Remnant of the Past

Thimble-shaped structures like this dot the island of Jamaica and most people probably see them but don’t notice or don’t know what they are.  This is the base of a windmill that was used in the production of sugar.  These mills were all over the island when Sugar Plantations fueled the growth of the British colony that thrived here.  The mills were used to grind the sugar cane to produce granulated sugar and molasses.  Molasses is what Rum is produced from and this is the other big product of the colonial era.

At one time, Jamaica was the top producer of sugar in the world.  Today, it is still a major producer of sugar and rum but tourism is the biggest source of income.  It was very neat to learn a little of the island’s history when we were on our tour going from Falmouth to Montego Bay.

Jamaican Sugar Mill ruins

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
44mm @ f/14 – 1/50 sec – ISO 200

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Just chillin’ in Jamaica

Everywhere you go in the Caribbean, there are vendors selling food or miscellaneous trinkets.  This guy just seemed to exude a Jamaican vibe doing nothing other than sitting at his cart full of coconuts.  For all I know, he could be from New Jersey but from a distance, this just seemed to me to capture the laid-back nature of this island.

It was awful hot as we were waiting for our excursion to Montego Bay and those ice-cold coconuts looked really tempting.  Of course there were many beautiful sights here that just call you to relax and enjoy.  I can see why they say one of the most common phrases here is – No Worries, Mon!

I totally agree.

Falmouth, Jamaica

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
50mm @ f/14 – 1/30 sec – ISO 200

Leading the way

It seems that guys on stilts are the easiest way to attract attention in the Caribbean.  I mean, with all the beautiful scenery around here, how else are you going to get people to pay attention?

This group of musicians, led by the guy on stilts, roamed through the market street on Labadee while the vendors yelled out for each passer-by to look at what they were offering.  The drums and vuvuzela horns did their part to get you to notice them also.

Joyce and I had been to Labadee once before and this is one of the places that we remembered well.  The market is packed with locals desperate to sell their artwork and trinkets.  It is all very well maintained and controlled by the cruise line but it is still one of those spots where I feel pressured into looking at stuff that I don’t really want.  It’s also kind of hard to say no when you know that this island is one of the poorest spots in the world.  A place where you can feel grateful for natural beauty and guilty for not doing more for the poor at the same time.

Haitian Troubadours
Labadee, Haiti

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/10 – 1/30 sec – ISO 100

Ancient Observatory

It is amazing to realize how advanced the science of the Maya culture was centuries before our modern calendar even started.  One of the chief areas of scientific study was astronomy, which linked into their most famous creation – the Mayan calendar.

In order to study the stars, there was a need for a place that would be elevated above the canopy of the forest that covers the Yucatan plain where Chichen Itza is located. The observatory is built on a multi-level plateau with a cylindrical tower atop it.  The building is known as “El Caracol” (the Snail – in Spanish) which is a reference to the circular stairs that lead from the lower tower to the upper observation tower.  The upper tower has slit windows that are specially aligned to observe the planet Venus and the summer and winter solstice of the Sun.

Looking at the partially ruined tower with its domed roof, makes you think of a modern observatory with a high-powered telescope poking out.  Though the Maya did not have telescopes, they had a fantastic knowledge of the movements within the heavens and were able to calculate astronomical events with great accuracy.  Seeing these sites and thinking back on what this civilization was capable of is truly awe inspiring!

El Caracol (The Observatory)
Chichen Itza
Yucatan, Mexico

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm @ f/10 – 1/2000 sec – ISO 400

Tallulah Gorge bridge

I was looking for a shot to post this morning and remembered that I never put up this panorama of the Tallulah Gorge looking down on the suspension bridge.  Every time I look at mountain shots, I am reminded of how that cool, fresh mountain air makes me feel so good.  Being up in the higher elevations always seems to lift my spirit as well.

Maybe it is the altitude itself or perhaps the amazing views but a visit to the mountains is always worth the trip.

Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Falls, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/11 – 1/100 sec – ISO 200

Greasy Creek

When we visited Black Rock Mountain State Park a couple of weeks ago, we went looking for a waterfall that is on Greasy Creek near Black Rock Lake.  The image shown here was what I saw of the creek, which has a number of little cascades which I took to be what people said were the “falls”.  Apparently, there are actually some true waterfalls nearby but I missed the path for that.

It was nice to wander the pathways around the lake and admire the little stream flowing through groves of mountain laurel.  The woods were pleasantly shady and cool on a hot August day and the walk was enjoyable even though we didn’t locate the falls we were looking for.  Maybe we can make an autumn trip back up here and see it again when the leaves are changing.  I think that would be a fantastic opportunity for some nice landscapes.

 

Greasy Creek
Black Rock Mountain State Park
Mountain City, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/18 – 1.3 sec – ISO 640

Beads

Here’s another example of how ordinary, small items can be very interesting when viewed at close range.  The patterns and textures on these little beads really stand out with a macro view and suddenly become a whole tiny landscape that you would not notice when viewing from a distance.

Our lives are full of things that are really cool when you take the time to give them a good look but which we often ignore.  Take the time to pay attention and see the small things in life and what is often considered boring becomes an amazing world right in front of your eyes.

Mike Moats Macro Boot Camp
Peachtree City, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 – 0.8 sec – ISO 400