Looking for Color

Today I’m returning to snowy Pittsburgh where the sky may be overcast, and ice coats the sidewalks. As I board the plane in Florida, I remember my afternoon at the Naples Botanical Garden when my friend Marjorie walked around the lake on the lookout for alligators. I told Marjorie that I was admiring the textures of the grasses and pines. Marjorie replied, “I’m looking for color.” A few minutes later, I spotted this brilliant red orchid growing in the limbs of a tree. I liked the way the smooth white bark of the three tree limbs framed the plant.

This blooming orchid gave us a brilliant splash of primary colors, a wish come true.

Waiting for Spring

On a quick trip from Florida to Pennsylvania in March, I miss the colors of the tropics. It will be another month before Spring brings blossoms out of the dormant plants still hunkered down for the short days and cold nights.

But the magic of photography can treat us to tropical colors and brilliant blooms at any time of year. This pink and purple bromeliad blossom caught my eye at the San Diego Botanical Garden last fall. Today it whispers to me of the promise of Spring.

#bromeliad, #fern, #botanical, #photography, #flowerphotography, #pinkandgreen, #garden, #spring, #promise
Leading lines in the green fern and bromeliad leaves guide the eye to the delicate spiral of the pink bromeliad bloom.

Zebra Bromeliad

This colorful creature hangs from trees in the tropics alongside orchids and air plants.

#zebra, #bromeliad, #tropics, #naplesbotanicalgarden, #naples, #florida
Noticing the black and white stripes on the leaves, I didn’t have to google this bromeliad to know what it was called.

It drinks the rain water that collects in the pockets of its large rubbery leaves. As the bromeliad comes in many varieties, you can collect many different ones as houseplants.

Waterfall Wednesday

This waterfall from the Hawaiian Island of Maui is getting me excited about my trip to Iceland, which is just around the corner — next Wednesday. Waterfalls are plentiful in a volcanic landscape, so I expect Iceland to bear lots of resemblance to Maui, except colder.

I’m ready for rain, waterfalls everywhere, a black sand beach and a few extras like puffins, the midnight sun and some glaciers. I’m packing lots of lenses and guide books and layered hiking clothes, and I am hoping for lots of good photography to share with you.

#waterfall, #waterfallwednesday, #maui, #iceland, #tropical, #hot, #volcanic
The Travel Channel declared today Waterfall Wednesday, so I’m happy to share a waterfall I shot in Maui along the road to Hana in September 2016.

Anhinga grooming

You can tell an Anhinga from a Cormorant by remembering that the beak of an Anhinga forms the letter “A,” and  the Cormorant’s beak forms a little “C” at the tip. Both birds are large black tropical birds (35″ long), and can both be spotted in Florida.

Often called the snake-bird for its long neck, you can spot this bird swimming underwater. This Anhinga typically takes time to dry off after swimming. This fearless black bird takes a moment to preen its feathers.  Keep an eye out for one when you visit Florida.

#bird, #anhinga, #florida, #tropical, #wildlife, #beak, #black
Anhingas dry off after swimming underwater to catch prey.

Tropical Christmas

It’s such a busy time of year. While the rest of my family members are on the highway or in the shops today, I am grateful to have a few quiet moments to work on some special photos from 2016.

This tropical bloom from the Big Island of Hawai’i says Merry Christmas to me today with its brilliant magenta and green colors. Can you identify it? Could it be ginger?

#hawaii, #pinkandgreen, #christmas, #tropical, #painting, #topaz
Merry Christmas from tropical Hawai’i. Photo processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Topaz Simplify.

Victorian Crowned Pigeon

The National Aviary is an interesting family outing for folks in Pittsburgh, especially over the holidays when the weather can be frightful. When you visit, you will have a chance to meet William and Mary, two Victorian Crowned Pigeons, roaming around among the visitors in the Tropical Rain Forest.

#bird, #victoriancrownedpigeon, #aviary, #tropical, #nature, #topazlabs
Is this William or Mary keeping an eye on me?

This bird named for Queen Victoria is the largest pigeon in the world, and it comes from Northern New Guinea. I like its colors and fancy crown. I processed my image with Topaz Simplify.