the world as seen through my photographic eye

Archive for the ‘wildlife’ Category

The Great Smoky Mountains

For the most of all things “nature”, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is my favorite eastern US destination. With mountain tops as high as 7000 ft., offering majestic vistas, covered in hardwood forest with spring and summer wildflowers, teeming with abundant and varied wildlife, this destination has much to offer anyone interested in the out-of-doors. The only drawback I find of this park is its popularity with humans, being situated partly in North Carolina as well as Tennessee making it easily accessible to much of the population of the US. and all that it has to offer makes it the most visited national park in this country. During October when the leaves are at their peak for autumn colors traffic can be as bad as rush hour in any major metropolitan ares. My remedy for this is to be there during the week when most people are working.

With four distinct seasons, The Smokys beauty is ever-changing, giving each season its own special flavor making any time of year a good time to visit. Ranging from snow-covered mountains, to wildflowers and newborn black bear cubs, to summer trout fishing, and autumn leaves changing, every season is someones favorite.

I am planning my next visit in either April or May, at which time I will have new adventures to add as well as photos, until then please enjoy the gallery I have as of now.

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Radnor Lake

Located at the southern edge of Nashville, Radnor Lake in my opinion is “The” jewel of this city. In the era of steam locomotives Radnor was created to supply water for the engines, and was eventually turned into the natural area it is today. While located within the city limits of Nashville, it becomes easy to forget your anywhere near a metropolis, only occasionally is the tranquility interrupted with the sounds of an airplane passing overhead.  Surrounded by hills, with several miles of trails varying from mild to moderate in intensity and home to much wildlife, it is a true escape from city life only minutes away. Because of its closeness to home I find myself there most weekends throughout the year, enjoying the different seasons and the uniqueness each has to offer. Recently I had one of the most awesome wildlife encounters I’ve ever had. Friend Stephen and I were photographing a Barred Owl, perched on a branch about ten feet away when it decided to fly past us, chest high and mere inches away. WOW, absolutely incredible! Please enjoy the photos of this gem of Nashville.

Rialto Beach

sea stacks-sunset at rialto beach-olympic national park

After leaving Johnstone Straight and Canada I headed for the Washington coast, specifically Rialto Beach, which is a part of Olympic National Park. If I were to allow my selfishness to rule I would recommend you to NOT visit this gem, but I fear the secret is already out.

My day at the beach was truly magical, with periods of cloud and sun, as well as occasional fog moving in, capped off with a spectacular sunset. After a mile or so hike to hole in the wall, (thankfully the tide was out and I was able to go through) I came upon inner tide pools and the life which resides therein. I had never experienced tide pool life so I spent a couple of hours being amazed, while waiting for what I was hoping to be a memorable sunset, a wish that was thoroughly granted!

I had contemplated camping on the beach, but since I was not properly equipped for camping that involves hiking in I opted for the campground about a mile from the beach, which was fine, however next time I WILL be camping on the beach. I can’t wait! Till then enjoy the photo gallery I have of this trip.

Spirit of the West and Johnston Straight

After leaving Mt. Rainier I headed north to Canada to join up with Spirit of the West kayaking tours. I had been aching to do this for three years, the previous year I was detoured to England so that wasn’t to bad (actually quite nice). But now I was finally here and my excitement was building. The Spirit of the West office is on Quadra Island, specifically Herriot Bay, which is where we met the night before leaving to go over the details of the adventure ahead. The first two photos are of Herriot Bay as viewed from my campsite.

As morning dawned, the ten fellow adventurers and our three guides (actually two guides our third guide was flown into camp later in the day) met and we boarded a high speed catamaran for a two and a half hour trip north to our base camp located in Johnston Straight, separating Vancouver Island from mainland  British Columbia. The weather was as good as I could hope for, pleasantly cool with periods of clouds and very brief rain followed by sun,  this cycle would repeat itself for the entire experience.

With a brief stop in a quiet cove for lunch and also stopping to watch a salmon catch loaded onto a fishing boat, we neared our base camp, already seeing, seals, sea lions, white sided dolphins, and a Bald eagle(I didn’t see it but others did), all of my anticipated expectations were already being met with the exception of being in the presence of orca’s.

After settling in and orientation to camp etiquette, we set off on our first afternoon paddle. Ahhh, At last paddling in the summer home of over two hundred orca, I believe a smile was permanently etched in my face for the entire four days! I was to share a kayak with Gordon (a fine paddle partner indeed!) as we began learning how an ocean kayak behaves, how to kayak with a partner, how to navigate kelp beds, it was outdoor adventure at it’s best.  All that was left was for orcas to appear, which as it turned out none were sighted until day three. In the mean time we honed our kayaking skills, went for a five mile (or so) hike, enjoyed generous camp cuisine, hot showers, and hot tub, (who ever heard of that, a hot tub! in the middle of the great Canadian wilderness!), as well as enjoying the company of new friends including Scott’s 50th birthday, this adventure was his gift!

And then it happened, orca dorsal fins, four in all were spotted not to far in the distance, I wanted to forge full steam ahead to close the gap, however our guides, Amy and Allie’s better judgement won out and we gathered together to watch them pass by at a whale friendly distance. After returning to camp we continued to watch orca on the far side of the straight enjoying the salmon that were running in record numbers.

Entirely to quickly our final day dawned and after breakfast we launched for our last paddle. As I waited for the others, in the cove I noticed a seal bobbing in the  water about ten feet away, with a lousy track record of catching the abundant wildlife on camera ( I believe they know when I’m about to shoot and promptly vanish) I decided to simply enjoy the moment, which I think is often the best thing to do.

And then we were back at Herriot Bay, saying our goodbyes, and going our separate ways to continue our own journeys. Even though I would have loved a closer experience with the orca, such was not to be this time. I can however say I have kayaked with my beloved friends, and look very much forward to the next time.

My hats off to the folks of Spirit of the West, all aspects of the adventure were perfectly planned and executed. The guides, Amy, Allie, and Sam were perfect hosts,… knowledgeable, accommodating, friendly, and all shared great senses of humor. All in all I give Spirit of the West two thumbs up and five stars!

Please enjoy the photo gallery! and remember all photos are property of me! Steven Dieringer, dba Steven Dieringr Photography, and are protcted by copyright law.

Thanks for your interest and time! Steve……….

late summer sunrise johnstone straight

sunrise from spirit of the west base camp

Mt. Rainier

This year beginning August 31st I spent ten days in the Pacific northwest. My first stop was Mt. Rainier. As a child I had visited here and remembered it as my favorite stop of our vacation, as an adult I was not to be disappointed.

 

I arrived after spending all day traveling from Nashville, to be welcomed by typical rain which ( I am one of the weird ones) doesn’t bother me until it’s been raining for a month or perhaps 14 inches in two days. Anyway as I had been up since 3:30 am I was only interested in sleep, so I set about putting up my tent( in the rain), and directly crawled into my sleeping bag. After only a moment a drop of rain fell on my face, a few minutes later another,………then another………….and another, finally I decided if this were to continue I would never find sleep, so I retreated to my rental car trading the comfort of stretching out for dryness. During the night the rains moved on and morning arrived still cloudy but dry, even though I had not slept much I was ready for the day and to see what I would see! After spending the night at the White River campground I drove through the clouds to the Sunrise visitors center (since my mind is usually in the clouds I rather enjoyed driving in the clouds). During the drive Rainier began showing herself briefly and as the day wore on increasingly so. Even though I never saw her in her entirety at any one moment, I did see her entirely as though in a slide show as the cloud breaks would move across her face. As I throughly enjoyed the five mile hike, witnessing sub-alpine, meadows, forests, flowers, black tailed deer(the 8 or 10 point buck escaped the camera,… O’well I’m used to it!), chipmunks, and of course surrounding peaks I shot over 100 photos and had a most memorable day. Please enjoy the gallery of Mt. Rainier! Please note; All photographs are property of Steven Dieringer, DBA Steven Dieringer Photography, and are protected by copyright law. Please contact me to purchase Images. Thank you; Steven Dieringer.