Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Here is a photograph of black-eyed Susan, which I photographed at Seney National Wildlife Refuge in the Upper Peninusla of Michigan during August 2013.

Monday, December 09, 2013

This is a test.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bud Ogle's Dogwoods

Here is a photo of Bud Ogle's house (in the Smokies) and a dogwood beside it that was blooming during the wildflower pilgrimage of 2009. The close up (below) shows a pair of flowers from a tree that was behind me (and just up the small hill) as I faced the tree and cabin.


Dogwoods were just passing their peak bloom when I arrived in the Smokies a week ago yesterday. But I got this photo LAST YEAR during the week of the pilgrimage. It was in Bud Ogle's yard.

Smokies Wildflower Pilgrimage

I am back from the pilgrimage. It will take a few days or weeks for me to get to the photos from this year. But it was lots of fun. I met some new people, including photographers, and lots of folks who love wildflowers as much as I do. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yellow Trillium

I have not seen it yet this year, but here is a shot from two years ago, about this time, when I found yellow trillium blooming in the Smokies. If I had time, I would post lots more shots. But I have to wait until I return from the pilgrimage (see post below).

Wildflower Pilgrimage in Gatlinburg, TN

I am heading to Gatlinburg, TN this weekend for the 60th Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage. If you surf on line under "Wildflower Pilgrimage" and "Gatlinburg" you should find it. It's run by the Great Smoky Mountain Association. I will be doing two presentations on Wed, April 21, one on wildflower photography and the other on wildflowers.
Sorry I have neglected my blog this spring. I had high hopes of keeping up to date but some stuff happened with my extended family and I was totally distracted by it. However, I can say this: Lots of stuff is currently blooming, including dutchman's breeches and Virginia blue bell. Bloodroot is probably done. Same with hepatica and snow trillium. I am sure that spring beauty is well underway and will be blooming for another week or two (trailing off) here in eastern Iowa. The Smokies are ahead of eastern Iowa and so spring beauty is probably gone. Wild ginger is up, as are many of the Solomon Seal type flowers and trilliums.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Snow Trillium Flowers

I found this group of snow trilliums in full bloom about a week ago in eastern Iowa. It has been a busy week so I am finally getting around to posting it. This is the first trillium to bloom each year and its white flowers can be found blooming along side hepatica. Not far away, spring beauty was about getting started, but still in the very early stages.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Also hepatica are blooming on the same hillside where I found snow trillium blooming. I figure spring beauty is out there too but did not have time today to look. Sometimes my science writing takes time from the more exciting adventures, but since it mostly pays for the adventures, I better keep doing it.

Snow Trillium

Snow Trillium are in full bloom here in eastern Iowa. I will post photos as soon as I can. It might be a couple days due to appointments and the rest of life getting in the way... but that's ok. I will get to it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Skunk Cabbages

This photo shows a pair of skunk cabbages growing side-by-side in the mud. They grow in a location that is pretty much always wet, due to a spring that causes water to seep out to the surface of the forest, and forms a small stream. If you look in the front corner of the photo, you can see the wet mud. Being early bloomers, as they are, the skunk cabbage plants often get damaged by frost. You can see evidence of frost damage on the green vegetation which protected the red "hoods" when they first emerged through the dirt.

Snow Trillium Bud

Here is a snow trillium bud, which I found yesterday in eastern Iowa. It's one of several trillium species that I have photographed over the years. Snow trillium can be found in other locations, but this is the only place where I have ever found it. During trips to the Smokies, I have photographed several other species. Snow trillium is the smallest trillium that I know of, reaching a height of about only 4 inches. It is also the first to bloom each spring and is often seen sprouting in the snow, hence the name Snow Trillium.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Skunk Cabbage Patch

This isn't exactly a photogenic photo, but it shows the landscape where the skunk cabbages thrive. See below for more info about skunk cabbages. It's a wet boggy area where the ground is composed of MUD. I did not step in this area for fear of damaging the plants and making an absolute mess.

Peeking into a Cabbage

Here is a rather close-up view of a skunk cabbage. My sons and I visited the “cabbage patch” on Sunday, March 14. We found hundreds of skunk cabbage plants in full bloom. The “hood” protects the flower underneath. Looking inside the “window” you can see the “ball” that contains many flowers. They emit an aroma that is not exactly pleasant to the human senses, but attracts flies quite well. Skunk cabbage is one of the very first wildflowers to bloom each year, and it actually generates heat to help melt its way through the snow.

Skunk Cabbages and ... Snakes!

Ok, I know this isn't a wildflower. But it's part of the story of spring. My boys and I were walking through the wet forest and checking out the skunk cabbages. I was preparing to photograph one of the cabbage plants and my son yelled out, "I found a snake." Of course knowing the cabbage would stay in place, but the snake might not, I moved the tripod/camera setup over to the snake and tried to get a few good shots. I was hoping to get a good shot with his/her tongue. This was the best one I could get. The lighting is a bit harsh, and I have better photos of the snake (no tongue) with softer, more diffused lighting, thanks to passing clouds. I will prepare one of those pictures eventually too... but this one was too fun and I had to prepare it first.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Patches of Snow

I got this scenic shot the same day as the close-up shots below. This shows a combination of south-facing slope and north-facing slope to illustrate the difference in conditions from one place to the next. The south-facing slope (on the left) has no more snow--being relatively warmer, the snow melted more quickly--but the north-facing slope still has patches of snow. I got this shot while standing on a somewhat flat area along the north-facing slope, so you can see some of the patches of snow near my feet. The sun hits more directly on the south-facing slope and thus it warms up more quickly, and this difference can be seen with melting snow as well as the timing of wildflower blooming. Some years, the difference is more obvious than others.

Hepatica Peeks through the Snow

The north-facing slope had patches of snow. So I walked along and explored the edges of several patches. I wanted to get some kind of photograph showing the wildflowers and the snow together. I wanted to be able to show the type of harsh conditions these delicate plants can endure. In this case, I found one of last year's hepatica leaves just beginning to appear along the edge of the melting patch of snow. The new growth is still protected underground but will likely emerge within the next few days--wrapped tightly by a layer of plant tissue (resembling a spike) that protects the delicate buds and stems within. One of the nice things about hepatica is that last year's leaves typically remain all year, so you can walk through the woods after the blooming season (summer, fall, or winter) and figure out where to look for it when the blooming season returns the following spring.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Beauty Sprout

This spring beauty sprout is beginning to turn green, which means that the chlorophyll is starting to develop in the leaves. Unlike the one shown below, this one was growing in a warmer spot that no longer had any snow. It was on a flat surface of forest rather than a north-facing slope and higher up toward the top of a hill. This shot shows the buds, still well under-developed along the underneath side of the stem. If you look at hundreds or thousands of spring beauty sprouts as they emerge and shortly after, you will see that they always come up with this up-side down U shape and their buds are always protected on the underside of the stem. Pushing through the frozen dirt (and snow) takes a lot of effort and the plant keeps the buds safe by placing them in this relatively protected location. See the entry below for more information on spring beauties.

Spring Beauty Sprout

Here is a spring beauty sprout, which I found in a forest in eastern Iowa on Thursday. It was emerging on a north facing slope, which was still speckled with patches of snow. I searched through the thin layers of snow still remaining to find as many neat shots as time would allow. To give a sense of size here, if I had included my chapstick behind the sprout, the chapstick would reach across the frame (from left to right) and just barely fit.
The plant starts out appearing pink, due to the absense of chlorophyll. The chlorophyll begins to develop with exposure to the sun, during which time the plant becomes more and more green. With time, the stem will straighten up and grow taller, and the leaves will lengthen and become somewhat plump.
The tiny "nubs" under the arch of the arch are the undeveloped buds. Eventually they will develop into white flowers with pink veins and pink pollen. Each stem will produce anywhere from 4 to 12 (approximately), blooming in sequence from the top of the stem toward the bottom. Typically one or two flowers bloom at a time, but toward the peak season, sometimes a single stem can have three or four all at once.
It's wonderful to be back in Iowa for my first Iowa spring in 14 years.

Oops -- Sorry

I got busy with other photos yesterday and did not post the shots I said I would post. Fear not, and please forgive me. I will post them most likely today. I have downloaded them from the camera... And tomorrow I plan to search for skunk cabbages about 30 miles from my house. Spring is definitely here!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring is HERE !!!

I will posting pictures later today. But for now, I must report that yesterday I found spring beauty and snow trillium SPROUTS (buds so small that they were barely visible except with magnification--like my 200 mm lens) here in the forests of eastern Iowa. Though there was still some snow lingering on the cooler slopes, most of the snow was gone. Still I got a few shots of wildflowers with snow in the frame, which helps show the harsh conditions underwhich these delicate flowers emerge. So come back later today (Friday) and I will have photos posted. I hope to post at least one scenic and a couple close up shots too.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Snow Melting

Snow is melting in the forests of eastern Iowa--more so on south facing slopes (which receive more intense light) than north facing slopes (which receive light that comes hits at more of an angle). Certain slopes show a pattern of patchy melting, with leaves visible in some locations while other locations are still covered by a layer of snow. Widlflowers will begin working their way through the cold and somewhat frozen ground. Spring is nearly here.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Snow and Snow Trilliums

Here is the hillside where I will soon be finding snow trilliums instead of snow! It has been 14 years since I have been able to visit this hillside during the snow trillium blooming season. My boys and I went out a few days ago to check the landscape and this is what we saw... There was lots of snow but much has melted during the past three days. And being an early bloomer, as it is, I would not be surprised to find signs of snow trillium within the week. It might not be blooming, but I should at least find buds by the end of next weekend! Meanwhile, I will need to start looking for skunk cabbages soon too!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spring is on its Way!

This photograph offers a flashback to a sunny winter day around 1992 when I was living in my "new" farm house in eastern Iowa; the house itself was 70 years old, but in surprisingly wonderful condition. I ended up staying there for just a few years, then marrying Ed Wolfe and moving away, and traveling around (NJ, FL, TX, MI, VA) for the next 13 years. But this past summer, we have returned--not to the same house, but the same basic location. This is where I lived when I first came up with the idea of "Woodland Spring," and would lead nature walks for local folks and help them learn about the wildflowers.
With my return to Iowa, I also return to this website with a renewed level of interest and committment. I will be heading back to some of the same forests where I first learned about these wildflowers in the mid-late 1980s. I will report on what's going on, what's blooming, and things like that.
The first plant will likely be skunk cabbage, or possibly snow trillium! I have seen skunk cabbage elsewhere (including Princeton, NJ, various locations in Michigan, and SW Virginia) but it has been 14 full years since I have seen snow trillium, and I can hardly wait!
So stay tuned... It's the end of February and I am gearing up for spring.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mt LeConte Sunset (one year ago)

About a year ago (plus five days) from today, I hiked to the top of Mt LeConte (in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park) for the first time and stayed overnight in the lodge at the top. Wow, what a trip. The path was icy and very steep in some places but I kept going even though I knew there was some risk of slipping and falling. I survived the trip just fine and really enjoyed my stay at the top of Mt LeConte overnight at the Mt LeConte Lodge. Here are pictures from that trip including the sunset at the top, some of the buildings of the lodge just past sunset, and also an icicle I found on the way up. It was five miles up and five miles back, and took pretty much a whole day in each direction (due to photo stops and ice) but worth it.

Point Poipu in Kauai

I went to Hawaii recently and visited a couple of the islands. I enjoyed the western isalnd of Kauai because there was lots of nice scenery. Here is a view of the coastline near where I stayed. This is toward the south eastern edge of the island. The sun was setting behind me and had just dropped below a hillside.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Prairie Dog Alarm

I have neglected my wildflower "blog" for a long time due to a recent move and all kinds of other things going on. However, I was recently in the Badlands of South Dakota and I found this wonderful little prairie dog. He/she was giving the alarm call to warn other doggies of a possible threat. What a brave little dog. I was as close as I could get with a 300 mm lens and not much time before having to head to the mud formations to catch some warm and soft evening light. But here is one of a few doggies that I photographed at a prairie dog community not far from the side of the road. It might not qualify as true nature photography but I sure had fun.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Blue Cohosh (Buds and Blooms)

Blue Cohosh Buds
Blue Cohosh Flowers (and visitor)
Here are some blue cohosh buds from back in March. I found these in the Greenbriar area of the Smokies. Below these buds, are some flowers in bloom, which I found yesterday in southern Virginia. The Smokies are at least a week or two ahead of Virginia, in general, but it varies with location and particularly elevation. On top of that, some plants bloom earlier than others due to the natural variation within the population. [PS: It was somewhat windy on the day I got these shots, so it took great patience and careful timing to stop the motion. Add to that the movement of the pollinator and you can guess it was a challenge, but a fun challenge. Pollinators always make wildflower photography more exciting!]

Dutchmen's Breeches

I found this plant yesterday while walking through the woods of southern Virginia. This Dutchman's Breeches has PINKINSH flowers instead of the typical white. It is not unheard of, but it is uncommon! This hint of pink in the petals gives an idea that the pink color of "bleeding hearts" (a domesticated relative) is indeed a natural phenomenon, just selected for intentionally (by humans) over time. Genetic variation is pretty cool.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring Flowers are Blooming Again!

It has been forever since I posted a spring wildflower photo here. Sorry about that. I have been busy doing too many other things (including weddings and directories). As of last week, I am working as efficiently as possible on preparations for the upcoming Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies. It begins the week of April 20. I am doing a Wednesday presentation after the kick off lunch (check the printable brochure on the home page). I will also be selling photos as a vendor. Here is one photo that I have just prepared and printed up as a card; I will make some larger prints too. It is Sweet White Trillium. I got this shot last year (same week as last year's pilgrimage) when hanging out with my photographer friend Kyle. He "found" the shot but let me try it too. The front (lower) flower is intentionally in focus while the back flower (top) is not. The shot can work ok as long as the "out of focus" part appears intentional rather than as just a mistake!

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Tabby

It started with a trip to Petsmart to return the steps that Buttercup never used, steps that were supposed to help her climb up to the bed on her own. (See below to read about Buttercup's final summer and her last day with us in August.) And being at Petsmart, I had to walk past the adoption area. After all, the cats and kittens are so beautiful and I just had to see them even though I knew it would make me sad.
As I rounded the corner, I saw a beautiful small tabby. Her ID tag said she was a mother cat, found as a stray. She was alone in the cage. I fell in love.
I looked at all the kitties in all the cages, including kittens, and knew that the tabby momma was the one who would most need a home. And I left, knowing that we have two cats and that my husband would probably prefer to stick with just two for a while. I had tried to suggest kittens a few weeks ago and he said he just didn't think it was a good time for that.
I dropped a hint or two here and there. And then the following night, my husband said one adult tabby would be an acceptable addition to the family, bringing us back to three cats. We agreed to stop by Petsmart the next afternoon to adopt her--part of a birthday "surprise" for him, but really more for me and the boys.
I could not sleep. All night I kept imagining that she would already be adopted and that wasting two days without making a move would have meant that she is already gone. I decided to assume she was already gone just so I would not be disappointed if she was gone when I got there.
I ended up going to Petsmart at 9:30 that morning; it was Saturday. The store opened at 9. I wanted to check on the kitty and get the adoption started as soon as possible. It was going to be a surprise for our two boys who love kitties as much as I do.
As I rounded the corner, her cage was empty! But I quickly noticed the back was open and a volunteer was cleaning the cage. I looked through the glass and beyond the cages, and there she was, just running around in the area where people meet cats they want to adopt. She looked up at me, with a bounce in her step. My eyes watered.
Anyway, I found a Petsmart employee to help me, and she said that adoptions usually take several days to complete, for good reason. They need to make sure the family is a good match for that cat and everything seems ok and safe. I wrote my name and number on a sheet of paper and indicated which cat I wanted. The employee told me that I would have to wait for a volunteer from the agency to call me, probably Monday. Petsmart itself does not do the adoptions.
The employee said that the volunteer would be stopping by later that day to check on the cats, and that volunteer would initiate the adoption process, but that she knew nothing about the details of the procedure and I would just have to wait and see. Urgh! Meanwhile, I asked whether I could meet the kitty and pet her. She said that employees are not allowed to let people meet the cats, but since the other volunteer was there to clean cages, it would be ok as long as the volunteer said it was ok with her. Well, the volunteer cleaning the cages was wonderfully sweet and said of course it would be ok.
I entered the tiny closet-sized "meeting" room and feel in love even more. I spent 40 minutes petting the beautiful tabby. She purred almost the entire time. I wanted to drag it out as long as possible for hopes that somehow the person in charge of her might show up and we could make sure that I would be the one to eventually take her home. I was lucky... and had good timing. I overheard someone through the door talking to another person about the cats, calling them by name and acting like she knew them. By this point, the volunteer cleaning cages was just finishing up and so it was about time for me to leave. I gave back the tabby and left the little room.
I knew this was my big chance. I walked over to the woman talking about the cats and I bravely asked if she was the person in charge of the tabby. She said yes. I almost cried with relief.
We talked awhile, and my eyes watered. I told her that I have fallen in love with the momma tabby and would love to take her home as soon as possible. We talked about the formal procedure, which would take a few days. Then kind of spontaneously, the person said, "You know, you can just take her today and we can finish up the paperwork and interview next week." She would not normally do that, of course, but she sensed (correctly) that I was a good match for the kitty, and that my home would be safe and loving. Both she and I were eager to get the tabby out of the cage and into a home.
We talked together as I filled out some of the paperwork. She shared her joy that the kitty had found a home so quickly, after just one week in the cage at Petsmart. She explained that she had been concerned about finding a home for the tabby: "We were worried about whether we could place her. It is hard to find a home for mother cats. And we have a lot of brown and black tabbies right now, which added to our concern." I replied by saying, "She is the perfect cat for me. I love her."
Of course there were two cats at home, minding their own business at that very moment, having no idea that I was in the process of changing their lives. Not immensely but somewhat. We'd adopted them two years ago as kittens, sister and brother from a litter of four. One solid brown and one solid black.
The introduction was better than we could have hoped for. Shadow and Cinnamon, are weary of their new sister, but already after just two days seem ok with her around. There has been a little posturing by Cinny (fur standing on end, as he raises himself up to look as large as possible), but no genunine agression, no contact. Mostly he stands back and watches from a distance. Shadow follows the tabby around, a bit close, sniffing. There were a few nose-to-nose exchanges as each one sniffed the other's face. For the most part, the tabby seems kind of oblivous to the other kitties, happy go lucky, comfortable, just nervous when she hears a strange noise. She is curious but not that interested in the kitties.
As it turns out, the tabby had been living with a group of feral cats when she was captured for spaying. Immediately they knew the tabby was not wild due to the way she cuddled and acted so friendly. She was also pregnant. She was brought to foster care, had her kittens, and now the kittens are finding homes of their own. The lady in charge of the adoptions is hopeful that the kittens will be placed rather easily. But was so glad to see that the momma (our new tabby) had found a home so quickly, and she could tell it would be home in which she would get lots of love.
We hope to name her by the end of the week.


Here is Sunshine. She is our neighbor's cat. But she likes to visit us often. On a rainy day, she spends a lot of time on our porch. She is beautiful and so very friendly.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Here's another picture of Buttercup. This one is from July 29, just three weeks before her last day. She was resting in her circular "bed" beside the glass door, and the diffused sunlight provided nice soft light for this shot. At this point, she still spent a lot of time with her head up and looking around, but this was a peaceful moment when she decided to rest. At this point, she had already visited the local Veterinary school and had been diagnosed with lymphoma. We knew it was just a matter of time, but we wanted to make that time last as long as possible, and for as long as she seemed happy to be alive. See below for more about Buttercup.

Monday, August 25, 2008


This is a tribute to Buttercup. We adopted her 13 years ago when we were living in Iowa. She had either been abandoned or lost, and probably also not treated too well by people. For years she was very shy and scared when new people showed up at the door. But over time, she got lots of love from us, and learned to trust again.
I am sorry to say that she is gone. Cancer took her life at the age of 15. I know 15 is kind of old for a cat, but other than the cancer, she was in great shape, and she had been a very happy cat.
One of my favorite things to do each morning would be to look for my coffee cup, which is white with little black cat silhouettes "walking" around the bottom edge. And each morning when the coffee was ready, I would walk into the kitchen and say, "Where's my cup?" And Buttercup would let out a little squeaky MEOW. I would look at her and say, "There's my Cup." And of course, I would continue looking for my "other" kitty cat cup too.
I will miss her forever.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Composing Wildflower Photos

I have added a new page called, "Composing Photos," on my other website carolwolfe.org. I am just beginning work on that page, but have included topics such as "Quality of Light" in which I talk about photographing in different light conditions (full sun, haze, etc) as well as using a diffuser and reflector. The above photo gives some idea of the types of information on that page. I based this page on a presentation I recently gave at the Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Gatlinburg, TN. By the way, this photo shows two similar shots of spring beauty, one using a reflector (left) and one simply shade (right).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Turkey on Clingmans Dome

I met this girl on April 1, 2008, the first day that Clingmans Dome Road was open during 2008. (It is closed from Dec 1 through March 31 every year.) As I pulled into the parking lot, she came running up beside my car. It seemed she must have been used to getting food from people in cars. Of course I did not feed her. It's not good for the animals to get used to thinking of humans as a source of food. Anyway, I parked the car and got out. She put some distance between us but still let me get close enough to get several good shots of her. I called her "Lucky" because I felt so lucky to meet her.
I returned several more times during the month of April, and each time I returned, she was there. Toward the end of April, she was walking around among the people at the western end of the lot. Sadly of course, people were feeding her, luring her over to get snapshots of her beside them and their cars.
I returned this week (May 20) and did not see her. I hope she found a better place to live and is doing well. After all, she's a wild turkey, not a pet. I still feel lucky to have met her.

Black Bear in Smokies

On April 2, 2008, I was driving up Newfound Gap Road (from Gatlinburg, on my way to Clingmans Dome) when I stopped along the side of the road to photograph some trees that were lit nicely in the late afternoon sun. Since it was mid spring, the tree tops had a variety of color due to the buds that were forming in the branches. As I photograhed the trees across the valley, I heard a loud sound in a tree not far from where I was standing. I looked over, knowing it was something large, and I saw a black spot moving along the edge of a tree. I kept looking, and shifted my camera. I readjusted the settings too, since a bear tends to move faster than a calm landscape... In any case, here are two shots that I got while standing there alone by my car. Little did I know that day, that a month and a half later (May 19) I would meet my first bear alone in the woods. That second meeting was even more exiting than the one along the road since I was three miles from my car and all alone in the woods.

Busy Spring

It has been a busy spring. Instead of posting pictures on this site, I have been working on my other website. Just yesterday I added a new page that talks about Composing Photos. Check it out if you get a chance. The address for the main page is http://www.carolwolfe.org/. The address for the newest page is http://www.carolwolfe.org/id13.html. I have also added photos to the Cats and Critters page and added a page for South Carolina.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Valentines Day

This is for Mary... since she didn't get the attachment I sent with her email!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sea Birds on the Atlantic Coast

I don't usually get close enough to birds to bother to try and get a shot. But a landscape type shot is possible, even with a relatively wide zoom lens. In fact I was using the Nikon D40 this day, not the D200. The D40 is what I take on "family" trips, and this was a family trip. So anyway, here is the bird framed nicely in the corner (using the tightest framing I could get with the 18-55mm lens that came with the D40). I like the way the waves add a nice pattern to the frame.
This shot is more clinical than the one above, but the bird is nicely lit. I like this shot mainly because it is something new for me. I hardly ever have the chance to photograph a bird. The clouds helped diffuse the light but also kind of cooled and flattened the image to some degree. Ideally, I would ask for a slight bit of sunshine, which this time of day would have been lighting the top and back of the bird, kind of like the shot above.

After Sunrise in Charleston

If not for the water, this might look like a Martian landscape. The light was amazing that day. I love the way the sprays of water are backlit (somwhat sidelit) by the recently risen sun to the right of this frame. Here is another shot, just to show the action of the waves. Also you can see a bird in the top right corner. Of the two shots shown here, I like the second one best.

Pre Sunrise in Charleston

As my friend and I froze our fingers off, we waited for sunrise and got some nice shots of the water. I like the pink sky, which reminds me of pictures I have seen of Mars. I also like the purple-blue water, which I suppose picked up color reflecting from the sky. See below for more shots from this same day...

Vertical Sunrise

Here is a vertical shot (above) that I also tried in a horizontal arrangement (below). I like each one for different reasons. But the thing I like most about the vertical shot is the interesting pattern of the waves. I was looking for something diagonal or zig-zag like. And I was able to get that using the vertical composition but not horizontal. Horizontal framing limited the depth of the photo, while vertical let me shoot the sand near my feet and also include the sun.
I chose this shot because I like the way the sunlight reflects off the surface and the way the group of three waves kind of breaks up the light. It might have been cold and windy, but the reflection was also very bright.

Blustery Sunrise in Charleston, SC

It was so cold and windy on this January morning. But my friend and I spent nearly 40 minutes on this shoreline near Charleston, SC. I tried to position the camera so that the waves would be more diagonal in the frame, but based on my location and the position of the sun, this is about the best I could do. I got several of these shots, including a vertical. I tried to snap the shutter when the waves looked most interesting rather than just being uniform horizontal lines.

Lochness Monster (sort of)

One of my friends said he likes this shot, and then specifically referred to the the "Lochness Monster." I smiled when he said that, and I remembered some of those fuzzy shots of the monster I had seen years ago.
The dark bump on the left part of the frame was intentional. I wanted to add some variety (color/texture/pattern) to the otherwise extremely uniform (and possibly boring) frame.
I got this shot before the sun rose above the horizon. I was standing on a beach in Hilton Head, SC, looking east over the Atlantic. This was the brightest and most colorful sunrise so far that I have seen over the Atlantic in my limited experience--being from the midwest, most of my life, I haven't seen too many ocean sunrises!