The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Beaver Lodge

Monday I spotted a beaver lodge.  It must have been there for quite a while – the sticks appear very weathered.  Many months ago – I believe it was on the sneezeweed hunt – I spied a wetland area very near the Atlanta Motor Speedway.  It is located on both sides of the road just about where Lower Woolsey Road turns into Bruton Smith Parkway.  On the northeast side (speedway side) of the road is where you will find the beaver lodge. 


The water here is very murky and green – a sign of the season.  I don't know why, but when I look at the photos I took of the scene I am reminded of a page from a book about Lewis and Clark.  It is hard to imagine the commotion that goes on near this wetland area when it is "race week."  It looks so far removed from civilization.


When I saw the lodge on Monday I had just stopped to take some wide-angle shots of the landscape there.  You have to pull off onto the side of the road – but there is not a problem – there is no traffic there to speak of – at all.  In fact, it is kind of creepy quiet.  I think the whole time I was there yesterday I saw four cars.  You have a wide shoulder to park on and it is two lanes in each direction – so I think it is about as safe as you could be parking on the side of the road.


On Monday the only lens I had with me was the Lensbaby.  OK – take note, even when you think you won't want another lens with you – take it.  I wish I had on Monday.  The shots I took on Monday were OK – but nothing great.  I made plans to return as soon as I could – Wednesday.   Of course, Monday was pretty bright, sunny, and harsh – sooo…


Wednesday morning was wonderful – overcast and threatening rain.  I knew the time of day I was planning to head over to the lodge – if it had been sunny – it would not have been good.  I still want to head back over there either very, very early in the morning or late in the day.  The biggest disappointment to me on Wednesday was the lifeless, gray sky – but that is what you get with overcast clouds.  When I was heading out, I almost took the circular polarizer off of the lens.  Then I decided against it – and on the way over – the sun kept poking out.  I was glad I had it – although it turns out I did not need it. 


On the drive over I spotted a few other scenes I would have liked to take a couple shots of.  One corner where I turn there are always a bunch of cows.  Yesterday there looked like more there than I had seen before.  I decided to stop there on the way back.  Guess what – on the way back they were all gone!  Cows!


I also spotted an old house – ruins of one actually.  I have always wanted to take photos of this place – but been a little apprehensive about stopping.  On the way back home yesterday, I did stop and took quite a few shots of the building and vines that are beginning to grow on it this spring.  The old, weathered wood and the springy, green vines with tendrils reaching out for something to grab made a nice contrast.  Here is where the circular polarizer came in handy.  The little bit of glare on the leaves of the vine was taken care of with just a little bit of a twist on that filter.  Those leaves are so shiny, even on a cloudy day, they had right much of a "glare factor."


Since I took the photos of the beaver lodge – I have looked up a little about them.  The lodge consists of two rooms – one is kind of like the beaver's mud room – they come into that room to dry off and clean up before going into the room where they live and sleep.  One thing I did not notice when I was shooting the photos (but saw this when I was processing the shots on the laptop) – there is a small line of turtles on a log just a little bit away from the lodge.  I guess the beaver doesn't mind the turtles too close to its home. 


I remember seeing beavers on the lake at my grandparent's house when I was little.  My granddaddy and I would walk down the hill just to where we could see the water.  We could watch them swim in the lake and see the beaver lodge.  All along the woods we saw small sapling trees chewed and gnawed off and missing.  Sometimes we saw the little trees, stripped bare of bark, left laying on the ground, discarded for some reason.  These were used to build the beaver structures.  If we walked down the hill to the lake a little too quickly – not noticing the beaver swimming in the lake – the beaver would notice us.  It would smack the water hard with its fla t tail making a loud sound and dive under the water.  I did not see a beaver on Monday, or yesterday, and I did not hear that loud smack either.


All of the photos I talk about today can be seen at my Flickr site:


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