cost is about 9.00 and under. There are group rates available.

From I 40 at Statesville NC take I 77 south to hwy 150.  follow 150 east about 10 miles and you will see it on the left.   15100 Hwy 150 E.  Moresville NC 28115 704-663-5100

35.6190°N, 80.7298°W

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Cornelia Bryant Gardens

This one is well kept secret.  There are numerous native species.  Be sure to take a tripod and reflectors to highlight your shots.   This little spot has fern curls, lady slippers, oconee bell, Virginia bluebells and many more plants native to the NC mountains.   Its an easy walk located by Lake Junaluska.  There is a wide variety of plants that bloom various times during the year so going back often always brings a new adventure.   It can be a little dark in here so flash could help.  There are also a number of birds here as well.

You can also take a nice walk around the lake. I like early morning for this area.

From 40 in western NC .  take exit 27 (hwy 19-23-74)  from this follow the signs to Maggie Valley exit  hwy 19.  A short distance you will see the lake to your right.  Turn right on North Lakeshore Dr.  Follow this around to Stuart Circle. Turn up Stuart Cir.  Park at the end of the Circle.

Granny's Chicken Palace is on the corner of N Lakeshore and Hwy19.  Its a great place to eat and they keep the fixin's coming for no additional charge. 

35.5274°N, 82.9767°W

Lake Mattamuskeet

Lake Mattamuskeet is in Eastern NC.  It's a great place to shoot birds.  This shallow lake provides lots of opportunities as it lies in one of the fly ways of our winged friends.

From I95 in NC take hwy 264 to Engelhard NC.  Here you will find several places to stay. 

If you have time be sure to visit the historic town of Bath or New Burn. 

35.4945°N, 76.2139°W

Jump off Rock

This little spot is known to many local photographers.  Its easy to get to and the views are fabulous.  Its a rock that over looks the valley and has wonderful views for sunset.  Indian lore states that a young maiden jumped from this rock after hearing that her lover had been killed in battle.

Take I 26 to Hendersonville.   Turn onto Hwy 64 toward town.  This is also four Seasons blvd.  Turn left on North Chruch St.  Turn Right on 5th Ave W.   This road becomes Laurel Park.  follow this to the end where you will see Jump off Rock.

35.3135°N, 82.5263°W

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chincoteague & Assateague Island

One of my favorite places is Chincoteague & Assateague Island.  There are wild ponies, ponds of birds, walking trails, biking trails and beaches.  For those photographers who's spouse is just not into taking pictures there is something for everyone.  The quite village has shopping, good food, crafts, and much more. 

This is located off the coast of Virginia.  The prices are reasonable and the hotels are wonderful.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn.  This hotel has balcony that over looks the river and has beautiful views.

The famous book Misty originated from this area.

Also to look for is the elusive Sika deer.  The first one I saw was a shocker.  It looked like a cross between a rottweiler and a deer.  They make sounds like elk.

A good time to go to photography the snow geese is around veterans day.  They do not charge during the weekends and holidays.   I would suggest to stay at least a week.  I plan to return to this area.

Ponies are more used to people in the Maryland side of the island. This side promises more beach pony shots.  On the VA side they are fenced in and you can see them a little less frequently however they are around in the woods and can be found up close.
There is a bridge that you go under water and over the water.  There are pull off spots on the bridge which proved some aerial shots of birds.  There is a secluded platform on the far side of the lake that provides great bird shots.

To get there take I 95 to Hwy 58 E.  Follow this to Norfolk and pick up Hwy 13.  You can then follow the signs.  

37.8644°N, 75.3870°W

Sanibel Island

Sanibel has changed over the last several years.  It has become a tourist mecca.  There is boat rental and bike rentals available.  You can even rent a segway.  I suggest you arrive early to avoid traffic.  There is a lot to do on this island.

On one end you have a light house and Osprey nest.  There are a lot of opportunity for shots of Osprey.  There is a fishing pier and beach access here.

J.N. Ding Darling rest on the shores of Sanibel.  There are a lot of birds in the area and January or Febuary offers the best times to go.   What few tell you is that you have to pay $6.00 per car to get to the Island and then you pay $2.00 per hour to park at the beaches or another $5.00 to enter Ding Darling.   It's easy to spend a whole day here. 

It's expensive to stay on the island however there is a LaQuinta (Summerlin Rd) just before the bridge to the island that is around $54.00 per night.

26.4489°N, 82.0223°W

7 Point System

One of the best kept secrets is Scott Kelby 7 Point System for photoshop.
 It's a must to read or get the CD.
The cd is better and explains the system in easy to understand steps.