What Lies Beneath

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“Take only memories, leave only footprints.”  Chief Seattle

As a photographer I love to make  images that convey the beauty of the landscape. Images that make you go “ahh! I want to be there”, images to share the places I see that take my breath away. I maneuver my position and camera angle to exploit the best possible light, to create a snapshot of time standing still that you can step in to, smell the air, feel the breeze, hear the rustle of leaves, the lapping of water on the shore line and the varied calls of the wildlife that inhabit the terrain.

What you don’t see in the images is the is the ugliness that humans wreak on the environment. Recently, I took a much-needed break and headed out to one of my favorite places to hang out and photograph the nature and enjoy the wildlife that I am lucky enough to have just a few miles from home.  I see happy families fishing off the shoreline, people laughing, enjoying boats on the water, carefree groups picnicking and camping.

And I see trash. Lots and lots of trash.

I shouldn’t be surprised.  I do, after all, take part in the clean up endeavors organized by CleanJordanLake.org  and have seen first hand the mountains of waste  that finds its way downstream ending up in our lake. What I don’t understand is the utter careless ambivalence by the very people who enjoy all that our lake has to offer, discarding their garbage as though it’s going to magically be swallowed up by the earth and do no damage.

Here’s a look at the variety of “species” I encountered.

trash, sunkist

Known for basking in the sun, it’s no surprise how this species got it’s name!

trash, McDonalds

Too many purchased species kept in captivity are discarded when they aren’t useful any longer.

fishingline, trash

This common nylon creature is deceptively harmless. Once it attaches itself to other unsuspecting wildlife it becomes a deadly predator.

Last year, a friend and I rescued a Great Blue Heron caught up in fishing line. All you need to do is Google wildlife rehab centers to see the magnitude of injured and killed wildlife affected by this every day.

trash

It’s not uncommon to find many different species of plastics gathering along the shoreline

trash, coke

An outcast from it’s group and typically travelling in packs of six, this unfortunate species has lost it’s soul mates.

I wish a lot of things…I wish there was a better ability by park authorities to police the litterers, I wish fast food chains could be fined or have to pay a tax to use styrofoam. I wish there was more incentive for recycling, although the preservation of our resources should be enough. I wish people weren’t so careless and uncaring. I can only make a small dent. I carry trash bags in my car to collect what I can and participate in organized clean ups but it’s a daunting and never-ending task.

Pick up a piece of trash. Clean up after yourself and leave the places you visit and enjoy better than how you found them.

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Dawn To Dusk

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One of my favorite views of the lake. The lake narrows, becoming a swampy winding creek passing through richly populated wildlife habitat…Both images are 2 frame, stiched panoramas.

Dawn To Dusk

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CreekRaw_Panorama2 One of my favorite views of the lake. The lake narrows, becoming a swampy winding creek passing through richly populated wildlife habitat…

Ambassador Buddy

Buddy

Buddy

I went to Waynesboro, Virginia  for Riverfest to see Buddy the Bald Eagle, ambassador for the Wildlife Center of Virginia.  Bald Eagles, through yearly moults, finally get their signature white heads and tails in their fifth year.  Buddy turned 5 this year on April 27th and has grown into a beautiful adult bird.  Click to see  pictures of Buddy through the years.

Buddy had a lesion caused by Avian Pox as a nestling. He was removed from his nest in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, treated, raised and is cared for at WCV. Because of the pox his beak will never grow properly and he cannot be released into the wild. You can read more about Buddy on the Wildlife Center website. 

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Who says birds don’t have personalities?

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