Tag Archives: morning

The Fire Trees of Dawsonville

20170314_075255

I am not an early morning riser by any stretch of the imagination. I rather despise early mornings. So, when I find something that delights me in the early morning I consider it a bonus. For some reason that I’ve tried to block from my memory, I was up early one winter morning after it had rained the night before. I took the dog with me and we went for a little jaunt down the road in front of our house.

As we headed west, my eyes saw the scene you see in today’s post. I didn’t have my camera with me as I’d not anticipated opening my eyes on the walk if at all possible, but I did open them long enough to see the scene and knew I had to shoot it. I pulled out my cell phone and shot today’s photo. The sun was rising from behind me and it lit up the tops of the trees to the west. It looked almost as if the trees were on fire. Perhaps if you come visit us some time and are crazy enough to get up of a morning, you might see them, too!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1864, at Poison Spring, Arkansas, Confederate soldiers under the command of General Samuel Maxey captured a Union forage train and slaughtered black troops escorting the expedition.

The Battle of Poison Spring was part of broad Union offensive in the region of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. General Nathaniel Banks had led a Yankee force through Louisiana in March and April, but a defeat in northwestern Louisiana at the Battle of Mansfield on April 8 sent Banks in retreat. Union forces nearby in Arkansas were moving towards Banks’ projected thrust into Texas with the intention of securing southwestern Arkansas for the Federals.

Union General Frederick Steele occupied Camden, Arkansas, on April 15. Two days later, he sent Colonel John Williams and 1,100 of his 14,000-man force to gather 5,000 bushels of corn discovered west of Camden. The force arrived to find that Confederate marauders had destroyed half of the store, but the Yankees loaded the rest into some 200 wagons and prepared to return to Camden. On the way back Maxey and 3,600 Confederates intercepted them. Maxey placed General John Marmaduke in charge of the attack that ensued. Williams positioned part of his force, the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry, between the wagon train and the Confederate lines. The regiment was the first black unit in the army, comprised primarily of ex-slaves.

The determined soldiers of the 1st Kansas stopped the first two Rebel attacks, but they were running low on ammunition. A third assault overwhelmed the Kansans, and the rout was on. Williams gathered the remnants of his force and retreated from the abandoned wagons. More than 300 Yankee troops were killed, wounded, or captured, while the Confederates lost just 13 killed and 81 wounded. The Rebels’ treatment of black troops was harsh. No black troops were captured, and those left wounded on the battlefield were brutally killed, scalped, and stripped. The Washington Telegraph, the major Confederate newspaper in Arkansas, justified the atrocity by declaring “We cannot treat Negroes taken in arms as prisoners of war without a destruction of social system for which we contend.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in Texas, cowboy boots are exempt from sales tax, but hiking boots are not.

Just a Morning Shot

Double click for a larger version of the image...
Double click for a larger version of the image…

There are times I rather enjoy early mornings.  Those are the times when I have a camera in my hands.  This is part of “our lake.”  I just liked the framing of the wooden swing posts, the tree, the reeds in the water and their reflection, and of course, the fountain in the background.  I think I could sit in that swing and relax for a long, long time!  Anyone wanna join me?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 2001 – Clint Messina, 21, of Lacombe, Louisiana, was arrested and charged in the attempted murder of a police officer after driving into a patrol car while attempting to flee from sheriff’s deputies. Soon after, police discovered that he was already a wanted man.

At about 3:30 a.m. on March 27, Messina and an associate, Rose Houk, 31, stole a Krispy Kreme doughnuts delivery truck in Slidell, Louisiana. The Krispy Kreme deliveryman had left the engine of the truck running and its rear doors open while he went into a convenience store to make a delivery. Upon returning to find the truck and the hundreds of doughnuts inside missing, the deliveryman called police, who pursued and caught up to the vehicle. Messina and Houk then led police on a 15-mile chase, leaving a trail of doughnuts behind them as they fled. The incident was the subject of nationwide media attention and, as it involved cops and doughnuts, kept late-night comedians busy for several days.

Eventually, Messina and Houk abandoned the vehicle and attempted to get away on foot. Houk didn’t make it and was arrested, but Messina, who was driving, managed to escape. Both were eventually charged with auto theft and resisting arrest by flight. Afterward, Lt. Rob Callahan of the Slidell police joked, “We’re glad he’s off the streets, but this unfortunately means we’re going to have to stop staking out all the local doughnut shops looking for him.” On a more serious note, he added, “We all had a lot of fun with the doughnut truck incident, but this is a sobering reminder that police officers put their lives on the line whenever they initiate a pursuit.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Sperm whales can dive as deep as two miles into the water, and their bodies have unique physiological adaptations to allow them to survive the intense cold and crushing pressure of these dives. They can limit circulation to the brain and other organs, slow the heart to 10 beats per minute to conserve oxygen, and collapse the lungs and rib cage to withstand pressure.

…a Georgia Mornin’

Double click for a larger image
Double click for a larger image

Life is full of fine things.  I don’t mean fancy things that cost a lot of money.  I mean truly fine things: the love of family, the song of a bird, the laughter of a grand child, the gentle touch of a loved one’s hand, the music that uplifts and soothes, a cold drink on a hot day.  These are all fine things – they are good things.  And I love them all.  The images that dance in my memories of my children, grand children, best friends, my wife, of sights and sounds and smells – fine, fine things, indeed.

Although I am not a morning person by nature, once I have managed to drag myself out of bed and head out with the dog for her morning walk, I find the air is full of possibilities for the new day.  The birds are singing again after a night’s sleep just as the frogs are bedding down for the day.  The early morning light is spectacular and golden and the reflections on the lake outside our front door are lovely.

What is there not to like about a spring morning in Georgia?  Can’t think of a thing…

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1942, the first day of the first modern naval engagement in history, called the Battle of the Coral Sea, a Japanese invasion force succeeded in occupying Tulagi of the Solomon Islands in an expansion of Japan’s defensive perimeter.

The United States, having broken Japan’s secret war code and forewarned of an impending invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby, attempted to intercept the Japanese armada. Four days of battles between Japanese and American aircraft carriers resulted in 70 Japanese and 66 Americans warplanes destroyed. This confrontation, called the Battle of the Coral Sea, marked the first air-naval battle in history, as none of the carriers fired at each other, allowing the planes taking off from their decks to do the battling. Among the casualties was the American carrier Lexington; “the Blue Ghost” (so-called because it was not camouflaged like other carriers) suffered such extensive aerial damage that it had to be sunk by its own crew. Two hundred sixteen Lexington crewmen died as a result of the Japanese aerial bombardment.

Although Japan would go on to occupy all of the Solomon Islands, its victory was a Pyrrhic one: The cost in experienced pilots and aircraft carriers was so great that Japan had to cancel its expedition to Port Moresby, Papua, as well as other South Pacific targets.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  On August 28, 1991, the first true email message from space was sent by the crew of the space shuttle STS-43 Atlantis using a Mac Portable and specifically configured AppleLink software. The message?  “ET phone home” (nah, just kidding about that last bit!)

A New Day

_MG_9238_39_40HDR

There is something special about a new day. It is so full of possibilities! It starts out fresh, like a clean sheet of paper, and we get to decide to a large extent what we will draw on it.

Yesterday morning I took the dog for her walk and had the camera and as I was coming back up the hill, the sun was breaking through the top of the trees (mostly Georgia pines). It was one of those moments when the rays are shooting through the air like an arrow, trying to chase the darkness away for another 12 hours or so. I’ve often wanted to get a shot on a foggy morning in a redwood forest as the sun starts to break through but have never been in the right spot at the right time.  I keep hoping.  Some day it will happen.

Technically, this is an HDR image, and a badly developed one at that. But it did show the sunlight breaking through the tops of the trees to the right upper portion of the scene.

What did you draw today?

ON THIS DAY IN  HISTORY:  in 1902 the famous photographer Ansel Adams was born in San Francisco. Adams’ dramatic black and white images of Yosemite and the West are some of the most widely recognized and admired photographs of the 20th century.

Ansel Adams discovered his love of photography and the West during a family trip to Yosemite when he was 14 years old. He made his first photographs of the dramatic Yosemite Valley during that trip, and he returned to photograph the park every year thereafter for the rest of his life.

Adams had a tremendous passion and talent for photography, though it remained only a hobby for many years. From childhood, Adams had studied piano, and as a young man he embarked on a promising career as a concert pianist. It was only when he was in his late 20s that Adams decided to abandon music and make a career out of photography instead, choosing to make the West the focus of his work. During the next 20 years, Adams’ distinctive treatment of the western landscape won him a dedicated following, especially in California. Today his portraits of the Yosemite Valley and images of Saguaro cacti under an Arizona moon are so familiar as to almost be visual cliches.

Adams deliberately used his photos to inspire a semi-religious reverence for the natural world that he hoped would encourage more Americans to protect and preserve wilderness. A lifelong member of the Sierra Club, Adams provided images for many of the club’s early publications.

Besides being a brilliant artist, Adams was also a technical innovator and a teacher. Along with several other photographers, Adams founded “Group f/64,” which was dedicated to promoting deep-focus photography and the use of “straight” images free from darkroom trickery. He created a number of innovative photographic techniques that he introduced to the general public through a series of books and an annual workshop in Yosemite.

In recognition of his lifelong efforts supporting the national park system, Mt. Ansel Adams in Yosemite was named in his honor shortly after he died in 1984.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The birth of Earth’s moon is singularly important because it stabilizes Earth’s tilt. Without the moon, Earth would still have wild changes in climate and be uninhabitable. The stabilizing tug of the moon tempers Earth, resulting in the minor tip that causes summer and winter seasons.