Hilton Head Island sunrise reflections

Wish I could always start my day like this.  You have to get up early, but it is worth it!

My favorite part of our stay at Hilton Head was when we would walk over to the beach and watch the sun rise.  At this particular time, the tide was out and the color of the sky and the clouds overhead were reflected in the water on the beach.  It’s almost like having two sunrises at the same time.

Hilton Head Island
Palmetto Dunes Beach Park

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/16 – 1/3 sec – ISO 100

Jewel of the Lily Pond

The Lily Pond at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville is a serene spot that invites visitors to sit happily and enjoy the scenery.  This is one of the many beautiful blossoms that we saw on our visit last weekend.  It’s definitely somewhere we will go back to hopefully, soon.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Gainesville, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
210mm @ f/10 – 1/250 sec – ISO 400

Aww, how cute

There is a balance of cute and ferocious when observing nature.  I was watching birds at Woody Pond in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge when these young alligators climbed out on a tree branch in the water to sun themselves.  The first one came out and claimed a spot and the second just climbed on top to share the beautiful sunshine.

At the same time, we could hear adult alligators bellowing in the swampy area surrounding the lake.  It is a thrill to observe nature but, I was very aware of what was going on around me, just in case one of those adults appeared nearby.  We always need to remember that nature is not always a human-friendly habitat.  We could become an easy meal to the natives if we’re not careful!

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/200 sec – ISO 320

Allamanda schottii

The Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville is covered with many beautiful plants and flowers.  This variety is a plant native to Brasil which appears to do very well in the Georgia climate.  Most of the plants in the family Allamanda are vines but this one is a bush form which is commonly known as Bush Allamanda.

I love the beautiful yellow flowers which were covered with raindrops on this cloudy morning.  I think we will have to return to the Gainesville gardens often to see how things change as the year goes on.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Gainesville, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
300mm @ f/8 – 1/400 sec – ISO 400

Correction: Pine Warbler

We get tons of House finches at our feeders but the goldfinches only show up on occasion.  I am kind of  a novice at bird identification so I was pretty sure this is a female goldfinch but, it is actually a male Pine Warbler.  It seems that there are a few different finches and warblers that are close to the same size and have the yellow color as well as the black wings with white stripes.

I’m hoping that we see some male goldfinches soon since the color is brighter and it’s pretty easy to pick them out.  They really add some great color to contrast with the other birds we see often.  Lately, it’s been woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, house finches, chickadees, wrens, titmouse and nuthatches at the feeders most often.  We see morning doves, towhees, and brown thrashers on the ground and hummingbirds at the flowers and feeders.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
450mm @ f/10 – 1/30 sec – ISO 400

White Lotus

The Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville has a nice water lily pond just outside it’s main entrance to the garden.  There is a mix of Egyptian Lotus type lilies like this one and tropical lilies which you more often see.

This was much more challenging of a shot than I thought it would be.  This white lotus was near the edge of the pond but to see the yellow center, you had to go way off to the side and lean over the rail.  I wanted to get in as close as I could to capture the center of the flower and the rain drops that covered the petals.  It took some chair moving and lots of changing of angles before I found a good vantage point.

The calm water behind this flower made for a beautiful background and I am pleased with the final image.  Hope you like it too.

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Gainesville, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
300mm @ f/8 – 1/400 sec – ISO 400

The REAL Hilton Head Lighthouse

Here’s a trivia question for people who have visited Hilton Head Island – Where can you find the Hilton Head lighthouse?  If you answered Harbour Town, you are only partly correct.  The well known Harbour Town Light was privately built as part of Harbour Town Marina and Sea Pines Plantation.

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Harbour Town Light

There is another lighthouse on Hilton Head that most people don’t know about.  Officially, it is called the Hilton Head Range Rear Light  and it is located on Hole 15 of the Arthur Hills Golf Course in the Leamington section of the Palmetto Dunes Resort.

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Leamington Light and Oil House

It is quite an unusual and historic lighthouse but is out of the way and so, not very well known.  The remaining structure is the interior cast-iron skeleton of what was once a wooden-clad tower that would look more like the traditional lights that we are used to.  The tower is called the “Rear” light because there were originally two towers.  The front light no longer exists but when operational, ships would line up beams from the two lights to give them an exact location when navigating the channel of Port Royal Sound.

The rear tower still stands along with the original brick Oil House.  The keeper’s house was moved and now is in Harbour Town near the more famous of Hilton Head’s lights.

 

To get to the lighthouse, you need to gain entrance to the Leamington neighborhood with is gated and requires special permission to enter.  We were staying in the Palmetto Dunes resort and got a pass to get in and view the light but we wouldn’t have known it exists if we hadn’t read about it.  The light is not on the shoreline and is not visible from a distance.  We actually drove right by it when we first went in so, you really have to know where to look in order to find it.

Hilton Head Range Rear Light
(a.k.a. Leamington Light)
Arthur Hills Golf Course
Palmetto Dunes – Leamington
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
38mm @ f/11 – 1/200 sec – ISO 200