Sep 272012
 

Not from the preserve, but from Bombay Hook.

Have you ever been fascinated by wildlife?  Have you ever dreamed of getting close (as close as 3-4 feet!) from wild wolves?  Lakota Wolf Preserve is a great place for you then!  This facility in Columbia, NJ is home to 4 packs of wolves; including Timber, Tundra, and Arctic wolves along with Bobcats and foxes that live at the preserve.  The facility is owned by Jim Stein and Dan and Pam Bacon and allows visitors to watch the wolves in native and natural surroundings.

 

If you are just interested in visiting and learning more about the wolves the facility offers 2 1.5 hour wolf watch programs during which visitors can ask as many questions as they would like and talk to people who work with and may even have helped raise some of the wolves present.  Ask about their living structure and eating habits or just about the differences between the different types of wolves.  For those who are into photography, a private 2 hour photo tour can be set up for $300 per person (groups greater then 5 can call for special group prices) and get closer, behind the scenes views of the wolves without the obstruction of the chain link fence that is around the normal public viewing area.

 

Reservations are needed for groups, or during the week.  No reservations are needed for Saturdays or Sundays for families or individuals.  The preserve is closed on Mondays.

 

We are going this weekend for a photography tour along with spending some time at the Delaware Water Gap Saturday.  I look forward to sharing my pictures from the experience with you when we return!  For more information, visit: http://www.lakotawolf.com/

Not from the preserve, but my next ones will be!!

 

Aug 272012
 

This Spring I had the honor of discovering an new local attraction that I never new existed.  A friend heard about a Dam and Azalea Garden near Columbia, Maryland and we decided to check it out.  I have to say that it is a beautiful area and the Dam itself offers a nice habitat for geese and some other wild life to enjoy.  Fishermen can go there, although I do want to put out the reminder that this is an area shared by other people and other species, so please clean up after yourself and don’t leave fishing lines out where it can harm other wild life!

 

 

First we saw the beautiful picnic area down by the dam and then we went and walked around the Azalea Garden, which has Azaleas in many different colors and several different sizes.  It was fun to walk around, get some fresh air, and see and photograph these beautiful flowers and the local wildlife.  Definitely keeping this place in mind for next year to visit again!

 

 

 

Of note, there are also beautiful Dogwood trees in the Azalea Garden.  There is fun to be had here by people of all ages and even the family pet can go and have fun.  There is picnic tables, and even a pavilion for special events.

 

Aug 242012
 

So I’m a little excited about embarking on Monday on my first trip into Canada.  I’ve been to the other side of Niagara Falls when I was a small child, but never further then that.  Our trip includes exploring St. Paul Street, going to the Notre Dame Basilica, exploring Old Montreal, and St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, exploring Quebec, Chateau Frontenac, Montmorency Falls, The Sanctuary of Saint Anne De Beaupre, and ends with a visit to the Montreal Casino.  This is a bus trip through Flo’s Tours and White Star Tours, but still looking forward to sharing my pictures from the trip!  I hope to get some black and white film shots of the historical parts and the natural parts of the trip, along with digital color shots of the places we go.

Aug 222012
 

Jelly Fish

Living near Baltimore there are many places I try to visit at least every couple of years.  As I have friends and family come visit who don’t live in the area, I make it to some of these sites more often then when they aren’t here visiting.  It is very easy to take for granted the sites in DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis, let alone all the other areas near by.  My last visit to the Baltimore Aquarium was this past April, and it made me want to make it there to visit more often.

When I went there was still an official Dolphin show taking place several times a day, and I hear now that is not the case, but visitors can still go watch the trainers interact with the dolphins and can pay extra to spend a day assisting the trainers/or become trainers for the day.

There are many fish and exhibits to be seen that can teach young and old alike about our oceans and water ways.  There are even special exhibits that occur sometimes.  When I went there was a special Jelly Fish Exhibit to capture the visitors imaginations.  The fish are beautiful and there is lots to learn along the way.  The aquarium has activities for children and lots of information that is fun for the adult visitors, too.  I’d recommend a trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore to anyone who is contemplating it!

 

Aug 202012
 

Zebra walking past an inflating balloon after the Dawn Patrol

Balloon taking off

All I can say about Albuquerque is if you ever get the chance to go there and experience the Balloon Fiesta, GO!  It is an experience that you will never forget and you will not regret it!  In 2011 I witnessed a world record being broken as they launched more balloons in an hour then had ever been launched before the first weekend we were there.  It was beautiful to behold and the sky was just filled with balloons!  There are many different events to behold, some very early, and some late.  The day starts with the Dawn Patrol.  And it is just what it sounds, balloons taking off in the pre-dawn light and it’s a site to behold as you can see the balloons gradually inflate and glow as their fires are lit and fill them with hot air…and then they sail up into the dark sky just before dawn, then as the sunrises, they can be seen floating around as the rest of the balloons fill and take off.  One of the great parts of the Fiesta is that you can walk around the field as the balloons are laid out for their flights, and then watch as they are filled and then take off.  Their are officials who monitor the take offs called zebras and I have to say that the zebras keep everything orderly and clear the area as the balloons take off.

There is little going on during the day after the morning balloons take off, so the park clears around 10-11, as the food and gift vendors close until the evening when the Evening Glow takes place.  In the evening no one takes off, but the balloons are laid out and inflated as everyone walks around and beholds all the unique balloons.  There is everything from standard balloons to special shapes that come in all shapes and sizes!

 

I’ve been to the Balloon Fiesta twice now and this past year I even got to go up in a balloon.  I was honored to represent the media at the event and will never forget my first balloon ride.  I hope to be able to up again in the future, too.  My flight almost didn’t happen because it was a windy day, and the pilot almost chose not to go, but the winds improved and we went.  It was not as long as many other people got to have, but it was long enough to make me want to have the experience again.  I’ve been in a chase crew twice now and that is almost more fun then going up…but as I said, ALMOST!  Sailing up and away from the field and then floating in the air with a balloon keeping you up is not something everyone would want to do, but most the pilots are very experienced and they know what they are doing.

 

don’t know for sure when I’ll make it back to another Balloon Fiesta.  I wish I could go every year, but that just isn’t in the cards.  But I know I’ll go back almost every chance I’m given!

Official Fiesta Balloon lowering the Stars and Stripes for the National Anthem after the Dawn Patrol but before most other balloons take off