Thursday, April 30, 2009


These were the strangest looking wildflowers I'd seen yet. Until I started practicing my macro shots, I'd never thought of wildflowers as "hairy." But here they are in all their hairy glory.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I was waiting patiently at an intersection for the light to go green when I saw this pattern on the freshly mown grass in front of this historic building on the edge of the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood. So I took a quick shot during the red light. It looked like a pair of green socks that I once had. Only bigger. And made of grass.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Code Talker

Part of the Native American festival in Maryville included a very special speaker. The gentleman in the chair is one of the Navajo Code Talkers from World War II. The Code Talkers served in the Marines and sent vital data to American troops in the Navajo language. Very few people outside of the Navajo Nation understood this complex language, so it became an unbreakable code. The Code Talkers helped America win the war in the Pacific, including the battle of Iwo Jima. Out of 400 Code Talkers, only about 40 are still living today. It was inspiring to hear this old warrior tell his story.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Any Given Saturday

Maryville is a delightful small town just south of Knoxville. I never know what I'll see around the greenbelt and library. Maybe a father and daughter out enjoying the sunny weather, or maybe a Native American in full regalia. He was actually part of a Native American festival being held on Saturday on the lawn outside of the library.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

High Five

I'm continuing my macro work in the great outdoors. I'd tell you what kind of flower this is, but I've already forgot. I think I'm getting the hang of noticing the different effects of light and shadow on everything. But now I find I'm looking for it everywhere all the time. Which can be a problem when I'm driving.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Moving Targets

Here are local favorites Hector Qirko and R.B. Morris playing a concert at the restored Candoro Marble building in South Knoxville. I'm posting this because it's the only photo that I took of them that I managed to get in focus. Yay me.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Straight Up

This is the overlook at the top of House Mountain, the highest point in Knox County, 2100 feet high. This natural area managed by the State of Tennessee is only 10 miles away from Knoxville. I could tell you about tectonic plates and synclinal folds that formed the mountain. Or I could just mention that the Overlook Trail is really made for mountain goats that like to climb straight up steep inclines and scramble across boulders. And then they eat their lunch on a sunny rock high above the rolling farmland of Knox County.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Them Bones

This is not someone's art project. These are teaching tools used in anatomy and physiology lab at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. The color-coding helps students learn what bones look like in different mammals: bovine, canine, and equine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pink Riot

There are white dogwoods and there are pink dogwoods. White ones occur naturally in the wild, and are also cultivated. I've heard that pink ones are also natural, although the natural pink is very pale and not Violently Pink like these cultivated blossoms.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dog and Pony Show, Part 2

Well, it's not really a pony. It's a big ol' draft horse named Gracie who used to work on an Amish farm, but is now retired to East Tennessee. She was one of the stars of the Equine Parade at the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine's open house on Saturday. The audience, especially the horse-crazy little girls, were delighted to see Gracie. We all snapped our fingers in approval, because horses don't like loud clapping noises.

And as a city girl born and bred who has never ridden a horse, I just have to ask the equestrians out there on the Internet: how do you get up to ride something that big? A stepladder? Levitation?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dog and Pony Show, Part 1

Saturday was the day for the annual open house at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine, one of my favorite yearly events. I posted a few photos of this last year, and if I'm still hanging around the blogosphere next year, I'll be posting more.

The Canine Parade teaches the audience about all kinds of dog breeds, but the real fun for me is after the parade, when you can meet and greet the dogs and their owners. This beautiful greyhound was a rescue dog. Greyhounds are so low-key friendly, and as you can see, not camera-shy at all. This little girl now lives a life of leisure and has the run of her owner's farm.

Tomorrow: the pony part of the show.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Little Dinosaur

I saw this wonderful little lizard out of the corner of my eye during a hike, so I turned and shot fast - into the sun, which explains the discoloration. But what the hey, I'm posting it anyway. I'm going to play around with it in Photoshop to see if I can repair the color. Maybe if I'm successful, I'll post before-and-after.

Of course, lizards detest having their photos made. The sun is behind me for this one. Can you spot our camera-shy subject?

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Here is yet another outpost of the University of Tennessee's agriculture research, right outside of downtown Knoxville. Isn't it bucolic? I was told this used to be a low security prison before it was closed and UT reused it for its ag research programs.

Why does UT have such a large agriculture program? It all has to do with the land. After the Civil War, UT became a Land Grant institution. These institutions were given federal land in exchange for teaching agriculture and providing military training to students. UT was officially designated a Land Grant institution in 1879.

Friday, April 17, 2009

April Showers

Oh those April showers! I love watching the rain clouds roll in, then watching them get pushed away by the sun. The rain-soaked hiking paths shimmer, changing from gray to silver.

It's a good thing I'm waterproof.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


A quick one today, as I have to work extra this evening (again). This fiddlehead fern is starting to unfurl. I think this macro has better focus than my previous attempt on Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gaging Station

This is an old gaging station tower that still stands along the banks of the Tennessee River near downtown Knoxville. The US Geological Survey folks use them to monitor water height, temperature, and water chemistry. I don't know if this one is still in service - it looks old and abandoned.

Of course, if the water level ever reaches the height of the tower, I'd say we wouldn't need a gage to know we were in deep trouble.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easy Rider

The yellow trillium are just starting to bloom in the woodlands of East Tennessee. I saw quite a few on the wildflower walk at Ijams Nature Center, but this one had a special passenger on board.
Yes, I know spiders are not insects, but honestly I don't plan on taking enough photos to warrant an arachnid label.

Monday, April 13, 2009


It's dogwood time in Tennessee, and throughout the southeastern US. Yes, we have loads of pretty cultivated dogwood trees, but they had to come from somewhere originally. So today I'm showing you a wild dogwood, a volunteer if you will, growing in the woods at Ijams Nature Center. I spotted it on a wildflower walk sponsored by the Center this past weekend. The blossoms on the wild trees aren't as numerous. But that's OK, because these looked like a swarm of butterflies flying toward me.

I'll have a few more wildflower photos to post this week as I work on my macro technique.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


This flowering tree in the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood looked like a fountain spraying blossoms instead of water. Which is why I love spring in East Tennessee.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Name That Flower

OK, CDPBers, you were so helpful with my last mystery flower that I turn to you again in my time of puzzlement. Apparently, I spend a lot of time in puzzlement.

This is the newest mystery flower that I saw at Ijams Nature Center. And once again, I am clueless as to what kind of flower I have photographed. Sure is pretty. Any ideas?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bait and Switch

I don't know who painted this mural or when it was painted. As you see, I am not the fountain of information today. I just find this mural so poignant when I step back and view it in its full context:

This is the old swimming pool for the patients at Lakeshore Mental Health Institute. I don't know if they still use it - it looks pretty run down. And maybe that's where my pathos radar kicks in. The fantasy is a white sand beach with sunbathing babes and surfer dudes. The reality is a rectangle of chlorinated water behind barred gates.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Red Doors

The red doors of St John's Episcopal Cathedral downtown look especially good in the sunlight.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Curtain of Wood

I took this image with my zoom lens from the other end of Circle Park on the University of Tennessee campus. It's the southbound end of the northbound Torchbearer statue. I just like the way the leafless branches create a delicate gauzy curtain. What's behind the curtain? It's Hodges Library.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dogwood Winter

Well, the weather forcasters didn't lie. We had cold temperatures and snow flurries - you might see a little snow action in the glow of the streetlight. But the snow only dusted the tops of roofs and cars. This is what is charmingly known around these parts as "dogwood winter."

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lazy River

What a difference a day makes. I took this image yesterday at Cowan Park. The sun was shining, it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius), and I was having a picnic on the bank of the Tennessee River (actually Fort Loudon Lake here where the river was flooded by the Tennessee Valley Authority). When I look out at a scene like this, I feel like I'm in the 19th century.
Today the rain moved in, temperatures are plummeting, and we might even have some snow tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Get Right

Here's a typical little Missionary Baptist church on a country road in South Knoxville. The sign says "Get right or be left."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blue Flowers

Spring flowers are popping out of the ground at Ijams Nature Center. Anyone have any idea what these are? I just liked the blue color, and the way the light was shining on them.

Friday, April 3, 2009

California Dreaming

The South has had some severe storms again. Batten down the hatches, y'all. And it's supposed to turn cold again next week.

So here's a photo to match my mood: bare trees, roiling clouds, and the spire of the chapel at Lakeshore Mental Health Facility are crowding my headspace with some major California dreaming.

Lots more skies at Sky Watch. Go have a look-see.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Buying the Farm

This is not just any farm. It's Cherokee Farm, part of the University of Tennessee's agriculture program. And it's about to change.

The University has plans to build a technology center in place of the dairy farm, partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to bring research in sustainable energy, neutron science, biomedical and other technologies to the school. Students will be able to conduct research projects in partnership with ORNL scientists.

During site preparation, archaeologists found evidence of prehistoric American Indian villages along the banks of the Tennessee River that date from 1300 to possibly 5000 B.C. This area will be preserved as an historic site.

The project is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2011. The University plans to attract private technology companies and more jobs to the region because of the research that will go on here.

And if you're wondering where the cows will go, they've been moved to another UT agriculture campus.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Monthly Theme: Yellow! And It's Also My Birthday!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

OK, this one is harder than I expected. I've already shown you a pinwheely forsythia blossom, as yellow as the day is long. And come on, the Sunsphere is an obvious golden gimme - plus, it's my magnificent obsession, you've seen it here before ad nauseum. So what's a Knoxville Girl to do?

Seemed like a good time for a public service announcement for a wonderful local group that helps people improve their lives.

The Friends of Literacy is a private non-profit organization that serves Knox County and helps adults get the basic education and life skill training they need to improve their lives.

Did you know... that in Knox County (population a bit over 380,000) there are over 46,000 adults without a high school education... and over 10,000 can't read beyond a sixth grade level? The volunteers at Friends of Literacy help them with their reading and math skills so they can pass their high school equivalency test. Friends of Literacy also help ESL (English as Second Language) folks improve their English reading and speaking skills.

I've just gone through the 10 hour volunteer training classes and am eagerly looking forward to being placed as a math tutor or a language tutor. I think this is going to be a great experience. We all received that yellow star in the photo.

Also, today is my birthday, and coincidentally this photoblog's birthday too. My blog is one year old today! I am... erm .... quite a bit older than my blog.

So thanks to everyone who's visited and shared comments. I've learned so much about photography, and many other things too, from you all. It's been a pleasure to meet you, if only in the comments box. I hope my work and personal schedules will cut me some slack so I can visit all your wonderful blogs again. Now I'm on to the challenge of Year Two!