Ships wheel, USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”), Boston, Massachusetts
I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th of July celebration! Here’s an image from the Freedom Trail in Boston where it all began.
The USS Constitution, named by President George Washington, was one of the original six frigates of the United States Navy. The ship saw plenty of action and earned her famous nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812. In 1830 she was immortalized by Oliver Wendell Holmes in his famous poem, which helped preserve the ship as a national monument and made him a household name.
Aye tear her tattered ensign down
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky …
Sunset over the Sierra Nevada foothills from Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California
Sunday, June 21st is the Summer Solstice. It’s the longest day of the year and the official start of summer in the northern hemisphere.
Historically Midsummer’s Eve has been a celebration of the solstice dating back to ancient times. It was believed that mid-summer flowering plants had amazing healing powers when picked on this night, and huge bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits thought to roam the earth when the sun turned southward again.
The word solstice comes from the Latin solstitium from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), because it appears as if the sun stops its course at this point. The sun doesn’t rise precisely in the east during the event, but rises to the north of east and sets to the north of west creating a longer arc in the sky. The solstice occurs when the sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator. During the event it reaches its northernmost point and the Earth’s North Pole tilts directly towards the sun, at about 23.5 degrees. It’s a good thing too, because without this small offset we would have no seasons!
This year the solstice occurs at 12:38 P.M. EDT, and with nearly 15 hours of daylight it’s the perfect time to explore the great outdoors, have ample time for photography, and maybe even wrap up the day with a barbecue and a bit of stargazing.
Pink Dogwood, Yosemite National Park, California
Monday June 15th is Nature Photography Day!
Created in 2006 by NANPA, the North American Nature Photography Association, it promotes the enjoyment of nature photography and spotlights the many ways images of the environment have helped to advance the cause of conservation and habitat preservation both locally and internationally.
NANPA’s mission is to further the art and science of nature photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation, and environmental protection. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Nature Photography Day, a great time to celebrate the beauty of nature and share your passion for photography with friends and family.
Les Braves WWII D-Day monument on Omaha Beach created by French sculptor Anilore Banon
TGIF – It’s easy to say after a long work week in which maybe things didn’t all go as planned, but we need to put things into perspective. Seventy-one years ago on this now quiet beach along the coast of Normandy, France decisions were made that have provided us with the freedoms we continue to enjoy today. This monument on Omaha Beach, Les Braves created by French sculptor Anilore Banon, is a tribute to the soldiers who made such great sacrifices during the Allied Invasion on D-Day to preserve our way of life.
On this June 6th, I’m grateful once again to those who have given so much to allow me the opportunity to live and work as I choose. On Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day the National Park Service waives all entrance fees in honor of these sacrifices, but today is also an excellent time to reflect on all that we have. So enjoy the day and exercise your freedom, through photography, sport or good company, and take a moment to remember those who helped make it all possible.