“Churches Through the Ages”

Another segment of “There’s Nothing Out There to See”

Architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries was nowhere more prevalent than in our churches. Huge bell and clock towers prevailed. Tall spires topped with a cross, jutted up to the Heavens, proclaiming our dedication to God. Many were modeled after castles with their turrets and ramparts. Architects, given free reign by the congregations, designed wondrous testimonies to mans love for God, and the builders, masons, carpenters etc, tried to out due each other. St. Mary’s Cathedral right photo.The Bell Tower at St. Marys Cathedral Kingston

Some churches, however, were much simpler but still unique in there designs. For instance the six sided “Peachtree Meeting House” in Maryland. Small but built six sided so the devil couldn’t get you in a corner. Photo below – The Peachblossom Meetinghouse
When money was scarce or materials, such as brick or stone, were not available, then churches were built of wood. Many of these wood frame churches still exist and are in use today. A good example is St. John’s Chapel on Tilghman Island, on Maryland’s Eastern Shores. Photo on left – St John's Chapel MD
As church congregations acquired more money they employed architects to design churches and cathedrals of great proportion to show their love for God. Spires, topped with crosses, and towers reached for the Heavens. Emulating designs of European Castles, they constructed buildings that now seem like engineering marvels. Remember they didn’t have large cranes, scissor lifts, concrete pumps and preformed concrete beams. Everything was handled by man power with scaffolds, ropes and ladders. Stone cutters were in great demand as ornate designs were cut into blocks of stone by hand. Then these pieces were placed by hand. Most of these artistic pieces still exist today. Masons, carpenters, plasterers and painters plied their talents to finish these tributes to their faiths. Here are several photos of architectural excellence. St. Mary’s Cathedral, a city block from front to back, in Kingston, Ontario and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hamilton, New York are but two examples.St Marys Cathedral KingstonSt Mary's Catholic Church Hamilton NYMagnificent Architecture of the 1800'sMagnificent Architecture of the 1800's
These edifices were not limited to the Catholic faith, for Episcopal (US), Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and many other faiths erected beautiful works of architecture to praise the name of the Lord. More can be viewed on my web site http://www.ehunterphotographer.com

My fondest hope is to add to the images, I now have, of these churches and to add many more images, both interior and exterior of these and other churches of all faiths. This architecture, if it’s lost by fire or other disaster, will never be seen again. We need to have a record of our Vanishing Past before it vanishes forever!

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The Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) Butterfly

A Hibernating ButterflyMourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) ButterflyTrustUnless you live in the deep South, the first butterfly you will probably see in the Spring is the Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) Butterfly. On a warm day in late March or early April you will see these butterflies flitting from tree to tree gathering sap or sitting on something with wings spread absorbing the sun’s warm rays on it’s dark wings. These butterflies do not migrate like the monarch, nor do they die. Instead, they hide away in an old building or under piles of bark, waiting for Spring. Then, they flit about looking for sap, which is now rising in the trees, dripping from holes in the bark made by woodpeckers. As the days get longer and warmer, they check the air for pheromones produced by the opposite sex. Males will find a sunny perch and await the passing females. After a brief courtship, the now fertilized female will lay from 20 to 50 eggs on the limbs of their favourite trees. These hatch into tiny black caterpillars with white speckles and tiny spines as well as reddish spots down their backs. Well Armoured Caterpillar
I happened upon a cluster of these young caterpillars last spring. I took about half of them into the house and proceeded to raise them. At first, I think, Chris thought I was nuts, but she came to enjoy watching them develop and grow. Bringing fresh branches of Aspen leaves daily became a bit of a chore, but I was raised on a farm and chores were something you just did. As they grew, and grow they did, they had to shed their skins. Unlike humans their skin doesn’t stretch very much, so they molt or as it’s known now they “Instar” and shed their old skin.The Molt This will happen four times. On the last instar they fasten themselves to a limb, or in my case to the cheesecloth cover, by a silk thread, hanging head down. They then turn their head upward, forming a J. This is known as the “J” position. Who’d a thought? Their old skin will split and out comes a strange new form called a “Chrysalis”.The Last Instar This it the pupae stage of the butterfly, if it were a moth is would spin a “Cocoon”. Twelve to fourteen days later these chrysalis’s will start to swing violently. Eventually splitting open and the new wet butterfly will emerge.Birth of a Butterfly With it’s wet wings wrapped around it’s body, it clings to the now empty chrysalis shell or to a nearby limb, where it slowly pumps life into it’s wings. They must be dried out and a liquid, much like our blood, is pumped into them to enlarge and strengthen them. After an hour or so they are ready for their first flight.
Chris and I took them out on the front deck and, as she raised the cloth covering, I video taped the flight. About two dozen young “Morning Cloak” butterflies took to wing. An awesome sight and an awesome feeling. In total we released almost three dozen butterflies. A much better survival rate then if they were left in the wild. No predators to eat them, no wasps to lay eggs in the chrysalis’s to parasitize them.
As a point of interest the name Mourning Cloak comes from the perceived similarity of the rich, dorsal wing colourations to a traditional cloak worn during a period of bereavement and mourning. Always something new to learn huh?
To see more pictures please visit my web sites http://www.ehunterphotographer.com and http://globalEyeImages.com/portfolio/EHunter and don’t forget to click on the “Follow” button at the top left of this page.

There’s Nothing Out There To See – Part 2 in a series

The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly

Collecting Nectar

North Americas Largest ButterflyKeeping one’s eyes open when out and about is all it takes to see this world in a new and different way! Standing on our front deck a few days ago, to get some fresh air (air conditioned air gets stale after a while) I saw what I thought was a Black Swallowtail Butterfly working the Zinnia’s Chris had planted. Something seemed different, like this butterfly was on steroids or something. Huge compared to the Black Swallowtails I’ve seen in the past! Grabbing the camera, it’s never far away, I rolled off nearly seventy images in less than six minutes! (I checked the clock in the camera.) When I loaded them in Adobe I was greatly surprised – this was not the butterfly I thought it was. Referencing my books and adding a Google search I realized I had photographed the “Giant Swallowtail” butterfly. This is the largest butterfly in North America with a wing span of up to 5.5 inches. It is more prevalent in the south because the caterpillars like fruit trees, especially “Orange” trees. There, the caterpillar is called the “Orange Dog” even though it looks like a gob of bird droppings. Good camo eh? Who would pick up or eat that? Up here in the north I figure it must like apples and pears – orange trees are kinda scarce!
The colour of the two butterfly’s is similar but the Giant has an additional row of yellowish spots across the top of the upper wings. These spots also make telling the sexes apart easier. If the third spot from the tip has a dark spot in it the butterfly is female. Mine had no spot so it was a male.
The lesson learned here is “no matter if you think you know what you’re seeing always have a closer look!” What you see might not be what you think you see! And Remember “There’s always something out there to see!”

To see more photos go to my web sites http://www.ehunterphotographer.com and http://GlobalEyeImages.com/portfolio/EHunter

You Say There’s Nothing Out There to See?

A few years back a person, whom we won’t name, told me “there’s nothing there to see” when I asked him to go to Blackwater Wildlife Refuge with me. No, he wasn’t kidding! He had been there and because he didn’t see anything that was listed in their brochure, he probably drove through at a high rate of speed, he always speeds, he assumed there was nothing to see. If you want to see anything in this life you must, to use a quote, “Stop and smell (or see) the Roses”. There is so much out there and if you only take a few minutes each day to slow down and look, actually look, at nature, you will be amazed and perhaps enlightened just a little.
Early this spring I was out on the lawn tractor mowing the lawn. As I passed by some Boysenberry canes, yeh the very thorny ones, I saw something on one of the canes. At first it looked like a leaf from last fall, but, on closer examination I realized it was a very large cocoon. The Transformation From this happen chance find hatched a beautiful Cecropia Moth. By being observant, both Chris (she’s the one with the moth on her face in my blog “North America’s Largest Native Moth”) and I got to see this wonder of nature.

Ready for the World

After doing a little research on the internet about the Cecropia, I’m pretty sure I’ve found a bunch of newly hatched Cecropia caterpillars yesterday as I was photographing some flowers near the Poplar trees. There favourite food.

Here’s some more interesting photos I’ve been able to get just by going slow and being observant.

Female Goldenrod Crab Spider  Thomisidae  Misumena vatia

Female Goldenrod Crab Spider  Thomisidae  Misumena vatia

The female Goldenrod Crab spider above and below, the Multi-coloured Asian Ladybug larvae (looks like a ‘gator) and the pupa stage of the same.

Multi-colored Asian Ladybug Larva (Harmonia axyridis Pallas)
Pupa Stage of the Ladybug

There’s always things to see!

As for my one of several trips to Blackwater, well let’s see –

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Keep watching! I know I will!
Have a happy “National Nature Photog Day” Ernie

Fort Henry and the Fort Henry Guard

Flag Raising

Drill Practice

Defending the Fort

Waiting for the Tourists

Smart Goat

TapsFort Henry, or Old Fort Henry, as it was called when I was much younger, much, much younger, is the fortress in Kingston Ontario, built by the British when they anticipated an attack by the Americans during the war of 1812-14. The original fort was built during the war of 1812-14 to defend the Naval Yard which is now the Royal Military College of Canada. Fort Henry, as we know it, was built between 1832 and 1837 and replaced the old wooden fort with a modern stone fort. It was thought to be needed, as the Rideau Canal was finished in 1832 and the fort would be the defense for it’s entrance, as well as the entrance to the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. The British pulled out of Canada in 1870 and the Canadians used it until 1891. It was left in ruin until the first World War when it was superficially repaired and used as an internment camp for political prisoners. Then it fell into total ruin.
In 1936, restoration was started and by 1938, it was reopened as a museum and historic site. During World War II, Fort Henry became Camp 31, a Prisoner of War camp for enemy merchant seamen, soldiers, sailors and airmen, reopening in 1948 as the historic site we now know.
Throughout the summer you will see soldiers in scarlet tunics preforming military drills from the 1800’s. They are university students and are not part of the Canadian Armed Forces or RMC. They spend their summers learning the ways of the British soldiers in an 1800’s fort. Their duties include tour guides, sentry’s, the mascot handler, infantry, and armors in charge of firing the various cannons used at the fort. They drill several times a week to learn the different maneuvers required to put on the tremendous performances you see at the Sunset Ceremony and the Tattoos. They travel to West Point Academy to perform there with the United States Marine Corp and the Marines come to the Fort to do their show including the “Silent Drill”. The Guard is represented at numerous functions including the Memorial Service marking the death of Sir John A MacDonald, Canada’s First Prime Minister.
To see more photos of Fort Henry and the Fort Henry Guard check out my links www.ehunterphotography.com and http://globaleyeimages.com/lightbox.asp?ID=11863

The Blister Beetle (Lytta aenea)

Face to Face

A Sweet LunchEver wonder what good some bugs are? Well, there’s a purpose for everything God created. We don’t always see it right away but if we look hard and long enough it will become evident. Take the Blister Beetle (Lytta aenea) for example. It’s poisonous and if threatened it will discharge a liquid on you, a process called reflex bleeding, that will cause severe inflammation and blisters on your skin. The male beetle produces Cantharidin, a poisonous substance comparable to cyanide and strychnine in toxicity, and stores it in his blood. It will remain stable and toxic even after the beetle is dead, so this bug, even after it is dead, can be a deadly bug! Enough bugs ingested by animals when grazing, or in silage, can cause poisoning or severe intestinal inflammation. This is rare though.
When the Chokecherry trees are in full blossom, you can find Blister Beetles all over the flowers. They eat pollen and nectar from the blossoms as well as some of the blossoms too. It’s at this time that mating usually takes place. The female beetle doesn’t produce cantharidin so she receives small amounts when she mates. She will coat her eggs with this poison thus making them toxic too. She lays her eggs in clusters, in the soil, in late summer. When they hatch the larvae search in cracks in the earth for Grasshopper egg pods. When they find a pod the become immobile and spend the rest of their larval time as legless grubs. The next summer they pupate and then emerge as adult beetles, ready to start the process all over again. The population of Blister Beetles is directly related to the abundance of Grasshoppers the year before. Larvae of Blister Beetles are parasitic on the larvae of Grasshoppers, so the more of one then the more of the other. It’s God’s way of controlling species and we probably shouldn’t interfere! But you know the human race! We can’t leave well enough alone!
More photos at my web site – www.ehunterphotography.com

Fort Henry at Kingston a National Historic Site of Canada

Dry Ditch Martello Tower at Fort Henry from across Navy BayOriginally built during the War of 1812-1814 between Great Britain (Canada being a British colony at this time) and the United States. The original Fort bears no resemblance to the Fort of today which was restored between 1832-1837. This 2nd fort was built on the site of the original Fort Henry and it was considered even more necessary to fortify Point Henry due to the completion of the Rideau Canal in 1832. Point Henry was at the intersection of three major waterways, the Rideau Canal, the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Abandoned by the British in 1870, it was garrisoned by Canadian troops until 1891 when it was again abandoned. It fell into disrepair until 1936 when it was restored under direction of Ronald L. Way as a living History Museum opening in 1938. The fort has been designated as a National Historic Site of Canada and was included with the Rideau Canal, in 2007, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I will be at the fort on Thursday June 6th to take photos of the guard as they go through their drills and bayonet exercises. Some of these photos will appear in a book to be published by a former guardsman and all will be on my web sites soon after. If there is anyone needing photos for publications etc I would be glad to do my utmost to accommodate you. Please let me know as soon as possible so I can schedule accordingly.

North America’s Largest Native Moth

Up close and personal with North America's largest native moth

A Large Cocoon

New LifeThe Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) is North America’s Largest Native Moth and a member of the Saturniidae family of Giant Silk Moths. Caterpillars reaching four to four and a half inches long and as big around as a man’s thumb and the fully developed adult moth having a wing span of up to eight inches, six is the norm, and these moths are by far the largest. When one arrives at your patio light, you will remember it for a long time but they are few and far between as parasidic wasps and flys are taking a toll. They lay their eggs on, or in, young caterpillars, hatching into larvae. The parasitoid releases chemicals into the caterpillar that induces it to pupate. Once the caterpillar pupates so does the parasitoid larvae, killing the cecropia pupa. When I was a young teenager I remember seeing many of these, and other large moths, at the porch light. This is the first one I have seen in fifty years.
I happened on this cocoon as I was cutting grass. It was attached to a very thorny blackberry cane and I only wonder if that was on purpose. As squirrels and mice will eat the pupae, maybe the thorny cane would deter them from attacking the cocoon. As I didn’t have a lot of time to photograph the cocoon, I took a couple of shots and cut the cane to bring it into the house. Normally I would have put it into a rearing box, but I was in a hurry and set it on a shelf near the TV, along with some Birch twigs I also needed to photograph.
Monday morning, Victoria Day here in Canada, I remembered the cocoon. As I picked it up something caught my eye. Sure enough, there was an newely emerged Cecropia Moth hanging on one of the Birch twigs, slowly beating her wings. This is a process that all butterfly’s and Moths must do as their wings are small, wet and wrapped around their bodies when they emerge, with more precision than a parachute in it’s case. Immediately after emerging they slowly fan or beat their wings to pump fluids into them. This expands them to full size as well as drying them and it helps the insect develop strength for their upcoming flight. It is at this point that they are very vulnerable with no means of escaping a predator. Chris and I took lots a photos of this process, including some video. After dark that evening, we released her to complete her life’s mission.
The female moth has a narrower feathered antennae and larger body than the male. The female emits pheromones which the male can detect, with his much larger antennae, for up to a mile. Male moths will fly up to 7 miles searching for a female. Mating usually starts early in the morning and lasts all day. The female will lay up to a hundred eggs which hatch into tiny black caterpillars. These caterpillars will change colour with each molt until they reach maturity in the fall and are a pale green or bluish green with shiny yellow, white and blue knobs or tubercles on the sides of their body. They feed on common trees such as maple, birch and apple. Due to the low volume of caterpillars they are not harmful to trees. In autumn, the caterpillar will spin a large silken cocoon and emerge as a beautiful moth, usually during the first two weeks of warm spring weather. Or, in your living room if you bring it inside like I did and not put it into a rearing box. To see more images please visit my lightbox at http://globaleyeimages.com/Lightbox.asp?ID=11841
Seeing these beautiful moths up close and personal is a memory not to be forgotten!

Saying Goodbye

Up close and personal with North America's largest native mothEmerging early on Monday, Victoria Day, morning, this Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) made her acquaintance with Chris and I. I had found the cocoon on a berry bush about three days earlier, photographed it and brought it to the house. Intending to put it in a shoe box like any other cocoon, I forgot and left it on the stand next to the TV. Monday morning I realized this and thought I had better do it! Whoops, too late! Movement, just to my right, caught my eye and low and behold there was a beautiful Cecropia Moth stretching and pumping blood into her wings to fully expand them. When they first emerge their wings are all folded up and very small until they slowly beat them, pumping blood into them and strengthening them out for the flight that is to come. Chris and I photographed this process for a while and then put her into the box she was supposed to have been in. We left her there until Monday evening. Just after dark we took her outside, opened the box carefully and there she sat, with fully developed wings, ready for flight.
Chris, carefully, put her finger under her, encouraging her to climb on, which she did, and as Chris raised her from the box she immediately flew to me. Well it’s hard to hold her and take photos so I got her back on Chris’s finger. Several photos later, she carefully tried out her wings but didn’t let go. Then, suddenly, she flew – right onto Chris’s face, holding fast to her lip. It was another few moments, and photos, before she stepped back onto Chris’s finger. After a few more minutes Victoria, we named her after the Holiday on which she emerged, flew several feet to the corner post on the front deck. Here she remained for perhaps fifteen or so minutes. We turned off the outside light so as not to confuse her and when we looked out again she was gone. As a female, she will emit pheromones to attract a mate. After mating she will lay several hundred eggs and die. The cycle will start again. We hope she makes it.

Finally getting to it!

A Lasting TributeI finally have found some time to “Get-r-Done” as a friend once said. It’s been a very busy month in the last three and a half weeks. Chris and I left the end of April, to drive down to Maryland and visit our daughter and the grand kids. When we left home the trees hadn’t started to bud yet, no wildflowers, spring had not yet started. I knew it would be well into spring in Maryland and it was. We planned to shoot during the week as the kids would be in school and Laura would be at her new job as digital editor/reporter at the Easton Star Democrat. We planned for five days of places to go and things to photograph and Mother Nature planned on the first two days of rain! She didn’t tell us this though. Sunday was actually very nice and I should have worked then, but instead spent the day with family. We woke up Monday to drizzle which continued through Tuesday. Wednesday we went to St. Michaels and on to Tilghman Island and got a lot of interesting shots including a Scherzer Rolling-lift Bridge, or actually two of them. The first one I ever saw was in Smith Falls, Ontario (see attached photo) and is also on display in an up position much like the one at the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay Marine Museum. The third one, of course, is operating at the Narrows, the crossing to Tilghman Island.
Thursday we took our one grandson, Xander, with us and went to the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge where we got to watch an Osprey do, not one, but three power dives for fish. Eastern Neck was so interesting Chris and I returned on Friday to do more trails and photograph the wildflowers. We left on Saturday and made our normal stop in Lancaster PA for the night. We stopped in Binghamton NY to see our son and arrived home very late Sunday night or maybe it was early on Monday morning?
Away one week and the world changed. Trees were not only budding but a lot were in early leaf. This meant I shot every day as the weather was great. I needed to catch up to nature. So, even though Laura planned on me getting this first blog out when I arrived home, it had to wait! An explanation here. Laura, my dear step-daughter, set this blog site up for me when we were in Maryland. She spend half a night getting it up the way she wanted and her last words were “do two or three blogs and get it going and I’ll edit it for you”. Thanks Laura for all your work. I have finally got-r-done.