19 September 2009
Fall is Here Already!
Life and Death on the Beach, Horseshoe Crab (Limulus polyphemus) Shell and Sandpiper Tracks, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia Beach, VA
Twilight and Waves, Shoreline of the Beach at First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, VA
This first image of a horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) carapace and sandpiper tracks was taken recently at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. High surf from Hurricane Bill had left a large pool in the sand just below the dunes and when I first arrived a Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) and two Sanderlings (Calidris alba) were probing around the edges. Later I came to take close-up photographs of their tracks and found these particular tracks in front of the shell with both lit by the warm, low-angle light of a setting sun. The horseshoe crab probably perished during spring egg-laying due to being flipped over or eaten by predators.
This close-up sums up Fall for me (late summer is the peak of the fall shorebird migration). The horseshoe crab represents the death and decay left over from the excesses of Spring and Summer, while the tracks represent the frenetic living pulse of migration and preparations for Winter. The tracks without the bird suggests that the avian visitors have moved on to warmer climes.
The other image I have included here is an older image taken in mid-summer 2008 at First Landing State Park beach. I witnessed a beautiful and intense sunset here due to smoke in the atmosphere from fires in the Great Dismal Swamp. I was fascinated by the pattern of waves colored by the last vestiges of civil twilight. I love the way the slow shutter speed smooths out the chaotic overlaps of the incoming waves and enhances the ability of the water to pick up reflections of the fading light. This is one of several images I uploaded yesterday to my new site.
If you like the images, feel free to click on the up arrow to get the code to embed them on your own site or personal page. More soon...