A Tiny Wonder

Hummingbirds are fun to watch and very difficult to photograph. Sure you can put up a hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water. You can also sit in a tree stand with feed spread out on the ground to shoot a deer. I prefer to do my hunting in a natural way. I want to photograph hummingbirds in the wild and that requires patience and luck.

Hummingbirds are really fast. Their wings beat very fast. The fastest recorded rate is about 80 beats per second on an Amethyst Wood- star Hummingbird. North American hummingbirds average around 53 beats per second in normal flight. They are drawn to red plants for feeding. I invested a few hours to get these pictures.

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Feeding
Flying
Resting

The Protea Farm

While in Maui a friend of ours took us to a Protea Farm. Protea is an ancient angiosperm found in fossils back as far as 80 million years. They only grow naturally in Africa, Australia and South America, It is believed they grew in South America and Australia before the continents split from Africa. They can be cultivated and now grow naturally in Hawaii which is the only place in the United States they can be found outside of a greenhouse.

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Yellow Protea
Red Protea
Protea Farm

The Fascinating Evolution of Lahaina

In 1795, before unification of the islands, the town was conquered by Kamehameha the Great. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1802 to 1845. It was once an important destination for the 19th-century whaling fleet, whose presence at Lahaina frequently led to conflicts with the Christian missionaries living there. On more than one occasion the conflict was so severe that it led to sailor riots and even the shelling of Lahaina by the British whaler John Palmer in 1827. In response, Maui Governor Hoapili built the Old Lahaina Fort in 1831 to protect the town from riotous sailors.

Originally whalers only chased the enormous and slow Right Whales. They were so slow you could catch them from rowboats off sailing ships as described in Moby Dick. After nearly killing off the right whales, whalers discovered that at certain of the year the faster Humpback Whales would travel to Hawaii to mate and Lahaina became the center to the decimation of this species. However in 1970 things changed and so did Lahaina.

The United States listed all humpback whales as endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act in 1970 and then under the Endangered Species Act. The international outlawing of whaling has enable the Humpbacks to survive and thrive. Lahaina changed from being a center of whaling to becoming a center for whale research and conservation. Today the boats still leave Lahaina Harbor in search of whales but to photograph them and enjoy their frolicking in the warm Hawaiian sun

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 Na ‘Aina Kai Sculpture Park By The Sea

The North Shore of Kauai is often overlooked by tourists. It is a drive to some of the more popular tourists attractions. However it is more relaxed and with its own attractions like Hanalei, The Kilauea Lighthouse and remarkable beaches like Lumaha’i Beach. A newer attraction that should not be missed is the  Na ‘Aina Kai Sculpture Park By The Sea. This beautiful garden also contains over 75 magnificent sculptures, a maze garden, multiple waterfalls and is a beautiful place to stroll and contemplate life and nature.

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Back from The Brink

In 1970 Humpback Whales were listed as an endangered species. There were estimated to be only 750 whales left in existence. Commercial whaling of this species was stopped internationally although certain countries still hunt other whale species in violation of international law.

Today, the worldwide Humpback Whale population is estimated at 84,000 and increasing. Regional estimates are 18,000–20,000 in the North Pacific,12,000 in the North Atlantic and over 50,000 in the Southern Hemisphere. The population is no longer considered endangered but still protected by NOAA. Because of this protection it is hard to photograph these animals. Boats are not allowed to get closer than 100 yards. If whales approach the boat they are required to shut off their engines and stay in “whale jail” until the whales back off.

We were fortunate to see a lot of whales and managed to get a few images including a mother and baby.

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Liberty Remembered 6/6/2022

This morning I published the first mage below on a number of Facebook groups that I belong to and it it got me to thinking. The news media today is focused on the attempted overthrow of the United States Government that took place last year. I don’t usually post political ideas on this blog and will not make this a normal practice. However, this is a day that will live in infamy in the same way Pearl Harbor and 9/11 do.

The day before 9/11/2001, New York City looked like this but on that day more than the skyline was changed forever. Last year the US Capitol was attacked for the first time since the war of 1812. This day has to be remembered in the same way as 9/11 is. In some ways it is even a more significant event. The people that attacked the Capitol were Americans. Deluded in their beliefs in the same way the traitors who seceded from the United States were in 1861. We can never forget 1/6/2021 and have to bond together to thwart the mob and stop extremism and every tear remember the insurrection as long as hate and extremism exist in our country .

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Liberty Before The Fall
The People’s House

Black Friday Kindle Sale–Both Books for Under $3

Starting on 11/26 Worlds Apart Kindle Edition will go on sale for just $1.99 The 70% price reduction will continue through 12/3.  Worlds Apart is the sequel to DreamMap. You don’t need to read DreamMap first but it helps to understand the characters better. You can get a Kindle copy of DreamMap for only 99 Cents by clicking here.

Set in Pittsburgh in the real world and many alternate realities, World’s Apart begins as Jake and Rose travel to Dublin and Jake agrees to help Stan find his missing niece. Rose travels home to discover that her father needs her help. Apparently Eligio is missing and Nathan fears he has been injured or worse. The search for those missing takes Jake and Rose to many different worlds where they remain separated. As one mystery is solved, another appears. As one evil is destroyed, another emerges. With the help of new and old friends, the two resolve the mysteries only to be led into deeper danger. Encountering magic and shape shifters, they must separately confront an ancient evil while remaining worlds apart.

To read a sample and order your copy click here

Inside The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in Pittsburgh

For our first outing in almost two years to someplace other than a restaurant we decided to see the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit on the North Side. It was an exhilarating and amazing experience. It literally made me gasp and my wife said it gave her the chills. The music was perfect for each series of images and sound was beautifully rendered. Make sure you are sitting down and experience a psychedelic experience without ingesting drugs.

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