New to me is this ground cover thistle. A pretty cool way to cover over a bare area in the garden. The stems are about 4 inches high keeping the blooms pretty close to the ground. A nice effect seeing dozens of these in the garden.
I was chasing Monarch butterflies in Congaree National Park. One was fluttering around near the water and would sometimes land on the cyprus knees. I was very intent on capturing a shot that I forgot to look around. When I finally realized I wasn’t going to get the shot, I stopped and had a look around. Looking up I saw this owl in a tree not 40 feet away. It was watching me for a bit and then got bored (I suspect). What a surprise to see this bird so close and not being scared off when it realized it had been discovered.
Not far away is the Ball’s Bluff National Historic Area. The area includes woods, a small meadow and a cemetery. Lots of birds make this area home and it is common to hear a Barred Owl calling in the early evening. Along with the birds are many wildflowers. It is amazing how many flowers can be found in a very small patch. I photograph flowers lying down with the camera mounted on a Platypod Pro. The mount places the camera lens about four inches off the ground. The low angle of view puts a nice perspective to the flowers. The mount also allows for a very steady camera for longer exposures as the sun drops below the horizon. I especially like the “golden hour” effect on the flowers.
Over the past several years a drive through the Blackwater National Wildlife Reserve would included a view of a pair of Bald Eagles. Often the pair would be quite a distance off offering only a glimpse of the birds. Sometimes the eagles will perch on an old tree near the drive. I was lucky on a recent drive to find the eagles on the tree only a few hundred feet away. The sun was just an “inch” off the horizon but it was enough light to make the shot. I was using a 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender on a crop sensor camera.