Gail A. Dixon: Blog en-us (C) Gail A. Dixon (Gail A. Dixon) Tue, 19 Apr 2022 15:38:00 GMT Tue, 19 Apr 2022 15:38:00 GMT Gail A. Dixon: Blog 85 120 366/366 | Don't Look Back Project 366: The End. I did it, woo hoo!!!!

When I started this project I had no idea the challenges we would face as a nation and globally. Each day I start my prayer thanking God for the day. This morning I saw a prayer on Twitter from @Corrynmb that is similar to my own prayers of late:

Thank you God for 2020, for every trial that brought me closer to you. For every obstacle that taught me to abide in you. For the love and peace that you cover me with. God, you are so good and faithful! May you be glorified in 2021 and continue to take us deeper in our relationship!

Happy New Year and may 2021 bring all of us peace and blessings. Let's look forward, not backward. Cheers!

366/366366/366Don't Look Back
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) baton rouge zoo brown pelican close up eye pelican project 365 project 366 wildlife Thu, 31 Dec 2020 20:50:52 GMT
365/366 | Monkey See One more day of this project!! I have something "fiery" planned for tomorrow if it doesn't rain. *fingers crossed*

After another restless night of sleep and two cups of coffee, I decided to drive to our local zoo. I'm not a fan of zoos in general, but I understand their role as a place for injured wildlife and education. Thankfully, they've made some improvements to our zoo, so I'll start supporting them again.

I present to you the Black-handed Spider Monkey. This tree-dwelling creature has a prehensile tale that can be used like an extra hand. He and his gang of three put on quite a show. Even though it rained off and on, it was a fun afternoon.

365/366365/366Monkey See
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) baton rouge zoo black-handed spider monkey brec baton rouge zoo monkey primate project 365 project 366 spider monkey zoo Wed, 30 Dec 2020 21:28:13 GMT
364/366 | Crested Caracara This morning I got a wild hair and drove to Lacassine Wildlife Refuge, 2-1/2 hours southwest. It was a beautiful day and the place had been on my bucket list all year. The year is nearly over, as well as this project, so I thought 'Why not?'

As I neared the refuge I saw a strange bird I had never seen before in some tall grass just off the road. I took some shots from the car window, and since that didn't seem to scare him off, I crept out as stealthily as possible to get closer. Well, that was the wrong move! Buh-bye Crested Caracara. Out of 10 snaps, this is the best of the bunch. Hot dog, I have a new bird to add to my bird list!

I will definitely make a trip back to Lacassine. I saw hundreds if not thousands of ducks. When they'd all take flight at once it took my breath away. God's creation in action is medicine for the soul.

364/366364/366Crested Caracara
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds cameron parish caracara crested caracara falcon lacassine project 365 project 366 wildlife wildlife refuge Wed, 30 Dec 2020 01:23:20 GMT
363/366 | Chipper In between loads of laundry, I spotted a Chipping Sparrow in our crape myrtle tree. An unexpected GOD blessing which I always cherish.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 200 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird birding chipping sparrow project 365 project 366 sparrow wildlife winter bird migrant Mon, 28 Dec 2020 22:45:31 GMT
362/366 | Savannah Sparrow The husband returned with me to Ben Hur Rd., the latest birding hotspot in town. The Vermilion Flycatcher was still there and my husband was thrilled to see him so clearly with his binoculars. My job was to photograph the Savannah Sparrows, which were so plentiful the day before. Today, they were scarce. I lured this one out with my iBird Pro app. His expression seemed to say, "Who goes there?!"

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds nature project 365 project 366 savannah sparrow sparrow wildlife winter bird migrant Sun, 27 Dec 2020 22:24:31 GMT
361/366 | Ben Hur A couple days ago I received notice from a birding group that a Vermilion Flycatcher was spotted in south Baton Rouge, at a termite facility on Ben Hur Road. The area is a bit remote with an old two-lane road dividing the land which is mostly designated for the LSU Agricultural Center. The Vermilion Flycatcher rarely gets this far north, so it's a big deal. I met over a dozen birders and photographers in the span of 2 hours.

As I drove there around 9AM, I had some quiet time with God, thanking Him for all our blessings, and for also helping me with this photo project. Even though there were ups and downs, I asked to end on a high note.

I named this guy 'Ben Hur' since that's the road he's currently residing on. It was fun watching him dive gracefully for insects and bring them back to his preferred perch: the ugly, rusty fence. I so wanted to get him perched on one of the many trees, or get a closer look, but he did not cooperate. I'm used to wildlife being uncooperative.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the male as "A feathered ember." This bird is very small, yet you can't miss the vibrant red feathers, even from a great distance. 

361/366361/366Ben Hur
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds flycatcher nature project 365 project 366 red bird vermilion flycatcher wildlife winter bird migrant Sat, 26 Dec 2020 21:37:10 GMT
360/366 | A Child Is Born For a child is born to us,
    a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
    And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

360/366360/366A Child is Born
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) a child is born birthday Christ Christmas God's gift iPhone 11 Pro Max Jesus Project 365 Project 366 Religion Sat, 26 Dec 2020 00:03:31 GMT
359/366 | Gumbeaux Merry Christmas Eve! Our local restaurant, Dempsey's, furnished our evening meal. Gotta support our restaurants these days. A dollop of potato salad (not shown) was added afterwards, along with a slice of French bread. A glass of wine to compliment the delicious food. The perfect comfort food for a cold evening served on my mother's Montclair Lenox fine china.

Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter, we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us: for shining star and angel's song, for infant's cry in lowly manger. We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child. We behold His glory, and are bathed in its radiance. (Credit to

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) iphone 11 pro max cajun food christmas eve food gumbo project 365 project 366 seafood gumbo Fri, 25 Dec 2020 01:55:27 GMT
358/366 | December Bloom Image of 12/23/2020

This is blooming in our neighbor's yard. It's some type of bulb, but I don't know what kind. It's Christmas Eve and I'm trying to get caught up with this project, so maybe I'll remember to research later. That's a big MAYBE.

358/366358/366December Bloom
iPhone 11 Pro Max
(the portrait mode makes pretty bokeh)

(Gail A. Dixon) bulb plant flower garden gardening iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 Thu, 24 Dec 2020 21:38:31 GMT
357/366 | Double Trouble Image of 12/22/2020

The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are multiplying like crazy. We used to see them mostly in bayous and swamps; now they are in abundance at city parks and ponds. They are so amusing, constantly playing while making their whistling noises. Fun to watch.

357/366357/366Double Trouble
200mm | f/5 | ISO 320 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds black-bellied whistling ducks ducks nature project 365 project 366 tree ducks wildlife Thu, 24 Dec 2020 21:25:07 GMT
356/366 | Snacking in Style Image of 12/21/2020

When Tri-colored Herons fish, they use their wings to shield glare, allowing them to see better. It's fun to watch them twirl around like a ballerina as they hunt. This one has a tiny fish at the end of his beak.

356/366356/366Snacking in Style
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds fish heron lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 tri-colored heron wildlife Thu, 24 Dec 2020 17:32:52 GMT
355/366 | Pretzel Pose Image of 12/20/2020

A Great Egret posing in front of colorful cypress trees. His stance reminded me of a pretzel.

355/366355/366Pretzel Pose
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 320 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds egret great egret nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Thu, 24 Dec 2020 17:10:23 GMT
354/366 | Blue-winged Teal Image of 12/19/2020

At LSU Lakes, the husband and I enjoyed some closer looks at the Blue-winged Teals. 

354/366354/366Blue-winged Teal
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 320 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birds blue-winged teal ducks nature project 365 project 366 teal wildlife winter duck Thu, 24 Dec 2020 17:00:29 GMT
353/366 | Juvenile Landing Image of 12/18/2020

Juvenile White Ibis coming in for a landing. 

353/366353/366Juvenile Landing
286mm | f/5.6 | ISO 200 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird in flight birding birds ibis juvenile bird nature project 365 project 366 white ibis wildlife Thu, 24 Dec 2020 16:47:51 GMT
352/366 | Mrs. Ruby Image of 12/17/2020

The male Ruby-crowned Kinglet refused to make an appearance, but the Mrs. was intrigued. I think he's on to me now. :/

352/366352/366Mrs. Ruby
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 500 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds nature project 365 project 366 ruby-crowned kinglet wildlife Thu, 24 Dec 2020 16:18:14 GMT
351/366 | They're Back! Image of 12/16/2020

The Ruby-crowned Kinglets have returned to winter with us. Two pairs were spotted at a nearby birding spot. Using the iBird Pro app to play their songs brought the male out immediately. They are so fast that my camera has a hard time keeping up.

351/366351/366They're Back!
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds project 365 project 366 ruby-crowned kinglet wildlife winter bird winter bird migrant Thu, 24 Dec 2020 15:54:39 GMT
350/366 | Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Image of 12/15/2020

Another day of birding Harris Walking Trail at Woman's Hospital. While calling out the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher came out from the brush and posed quite nicely. He seemed to enjoy showing off his latest catch. It was totally unexpected—a God blessing to brighten the day.

This species is a winter bird for Baton Rouge. 

350/366350/366Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds blue-gray gnatcatcher migrant nature project 365 project 366 wildlife winter bird migrant Thu, 24 Dec 2020 02:31:26 GMT
349/366 | Dead End Image of 12/14/2020

Took this picture with my iPhone on my daily walk. That's all I had for this day.

349/366349/366Dead End
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) iphone 11 pro max dead end project 365 project 366 road sign sign Thu, 24 Dec 2020 01:28:01 GMT
348/366 | Fall Foliage Image of 12/13/2020

This was the day my Mac died, or so I thought. The repair shop expedited a new SSD hard drive and $700 later my computer is running like a dream. Merry Christmas to me. Heh. There's much more to the story, but I'll spare you the gory details.

Lately I've been birding the walking trail around Woman's Hospital, about 2 miles south of my house. Even though I did get some pretty decent pics of the Belted Kingfisher, I decided I liked this shot of the pond and trail. I have lots of catching up to do and Christmas to prepare for. But at least this is a start.

348/366348/366Fall Foliage
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) autumn fall colors fall foliage fall in louisiana iphone 11 pro max lake pond project 365 project 366 trees water Thu, 24 Dec 2020 00:35:31 GMT
Update My iMac died on 12/13/2020. The repair shop promises to have it fixed the day after Christmas. A first world problem, but annoying nonetheless. I’m still shooting, but can’t process the pics. 

Merry Christmas, y’all! Praying and hoping 2021 is kinder to all of us. 

(Gail A. Dixon) computer died imac broken Sat, 19 Dec 2020 15:32:02 GMT
347/366 | Rare The husband and I saw this duck at LSU Lakes on Thanksgiving Day. I couldn't identify it, but kept a photo for reference. About a week later I received an email notification from a bird group that a rare sighting of the Fulvous Whistling Duck was seen at nearby Capitol Lakes. I looked it up and I'll be dang, that was the duck I saw. Depending on who you talk to, this is the first or second time it has been recorded in Baton Rouge (see range map below).

Today we decided to bird Capitol Lakes, not even thinking about the Fulvous. A photography buddy of mine joined us at the southeast part of the lake to let me know the Fulvous was there! Boy, I was hot to trot, and so excited when I spotted him/her among the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. The cinnamon color and white stripes make him stand out. The light was not good, but I was able to salvage a couple of shots thanks to LR and PS. 

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1000 | 1/1250 sec


2020.12.12.FulvousWhistlingDuck.GAD_95912020.12.12.FulvousWhistlingDuck.GAD_9591Fulvous Whistling Duck
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 250 | 1/1250 sec

Fulvous Range Map
(thanks to iBird Pro)

(Gail A. Dixon) bird migration birding birds capitol lakes ducks fulvous whistling duck nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Sat, 12 Dec 2020 23:06:23 GMT
346/366 | Splish Splash Struck out at Capitol Lakes; it was awfully quiet there, so the husband and I drove around LSU Lakes. There we discovered several Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Grebes, Egrets, Herons, Ruddy Ducks, and a Black-crowned Night Heron that thought it was a good time to have a bath.

346/366346/366Splish Splash
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 1250 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird bird bath birding black-crowned night heron heron lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Sat, 12 Dec 2020 01:25:58 GMT
345/366 | Third Eyelid The American White Ibis demonstrating his third eyelid, also known as a nictitating membrane. This translucent "eyelid" offers protection and also moistens the eye while still maintaining vision. Rare in primates, it's found in fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and some mammals. Isn't nature fascinating?

345/366345/366Third Eyelid
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 160 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) American White Ibis birding birds Capitol Lakes Ibis nature nictitating membrane Project 365 Project 366 third eyelid wildlife Thu, 10 Dec 2020 22:53:43 GMT
344/366 | Berry Beautiful Another glorious day. In addition to sunshine and cool weather, God blessed me with the Cedar Waxwing as a bonus. Actually, there are numerous Waxwings hanging out at Capitol Lakes, THE hotspot now for winter migrants. I sat still in front of a juniper tree and waited. Not only did I destress, I was able to capture the red "wax-like" tips on the wings and the yellow tail tip. 

"The trees of the LORD are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted. There, the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the junipers."
Psalm 104:16-17

344/366344/366Berry Beautiful
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1000 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds Capitol Lakes Cedar Waxwing juniper berry Juniper tree migratory bird Project 365 Project 366 winter bird migrant Wed, 09 Dec 2020 20:56:14 GMT
343/366 | Blue-eyed Beauty A beautiful afternoon to enjoy the outdoors. Three geese were basking near the lake's edge and I singled out this one in particular. Duck identification is difficult because they intermingle. This appears to be a goose hybrid of some sort. I was really drawn to the blue eyes rimmed in orange and the feather colors.

343/366343/366Blue-eyed Beauty
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 250 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) capitol lakes domestic goose ducks goose goose hybrid nature project 365 project 366 waterfowl wildlife Tue, 08 Dec 2020 22:27:14 GMT
342/366 | The Lookouts Always pressed for time on Mondays, plus I had a dental checkup on the extracted wisdom teeth, so I blame that for my lack of creativity today. This pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in a shady area caught my attention. They reminded me of a pair of spies.

342/366342/366The Lookouts
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 640 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds black-bellied whistling ducks ducks lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 07 Dec 2020 21:27:03 GMT
341/366 | Yard Decor A gloomy day, but I managed a 4 mile walk this morning while it misted. This yard is in a neighborhood adjacent to ours. There is hardly a foot of space that doesn't have a wooden painted Christmas sign. This is the edge of the lawn. My effort for our house is a wreath on the door and a flag. Indoors I put out a centerpiece with candles on the buffet. I have no energy for Christmas decorations this year, but Christ rules in my heart!

341/366341/366Yard Decor
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) christmas christmas decorations iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 signs yard decorations Mon, 07 Dec 2020 02:01:37 GMT
340/366 | Buddy the Ruddy Audubon Field Guide describes this duck as "An odd little diver, the main North American representative of the group of stiff-tailed ducks, with spiky tail feathers that are often cocked up in the air." They rarely associate with other ducks, except they'll sometimes hang with the American Coots. They are not adept at flying and are mostly helpless on land.

We have a few pairs visiting Capitol Lakes for the winter, always floating in the same area. I've been trying to photograph one of the males all week. Today one finally came close enough to get a decent shot and was gracious enough to put on a show. This guy is in the beginning stages of his summer colors as demonstrated by the blue bill, though it gets much brighter and vivid later in the year—by then he'll be far away from us.

340/366340/366Buddy the Ruddy

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds capitol lake ducks lake pond project 365 project 366 ruddy duck wildlife winter bird migrant Sun, 06 Dec 2020 00:14:46 GMT
339/366 | Broken Wing Bryan Bless his heart, this American White Pelican has been stranded at the lakes by the governor's mansion for about three years now. The volunteer group who have tried to keep the lakes clean and help injured wildlife, bestowed the name Bryan (yes, with a Y) on him. I would have named him Pete or given him a male name that starts with a P, but that's just me. Normally the White Pelicans come for winter, then leave. Those of us who know his situation are saddened that he spends most of the year alone. Lately, he's been flapping his wings, but cannot get airborne. We'll all continue to watch over him.

“The righteous care for the needs of their animals...”
Proverbs 12:10

339/366339/366Broken Wing Bryan
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 100 | 1/1000 sec

Bryan flapping his wings Broken Wing BryanBroken Wing BryanBroken Wing Bryan
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 100 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) american white pelican birding birds broken wing nature pelican project 365 project 366 shorebird wildlife Fri, 04 Dec 2020 22:30:42 GMT
338/366 | Striking What a day! I left bible study early in order to get some photographs before the rains came. While observing a Little Blue Heron, my camera battery unexpectedly died. Aaargh. When I returned home, the sun decided to make an appearance, so I put in a fresh battery and made a second trip to LSU Lakes. By then, the sun was behind the clouds again.

Just as I was ready to pack it in, I noticed a lone, male Wood Duck among a large flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. He seemed to be catching something in the air, maybe bugs, and he'd also chase the Black-bellieds away occasionally. He was like a one man army. I snuck behind a tree and got several photographs. Had the light been better, I would've been happier with the shots, but this is the closest I'd ever been to a Wood Duck and was determined to make him my photo of the day. Just don't zoom in too close. :)

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds ducks lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 waterfowl wildlife wood duck Fri, 04 Dec 2020 00:09:14 GMT
337/366 | Dark-eyed Junco Two pairs of Dark-eyed Juncos appeared in our yard today, both male and female. This particular bird has not been seen in our yard for at least seven years, though the iBird Pro app shows this as a winter bird for the entire state of Louisiana. So I'll just call it another God blessing. The light was not ideal, but the latest version of Adobe Lightroom Classic does a great job of brightening and removing noise, though the program is a bit buggy and slow, even on a newer iMac.

337/366337/366Dark-eyed Junco
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds Dark-eyed Junco Junco migrating birds nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife winter bird migrant Wed, 02 Dec 2020 21:42:40 GMT
336/366 | Hooded Merganser Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes this duck as a "small duck with slender bill and flamboyant oversized head." They spend the winter in our area, mostly at Capitol Lakes near the governor's mansion. They are quite camera-shy, refusing to venture close when people are present. The Hooded Merganser is a diving duck, foraging mostly for aquatic insects, crawfish, and small fish.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I was very grateful, as rain is back in the forecast tomorrow and the next day.

336/366336/366Hooded Merganser
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 200 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds capitol lakes duck hooded merganser nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Wed, 02 Dec 2020 02:21:59 GMT
335/366 | Soar Thank you God for the sun today.

Another large colony of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks have found a home near the governor's mansion. A photography acquaintance I ran into said they breed all year long. I believe it. They really are quite pretty and very vocal.

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 200 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird in flight birding birds black-bellied whistling duck capitol lakes duck duck in flight nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 30 Nov 2020 21:57:13 GMT
334/366 | Tri-colored Heron The weather has continued its cloudy/rainy pattern for the last several days. Between showers, the husband and I drove out to LSU Lakes where this Tri-colored Heron was nice enough to pose for a portrait. We then headed to Capitol Lakes, an area by the governor's mansion. A birding acquaintance informed us that a winter duck called the Bufflehead had made its way there. We saw a variety of birds and ducks, but struck out on the Bufflehead. Maybe tomorrow, with hopefully better light and weather conditions.

334/366334/366Tri-colored Heron
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds heron lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 tri-colored heron wildlife Sun, 29 Nov 2020 22:29:25 GMT
333/366 | In the Still of the Day The Black-crowned Night Heron normally forages at night. They are very still and deliberate as they wait for prey. These are common birds in the wetlands, and are one of seven in the heron species that use bait to fish. This one is a regular at LSU Lakes, usually perched in the branches of a cypress tree. I was surprised to see him fishing near the golf course, then move over to this rusty dam. He let me get off about six shots and then flew up into the safety of the cypress. I was fortunate to get the bright, red eye gleaming considering the dismal light conditions.

333/366333/366In the Still of the Day
227mm | f/5 | ISO 1600 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds black-crowned night heron heron lsu lakes project 365 project 366 wildlife Sat, 28 Nov 2020 21:01:40 GMT
332/366 | October Surprise Cloudy and rain is the weather forecast for the next several days. I dusted off the macro lens and screwed on the flash, trudging out to the side yard looking for a subject.

This camellia bush took a few years to establish, but was well worth the wait! It bloomed a little last year which I enjoyed; right now it is loaded with buds and blooms. This is part of a series called October Surprise. Within this group there's Dawn, Rose, Orchid and Inspiration. This one is Inspiration. It blooms late fall, which is November for us. It should be called November surprise since that's when we see the flowers. It sits under my kitchen window and is currently about 4' tall, allowing me to enjoy the blooms from the window.

332/366332/366October Magic
100mm | f/3.5 | ISO 400 | 1/40 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blooms bush camellia fall flowers flower bush flowers gardening macro october magic inspiration pink project 365 project 366 Fri, 27 Nov 2020 22:20:54 GMT
331/366 | Stuffed The husband and I are on our own this Thanksgiving Day, so we drove to LSU Lakes, one of our favorite birding spots. There, I spied a female American Wigeon all by herself under a cypress tree. An absolutely beautiful duck. She would have been my picture of the day, but a feisty Pied-billed Grebe began wrestling with a sacolait about 40 yards away. I thought there was no way he'd get that large fish down his throat. The husband had his binoculars and I had my camera trained on him, watching for several minutes as he successfully subdued, then swallowed the fish. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Mr. Grebe! And I bet you will be full the rest of the day.

We will be going to a restaurant here shortly for a 3-course meal. Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) duck fish fishing grebe lsu lakes pied-billed grebe project 365 project 366 Thu, 26 Nov 2020 21:08:03 GMT
330/366 | Winter Migrant An Orange-crowned Warbler came to visit my satsuma tree. It poured rain most of the afternoon, so I didn't think I'd get an image today. During my morning walk, I thanked God for many things, among them, my photography project. I think this was His way of acknowledging my gratitude. You can faintly see the orange crown on top his head—the first time I've seen it. What a treat!

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

330/366330/366Winter Migrant
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds Orange-crowned Warbler Project 365 Project 366 warbler wildlife winter migrant Wed, 25 Nov 2020 21:20:28 GMT
329/366 | Dustup Today I had several image choices to go with from my outing at LSU Lakes. The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks began breaking out in fights towards the end of my stay. Or perhaps they were playing. This was the more compelling image out of the bunch.

263 mm | f/7.1 | ISO 320 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds black-bellied whistling duck ducks dustup fight fighting nature project 365 project 366 skirmish wildlife Wed, 25 Nov 2020 01:19:36 GMT
328/366 | Fall Bokeh This Black-bellied Whistling Duck perched in front of a cypress tree sporting lovely orange needles. The duck was in the shade, so I was fortunate to get a little bit of gleam in his eye. This morning I spotted two female Northern Shovelers, but still no male. Will try again tomorrow!

328/366328/366Fall Bokeh
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds black-bellied whistling duck duck project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 23 Nov 2020 20:40:20 GMT
327/366 | Northern Shoveler While I was photographing this duck, I kept thinking "This looks like a mallard, but I know it's not." Later, I remembered the Northern Shoveler I saw in Texas years and years ago. The large bill gives it away. This is a female Northern Shoveler, a winter dabbling duck for Louisiana. Tomorrow I hope to locate the male who is much more colorful. Still, a good find for this area.

327/366327/366Northern Shoveler 400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds dabbling duck duck northern shoveler project 365 prpject 366 wildlife Mon, 23 Nov 2020 02:23:47 GMT
326/366 | Cloud Play The sky was a beautiful blue and dotted everywhere with white, fluffy clouds. This reminded me of a playful puppy. Maybe you see something else. #Thankful

326/366326/366Cloud Play
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) blue skies clouds iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 puffy clouds skies sky Sun, 22 Nov 2020 01:04:14 GMT
325/366 | Posing in the Fall Foliage As you can see, I'm still recuperating. The medication is really kicking my patootie. 

Another shot of the Yellow-rumped Warbler posing in my neighbor's Chinese Tallow tree. 

325/366325/366Posing in the Fall Foliage
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds butter butt migrating birds project 365 project 366 wildlife yellow-rumped warbler Fri, 20 Nov 2020 22:09:17 GMT
324/366 | Goldfinch This is the earliest I've seen the American Goldfinch in my yard. Normally, we see them around March or April. Sadly, we never see them in their breeding plumage. This is probably a young male with winter feathers perching on the Indian Hawthorn. I was hoping for a pose on the bougainvillea or near the Mexican heather, but they would not comply. Will try again tomorrow. 

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1250 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) American Goldfinch backyard bird birding birds goldfinch migrant bird nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Fri, 20 Nov 2020 01:58:02 GMT
323/366 | Butter Butt Still taking it easy from the dental procedure. Today I sat outside enjoying the nice breeze and cooler temperatures. I was surprised to see a pair of American Goldfinches, but I didn't get good enough shots of them. Actually, I failed to get any superb shots, so here is a mediocre image of the Yellow-rumped Warbler, also known affectionately as the Butter Butt for the yellow patch on the top of their tails.

323/366323/366Butter Butt
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds butter butt nature project 365 project 366 warbler wildlife yellow-rumped warbler Thu, 19 Nov 2020 00:15:09 GMT
322/366 | Extraction Image of 11/17/2020 Wisdom teeth extraction

Seeing all the tools on display scared me more than the actual procedure. So far, so good. The worst part is the antibiotics and pain medication wreaking havoc on my tummy. 

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) dental tools dentist doctor iphone 11 pro max medical project 365 project 366 wisdom tooth removal Thu, 19 Nov 2020 00:08:57 GMT
321/366 | Almost Ripe Monday. Chore day. Tomorrow I have the great privilege of getting two wisdom teeth extracted. Woo hoo! I said all of that to say, I didn't have time for P366. Pulling up the driveway I noticed the fruit on my satsuma trees are nearly ripe. Usually, that doesn't happen until the end of the month or sometime in December. Also, we don't have as many this year, but that's okay because sometimes they don't get eaten. Welp, wish me luck tomorrow!

321/366321/366Almost Ripe
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) iPhone 11 Pro Max citrus food fruit tree gardening harvest orange plant Project 365 Project 366 satsumas tree Tue, 17 Nov 2020 00:31:55 GMT
320/366 | Holly Mei My precious granddaughter celebrated her 3rd birthday today! I could sit here and whine about not being there with her, or I can be thankful for the technology that at least allows me to see her happy face. Living away from my family in the 80s and 90s with young kids, my mother only had the landline telephone and snail mail. Now I know how she felt.

My daughter and her husband waited until we were able to connect before giving her our gift: a Radio Flyer tricycle. Despite COVID restrictions they made her day as fun as possible and it looks like they succeeded. 

Happy, happy birthday, cher bebe! I love you!!

320/366320/366Holly Mei
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) birthday family grandchild granddaughter happy birthday Holly iPhone 11 Pro Max precious Project 365 Project 366 video chat Mon, 16 Nov 2020 01:05:58 GMT
319/366 | Thai Delight Fall version of my Thai Delight Bougainvillea. This is my favorite flower in the garden. It's blooming like crazy right now. Love how the petals appear to blush. Using the iPhone Portrait mode gives a little bit of bokeh. I think I'm running out of ideas and energy for this project. It's been such a rough year in so many ways, but I'm determined to finish!

319/366319/366Thai Delight
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) blooms bougainvillea flowers gardening hanging baskets iphone 11 pro max pink plants project 365 project 366 thai delight tropical plants Sat, 14 Nov 2020 22:40:51 GMT
318/366 | Morning Glory What a glorious day! Had some very special time with my sweet cousin Kaye Kaye in Sunshine, LA where I grew up. The visit truly revived my soul. She lives on a large piece of property that she shares with one of her sisters. Her sister is an avid gardener, so when I saw a large trellis of morning glories in her yard, I knew that would have to be my photo of the day. They were just begging to be photographed. My only regret is that I waited until the sun was a little too harsh. The blooms appear more blue from a distance. My iPhone captured the color more correctly, surprisingly.

318/366318/366Morning Glory
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 320 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowering vine flowers gardening morning glory project 365 project 366 Fri, 13 Nov 2020 20:59:07 GMT
317/366 | Best of the Worst Had a full day, so my image today is rather meh. Took nine shots with my iPhone and hated all of them. The husband saved the day by helping me choose one.

Last year I bought several different potted chrysanthemums. When they outgrew their containers, I put them in various beds around the house and kind of ignored them. They are blooming like gangbusters right now. These are in the front bed. In the back I have varying shades of orange, yellow and red. They really brighten the space and need very little care. It'll be interesting to see if they last through the winter.

317/366317/366Best of the Worst
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) blooms chrysanthemums fall flowers flowers garden gardening iphone 11 pro max mum project 365 project 366 Fri, 13 Nov 2020 02:31:35 GMT
316/366 | Daily Bread Before I begin this post, I'd like to thank all the Veterans who make heavy sacrifices and serve our country. You have my deepest gratitude.

Back to LSU Lakes while the sun played hide-and-seek. A young couple threw several packages of bread on the banks where the Canada Geese and Muscovy Ducks had a field day. One lone American White Ibis was among them. This one's been there at least a couple years now, always by himself. A loner, like me. He was chased off a couple of times, but held his ground pretty well.

I had to clean up a lot of "waste" in this photo, and when I returned home I left my shoes outside. Talk about a mess! Bread, crackers, and other similar carb products are bad for ducks. It has little nutritional value and fattens them up, making it harder to fly. Among other things, it also increases populations, causing overcrowding and diseases. Instead, feed them grapes (cut in half), cracked corn, barley, oats, bird seed, frozen peas or corn kernels (defrosted first, no need to cook), and duck pellets. The Spruce has an excellent article on this topic for further reading.

316/366316/366Daily Bread
400mm | f/8 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec


(Gail A. Dixon) American White Ibis birding birds bread feeding ducks Ibis LSU Lakes nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Wed, 11 Nov 2020 22:21:25 GMT
315/366 | Dew Gloomy day and too tired to put any effort into this project. Saw this on my walk today and thought it was kinda cool.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) dew dewdrops project 365 project 366 spider web water web Tue, 10 Nov 2020 22:23:43 GMT
314/366 | Under the Cypress The Cypress trees are starting to turn their varying shades of orange. The American Coots and two Blue-winged Teals are feasting on the duckweed and algae beneath.

314/366314/366Under the Cypress
188mm | f/5 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) algae american coot blue-winged teal coot cypress tree ducks fall foliage lake lsu lakes pond project 365 project 366 swamp teals tree wildlife Mon, 09 Nov 2020 19:00:14 GMT
313/366 | Calico Aster You wouldn't know from this image, but it was a particularly gloomy day. The Shadows, Whites and Exposure sliders in Lightroom came in handy for this one. The shutter speed was much slower than I prefer, causing more blur, but hey. As I near the end of this project, I'm getting tired of being fussy.

These wildflowers growing in an empty lot have gotten my attention for a couple months now. It took two social network groups to help me identify it: Fakebook and Reddit. The FB group is simply called Plant Identification, and while they are good and fast, they are very strict. Post your image, get your ID and no chit-chat. Very Soup Nazi-ish (Seinfeld fans will know). The Reddit group is called r/whatsthisplant. It's a friendlier group, but I don't always get a response there. Today, however, they were the ones to supply me with the correct ID.

2020.11.08.CalicoAster.GAD_62212020.11.08.CalicoAster.GAD_6221Calico Aster 400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 500 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) aster bee calico aster nature pollinators project 365 project 366 symphyotrichum sp wildflowers Sun, 08 Nov 2020 22:08:21 GMT
312/366 | Virginia Creeper Passed by my neighbor's fence this afternoon. This is the most fall color I've seen. The leaves were pretty eaten up, but the healing tool in PS came to the rescue!

312/366312/366Virginia Creeper
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) climbing vine fall colors fence iphone 11 pro max old fence plant project 365 project 366 rustic fence vine virginia creeper Sat, 07 Nov 2020 23:35:09 GMT
311/366 | Majestic Arising early this morning, I headed out for LSU Lakes to hopefully see some new birds in different light. Unfortunately, I found the Green Heron deceased just outside his little enclave by the golf course. He'd been there for some time, as ants were already at work on his face. I could see no obvious wounds. Boy was I sad!

I drove to another area of the lake and found this Great Blue Heron among the tickseed. My waterproof Merrells came in handy! As I tromped through the weeds towards the pond's edge, I was awestruck by his beauty. I ducked down and watched him for a good 30 minutes. He picked up what looked like a half-eaten catfish, then tossed it back out into the water. 

Being out in nature helps with mindfulness. It's soothing. The world and all its chaos is far away during these quiet moments. When you consider wildlife and all their patient endurance to eat and survive, it puts things into perspective. 

400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 320 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds coreopsis great blue heron heron lake lsu lakes nature pond project 365 project 366 tickseed wildflowers wildlife Fri, 06 Nov 2020 21:11:13 GMT
310/366 | Spooked After bible study I drove to LSU Lakes. Once I find a place with semi-willing subjects, I'll keep mining it until I find another spot. Heading straight for the natural grotto near the golf course, I looked for the Green Heron. In his place was a Black-Crowned Night Heron who was really too large for the space. The Night Heron was not at all willing to pose and flew off quickly. Then the Green Heron flew in front of me, seemingly out of nowhere, and I was able to get a shot of him in flight. Afterwards, I ran into a photography acquaintance, and he told me about some Blue-winged Teals and Wood Ducks farther up the way. By the time I got there, the light was awful. And the dadgum White Pelicans flew overhead in the distance, taunting me. Lord willing, I'll return tomorrow for the Teal or the Pelicans. Who knows what I'll find. It's never what I plan.

400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 320 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird in flight birding birds green heron heron lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Thu, 05 Nov 2020 22:17:33 GMT
309/366 | Serenity Now Is there a class action lawsuit to sue pollsters, mainstream media, government bureaucrats and politicians for mental anguish? I mean, really! What an election. I knew it would be a mess, but it's still stressful.

So I did what I always do when I need to de-stress: pray and go outdoors.

For the last week I've known about the hiding place of a sweet little Green Heron on the golf course at LSU Lakes. There's an overhang at the edge of the pond, like a grotto, where he's made his home. Sticks and grass camouflage the entrance. He emerges frequently to fish right off the bank, and if he becomes frightened, he ducks back into his safe space.

I've been waiting to get shots of him with a big fish, but he seems to go for the little critters. This might be a tadpole in his beak; it's hard to tell.

It was so peaceful watching him as I sat on an exposed tree root. He knew I was there, but it didn't seem to bother him unless I made significant movement. See, nature teaches you to be still. And afterwards, I'm left with a wonderful sense of calm.

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
    In wisdom you have made them all.
    The earth is full of your creatures.
Psalm 104:24 NLT

309/366309/366Serenity Now
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec


(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds calm of nature Green Heron heron LSU Lakes nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Wed, 04 Nov 2020 21:44:49 GMT
308/366 | Home of the Brave I met the owner of this home on my daily walk last week and she gave me permission to take this picture and publish it. Out of concern for their privacy and the violent nature of some in the political landscape, I blurred out the house number and the name that was above their door. I told her it was admirable and brave to so publicly support the President. She said they were worried their house might be vandalized, but even if it was, and even if the flag was destroyed or stolen, they had extras ready to put out. So sad it's come to this.

We had a long talk about the condition of our country, the sadness we feel, along with hopelessness and stress. Both of us vowed to pray for God to be returned to our homes, schools, governments and institutions. It's not hard to see that wickedness and corruption is increasing globally.

Praying for the country this election day, and have been all year. We also must pray for our enemies to repent before it's too late.

A just king gives stability to his nation,
    but one who demands bribes destroys it.
Proverbs 29:4 NLT

308/366308/366Home of the Brave

(Gail A. Dixon) conservative flags iphone 11 pro max kag project 365 project 366 republican trump trump 2020 united states flag vote vote red Tue, 03 Nov 2020 21:30:58 GMT
307/366 | Blue Butterfly Flower Today I discovered a new tropical flower at the botanical garden. I thought, "How sweet. It looks just like a butterfly." An internet search produced instant results. This is the first time I've ever noticed a bloom with such a strong resemblance to a butterfly. It is known by several other names: Blue Glory Bower, Clerodendron, Blue Butterfly Wings, Butterfly Bush, Oxford Bush, and Cambridge Bush. Its scientific name is Rotheca myricoides. Since my Bleeding Heart Glory Bower is doing so well, I may try to plant this one, too.

307/366307/366Blue Butterfly Flower
400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blue butterfly flower blue butterfly wings blue glory bower butterfly bush cambridge bush clerodendron clerodendrum ugandense flowers oxford bush project 365 project 366 rotheca myricoides tropical flower Mon, 02 Nov 2020 22:20:41 GMT
306/366 | WIldflowers at LSU Lakes As the husband recuperated at home from shingles, I headed out to LSU Lakes looking for the White Pelicans for the third time this week. I struck out, so I settled for this area of LSU Lakes by the golf course. It's the first time I've noticed such an abundance of wildflowers outlining the water. Love, love, love my wide angle lens and wish there were more opportunities to use it around here.

306/366306/366Wildflowers at LSU Lakes
17mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers golf course lsu lakes project 365 project 366 wildflowers yellow Sun, 01 Nov 2020 21:00:02 GMT
305/366 | My L'il Pumpkin I was determined to get this shot for Halloween. Izzy is plotting her escape LOL

Happy Halloween and be safe, y'all!

305/366305/366My L'il Pumpkin
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) chihuahua dogs halloween happy halloween holiday iphone 11 pro max pets portrait project 365 project 366 pumpkin remove term: Sat, 31 Oct 2020 18:22:25 GMT
304/366 | Snowy Snack Snowy Egret at LSU Lakes with a bream. The fish looks like "Oh nooooo!"

304/366304/366Snowy Snack
400mm | f/9 | ISO 400 | 1/3200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird with prey birding birds bream egret fish lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 snowy egret wildlife Fri, 30 Oct 2020 19:15:00 GMT
303/366 | Rock Heart Another rough day. Did manage to get my walk in and the temperatures were cool which was nice. When I saw the rock shaped like a heart in the sidewalk, I was like "One and done!" The husband was diagnosed with shingles today and is in a lot of pain. Each day has its own struggle, so we power through as best we can.

303/366303/366Rock Heart
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) heart iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 rock sidewalk stone Fri, 30 Oct 2020 00:27:27 GMT
302/366 | Study Time Image of 10/28/2020

Yesterday it rained from the time I woke up until bed time. Plus, the husband and I did not feel well at all. I finished unpacking, tidied up around the house, and dove into lesson 4 of Revelation. There was a lot to the study, but I managed to finish and retain what I learned. The short version is to expect persecution and not fear it. God will be there to help us. As I grow older, I lean on Him more and more. Especially as the world around us seems to be falling apart. God is my anchor and I'm humbled by His love and deeply grateful.

302/366302/366Study Time
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) bible study iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 quiet time revelation study Thu, 29 Oct 2020 16:45:49 GMT
301/366 | Casper Image of 10/27/2020
Biloxi, MS

On Tuesday, the 27th, we were advised by the beach rental owner to evacuate our cottage on Dauphin Island. Zeta was projected to flood the west end where we were staying. Feeling pretty dejected, we packed the car and took advantage of the last remaining light by touring parts of the island we didn't get a chance to see the prior day. After that, we found a restaurant that looked promising in Biloxi. Not having much else to do, and wanting to at least eat a good meal on our 30th anniversary, we stopped at Shaggy's and enjoyed the most delicious food. From our table on the upper deck we enjoyed views of the Gulf and watching the pelicans fly by. 

After lunch we resigned to head home. First, we took advantage of several places to park beside the beach and walked to the shoreline. I'm pretty sure this is the Caspian Tern with winter plumage. 

400mm | f/13 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds caspian tern gulf of mexico nature project 365 project 366 sand shorebird shoreline tern wildlife Thu, 29 Oct 2020 16:27:30 GMT
300/366 | Sentry Image of 10/26/2020
Coden, AL

Monday was our only day for sunshine and no rain. The day started out heavy with clouds, so we drove to Bayou La Batre for breakfast. Good decision because the clouds had dispersed and the sun made its appearance soon afterward. On the way back to Dauphin Island I noticed a bait and tackle shop with several fishing boats on both sides of the road. Dutifully, the husband pulled over and waited while I walked over to dozens of Brown Pelicans perched on wooden pilings. I was so close! It was amazing watching them fly in, preen and interact with each other. One of my favorite birds and the State bird of Louisiana.

400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds brown pelican nature pelecanus occidentalis project 365 project 366 wading bird wildlife Thu, 29 Oct 2020 16:00:43 GMT
299/366 | Sanderling Oct 25, 2020

Our trip to Dauphin Island was nearly canceled thanks to Hurricane Zeta, but we took a chance and went anyway. Many marriages don't make it to year 30, so we had to at least try. Our 5 day, 4 night stay was cut in half due to threat of flooding. We tried to make the most of our time there even with the storm threat looming ahead. We had one good day and we will cherish it always.

We arrived on the island around 3PM on Sunday, the 25th. Light was abysmal making photography challenging. However, I did get a Lifer the very first day: the Willet! I wanted to post his picture, but this Sanderling (99% certain of ID) with a fish spoke to me more. The Willet is a dull brown color, and against the brown waves, not a compelling image, especially factoring in the bad light.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 250 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds dauphin island nature project 365 project 366 sanderling shorebird wildlife Thu, 29 Oct 2020 01:38:58 GMT
298/366 | Baton Rouge There aren't many decorative sewer covers left around the city. I found this one on my walk this morning. For the edit, I used Lightroom's "Aged Photo" effect.

Will be taking a break for several days. See y'all soon!

Be blessed and be a blessing.

298/366298/366Baton Rouge
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) baton rouge drain cover Project 365 Project 366 sewer cover Sat, 24 Oct 2020 23:20:39 GMT
297/366 | Boude Photo of 10/23/20

Boude (pronounced 'boo DAY') is a Cajun term meaning "to pout" or "be angry." I noticed with the mature male Eastern Bluebirds they are more prone to show aggression or dominance at the feeders. The interaction between these two is comical because the one on the right looks really mad and the one on the left is like "Why you mad, bro?"

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 125 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds boude nature Project 365 Project 366 territorial wildlife Sat, 24 Oct 2020 21:41:29 GMT
296/366 | The Mafia The Brown-headed Cowbirds have returned to my yard in huge numbers. Sigh.

I say I love all birds, but this species is my least favorite. They are pretty in their own way, in the right light, but their behavior is what I abhor. They are known to lay their eggs in the nests of warblers and songbirds, Not only do Cowbirds not build their own nests, they use the other birds to incubate their eggs. Once hatched, the warblers/songbirds also raise them along with their chicks, sometimes at the expense of their own young, since Cowbirds develop faster and are more demanding for food.

But what really gets my feathers ruffled (pun intended) is what they do to other species that don't go along with their devious scheme. Observers in the field noticed that if the Cowbird eggs were tossed from the nest, they would return to ransack and destroy that nest! Retaliation? Vengeance? These birds don't play and you'd better raise their young or else. A more in-depth article can be found here. It's quite fascinating.

This male was trying to get to my Bluebirds' mealworms, but thankfully, he's too large to balance himself on the feeders. They spend much of the afternoon at the bird bath and splash around like a bunch of rowdy hooligans. 

296/366296/366The Mafia
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 500 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds brown-headed cowbird cowbird nature parasitic project 365 project 366 wildlife Fri, 23 Oct 2020 00:43:11 GMT
295/366 | Almost Dinner This evening I decided to make our favorite Thai basil chicken stir-fry for dinner. No longer do I have to buy two small packages at $4 each from Whole Foods because I grow my own. After gathering several bunches from the garden, I rinsed them thoroughly and patted them dry with paper towels. Standing over the pan, I pinched each leaf off, smelling that wonderful licorice aroma. I used only intact, bright green leaves as some showed signs of prior insect activity. After I got half the leaves in the wok, I looked down to see a lone, neon yellow-green caterpillar munching away. Oh heavens! I quickly inspected what was already in the pan, then brought the little guy back outside. I have plenty of basil, so why not share? I'm just glad I saw him before tossing him into the pan. Ewwww! 

295/366295/366Almost Dinner 100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 1600 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bugs caterpillar garden insects macro project 365 project 366 thai basil Thu, 22 Oct 2020 00:58:38 GMT
294/366 | Sanctuary I never tire of photographing the Bluebirds. Our yard has become a sanctuary for dozens and dozens of these vividly blue, beautiful creatures. As soon as I fill the mealworm feeders and put fresh water in the bird bath, they come. And I watch with glee and an indescribable joy. Sometimes they let me know it's meal time by perching above empty feeders, looking toward the French door. You'd think they'd let me get close to them, sit on my shoulder perhaps...yeah, I'm dreaming now for sure! They love my feeding them, but I must admire them from a distance.

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 1250 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds blue bluebird eastern bluebird nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Wed, 21 Oct 2020 00:58:24 GMT
293/366 | Hay Art On my way to get our weekly groceries, I stopped off at Burden Gardens. Pulling into the parking space, I lifted my camera out of its bag and realized with a sinking feeling that I had forgotten the memory card at home. Oops! I knew it would happen one day. The iPhone would have to suffice because I had too many chores on my list to return home. Birds were out of the question, but maybe something else would grab my attention.

Winding along the narrow road I reached the fields where they are holding Harvest Days on weekends. There were several creatively decorated hay bales dotting each side of the road. The sunflower bale won the day.

293/366293/366Hay Art
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) Burden Gardens crafts harvest hay hay bale Project 365 Project 366 Tue, 20 Oct 2020 00:53:11 GMT
292/366 | Fountain of Life Give and Take...
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love
And to both, bee and flower,
the giving and the receiving is a need and an ecstasy.

Khalil Gibran

292/366292/366Fountain of Life
100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 160 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bee daisy fleabane fleabane honey bee honeybee insects nature pollination pollinator project 365 project 366 wildflowers wildlife Sun, 18 Oct 2020 21:11:55 GMT
291/366 | Spidey Lunch What a glorious day! The husband and I took a 3-mile hike at my favorite place: Burden Gardens. The property has everything a nature-loving gal could want: wildflowers, hiking trails, birds, rose gardens, sunflower fields, an historical museum, bee keeping area, ponds, etc. The only negative is it's close to I-10/12, so it's hard to listen for birds with all the vehicular traffic buzzing by.

I love going alone and immersing myself in God's great creation, but it was nice to have another pair of eyes! Thanks to my dear husband for spotting this anole on the boardwalk devouring a huge spider. We see anoles all the time, but I have never seen one with prey. The lizard started out brown, camouflaged so perfectly with the wood. By the end of his lunch, he had turned bright green—you can see green beginning to appear in this image. Scientists are unsure why they change colors. One theory suggests it's for blending into their surroundings to avoid predation, some researchers think it has to do with body temperature regulation, while others say it indicates stress levels. This is one situation where it's safe to say only God knows! But it's fascinating, right?

291/366291/366Spidey Lunch 400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) anole burden gardens green anole insects lizard nature predator prey project 365 project 366 reptile spider wildlife Sat, 17 Oct 2020 23:43:38 GMT
290/366 | Alert We were blessed to wake up to temps in the low 60s this morning. It enabled me to get my walk in early without sweating, and I had so much energy left over that I worked in the front flower bed for two hours.

The sky remained overcast all day so I didn't feel the impulse to drive out to Burden Gardens. When I put food out for the Eastern Bluebirds they came in droves, maybe due to natural food sources being more scarce because of the cold. It's cold to me, y'all!

Soon after, it started to mist, but I was undeterred. With joy, I watched and observed, sitting under the eave of the house with the camera balanced on my knee. This looks like a young male due to the white eye-ring, deep blue back feathers, and rust front. He was very suspicious of all the shutter clicks. You can see the concern on his face.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds blue bluebird eastern bluebird nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Fri, 16 Oct 2020 21:42:05 GMT
289/366 | Common Buckeye A little beat up, but still beautiful, this is the Common Buckeye, also known as Junonia coenia. The name is due to the eye-like markings on the wings. They are in the group of butterflies known as the Brush-footed or four-footed butterflies due to their hairy, reduced forelegs that resemble brushes. 

289/366289/366Common Buckeye


(Gail A. Dixon) bugs butterflies butterfly common buckeye insects junonia coenia pollinators project 365 project 366 Thu, 15 Oct 2020 19:58:26 GMT
288/366 | Bee Sweet Carpenter bee drinking from porterweed. This plant is a must-have to attract pollinators.

288/366288/366Bee Sweet
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bee bug carpenter bee insect pollinator porterweed project 365 project 366 Wed, 14 Oct 2020 22:03:50 GMT
287/366 | Variegated Fritllary Bright and early I headed back to Burden Gardens. I got a half-way decent shot of the Hummingbird, but decided to take a break and go with the Variegated Fritillary. Also known as the Hortensia Butterfly, this is one I don't often see, though the internet says they are quite common. This gal/guy is looking a little worse for the wear with the faded and torn rear wing. Bless its heart.

287/366287/366Variegated Fritillary
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bugs butterflies butterfly fritillary insects nature Project 365 Project 366 variegated fritillary wildlife Tue, 13 Oct 2020 19:37:58 GMT
286/366 | The Red Dot On my way to Whole Foods this morning, I stopped off at Burden Gardens (where else?) to see if the juvenile Hummingbird was still there. My goal to photograph him feeding from all nine flower varieties will likely not happen. He seems to prefer the porterweed and cigar plant exclusively. But I was happy to see his gorget starting to appear. The little guy is growing up. I'll probably go out there every day until he leaves, or I get tired of shooting him. Is that possible? Stay tuned :)

286/366286/366The Red Dot
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds gorget hummingbird nature project 365 project 366 ruby-throated hummingbird wildlife Mon, 12 Oct 2020 18:23:13 GMT
285/366 | Revelation Photo of 10/12.

Yesterday I was bone-tired from the prior day's work. I didn't even get my steps in. But I did sit down at the dining room table to begin Lesson 2 of the Precept Revelation bible study. It's quite involved. The lesson required some of the following:

  • look up the Greek definition for certain words;
  • illustrate the verses from Chapter 1 (I can't draw, so I used symbols over certain words);
  • look up metaphors and similes and see where those instances appear in the text;
  • go back to Daniel chapter 7 to glean more insight from verses 9-14;
  • write down the actions occurring in those verses

I still have more to do, but so far, it's going great. Doing these exercises helps to paint a picture. This study is like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. Daniel was a tough study, and it was hard to keep it straight, but Revelation so far has been a little easier. Maybe because Daniel lays much of the foundation. 

"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." (Rev 1:3)

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) bible book end times god holy scriptures iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 prophecy religion revelation scripture Mon, 12 Oct 2020 16:55:09 GMT
284/366 | So Juvenile Delta came blowing through last night, and at one point I thought a gust of wind was going to take my little 7 lb. chihuahua and hurl her into space. Clutching my umbrella as she did her business, I grabbed her quickly as a 40 MPH gust seemingly came out of nowhere.

As I surveyed the yard this morning, I thought, "Oh, I'll go get my 5 mile walk in and then tackle this mess.' What a dumb move. I drug limbs out to the curb, sucked up two bags of leaves with my trusty Toro leaf vacuum mulcher, and filled up a large trash container with mostly crape myrtle limbs. Then I cleaned the bathroom and did other household chores. I'm too old for this.

With 45 minutes to spare before my husband returned from his trip, I drove to Burden Gardens to see if my little Hummingbird buddy survived. Welp, he's still there, alive and well! His gorget is starting to come in and that's how I know it's definitely a juvenile male. In other pictures you can clearly see a tiny red patch on the neck. I wonder how long he'll hang around? It sure would be nice if he stayed around all year.

284/366284/366So Juvenile
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds hummingbird immature bird juvenile bird nature project 365 project 366 ruby-throated hummingbird wildlife Sun, 11 Oct 2020 00:32:44 GMT
283/366 | Cher Chien Cher chien means 'dear dog' in French. This is the Cajun pronunciation:

Shah—A like cat
SheeAN—A as in cat, N is silent

The Cajun dialect is weird.

Since learning this recently, we've started referring to Izzy with this new moniker. She's gone from being a Lone Star Texas chihuahua to a Cajun Queen. I knew she'd have to be my picture today because of the approaching storm. Izzy is a little camera shy, and not wanting to stress her out, I only took two shots. The other shot cut off her ear. Sigh.

Delta has just hit the Louisiana coast as I type this. Praying for all in its path. Stay safe, y'all!

283/366283/366Cher Chien
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) animals chien companion animals dog iPhone 11 Pro Max pets Project 365 Project 366 rescue dog Fri, 09 Oct 2020 22:58:20 GMT
282/366 | Beyond the Veil Today I struggled with this project. Often I'll take pictures with my phone as I do my daily walk in case I can't get out with my "big girl camera" later. Since we're bracing for Hurricane Delta, I was smart to take photos early this morning. All day was thick and heavy with clouds, making me want to stay indoors.

The yards in our neighborhood starting decorating with a harvest theme at the end of September, very tasteful. But the neighborhood adjacent to ours goes the super spooky route. One home in particular must really love the dark side. They've decorated their entire yard with a mini graveyard, bony hands reaching up from the ground, skeletons in various places, ghosts swinging from the trees, witches, orange twinkle lights, warning signs, etc. This is an image I would normally save for Halloween Day, but my other shots were nothing special, so here we are. Maybe I'll do a pumpkin for 10/31.

282/366282/366Beyond the Veil
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) beyond the veil dead death halloween Halloween decor Halloween decorations iPhone 11 Pro Max Project 365 Project 366 Thu, 08 Oct 2020 23:06:23 GMT
281/366 | Faded My dad dropped in for an unexpected visit today, so my routine got thrown off. It was good to visit with him though. My husband is out of town, so Izzy enjoyed cozying up next to my dad for some bonding time. After he left, I drove over to Burden Gardens, hoping to get the Ruby-throat at a different flower, but he really likes the cigar plant. The Gulf Fritillary posed on the porterweed, so that'll have to do. The underside markings of the Fritillary shimmers like silver, but on the images they appear white. Anyway. both the Fritillary and the flowers are rather faded, thus the title of this post. Tomorrow we are supposed to start getting the effects from Hurricane Delta so there's no telling what kind of images I'll have for those days. I just hope my husband delays his trip back a day to avoid driving in the storm.

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bugs butterflies butterfly gulf fritillary insects porterweed project 365 project 366 Thu, 08 Oct 2020 00:27:42 GMT
280/366 | House Finch The House Finches made an appearance in our yard this afternoon. They aren't frequent visitors, so I decided to make this guy photo of the day. He posed on the water fountain for me, though the light wasn't ideal. Maybe tomorrow I'll have better luck.

280/366280/366House Finch
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 500 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds finch finches house finch nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Wed, 07 Oct 2020 02:28:54 GMT
279/366 | Firebush My love for photographing Hummingbirds is pretty evident, I suppose. At Burden Gardens I counted nine different plants this little fella is feeding from. My goal is to get an image of him feeding from all nine. Today I gave myself a little over an hour, and just like prior days, he finally lit on one that I wanted, after a quick prayer. This is a firebush shrub. It might be hard to see, but there's an assassin bug where the hummer is feeding. I'm fairly certain this is a young male hummingbird. I read that juveniles leave later on their migration because more food is needed to sustain them on their long journey. This guy has claimed a pretty large patch of flowers, in addition to a feeder. There is one other hummingbird that's tried to infiltrate, but my little friend is fiercely protective, and the intruder gets chased off lickety split. It's quite entertaining!

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds firebush flower hummer hummingbird nature plant Project 365 Project 366 Ruby-throated Hummingbird wildlife Mon, 05 Oct 2020 18:13:26 GMT
278/366 | Glory Bower In April I planted a bleeding heart glory bower vine next to my prayer chair. It had a few small blooms on it and didn't bloom again; however, it became lush with leaves, spreading in width and height. Well, I'm thrilled as punch to see it is producing flowers again. Today I counted 24 blooms in various stages. Praying we don't have a hard winter so that I can enjoy them again in the spring.

278/366278/366Glory Bower
100mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/250 sec

What it looks like in full bloom: Bleeding Heart Glory BowerBleeding Heart Glory Bower

(Gail A. Dixon) bleeding heart bleeding heart glory bower climbing vine flowering vine gardening glory bower macro plants project 365 project 366 vine Sun, 04 Oct 2020 16:49:13 GMT
277/366 | God's Little Miracles They're still here! Burden Gardens, Baton Rouge, LA.

Most elegantly finished in all parts, the Hummingbird is a miniature work of our Great Creator (Parent), who seems to have formed it the smallest, and at the same time, the most beautiful of the winged species. ~J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur

277/366277/366God's Little Miracles
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds hummer hummingbirds nature project 365 project 366 ruby-throated hummingbirds wildlife Sat, 03 Oct 2020 23:44:31 GMT
276/366 | Tyler Every spring and fall Baton Rouge has free outdoor concerts called Live After Five. We go to most of them with our cousins, their kids, and our good friend, Christine. Since all of that got canceled due to the CHYNA virus, we've missed it. My cousin's son moved back home recently. He is a VERY talented musician who enjoys playing music of our generation. Last night we planned our own Live After Five at my cousin's house. Tyler played several Elton John songs, plus The Who, Audioslave (my fave--Chris Cornell RIP), and John Lennon. We had a wonderful time and life felt normal for the first time in a long time. It was dark outside so I had to make do with my phone.

iPhone 11 Pro Max
Topaz Impression Colored Sketch treatment

(Gail A. Dixon) entertainment family iPhone 11 Pro Max keyboard musician piano Project 365 Project 366 Sat, 03 Oct 2020 16:44:17 GMT
275/366 | Aye-Aye, Skipper! After my bible class this morning, I wanted to see if I could perform a trifecta with the hummingbird since the botanical garden is so close to the church. She did appear briefly, but not long enough to get any shots. Since I was in dress clothes and the sun was bearing down, I decided to settle for the Long-tailed skipper. This is one of the prettier skippers with its turquoise body, splashes of gold, and white spots on the wings. All the pollinators seem to love the porterweed, so I'm putting that on my wish list for next spring.

275/366275/366Aye-Aye, Skipper!
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) butterflies insects long-tailed skipper moths nature porterweed project 365 project 366 skipper wildlife Thu, 01 Oct 2020 19:20:20 GMT
274/366 | Have A Cigar Late this afternoon I headed back out to Burden Gardens to see if my little Hummingbird friend was still there. The hummers will be leaving us soon and I want to take advantage while they're still here. I usually don't post the same subject two days in a row, but it seems I've hit the jackpot at this location and want to mine it while the mining's good!

My goal today was to get her drinking from the cigar plant. I had only a short window of time before I needed to return home in order to start dinner. Right at the very minute I was to leave, she appeared and posed nicely in front of the cigar bloom. Credit must go to God, for I did indeed asked Him for assistance. 

Quick as a hummingbird...she darts so eagerly, swiftly, sweetly dipping into the flowers of my heart. ~James Oppenheim

274/366274/366Have A Cigar
400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds cigar plant flower hummingbirds nature pollinator Project 365 Project 366 Ruby-throated Hummingbird wildlife Thu, 01 Oct 2020 00:26:33 GMT
273/366 | Hungry Hungry Hummer We were blessed with blue, sunny skies and cool temps this morning. Knowing the early morning sun would be illuminating the wildflower patch at Burden Gardens, I headed out around 9AM. I had one goal in mind: capturing a Hummingbird feeding from a flower.

Remembering my bee sting and ant bites from yesterday, I carefully observed from one spot, determined to get "the" shot. Unfortunately, a lively group of ladies drove up, spilling out of their cars, laughing and greeting one another loudly, just as I had claimed my area, scaring off my subject. I was happy that they seemed joyful to see one another, so with that in mind, I tried to keep my annoyance in check. Finally, they moved off, then two sets of grandparents and what appeared to be a mother with her two children came on the scene. Sigh. I was really wishing the-powers-that-be at Burden Gardens had not put the Monarch Way Station right by the children's garden. So the children behaved as children do and my precious Ruby-throat made him/herself scarce.

Despite the intrusions, my subject came in for brief moments helping me get a few useable shots, but nothing special. In between I was chatting with God, mostly asking for grace and patience. I thought of my walk with Him and how sometimes I feel like giving up. My faith is so thin sometimes, and I'm ashamed of that. The group of ladies and family had finally dispersed to other areas leaving me alone, and I kept waiting for better opportunities. The little hummer became more and more scarce, and after an hour and a half, my back was aching while the sun baked the backs of my legs. Just as I was feeling let down and ready to pack it up, my little hummer returned and began feeding right in front of me on a porterweed. Perhaps God was saying, "Hang in there, don't give up. Your reward is coming." 

273/366273/366Hungry Hungry Hummer 400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds burden gardens flowers hummingbird nature porterweed project 365 project 366 ruby-throated hummingbird wildlife Tue, 29 Sep 2020 18:04:53 GMT
272/366 | Fritillary Flair Since I got an early start this morning, I headed to Burden Gardens to shoot the entrance. To my disappointment, they had pulled up all the beautiful flowers and filled it in with pine mulch. So much for that idea!

I drove past the entrance and noticed how much the Monarch Way Station had grown. Some of the hibiscus were well over 10' in height and they had added at least a dozen hummingbird feeders. Several other varieties of blooms attracted skippers, butterflies and lots of hummingbirds. It was one big party, man.

As I stood looking for something to shoot, I felt a burning sensation on my left food. Crikies! I had stepped in an ant pile that was well-camouflaged with the mulch. This happens to me a lot, and after stepping in ant piles so often, you would think I'd learn. You'd be wrong. After I took care of that issue, I was again standing quietly in front of the liriope watching a particular bloom when I felt a sharp pain on the flesh of my upper left arm. A bee! As I sit here and type this at 11AM, over two hours later, it is still throbbing and swollen.

What a start to my week! I think I will stick around the house the rest of the day and avoid any more pain and anguish. Tomorrow promises to be cooler and sunny, so I will go back out to the same property with the proper lens for the hummers. Today I had the wide angle lens, but I managed to get close to this Gulf Fritillary. It's supposed to rain this afternoon and since I might not get back out with my camera, I took this image into Topaz Impression and gave it the Georgia O'Keeffe I treatment.

272/366272/366Fritillary Flair
40mm | f/4 | ISO 500 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) art artistic butterfly Georgia O'Keeffe gulf fritillary insect painting Project 365 Project 366 Mon, 28 Sep 2020 16:10:31 GMT
271/366 | Feisty Today I hung around the house to do some gardening and weeding. The heat is back and that always zaps my energy, so I end up doing small projects around the house. It was either photograph the Bluebirds or the Brown-headed Cowbirds who were splashing away in the birdbath causing all sorts of chaos. Their rowdy behavior must've rubbed off on the Bluebirds because they were fiercely competing at the mealworm stations.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds bluebirds eastern bluebirds nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 28 Sep 2020 01:01:27 GMT
270/366 | The Swamp We had such a nice paddle today! Saw lots of alligators; babies, juveniles and adults. We heard one that was so loud it almost sounded like a motorboat. I have never heard an alligator bellow that loudly before. Scary. I was able to get shots of several gators, two juvenile Roseate Spoonbills, and the Belted Kingfisher, but other than that it was pretty quiet at Lake Martin. I think most everyone was watching the LSU game, so we chose a great time to kayak. The lake was calm and serene, just the way I like it. The Spanish moss hanging from these cypress trees brings back cherished childhood memories.

270/366270/366The Swamp
200mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bayou breaux bridge cypress trees kayaking lake lake martin moss project 365 project 366 spanish moss st. martin parish swamp Sun, 27 Sep 2020 00:57:19 GMT
269/366 | Blue Daze Another gray day, but tomorrow I'm planning to kayak with my husband and a friend, so I hope to have something of more interest for P366.

This lush perennial was just what I needed to hide the ugly tree stumps flanking each side of my house. For the last two years I used lime green sweet potato vine, but boy howdy, does that plant get out of control quickly, and I'd have to trim it back every other week. This year I planted 3 tiny sprigs of blue daze around each trunk not knowing what to expect, and by June it was all filled in and blooming like crazy. Now it's crawled up and over the stumps, completely obscuring them. Bonuses with this ground cover is weed prevention, no trimming, constant blooms, drought and heat tolerant, and thick and lush. There aren't too many blue flowers available, and since my front door and shutters are blue, it all ties in. Next spring I hope to have the stumps ground, but whatever I plant in the corners, I am going to definitely use blue daze there again.

269/366269/366Blue Daze
100mm | f/3.5 | ISO 100 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blue daze flowers garden gardening ground cover perennial plants project 365 project 366 Fri, 25 Sep 2020 17:05:23 GMT
268/366 | Lone Oak Today I threw my camera gear into the car and literally asked God to lead me somewhere. It was another dreary day and rather uninspiring to say the least. I ended up in Carville, LA, about 25 miles south. In a peaceful setting I found myself admiring my favorite tree: the live oak. Live oaks are sturdy, strong, and possess great character with their low-hanging branches that sometimes touch the ground. The tree seems made for a child's swing or a cozy place to read a book. Finding a live oak isolated out in the open is a rarity. Usually there are nearby buildings or other competing elements.

This live oak is registered with the Live Oak Society and is named Maryland Farms Oak #3653. It is surrounded by an iron gate and either corn or sugar cane grows outside the fence perimeter. Beneath the massive oak are the remains of unclaimed prisoners from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center. Each has a small headstone with name, prison number, date of birth and date of death. You can see some of them on the lower left just beyond the gate. 

Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come. (Chinese proverb)

268/366268/366Lone Oak
17mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Carville LA cemetery cloudy day history live oak Live Oak Society Lone Oak Cemetery Maryland Farms Oak prison cemetery Project 365 Project 366 trees Thu, 24 Sep 2020 23:14:24 GMT
267/366 | Pentas The pentas planted in the spring, that looked pretty haggard at the end of August, are now in full bloom. They are so full and filled with life, their perky star-shaped flowers atop tender pink stems. With my macro lens I spied several different insects living inside and resting on the petals. However, the wind gave me heck, so none of the bugs were in focus. I didn't have a lot of time to spend on photography today, so once again, I'm settling for a mediocre shot. Though I was envious of a bug's life for a moment.

100mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers garden gardening pentas plants Project 365 Project 366 Wed, 23 Sep 2020 23:16:57 GMT
266/366 | STOP One-hundred days left on this project! When I started I had no idea that 2020 would bring rioting, looting, political turmoil, a pandemic, fires, hurricanes and more. Somehow I've managed to shoot something daily, although it hasn't been easy. But I think it's kept me distracted at least.

All week will be gray, rainy and windy due to Tropical Storm Beta, so this is what I came up with for today. Flat light is no fun, so I found this bright red antique sign to brighten things up. This area is one of my favorite spots in town: LSU Rural Life Museum. It's a little bit of country smack dab in the middle of the city. Going out there brings back memories of a more innocent time. We can all use a little of that right now. I wish everyone could find a place to stop and soothe their souls. Even for a moment.

40mm | f/6.3 | ISO 100 | 1/100 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) color isolate country gate Louisiana LSU Rural Life Museum metal path Project 365 Project 366 sign stop stop sign Tue, 22 Sep 2020 21:16:26 GMT
265/366 | Lava Rose Chore day + gray skies +/- rain + lack of sleep = iPhone shot. Using the Portrait mode allows for some bokeh which is a perk for a camera phone.

If I can remember for next year, this plant turned out to be a great ground-cover in the bed, to my surprise. A coleus with the creative name 'Lava Rose' is in two spots of my garden and has a large 24" spread yet only about 4" in height. It's also great for hanging baskets or containers if you want a cascading spiller. Coleus plants come in so many amazing colors and combinations, making a bright and cheerful addition to any garden space.

265/366265/366Lava Rose
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) coleus garden gardening ground cover lava rose plants project 365 project 366 Mon, 21 Sep 2020 23:12:17 GMT
264/366 | Fueling Up Today we woke up to a cool 68°, an overcast sky, and blustery winds. That's so rare for September. I got most of my steps in without sweating, then came home to shower. The husband was on the patio and he told me I should get the tripod and long lens because two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds had been steadily feeding at two nectar stations within 10-12' of us. The light was pretty dismal, but I was happy that the male obliged by showing off his gorget. There was just enough light at one brief moment to see the iridescent blue and green back feathers.

Soon they will be off on their southern migration journey. They fly 500 miles or more nonstop to Mexico and other Central American countries. They fly over the Gulf of Mexico at night, and with no place to stop and refuel, they are at the mercy of hurricanes or other storms. Hummingbirds fly alone, not in groups. Their guidance system seems to be instinctual, for even the young have no parent or adult to show them the way. They tend to follow the same routes of their ancestors, though scientists don't understand how they know. They are truly amazing, fearless, tiny creatures. It gives me great pleasure to provide fuel for their travels. 

“I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is Mine." Psalm 50:11

264/366264/366Fueling Up

(Gail A. Dixon) bird migration birding birds hummer hummingbird hummy nature Project 365 Project 366 Ruby-throated Hummingbird wildlife Sun, 20 Sep 2020 18:35:24 GMT
263/366 | Monkeying Around Thanks to Tropical Storm Beta, we have rain and overcast skies all day. My car recorded a temperature of 70°F which prompted me to turn on the heater for my short drive to the grocery store. Some things to note: As most everyone knows, hurricanes are named alphabetically by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. What might not be known is that after A-Z is exhausted, they go to the Greek alphabet to continue with names. This is only the 2nd time in history that the National Hurricane Center has moved to the Greek alphabet. 2020 continues to amaze. 

As I took my walk this morning after coffee, walking and talking with God, I was so deeply grateful for the cool temps and light mist. I spotted this discarded stuffed toy and decided this would be my shot for the day.  Thanks to the husband for helping me with the title of this post. Other considerations were:

Monkey Business
Monkey See Monkey Do
Unlucky Monkey

263/366263/366Monkeying Around
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) discarded lost monkey Project 365 Project 366 stuffed animal stuffed monkey stuffed toy things seen on my walks Sat, 19 Sep 2020 19:30:33 GMT
262/366 | Flower Play Photo of 9/18

Yesterday I had to put my car back in the shop, so I didn't have a chance to get out with my camera. Plus, it was overcast all day.

Every Friday, the husband and I have a ritual of eating at a nearby Tex-Mex restaurant on the patio. Many of our neighbors frequent the place and we've also met two other nice couples that are dog lovers like us. Sometimes our good friend Christine, or my cousin and his family join us. We've become close with the owner and manager as well! This gives us a social outlet and helps take us away from the world and all its problems for a while. Last night we brought our chihuahua, Izzy with us, and she was a hit! Some of the kids came up to pet her. They thought she was a puppy and were surprised to learn she's actually 14.

We sat at our favorite table right next to the flower boxes, enjoying the cooler temps and breeze. An impatiens bloom fell on the table and I was drawn to the red contrasted against the black table. Two other pink blooms joined the red one and that's how I got the idea to arrange them for my photo of the day. For very little effort after a stressful day, I'm happy with it!

262/366262/366Flower Play
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) blooms flower petals flowers impatiens iphone 11 pro max petals project 365 project 366 three Sat, 19 Sep 2020 17:32:42 GMT
261/366 | Rusty We finally wrapped up studying the book of Daniel today! The "puzzle" is still out of focus and pieces are scattered about, but hopefully our next study of Revelation will help bring more clarity. I know what to look for in the Antichrist, that's for sure. He will be extremely boastful and speak monstrous things about God. He will insert himself into the temple and proclaim that he is God and demand to be worshipped. Chapter 11, verse 37 says he will disregard the God of his fathers, will magnify himself above all, and will not desire women. I thought that last clue was rather interesting.

After bible study, I drove to LSU Rural Life Museum since it was close to the church. I had my brand, spankin' new 17-40mm lens with me and was dying to give it a whirl. Thankfully, the sky cooperated. Scattered outside the museum are several rusting farm implements from the 18th and 19th centuries. This cog sits at the entrance to the parking area. The road off to the right takes you to walking trails, a pond, and a bee-keeping area. Inside the museum are relics such as tools, cameras, coffins, hearses, carriages, clothing, musical instruments, etc. Outside the museum are slave quarters, cabins, outhouses, a church, jail, and post office, to name some. Glimpses of how our ancestors lived so long ago is fascinating. At least to me.

17mm | f/4 | ISO 100 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) antique antique farm equipment farm equipment lsu rural life museum old project 365 project 366 rusty Thu, 17 Sep 2020 18:47:48 GMT
260/366 | Staircase Design Back to the Old Louisiana State Capitol Building. This time I wanted to focus on the spiral staircase spindles. I brought the 100mm and 35mm lenses with me. The 35mm wide open at f/2.8 looked the best out of the bunch, so I was glad I threw it into my backpack at the last second. Because the banister is curved, it was hard to get the image straight. Concentrating on the large pole behind the railing was a good guide. I loved the bits of stained glass bokeh beyond the keyholes. This is truly a grand place and I highly recommend touring this historical building should you ever find yourself in Baton Rouge.

260/366260/366Staircase Detail
35mm | f/2.8 | ISO 500 | 1/60 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) interior design keyhole keyhole design neo-gothic design old louisiana state capitol project 365 project 366 staircase design Wed, 16 Sep 2020 23:18:41 GMT

This is a native shrub for Louisiana, Florida and in some areas of Georgia. It thrives in shade and wetlands. It can tolerate sun as long as it is well watered. Once classified on its own in the Illicium family, it has been moved to the Schisandraceae (magnolia family), an ancient magnolia lineage. Quite interesting! The leaves are deep green and when crushed, smell like licorice—similar to anise, but again, it is very toxic. The flowers in maroon or white have petals resembling streamers, and are said to smell like fish, thus its other moniker: stinkbush. The fruit is star-shaped and remind me of candy. The sign at the base of the shrub said "Starbush" but I could find no indications online that this is its correct name. Maybe it's a Cajun thing. 

259/366259/366Florida Anise
400mm | f/5.6 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) florida anise gardening hilltop arboretum illicium floridanum native plants plants project 365 project 366 purple anise star anise starbush stink-bush Tue, 15 Sep 2020 18:33:17 GMT
258/366 | Young Hermes Young Hermes is a bronze sculpture in repose at Windrush Gardens, part of LSU Rural Life Museum. He is positioned on top of an ivy-covered well. Hermes is smaller in person, but I was standing close, which makes him appear larger. I also took a similar shot of Hermes in 2010 with azaleas blooming in the background. A non-profit, Instituto Sedes Sapientia, asked to use the image on the cover of their book in 2011. They deal with mental health, education and philosophy, and are also linked to the Catholic University of Sao Paulo. That was back when I was obsessed with photography, still in the learning stage and not very good, but somehow got their attention. Maybe because I shared more online than I do today. Flickr was popular back then and tagging photos led to companies finding me more readily. I was also active on the blogging platform, Blogspot for several years.

258/366258/366Young Hermes
40mm | f/4 | ISO 100 | 1/125 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) garden Project 365 Project 366 sculpture statue Steele Burden Windrush Gardens Young Hermes Mon, 14 Sep 2020 21:46:39 GMT
257/366 | Happy Place Still needing practice with the 17-40mm wide angle lens, I got in the car contemplating on where to go. I ended up at Burden Gardens since that's fairly close to our house. It was nice to see another plot of sunflowers in bloom, though these aren't as tall as the ones a couple months ago. Since there were families around, my angles were limited, and it was too hot to wait them out. *sweating emoji here* The cabins in the distance are part of the LSU Rural Life Museum which resides on the same property. I couldn't ask for a better sky.

257/366257/366Happy Place
17mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blue skies Burden Gardens clouds field flowers LSU Rural Life Museum plants Project 365 Project 366 sky sunflower field sunflowers wildflowers Sun, 13 Sep 2020 20:04:39 GMT
256/366 | Red Door Storms are headed our way due to several disturbances in the Caribbean. But this morning we were blessed with a beautiful blue sky and puffy white clouds. Wanting to take advantage of the wide angle lens rental, I headed for St. Joseph's Cathedral. Due to Corona, downtown is fairly deserted and the place I needed to stand had two sketchy men sitting on benches. Last week a little boy was shot and killed downtown, so with that on my mind, I took my shots hastily and scurried back to the car.

There are too many other buildings around the cathedral which detracts from this grand structure, so I concentrated on a side door and did a "color isolate red" in Lightroom. I know that is considered out of fashion now, but I still like it for certain shots.

256/366256/366Red Door
17mm | f/4.5 | ISO 100 | 1/60 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture cathedral cathedral door color isolate door project 365 project 366 red red door Sat, 12 Sep 2020 19:46:17 GMT
255/366 | Louisiana Capitol Things are settling down around here, finally. The sky was so pretty, I decided to head back downtown to get a photo of the Louisiana Capitol Building. Talk about history! Huey P. Long, running for governor in 1928, wanted a new capitol building constructed and used it as part of his campaign. It's a 34-story 450 foot tall Alabama limestone-clad skyscraper. It is the tallest capitol building in the U.S. The simplified Art Deco style was popular for monumental buildings in the late 1920s.

When the building was completed, Long was in D.C. serving as a senator at the time. Ironically, he was assassinated inside the building he pushed to have built, on September 10, 1935. He is buried on the grounds with a monument of his likeness facing the capitol. Today I noticed a spray of flowers on his grave and a note which read: "Remembering you with love and gratitude...Your Grandchildren, Great Grandchildren, and Great Great Grandchildren."

This was shot in front of Huey Long's monument. An english garden surrounds the front of the capitol, thus also surrounding Huey Long's burial place. Today the zinnias were really showing off, so I tried to get them into the picture too.

My thoughts are with my family in Oregon on high alert because of the fires, and all those who lost their lives or faced trauma on 9/11/01. Well, I guess we were all traumatized by that horrific day.

The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
         And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
         And give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

255/366255/366Louisiana Capitol
40mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture buildings capitol government building history huey long louisiana capitol project 365 project 366 Fri, 11 Sep 2020 20:10:20 GMT
254/366 | Dazzling After bible class yesterday I drove to the Old Louisiana State Capitol Building to get the famous stained glass ceiling. The cast iron spiral staircase leads to a second floor gallery with a brilliant display of stained glass. It's harder to capture than you might think because of the spiral and limited space. If you don't have good balance, you might fall backwards. The interior is magnificent, designed with marble and rich wood throughout, and keyhole designs on the staircase banister. It's so remarkable, it will require a few more trips. Although this is not a unique perspective, I'm happy with the way it turned out. 

20mm | f/4 | ISO 1000 | 1/100 sec

I am really LOVING the 17-40mm lens. It's an older Canon L series lens without image stabilization, but I have been very pleased with the quality of the images.

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture colorful design glass government buildings interior design old louisiana state capitol project 365 project 366 stained glass Fri, 11 Sep 2020 19:30:00 GMT
253/366 | Mealworm Time! We have so many Bluebirds! I counted a dozen at one time and it looked like dozens more at the baseball backstop. Since the mouse incident with my car I hadn't been feeding them. I decided they're the one bird I will make an exception for because they finish off all the worms before sundown.

While I was sitting in the lawn chair with my camera, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird flew inches from my face and hovered for a couple of seconds. I figured she was mad at me for letting the nectar run out, so I went straight to the kitchen with the dirty feeders, cleaned and refilled them. That was a nice little surprise because I thought the hummers were gone.

253/366253/366Mealworm Time!
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds bluebirds eastern bluebird meal worms mealworm nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Thu, 10 Sep 2020 00:49:07 GMT
252/366 | Blush This is my favorite bougainvillea. I have the purplish color going gangbusters against the iron fence by the driveway and three hanging baskets of the bright red variety along the wooden fence. This particular one is called Imperial, I believe. It's in a large hanging basket in the back yard. The color starts out lime green, then slowly turns pink. I like to say it's blushing. An iPhone shot was necessary because my car is back in the shop (don't ask) and it's too hot to be outdoors for long. Stuck at home, this is the best I can do.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) blooming blooms bougainvillea flowers garden gardening iphone 11 pro max plants project 365 project 366 Tue, 08 Sep 2020 21:22:45 GMT
251/366 | Grillin' and Chillin' It was so hot outside I think we could've cooked these burgers on the driveway. We discovered these delicious burgers awhile back at Whole Foods—Theo's Seasoned Steakhouse Burgers. I'm not much of a hamburger eater, but these are so flavorful and moist. Rouse's Supermarket to the rescue with the potato salad.

I hope everyone enjoyed a day of rest and relaxation.

251/366251/366Grillin' and Chillin'
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) barbecue food grilling hamburger iphone 11 pro max labor day potato salad project 365 project 366 Tue, 08 Sep 2020 00:06:20 GMT
250/366 | Levee The husband and I had a few errands to run today, so afterward, he took me to downtown Baton Rouge. I had hoped to again shoot the interior of the Old Louisiana State Capitol building, but they were closed today. So we walked up the levee on River Road. The side that faces the street is covered in grass with railroad tracks at the top. Usually, the concrete side facing the Mississippi is under water, but the level is extremely low, exposing the letters BATON ROUGE with the fleur de lis in the center. I shot the bridge and a couple other things, but this was the most unique image of the few shots I took. It's still hot as blazes outside, making it hard to breathe.

Rented the 17-40mm wide angle lens for the week. I think this lens may be a keeper. I took my friend's advice to rent before I buy. Although this is a Canon L lens, it doesn't have IS and is an older model. But I am very happy with the quality. As long as the shutter speed is fast enough, I don't think the absence of IS will be a problem. Plus, it's one of the cheaper wide angle lenses in Canon's L series.

17mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) art design downtown Baton Rouge fleur de lis fleur de lys levee levee artwork Project 365 Project 366 red sign Mon, 07 Sep 2020 01:49:01 GMT
249/366 | Phase 3? Round two dealing with a dead mouse. And of course it's a long weekend due to the Labor Day holiday. Sigh. I put the hood up on my car to try to air it out. Kept going online searching for solutions. Finally, I got the flashlight since it was dark, determined to find the thing. What a rancid smell! The flashlight enabled me to see what looked like a small tail hanging from the driver side fender well. The husband thought I was crazy; I was ready to rip the whole car apart. I prayed out loud, "Lord, Jesus help me!" With gloves on and a tool we tried to remove the cover. That didn't work, so I took a screwdriver and wedged it in the bottom of the plastic piece to pull it away from the car, and out dropped the mouse! You could hear my scream two parishes away. We're now on phase two of airing out the car. I certainly hope that's the last of this. Thank you, Jesus.

Speaking of phases, as I did my walk this morning I noticed this newspaper on our neighbor's driveway. Our governor has extended all the restriction deadlines so far and people are getting irritated as we seem stuck on Phase 2. Even last night at dinner, a couple next to us were complaining about the restrictions. There's a recall petition going around, too for our trial lawyer governor, John Bel Edwards. Anyway, since printed newspapers might be obsolete one day soon, I thought this would make a good photo for the day. 

249/366249/366Phase 3?
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) china virus covid iphone 11 pro max newspaper paper phase 3 project 365 project 366 wuhan virus Sun, 06 Sep 2020 02:05:25 GMT
248/366 | The Smelly Car Yesterday I was so excited to get my repaired and fumigated car back from the mechanic. They had assured me they could find no animal carcass, but removed a ton of droppings and sprayed deodorizer inside and out. I started the car and immediately was let down. IT STILL SMELLS!! I called the service manager from my car in the parking lot explaining the situation. He double-checked with the mechanic and confirmed that they did use deodorizer, so he suggested either a bag of charcoal or box of baking soda and leave the windows down for a while.

I made a beeline to Home Depot and first located rodent deterrents to stick under the hood of my car. Found it! Then I went to the cleaning aisle and found this spray called Ozium. It looked like it could handle tough smells. Then I purchased Febreeze clips for each vent in my car. Out of all the products purchased, the Ozium seems to be the most effective. I highly recommend this product to freshen any areas where a problem odor exists.

As a former Seinfeld fan, I couldn't help but remember The Smelly Car episode. That episode made me literally LOL. A valet with body odor left a terrible stench in Jerry's car and the scent attached itself to anyone inside the car and stayed with them long afterwards. Here are some memorable lines:

Jerry: So when somebody has B.O., the "O" usually stays with the "B".

Once the "B" leaves, the "O" goes with it.


Jerry: So, this morning I go down to the garage to check the car out. I figure by this time, the odour molecules have had at least twelve hours to de-smellify. I open the car door, like a *punch* in the *face*, the stench hits me-- it's almost as if it had *gained* strength throughout the night...


Kramer: What's that smell?

Jerry: What smell?

Kramer: Ooooh... You stink.

Jerry: Whatd'ya mean I stink?

Kramer: You *stink*. Why don't you go take a shower?

Jerry: I showered! Oh, wait a second... Since I showered, I've been in the car!

Elaine: So?

Jerry: Don't you see what's happening here? It's attached itself to me! It's alive!

Elaine: If it attached itself to you, then... Oh, my God! That's why Carl said he had to get up early! Because I stink! Jerry, he thinks I have B.O.! Me!


George: What is that? B.O.?

Jerry: Yeah.

George: This is *unbelievable* B.O.

Jerry: I know... I was at the car wash this morning and the guy told me in his 38 years in the business, he's never smelled anything like it.


Jerry doles out his $250 and gets in the April-fresh car..

Jerry: Wait a minute! It still smells! It still smells! (This was me yesterday)


Jerry: I'll tell you what I'm gonna do, I'm selling that car!

George: You're *selling* the car!?

Jerry: You don't understand what I'm up against. This is a force more powerful than anything you can imagine. Even *Superman* would be helpless against this kind of stench. And I'll take anything I can get for it.

George: Maybe I'll buy it.

Jerry: Are you crazy? Don't you understand what I'm saying to you? This is not just an odour--you need a *priest* to get rid of this thing!


Elaine: I still smell!

Jerry: You see! You see what I'm saying to you? It's a presence! It's the beast!

If only Jerry had known about Ozium.

248/366248/366The Smelly Car
iPhone 11 Pro Max


(Gail A. Dixon) air deodorizer bad smell ozium Project 365 Project 366 seinfeld smell Sat, 05 Sep 2020 18:22:54 GMT
247/366 | Faithful My plans to return to downtown Baton Rouge were thwarted by a critter who decided to make its home under the hood of my car and eat through the cover of my braking system, making a nest with the car's insulation. So, it's in the shop being repaired as well as FUMIGATED. 

Another recent development is an infestation of sod webworms—a horrid pest I didn't even know existed until my lawn turned brown seemingly overnight. I kept seeing these little white moths everywhere, not giving them much thought. Now I know that they are the next stage of the webworms, and by the time you see those, it's too late. A lawn professional confirmed my suspicions and will be out next Tuesday to hopefully come up with a plan to eradicate the pests and revive my grass. Apparently, it's a big problem for a lot of folks this year. Of course! 2020 continues to be an unrelenting pain in the _______ (fill in the blank).

Living in the South is not for sissies.

Yes, I've had some curveballs this week, but I still cling to my faith and put my hope in our Creator, God. I can sit here and cry about the damage to the lawn and car, or I can be thankful that I have the monetary means to make the necessary repairs. Also, our bible class did a practice Zoom meeting today and we will resume in-person class to finish our study of Daniel next week. If some are uncomfortable meeting in person, they have the option of joining us via Zoom. Technology to the rescue! Overall, I am thankful the repair to the car wasn't too expensive and I got to see some friendly faces I hadn't seen since March. God is good.

This is a wall in my breakfast nook. Several times a day I glance at it and am comforted.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 1 Corinthians 1:3-4

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) christianity cross faith jesus project 365 project 366 religion spiritual Fri, 04 Sep 2020 01:39:31 GMT
246/366 | Winding Back to the historical Louisiana Old State Capitol Building, this time for the interior. There is so much to shoot in there that it will be necessary to return a few more times. At least it's free! No flash was allowed and the mask mandate made it hard to breathe, so I didn't stay long. In the end I decided to use this shot from my phone and convert it to monotone. It's much less distracting. At least to me.

For fascinating information on the history of this building, see this site and this one.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture black and white design grand staircase iPhone 11 Pro Max Louisiana Old State Capitol spiral staircase staircase Wed, 02 Sep 2020 21:28:24 GMT
245/366 | Gothic Jewel After supper the husband and I drove downtown so I could try to capture the Old Louisiana State Capitol Building. Since it faces west, I hoped to get a well-lit subject. To my amazement, the sun hit the stained glass, making it sparkle. My photography efforts didn't do it justice. If I hadn't been parked in a loading zone, I would've spent more time on my settings.

Built in the Neo-Gothic Medieval style in the 1840s, it has a rich history. Instead of copying the style from the national Capitol Building in Washington, New York architect James H. Dakin envisioned a castle overlooking the Mississippi. If you're interested, there are many web sites devoted to the history of this building. As an aside, my mother rented one of the upper rooms for my first wedding reception in 1980. The interior is just as interesting and beautiful with a spiral staircase and more stained glass.

245/366245/366Gothic Jewel
24mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/1600 sec

Louisiana Old State Capitol Stained GlassLouisiana Old State Capitol Stained Glass
200mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture baton rouge buildings downtown Baton Rouge gothic architecture gothic design Louisiana Old State Capitol Neo-Gothic Medieval stained glass Wed, 02 Sep 2020 02:04:48 GMT
244/366 | Paper Clip Dock Had an early start this morning, so headed back to downtown Baton Rouge specifically to photograph a dock behind the levee known as The Paper Clips or Paper Clip Dock. As I was driving it started clouding up, so I prayed to God for a good sky. When I walked up the levee I looked up, smiled and gave thanks. I wanted to show you the end of the dock with its canopies, but the water is low exposing all the debris below. I hope to return and get the side angle of the structure at sunset.

244/366244/366Paper Clip Dock
24mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture Baton Rouge clouds dock downtown Baton Rouge levee Mississippi River paper clip dock Project 365 Project 366 sky Mon, 31 Aug 2020 16:39:37 GMT
243/366 | Unfurling So much for returning to downtown Baton Rouge for more photos. The heat is way too intense. Since we eat out every Sunday, I had to get my walk in this morning, and when I got back home I was spent and drenched.

This Gerbera daisy was a transplant that I had very little hope for. Amazingly, a bud popped up last week, opened up and turned bright pink. You can see part of the fully opened pink bloom on the right. Now she has a companion. It's amazing to me how the color transforms from green to yellow to pink.

100mm | f/2.8 | ISO 125 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bud daisy flower bud flower opening flowers gardening gerber daisy macro nature plants project 365 project 366 Sun, 30 Aug 2020 17:22:08 GMT
242/366 | Explore There's so much to photograph in downtown Baton Rouge. Today I chose this iconic sidewalk art which leads to a walkway connecting to Cane's River Center. If the weather holds out, I may go out every day this week to capture the Old State Capitol, the Mississippi River Bridge, the USS Kidd, and many other well known places of interest. As the flowers are succumbing to the heat and I've gotten most all the birds, it's time for some variation in this project. Hope you enjoy!

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) art baton rouge city art downtown baton rouge explore baton rouge graffiti iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 signs Sat, 29 Aug 2020 20:46:33 GMT
241/366 | High Alert We have the sweetest pair of Downy Woodpeckers who live in our neighbor's Chinese tallow tree. This is the first time I've been able to shoot the female. She's such an elegant creature. But she was very cautious of my presence.

241/366241/366High Alert
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds downy woodpecker nature project 365 project 366 wildlife woodpecker Fri, 28 Aug 2020 19:36:48 GMT
240/366 | After Laura When we went to bed last night, I was not sure what we would awaken to. The weather experts predicted possible storm surges of more than 15' around the Lake Charles/Gulf Coast area. The graph showed the hurricane tracking west of us, so I was fairly certain we were out of the danger zone. But, you never know. I said a heartfelt prayer for God to protect us all, and to have mercy on those in Laura's path. 

Our area was spared. It looks like Cameron and Lake Charles took the brunt of Laura's power, the eye passing right over Cameron. Thankfully, the storm surges did not happen. She landed as a Category 4, then weakened as she continued on. The Isle of Carpi casino boat broke from its mooring and crashed into a bridge on I-10. The city is also battling chemical fires. At this point in time, it appears there were four fatalities. My heart hurts for the loss of life, and destruction of homes and businesses. Please pray for all those affected.

This is what it looked like from my front door around 9:45AM. After surveying the yard, only a few scraggly limbs succumbed to the winds. Very, very thankful. Since moving here 8 years ago, we have been so fortunate. My husband always makes light of the forecasters and predictions. I lived through Camille as a child, not knowing if my mom was okay since I was home alone without power or a phone. To experience a monster storm like that stays with you. It leaves an indelible mark. I tell my husband, "It just takes one."

240/366240/366After Laura
iPhone 11 Pro Max


Laura video

(Gail A. Dixon) bad weather hurricane hurricane laura project 365 project 366 rain storm Fri, 28 Aug 2020 00:02:42 GMT
239/366 | Happy International Dog Day! Today's choice for a picture was obvious. Getting Izzy to cooperate was a FIASCO as usual. Sigh. She really hates to pose. First I tried to clean her face, so that didn't start things off on a good note. Then I put on a pink pearl necklace made especially for her. She and I feel the same way about jewelry: meh. I removed all the blankets from the couch because I knew she'd try to hide under them. After several NO! SIT! STAY! commands, I ended up with this. A dozen shots later and I gave up because we were both stressed out. Can't have Happy International Dog Day if you're not HAPPY.

239/366239/366Happy International Dog Day!
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) companion animals dogs happy international dog day iphone11 pro max izzy pets project 365 project 366 rescue dogs Wed, 26 Aug 2020 20:03:11 GMT
238/366 | Life Finds a Way Photo of 8/25. Dealing with some severe neck pain, so behind schedule.

This is one of many sidewalk "potholes" I come across on walks. Most of them have some sort of plant life inside. It's fascinating and refreshing that even in a hole the size of a quarter, this plant desires to live. And it's surviving, despite its small space, surrounded by concrete. Life is a strong force—from our Divine Creator, God. Thank You, God, for my life, and teaching me to appreciate all that You have made!

238/366238/366Life Finds a Way
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) growth iPhone 11 Pro Max life nature plants pothole Project 365 Project 366 sidewalk pothole Wed, 26 Aug 2020 15:38:36 GMT
237/366 | Hanging On This morning I woke up expecting to see wind and rain from tropical storm Marco; however, it was sunny and slightly breezy. Thankfully, wind shears broke Marco to pieces. Tropical storm Laura is the one I'm most concerned about since they're saying she'll likely intensify in the Gulf to become a hurricane. And she's headed right for Louisiana. Thankfully, Marco was a dud, and we're all praying Laura will disperse as well.

I thought I might continue with the heart theme, but the bluebirds are so fun to shoot right now. All the young ones are in various stages of growth. This little guy was having trouble balancing on the mealworm feeder. What joy they bring!

237/366237/366Hanging On 400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 800 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds bluebird eastern bluebird nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 24 Aug 2020 23:22:36 GMT
236/366 | Sky Heart Still trying to recover from yesterday's grueling yard work. I did get all my steps in this morning. After my shower, I rested in my prayer chair, looked up at the sky and saw this heart. It was actually sideways, so I turned it 90 degrees, did a minor Lightroom edit, then brought it into PS for Pioneer Woman's Lovely and Ethereal action. I use that action on about 90% of my images, though I usually decrease the gaussian blur to 20%, but today I left it alone. Did you know back in the day, Pioneer Woman used to give away free PS actions on her web site? I still use several of them quite frequently, especially Slight Sharpen and Bring on the Eyes!. For people, I like to use Coffee Shop's Portrait Luxe actions. 

236/366236/366Sky Heart
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 100 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) cloud formation cloud heart clouds project 365 project 366 skies sky Mon, 24 Aug 2020 01:57:38 GMT
235/366 | Heart Head This morning around 10:30 I decided the azaleas in front of the house had to go. It took 3 hours to uproot 12 of them. The ones on the east side were not doing well at all, so they were easier. The west side azaleas were doing quite well and were stubbornly holding their ground, making them difficult to dig out. Plus, I dug out huge tree roots from 2 river birches cut down a couple years ago. I am so wiped out! For now, most of the candy pink sunpatiens lining the front are still blooming, but once they're spent, I think I'll let the ground rest and in the spring hire someone to grind the tree stumps, then start over with new plantings. It's fun thinking of ideas of how I want the front of the house to look. Maybe incorporate sago palms in the corners? That's such a south Louisiana thing, but I want to make sure that's a native plant. I do want to use more natives as I replace and replant.

As I sat in my prayer chair trying to meditate after all that work, this little Downy Woodpecker came to feast on the peanuts. The suet container he prefers is empty, and the thought of masking up and getting out in this heat to get more, is too much right now. I noticed when I downloaded the images that the red patch on his head is shaped like a heart. Awww!

235/366235/366Heart Head
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) animal heart shape backyard birds birding birds downy woodpecker heart nature project 365 project 366 wildlife woodpecker Sat, 22 Aug 2020 21:26:46 GMT
234/366 | Carved in Stone Photo of 8/21.

Every day I walk over this sidewalk art in an adjacent neighborhood. I've been meaning to include it in the P366 project for several months. I wish I had done it sooner since it was colored at first. According to the home owner (who beamed with pride, by the way) her children created these avenger characters with some sort of tattoo kit, then colored them with chalk. The images appear to be engraved in stone, even looking at it up close. That ink must be very resistant to rain and the elements because it's been there since March or April. There are about 6-8 different characters in one large square. At least this Wuhan Virus has given some kids a creative outlet.

234/366234/366Carved in Stone
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) art avengers cartoon characters carved in stone engraving iPhone 11 Pro Max pandemic plandemic Project 365 Project 366 sidewalk art wuhan china virus life Sat, 22 Aug 2020 21:04:02 GMT
233/366 | Locust Breakfast This morning I awoke early, so I was able to get a head start on my steps by 8:30AM. It was a cool, refreshing 77ºF. Yes, from my perspective, that felt cool! Halfway through, the sun came out to start its daily baking ritual. But it was nice for a while, and I praised and thanked God for it.

On my way home, I noticed a Red-headed Woodpecker on a snag at the top of a 40' tree. When I returned with my camera he was still there. He was leaning into the cavity, probably feeding some chicks. Right now the birds have plenty of insects to feast on. This particular Woodpecker is omnivorous. Sadly, the Red-headed is on the decline for various reasons such as habitat decline (tree cutting) and competing for nesting sites with Starlings. I almost wish we had a dead tree in the yard to host these beauties. A rare and wonderful sighting that made my day.

233/366233/366Locust Breakfast
400mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds feeding time locust project 365 project 366 red-headed woodpecker tree cavity woodpecker Thu, 20 Aug 2020 16:05:40 GMT
232/366 | Jewel of my Kitchen Finally, finally I convinced the husband to purchase a new refrigerator. The Samsung side-by-side we purchased 8 years ago has been nothing but a costly headache from the start. Three ice makers were replaced and it leaked every day. The last six months we've been buying bagged ice. Water with no ice in Louisiana? I don't think so.

Remember when appliances used to last for a generation? Yeah, those days are no more. 

Saturday we went to a local appliance store since I had already struck out at Home Depot. Got a GREAT deal on this beauty and no-interest financing for one year. The middle drawer can be used as a freezer, wine cooler and other options. The large space for water and ice dispensing will come in handy for large vessels like my tea kettle. Also, it is counter-depth, even though it doesn't appear so here. Just the way I photographed it.

Today the fridge arrived as promised. Once I saw it in the kitchen I actually became excited. I bid adios to the 8-year reign of terror from the Samsung with more glee than I thought possible. I was surprised to only find one dead insect, dog fur and four pieces of bacon on the floor once it was removed. The guy patiently waited while I vacuumed and sanitized the area. Shop leauxcal, y'all! It was a great experience.

232/366232/366Jewel of my Kitchen
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) appliance Frigidaire iPhone 11 Pro Max kitchen Project 365 Project 366 refrigerator Wed, 19 Aug 2020 22:37:10 GMT
231/366 | 'Purple Pearls' Photo of 8/18. I was too tired and headache-y to post yesterday. I spent most of the day outdoors at the arboretum and doing my steps so the heat zapped my energy quick. I'm so ready for FALL, y'all!

The American Beautyberry, also known as Callicarpa americana is a native shrub located in the southern United States. Birds and deer feast on the "pearls" thus distributing the seeds. Guess who wants one for their yard? You only get one guess. :)

231/366231/366'Purple Pearls'
188mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) American Beautyberry beautyberry Callicarpa americana native plants native shrubs plants Project 365 Project 366 purple pearls Verbenaceae Wed, 19 Aug 2020 22:03:10 GMT
230/366 | Young'un Our first known juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker for 2020. They love suet! This little gal/guy seemed unfazed by my presence.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1000 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds bird birding immature bird juvenile bird project 365 project 366 red-bellied woodpecker woodpecker Mon, 17 Aug 2020 21:25:46 GMT
229/366 | Mississippi Kite As summer winds down, the Mississippi Kites will be leaving us soon. I have probably taken 2000+ shots of this bird of prey, all with dismal results. I've employed every setting, used innumerable apertures and shutter speeds, different metering modes, etc. Impossible, at least with the equipment I have. This might be the best I'll get and it's too hot to be outside for long, so I'm going to pull the trigger on this one. Two of them were circling above our house this morning. It's possible one of them got to one of our precious Bluebirds yesterday. 

229/366229/366Mississippi Kite
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 100 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird of prey birding birds falcon hawk kite mississippi kite project 365 project 366 Sun, 16 Aug 2020 19:52:21 GMT
228/366 | Bluebird Casulty Photo of Aug 15, 2020. I'm a little behind! I blame the heat.

Yesterday I was in the backyard watering my poor, parched plants when I looked down and noticed a huge pile of blue feathers on the ground. It was obvious a struggle had taken place. I love putting out food to attract the Bluebirds, but the hawks sometimes come and take advantage. I hope my little bird friend was able to get away; however, with so many feathers missing, it's doubtful he'd be able to fly. *sad face*

228/366228/366Bluebird Casulty
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) birds Eastern Bluebird feathers iPhone 11 Pro Max Project 365 Project 366 Sun, 16 Aug 2020 19:41:52 GMT
227/366 | Stumbling Block Photo for Aug 14, 2020

When I committed to walking 1 mile a day three years ago, there were some issues to overcome. First, I had to build up to that distance by losing weight and convincing myself that I wouldn't die in the process. I also had to adopt healthier eating habits. It was dicey in the beginning and I HATED doing it. Detested every second! The "steps" to get there were hard, but I was determined to succeed. I could only walk around the block the first week since I had zero stamina. Each day I pushed myself farther, and each day became easier.

On one of the first days I achieved a mile (huge mile"stone"), I tripped on a small protrusion in the sidewalk as I was returning home. The very tip of my shoe caught it and I went flying, arms flailing like one of those crazy air dancers at the oil change place. As I was propelled forward, gravity finally claimed me, and I skidded, hands outstretched, shredding my palms on the pavement. At that moment, I was more humiliated than anything. Until I saw the blood. There was so much blood, and I had a whole mile to walk before I could get back to the house to clean up and assess the damage. All I could do was carefully wipe my hands on some grass in an empty lot. I bled the entire mile home, blood running down my forearms as I tried to keep them upright. I can't imagine what I must've looked like to passersby, but no one offered to help. I made it home and bandaged the wounds, but it took two weeks for my palms to heal. And believe you me, I was very cautious on walks thereafter.

That experience reminds me of my spiritual walk with God, with so many parallels. The path I choose, avoiding obstacles, staying safe, getting to know the routes, and building confidence. If I'm not careful, indiscretions, no matter how small, interferes with the relationship I have with our Creator. Known to backslide and constantly prone to sin, it’s frustrating to still be so imperfect 32 years after accepting Christ into my heart. Not only are there temptations and sin to deal with, it's imperative to adopt daily devotions and prayer time each day, just like my nutrition plan. What I feed my brain is just as important as what I feed my body. If God isn't my primary focus I'll fail; if I eat junk food, my body suffers. If I fail to be disciplined in crucial areas, I drift away and feel separated from God. Mind and body will pay the price.

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

All sin is to be avoided, some more obvious than others. It's easy to take note of the massive ones and avoid them like the plague. Murder, adultery, stealing, etc. Sometimes it's just a pebble that can send me off in the wrong direction. An unkind word, a critical spirit, neglecting to do good when it’s in my power to do so. The Holy Spirit has made me super sensitive to sin. A rude or insensitive remark said in haste will leave me filled with regret for days. Every day I confess my transgressions and ask for mercy, promising to do better. God is sanctifying me slowly, but surely. After all, He knows our flaws and struggles all too well.

"And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." Ezekial 36:26 (NLT)

Some days I want to give up. I fail far too often. I want to give up on the grueling walks (especially in summer) and even give up on my spiritual journey. But I see how far I have come. I've lost 30 pounds and have so much energy. I'm now walking 5+ miles every single day and look forward to it! That's the physical side. Spiritually, I'm stronger, more grounded in faith and hope, most days. God has not let me down yet. And He will not because the Holy Scriptures tell me so. And I believe in God's Word with all my heart. I pray for strength to endure, and grace to accept the burdens I carry where there’s no relief in sight. I pray to finish the race, to not give in to temptation, to be strong and courageous like Joshua.

God also loves a joyful, thankful heart, and I find that He is more apt to answer prayers when I am expressing gratitude, especially thankful for the gift of Jesus. There is always something to be grateful for, even if I’m having a bad day or week or month sometimes!

God often shows Himself to me in nature. Maybe that's why I love being outdoors, seeing all the wonderful things He has made. This is where I connect with my Creator. The beauty and miracle of His handiwork lifts my spirits and fills me with awe. Often, during heart wrenching moments, a beautiful butterfly will float by and I’m reminded that God will transform me just like He did with that butterfly. Or a colorful songbird will appear seemingly out of nowhere, perch on a limb and sing his heart out, lifting my spirits. All He has made is miraculous and designed to give us hope. The belief that this world came from nothing is too nonsensical to even consider. There is a natural order, made by a loving Creator who is gently calling us to Himself.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20 (NIV)

Let us pray for one another, edifying and building up the Body of Christ as He commissioned us to do. Be well and be at peace. And watch out for any stumbling blocks. Amen. 227/366227/366Stumbling Block
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) caution daily walk iPhone 11 Pro Max pavement Project 365 Project 366 sidewalk Stumbling Block Sun, 16 Aug 2020 19:25:37 GMT
226/366 | Zinnia Field Revisited Burden Gardens again today. The sun almost burned me to a crisp. Lawdy, the heat is unbelievable. But the zinnias and sunflowers sure seem to love it!

226/366226/366Zinnia Field
135mm | f/5.6 | ISO 100 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blooming blooms field of flowers project 365 project 366 wildflowers zinnias Thu, 13 Aug 2020 22:50:22 GMT
225/366 | Gulf Fritillary Returned to Burden Gardens as soon as they opened at 8AM and it was still hot as blazes. Since I don't have an image of the Gulf Fritillary for this project, here ya go. I am just not into much of anything right now. The heat and humidity zap the very life out of my core, among other things going on in my life right now.

225/366225/366Gulf Fritillary
400mm | f/8 | ISO 250 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) butterflies butterfly gulf fritillary insects nature pollinator project 365 project 366 wildlife zinnias Wed, 12 Aug 2020 20:31:09 GMT
224/366 | Impossible Izzy Little energy today for photography. Several attempts of various birds and flowers, but nothing special came of it. Izzy entered the "picture" and since she never poses for me (brat) this is the best of the bunch. Today I just don't care about this project. Praying for a better tomorrow.

224/366224/366Impossible Izzy
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) chihuahua companion animals dogs izabella grace izzy pets project 365 project 366 rescue dogs Wed, 12 Aug 2020 00:50:50 GMT
223/366 | Scraggly This young male House Finch looks like he's been in a few fights. Scrappy little fella.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds house finch nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 10 Aug 2020 23:28:43 GMT
222/366 | Hint of Fall My neighbor's maple tree has been dropping colorful leaves the last week. Although we still have another two months of hot weather, this will probably be the most color we'll see since we do not have four true seasons. By November the bald cypress trees will turn orange, but other than that the leaves go from green to brown. That's fall for us, y'all!

222/366222/366Hint of Fall
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) colorful foliage fall foliage iphone 11 pro max maple leaves maples nature plants project 365 project 366 trees Mon, 10 Aug 2020 23:17:01 GMT
221/366 | Edna is 90 We had a glorious, heavy rain shower this afternoon. I was so thankful because an hour before, I fertilized my citrus trees, camellias, and bougainvilleas. Even though I watered it in, a good soaking from God is always preferable. After the rain, it cooled off enough for me to take a walk. About a mile in, the sun came out and the humidity returned with a vengeance. It felt like a sauna from hell.

Anyhow, I kept hearing horns and sirens blaring with people shouting in the distance, but I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. As I approached the adjacent neighborhood, I soon saw what all the hullaballoo was about: A neighbor I do not know turned 90 years old today, so they had a social distancing party with the fire department participating. The yard was decked out with lights, streamers and a huge, custom sign. I stopped and chatted with the daughter as she was cleaning up the aftermath, offering my best wishes and congratulations. It was a nice conversation, even though I was drenched with sweat. She allowed me to take a picture with my phone.

221/366221/366Edna is 90
iPhone 11 Pro Max
Effect from Topaz Impressions called Swirly Strokes to give the image an artistic flair.

(Gail A. Dixon) 90 years old birthday celebration Covid life happy birthday iPhone 11 Pro Max Project 365 Project 366 sign yard sign Sun, 09 Aug 2020 00:26:37 GMT
220/366 | Busy as a Bee Sorry for all the cliched titles of my posts this week. I think the heat has melted my brain.

After my 4 mile walk this morning, I drove to LSU Rural Life museum. There, I found a field of zinnias and another plot of sunflowers. The heat was so intense, I didn't last long out there. I got all my steps in today, though, despite the inferno.

220/366220/366Busy as a Bee
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 200 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bee black and white insect nature pollination pollinator Project 365 Project 366 wildlife zinnia Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:57:08 GMT
219/366 | Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut Anyone remember that jingle for Almond Joy back in the day? Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. It was quite a catchy tune. 

The Tufted Titmouse finally returned to visit today after I spotted him a month ago. He looks so cute when the crest is raised on his head, but I guess he was more focused on retrieving a peanut. This is a year-round bird for our area, but they are rarely seen. I hear their peter, peter, peter calls often, though.

219/366219/366Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds bird food birding birds peanuts titmouse tufted titmouse Thu, 06 Aug 2020 21:10:53 GMT
218/366 | Between a Rock and a Hard Place Day two, strike two, trying to find the Painted Bunting.

The silhouette of the plant cast onto the rock caught my attention. The shadow makes it appear that there's a bird perched on a limb. 

218/366218/366Between a Rock and a Hard Place
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 100 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) plants pond pond plants Project 365 Project 366 rocks silhouette Wed, 05 Aug 2020 20:08:38 GMT
217/366 | Four Spotted Pennant Yesterday my aunt sent me a text that her friend from church spotted a Painted Bunting not too far from my house. For 3-hours I hunted, prayed, tried to lure it out with my trusty iBird app—all to no avail. So it was either this Four Spotted Pennant (a new insect for me) or a Mississippi Kite eating a dragonfly in the air. The Kite shot just wasn't sharp enough. They will be here until the end of August, so I may return tomorrow to look for the Painted or get better shots of the Kite.

I love the bronze, shimmery markings on the wings of this pennant. The orange body indicates a young female. As she ages she'll turn brown—kinda like me! The males are blue. She'd better look out for the Kites since they seem to love them some dragonflies.

217/366217/366Four Spotted Pennant
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) dragonfly Four Spotted Pennant insects nature pennant Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Wed, 05 Aug 2020 01:13:56 GMT
216/366 | Vivid I am one tired puppy. In addition to laundry, I tackled some major areas of my backyard garden: transplanting from pots, putting in new plants, hauling dirt and mulch, filling holes, etc. The worst part was shopping at the plant nursery wearing a mask. I wore the one I had written Psalm 46:10--Be still and know... The cashier at Louisiana Nursery said, "That's one of my favorite bible verses." That was a bright spot to carry with me the rest of the day.

After dinner, I realized I had not gotten an image for P366, so I put out mealworms for the Bluebirds and like magic, they appeared. Dozens of them. They are such a joy in my life right now. This young male posed under the Crape Myrtle tree with the sun hitting him just right. Not a ton of light, but enough to cast a pretty glow.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds blue bluebirds eastern bluebird project 365 project 366 Tue, 04 Aug 2020 01:00:03 GMT
215/366 | Parched Third round of blooms from my mango colored daisies. They may be root-bound in the pot, so I'll probably have to move them to the ground. They look like how I feel--tired and parched. It's so HOT. August is just ridiculous in the South.

200mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1250 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) daisies daisy dying flower flowers garden gardening gerbera daisy plants project 365 project 366 Mon, 03 Aug 2020 01:01:59 GMT
214/366 | Bienvenue August 1. Always look forward to seeing the sign welcoming me back home. It's not a bad drive from MS, just boring. I listen to my podcasts and pray, usually. So good to be home, piddle in the garden, and sleep in my own bed.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) bienvenue en louisiane iphone 11 pro max louisiana project 365 project 366 road sign signs welcome sign welcome to louisiana Sun, 02 Aug 2020 20:26:55 GMT
213/366 | Sentry July 31 we watched four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zoom around the feeder. Their acrobatic flying maneuvers are simply amazing to watch. They are fierce, territorial and FAST; like tiny flying wizards. Two males in particular were going at it, face-to-face, with beaks and wings briefly touching. How they flew so quickly and accurately between the wrought iron bars of the patio gate without knocking themselves out, I will never comprehend. I tried every single day to shoot them, but this is the best I could get. It was either this or a mediocre shot of a silver-spotted skipper. This male liked to perch on a dead lily near the feeder. As soon as his competitor tried to feed, he was chasing him away like a boss.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds hummingbird nature project 365 project 366 ruby-throated hummingbird wildlife Sun, 02 Aug 2020 20:15:33 GMT
212/366 | Eastern Kingbird July 30 daddy and I took a drive to Percy Quin State Park. Every day we took a leisurely country drive for about an hour. Since he's mostly wheelchair bound, it's important to get out of the house and see something besides the inside walls of his house. I'm thankful he is able to transfer himself from the chair to the car, bed, recliner, etc. On the way out of the park I noticed an Eastern Kingbird posed on a tall weed. He let me get several shots. It was a good day.

212/366212/366Eastern Kingbird
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds eastern kingbird nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Sun, 02 Aug 2020 19:50:13 GMT
211/366 | Fungus Among Us July 29 in Magnolia, MS. It was pretty boring and HOT. Tiny mushrooms popped up in many areas of the yard in the morning. By evening, they disappeared.

211/366211/366Fungus Among Us
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 100 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) fungi fungus mushrooms plants Project 365 Project 366 Sun, 02 Aug 2020 19:35:28 GMT
210/366 | Oh Deer! On July 28, my first day in Mississippi, daddy and I took an afternoon drive down Hwy. 48. A few miles down the road we happened upon an exotic deer farm. These are axis deer, also known as spotted deer or chital from Southern Asia. I first isolated the buck by himself, then he started to grow worried about the fawn and trotted over to protect him. The light was not good that day, so I thought we'd have another try at the end of my stay, but it wasn't to be. Ah well, this will have to do! More pics to process, which may take a day or two.

210/366210/366Oh Deer
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1000 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) animals axis deer deer exotic deer project 365 project 366 wildlife Sun, 02 Aug 2020 18:34:58 GMT
209/366 | Lift Off Mondays are always a challenge when it comes time for this project because it's my designated chore day. Add rain to the equation and it usually spells disaster. I managed a walk this morning before the rains came and thought I'd use some wild berries photographed with my phone. But the wind was gusting and the images were all blurry. I shot this from my back door, through glass. A little House Finch lifting off a decorative planter. So sad, but this is the best of the few shots out of 12 taken.

Tomorrow I leave for Mississippi for a week. My dad says they have four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds regularly visiting. Hope I get lucky!

209/366209/366Lift Off
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds bird birding flying bird house finch nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Tue, 28 Jul 2020 01:19:29 GMT
208/366 | Teenage Cardinal This morning I woke early to some heavy showers. It was peaceful sitting in the living room listening to the downpour. During a break in the rain, I set out seeds and nuts for my bird friends to see who would visit. This is actually a squirrel feeder that a cob of corn is screwed onto, so I improvised a bit. Several young Cardinals enjoyed an afternoon snack. The juvenile males appear as though they've been tie-dyed. I love the red, orange and tan mottling. These are year-round birds for us, so not too exciting, but it is fun to watch them in different stages of maturity.

208/366208/366Teenage Cardinal
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1000 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds cardinal northern cardinal project 365 project 366 red red bird Sun, 26 Jul 2020 20:00:27 GMT
207/366 | Cooper The Cooper's Hawk is a year-round bird for our area. Two days in a row on my walk I spooked one out of a grove of pine trees as I passed by and he went screeching to a tall oak on the other side of the street. When it happened again this morning, I decided to return with my camera. Since I was in my car and too tired to walk across the boulevard, I pulled over, walked to the median with phone in hand and played the Cooper's sound. Hot dog! He took the bait and flew over to the oak. Although the light was flat and dismal, I managed to come away with a halfway decent image!

This is a medium-sized, agile hawk. Adults have a bluish gray back, white chest and belly with rufous bars, and red eyes. Juveniles have a brown back and brown vertical streaks on a white chest and belly with yellow eyes. This appears to be a first-year juvenile. He was quite disturbed by my presence, so I didn't terrorize him for too long.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 320 | 1/1000 sec


(Gail A. Dixon) bird of prey birding birds cooper's hawk falcon nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Sat, 25 Jul 2020 18:29:58 GMT
206/366 | The Last Mango Most Friday nights the husband and I dine at a nearby Tex-Mex restaurant. One reason we choose this particular restaurant is that it has a nice outdoor patio with a fountain, and dogs are welcome. Plus, no masks are required outside. We sometimes bring Izzy in her stroller, as we did last night. 

Since I started getting serious about being healthier a few years ago, part of that was cutting out alcohol except for the occasional social drink or to celebrate something. The last month has been so hot, that I started ordering the mango frozen margarita to help cool off--it's so very refreshing! But afterwards I feel terrible and wake up feeling worse. It's the combination of alcohol and sugar that cause me to feel like poop. Also, I had gotten my weight down to 107 pounds at the beginning of July and now I'm back up to 112. If I keep drinking like that, my weight is going to balloon out of control. So last night I decided, that's it. Back to water! Bye, mango margarita. I shall miss thee!

206/366206/366The Last Mango
iPhone 11 Pto Max
Portrait Mode

(Gail A. Dixon) alcohol dining drink iPhone 11 Pro Max mango margarita margarita orange Project 365 Project 366 restaurant Sat, 25 Jul 2020 18:03:55 GMT
205/366 | Clouded Sulphur The wildflower field at Hilltop Arboretum paid off for me this morning. The tickseed has died off and the field is now filled with a fern-like plant, about 3' tall with yellow blooms. It looks invasive to me, but the butterflies seem to love it. I spotted at least three pairs of Clouded Sulphurs. They are hard to shoot due to their swiftness. Also present were Monarchs and Gulf Fritillaries. It was hot, but not unbearable. We're supposed to drop down to 84F after 2PM. That'll feel like a cold spell and I will welcome it.

205/366205/366Clouded Sulphur
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 1250 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) butterfly clouded sulphur insects project 365 project 366 yellow Thu, 23 Jul 2020 19:00:24 GMT
204/366 | Bluer Than Blue It's so incredibly hot. I know I keep mentioning that in my posts, but it's rough, y'all! Like winter, I sometimes get the blues during summer, too. I'm trying to keep my focus on Jesus, but it's not always easy with the craziness going on in the world right now. Pray for our country to wake up and for peace. 

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4

This morning Goodyear called to say my car was ready, so I actually walked the mile-and-a-half to get it!  So now there's only about 4000 steps left to complete my day. I listened to my daily devotional podcasts on the way there, praying afterwards. It was hard to concentrate with the noise of the busy road. God knows my heart.

As I sat in my prayer chair late this afternoon, a breeze would come to cool me off every so often. Around 3PM the birds came to feed, as usual. Today was the usual cast of characters: Carolina Wrens, Northern Cardinals, House Finches, Eastern Bluebirds, and the Blue Jay below. A squirrel kept trying to sneak in, but I made weird noises loud enough to scare him away, but not the birds. I already have the Blue Jay in my project, but I like this one better. 

204/366204/366Bluer Than Blue
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds blue blue jay nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Wed, 22 Jul 2020 20:56:38 GMT
203/366 | Butterfly on Bougainvillea Today was rough. The husband and I went to Goodyear to get new tires on my SUV in preparation for my trip to Mississippi next week. The guy was trying to upsell an alignment, and me and my mask and my worsening headache weren't having any of it. Is this a new way to break down a person's resolve? Mask 'em up while lack of oxygen to the brain allows the seller to push their money-grabbing tactics? The guy was so pushy, the manager came out of the back room to make him stop. He recognized us from previous visits and maybe saw I was about to faint. Honestly, I don't know how I'd manage if I had to wear a face diaper all day. You workers have my full admiration. God bless you! 

Finally got out of there for the right price, only to walk outside to loud thunder and a big bolt of lightning. We made it home before the tropical shower hit. 

With all that said, I didn't think I'd have a shot for today. Just in case, I photographed a cloud formation with my phone. I was standing in the driveway admiring my bougainvillea and getting much-needed fresh air, when a Monarch lit on a bloom. I quickly ran into the house, grabbed my camera and hurried back out. He went from the salvia, then back to the bougainvillea, spending the most time there. I was so grateful that he hung around for me to get a shot.

I pray tomorrow is a better day.

203/366203/366Butterfly on Bougainvillea
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bougainvillea butterfly flowers insects monarch monarch butterfly nature nectar project 365 project 366 wildlife Tue, 21 Jul 2020 23:27:37 GMT
202/366 | Sugar Kettle Made a quick trip to LSU Rural Life museum this morning. There are at least half a dozen sugar kettles placed strategically throughout the property. They are a relic of 18th and 19th century sugar production and came in different sizes. This is one of the larger ones. I liked the trim along the sides which makes it more decorative than the others.

Bayou Teche (pronouned Tesh) was an important trade route, so the kettles were also known as 'teches' and were used on plantations for cooking. Most of the sugar kettles were melted down for the war effort, so they are a unique treasure if you have one. This web site has more information on the history if you're interested.

Today the few remaining are used in lawns for plants or fire pits. My grandparents had one for the cows' water and one for family crawfish boils. Every time I see the big, cast iron kettle, I think of our large family gathered together under the pecan tree, eating, relaxing and playing without a care in the world.

202/366202/366Sugar Kettle
32mm | f/5 | ISO 100 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) 18th century 19th century antique historical relic history kettle old Project 365 Project 366 relic south southern plantation relics sugar kettle teche Mon, 20 Jul 2020 21:24:03 GMT
201/366 | Immature Whew doggies, it is HOT. It's getting pretty intense lately. As I sat in my prayer chair, it felt like an inferno. Needless to say, I didn't last long. I did manage 7500 steps starting around 9:30AM and ending at 10:30AM.

From my chair I noticed this Northern Cardinal with a black beak--a new observation for me. I learned adults have reddish-orange beaks, so this is a juvenile. Whether it's male or female is unclear to me. He/she is pretty in an understated way. I love the birds that visit our yard and seeing the different stages of growth. There's always something to learn from nature and I'm an avid student.

400mm | ISO 1600 | f/5.6 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds cardinal nature northern cardinal project 365 project 366 wildlife Sun, 19 Jul 2020 18:14:16 GMT
200/366 | Deep Purple Every time I visit LSU Rural Life Museum, I check the sugar kettles for these gorgeous purple flowers. Hit the jackpot today! As an aside,  I learned some interesting history researching sugar kettles, so that's another idea for this project. Thankfully, I didn't have to take many shots because it was so hot and the humidity so suffocating, I could hardly stand it. 

Trying to identify this flower has been difficult. It could be a water lily, a lilypad, a blue lotus flower, or some hybridized version of the water lily. The inside appears to glow. It's absolutely stunning.

Usually I have to clean up distracting specks or out of focus bugs, but this flower was pristine, so minimal processing, meaning less time on the computer. Hope everyone is having a blessed Saturday!

200/366200/366Deep Purple
100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 100 | 1/500 sec

Technical notes: I've been using AUTO ISO (100-1600) and switching between AV and TV (aperture and shutter priority) depending on the situation. So far it seems to be working fine. Before, I hadn't trusted the Mark III to read the scene accurately, but I'm trusting it more now. Today was a bright, sunny day and it properly used 100 ISO here. Since I wanted the background mostly out of focus, I used AV mode to control that.

(Gail A. Dixon) aquatic flower aquatic plant floating flowers lilypads macro plants Project 365 Project 366 purple flowers water lily water plants Sat, 18 Jul 2020 19:22:09 GMT
199/366 | Curly Q A gray squirrel kept trying to raid the Bluebird feeder this afternoon. Since I didn't get any other worthy shots, this will have to do for today. I liked the Q-shape of his tail.

199/366199/366Curly Q
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1250 | 1/800

(Gail A. Dixon) critter gray squirrel nature project 365 project 366 rodent squirrel wildlife Sat, 18 Jul 2020 00:20:39 GMT
198/366 | Ornamental Pepper This is my favorite of the ornamental pepper plants purchased last year. Out of six, half survived the winter. This one has purple and green variegated leaves which are pretty by themselves. The plant also produces small red and purple peppers.

Today I noticed a shield bug on one of the leaves, so I grabbed the macro lens and external flash. The bug let me get one shot and became spooked. I don't know where he went, but he's obviously an expert at hiding. Anyway, I noticed that some of the peppers looked chewed on--probably that dastardly shield bug. I had not seen the inside of these peppers before and thought it'd make an interesting image.

Ever since I took this shot, rain has been gushing from the sky. Good thing I got my walk in early this morning, along with a photograph.

198/366198/366Ornamental Pepper
100mm | f/5 | ISO 200 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) garden gardening ornamental pepper pepper pepper plant plant project 365 project 366 Thu, 16 Jul 2020 20:31:09 GMT
197/366 | Crowded After my walk and after I cleaned the bathrooms, I put out mealworms, sat in my chair and waited. We have at least a dozen, if not more, Eastern Bluebirds, both adults and juveniles! The feeder shown is the first one I purchased years ago, and was such a success that I have three others that are more decorative, but hold less worms. The black one holds the most food, thus more birds attempt to "belly up to the bar" so to speak. The most I've seen at one time is four at this feeder, but usually only two can feed together comfortably. They mostly get along, but every once in a while they can get rowdy. These birds are a blessing from God, bringing joy to my days, temporarily lifting the burdens I carry. Look for the good; it's there.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Psalm 91:4

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/800 sec

Technical note: I started using TV mode (shutter priority) on bird shots. I set it at 800 on cloudy days, then use Auto ISO (range 100-1600). Most of the time it reads the scene correctly, so I'm going to increase the shutter speed when it's a sunny day and try for flight shots.

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds bluebirds eastern bluebirds juvenile birds mealworms nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Wed, 15 Jul 2020 20:24:04 GMT
196/366 | Louisiana Senators Today was, um, interesting. Browsing Twitter after my devotional, I saw that Pence was to arrive at Tiger Stadium to meet with legislators and other leaders to discuss reopening our schools. So I finished my coffee, threw my gear together and left to scope it out. I had hoped to get a photo of Pence. I'm not a huge fan of Pence--he seems a little off to me for some reason, but he's the VP, so I thought it might make a good photo for my project.

There were three other people waiting with the same purpose. One couple had made a sign with a bible verse on it, and another lady had an American flag. All were wearing Trump hats and red clothing. I was in my NOLA Jazzfest shirt (blue) from 2 years ago. Anyway, they were very nice people and we are all on the same page with sadness at the direction our world is heading, and how that relates to the holy bible. 

Finally, the big moment arrived. A black suburban with two flags over the headlights pulled up to a tent they had set up next to the building. I started shooting on high speed, and then this woman, shorter than me, but wider, started pointing in our direction. Her pace quickened and my hopes were dashed when I realized she was making a beeline in our direction. Very forcefully, she told us to move it or get out or some words to that effect. When the man I was with said we had permission from the LA GOP to be there, she continued to point and yell through her mask to get away. It was quite unnerving and disappointing to be treated with such disrespect when we were there to show our support. But I guess security doesn't know us and probably treats all outsiders with suspicion. I am thankful that she didn't confiscate my camera or memory card--that would've been a BIG problem.

I went home feeling like I got my butt spanked. But I did get images of Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, two outspoken Republican Senators. Bill Cassidy is in the blue shirt with red tie and LSU mask, and John Kennedy is on the far right in a white shirt with red tie. The Secret Service agent that was so rude and scary is standing behind Bill Cassidy. 

I pray the meeting went well. 

196/366196/366Louisiana Senators
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 640 | 1/3200 sec

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

1 Timothy 2:1-5

(Gail A. Dixon) Cassidy COVID19 meeting with Pence high level meeting Kennedy Louisiana Politicians LSU politicians Project 365 Project 366 Secret Service security senators Tue, 14 Jul 2020 20:16:08 GMT
195/366 | Restricted Our governor instituted a state-wide mask mandate starting today. So far throughout this plandemic, I've avoided wearing a mask. I'm a free and natural person, and serious about staying healthy, and wearing a mask doesn't seem healthy. Plus, I get panic attacks and am extremely claustrophobic. Plus, plus, it's approaching 110 degrees F when the heat index is factored in. I social distance, wash hands frequently, and even if I happen to pass too close to someone I hold my breath. If an occasion arises where I need a mask, mine will have the words God has been speaking to me for over 2 years written on it: Be still and know that I am God. Well, I left off the "that I am God" part because I didn't want someone coming up to me and yelling, "SO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOD, HUH?" Yes, that's where we are today. A lot of anger in society. Lord, please help us.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

(Gail A. Dixon) COVID19 iPhone 11 Pro Max live free or die lockdown mask mandate masks Project 365 Project 366 restrictions selfie social engineering virus Wuhan China Virus Mon, 13 Jul 2020 23:24:04 GMT
194/366 | Ask the Animals But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.

Does not the ear test words
    as the tongue tastes food?
Is not wisdom found among the aged?
    Does not long life bring understanding?
To God belong wisdom and power;
    counsel and understanding are his.

Job 12:7-13 NIV

194/366194/366Ask the Animals 400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 500 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds bluebird eastern bluebird nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 13 Jul 2020 02:52:10 GMT
193/366 | Missing On April 20 I documented a female Northern Cardinal with a crossed beak. On June 28, I observed a female Cardinal missing the top portion of her beak. I'm not sure if it's the same bird, but I guess it's possible.

Today the female with the missing beak returned after I spread seeds on the ground and filled the feeders. It appears she can scoop seeds up with her bottom beak. It is encouraging that she is still alive since I spotted her two weeks ago. I will continue to monitor.

Poor girl! I feel so sorry for her; especially when the other birds chase her away. She does seem a little thin, but is otherwise energetic and still able to care for her needs. God bless her!

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 640 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds beak deformity birding birds cardinal missing top beak northern cardinal project 365 project 366 Sat, 11 Jul 2020 21:21:29 GMT
192/366 | Hibiscus Stigma Y'all! It's so dang HOT. Oh my goodness. As soon as dusk approaches I'll try to go out and water my poor plants. So much for the rain predicted on the weather app! Didn't happen, not surprising.

My Hibiscus tree is finally blooming again. It limped through our mild winter and returned for another season of blooms. Huge, bright yellow blooms. I was sweating it for a while since it wasn't looking good, even by springtime. Anyway, I focused on the stigma of the reproductive part of the flower with the macro lens. I knew about pistils and stamens, but I had no idea there was more to flower anatomy. Stigma is the farthest extension of the female part which receives pollen for fertilization. It is sticky, allowing the pollen to attach. Nature is so fascinating!

192/366192/366Hibiscus Stigma 100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 100 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) close up flower flower anatomy hibiscus hibiscus anatomy macro pistils project 365 project 366 stamens stigma Fri, 10 Jul 2020 21:12:54 GMT
191/366 | Orangerie Last minute plan to go walk the trails at Burden Gardens. I had intended to shoot the pink lilypads, and I did, but also tried unsuccessfully to photograph the Mississippi Kites. North of 300 shots later, plus more tries from my backyard, and I was left with horrible results. Sigh. I have employed every single setting in my camera to no avail. Unless one perches close by in a tree, I think I should stop trying for the ones in flight. They're fun to observe because they often eat dragonflies and other insects while flying, but frustrating as #!%@! to photograph.

Even though I had two DSLRs (Canon 5D Mark II and III) with me, I am once again using the wide angle iPhone shot for today. Officially called The Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie, it was built as a memorial to Steele Burden and designed by A. Hays Town. Its intended purpose was to protect citrus trees during the cold months, but is now used as a rental facility for weddings or other special occasions. In February there are an abundance of tulips surrounding the building. I wish the Crape Myrtles were more in bloom for this image. Perhaps the storm on Monday carried away many of the flowers.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture buildings Burden Gardens iPhone 11 Pro Max Orangerie Project 365 Project 366 Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie Thu, 09 Jul 2020 21:26:17 GMT
190/366 | Floating Heart For the first time in four days I ventured out of the house and ended up at Burden Gardens. Good thing I wore my waterproof Timberlands because I was in mud up to my ankles. I photographed what I thought was the last of the sunflowers, but was told by a caretaker they have two more plots ready to go. Woo hoo!

On my way back to the car I noticed Lilypads in a large, rusty basin; the kind my grandparents had in the pasture for the cows' water. Among the pink lilypads were these pantropical aquatic flowers called Water Snowflake or Floating Heart. The genus is Nymphoides for those master gardeners out there! I love the frilliness of the bloom and the big heart leaf. At least it's something different for my project.

190/366190/366Floating Heart
100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 100 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) aquatic flower aquatic plant Floating Heart floatingheart flowers heart hearts in nature Nymphoides pantropical Project 365 Project 366 Thu, 09 Jul 2020 00:37:28 GMT
189/366 | Crepey Crape The Crape Myrtle, also spelled Crepe, is a popular ornamental flowering tree in many southern landscapes. They are easy to grow and maintain, and are quite showy throughout the summer months. The blooms have a crepe-like appearance, thus the name. When Crape Myrtles are blooming profusely, you know summer is in full-swing because they LOVE the heat.

We have four with white blooms and when the wind blows it appears to be snowing. These trees are quite messy, constantly shedding blooms, peeling bark, and breaking limbs. The edge of our driveway, where three of them reside, is caked with white blooms. I can almost pretend it snowed. This watermelon-colored tree is our next door neighbor's. It droops over our driveway leaving the ground and concrete carpeted with pink. A messy but beautiful tree.

189/366189/366Crepey Crape
100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) crape myrtle crepe myrtle fleur de lis flowering trees flowers Project 365 Project 366 trees Tue, 07 Jul 2020 15:36:21 GMT
188/366 | Stalled Last week the husband caught two teenage girls placing trash in the storm drain on our street. They got a good lecture about what happens when the storm drains are clogged.

The rain today has been relentless. Trash cans were about to float down the street. Early this morning, a poor guy got stalled out in the curve in front of our house. It was finally towed away around 4 this afternoon. I'm so glad we are at a high enough elevation so we don't have to worry about flooding as much as others. 

People, don't put ANYTHING in the storm drains. Exhibit A:


(Gail A. Dixon) flood flooding high water iPhone 11 Pro Max Project 365 Project 366 rain raining rainy day stalled car Mon, 06 Jul 2020 21:17:33 GMT
187/366 | Cheyenne Spirit Cheyenne Spirit is a variety of Coneflower. I had some missing places in my flower bed after uprooting dead/dying plants, so thought I'd give these a try. The Coneflower is an Echinacea in the Daisy family. Echinacea is derived from the Greek ekhinos meaning sea urchin due to the spiny central disk. Next to the Coneflower I planted a Firebush with lime green leaves and slender, long red blooms resembling fireworks. I also planted a huge clump of Sedge grass in front to fill some space, and transplanted a peppermint plant that had become root bound in a pot.

I usually don't plant this late in summer, but with root stimulator and the nice rain we are receiving right now (and expected all week), I might get lucky and these will produce until fall.

187/366187/366Cheyenne Spirit
100mm | f/5 | ISO 400 | 1/125 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Cheyenne Spirit coneflower flowers garden gardening Project 365 Project 366 Sun, 05 Jul 2020 18:22:24 GMT
186/366 | Happy 4th! The Wuhan Virus has put a damper on our usual July 4th festivities, as the city canceled fireworks near the capital. So the husband and I grilled burgers, sat by the grill and talked. Along with the burgers we enjoyed potato salad and fire roasted corn. Watermelon was our dessert.

Threatening storm clouds gathered and thunder rumbled afterwards, yet no rain. Scattered thunderstorms are expected the next several days.

I took this shot of the flag outside our home with my iPhone. I used the bottom hole on the bracket so the flag could hang straight down since there was no breeze and the flag was just hanging there limp--kind of like I was feeling. Using the magnetic lasso tool in Photoshop, I isolated the flag, used a previous shot of a sky for the background, and added the verbiage. Not really what I wanted, but my heart wasn't into it today. 

May God bless our nation.

186/366186/366Happy 4th!
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) 4th of july america american flag independence day iphone 11 pro max july 4th patriotism project 365 project 366 u s flag Sun, 05 Jul 2020 00:19:48 GMT
185/366 | Kayakers Posting a day late because we kayaked Lake Martin yesterday, then had dinner with a friend. The water was so choppy, we were only able to kayak one hour; normally we paddle for two hours. Constantly fighting the waves wreaked havoc on my back and the husband said his shoulders were aching. 

We pressed on toward the Osprey nest since little other activity seemed to be happening. An Osprey parent was perched on a snag by the nest with two chicks peeking over the nest's edge. Looks like they're almost ready to fledge. I got some shots of the parent looking straight at me, but I wasn't thrilled with any of the shots. As hard as I tried to stabilize the kayak, it was tossing me around the water like a cork.

So I'm using a shot I took on my way to return the kayak back to the rental center. Another iPhone shot to the rescue! It's rather hazy, but the bright kayak colors are eye-catching. 

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) iphone 11 pro max kayak kayaking lake lake martin project 365 project 366 recreation relaxing water water sports Sat, 04 Jul 2020 20:25:26 GMT
184/366 | Barthel's Store Rarely do I plan my days. Since retiring 8 years ago, it's nice to wake up and say, 'What shall I do today?' No schedule, no demands, no time restraints. What I do depends upon my mood, energy level and weather.

Today I decided to head over to the old country store in St. Gabriel where I spent much of my childhood. First, I passed by my grandparents' home which has been relocated to Bayou Paul Lane, just before River Road. The house itself looks okay, but the exterior has junk piles lying all over the property, like a hoarder lives there. My grandmother would hate that. I still miss that old house.

Barthel's (bar-TEL's/h is silent) was where my mother and I would stop for snacks and a coke before heading to my grandparents' place. I clearly remember going straight to the big barrel filled with ice and different 'cold drinks' as we called them. I always chose Dr. Pepper. This was a treat because my mother was a fanatic about my drinking only water or milk. And I HATED milk. So a salty treat and a sweet drink on a hot, humid day was special.

After I took pics of the store, I went to the old property. Weeds have overtaken the place. It was hard to even tell where the old driveway was. Sad. My Uncle Jay owns half of it now and his brother (the one who shot my white rabbit in cold blood) owns the other half. Uncle Jay is aging, his wife is in an assisted living facility, and the Wuhan hoax has created the perfect storm: he can't get anyone out to mow. He doesn't have the equipment and the one guy who used to do it won't leave the house because the 'gubmint' said to stay inside. *Sigh* 

184/366184/366Barthel's Store
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) abandoned building architecture barthel store country store iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 rural rustic st. gabriel Fri, 03 Jul 2020 01:10:07 GMT
183/366 | Agapanthus in Black and White Today I decided to pull weeds, trim overgrowth, and remove plants that were not thriving or past their prime. It was so incredibly hot which necessitated frequent breaks with water. I'm not sure why the Agapanthus went crazy this year, but I sure have enjoyed them. At one point I counted 40 blooms. Two are already included in my photo project and I couldn't help documenting the last of the white ones.

183/366183/366Agapanthus in Black and White
100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) african lily agapanthus black and white flower garden gardening lily of the nile project 365 project 366 Wed, 01 Jul 2020 19:36:39 GMT
182/366 | Crab. It's What's for Lunch Most Sunday evenings we watch a news segment by Dave McNamara called Heart of Louisiana. Unique areas of our state are showcased and I make a note of the ones I am interested in visiting. One of those highlights was of a boardwalk on Lake Pontchartrain in Metairie, Louisiana. The boardwalk, 1000 feet in length, runs along Bucktown Harbor, with walk-outs, educational signage, and bird blinds placed strategically along the way.

On a whim I decided to go check it out this morning. The very first sighting was a Yellow-crowned Night Heron fluffed out in all his glory. Farther down, another one was in a shallow area of water to the east of the boardwalk. I managed to get down low, extend my telephoto and poke it through the thin horizontal cables which were flexible. These are the interactions I observed:

  • Heron caught crab
  • Crab not eaten immediately, but tossed around for several minutes
  • Crab fell into water (oops!), but was instantly retrieved
  • Heron finally ate the crab
  • Bird went to land and vomited up the crab and re-ate it
  • Heron went back into water fluffing his feathers out, then sat in the water for several minutes (to cool off I'd imagine)

With the help of a family who was also into nature, I saw large blue crabs, schools of fish, various other birds, and an alligator gar. The water was pretty clear for Louisiana. For a 1/4 tank of gas and top-notch entertainment from the Heron, I had an exceptional day! But whew doggies, it is HOT!

182/366182/366Crab. It's What's for Dinner
400mm | f/8 | ISO 640 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird fishing birding birds bucktown boardwalk crab heron louisiana nature project 365 project 366 wildlife yellow-crowned night heron Tue, 30 Jun 2020 21:59:30 GMT
181/366 | Baby Blue We have had a flurry of juvenile bluebird activity in the yard lately. They are lured by four mealworm feeders and two bird baths. They provide hours of entertainment.

181/366181/366Baby Blue
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 640 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds bluebird eastern bluebird juvenile bird project 365 project 366 wildlife Tue, 30 Jun 2020 01:26:42 GMT
180/366 | Sunflasses Returned to Burden Gardens this morning and was blessed with great light. I brought the 7D Mark II with the 100-400 II lens and the 5D Mark III with the 100mm macro lens. Checked dates/times on both cameras and all looked good. For the sunflowers I used the Mark III. I tried to get the Mississippi Kites with the longer lens, but struck out. Still not feeling good about the 7D Mark II.

When I downloaded the images, the memory card for the Mark III showed the prior day's date, even though today's date is in the camera settings. I'm not sure what is going on there, but it's frustrating that dates are not reading correctly in Lightroom. 

All that aside, I decided to have a little fun and add some whimsy to this project. Have a blessed Sunday, y'all!

100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/3200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) burden gardens burden sunflowers fun project 365 project 366 sunflower field sunflowers sunglasses whimsy wildflowers Sun, 28 Jun 2020 17:14:22 GMT
179/366 | Passion Flower Today's photoshoot did not go at all as planned. I found out that the sunflower fields were in full bloom at Burden Gardens, so I went out around 10AM this morning with the new camera. The heat and humidity were unbearable and I think I lost a couple pounds. The light was better today, though.

When I returned home I still needed to get my steps in, so off I went. At the end of the main boulevard, I noticed a passion flower vine. Someone told me a few weeks ago to look for them, and today there were two beautiful blooms. So I had to scrap the sunflowers and go with this since their blooms only last one day. Tomorrow I'll try again for the sunflowers and hope the rain stays away.

On a side note, I put in the wrong time when I set up the new camera. I turned the dial to 8 since it was 8:00 in the evening, but I should've put in 20 (12+8). I wondered why it didn't ask me for AM or PM. All the pics I took today and yesterday have the wrong date. I edited the metadata in Lightroom, but it won't let me change the "Date Time Digitized" section. Grrrrr

This image was taken with the 5D Mark III and the 100mm macro lens mounted on a tripod. 

179/366179/366Passion Flower
100mm | f/11 | ISO 640 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers may passiflora passion flower passion vine pop project 365 project 366 wildflowers Sat, 27 Jun 2020 21:21:47 GMT
178/366 | Stealthy Two days ago I received a text from FedEx that I would be required to sign for my camera delivery. All day yesterday I waited. Around 7PM the truck parked across the street, the FedEx guy walked up to my door and unceremoniously placed the package on my doorstep, then walked away. I opened the door and said, "Don't I need to sign for this?" He waved me off saying, "No, you're good." Grrrrr All day I waited. Did I mention that? *angry emoji here*

After unpacking the equipment, I put the strap on, which required two Youtube videos because I can never remember exactly how to do it. The next important step was activating back button focus. After failing with several internet searches, I finally realized I could just look at my 5D Mark III and see what settings I used there. Duh!

Today I could not wait to try out the new gear. But 2020 has not been kind, and some happenings are on a biblical scale. Or so it feels. What am I talking about? Every year sands from the Sahara Desert make their way over to us and this year it's BAD. Of course. So not only was I dealing with flat, low light, I was inhaling sand. About an hour with the camera and then doing a brisk 9000 step walk when I got home and boy are my lungs screaming at me. 

I'm not convinced this camera is going to meet my standards. The fast shutter clicks, low noise at high ISO, and additional reach with the crop sensor are definitely improvements. I am disappointed in the focus, but that could be due to the horrid lighting conditions. Hopefully, the sandstorm passes, takes the rain with it, and I can put the camera to work. Right now, I'm underwhelmed with the 7D Mark II.

400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 1600 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds egret lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 snowy egret wildlife Fri, 26 Jun 2020 20:58:48 GMT
177/366 | Fleur de Lis The fleur de lis is a stylized lily. Fleur is French for flower and lis means lily. Louisiana officially adopted the fleur de lis as its state symbol in 2008--the same year I started photography. The symbol used to appear on my watermark until a few years ago. This large, metal fleur de lis has been on our driveway gate a few years now and today it withstood a pretty bad wind storm. My 7D Mark II arrived today, so hopefully the rain will hold off tomorrow so I can put it through its paces.

177/366177/366Fleur de Lis
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) decor fence Fleur de Lis gate Project 365 Project 366 Fri, 26 Jun 2020 01:34:36 GMT
176/366 | Lilypad Collection I had a 30-minute window of no rain this morning, so I put on my waterproof hiking boots to trudge around Hilltop Arboretum. What a great and handy purchase those waterproof boots are! After lugging my DSLR and three lenses, I ended up using this iPhone shot of lilypads in the pond. It reminded me of stained glass or art on the water. The random yellow maple leaf is kinda cool, too. Like it's pretending to be a lilypad. :)

176/366176/366Lilypad Collection
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) hilltop arboretum iPhone 11 Pro Max leaves lilypads plants pond project 365 project 366 water plants Wed, 24 Jun 2020 23:19:36 GMT
175/366 | Green Heron Brunch Feeling completely stuck and uninspired lately, I drove to LSU Lakes to try my luck there. Listened to some good devotional podcasts in the car and had special time with God, too.

On arrival I was only seeing Mallards, grackles, and some other ducks. I was about to give up when I decided to try a spot where I've had luck before. And there was the Green Heron tucked away in a corner at the edge of the golf course lake. Limbs, sandbags and trash surrounded him. I sat under a shady oak and observed for about 30 minutes. Finally, he nabbed a fish! Nothing gets me more jazzed in photography than watching a bird capture its prey.

PS to the rescue for the empty bread bags and fast food containers beneath the limbs and behind the bird. If I owned a million dollar + home in that area I would not be happy with the algae and trash littering those otherwise beautiful lakes. 

175/366175/366Green Heron Brunch
400mm | f/8 | ISO 640 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds fish Green Heron lakes LSU Lakes nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Tue, 23 Jun 2020 17:32:08 GMT
174/366 | Coleus 'Alabama Sunset' Monday is my chore day. Add lots of rain + the BIG chore of reviewing a complicated tax return, and let's just say I was in no mood for photography. I am not complaining about the rain since our plants and lawn were in dire need of a good soaking. I tromped around my soggy yard and the vibrant coleus I planted at the beginning of spring caught my eye. This plant will definitely make a return appearance next year, probably in several different spots. It really needs to be a headliner in the front flower bed, not just relegated to the back patio. 

174/366174/366Coleus 'Alabama Sunset'
100mm | f/6.3 | ISO 1000 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) alabama sunset coleus coleus garden gardening nature plants plectranthus scutellarioides project 365 project 366 Mon, 22 Jun 2020 23:17:39 GMT
173/366 | Pale Pink Every summer I look forward to the pale pink Siam Tulips. This year they were late; the magenta ones opened 2 weeks ago and there are at least 2-dozen in full bloom right now. But I don't enjoy them as much as the light pinks. Siam Tulips are only named for their resemblance to tulips; they're actually in the ginger family. These are some of my favorite flowers in the garden. In winter they go completely dormant, but when the ground warms, they emerge from their slumber, providing colorful, showy flowers all summer.

173/366173/366Pale Pink
100mm | f/5 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers garden gardening ginger Project 365 Project 366 Siam Tulip Sun, 21 Jun 2020 22:34:37 GMT
172/366 | Eastern Bluebird Today I was so busy getting the inside and outside of the house ready for company, that I almost neglected to get a photo. This male Eastern Bluebird posed on the fence for me. Yawn. Well, he is pretty and sporting vivid deep blue feathers. The females must be going ga-ga over him.

In other news, I broke down and got the Canon 7D Mark II since many birders have this camera and rave about it. Our CPA finished our tax return on Friday and said we didn't owe any money. YAY!

172/366172/366Eastern Bluebird
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 1000 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) animals backyard birds birding birds blue Eastern Bluebird nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Sun, 21 Jun 2020 01:29:07 GMT
171/366 | Katydid The Cajun Prairie Meadow at Hilltop Arboretum is looking quite miserable with no rain of late, and none forecast for the near future. I photographed many dead, dying and drooping flowers which seemed to mirror how I was feeling. Although not technically summer, it's been oppressively hot for several weeks now. Ugh. I don't mind sweating and tan easily, but the humidity wears me down. 

Day two scouring the wildflower field for insects. This Katydid hopped onto a Rudbeckia (coneflower family) and seemed to hug it while putting its hand (?) up to its mouth.

100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bugs grasshopper insects katydid nature project 365 project 366 rudbeckia wildlife Fri, 19 Jun 2020 19:40:57 GMT
170/366 | Gray Hairstreak This is a small butterfly in the Lycaenida family. He might look large here, but the size is approx 7/8 - 1 3/8 inches. They are easy to miss. Males perch on small trees and shrubs in hopes of attracting receptive females. This little one was on a small tree and just hanging out, so I suspect this is a male. Good luck, fella!

170/366170/366Gray Hairsteak
100mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) butterflies butterfly Gray Hairsteak hairstreak insects macro Project 365 Project 366 Strymon melinus Thu, 18 Jun 2020 23:14:36 GMT
169/366 | White-crested Laughingthrush A notice was put out on social media earlier in the week that the Baton Rouge Zoo would charge a special 50 cents admission on Wednesday. I hadn't been to the zoo here in years because it was in such a sad state the last time I went. It even lost its accreditation in 2018 due to animal escapes and outdated facilities. From our local paper: "Inspectors from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums were especially troubled by the zoo’s aging infrastructure, noting that circular cages with tin roofs, for example, are no longer appropriate for modern zoos."

The image imprinted on my brain from my 2012 visit was caged Macaws (inside those circular cages cited above) screeching at me as I turned to visit another area--as if they were desperate for help. "GET US OUT OF HERE!" they seemed to scream. The sound still haunts me. I'm not kidding.

I'm not a fan of zoos or caging wild animals in general, but I understand their place in society. Especially for injured critters that would not be able to survive otherwise. If our zoo continues to update and improve the facilities, I will be a supporter.

I'm happy to report that since my last visit the circular cages are gone. They even have a small aviary with at least six species of birds, ducks and pheasants. The exotic bird below is a White-crested Laughingthrush whose range extends from the Himalayan Foothills to Southeast Asia. This little bird was so hot; I felt so sorry for it. I was a mere 3', maybe 4' away, and he wasn't scared of me at all. Everyone was enamored with this little guy.

169/366169/366White-crested Laughingthrush
255mm | f/6.3 | ISO 640 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birds exotic bird garrulax leucolophus nature project 365 project 366 white-crested laughingthrush zoo zoo animals Wed, 17 Jun 2020 23:16:53 GMT
168/366 | Birthday Girl Izabella Grace has advanced to the ripe old age of 14! In 2006 she was presented at the emergency pet clinic where I worked part time. She was one of three pups orphaned at about one day old. Three technicians each took one home to nurse; two boys and a girl. Izzy was the only one who survived. The technician who nursed her for seven weeks had a lot of cats, and I believe cat behavior was imprinted on Izzy's brain from the beginning. She paws her food and pounces before she eats it and she doesn't come when called.

At the time we adopted her we had four other dogs: Chance, a Finnish Spitz mix, Frasier, a Golden Retriever (pure-bred and an unruly beast), Leo, the Yorkie, another rescue with a head injury, and Sparky, a tri-colored Chihuahua mix, also a rescue. Izzy is the last one standing. And she's the only female dog I've ever owned. She weighs a little over 7 lbs. and walks slow due to a spinal deformity and old age. We love her to pieces though and can't imagine our lives without her.

This photoshoot did not go as planned. A nervous dog, a burning candle, a fussy husband who was in the way--it was all rushed and not at all how I wanted it to go. Oh well! I didn't get THE shot, but I got A shot and that's all I really care about. Happy birthday, Izzy Girl!

168/366168/366Birthday Girl
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) birthday celebration dogs family iPhone 11 Pro Max Izzy pets Project 365 Project 366 Tue, 16 Jun 2020 23:21:29 GMT
167/366 | Friendly Competition My efforts to get crisp shots of the Mississippi Kite failed again. Actually, the shot I had planned for was the Monarch emerging from his chrysalis, but that did not happen today. Maybe tomorrow. Today I filled all the bird feeders and there was decent activity at the peanut bar. The Downy Woodpecker was not afraid to peck at any bird that got too close, but she seemed okay with the young House Finch. All the birds are a joy to watch.

167/366167/366Friendly Competition
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 800 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds downy woodpecker finch house finch nature peanuts project 365 project 366 wildlife woodpecker Tue, 16 Jun 2020 01:20:46 GMT
166/366 | Monarch Chrysalis Yesterday we noticed the Monarch chrysalis that attached itself to our wicker patio table was starting to transform. Today it got a little darker and the wings are beginning to develop into the colors and shape of the beautiful Monarch. The orange background is the seat cushion, and I love that it compliments the Monarch's dominant color. We have three more caterpillars ready to go on to the chrysalis phase. We love hosting these beautiful, ethereal butterflies in our yard.

166/366166/366Monarch Chrysalis
100mm | f/11 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) butterfly chrysalis insects macro monarch monarch butterfly nature project 365 project 366 transformation wildlife Mon, 15 Jun 2020 01:26:12 GMT
165/366 | Fisherman's Castle What a glorious day we had yesterday, June 13. We scoped out a pet-friendly place to eat in nearby Slidell called The Blind Tiger. It was a trip fraught with nerves due to a very fidgety little chihuahua. She could not settle down no matter how many times I adjusted her blankets and bedding. But when we got to the restaurant, she made so many friends, the smell of food was a welcome distraction, and she finally settled down. She enjoyed nibbling on our Mahi Mahi tacos.

I learned about Fisherman's Castle on Irish Bayou a few years ago from a local magazine. Simon Hubert Villemarrette began construction in 1981 in preparation for the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans. It was supposed to be an extended tourist attraction, but the plans fell though getting buses and boats to the remote location. The castle was never completed and therefore, never used for its intended purpose. When Mr. Villemarrette died of lung cancer, his wife was unable to keep up the mortgage payments, and lost it to foreclosure. It is surrounded by fishing camps, which are basically small clapboard houses placed on tall pillars to keep from flooding. It is one of the few structures in the area to emerge with little damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The castle was built to withstand 140mph winds, but it sits crooked on its foundation as a result. 

Once again my iPhone 11 Pro Max captured the best image. I just do not have a wide enough angle lens for my DSLR. God blessed me again with another beautiful sunset and I was grateful.

165/366165/366Fisherman's Castle on Irish Bayou
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture castle fisherman's castle irish bayou louisiana new orleans project 365 project 366 Mon, 15 Jun 2020 00:42:13 GMT
164/366 | House Finch The House Finches paid us a visit today. I believe this is a young male due to some faint red patches on other shots. But it could also be a female. Identifying birds is sometimes confusing!

164/366164/366House Finch
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 640 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds house finch nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Sat, 13 Jun 2020 01:03:17 GMT
163/366 | Siam Tulip Bonus A few years ago I planted exotic Siam tulips underneath my Lorapetalum tree. Two are deep pink and the middle one is light pink, my favorite. These tropical flowers are not actually in the tulip family, but are of the ginger family. Also known as Thai tulips, they go completely dormant in winter, then miraculously come back to life as the ground warms up. 

The bloom shown below is not the main flower, but one of several small orchid-looking blooms residing in "pockets" below some of the petals. They are about 1" in diameter. 

This is a composite of two images. One focused on the interior of the flower and the other focused on the top and bottom. Using the lasso tool I copied and pasted sections into the main image, then tweaked the position. Layers were then merged in PS to give me the result I had hoped for. It may not be perfect, but for a first attempt, I'm happy with it.

163/366163/366Siam Tulip Bonus
100mm | f/11 | ISO 500 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers garden gardening ginger ginger plants macro project 365 project 366 siam tulip tropical flowers tropical plants Thu, 11 Jun 2020 21:02:20 GMT
162/366 | Poet's Corner Poet's Corner is a neighborhood established in Baton Rouge in the 1920s. The streets are named after poets and philosophers such as Virgil, Pericles, Homer, Ovid, Pliny, Cato and Horace. Among the first residents were doctors, lawyers, and LSU professors. Tucked away west of the Perkins Road Overpass, the streets are narrow and the period houses harken back to simpler times. I'd love to own a home in this part of town. The trees are mature and the houses are quaint.

The home featured today has a unique history. It was constructed in the 1930s by the current owner's grandfather who ordered a kit from the Sears Roebuck catalog. It came by railcar, containing everything needed to erect the home except for plumbing and electricity.

Remodeled twice, they preserved the home's colors, style, and architecture. They added a master bathroom, laundry area, a fireplace, and made the den into a sunroom. The kitchen, although updated for modern amenities, looks exactly as it did when it was built. It is owned by the grandchildren of the original family to this day.

162/366162/366Poet's Corner
iPhone 11 Pro Max

Street sign in the neighborhood:

Poet's Corner | Virgil & PericlesPoet's Corner | Virgil & Pericles

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture enclave home house iPhone 11 Pro Max neighborhood Poet's Corner Project 365 Project 366 quaint Sears house Sears Roebuck Wed, 10 Jun 2020 19:21:41 GMT
161/366 | Great Egret Knee Deep Word on the street is that Tropical Storm Cristobal blew in Frigatebirds and Sooty Terns, with some landing at LSU Lakes. I made two passes around all the lakes and could not find them. I even drove over to Capitol Lakes and struck out there. I shot a Bronzed Cowbird on a signpost, but didn't like it enough to post. So here is a Great Egret cautiously fishing with me sitting on the bank. A Red-eared slider poked his head up as if to say, 'Hey, what up?'

161/366161/366Great Egret Knee Deep
300mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds great egret lake nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Wed, 10 Jun 2020 01:08:26 GMT
160/366 | Fresh as a Daisy Photography subjects are difficult to find on Mondays because it's laundry and errand-running day. I made an effort to shoot the Mississippi Kites flying around an adjacent neighborhood, but my shots were awful. Just awful. Maybe next time I'll try a different metering mode.

The peach-colored Gerber daisies I bought a few weeks ago have presented me with blooms galore. They reside in a clay pot by my prayer chair. The same variety (different color) planted in the flower bed, whose roots can reach as far as it pleases, has only bloomed once. And I've fertilized it. Perhaps it doesn't like the soil. But all the other plants are thriving and blooming like crazy. I think the Gerber daisy is persnickety. The flower below will turn a beautiful mango color soon.

160/366160/366Fresh as a Daisy
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 800 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) daisy flowers garden gardening gerber daisy potted plants Project 365 Project 366 Mon, 08 Jun 2020 19:24:49 GMT
159/366 | Fresh Dahlia Tropical storm Cristobal is headed our way, so it's rained most of the day. Since I couldn't get out for photography, I was relegated to the covered patio. The storm is supposed to arrive here at 1AM and rain is predicted for the entire day tomorrow. I might try to do some water drop or reflection photography while donning rain gear.

I am SO thrilled that my dahlia plant has quadrupled in size and is blooming again! This is the Grande Tequila variety that I purchased in early spring. The newly opened bloom looks like it’s bowing in prayer. I love my garden.

159/366159/366Fresh Dahlia
100mm | f/8 | ISO 800 | 1/50 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) dahlia flowers garden gardening grande tequila dahlia project 365 project 366 Mon, 08 Jun 2020 00:50:58 GMT
158/366 | Fountainebleau Sunset Yesterday, June 6, my friend and I took a late afternoon trip to Fountainebleau State Park, hoping and praying for a pretty sunset. We've been trying for a couple years now to see one, without success. Oh, there was that one time at a concert and our cameras were at home, of course.

C found a great place to grab some food a mile from the park; Nan's New Orleans Cafe and Poboys. YUM! We ate our poboys under the pavilion at the park while it rained, and our hopes were momentarily dashed. After eating, the rain eased, so we meandered to the pond close to the picnic tables. There, we found 5 baby gators who seemed happy to see us. That means people must be feeding them, which is a no-no. They were so cute though! After that we walked over to the sandy beach and photographed the cypress knees. Well, C photographed the knees while I took photos of people splashing and playing in the water. It was nice to see families enjoying the outdoors.

We then set off for Alligator Boardwalk. Before we got to the trail a big brown swamp rabbit was nibbling on grass, so we photographed him until he got spooked. Walking the trail was amazing. The rain had stopped and the temperature had gone down about 10 degrees. When we finally approached Alligator Boardwalk we were blessed with a rainbow! I only had enough time to capture it with my phone before it was gone.

Unfortunately, the area around the boardwalk has become terribly overgrown. There used to be little islands that made for a nice foreground, but the tall reeds and other aquatic plants now occupy all the surrounding water. So we marched back out to the iconic gazebo and took our shots there. The clouds were low for a while and we started to think our sunset plans were for nought, but lo and behold, little breaks appeared and the colors were absolutely beautiful. We said 'Thank you, God' and snapped away. A perfect day.

The end.

158/366158/366Fountainebleau Sunset
28mm | f/16 | ISO 100 | 1/4 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) clouds fountainebleau state park louisiana project 365 project 366 skies sky sunset Sun, 07 Jun 2020 19:15:21 GMT
157/366 | Red-bellied Woodpecker This Woodpecker is the easiest to identify, although you might not think the name is appropriate. Rarely showing their underside, they sport a light patch of red on the belly. You can see it in this image if you look closely at the bottom of his belly. I first spotted this bird over 10 years ago when I lived in Texas. The vivid red head and the black and white pattern on the back makes this bird a colorful addition to the yard. Yesterday I tried my hardest to photograph him, but he wasn't cooperating. Today I got lucky. Blessed, really.

157/366157/366Red-bellied Woodpecker

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds nature project 365 project 366 red-bellied woodpecker wildlife woodpecker Fri, 05 Jun 2020 21:32:41 GMT
156/366 | Hairy? The Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers are strikingly similar. Three main differences are the size of the beak, overall bird size, and tail feathers. The Hairy has a long beak, the Downy a short beak. The Hairy is about 9-1/2" in length compared to the Downy's 6-1/2" length. The Downy's white tail feathers are marked with black bars; the Hairy's is pure white. Looking at this particular bird, the beak appears quite long in proportion to his face, making me think it's a Hairy. But I'm noticing black bars on the tail feathers. Ugh. Unless the two are side-by-side, it's really difficult to tell these cousins apart. Thus the question mark.

400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 640 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds downy woodpecker hairy woodpecker nature project 365 project 366 wildlife woodpecker Fri, 05 Jun 2020 01:36:13 GMT
155/366 | Flamingo Feather Also known as Celosia spicata or Flamingo cockscomb, this is an annual plant for our zone (9), though is a perennial year-round in zones 10 and 11. These are quite dazzling, adding vivid color and interesting texture to any flower bed. Something to think about for next spring. These were growing at Burden Gardens in Baton Rouge.

155/366155/366Flamingo Feather
200mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) celosia spicata cockscomb flamingo feather flowers project 365 project 366 Thu, 04 Jun 2020 00:46:13 GMT
154/366 | Coreopsis tinctoria It is getting HOT here in South Louisiana! The wildflower field at Hilltop Arboretum has grown taller and thicker just in the last week. Tickseed aka Coreopsis tinctoria is especially thriving. It has yellow petals with maroon centers. The stems are whisper thin. I rather liked the black and white version of this image.

154/366154/366Coreopsis tinctoria
105mm | f/8 | ISO 200 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) calliopsis coreopsis Coreopsis tinctoria flowers Project 365 Project 366 wildflowers Wed, 03 Jun 2020 02:05:02 GMT
153/366 | Blue Jay The Blue Jay is a frequent visitor to our back yard, but a challenge to shoot. For a fairly large, bossy, and boisterous bird, they're quite skittish. So when one flew on the fence while I sat in my prayer chair, I took advantage. Hearing the shutter clicks, he soon flew off. They really are quite striking.

153/366153/366Blue Jay
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds blue jay jay nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Tue, 02 Jun 2020 01:11:29 GMT
152/366 | Alfonse the Alligator Yesterday the husband and I drove to Lake Martin in Breaux Bridge, LA to kayak. The day was overcast with just enough light for decent photography. A slight, cool breeze caressed the water and made for a relaxing, pleasant experience. Despite the numerous kayakers and canoers on the lake, there was plenty of wildlife to observe, including an active Osprey nest with nestlings.

Many nearly-adult and juvenile alligators were observed swimming in the water or sunning on logs. I was told by a tour guide that the big gators do not come out when it's really hot. I was really hoping to see Big Daddy--maybe next time. This guy (or gal) let me get about 15-20' away. He looked to be about 6-7' in length. His open mouth signifies he is trying to regulate his body temperature. The image has been minimally cropped, straightened and processed. 

152/366152/366Alfonse the Alligator
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 640 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) alligator apex predator bayou gator lake martin nature project 365 project 366 reptile swamp wildlife Mon, 01 Jun 2020 18:21:29 GMT
151/366 | Swallowtail Cat Molting About a month ago I planted dill weed in a container hoping to attract swallowtail butterflies. A few days ago I was sitting in my prayer chair and noticed what I thought were bird droppings all over the plant. On closer inspection, it turned out to be Black Swallowtail Caterpillars! I counted 16!

I tried to get pics that day, but the light was dismal and the caterpillars were too small. Today I observed how much they had grown. The one shown below has just molted its skin and is in the fourth or fifth instar stage; one of the last stages before it turns into a chrysalis. Boy, am I happy!

If you are interested in attracting swallowtails, they are partial to fennel, dill weed, parsley and rue.

151/366151/366Swallowtail Molting
100mm | f/16 | ISO 400 | 1/40 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) black swallowtail caterpillar butterfly caterpillar insects instar molting project 365 project 366 swallowtail Sat, 30 May 2020 20:58:59 GMT
150/366 | Downy Woodpecker Put out the suet and they will come. Not only were we blessed with the Downy, the Tufted Titmouse made a couple of cameos, too. Hopefully, I will have some better shots to share of the Titmouse at a future date.

The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest of the Woodpecker species in North America, measuring about 6.5" in length and are quite prolific throughout most of the continent. The Downys in my yard do not appear to be afraid of humans carrying enormous camera gear.

150/366150/366Downy Woodpecker
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 640 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds downy woodpecker nature project 365 project 366 wildlife woodpecker Fri, 29 May 2020 20:23:17 GMT
149/366 | Deep Red Coreopsis Today I visited nearby Hilltop Arboretum to see how their new "Cajun Prairie Inspired Meadow" was coming along. This is something new for 2020 and there are plans to add more native plants that thrive in wet/moist conditions. So far I've seen Bee Balm, Coreopsis, Zinnia, Great Coneflower, Persian Clover, and Indian Blanketflower. There are four large sections with mowed walking paths. Lots of pollinators taking advantage of the bounty. It was so incredibly hot, I didn't stay too long.

The flower below is called Tickseed or Coreopsis. It's the first time I've seen one in deep red. Usually they are yellow with maroon markings. I'd love to incorporate this color into my backyard wildflower garden next year.

149/366149/366Deep Red Coreopsis
100m | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) coreopsis flowers nature plants project 365 project 366 tickseed wildflowers Fri, 29 May 2020 01:37:41 GMT
148/366 | Hiding LSU Rural Life Museum and surrounding grounds have been closed for a couple of months due to the Wuhan Virus. Since we are in Phase one of reopening, I checked and saw that it has reopened with some restrictions. One of those restrictions is no access to restrooms. I didn't think it would be an issue since it's not too far from home.

So I am parked in front of what looks like a maple tree with red and green leaves, hoping a bird would land there. Using my car as a blind, I waited. And waited. Finally, what I thought was a Mockingbird landed on a limb. However, when zoomed in, it turned out to be a Loggerhead Shrike! Hallelujah! I got brave and exited my car, walking as stealthily as possible. Got off one decent shot and off he flew.

I went back to my car to find a dead battery. The husband to the rescue! I was so thankful that there was a porta-potty at the entrance. Whew, close call. I spent the rest of the day dealing with the repair shop and watering my thirsty plants when I got home. Where is all the rain The Weather Channel app has been predicting since last week? I get better information looking out the window.

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 640 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird of prey birding birds Loggerhead Shrike nature Project 365 Project 366 shrike trees wildlife Thu, 28 May 2020 00:51:16 GMT
147/366 | Dust of His Feet As I sipped coffee this morning, I opened the weather app. According to this novel invention (which is wrong more than right), I had about an hour before a potential heavy rain. So I quickly threw on walking clothes, laced my shoes and headed out.

At around 7500 steps, nearing my home, I looked up and saw the most dramatic sky! How threatening it appeared, yet it only rained lightly for a short time. We never received the rain we were supposed to get. The threatening clouds reminded me of God's great power, and the lack of a storm, His restraint.

Every day I pray for Jesus to come as I watch the world unravel. Many people are stressed out about things happening locally and globally, and I'm just thankful that my hope is placed in the Creator of heaven and earth. The phrase "Fear not" or "Be not afraid" occurs 103 times in the King James bible. I am learning to lean on my Creator and not let current world events instill fear. Pray, seek God's face, and you will find peace.

147/366147/366Dust of His Feet
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) bible verse clouds Nahum Project 365 Project 366 scripture skies sky The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm and clouds are the dust of his feet. Wed, 27 May 2020 01:06:15 GMT
146/366 | Unknown U.S. Soldier “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We did not pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”- Ronald Reagan

Baton Rouge National Cemetery

146/366146/366Unknown U.S. Soldier 82mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) cemetery freedom fighters graves headstones memorial day patriot project 365 project 366 unknown u.s. soldier war Mon, 25 May 2020 19:27:57 GMT
145/366 | Rosie Yesterday, May 24, the husband drove me about 80 miles southwest to Rip's Rookery in New Iberia. On our last trip, March 29, we observed lots of nest building with egrets, herons and spoonbills flying high overhead with twigs and branches. Now the nests are fully constructed, and some nestlings were observed demanding food. The activity was calmer this time as most of the parents sat on their eggs. I was disappointed that the resident alligator was not present on this trip. Hopefully, he was just in another part of the rookery.

Below is a Roseate Spoonbill, my favorite of the wading birds. They are graceful flyers and display comical behaviors on the nest. The dark pink and light pink wings, orange tail feathers, pink legs, large bill, and red eyes all make for a spectacular bird. I think it's one of the most colorful for our area.

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds jefferson island nature project 365 project 366 rips rookery roseate spoonbill wading bird wildlife Mon, 25 May 2020 18:54:03 GMT
144/366 | Black Swan I'm not sure how a large waterbird from Australia made its way to LaFreniere Park in Metairie, Louisiana, but we have a pair! I first spotted this couple in June, 2017 at the same park. Every time I visit I look for them. Sometimes they're not around or easily located, but today they blessed me with their presence right at the bird sanctuary entrance. 

Sadly, both birds have a beak deformity. I hope someone at the park has noticed and is looking out for their health. I may call around next week and see if anyone knows.

They let the husband and me get very close. I was so close I had to dial back the zoom lens. One was swimming nearby in the manmade canal and the one pictured here groomed herself the whole time we were there. Lots of feathers to deal with and I can relate with my own long-ish locks. Such beautiful and graceful birds.

144/366144/366Black Swan
182mm | f/5.6 | ISO 640 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird watching birding black swan cygnus atratus lafreniere park project 365 project 366 swan waterbird Sun, 24 May 2020 02:10:47 GMT
143/366 | Mouthful My prayer corner has not provided me the peaceful experience I had anticipated. First, the baseball games commenced, with practice every afternoon. Yay for restrictions lifted; boo for harshing my mellow. The baseball field and home plate is directly behind our house and fairly close. Hearing a loud CLINK every 10 seconds is intrusive as heck. And don't get me started when cheers erupt after a good hit or the coach starts yelling instructions. Ugh.

When the players aren't there, youngsters come to do who-knows-what, blaring rap music until my ears bleed.

Today I tried again, even in the heat, but the neighbor's Chinese tallow tree is shedding tiny green particles from the catkins they've produced. My prayer chair is covered with the stuff. In the evening, the bugs run me off after about 5 minutes. So much for the peppermint and citronella plants placed strategically to deter them. Oh well! I think next year I will plant a vegetable garden back there. It gets plenty of light and there's space for a 2' x 8' raised bed.

This afternoon a Northern Cardinal came and didn't seem to notice me in the corner. While I was at my dad's I figured out how to silence my camera's shutter, so I was able to get off quite a few shots before he became aware.

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 640 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds cardinal nature northern cardinal project 365 project 366 red wildlife Fri, 22 May 2020 19:38:52 GMT
142/366 | Eastern Black Swallowtail There are four types of "dark swallowtails" which can be difficult to tell apart. After doing some research, I'm pretty confident that this is the Eastern Black Swallowtail due to the arrangement of the orange spots on the ventral side. This gorgeous gal was feasting on Brazilian vervain near a pond. 

142/366142/366Eastern Black Swallowtail
400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Brazilian vervain butterfly Eastern Black Swallowtail insects Project 365 Project 366 swallowtail verbena wildflowers Thu, 21 May 2020 22:57:53 GMT
141/366 | Canada Geese in Field Today I tromped around vacant lots looking for something to shoot. I happened upon a flock of Canada Geese in a field of wildflowers. They soon startled and flew off. The shots of them flying weren't so great, so here they are right before they realized my presence.

141/366141/366Canada Geese in Field
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 800 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds canada geese geese project 365 project 366 sunflowers wildflowers Thu, 21 May 2020 00:47:41 GMT
140/366 | The Chase Today I scoped out a developing neighborhood off Hoo Shoo Too Rd. Appearing above me were three Grackles chasing a Red-tailed Hawk. The Grackles showed no fear. It all happened so fast I'm lucky I got this shot. They never really got close enough for me to get a sharp image. I also spotted a Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, and Eastern Bluebirds, plus a field of wildflowers. May return tomorrow for more action.

140/366140/366The Chase
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/4000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird chase birds in flight grackles hawk project 365 project 366 red-tailed hawk Wed, 20 May 2020 00:30:01 GMT
139/366 | Wild Berries It's good to be back in a routine. Today was laundry, errand running, food restocking, and catching up on miscellaneous things. Got in a late afternoon walk and since it was so sunny, decided to bring the mirrorless camera with me. I've decided I really do not like this camera. It's super slow and laggy. The focus points keep moving around and I can't figure out why. Such a shame because it's so lightweight to take on walks. A sincere purchase regret. This was the only thing of interest I was able to capture.

139/366139/366Wild Berries
Canon M50 Mirrorless
105mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blackberries plants project 365 project 366 wild berries Tue, 19 May 2020 00:10:16 GMT
138/366 | Open Wide! May 17. My garden is exploding with color right now. Grateful for the rain and the husband watering all my plants on dry days while I was away. This torenia, also known as the wishbone flower, is an LSU Ag Center recommendation for our area. This one is in a pot next to my prayer chair. 

138/366138/366Open Wide!
105mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blooms flowers garden gardening Project 365 Project 366 torenia wishbone flower Mon, 18 May 2020 20:54:10 GMT
137/366 | Hedge Hill All week I had planned to shoot this home in downtown Magnolia, MS. Finally, on the last day, the clouds and sky were near perfect. The wide angle lens of the iPhone 11 Pro is pretty awesome. I had some close-ups of the home, but I liked the sky drama best.

Hedge Hill is one of three historic homes built in the premiere Queen Anne style architecture. Constructed in 1887 near the Pike County courthouse, it still retains an air of grandeur. 

137/366137/366Hedge Hill
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) 19th century architecture 19th century homes architecture hedge hill historic home iphone 11 pro max magnolia ms project 365 project 366 queen anne architecture Mon, 18 May 2020 20:36:02 GMT
136/336 | Buster May 15. This neighborhood Pitbull mix greeted me the day I arrived in Mississippi and came by several times a day until I left. He walked beside me every day, making me feel protected. I firmly believe this was another God blessing to help me through a challenging time of being full-time caretaker for my dad. No one in the neighborhood seemed to know who the dog belonged to, but one man said he gave him the name Buster, so that's what I called him. I bought some dog treats and put a bowl of water out for him. He became really attached to me and I to him. His pale greenish-yellow eyes were mesmerizing and his playful, yet gentle spirit had a calming effect on me. Yep, definitely a God thing!
234mm | f/6.3 | ISO 800 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) dogs neighborhood dog Pitbull Project 365 Project 366 stray dog Mon, 18 May 2020 20:21:22 GMT
135/366 | Southern Magnolia May 14--my birthday. It rained like the dickens most of the day, but I managed to get an iPhone shot of the inside of this Southern Magnolia. Was fascinated by the tiny Fibonacci spirals. Today's God blessing was the husband driving 90 miles to hand deliver a card for my birthday. A very sweet gesture which I will treasure always.

135/366135/366Southern Magnolia
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers magnolia grandiflora project 365 project 366 south southern magnolia spirals trees Mon, 18 May 2020 20:09:02 GMT
134/366 | Colorful Cross May 13--the top of a wind chime on my dad's patio. Something a little colorful and different. A red maple in the distance produced the beautiful bokeh. 

134/366134/366Colorful Cross
286mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) cross decor decoration Project 365 Project 366 stained glass Mon, 18 May 2020 19:14:35 GMT
133/366 | Country Swing May 12. When I took this shot with my iPhone, I knew this would be my picture of the day. It brings me back to childhood, innocence, and a slower pace of life. The rays coming in from the morning sun added to the scene.

133/366133/366Country Swing
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) country country life country living iphone 11 pro max project 365 project 366 swing tree swing Mon, 18 May 2020 18:39:06 GMT
132/366 | Feeding Time! More bird watching on the patio, May 11. It was fascinating watching all the different insects brought to the Carolina Wren nestlings by both parents. 

132/366132/366Feeding Time!
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds carolina wren insects meal time nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 18 May 2020 18:27:51 GMT
131/366 | Swallow-tailed Kite May 10. A gorgeous, spectacular day! Prior to seeing the Kite which flew right by the house, we had taken a drive in the country. I photographed an abandoned dairy barn and a field of flowers. I was not feeling confident with those shots, when out of nowhere, the Kite appeared. Another God blessing! I wish the photos had come out better, but I never saw it again. It's a summer bird for Louisiana and Mississippi. According to my bird list, I first documented this bird in 2013 at Avery Island. The Swallow-tailed Kite is one of my favorite falcons due to the angular shape and black and white color blocks. Graceful flyers, too.

131/366131/366Swallow-tailed Kite
400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds nature project 365 project 366 swallow-tailed kite wildlife Mon, 18 May 2020 16:36:01 GMT
130/366 | Red-winged Blackbird May 9, daddy and I drove to Percy Quin State Park. Not much bird activity to observe. Kind of disappointed with lack of subjects, but at least we got out of the house for a while.

130/366130/366Red-winged Blackbird
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds nature percy quin state park project 365 project 366 red-winged blackbird wildlife Mon, 18 May 2020 16:06:55 GMT
129/366 | Centerville Rd. On day 2 in Magnolia, I ventured down a country road near my dad's house. God blessed me with beautiful weather most days. May 8 was the only day I walked this road. It wasn't heavily trafficked, but cars were flying down it and made me nervous. I'm happy to report that I was able to get 10,000 steps and 30 minutes of exercise every day.

129/366129/366Centerville Rd.
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) centerville rd country country road daily walks iphone 11 pro max magnolia ms project 365 project 366 road walking Sun, 17 May 2020 21:07:12 GMT
128/366 | Stunned I have a lot of catching up to do for this project!

On the day I arrived to care for my dad, May 7, we were enjoying the beautiful weather on his covered patio. A friendly Pitbull mix had stopped by for some scritches. He stayed for a few minutes, then he left us to visit the next neighbor. I found out that he does this regularly and no one knows where he lives, so they just call him Buster.

When I looked back at my dad I noticed a brown lump near his wheelchair. I thought the dog must've left us a "gift." As you can see, it was a stunned Carolina Wren. At first, I thought its wing was broken, but she climbed on my finger and I placed her on a patio cushion. Then, whoosh! Off she went. You might see a lot of Wrens this week since they are raising chicks in a decorative box on the patio. I whiled away many hours watching them with my dad, and it was one of the sweetest blessings, among many, that God sent for the 10 days I was in Mississippi.

400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/25 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds carolina wren nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Sun, 17 May 2020 20:51:28 GMT
127/366 | Hello 70s! The husband hit a big milestone today: 70! We celebrated with family and a dear family friend. They brought humor, light, fun and liquor! My cousin also brought me his homemade "lime wine" and it was delicious! Even though the grill caught on fire, we had a great time. Cheers, babe!

127/366127/366Hello 70s!
105mm | f/4 | ISO 400 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birthday celebrate family friends people project 365 project 366 wine Thu, 07 May 2020 01:32:06 GMT
126/366 | Peachy Daisies Not much time for P366 today. The husband is turning the big 7-0 tomorrow and it was necessary to clean, clean, clean the house to get ready for guests! Plus, I'm leaving the next day for Mississippi for eight days. I wish I had time to put more thought into today's image since it's Cinco de Mayo! The color of these daisies reminds me of the mango margaritas at Los Reyes. Cheers!

126/366126/366Peachy Daisies
105mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) daisies daisy flowers gardening gerber daisy gerbera daisy project 365 project 366 Wed, 06 May 2020 00:29:00 GMT
125/366 | Through the Clouds So many things to see from my chair in the prayer garden. There's the sky, trees, plants, flower beds, potted flowers, squirrels and birds. I glanced up hoping for a cool cloud formation when a white plane appeared seemingly from nowhere. I snapped this just before it disappeared into the white cloud. The cloud formation is almost a sideways heart.

125/366125/366Through the Clouds
100mm | f/8 | ISO 800 | 1/3200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) airplane clouds contrails plane Project 365 Project 366 sky Mon, 04 May 2020 23:05:26 GMT
124/366 | Orange Drop Butterfly Iris A new addition to the backyard. Planted on Thursday and already blessed with two blooms on Sunday! Totally unexpected. The bloom is similar in some ways to the Fairy Iris, but much smaller. This perennial plant grows 2-3 feet wide and 3-4 feet tall. It is also cold and dought-tolerant--a big plus. The striking orange area is pretty and rough like a cat's tongue. Very happy with this purchase as I hadn't looked at the plant label, thinking I was getting the more common Dietes bi-color which has three pale yellow petals and a black dot on each one. Since I can't seem to locate the Fairy Iris at our local nurseries, this is a very welcome addition to the yard.

124/366124/366Orange Drop Butterfly Iris
100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers gardening iris orange drop butterfly iris plants project 365 project 366 spring Sun, 03 May 2020 20:22:22 GMT
123/366 | Ceauxvid-19 Protest A peaceful gathering was held by the governor's mansion to protest our governor's extension of the business restrictions. Christian music and patriotic songs were blaring, all manner of signs and slogans held high, and at least one-hundred decorated cars drove up and down the street blowing their horns. We started by kneeling on the grass in prayer. There were many good, faithful Christian people at the local level of government and business owners who gave impassioned speeches. Personal stories of loss, as well as jokes were shared. Jesus' name was lifted the entire time which caused me to become emotional. And when it was all over, not one piece of trash was left on the ground. Very, very proud of our residents.

123/366123/366Ceauxvid-19 Protest
73mm | f/6.3 | ISO 200 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Ceauxvid19 COVID19 End the shutdown God Wins Government Overreach John Bel Edwards Let Your People Go Louisiana Protest Peaceful Assembly Project 365 Project 366 Q QAnon Wuhan Corona Virus Sat, 02 May 2020 21:27:52 GMT
122/366 | Small Freedom Restored Before I begin this post, I'd like to point out that I am officially 1/3 of the way finished with this photo project. Hurray!

Yesterday, the husband saw on social media that our neighborhood Mexican restaurant would be open for business. Hurray again! Patio dining only, call in the order, retrieve the order yourself, eat out of containers, bus your own table. Hey, we'll take it! Two of our favorite people joined us and we were there over 3 hours. The manager and owner who know us stopped by our table. They said they will be okay and we were relieved to hear it. Time to open up for business, America!

122/366122/366Small Freedom Restored
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) corona virus covid19 dining out freedom project 365 project 366 restrictions lifted shelter in place social distancing wuhan virus Sat, 02 May 2020 20:35:14 GMT
121/366 | Agapanthus Anomaly Revisiting the Agapanthus blooms since I worked all day in the yard. Noticed this abnormality so decided to use it for my photo of the day.

121/366121/366Agapanthus Anomaly
100mm | f/63. | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) african lily agapanthus anomaly flowers lily of the nile plants project 365 project 366 spring Fri, 01 May 2020 01:55:37 GMT
120/366 | Agapanthus with Love Bug This year we are being blessed with just shy of 40 agapanthus flowers, all in various stages of bloom. They are also known as Lily of the Nile and African Lily. Today I caught a love bug inside one. Can you imagine your world inside a flower? What a life!

120/366120/366Agapanthus with Love Bug
100mm | f/5 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) African lily agapanthus blooming flowers gardening insects lily of the nile love bug macro Project 365 Project 366 Thu, 30 Apr 2020 00:44:46 GMT
119/366 | Bleeding Heart Glory Bower Today I started a prayer garden in a corner of the backyard. I splurged on this climbing vine in hopes it will trail over the fence. It's not as beautiful as the bleeding hearts I saw in Portland, but it's probably in the same family and still pretty. So far, I have a comfortable chair, a container with zucchini and squash, a pot with dill weed, and an old wash tub with cilantro and rosemary, and a cart with various potted flowers. The area is tucked away in a far corner, and as I sat in the chair to relax after all the planting, listening to the wind rustling through the leaves, it felt so peaceful. 

119/366119/366Bleeding Heart Glory Bower
100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 640 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bleeding heart bleeding heart glory bower flowers gardening project 365 project 366 Tue, 28 Apr 2020 23:18:47 GMT
118/366 | Fairy Iris These beautiful irises came to my attention last week during my daily walk. It was necessary to trespass a stranger's yard just a few steps to grab some quick shots with my phone. Reddit's "What's This Plant" subreddit helped me identify it as the Dietes Grandiflora, also known as the Fairy Iris. The fragile white petals resemble fairy wings that have a tendency to disappear overnight. This rhizomatous plant is native to eastern and southern Africa. The flowers last about 3 days, but are quickly replaced by new ones. It blooms nearly year-round in mild climates. This is the most unusual iris I've ever seen. Must. Have. 

118/366118/366Fairy Iris
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) dietes grandiflora fairy iris flowers iris nature plants project 365 project 366 wildflowers Mon, 27 Apr 2020 22:00:18 GMT
117/366 | Dog Day Afternoon Today was gorgeous! The husband hadn't been out of the house in a few weeks, so he suggested a drive to LSU Lakes. I wasn't really expecting to find much in the way of wildlife because despite the Shelter In Place orders, a ton of people are biking, walking and jogging around there. We struck out as expected with wildlife at the Lakes, so we meandered over to Capitol Lakes by the governor's mansion. This man cycling with his dog caught my attention. It was nice to see people out and about.

117/366117/366Dog Day Afternoon
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bicycle bicycling biking dogs exercise leisure pets Project 365 Project 366 riding bikes Mon, 27 Apr 2020 01:35:21 GMT
116/366 | Bath Time Almost every day I clean out the bird bath and afterwards enjoy watching all the different species drinking and bathing. This Blue Jay had quite a long and vigorous bath. 

116/366116/366Bath Time
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds bird bath birding birds blue jay nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Mon, 27 Apr 2020 01:16:34 GMT
115/366 | A God Day What a day! I had planned to grab a shot of something ordinary with my phone while walking the neighborhood and be done; however, the last two chrysalises decided to eclose! With the first one I ran into the house to grab the husband, then took video. While I was Tweeting the video, the other chrysalis began to emerge. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I watched over both of them like a hawk for two hours as their wings dried and they did all they were supposed to do in order to fly. The feeling of joy that came over me as I watched them float high across the sky on such a beautiful day was indescribable. I thank God every day for all He has created and marvel at the complexity and beauty of it all.

After losing several caterpillars to black death, one that started a chrysalis but died before completion, a chrysalis swept away during a thunderstorm, and one that emerged from its cocoon deformed, I was pretty deflated. The two successful Monarchs today made up for all the previous failures.

This is a male and the second one to eclose. He started on the amaryllis and then flew over to a Coreopsis flower bud (shown). While he was doing his thing, the other butterfly paid us a quick visit--a pleasant surprise. After pumping his wings a few more minutes, he flew up into our Crape Myrtle, then he was gone. Godspeed, little creatures!

115/366115/366A God Day
100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) butterfly chrysalis eclose insects monarch nature Project 365 Project 366 spring wildlife Sat, 25 Apr 2020 00:07:15 GMT
114/366 | Be Still Since 2017 Be still and know that I am GOD (Psalm 46:10) has appeared to me out of nowhere on countless occasions. I'd see it while reading a devotional, shopping for art, listening to a sermon, browsing the internet, shopping at different stores, or hearing it in a podcast. It became so ubiquitous that at some point I realized: God is TRYING to tell me something. Duh. HELLO! Daily I'm praying and giving thanks to God along with a healthy dose of pleading for my children, when it's abundantly clear He is trying to talk to me through His word. When I became aware of it, I thought, 'ok, be still and settle down'. I worried less.

Last year I saw the home decor sign below in Hobby Lobby on sale. It's been on my list of things to photograph this year. As I was about to write this post, it dawned on me that I should be studying Psalm 46 to learn more about what God is trying to tell me. Doing a quick commentary search I discovered that Be still means to cease striving or simply stop, and in the context in which it's written it means to stop fighting and is directed at the enemies of God's people. From crosswalk.comThe people of God should interpret the command for themselves to read more like: ‘snap out of it,’ ‘wake up,’ ‘stop fearing’—acknowledge who your God is—be in awe! 

My journey with God has grown over the last two years as I walk with Him and talk with Him. Now that I've gotten a glimpse of the verse meaning and some context, I will be studying Psalm 46 to gain more insight. I encourage anyone who is battling something seen or unseen to seek God and He will answer you in His own time and in His own way. Glory be to GOD!

114/366114/366Be Still
105mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/50 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Be still Be still and know that I am God bible Project 365 Project 366 Psalms scripture sign Thu, 23 Apr 2020 21:47:20 GMT
113/366 | Mama Wood Duck This morning I checked on the Monarch that was struggling the night before and found that she was gone (see previous post). I suspect the frog lurking in the bed had a late night snack. Circle of life, I suppose.

Today I drove to LSU Lakes. I noticed several Wood Duck families swimming in the duckweed. Yes, they have been reproducing like crazy! The photo shown below is a female with two of her brood of seven. I also noted several juvenile ducks swimming together.

Wood Ducks eat seeds, fruits, insects and other arthropods, but they are mainly vegetarian. Since there's so much duckweed in this part of the lake, I'm sure that's why they're hanging out here. It doesn't make for the prettiest picture; however, with all the foot traffic they are less skittish than most Wood Ducks.

113/366113/366Mama Wood Duck
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) ducks duckweed LSU Lakes Project 365 Project 366 wood duck Wed, 22 Apr 2020 22:59:39 GMT
112/366 | Persian Clover Today I discovered a newly emerged Monarch on my foxtail fern. For five hours I watched this poor girl struggle. The back wings are wrinkled and she will not extend her proboscis to drink. I feel helpless. Internet research is indicating this is a well known disease afflicting Monarchs. I moved her to the zinnias to encourage her to drink. I'll check on her in the morning. I have some pretty good shots of her, but I just couldn't bear to post another deformed creature from my yard. *sad face*

My trip to Hilltop Arboretum this morning was pretty lackluster, but I liked this Persian clover in a field of buttercups enough to post.

112/366112/366Persian Clover
263mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers project 365 project 366 red clover spring wildflowers Wed, 22 Apr 2020 00:37:38 GMT
111/366 | Special Girl In between loads of laundry I observed the birds coming to my feeders. This female Northern Cardinal was acting strange. She fluffed herself out, then leaned to one side as if she was trying to expel something. The male was watching from a nearby branch in the Crape Myrtle tree above her. It wasn't until I got the pictures uploaded that I noticed her crossed beak. She was eating seeds I had scattered on the ground, but I don't know if she is able to crack seeds with this obvious beak deformity. Poor girl! 

111/366111/366Special Girl
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds bird deformity birding birds cardinal nature northern cardinal project 365 project 366 wildlife Tue, 21 Apr 2020 00:55:01 GMT
110/366 | Starling Darling Although regarded as pests with a boisterous, noisy presence, these birds possess beautiful colors. The main problem with the European Starling is their negative impact on the nesting sites of our native Bluebirds and Red-headed Woodpeckers. Brought to North America in 1890 they have become prolific throughout the entire continent. They are known for being intelligent, adaptable, tough and good mimics.

110/366110/366Starling Darling
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 500 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birds European Starling Project 365 Project 366 starling Mon, 20 Apr 2020 00:35:08 GMT
109/366 | Chickadee Fledglings This is probably my last time to see the Carolina Chickadee babies. They will probably fledge (leave the nest) tomorrow or the next day. One bird seems much larger than the others and is taking up too much space. When I opened the box (very carefully) I was so afraid they were going to fly out. As soon as I got the side door open, I put the phone in front of them which probably keeps them from escaping. Anyway, I'm too nervous to try again. Fly free little ones!

109/366109/366Chickadee Fledglings
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding birds carolina chickadee fledglings nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Sat, 18 Apr 2020 22:54:38 GMT
108/366 | 22-Degree Halo Yesterday I did a photo walk tour around downtown Baton Rouge. While everything is still shut down from the Wuhan Virus I thought it'd be a good time to visit several key sites and maybe come away with a photo and get ideas for future ones.

I pulled right up to the Old State Capitol and began my stroll. There were a few families enjoying the weather and a couple of sketchy characters that made me a little nervous. I was hyper-vigilant and determined to enjoy the day.

On my way back to the car, since there was different light, I took more snaps of the gothic capitol building. Surrounding it is a tall iron (?) decorative fence accented with fleur de lis and a large eagle on the main gate. When I looked up I noticed a halo around the sun. I have never seen anything like it. I have noticed an increase in sun dogs since last year, but have never seen a large, completely round halo around the sun. Scientists refer to it as a 22-degree halo. Why? The ring has a radius of approximately 22 degrees from its original direction. Halos can also be observed around the moon.

Here is a short description of this optical phenomenon from earthsky.orgHalos around the sun or moon are caused by high, thin cirrus clouds drifting high above your head. Tiny ice crystals in Earth’s atmosphere create the halos. They do it by refracting and reflecting the light.

108/366 | 22-Degree Halo108/366 | 22-Degree Halo22-Degree Halo
24mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) 22-degree halo architecture eagle fence halo light refraction louisiana old state capitol project 365 project 366 sun sun halo Sat, 18 Apr 2020 22:34:09 GMT
107/366 | Big Leaf Magnolia During my trip yesterday to Hilltop Arboretum I noticed two trees with ginormous leaves. One tree was just off the footpath and one was growing from a deep ditch. The one on the footpath thankfully had a plaque: Big Leaf Magnolia. Huh! Never heard of it. That's two unique plants in two days. Thank you, God!

When I returned today, the one growing from the ditch had a giant bloom. I was so excited. Southern Magnolias are known for their large blossoms, but this was even bigger. This species has the largest simple leaf and single flower of any native plant in North America.

I wish I'd had a different vantage point, but I was stuck in one spot and had to shoot from a distance due to the deep gorge. The wind was another element causing much interference. On the other hand, it was quite peaceful to hear the wind rustling the leaves of all the hundreds of trees there. It was a tranquil place to talk to God, too. 

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

107/366107/366Big Leaf Magnolia
400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/3200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Big Leaf Magnolia magnolia Project 365 Project 366 trees Fri, 17 Apr 2020 01:38:45 GMT
106/366 | Abutilon Red Tiger Spotted this beauty at Hilltop Arboretum. For two days I attempted to get the perfect shot, but the wind was relentless. The gusts would pick up the bloom casting it into harsh light or bring it back to the shadows. I employed every setting in my arsenal to no avail. Ah well! That's how it goes. The weather will be cloudy the next several days and since I don't know when I'll go back out to Hilltop I decided to post this anyway.

The abutilon is a vine or shrub-like semi-tropical plant in the mallow family. It is also known as a flowering maple due to the shape of the leaves, but it actually has no relation to the maple tree. The Red Tiger variety is yellow with deep red veining. It reminds me of a Chinese lantern.

106/366106/366Abutilon Red Tiger
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) abutilon flower mallow Project 365 Project 366 red tiger Fri, 17 Apr 2020 01:18:09 GMT
105/366 | Carolina Chickadee Today I did a lot of work in the yard. Planted an herb garden, removed old metal edging from a bed replacing it with monkey grass, planted a couple more flowers and trimmed a Crape Myrtle. Most of this was near the Chickadee nest box and the parents were NOT happy with me since they were trying to feed their growing babies. I figured while there I might as well grab my camera. It appeared both parents were involved in feeding. In some of the pictures they were bringing snails, grubs, spiders and other unidentifiable insects. One capture showed both a snail and an insect in one beak. I guess with so many mouths to feed they were doing two at a time. Pretty smart! I believe this is a spider and part of the web is trailing out of her mouth. OR it could be something that was stuck inside a web.

105/366105/366Carolina Chickadee
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds carolina chickadee chickadee nesting Project 365 Project 366 Tue, 14 Apr 2020 23:38:27 GMT
104/366 | Chrysalis Not having a successful year with the Monarch Butterfly Project. This little guy is doing well, but he crawled up the amaryllis stalk and now his chrysalis is hanging from a limp blossom. Will have to see what happens! The webbing they use to attach is surprisingly strong.

100mm | f/11 | ISO 400 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) butterfly caterpillar chrysalis insects monarch project 365 project 366 Tue, 14 Apr 2020 23:27:57 GMT
103/366 | He Is Risen The bulb of the Easter Lily buried in the ground represents the tomb of Jesus. The ethereal blooms symbolize His life after death. The snow-white color reminds us of the purity of Jesus our Divine Savior and the joy of the resurrection. The trumpet-shaped flower signifies Gabriel's trumpet call to rebirth and newness of life. The Easter Lily is also referred to as the white-robed apostles of hope.

He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' Luke 24:6-7

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3

103/366103/366He Is Risen
100mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Easter Easter lily Flowers garden He is risen Jesus lily Project 365 Project 366 Sun, 12 Apr 2020 20:45:49 GMT
102/366 | Bliss Today was absolutely gorgeous. The sky was blue with those wispy cirrus clouds that I love, low humidity, and a nice cool breeze. To soak it up I laid down in the grass and let the sun bathe me. It felt so relaxing. I studied the clouds hoping to see a sign from God or maybe an interesting shape. After a few minutes something possessed me to pick up my phone and point it at my face. Usually I HATE taking selfies or posing for pictures. I think I wanted to see if the bliss was evident on my face. I appear relaxed, a rarity for me. 

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) nature no makeup outdoors Project 365 Project 366 selfie Sun, 12 Apr 2020 00:29:01 GMT
101/366 | By His Stripes But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

101/366101/366By His Stripes
100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) by his stripes we are healed flowers gardening good friday jesus miniature rose project 365 project 366 rose striped rose Sat, 11 Apr 2020 01:01:04 GMT
100/366 | Maundy Thursday As Christians, we recognize the solemnity of Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday. Maundy is derived from the latin word for "command" as Jesus stated, "Love one another as I have loved you."

On Holy Thursday Jesus sent Peter and John to the Upper Room to prepare for the Passover Feast. After sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. This humble act is used as an example for believers to love and serve one another as Jesus commanded. Jesus fulfilled prophecy of the Passover Supper as His body was to be broken and His blood shed for our sins. Jesus established the Lord’s Supper or Communion, instructing His disciples to remember His sacrifice using the elements of bread and wine.

And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16)

After supper, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Luke's account is heartrending: "And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." (Luke 22:44). Adding further torment, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss that very evening and our Lord was arrested by the Sanhedrin. As Jesus' trial was underway, Peter denied knowing Him three times.

What a price Jesus paid! The thought of His suffering, torture and betrayal make me emotional. Because I know I do not deserve an ounce of what He gave. But I'm so very thankful.

100/366100/366Maundy Thursday
58mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 1/125 sec
Life size marble sculpture at Resthaven Gardens
Baton Rouge, LA

(Gail A. Dixon) christianity holy thursday jesus last supper maundy thursday observance passion week project 365 project 366 religion sculpture Thu, 09 Apr 2020 21:42:14 GMT
99/366 | Super Pink Moon I took a little artistic license with this image as the Super Pink Moon is not named for its color. From The Old Farmer's Almanac:

"Although we wish this name had to do with the color of the Moon, the reality is not quite as mystical or awe-inspiring. In truth, April’s full Moon often corresponded with the early springtime blooms of a certain wildflower native to eastern North America: Phlox subulata—commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox—which also went by the name “moss pink.”  Thanks to this seasonal association, this full Moon came to be called the Pink Moon!"

The main reason I used this image was because of the airplane that passed in front of the moon as I took the shot. Also, this moon will be the biggest and brightest of 2020. Observed around 9:30PM CT.

99/36699/366Super Pink Moon
400mm | f/11 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) artistic moon pink Project 365 Project 366 super pink moon Thu, 09 Apr 2020 16:32:56 GMT
98/366 | Whitewashed Tomb Today is Holy Tuesday of Passion Week. This is the day Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem from Bethany. On the way, they passed by the withered fig tree that Jesus had cursed the day before. Upon returning to the Temple they found the religious leaders up in arms that Jesus had declared himself a spiritual authority. The leaders organized an ambush and tried to have Jesus arrested, but He was able to evade them and pronounced:

"Blind guides!...For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness...Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?" Matthew 23:24-33

Later in the day Jesus went to the Mount of Olives which sits due east of the Temple and overlooks Jerusalem. Here He spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end times. Tuesday was also the day Judas Iscariot conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus. Here is a great web site for further reading on Passion Week.

This is as close to a whitewashed tomb as I could find; it's probably marble. Feeling hemmed in by the "Shelter in Place" orders, I took a drive today to St. Gabriel cemetery where my mom, sister, grandparents, aunt, and many other relatives are buried. So far, they are not really enforcing the "orders" just strongly urging them as guidelines. The cloudy, gloomy day made for a more dramatic image.

98/36698/366Whitewashed Tomb
24mm | f/5 | ISO 400 | 1/3200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) cemetery holy tuesday passion week Project 365 Project 366 tomb whitewashed tomb Tue, 07 Apr 2020 21:47:14 GMT
97/366 | Balloon Flower Bought this on a whim today. I think I may have purchased this plant before, but it failed me. We shall see! Displayed here still in its pot among the verbena.

97/36697/366Balloon Flower
135mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) balloon flower flowers Project 365 Project 366 spring Tue, 07 Apr 2020 01:19:44 GMT
96/366 | Hosanna Passion Week begins! Palm Sunday is the day we celebrate Jesus' triumphant return to Jerusalem, a week before His resurrection. It marks the final seven days of His earthly ministry. To learn more about Palm Sunday, click here. #BeBlessed

105mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bible bible verse christianity hosanna Palm Sunday Project 365 Project 366 religion Mon, 06 Apr 2020 02:01:31 GMT
95/366 | Cucumber Beetle My macro efforts still need a lot of work. Although the insect is not tack sharp, I loved the way his right foot was resting on the milkweed bud.

95/36695/366Cucumber Beetle
100mm | f/8 | ISO 800 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) beetle bugs cucumber beetle insects macro project 365 project 366 Mon, 06 Apr 2020 01:54:33 GMT
94/366 | Chickadee Hatchlings We have four Bluebird boxes on poles in our yard and one standard box with a side opening attached to the fence. With all the gardening chores done yesterday, I went around and checked the boxes. Disappointingly, no action was found in the Bluebird boxes. The box with the side opening took me completely by surprise. It was piled high with nesting material and a bird was sitting on top, its face below the nest edge. Very gently I took my finger and pressed down on the nest and a pair of eyes gleamed at me. Then WOOSH! It flew out like lightning. Peeking inside further, I found six cream-colored mottled eggs. 

Today I checked the nest again. Got my camera all set up first so I could be quick about it. I had just planned on photographing the eggs. But to my amazement, two little hatchlings were squirming around. I got off about 10 shots with mama squawking frantically nearby. And rightfully so. I will leave them alone for now and maybe check again in a week. Here you can see their big black eyes not even open, naked bodies with one feather each, and rather prominent beaks. It's going to take a lot of discipline on my part to stay away LOL.

94/36694/366Chickadee Hatchlings
100mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/40 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird nest birding birds carolina chickadee chickadee hatchlings nesting project 365 project 366 Fri, 03 Apr 2020 20:23:35 GMT
93/366 | Killdeer With all the gardening done, I took today to play. Of course, I could've cleaned inside the house, but hey, the dirt will still be there tomorrow.

I had heard rumors that the Limpkin made its way to Baton Rouge recently--an extremely rare bird for us. After doing some online snooping, I found the exact location where the bird was seen recently and headed out. No luck there, so I went to LSU Lakes to try for the female Wood Duck. My attention became focused on a Killdeer hunting for food in the mud and I actually caught him pulling worms out. I'll try for the Wood Duck and Limpkin another day. Killdeer are skittish and difficult to shoot, so I had to use this as my photo of the day since this one didn't seem too bothered by my presence.

The Killdeer is a medium-sized Plover. Killdeer parents will feign a wing injury or act crippled if their nest or eggs are threatened. This is to detract attention away from their young. Once the threat is gone, they are suddenly healed. The distinct red eyeing and black neck/chest stripes make them quite attractive. They were previously known as Chattering Plovers or Noisy Plovers. They are well known for their loud, wailing kill-deeeeer cries - the origin of their common name.

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds killdeer lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Fri, 03 Apr 2020 01:40:49 GMT
92/366 | Soprano Purple Today I present the Osteospermum otherwise known as African Daisy. The color variety is called Soprano Purple. It requires full sun, but I ran out of room in my sunny areas, so it's sitting pretty beneath the Crape Myrtles. I also have another variety called Lavender Frost with white petals and purple centers. My beds are full of color and variety. All weeds have been vanquished and mulch spread. I even got the fountain to work again. Very productive day.

92/36692/366Soprano Purple

(Gail A. Dixon) african daisy flowers garden osteospermum Project 365 Project 366 soprano purple spring Wed, 01 Apr 2020 23:17:02 GMT
91/366 | The Cottage Ruins The Cottage Plantation was built in 1825 by Abner Duncan, then gifted to his daughter, Frances and her husband, Frederick Conrad. It became a very successful sugar plantation and entertained many distinguished guests. Zachary Taylor, Jefferson Davis and The Marquis de Lafayette were among the notables. The success would be short-lived, however.

In the 1800s steamboats were a popular mode of travel along the Mississippi River, as well as up and down the bayous which thread Louisiana. However, the steamers that pushed the vessels along the river were analogous to kegs of dynamite. Explosions were common and horrific. 

On February 27, 1859, the Steamboat Princess made a stop at a wharf in Baton Rouge to pick up passengers on the way to Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. A dense fog had settled across the Mississippi, which seemed a foreshadowing of what was to come. The boat was full of cotton and passengers, even carrying some politicians from the legislative session that had just ended early for the festivities. 

The boat was already late and the steamers were being pushed beyond their limits. You guessed it, the steamers exploded near Conrad Point, 6 miles south of Baton Rouge, by the Cottage Plantation on River Road. The explosion propelled many to action, including the plantation's slaves. They spread sheets and blankets on the lawn and barrels of flour were brought out. The burn victims were rolled in the flour and placed in the shade. Seventy people perished and numerous others were wounded.

Later, the plantation was fired upon by union boats in the Civil War. It was occupied, plundered of its valuables, and Mr. Conrad and his secretary, Angus Holt were taken to New Orleans as prisoners. During this period, the plantation was used as a yellow fever hospital for union soldiers. Mr. Conrad died in New Orleans and Mr. Holt eventually returned to the plantation to care for it until he died in 1880. He became a recluse and a hoarder.

The Conrad family began restoration of the plantation in the 1920s. Stories of ghosts and disease persisted. By the 1950s it was turned into a museum and it was used as a set for many movies, including Band of Angels starring Clark Gable. On a February morning in 1960, the plantation burned to the ground. Only the pillars remain and are slowly being reclaimed by nature.

Every time I have shot this site, there is a haze in the air. Almost as if those flour-covered burn victims are letting their presence be known. Between the columns it appears hazy, even though today was bright and sunny. Oh, the rich stories that Louisiana has to tell.

91/36691/366The Cottage Ruins
330mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/640 sec
Baton Rouge Time Travel has an excellent article with more information,
which is where I obtained most of the information for this post.

(Gail A. Dixon) architecture columns folklore plantation project 365 project 366 ruins steamboat princess the cottage plantation Wed, 01 Apr 2020 02:25:14 GMT
90/366 | Purslane Today I planted thirteen more plants in my various beds. Saturday I planted thirty-one. One of the milkweed plants I bought today had two giant caterpillars already on them! I've read that caterpillars can eat an entire plant before they go to the Chrysalis stage. I may need to return to the nursery because I don't think I have enough milkweed for the six I am raising. I did find some floral water tubes that keep the milkweed moist inside the container. Hopefully that'll help me ration the leaves better.

My "Photo of the Day" is the re-emergence of a striped purslane from last year. It somehow survived an entire year. This plant is crazy easy to grow. You can even break off any area of the plant, stick it in dirt and it's good to go. I've even read they're good in salads, but check with your doctor first! Do not take advice from me. This little bloom measures about 1/2" diameter.

100mm | f/11 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers gardening macro Project 365 Project 366 purslane spring Mon, 30 Mar 2020 23:25:47 GMT
89/366 | Showy Snowy The husband was kind enough to drive me 70 miles southwest yesterday so we could see what the wading birds were up to. We saw numerous Roseate Spoonbills, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets (shown), Little Blue Herons and a BIG gator + a baby gator. The birds were busy building nests and trying to attract a mate. Their interactions were fascinating to watch. I'm so glad they haven't put us on a true lockdown. It's imperative to get out in nature and breathe fresh air. The weather was a tad warm, but a slight breeze made it bearable. This Snowy Egret was strutting his stuff. The Chinese Tallow tree, although invasive, has such pretty leaves in the spring. I wish it had been more filled with leaves, but in nature, you take what you're given.

89/36689/366Showy Snowy
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds egret nesting project 365 project 366 snowy egret white Mon, 30 Mar 2020 21:47:28 GMT
88/366 | Gazania Since we are still officially "sheltering in place" due to the Wuhan China virus, stores have gotten creative in order to be open to the public. Today I decided to support our local plant nursery, Clegg's. Like Trader Joe's, they were only allowing a certain number of people in at one time. As people left with their purchases, those waiting were let in. I have to say it was quite nice shopping with fewer people. I could live with this indefinitely! When I got to the register, they had bolted a plexiglass shield in front of the cashier. That made me feel toxic--like a walking petri dish or something. I think the whole thing has people reevaluating everything they touch and how far away we should be from one another.

I left Clegg's with 34 plants, and after planting all but one, I was too tired to put any energy into P366.

Gazanias are daisy-like flowers in the Asteraceae family. They are native to Southern Africa and were discovered in 1791 by German botanist, Joseph Gaertner. They do well in Louisiana gardens, blooming well into the summer. A bonus is being drought tolerant.

100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 640 | 1/100 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers garden gardening gazania plants project 365 project 366 spring Sun, 29 Mar 2020 00:25:23 GMT
87/366 | Three Crosses Three has always been my favorite number. It represents the Holy Trinity and reminds me of my three children. In art and photography grouping things by three makes for a more interesting image. 

In researching Jesus on the cross for this post, I stumbled onto an article called "The Three Crosses of Calvary." The article lists five ways to look at Jesus on the cross. Excerpt:

The three crosses represent mankind's reaction to God. 
Jesus on the middle cross represents God LOVING, SUFFERING, SUBSTITUTING, GIVING, FORGIVING, PAYING AND OFFERING. The cross on the left represents man SCOFFING, REFUSING, HATING, DENYING, UNBELIEVING, AND UNWILLING. DYING LOST. The cross on the right represents man REPENTING, BELIEVING, RESPONDING, CONFESSING, ACCEPTING AND RECEIVING, and going to heaven by the grace of God.

One criminal mocked Jesus. The other one said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23:42-43
My heart's desire is for Jesus to remember me. Please, everyone, turn to GOD, repent, and be saved. I fear we are entering the last days.

87/36687/366Three Crosses
24mm | f/8 | ISO 200 | 1/2500 sec


(Gail A. Dixon) christ cross Jesus love Project 365 Project 366 religion sacrifice three crosses Sat, 28 Mar 2020 23:05:22 GMT
86/366 | Behold A Pale Horse Yesterday I was feeling restless, so I took a drive out to the country where I spent most of my childhood. The drive helped clear my head, but I lacked the energy to post anything. A variety of subjects presented themselves, but the one I chose as Photo of the Day was the most unusual. A blonde pony sitting in a field of yellow wildflowers. Out of all the things I shot, I figured this is the one I likely won't see again. I'm sure the property owner will be mowing soon, or the cows and horses will eat the flowers. Good news is I have several things in mind to go back and shoot, including the ruins of a haunted plantation with an interesting history. Stay tuned!

86/36686/366Behold A Pale Horse
400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/640 sec


(Gail A. Dixon) behold a pale horse country field of yellow flowers pony project 365 project 366 yellow wildflowers Sat, 28 Mar 2020 00:35:13 GMT
85/366 | Monarch Caterpillar A couple weeks ago I planted milkweed. Today I was pulling weeds and noticed a caterpillar feasting on it. Upon further investigation, I found a total of five Monarch cats. So I decided to do a butterfly project again. Monarchs are in peril and the caterpillars can be easily picked off by birds and other predators. I still had my vented container from four years ago, so I put them in there for safety and look forward to raising them again.

This is a macro image. Actual size is approx. 1" long X 1/8" diameter.

85/36685/366Monarch Caterpillar
100m | f/11 | ISO 500 | 1/40 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) caterpillar insects macro milkweed monarch project 365 project 366 Thu, 26 Mar 2020 01:32:55 GMT
84/366 | Wood Duck This is the second day in a row I tried to photograph the Wood Ducks. There are two pairs, and if you're stealthy enough, it's possible to get fairly close. My only issue is the eye focus. For some reason my Canon 5D III does not get sharp focus on the eye. Shutter speed was fast, IS works, and f-stop was at its sweet-spot. I don't know--I've always have had problems with the Wood Ducks. I can get sharp focus on the blue-eyed Ibis just fine, but these red-eyed ducks are giving me fits. Light was terrible this morning and they were moving a lot, so that probably explains some of it. Tomorrow I may return and shoot the female. She is not as colorful, but has a beautiful yellow eye ring. And if I don't get her, I hope to see the Osprey again. Sorry about all the algae; LSU is working on this issue.

84/36684/366Wood Duck
400mm | f/8 | ISO 640 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) duck lsu lakes nature project 365 project 366 wildlife wood duck Wed, 25 Mar 2020 00:20:50 GMT
83/366 | Apple Blossom Amaryllis About three years ago a solitary amaryllis came up out of nowhere in my back patio flower bed--what gardeners call a 'volunteer'--meaning not intentionally planted. Research led me to the conclusion that it's an Apple Blossom Amaryllis. They are multiplying like crazy and giving me the most beautiful blooms, but they are difficult to photograph where they sprung up, so my goal is to relocate all or some of them to a spot that will make it easier to photograph. The first stalk from this year had six flowers on it, and was so heavy it keeled over. I measured the width of the bloom and it was a whopping 7"! Several more are waiting to burst open, so I might try to get another shot that is more to my liking. 

83/36683/366Apple Blossom Amaryllis 200mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) amaryllis apple blossom amaryllis flowers garden project 365 project 366 Tue, 24 Mar 2020 20:45:43 GMT
82/366 | American Green Tree Frog The weather has made it possible to work in the garden more. And also the whole virus thing has us homebound. Anyway, the husband went around the yard to remove the faucet covers since I don't think we're due for any more cold weather, and he found this cute little critter hiding underneath. The green tree frog became the state amphibian of Louisiana in 1993.

82/36682/366American Green Tree Frog
100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) American Green Tree Frog amphibian amphibians frog garden green Project 365 Project 366 Mon, 23 Mar 2020 00:06:08 GMT
81/366 | It Is Well With My Soul Despite the social gathering restrictions due to the pandemic, we attended the funeral of a beloved neighbor and HOA member today. Mr. White was a presence with the biggest smile and personality. He was a deacon of his church, attended bible studies, ran for City Council, was a Commissioner of the Slidell Housing Authority, on the board of the National Association for Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and teacher's union member. He was active with the Baton Rouge Community Choir, St. Tammany Retired Teachers, East Baton Rouge Council on Aging, member of Yesteryear Retired Teachers, Baton Rouge Area Retired Teachers Association, Louisiana Retired Teachers Association and Together Baton Rouge. He was trilingual, teaching Spanish and French for 33 years. He was an educator for almost 40 years. His hobbies were fishing, singing and gardening.

His wife, Miss Bert, was inconsolable. She wept and carried on at his coffin so much that I had to find a tissue box, weeping along with her. When I was finally able to view Mr. White he looked like he was sleeping. His son came over and we talked about that. The son inherited his daddy's big smile and gentle, loving ways.

We were the only caucasians in the church, but it didn't matter. And I only bring it up because so many people still think there are race relation issues. There is not. At least not in our area. ALL were welcoming and gracious.

What made this day extra hard was having to refrain from hugging or touching or holding a hand to show comfort. The church should've been packed; however, attendance was sparse which the family expected and understood. They streamed the service live on Facebook for those too afraid to leave their homes and/or for the immunocompromised.

A soloist went up to the altar to sing "It Is Well With My Soul." Her rendition was so powerful that it moved me to tears. Thus, the subject of my photo of the day.

Mr. White, we'll miss you at neighborhood socials and board meetings. May GOD shine His perpetual light on you and may you rest in the arms of Jesus forever.

81/36681/366It Is Well With My Soul iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) choir songs church music funeral hymnal it is well with my soul project 365 project 366 Sun, 22 Mar 2020 00:58:37 GMT
80/366 | Wuhan Virus Panic Today I'm doing something different. This will be a documentary style collage in an effort to depict what is happening globally. When the pandemic fears started to creep into the media a couple weeks ago, I decided to continue on with my daily routine, refusing to buy into the toilet paper hoarding hysteria. This week, restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and gyms have closed down. All my husband's business meetings were canceled. My dad's doctor appointments were all canceled. Many in my circle are having to work from home, and I'm thankful they are able to do that. Others are not so fortunate. With Louisiana already struggling economically, I pray businesses will survive.

Because I didn't buy into the hype initially, I am actually running low on supplies. Thanks to the hoarders, there's not a roll of toilet paper to be had in this town. I guess if worse comes to worst, baby wipes or rags will have to do. I have to say, I'm thinking about having bidets installed. Thankfully, I have friends that have offered toilet paper if we run out. I mean, I can't believe I even typed that out! 

Every store I went into is addressing this virus. Many retail stores have even shuttered temporarily. Employees are busy wiping down handles and carts. Store shelves are bare. I had to go to three stores to find dried red beans and the ones I ended up with (Hi Nabor's brand) look awfully puny. But we'll survive.

Confession: I'm a bit of a germaphobe. Everyone who knows me knows this. It's not a severe case or debilitating; it doesn't keep me from doing things I want to do. But I have to say that this virus has me checking and rechecking my behavior. I'm using elbows or the back of my hand to push buttons. I don't touch my face. If I get an itch, I try to use my shoulder. For the first time ever, I wore gloves out in public and felt pretty stupid. In my defense, I have eczema on my hands, so they're usually cracked and peeling. I don't know how this virus behaves and if it can get through my cracked skin there's no telling what can happen. I'm not taking any chances.

We're used to being prepared for hurricanes here in Louisiana. This? This is not something we can track or know when or how it will end up. And it's ruining businesses and lives. However, one thing I have noticed: everyone seems more kind and patient. We're all dealing with the same craziness which puts us all on the same level, I guess. Our steely American grit and resolve, along with our Christian values (most of us), will see us through.

I've driven all over town today gathering supplies that we may or may not need and I'm tired. So I'll just end with a bible verse:
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15

80/36680/366Wuhan Virus
All images taken with iPhone 11 Pro Max
Collage depicts Whole Foods coffee area closed, bare shelves,
Whole Foods bulk bins covered and protected,
out of stock notice, employee wiping down freezer handles,
me driving with protective gloves.

(Gail A. Dixon) and as be body called christ hearts in let members of one peace peace. rule since thankful. the to were you your Fri, 20 Mar 2020 21:14:21 GMT
79/366 | White Wisteria Visiting my dad in Mississippi resulted in two spring treats: yesterday's orange native azalea and the white wisteria shown below. Purple wisteria is everywhere, and they are especially at their peak in MS, but white? I've never seen a white wisteria EVER. Although I dealt with poor light both days and no opportunity to wander around endlessly, I'm happy with the shots, as these were totally new sightings for me.

79/36679/366White Wisteria
100mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers Project 365 Project 366 spring white wisteria wisteria Thu, 19 Mar 2020 23:01:08 GMT
78/366 | Native Azaleas The native azaleas of Louisiana and Mississippi are quite stunning. In addition to their long, graceful pistils, the scent is divine! I have got to find a space in my garden for one. My dad's neighbor has tons of the white/pink usually seen in the wild, but also the flame orange (shown below) and red ones. The red were still in bud, so I didn't get to see the blooms. 

The U.S. Forest Service gives these benefits for using native plants:

  • Native plants do not require fertilizers and require fewer pesticides than lawns.
  • Native plants require less water than lawns and help prevent erosion.
    The deep root systems of many native Midwestern plants increase the soil's capacity to store water. Native plants can significantly reduce water runoff and, consequently, flooding. 
  • Native plants help reduce air pollution.
    Native plantscapes do not require mowing. Excessive carbon from the burning of fossil fuels contributes to global warming. Native plants sequester, or remove, carbon from the air. 
  • Native plants provide shelter and food for wildlife.
  • Native plants promote biodiversity and stewardship of our natural heritage.
  • Native plants are beautiful and increase scenic values!

"The native azalea species of the Southeastern United States have been called, by many plant authorities, the most beautiful of all our indigenous shrubs."
~Fred Galle

78/36678/366Native Azaleas
100mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) azaleas flowers native azaleas Project 365 Project 366 spring wild azaleas Thu, 19 Mar 2020 22:04:45 GMT
77//366 | Magnolia Exit Part of St. Patrick's Day was spent on the road to visit my dad in Magnolia, MS. I pulled over to get a shot of the exit sign and came away with my car angel as the main subject. I rather liked the raindrops on the windshield.

77/36677/366Magnolia Exit
4.25mm | f/1.8 | ISO 32 | 1/250 sec
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) angel cross interstate Project 365 Project 366 rain waterdrops Thu, 19 Mar 2020 21:35:17 GMT
76/366 | Swan Columbine These are supposed to be perennials for our area, but I've never been able to keep it alive past late spring. Even so, I can't help but try every year. Such a unique, graceful flower.

Rocky Mountain Columbine
'Swan Blue & White'

76/36676/366Rocky Mountain Columbine
'Swan Blue & White'

100mm | f/5 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) columbine flowers garden project 365 project 366 rocky mountain columbine spring Mon, 16 Mar 2020 22:59:00 GMT
75/366 | Walking the Boulevard Decided on a late afternoon walk to enjoy the beautiful weather, though it was a tad warmer than I prefer. I'm glad I took this shot when I did because just a short time later, the clouds dispersed and the blue sky was much less vibrant. The wide angle lens on the iPhone 11 Pro makes for some dramatic images.

75/36675/366Walking the Boulevard
1.54mm | f/2.4 | ISO 20 | 1/800 sec
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) boulevard clouds neighborhood Project 365 Project 366 roads Mon, 16 Mar 2020 01:07:03 GMT
74/366 | Barn Charm Spent a beautiful day at Afton Villa Gardens with a friend who loves photography also. Since moving back to Baton Rouge in 2012, I have visited Afton Villa Gardens every spring and will sometimes go in the fall. Spring is the best time, especially for the azaleas. But this year we missed the azalea extravaganza by two weeks due to our warm winter. There was nothing we could do about that because the garden doesn't open to the public until March 1st.

In 1849 David Barrow and his second wife Susan built a gothic style mansion and established a plantation on this property. The mansion burned down in 1963, but the gardens are still maintained among the ruins. Senator Alexander Barrow of the Whig Party, who died in 1846, is buried on the grounds. This old barn in the back got my attention. Not only is the architecture unique for Louisiana, the brightly colored flowers juxtaposed with the rustic wood add interest. 

74/36674/366Barn Charm
100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Afton Villa Gardens barn barn charm country flowers Project 365 Project 366 rural Sun, 15 Mar 2020 01:43:25 GMT
73/366 | Sunset Velvet Oxalis This is a new addition to my backyard garden. The wild oxalis with green clover-like leaves and purple flowers grow at the bases of trees and in swamps and forests. I only ever thought of them as weeds that brighten my hikes. When I saw this particular variety at the local nursery I thought it might add interest, never realizing it blooms. Today I looked and was so surprised to see little 1/2" yellow flowers. The red stripping on the petals is pretty also. 

73/36673/366Sunset Velvet Oxalis
100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers garden oxalis Project 365 Project 366 sunset velvet oxalis Fri, 13 Mar 2020 22:09:10 GMT
72/366 | Eastern Redbud Every spring I look forward to the blooming of our two Eastern Redbud trees. They have a lifespan of 10-20 years and were probably here when the house was built in 1997. Both redbuds seem to be struggling, despite fertilizing every spring and fall. We actually had two trunks growing from one spot going in opposite directions. One day I woke up to find one half had fallen onto the neighbor's driveway. It seemed to have passed away overnight. So sad because they make such pretty blooms in the spring and produce heart-shaped leaves after that. I've been waiting on a day with no wind and rain, but the conditions never cooperate and I need to get a photo before the flowers are spent. Here is the healthier of the pair which always blooms first. A little blurry due to wind, but out of all the compositions, this was the one I chose for today.

72/36672/366Eastern Redbud
100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 100 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) eastern redbud flowering trees flowers ornamental trees project 365 project 366 redbud trees Fri, 13 Mar 2020 01:10:42 GMT
71/366 | Dreamsicle My neighbor's yard is bursting with these gorgeous blooms. And yes, they really are this bright shade of orange; I actually toned it down a little in Lightroom. What I'm having difficulty with is identifying it. I was certain it was a variety of Amaryllis, but doing an internet search led me in so many directions, my head is still spinning. It could be a Striped Barbados Lily also known as the Hippeastrum (hip ee ASS trum) Striatum (why lily in the name if it's still in the Amaryllis family?). Or it might be the Amaryllis Minerva or the Charmeur Amaryllis. Whatever its name, it brings me joy. I've been seeing the red and white ones too, and my own Apple Blossom, but there isn't another yard in our area with his particular color. I'm waiting for one particular Apple Blossom to bloom so I can get a better background for the shot. Happy spring, y'all!

100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) amaryllis flower garden hippeastrum striata project 365 project 366 spring striped barbados lily Thu, 12 Mar 2020 00:31:29 GMT
70/366 | Deep Red Mum Last fall I bought a few different varieties of chrysanthemum and placed them randomly in a couple of flower beds. They are now blooming again. The deep red velvety ones are quite striking, so I decided to go with "Color Isolate Red" in Lightroom. Using the Adjustment Brush, I moved the Saturation slider down to zero and brushed over places still showing color. It's nice to do all editing in LR sometimes.

70/36670/366Red Mum
100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) chrysanthemum flower garden mum project 365 project 366 red selective color Tue, 10 Mar 2020 20:57:36 GMT
69/366 | Pink Verbena Last summer I planted a small sprig of bright pink verbena at the edge of the patio bed. Since we've had a mild winter it has spread quite a bit and is spilling over the rock's edge. The shade of pink in reality is way too intense, so I toned it down with a Preset in Lightroom called "Aged Photo." Then I pulled it into PS for a little cloning, and removed a woody spike that was drawing attention away from the blooms. Another bonus with this plant is that it prevents weeds. Thus, I planted two more in red. A really lovely addition to the flower bed discovered quite by accident. You never know what is going to thrive in a particular area.

"We don't make mistakes, we just have happy accidents." ~Bob Ross

69/36669/366Pink Verbena
100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers garden pink plants project 365 project 366 verbena Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:46:21 GMT
68/366 | hello. Feeling puny today so thought a walk around the neighborhood would help. I actually feel worse. Literally "phoning it in" with this shot. The cursive "hello" caught my attention on this mailbox.

4.25mm | f/1.8 | ISO 32 | 1/1500 sec
iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Gail A. Dixon) hello iphone 11 pro max mailbox project 365 project 366 Sun, 08 Mar 2020 20:25:11 GMT
67/366 | Kinglet Surprise Feeling uninspired with photography, I asked GOD during prayer time to bless me with a photo. Something told me to go to Independence Park, thinking maybe I'd get another Robin. There were a few things blooming, but nothing spectacular, so as I was driving out of the parking lot feeling a little let down, I noticed a tiny bird zipping around the branches of a bare Cedar tree. I stopped, pulled out my camera and snapped. Well, I'll be! It was the Ruby-crowned Kinglet which I thought was long gone as they are a winter migrant for our area. Using my car as a blind, I balanced my phone on the open window and played their beautiful song from an app. They are quite bold, so I got several good looks at this one. I felt a little guilty terrorizing it. You can see in the image that he/she is talking back. This is either a female or a juvenile.

Thank You, GOD. "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

67/36667/366Kinglet Surprise
400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds kinglet nature Project 365 Project 366 ruby-crowned kinglet wildlife Sat, 07 Mar 2020 23:19:29 GMT
66/366 | Black and White Dahlia Today I finally finished planting what I purchased from the nursery earlier in the week: two varieties of dahlia and milkweed. Since I had already photographed the dahlia this week, I tried to get other subjects such as our redbud tree blooms, an insect, bottlebrush macro, and other things around the yard. The dahlias are just so beautiful, I couldn't resist another photo. Especially after seeing it in the ground with water drops. Listening to a podcast on the Black Dahlia killer, I thought, 'Well, why not use the dahlia and do it in black and white?' So, voila!

66/36666/366Black and White Dahlia
100mm | f/5 | ISO 400 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) black and white dahlia drops flower macro monotone project 365 project 366 water Fri, 06 Mar 2020 21:42:36 GMT
65/366 | Museum The collective noun for Cedar Waxwings is an Ear-Full or Museum. These are social birds and can sometimes be observed passing a berry back and forth until one finally swallows it. Instead of chirping or other traditional bird songs, the Waxwing emits a high-frequency "seeeee" sound. Depending on diet, the tip of the back tail is either orange or yellow. Today I observed both! Here, I present them perched in my neighbor's Chinese Tallow tree. We have a lot of Holly berries left, so I hope to get a better close-up of one with a berry.

400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/640 sec

Lagniappe (a little something extra):

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds cedar waxwings museum nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Thu, 05 Mar 2020 22:30:14 GMT
64/366 | Cedar Waxwing Every year I look forward to the Cedar Waxwings that visit our Holly berry trees in the backyard. I've been told it's not their favorite berry, so when they've exhausted all the other fruit-bearing plants, they come to our Hollys. The light today was terrible, but I was determined to get one with a berry. It's unfortunate that the beak is obscured in the only decent shot. I hope to get a better one in the next week, so the Waxwing may make another appearance soon. What can you do? Nature seldom cooperates for the camera.

64/36664/366Cedar Waxwing
400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/160 sec (HANDHELD!)

(Gail A. Dixon) berries birding birds cedar waxwing nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Thu, 05 Mar 2020 00:25:10 GMT
63/366 | Pincushion Flower Bud Devotional podcast listened to: check

Bathroom scoured: check

Parade photos edited and posted: check

Talked to my dad: check

Photo of the day snapped: check

Still need to get steps in before the rain. Productive day!

63/36663/366Pincushion Flower Bud
100mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/125 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bud flowers pincushion flower project 365 project 366 spring Tue, 03 Mar 2020 21:24:59 GMT
62/366 | Grande Tequila Dahlia Today I went flower bed shopping. In my younger days I loved retail stores; in my old-er-ish age, I get excited about plants. Who knew! :)

We might have one more frost, but I feel pretty confident that winter is behind us. There wasn't much of a winter to speak of anyway. 

I planted blue daze around the corner edges of the front bed. In the patio bed I went with verbena, columbine, oxalis, English daisy, pincushion flower, celosia, trailing geranium, and the one I'm most thrilled about: Grande Tequila Dahlia. I fell in love with dahlias while in Portland. Some of them are as big as dinner plates. We have some varieties that grow here, but they don't last long due to our oppressive summers. I'm going to baby this one and try to make it last--we'll see! Anyway, here she is.

62/36662/366Grande Tequila Dahlia
100mm | f/5 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) dahlia flowers grande tequila dahlia project 365 project 366 spring Mon, 02 Mar 2020 23:42:28 GMT
61/366 | Christmas Cactus Christmas cactus blooming in March. What a sweet little surprise.

The stamens remind me of fiber optic lighting.

61/36661/366Christmas Cactus
100mm | f/11 | ISO 400 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Christmas cactus flower plants Project 365 Project 366 Sun, 01 Mar 2020 21:58:56 GMT
60/366 | Leap Day Skateboarder at Perkins Road Community Park. The only place I could think of to get a subject jumping into the air for Leap Day. I didn't stay long because I felt self-conscious with the long lens, though no one said anything.

60/36660/366Leap Day
158mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) jumping leap day leaping project 365 project366 skateboarding Sat, 29 Feb 2020 22:20:37 GMT
59/366 | Schistocerca americana Schistocerca americana aka American Bird Grasshopper

So often, I go out to photograph a specific subject, when out of nowhere, something much better than I envisioned presents itself. Here I was trudging through a muddy field for insects on daisy fleabane when a giant insect resembling an alien jumps into a flowering tree. It's like being a follower of Christ. You're going along as best you can thinking you have life all figured out, and He says, "Look! Over here! I have a better plan." 

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

100mm | f/8 | ISO 320 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowering tree grasshopper insects migratory grasshopper Project 365 Project 366 Fri, 28 Feb 2020 19:46:10 GMT
58/366 | Bee on Thistle It was tempting to post another tulip image, but I held off. The bees were partying in the thistles, so that was a fun, yet frustrating endeavor. I tried my best to capture them in flight, but without a tripod, the 100mm macro lens suffers. None of the AI Servo modes or other settings were able to track their swiftness to satisfy my sharpness standards either. I so wish I had splurged on Image Stabilization for this lens. 

There were other wildflowers at Burden Gardens, but the thistles seemed to be the happening place. You can clearly see the pollen sacs accumulated on this little guy/gal. Party on, little buzzers!

58/36658/366Bee on Thistle
100mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bee insects nature pollen project 365 project 366 spring thistle wildlife Thu, 27 Feb 2020 20:06:13 GMT
57/366 | Burden Garden Tulip Today was windy, but sunny. I'll take it! On a hunch, I drove out to Burden Gardens to see if the tulips were planted. Boy, was I relieved to see them, as I had been several times this month looking, and started to think they weren't going to make an appearance. This year they gifted us with various colors and varieties: Fosterina, Parrot and standard. Sometimes they only plant one type or color, so this was a treat. You may see more tulips in my project before they're gone. The only issue I ran into today was the saturated ground around the beds due to all the rain we've had.

57/36657/366Burden Garden Tulip
400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) burden gardens flowers project 365 project 366 tulip Wed, 26 Feb 2020 21:44:56 GMT
56/366 | Happy Mardi Gras It's the last day of carnival season here and I'm ready for it to be over. I attended three parades this year, and while fun, as a Christian, I'm not sure I should be patronizing them. The dog parade is probably the least pagan, light-hearted one, which I enjoy the most. I must admit that there's a lot of happiness and good energy flowing through the city during Carnival. Tomorrow begins the somber season of Lent. Even though I'm no longer Catholic, I am surrounded by them, so their custom of giving up something for 40 days makes me want to do the same. Some Catholics have changed tactics and adopted GIVING TO something or someone instead of sacrificing a particular food, alcohol or sinful behavior. Whatever your religion, I think it's good to do both.

Below are some of the beads I collected from the Spanish Town parade. The mask came from an event in New Orleans that my husband attended over a month ago. This is my way of recognizing Fat Tuesday and adding festive color to my project. Laissez le bon temps rouler!

56/36656/366Mardi Gras
100mm | f/3.5 | ISO 400 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) beads carnival fat tuesday festivals fun mardi gras masks party project 365 project 366 Tue, 25 Feb 2020 21:11:13 GMT
55/366 | Morning Jeaux I let the day slip away and by the time I realized I needed a picture, it was raining. So, ground coffee it is!

55/36655/366Morning Jeaux
100mm | f/5 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) coffee coffee beans ground coffee jeaux morning joe project 365 project 366 Tue, 25 Feb 2020 02:26:56 GMT
54/366 | Bald Eagle Yesterday was an amazing day spent with my friend near Houma, Louisiana doing an eagle tour with Cajun Man's Swamp Tours. We visited 8 Bald Eagle nests and saw over 25 species of birds. Plus, I got a lifer: the Vermilion Flycatcher, a pretty little red and black bird who winters in a narrow range in Louisiana. His spectacular diving behavior is what made me notice him. What a little ham.

Since I have over 1600 photos to process, I just grabbed one for today that stood out to me. We were not able to get close enough to the eagles, but I definitely want to try again! My camera's focusing mechanism is still giving me trouble, so I'm torn with sending it in for repairs or upgrading. Also, I didn't notice that two of my focusing functions were disabled deep in the AF menu. Ugh. If I hadn't been so tired from partying at the parade the day before, I might've caught that. Oh well! Gives me an excuse to return.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

54/36654/366Bald Eagle 400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | f/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bald eagle bayou bird of prey birding birds Black Bayou Cajun Man's Boat Tour eagle flying nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Mon, 24 Feb 2020 21:58:35 GMT
53/366 | Spanish Town Parade We hit our third parade for 2020 and I am DONE! Whew doggies. Spanish Town is the big risqué one for Baton Rouge and each year they try to top the previous year. The costumes, the throws, the spirit; it was absolutely electrifying. We were happy to go and celebrate their 40th year. Hubby and I each had about 5 lbs of beads around our necks, plus a shopping bag full of beads and other assorted items such as cups, men's underwear (!), footballs, lightning sticks, hair bows, stuffed animals, frisbees, flowers, leis, and even a Jell-O shot! I was also interviewed on video camera by someone--not sure who he was with, but he had an "Elect Garret Graves" button on his hat that was stacked to the sky with blue beer bottles. The guy below reminded me of Kurt Cobain. I also liked the dancing girls surrounding him; they weren't as skanky as some of the others. But I will be posting an album of the whole thing later in the week. Just might have to put a NSFW label on it. :/

53/36653/366Spanish Town Kurt
105mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Baton Rouge celebrations costumes festivals Mardi Gras parades Project 365 Project 366 Spanish Town Parade Sun, 23 Feb 2020 02:11:25 GMT
52/366 | Henbit Hello sunshine! Before we get our yard mowed, I wanted to capture the bunny-like weeds called Henbit. They are flourishing in the backyard, especially where Izzy does number one. :)


100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 200 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers henbit project 365 project 366 purple weeds wildflowers Fri, 21 Feb 2020 19:57:16 GMT
51/366 | Rainy Day Need I say more?

51/36651/366Rainy Day
4.25mm (iPhone) | f/1.8 | ISO 32 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) gloomy iphone11pro project 365 project 366 rain rainy day wet window windshield Thu, 20 Feb 2020 20:48:48 GMT
50/366 | Between the Lines Today had so much promise. On my daily walk with the Lord I saw a leucistic squirrel, miniature orange mushrooms, and snowbells (flowers). When I saw the blonde squirrel I only had my iPhone, so the pics are terrible. Later, I went back and brought the Beast with me. I tried to get all three things mentioned, but the light was dismal and the squirrel was a no-show. My feet soaking wet from stepping in puddles, I looked up at the birds on the electrical lines and knew that would have to be my shot for the day. Photoshop trickery was implemented for the sky. It was this or the Brussel sprouts I made for dinner. I'm ready for SUN! Any day now would be nice. I could NOT EVER live in the PNW. /rantover

50/36650/366Between the Lines 200mm | f/8 | ISO 800 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds birds on a wire lines nature project 365 project 366 sky starlings wildlife Thu, 20 Feb 2020 00:20:49 GMT
49/366 | Wildflowers in Winter Today I tackled three wickedly overgrown flower beds. Didn't have much time for photography, but on the way to Whole Foods this morning I stopped by LSU Rural Life Museum. This is all I've got. Plus, it was another day of gloom. Mama said there would be days like this. :(

49/36649/366Wildflowers in Winter

55mm | f/4 | ISO 400 | 1/320 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) cypress trees flowers nature project 365 project 366 wildflowers Wed, 19 Feb 2020 01:32:37 GMT
48/366 | Red Cross Today marks 8 years since mama left earth for her heavenly home. She loved Jesus and she loved red.

48/36648/366Red Cross

(Gail A. Dixon) cross Project 365 Project 366 red red cross religious still life Mon, 17 Feb 2020 22:16:00 GMT
47/366 | Garden Moss Another gloomy day. And rain is forecasted for the rest of the week. Sigh. Today I planned to do a macro of pink zinnias blooming in the backyard, but spied velvety moss growing between the pavers. The spores encased in water made for a unique image compared to the ho-hum zinnias. This project is really challenging!

47/36647/366Garden Moss

100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/20 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) fungus garden moss macro moss project 365 project 366 spores Sun, 16 Feb 2020 22:15:41 GMT
46/366 | Krewe of Mystique Carnival time continues in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. And what a perfect day it was! Sunny skies, cool breeze, and temps in the 60s. You can't custom order better weather. Kids were playing football in the streets before the festivities started which was an unusual sight since our youth typically has their heads down looking at phones or iPads. Fun, fun day for our community! I'm sure New Orleans does it better, but at my age I prefer the tamer crowds.

What is it about catching beads from a float? It's this infectious, exciting feeling, especially if you catch an unusual one. Today I caught purple and gold beads with a tiger emblem. There was also another one with a not very nice message. A lady about my age pointed at me from her perch on the float and said "You ready?" When I caught it and looked down I blushed, then laughed.

La Krewe Mystique de la Capitale became the premier parade Krewe in Baton Rouge. Since 1980 this parade and Krewe is meant to be for the Capital City and not specific to any one neighborhood or specific group or organization. Its mission is to bring Mardi Gras to Baton Rouge. Today, La Krewe Mystique de la Capitale’s parade is one of the longest running parades in the city.

46/36646/366Krewe of Mystique

75mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) carnival celebration community festival krewe krewe of mystique parade project 365 project 366 Sun, 16 Feb 2020 01:47:05 GMT
45/366 | Love This poor rose was put through a lot of for this final image. Photoshop to the rescue! Cloned out a lot of damage, the same way GOD buffs out my imperfections on a daily basis. I praise and thank HIM for the progress I've made. This passage, reminds me how far yet I have to go.

100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 200 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) 1 corinthians bible bible passage flowers happy valentine's day love love verse project 365 project 366 rose scripture Sat, 15 Feb 2020 01:27:17 GMT
44/366 | A GOD Thing After bible study this morning I drove to LSU Rural Life Museum with the intention of getting a landscape shot. Several rows of bald cypress trees with yellow wildflowers growing beneath were begging to be photographed. The pics were meh, but I was mostly satisfied. Just to be sure, I drove closer to the museum entrance to see if anything else jumped out at me. But first I called to check in with an old friend, something I had been putting off for a while. Before calling her, I prayed that GOD would bless our conversation, that He would give me the right words and attitude, and I ended the prayer asking Him to bless me with a photo.

We were happily chatting for almost 30 minutes when all of a sudden a coyote appeared out of nowhere, about 30 yards in front of my vehicle. I blurted out a bad word (sorry GOD!) and told my friend I had to go and why. The coyote seemed to wait for me to get the long lens on, allowing me to get off a few shots. As he trotted off, I returned to the car and followed him on a gravel road. He stopped to mark his territory a few times and generally seemed to be taking a leisurely stroll. I followed him in my car for about 1/2 mile, shooting from the car window and also getting out to take shots. I have one of him looking towards me, but hubby and I agreed that this shot of him in action was the best. I was proud of myself for adjusting for the gloomy light conditions instead of freaking out like I usually do. 

GOD listens. I know in my heart that He answered my prayer. In all my years of visiting this place, I have NEVER seen a coyote. Thank You, GOD.

44/36644/366A GOD Thing

241mm | f/6.3 | ISO 800 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) coyote nature project 365 project 366 wild animals wild dogs wildlife Fri, 14 Feb 2020 00:09:55 GMT
43/366 | Daniel Precept study of Daniel, chapter 8, began this week. It ends with Daniel quite distressed after Gabriel has explained to him what his visions mean. And he still, apparently, doesn't understand. Kind of the way I feel. "...but I was greatly distressed by the dream and did not understand it." (NLT) I'm struggling to keep the beasts (nations), horns (kings), false prophet, and satan straight. Maybe my old brain is not up to the task. But I'm trying! And I always ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit. One day, all will be revealed.


100mm | f/7.1 | ISO 800 | 1/30 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bible bible study bible verse book of Daniel Daniel Precept dream God Precept Project 365 Project 366 visions Wed, 12 Feb 2020 21:29:18 GMT
42/366 | Kumquat Flower Whew, busy day! Unending loads of laundry, finally tackled weeds in one of my flower beds, and pruned the rose bushes. Last year I bought a potted Kumquat tree and it's flowering again. I think I'm going to have to put it into the ground in order to get larger fruit. Where to put it, will be a challenge.

42/36642/366Kumquat Flower 100mm | f/11 | ISO 400 | 1/80 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) fruit lemon meyer lemon plant project 365 project 366 tree Tue, 11 Feb 2020 22:56:57 GMT
41/366 | Dandelion Spore I almost didn't get a picture today because in my morning stupor I managed to pour hot coffee over the fingers of my right hand. It hurt so badly I cried and the pain persisted for several hours. But the funny thing is, the skin hasn't blistered, but it does hurt to bend my fingers. I trudged out to the backyard where we could easily win a weed contest, and captured this spent dandelion during a light drizzle. Hope the week gets better.

41/36641/366Dandelion Spore

100mm | f/11 | ISO 640 | 1/30 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) dandelion spore dandelions plants Project 365 Project 366 seeds Mon, 10 Feb 2020 20:04:38 GMT
40/366 | Mystic Krewe of Mutts It's festival season in our area! This is our annual downtown celebration of dogs and animal rescue organizations. Had a really FUN time! It was great to see so many happy dogs. The humans were in a chatty, good mood, too. This parade is a challenge to shoot, but fun nonetheless. Rented the 70-200mm lens and now I'm soooo tempted to buy one. This little Yorkie connecting with a bystander was so sweet.

40/36640/366Mystic Krewe of Mutts

70mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) baton rouge celebration dogs festival Mardi Gras mystic krewe of mutts parade pets project 365 project 366 Mon, 10 Feb 2020 00:23:42 GMT
39/366 | Bottlebrush Water Droplet Today started out gloomy and ended up sunny. It's hard to shoot anywhere right now because everything is muddy and I'm tired of laundering my Merrell hiking shoes. Our bottlebrush plants are finally starting to bloom after nearly losing them during a hard winter two years ago. Very thankful they're still here.

39/36639/366Bottlebrush Water Droplet

100mm | f/6.3 | ISO 200 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bottlebrush macro plant Project 365 Project 366 reflection refraction water droplet waterdrop Sat, 08 Feb 2020 22:38:58 GMT
38/366 | Mute Swan There's an upscale cemetery close to my home with enormous statuary scattered throughout several acres. The Last Supper, the cross, praying hands, The Pieta, etc. is what I had in mind to shoot. But of course that's not what I ended up with! Before I got to the statues I stumbled upon a body of water with a pair of Mute Swans. The larger one (shown below) was outside the pond shooing his partner away from the food tray suspended over the water's edge. When I approached, the large one put his wings out in a menacing gesture and fluffed his feathers to show me who was boss. I inched my way closer because I felt sorry for the smaller, more slender swan who was attacked every time she tried to eat. My plan worked: after a while, the big one ended up in the water and they took turns at the food trough. I hope to go back and get them to pose as a "couple". 38/36638/366Mute Swan

200mm | f/7.1 | ISO 100 | 1/2500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird birding mute swan nature project 365 project 366 resthaven swan wildlife Fri, 07 Feb 2020 22:50:54 GMT
37/366 | Tulip Magnolia This beauty is blooming around our area right now, with many trees in various stages. This is the first of this particular Magnolia series to have a completely open flower. According to Southern Living: in the 1950s, two breeders at the U. S. National Arboretum crossed lily magnolia (Magnolia liliflora) with star magnolia (M. stellata). They selected a series of superior hybrids that became known as "The Little Girl Series," because each plant was given a girl's name. There are about a half-dozen of them, but the ones you're most likely to encounter are ‘Ann,' 'Betty', ‘Jane,' and ‘Susan.' I'd like to think this is a 'Betty' because that was my mother's name. Since I can't be certain, I'm going to refer to it simply as as a Tulip Magnolia because that's what it looks like before fully opened. I chose this image due to the pistils and stamens resting in the petal.

37/36637/366Tulip Magnolia


200mm | f/8 | ISO 500 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Thu, 06 Feb 2020 21:35:17 GMT
36/366 | Peach Mint Punch Well, I guess this speaks for itself and my position. 'Nuff said!

36/36636/366Peach Mint Punch

100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 125 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) drink food hoax impeachment project 365 project 366 punch still life Wed, 05 Feb 2020 20:05:38 GMT
35/366 | White Ibis in Live Oak This morning I had a short window of decent light, about an hour, so I drove to LSU Lakes. Got some good looks at a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but he was faster than my camera's focusing mechanism. Sigh. I was disappointed with my attempts at shooting a domestic Mallard cross, an American Coot and a Mockingbird, but decided to settle. Just as I was leaving to go home I noticed a White Ibis sitting one-legged on a Live Oak limb. I'm only 35 days into my project and already have three Ibises. Oh well! I am a sucker for blue eyes.

35/36635/366White Ibis in Live Oak

400mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/500 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Tue, 04 Feb 2020 18:50:48 GMT
34/366 | Swamp Maple Fruit Signs of spring are everywhere. The Swamp Maples catch my eye during the fruit stage (shown here). Flowers appear after fruit maturation which attracts insects. According to Friends of the Louisiana State Arboretum, birds and small mammals eat the seeds, buds, flowers and saplings. The flowers are a valuable pollen source for insects. Wood ducks are known to rest in tree cavities. We have several of these around our neighborhood, and likewise, driving along the interstate, their bright red fruit is eye-catching. I liked this particular tree, just down the street from me, because of the Spanish Moss.

34/36634/366Swamp Maple Fruit

105mm | f/8 | ISO 640 | 1/2500
Canon M50 Mirrorless

(Gail A. Dixon) fruit louisiana nature project 365 project 366 spanish moss spring swamp maple tree Mon, 03 Feb 2020 22:11:36 GMT
33/366 | Capitol Lakes Live Oak I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
Paul's letter to the Ephesians
Chapter 3:16-17 NLT

33/36633/366Capitol Lakes Live Oak

32mm | f/7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) capitol lakes lakes live oak nature project 365 project 366 roots trees Sun, 02 Feb 2020 23:36:08 GMT
32/366 | Robin in the Clover The sun was in and out today, an improvement over the previous gloomy days. Temperature was 55F, but the wind was chilling and challenging. The American Robins were foraging among the clover, and since I hadn't taken a bird shot in a few days, I decided to try my luck there. The shots I took of them with food in the beak were not tack sharp, so I went with a portrait surrounded by clover near the LSU Rural Life Museum.

32/36632/366American Robin in Clover

400mm | f/8 | ISO 640 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) american robin birding birds clover nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Sat, 01 Feb 2020 21:15:41 GMT
31/366 | Blueberry Blossoms You wouldn't know it was a gloomy day by looking at this picture. I checked the weather app every hour starting at 10AM hoping for sun, and each time it showed partly sunny the NEXT hour. By 1:30 I gave up and ventured into the backyard. There are already blossoms on my blueberry plant. They were specifically planted for the birds to enjoy. Doing my part to care for God's creatures.

31/36631/366Blueberry Blooms

100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/25 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blueberry fruit nature plants Project 365 Project 366 Fri, 31 Jan 2020 19:59:21 GMT
30/366 | Saucer Magnolia Blooms The Saucer Magnolia tree is now covered in blooms. Last week it held mostly buds. The ground will soon be carpeted with these gorgeous petals. Must enjoy while they're here. Their brevity reminds me of our time on earth. So, when the blessings come, enjoy and thank God for them. 

30/366 | Saucer Magnolia Blooms30/366 | Saucer Magnolia BloomsSaucer Magnolia Tree

100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 100 | 1/800 sec

(f/4.5 on the 100mm macro lens produces the creamiest bokeh. I LOVE this lens.)

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers Japanese Magnolia nature plant Project 365 Project 366 Saucer Magnolia Thu, 30 Jan 2020 19:22:17 GMT
29/366 | Believe Have you thought about the afterlife? Do you wonder what happens to your soul after you die? We are made in God's image and to have a relationship with Him. Jesus came to pay our sin debt so that we can stand before God and be accepted into His presence. Jesus' death and resurrection also provided the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truths. The time is near. Eternity is a LONG TIME. I urge you to prepare your heart, turn away from earthly things, and turn TO our Heavenly Father who awaits each of us with open arms. He is always ready to forgive and bless. Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”


100mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/30 sec


(Gail A. Dixon) believe bible Christianity inspiration Project 365 Project 366 Scrabble words Wed, 29 Jan 2020 19:53:05 GMT
28/366 | Grooming White Ibis Rain is coming overnight, so I went to LSU Lakes to take advantage of the light. I was excited to photograph a Pod of White Pelicans that flew overhead. Got some interesting formations, but none were sharp enough as they were a little out of reach. I was even able to get a solitary pelican with an airplane in front of it which made them both look about the same size--really cool, but not good enough to post. Another shot I hoped would be unique was a group of Canada Geese crossing the street ala The Beatles White Album cover. Couldn't quite get it to my liking. Going to LSU Lakes used to provide many egret/heron close-ups catching fish. With all the fish they've dumped into the Lakes to eat the algae I thought I might get lucky. Alas, they have not been successful the last few times I've been there, and I don't have all day to sit and wait. Oh well! Many more days ahead for this project, Lord willing. A little over 11 months to go! Woo hoo. Here we have an American White Ibis grooming at the water's edge.

28/36628/366Grooming White Ibis

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 400 | 1/4000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds LSU Lakes nature Project 365 Project 366 white ibis wildlife Tue, 28 Jan 2020 21:30:58 GMT
27/366 | Star Magnolia This is another Magnolia variety that flowers first and leafs out later. The Star Magnolia appears dormant or dead, but close up it is dotted with buds; this is the only fully opened bloom. I think they are such dainty, delicate flowers.

27/36627/366Star Magnolia

100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/3200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blooms flowers nature project 365 project 366 star magnolia Mon, 27 Jan 2020 21:02:26 GMT
26/366 | Traveling with Izzy Today was my dad's 83rd birthday. Hubby and I drove in the pouring rain to Mississippi for a day visit. Usually, Izzy is very content, but I think the wiper blade action coupled with rain hitting the windshield had her in a state. She fidgeted the whole way and it was annoying as heck. Izzy was in a tizzy. Ha! I brought my camera gear in case the rain let up, but alas, I was stuck with my phone. I knew Izzy would reappear in this project, just didn't think it would be so soon. Some days are going to be like that and it's OKAY.

26/36626/366Traveling with Izzy

iPhone 11 Pro

4.25mm | f/1.8 | ISO 125 | 1/90 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) Mon, 27 Jan 2020 00:41:21 GMT
25/366 | Saucer Magnolia In Louisiana there is something blooming all year round. Late winter brightens with a cultivar of Japanese Magnolia called the Saucer Magnolia. These trees are quite striking because there are no leaves, only blooms at first. Barren branches hold pink, tulip-shaped buds. When the tree is finished blooming, it will then sprout leaves. When I first took notice of this tree variety about 12 years ago, I was with my daughter visiting my mom. Seeing it from a distance I remember saying, "Did someone glue fake flowers on a dead tree?" When we got closer to inspect, we were so surprised to see they were real. I don't think I've ever come across a tree that blooms first and then leafs out! The blooms right now are mostly buds, but I did find one that had dropped its petals revealing the pistils and stamens. I will go back and try to get more of the tree with blooms later.

25/36625/366Saucer Magnolia sans petals

100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers Japanese Magnolia macro plants Project 365 Project 366 Saucer Magnolia trees Sat, 25 Jan 2020 22:10:50 GMT
24/366 | Sweetgum Ball Today was a bright, sunny day so I took the Canon M50 mirrorless on my walk. What a welcome relief from lugging around the 5D Mark III beast! The M50 does very well in bright light, but there's still that annoying delay after taking a shot. Those few seconds it takes the camera to recover causes some missed opportunities. Not a dealbreaker, but I am looking forward to advances in the mirrorless line. It was also a breezy day, so it seemed a good time to capture the Sweetgum fruit lying on the ground. I laid on my stomach, ignoring any passersby, and shot this. Afterwards, I noticed what looks like a bird beak poking out. Do you see it? :)

24/366 | Sweet Gum Ball24/366 | Sweet Gum BallFruit from the American Sweetgum

100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 400 | 1/3200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) american sweetgum fruit liquidambar styraciflua nature project 365 project 366 seeds trees Fri, 24 Jan 2020 19:45:08 GMT
23/366 | Precepts Each Thursday I meet with a group of beautiful, dedicated Christians for an in-depth bible study called Precepts. It's led by a fantastic teacher who encourages, is a strong leader, is straight to the point, fosters discussion, is knowledgable, and well, she's just the best! The Precept program teaches God's word scripture by scripture, line by line, precept upon precept.

Part of our homework is marking specific keywords in the Bible with a color, a simple drawing over the word, or both. This enables you to quickly look at sections of text to see what God is saying. It's also a good memory aid. For example, GOD and all His pronouns are drawn with a purple triangle and filled in with yellow. God is three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thus the triangle and yellow for light. Sins and transgressions are scribbled over in brown. Sacrifices or blood references are three red dots over the word. All geographic locations are double underlined in green. As the study progresses, more keywords are added. I purchased a bible just to mark it up and it is a mess!

Since I started this class in 2016 my knowledge has increased beyond what I thought I was capable of understanding. Seeing how God works with imperfect men (and women) has given me a new perspective and an exciting journey with Him. I used to think of Noah, Moses, Abraham, etc. as these great men whom I could never possibly measure up to. You know what? Until I did a deep dive into the Word, I didn't realize how flawed all these "Greats" of the bible were. God has been showing us since the beginning that His will prevails in spite of our deficiencies. He even uses weakness to show His strength. We don't have to be perfect, just willing.

Last year we decided to undertake Revelation, a two-year commitment. We started with 2 Thessalonians, then moved on to Daniel chapters 1-6; now we're beginning 2020 with chapters 7-12 of Daniel. Wow-wow-wow, is all I can say. It certainly puts world events into clearer focus. I encourage you all to prepare yourselves. The world is dissolving into chaos at a frightening speed.

Thanks to my good friend, C for suggesting this idea for my project. Today was the perfect day for it: raining and bible study.

23/36623/366Colored pencils for Precept bible study.

100mm | f/4.5 | ISO 800 | 1/200

(Gail A. Dixon) colored pencils colors macro Precept bible study Project 365 Project 366 Thu, 23 Jan 2020 22:19:20 GMT
22/366 | White-throated Sparrow Today was cold and overcast, but I soldiered on and went to nearby Trees and Trails to shoot winter flower macros outside the garden center. That was going okay, but I decided to hike the trail, then noticed White-throated Sparrows everywhere, particularly in the brambles. I asked God for at least one good pic since they are so skittish. He delivered, so thank You. I had a choice between this shot, or an American Robin bathing in a puddle. I chose the Sparrow because it's a winter migrant for our area. I can try for the Robin bathing another day.

22/36622/366White-throated Sparrow

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 1600 | 1/1250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bird migration birding birds nature Project 365 Project 366 white-throated sparrow wildlife winter bird Wed, 22 Jan 2020 19:53:23 GMT
21/366 | Narcissus papyraceus Narcissus papyraceus, also known as Paperwhite, is native to the Mediterranean region from Greece to Portugal and includes Morocco and Algeria. They are in the daffodil family, only smaller. There is one house in an adjoining neighborhood where I walk that has these pretty blooms. They don't last long and appear to be at their peak, so here you go.

21/36621/366Narcissus papyraceus | Paperwhite

105mm | f/4.5 | ISO 200 | 1/5000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) flowers narcissus papyraceus nature paperwhite project 365 project 366 Tue, 21 Jan 2020 21:18:24 GMT
20/366 | MLK Fest MLK Fest started as a one-day event in 2015. It's grown into a festival of service spanning the entire weekend to revitalize neighborhoods in Baton Rouge with the help of volunteers. Not the safest area of town, but I went anyway. There was a heavy police presence, along with WAFB, our local news reporters. I happened upon a tarp-laden parking lot with lots of budding artists using their creativity on this gorgeous sunny day. They were using the backs of old corrugated signs, bricks, cardboard, whatever they could find. Some were painting in the style of Jackson Pollack, some went the Bob Ross way, and others painted uplifting messages. It was so nice to see friendly faces of all races with one purpose: make Baton Rouge beautiful.

20/36620/366MLK Day | Baton Rouge

105mm | f/8 | ISO 200 | 1/1600 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) art community downtown baton rouge mlk day mlk fest paint people project 365 project 366 walls project Mon, 20 Jan 2020 18:37:43 GMT
19/366 | Singing Sculpture Okay, I think my Tiger fever is subsiding. :)

The Rotary Club of Baton Rouge commissioned the sculpture below for its 100 year anniversary in 2015. It was completed in 2018, but due to flood stage water levels could not be installed until 2019. The sculpture by San Francisco-based artist Po Shu Wang, is made up of three stainless steel reflective spheres nestled within each other, with the outer sphere reaching a height of 14 feet. A sensor in the Mississippi River measures the speed of the current and the height of the river. The information bounces back to an antenna that converts it to a sound, allowing the river to “sing”. Visitors to the sculpture can “sing” back to the river by either speaking into one of the spheres or pressing buttons. One of the coolest things to hit Baton Rouge in a long time.

19/36619/366Singing Sculpture

32mm | f/22 | ISO 400 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) downtown baton rouge mississippi river project 365 project 366 reflections singing sculpture statue Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:50:00 GMT
18/366 | LSU Victory Parade LSU Victory Parade | Geaux Tigers!

Hubby and I normally avoid crowds, but we absolutely could NOT miss the LSU celebration on campus today. We arrived two hours early, so got a good spot behind the barricades. Before the parade started, two or three black jets flew low, right over our heads, and it was the loudest roar I've ever heard. It went down into my bones. Hard to describe. Let's just say I wondered if Christ was coming back before I saw the jets! Lemme tell you, everyone was energized even more, if that was possible.

This is definitely a situation where I could've used a 70-200mm lens. The 24-105 was not long enough, but the 100-400 was too long. Plus, a young girl in front of me was wearing a big black hat with a wide brim that kept appearing in the corners of my images. Ugh. When Coach Orgeron's float rolled by, I was able to get one good shot without any obstructions. I needed to back up more to get these key players in the frame, but was hemmed in. Hubby helped me choose this shot for today since I wasn’t happy with any of them. I will start a new album tomorrow to add the rest of the day's festivities.

L-R: Joe Burrow (QB), Thaddeus Moss (TE), Myles Brennan (Backup QB)

18/36618/366LSU 2019 National Champions

100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) 2019 National Champions college football football Jeaux Burreaux Joe Burrow LSU LSU Victory Parade Project 365 Project 366 Sun, 19 Jan 2020 00:21:13 GMT
17/366 | Belted Kingfisher It was a GREAT day to kayak Lake Martin. And thankfully the weather app was wrong. I was photographing an 8' alligator sunning on a log when suddenly a Belted Kingfisher landed on a short tree next to the gator. It was the first time I've been able to get off a halfway decent shot of this elusive bird. Credit: GOD. It was a little tricky because my kayak kept drifting off towards the gator, but I'd put the camera down slowly, then paddle in position, stealthily pick the camera up and try again. The Kingfisher let me get several good looks before flying off. 

17/36617/366Belted Kingfisher

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 640 | 1/1000 sec


P.S. Happy birthday in heaven, Mama.

(Gail A. Dixon) Belted Kingfisher birding birds nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Fri, 17 Jan 2020 23:52:45 GMT
16/366 | Canopied Path Canopied path near LSU Rural Life Museum.

16/36616/366Canopied Trail

105mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/160 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) nature path project 365 project 366 trail Thu, 16 Jan 2020 23:29:07 GMT
15/366 | Mama Mallard Day fifteen. Sigh. As in life, there will be ups and downs with this project. However, I am learning more about my camera, getting more intentional with the settings. I learned that Spot Metering captures white birds more accurately, with better focus. The 3rd AI Servo function in Canon's 5D Mark III camera menu is effective for birds, especially ones that flit around a lot. At the end of the day I come home with more keepers when I am thinking about the changing light conditions and adjusting for it, rather than spray and pray. 

Today I settled on this Mallard mama at LSU Lakes because from a distance she blends in so well with the cypress knees that she's easy to overlook. GOD has given every creature some sort of advantage in order to survive. Every day I look around at the intricate designs of nature and KNOW in my heart that there is a GOD who loves and cares for ALL he has made.

15/36615/366Mallard Mama

214mm | f/7.1 | ISO 640 | 1/400 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) ducks mallard nature project 365 project 366 wildlife Wed, 15 Jan 2020 21:23:59 GMT
14/366 | Napping Muscovy Ducks A couple of Muscovy Ducks napping among the cypress knees at LSU Lakes. The Snowy and Great Egrets were fishing but struck out, and a pair of white Snow Geese refused to face each other to make the heart shape I wanted. Wildlife never cooperates! LOL Seems every day I make a plan to shoot something very specific, yet end up having to settle.

14/36614/366Muscovy Ducks napping in the cypress knees | LSU Lakes

400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

As we say in Louisiana, here's a little lagniappe (something extra, a bonus):

LSU National Champs | 2020LSU National Champs | 2020 I wanted to use this photo so badly for my photo of the day because CONGRATULATIONS LSU on winning the championship game against the Clemson Tigers last night!!!! What a wild night! Baton Rouge and New Orleans were all abuzz before and after the game. The French Quarter was LIT. Once LSU clinched it, several neighbors shot off fireworks on our street. Stores stayed open until after midnight to sell championship merchandise. It's so gratifying to have something in this state to be proud of. The LSU players are young men of faith, humble, clean-cut; all you'd hope to have in a team. My mother was a huge LSU fan and I know she was watching with glee from above.

Today I visited Mike the Tiger's enclosure since the campus was closed due to the festivities. He looked pooped out, then he sat up just as I approached with my camera and yawned. As if to say, "Hey, I had a rough night. Didn't you see how hard I worked?" I tried and tried to get rid of the fence in Photoshop to no avail. If I can ever figure out how to get rid of it, I'll swap out the Muscovies in a heartbeat.

(Gail A. Dixon) ducks LSU LSU Lakes Mike the Tiger muscovy nature Project 365 Project 366 tigers wildlife Wed, 15 Jan 2020 00:18:34 GMT
13/366 | Geaux Tigers This is not at all what I had planned to shoot today, but the incessant rain is back and not letting up. The saying "Man plans, God laughs" is apropos. MY plan was to drive to Mike the Tiger's cage and PRAY he'd pose for me. After all, the National Championship game is being played tonight at the Superdome! Clemson Tigers vs LSU Tigers. I'm not a sports fan, but Louisiana is such a poor state and comes in last for just about every important category, so I am showing my pride in my own way. Joe Burrow (Burreaux around here) won the Heisman trophy, making us all exceptionally proud. He is a much needed, clean cut role model. Geaux Tigers!

My second choice for an image was to do a selfie wearing my GEAUX shirt, but that would require washing my hair and putting on makeup. Ugh. Just could not muster up the energy for that. Today is chore day, so in between loads of laundry, I came up with this. 

13/36613/366Geaux Tigers!

100mm | f/3.5 | ISO 400 | 1/250 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) college football Geaux Tigers LSU Project 365 Project 366 purple and gold SEC National Championship 2020 still life Mon, 13 Jan 2020 20:25:35 GMT
12/366 | Heart Not original, granted. Many others have photographed pages shaped like a heart, but I haven't done it. This is the Life Application Study Bible, NIV edition. Had fun playing with different backgrounds, settings, indoors vs outdoors, angles, etc. What I struggled with most was making the pages retain the traditional heart shape, so I took a paper clip to the back side to create the curves I wanted. 

12/36612/366Bible "heart" pages 100mm | f/5.6 | ISO 400 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) bible heart pages Project 365 Project 366 Sun, 12 Jan 2020 22:50:05 GMT
11/366 | Pelicans Fishing Early this morning we had a windy storm roll through Baton Rouge, so we went to LSU Lakes in the afternoon after the sun came out, thinking maybe some birds were blown in. No such luck. Hubby suggested Capitol Lakes around the Governor's Manson and voila! We actually got two new lifers to add to our bird list: the Bufflehead and Ruddy Ducks. However, today's image will be the American White Pelican. These appear to be the last pair to leave our waters, and one of them put on a show. Thank you, God!

11/36611/366American White Pelican 400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/3200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) American White Pelican Capitol Lakes fish fishing nature pelicans Project 365 Project 366 water wildlife Sun, 12 Jan 2020 02:32:30 GMT
10/366 | Blessed I've been eyeing my Blessed sign that sits on my dining room sideboard, determined to make a statement with it, so I took it with me to nearby Trees and Trails.

Among the fallen leaves, mostly barren trees, and cloudy skies, there are still blessings. We can be like that pine tree in the background showing off color year round, or we can succumb to our circumstances by dying away like the dead leaves. If I dwell on the negatives in my life, I'd never get out of bed. It takes a concerted effort to look at the positive. Some days it's easier to do than others, granted. But we're alive and breathing on this amazing earth, and if you consciously look, there are blessings. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Whatever your circumstances, be blessed and be a blessing.


65mm | f/4.5 | ISO 640 | 1/800 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) blessed forest nature paths Project 365 Project 366 Fri, 10 Jan 2020 22:43:59 GMT
9/366 | White Ibis Looks like I'll be mining LSU Lakes for a while. I went hoping to see some White Pelicans; instead I saw and photographed a Snowy Egret with a crawfish, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Great Egrets, Snow Geese, and more. So disappointed that I couldn't use the Egret with crawfish photo--I could not get the colors right in the edit. Light was bad this morning. Anyway, I enjoyed watching this graceful Ibis perched on a rock.

9/3669/366American White Ibis

400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) American White Ibis birding birds nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Fri, 10 Jan 2020 00:23:10 GMT
8/366 | Tri-colored Heron Today almost seemed too easy! Decided to visit LSU Lakes, praying along the way that I'd find something. Yes, I literally asked God to bless me with something. However, I don't recommend praying and driving, especially around Baton Rouge. It's too easy to get annoyed, then a word enters your mind or comes out of your mouth that God would not approve of.

Although not rare, the Tri-colored Heron (formerly known as the Louisiana Heron) is not usually among the "gang" around LSU Lakes. But there he was, standing in shallow water, probably fishing for a snack. Then he flew to a nearby oak and posed. :) They like to agitate the water with their feet, then twirl and raise a wing to shield glare from the water, making it appear as if they are ballet dancing. If you've never sat and observed the behavior of these birds, stop next time you see one, and be entertained. In addition to their elegant fishing maneuvers, they are adorned with gorgeous blue-gray, lavender and white feathers.

8/3668/366Tri-colored Heron | Louisiana Heron

400mm | f/8 | ISO 400 | 1/1000 sec

Technical note: The Canon 100-400mm IS II f/4.5-5.6 lens has been difficult to achieve focus with of late. Yesterday I played with AI Servo settings which led to some improvement, but it was still hunting and slow to focus. It's been really sunny the last few days, so I knew "The Beast" as I call it, had plenty of light. I was getting ready to send it to Canon when I came across another person in a Canon forum with the same problem! The suggestion was to remove the circular polarizer because it reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by one or two stops. HELLO! Removing the filter seemed to be the trick. No more hunting and sharper shots.

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds nature Project 365 Project 366 Tri-colored Heron wildlife Wed, 08 Jan 2020 20:11:10 GMT
7/366 | Eastern Bluebird In 2017 we inadvertently hosted a pair of Easter Bluebirds. Since then we've wholeheartedly embraced these birds, making our backyard into a Bluebird sanctuary. The population has exploded. Some days we can count well over a dozen birds. We have four Bluebird boxes and three mealworm feeding stations at this time. Today, this young male posed for me on a shepherd's hook. I have a feeling the Eastern Bluebird will make many appearances in this project, especially during breeding and nesting season.

7/3667/366Eastern Bluebird

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/640

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds Eastern Bluebird nature Project 365 Project 366 wildlife Tue, 07 Jan 2020 22:43:54 GMT
6/366 | Ruby-crowned Kinglet Every January I look forward to seeing the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. This tiny bird is a winter migrant for our area, often found around thickets and forest edges. They forage mostly for insects. When the male feels threatened or gets excited, the red feathers on his head stand up at attention. These birds are particularly difficult to photograph even in perfect light. Not only are they small, they fidget and flit at a dizzying speed. As soon as focus is achieved, these active little twerps have already moved to another branch. And if you do manage to get perfect focus there's a limb obstructing their body or face. Talk about a photography challenge!

6/3666/366Ruby-crowned Kinglet

400mm | f/5.6 | ISO 800 | 1/2000 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds nature ruby-crowned kinglet wildlife Tue, 07 Jan 2020 00:22:30 GMT
5/366 | Great Purple Hairstreak In a wooded, swampy area close to home I saw a raccoon sitting high up in a tree cavity, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a Great Purple Hairstreak, among other wildlife. Weather was absolutely beautiful and I relished the quiet. Here is the Great Purple Hairstreak aka Great Blue Hairstreak. It is a common gossamer-winged butterfly species in the U.S. The caterpillar larvae feed on mistletoe! I believe this may be a male, but not certain.

5/3665/366Great Purple Hairstreak

400mm | f/6.3 | ISO 640 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) butterfly Great Blue Hairstreak Great Purple Hairstreak insects project 365 Mon, 06 Jan 2020 00:58:20 GMT
4/366 | Loggerhead Shrike Day four. I feel I've lost my mojo; however, I shall continue on! Weather was perfect, lots of birds, so no excuses. I have photographed the bird below many times with better results, but today is the day I must submit something. On a good note, the crisp, clear air sans humidity was really refreshing.

This is the Loggerhead Shrike from the songbird family. Its nickname is "butcher bird" because it kills using its hooked bill, and often stores uneaten prey by impaling it on thorns or barbed wire, returning to eat it later. Meals consist of insects, rodents, and small birds. This guy (or gal) is a longtime resident of this particular trail.

4/3664/366Loggerhead Shrike

400mm | f/8.0 | ISO 400 | 1/640 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) birding birds loggerhead shrike nature wildlife Sun, 05 Jan 2020 00:17:06 GMT
3/366 | Macro Succulent If I were batting in a baseball game, this would be STRIKE 3 AND YOU'RE OUT! Another dreary day outdoors. Oh well, I've got 363 days left; plenty of time to score. I just hate starting out so poorly.

This is a macro of a small succulent sitting on my laundry room window. Tomorrow promises to be sunny, so I am hoping for a HOME RUN.

3/3663/366Succulent Macro

100mm Macro | f/16 | ISO 400 | 1/8 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) macro plants Project 365 Project 366 succulent Sat, 04 Jan 2020 01:42:52 GMT
2/366 | Macro Cactus Oof. Another dreary day, only add rain to the equation. It was not a good day for outdoor photography which is my preference. However, days like today force me out of my comfort zone. Dusted off the macro lens, pointed it at a cactus, and ended up with this. I will admit it was fun playing with different f-stops, and images did improve once flash was used. Hopefully, this project has better days ahead.

2/3662/366Cactus macro

100mm Macro | ISO 400 | f/4.5 | 1/200 sec

(Gail A. Dixon) macro photography Project 366 Thu, 02 Jan 2020 22:09:22 GMT
1/366 | Izzy Hello 2020! Since the term 20/20 can also refer to clear vision, I thought it’d be a good idea to participate in Project 365, or in this Leap Year’s case, Project 366: take a photo every day for one year. Sounds easy, huh? Some days you’ll have so many good photos you can’t decide which one to post, and other days, ya got nothin’. Other days, your head hits the pillow, and the awful dread hits that you FORGOT TO GET A SHOT.

The last time I did Project 365, 10 years ago, taught me so much, and I highly recommend it to all beginner photographers. The daily effort forced me to get creative, be patient, learn to edit better, overcome less than stellar lighting conditions, etc. I gained a ton of confidence and improved my skill level. And I’m proud to say that I did not miss a day.

The last couple years have been a little stressful, so to get out of this rut, I am diving right back in to P366. 20/20 = good vision. Sounds right! Right? This will be a year to focus on today and not worry about tomorrow. Focus on the positive and not the negative. Photography is mostly about focus, so this seems like the perfect time, in the beginning of this new decade that reminds us of good vision, to get on board.

Of course, the very first day, I’m confronted with overcast, dreary skies. Flat light, blah. I tried taking Big Bertha out since I had dozens of Eastern Bluebirds, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Orange-crowned warblers, Goldfinches, House Finches, and even a Song Sparrow in my yard!

I bundled up for 3-1/2 hours on my patio and waited. I finally got the Orange-crowned Warbler in my camellia bush with his beak in a bloom. Perfect! But my 400mm lens requires a ton of light. I got the shot using 3200 ISO, but it’s grainy and soft. I’m not striving for perfection, but grain and softness are huge no-nos in my book. At least for birds. Grain would’ve been acceptable, softness unacceptable.

When all else failed outdoors, I returned to the toasty living room, and informed Izzy she would be modeling for a few minutes. She was a pretty good sport about it, although it’s blatantly obvious that she was less than pleased since I interrupted her afternoon nap. And she hates having a camera or phone pointed at her as most dogs do. I think I captured her displeasure well. Ha! Don’t feel too sorry for her, she was handsomely rewarded later with chicken, risotto, and peas. She loves her some veggies! I present to you my iPhone 11 Pro image for Day One: Love is a Four Legged Word | Izzy

1/3661/366Love is a Four-Legged Word 4.25mm | f/1.8 | ISO 400 | 1/60 sec
iPhone 11 Pro Max


(Gail A. Dixon) black and white dogs iphone 11 pro Izzy pet portraits pets photography project 365 project 366 Thu, 02 Jan 2020 00:10:39 GMT
Our Bluebird Blessings Greetings from the Deep South!

This is my first post on my site and I am eager to talk about our resident Bluebirds! I'll start at the beginning.

In 2017 I placed a metal, decorative bird house near our backyard patio to add some whimsy to the yard. One early March day I observed a pair of Eastern Bluebirds checking out the ornamental box. The male brought a small twig to the hole and dropped it in. The female came to inspect, then left. Soon, I noticed both the male and female bringing nesting material to the box. Below is mama with a huge bundle. She was serious.

bluebird nest buildingbluebird nest building

In mid-March three eggs were laid. On April 2, 2017 mom and dad began a flurry of back-and-forth activity. All. Day. Long. Peeking inside the hole, I was excited to see three little hatchlings with yellow mouths wide open, hungrily begging to be fed.

Copyright Gail A. DixonBaby Bluebird

Copyright Gail A. DixonMom with a wormFeeding time!

Then on April 20, the day I left for a girls weekend trip, they fledged (flew out of the nest)! My husband got to see it, but I missed it. :(

Shortly thereafter, the pair, which we named Deacon and Rayna after the Nashville TV show (fictional country singers who began their careers at the Bluebird Cafe), were at it again. The second clutch was a success also; however, by the time they tried for a third clutch, the oppressive heat put the kibosh on the whole operation. Rayna sat on the nest for weeks on end with no babies. I consulted many websites and they said she'd figure it out, to let nature take its course. But after too many weeks and considering the fact that the box was made of metal, I was afraid Rayna would cook herself to death. So one day while she was away, I sadly chunked the whole contraption into the trash. First I candled the eggs with a flashlight, and saw that there was nothing but yolks inside. My instincts were proven right. 

After that episode, I was afraid I'd never see Deacon and Rayna again. Not letting that deter me, I went to Wild Birds Unlimited and promptly purchased a proper Bluebird house. Then I purchased a Gilbertson PVC box online and set it up under the Crape Myrtle tree. In 2018 they returned and we successfully fledged three sets of Bluebirds from the Gilbertson box, losing only one egg this time. They have never used or shown any interest in the Wild Birds Unlimited box.

We had a mild winter, so our pair never left. I can't say with certainty it's the same pair, but we still call them Deacon and Rayna. They are amusing to watch, and for the most part don't mind our presence. I learned that the adults like dried mealworms, so for the price of a bag of nasty looking worms, I am afforded VIP access with my camera. They even let me inspect the eggs/babies inside the box. But if I take too long they begin flapping their wings above me, chattering all sorts of obscenities, I imagine. :)

Since then I've added two more Gilbertson boxes, but they still like the original spot under the Crape Myrtle. Here are a few pics from this year's activity. They laid four eggs with three successful hatchlings. They are getting so big and close to fledging. As soon as they fledge, I will need to remove the unhatched egg.

Copyright Gail A. DixonDeaconDad with dried mealworm. 2019.03.30.bluebirds.GAD_13332019.03.30.bluebirds.GAD_1333 Copyright Gail A. DixonRayneMom observing me from the Crape Myrtle tree  

Well, that's all for now. I hope Spring has brought you some sweet blessings as well. 

(Gail A. Dixon) backyard birds birding Eastern Bluebirds nesting Fri, 05 Apr 2019 19:05:09 GMT