Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Field of Sunflowers

As we were heading out to Irish Hills, we passed a field of sunflowers.  We decided that we would stop on the way back to take pictures of it.
 I thought they were oriented a different way, but this will work.  I was amazed at how many there were.
 A close up of one of them.
 I liked the looks of the almost perfect rows.
 I think I like this one a little better because it is clear why this is called a sunflower.
 A sort of nice row of them.
 The same shot but a slightly different angle on the front one.
 As I was scanning the field, I noticed this barn.  I kind of liked it.
 So I pulled the shot out a bit but I think I like the first one better.
Since I'm a fan of old barns, I decided to take a picture of the one across the street.

Hidden Lake Gardens

The next place we went to was Hidden Lake Gardens.  It is on M-50 just before you reach Tecumseh (or after you reach Tecumseh, depending on the way you go).    We've been trying to go there for a while and I'll have to admit, it was a pretty cool place.
The property was donated to Michigan State in 1945 by Harry Fee who was an Adrian businessman.  He always dreamed of owning a lake and bought Hidden Lake in 1926.  He decided to build gardens there when he found that the land wasn't suitable for farming.  He also built the road system that allows accessibility.
I'll have to admit the grounds are pretty well kept.  Some pretty nice flowers as the one above.
Tried to get a pair of them.
And the flower garden itself.  The whole place is pretty picturesque.
There is a pretty nice coneservatory in the middle of the property.  I think it is on par with the one on Belle Isle but not quite as good as the one at Matthei Botanical Gardens.
There is a pretty nice selection of flowers.
I kind of like this one.
I thought this one was pretty neat too.
There is also a pretty nice collection of Bonsai trees. Would you believe that this particular one is over 100 years old?
A pair of larches.
I kind of liked this one because it was the style that comes to mind when you think of bonsai.
Just an overall shot of the bonsai gardens.  It looks almost oriental.
I'm not sure what kind of flower this is.
Or these.
I'm guessing this is the Hidden Lake.

Irish Hills, Michigan

I've been meaning to go here for a while and today a friend was heading over that way to go to an art studio.  As I've said before, I'm not big on ruin porn but sometimes I will make some exceptions. 
 Irish Hills is a town that is about 30 miles to the west of Ypsilanti if you head out on US-12.  It is a pretty nice area but many of the businesses were geared towards the folks that would travel that highway while it was still a main highway.
 Apparently you could go up these towers and see the whole Irish Hills area.  As you can see, they've seen better days.
 The towers from another angle.
 Looking from across the highway.
 Sort of looking up at the towers.  I probably could have gone up the hill but I didn't want to take too many chances with this.
 Looking from the side.
 I would imagine these would provide a pretty good view.
 This was from the other side.
 And just a shot of the side. 
 Across the street from the towers is a now abandoned restaurant.
 I'm not sure what this was.
And the sign from the restaurant.

I would imagine that Irish Hills was a pretty hoping place when US-12 was the main route between Detroit and Chicago.  Now that it is not so much, many of the businesses like this are closing.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Warm Day at the Detroit Zoo

So our company decided to have its picnic at the Detroit Zoo.  It's not often that I go to our company events but I decided to go to this one.  It was actually a pretty nice day for the zoo but I think it may have been a little too hot for some of the animals.  But I did manage to get a few shots.
It has been a while since I've been in the reptile house, so I decided to stop there after seeing that the river otter was asleep.

 The above picture is a missasauga rattlesnake.  I believe this is the only poisonous reptile that is native to Michigan.
 A box turtle but I'm not sure if it is an eastern or western box turtle.  I'm guessing eastern to represent a species native to Michigan.
 This is a milk snake.
 King Cobra.  I kind of wish I could have caught it up with the hood spread.
 A hog nosed snake.
 I think this is an iguana.
 A gila monster.
 The same iguana as above.  He jumped over to this branch and made a better pose for me.
 A condor.  The Detroit Zoo has a pretty decent collection of birds.
 The more mature bald eagle.
 The now four or five year old bald eagle.
 I think this is an elk.
 A prairie dog.  The Detroit Zoo has a pretty cool prairie dog exhibit too.
 A bison drinking from the pool.
 I think bison are pretty neat looking animals. 
 It is pretty odd that the only water lily I've seen this year was at the Detroit Zoo.  At least it was a pretty cool looking one.
 I'm not sure what kind of animal this is.
 One of the three zebras.
 And a rhino.
 One of the meerkats.  This one is almost screaming for a caption.
 Another one of the meerkats.
 A Japanese snow monkey.
 One of the lions.  I am really liking the new lion exhibit at the zoo.  It will be cool to be able to get pictures with my littler lens.
 And of course the tiger.
 In a very catlike pose.
 It was pretty hot, so he was panting a bit.
 As he looks around.
 He was interested in something.  Not sure what though.
 Another very catlike pose.
 An African Crane.
 And a flamingo.
And the wolverine.  I kind of expected the wolverine to be like this as they are cold weather animals.

I was gonna go to the polar bear exhibit but they were also not very visible.  I think the exhibits at the Detroit Zoo are pretty cool but sometimes they are not visitor friendly.