the photo blog about travel, history, and business
The rear window on this truck we found parked outside a Moab rock shop says, "4 out of 5 voices in my head say go for it." In 2018, I listened to those voices and committed to post weekly to this photo blog.
In March, we posted peter-peter-peter and the BAND with this image of a singing titmouse. The post shared the modern paleontology view that birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs. Think modern day velociraptor when you watch your next bird belt out a tune.
In April, we spent a couple of posts visiting the issues of light pollution and the joy and wonder of finding a visible night sky. The first called The Color of Black and White featured an image from a very dark sky in Utah while the second, It's Not That Far From Here, explored the night sky from the the Pisgah Forest near the southern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
If you have ever wondered what it is like to venture out in the middle of the night away from city lights to take in a truly dark night sky, check out one of the posts. As I noted then, it is both invigorating and disorienting to be out in the dark away from civilization and your comfort zone. And, while you can easily get lost if you are not careful, you will have a unique experience that will remind you of the vastness of the universe and our small place in it.
Night sky viewing takes you back in time. The light you see from the stars and planets started traveling our way millions and even hundreds of millions of years ago.the sky you see in dark places is the same sky our ancient ancestors viewed at night.
Consistent with looking back in time, we also used April to visit Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, using the images they left on their coins in our entries on Ancient Social Media and A Selfie of Cleopatra. The entries include coins from the Ancient Selfies Collection featured in my 2017 book Ancient Selfies, a 2017 International Book Awards Finalist and 2018 eLit Awards Gold Medal Winner.
The coin above was issued to pay a young Cleopatra's troops in 48 BC while she and they were pinned down in Cypress by her brother's armies. Shortly after, Julius Caesar arrived in Alexandria and demanded to see both siblings. Cleopatra snuck into Alexandria wrapped in a rug and changed the course of history.
May took us to Yellowstone and gave us perhaps my favorite posting of the year - Magic Mike and the Otter - where we relate our experience touring Yellowstone in a snow storm with one of the worst guides on the planet.
But, how bad could it be if it generated images like the one above? Think Ace Ventura with a chili dog smeared across his face dragging four Atlantan's around in a mad rush to see his first wolf of the season.
The day failed in its guide's primary objective but provided lots of entertainment. That's a coyote above, just one of many interesting sightings we did make that day.
The wolf came the next day, early in the morning when I was without a guide and had stopped to watch a pair of elk grazing along side the Madison River. In our Wolf in the Wild posting, I relate the heart-pounding experience of watching a lone wolf confront a elk less than a hundred yards away from where I was standing.
Of course, this was not all we saw or wrote about from our trip. Moose and grizzly bears also featured prominently in our visit and our blog. The moose we found ourselves surprisingly close to when he ambled out of a willow stand not 10 yards away. Revisit that experience at Moose-a-boo and The Moose Whisperer, the two posts we dedicated to that adventure.
The bears we experienced from greater distances (thank goodness). Our first experience was a bear jam just south of a construction zone in Yellowstone, along a route Magic Mike had taken us the day before. You can visit that at Grizzly Jam or join us a few days later in Grand Teton National Park as we catch up with Griz 399, perhaps the most famous grizzly bear on the planet.
The surprise of the summer, however, came closer to home. For the last few years, we have been seeing great blue herons just across a cove from our cabin in North Georgia. Last year I found what I thought was "the" nest responsible for all our sightings high in a pine tree next to the water.
This year I had a few days to search out the nest in my kayak, heading out several mornings and evenings to search for this year's heron's nest. Over the course of a few outings across the cove (I was not the brightest crayon in the box on this one), it became apparent that not only was the nest occupied with young herons but that there were several nests - a great blue heron rookery - on the island that hosted the first nest. Who knew herons nested in rookeries?
I wrote about this a few times, capturing the closeup below in the posting called Great Baby Blues and images of the herons nesting high above in Seeing Through a Lens. and Dinosaurs Across the Cove. If you would like to see a cormorant launch himself from a log in the water near the rookery, check out The Launch posting.
Perhaps a favorite heron (or dinosaur) image came from one of these trips across the cove. Seen below is a young heron waiting to be fed in a nest several stories up. I think this chick looks positively prehistoric, a worthy heir to its direct line to the ancient Tyrannosaurus family.
Ancient Odysseus, the clever Greek wanderer, entered my mind when I saw this hulking Oldsmobile in a North Georgia junk yard. The place was filled with hood ornaments and logos that hailed back to ancient heroes.
This particular rusting old car, however, is what brought to mind the spent figure of Odysseus sneaking back into his home after decades at sea. This connection and the image of Odysseus from an old Roman coin sparked the discussion in the Ancients Among Us post.
And that is just part of our 2018. We also posted thoughts an images from great National Parks in California and the West. Joshua Tree, Death Valley and the geologic wonders of Yellowstone all caught our interest.
And then August took us far from our comfort zone. Twenty-four hours of flights and layovers to go somewhere we had never been before - the wilds of Kenya.
More about all of this in our next Venture Moola Retro posting.
All photos and text are copyright Clinton Richardson. If you like these posts, please tell your friends about the Venture Moola blog at Readjanus.com. And, feel free to share this blog. The more readers the better. Click here if you would like to get a weekly email that notifies you when we release new entries. Or, click in the side column to follow us on Facebook or Twitter
The venture moola blog comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Find it at readjanus.com. Copyright Clinton Richardson.
Travel, business and history with original photos.
Clinton Richardson - author, photographer, business advisor and traveler.
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