Visiting Nature’s Terrariums

wes siegrist

Since I wasn’t able to share all of our adventures while camping, with you on last week’s blog post, I thought I’d share more of my favorite photos from some of our hikes, this week. As you can see from the photos, it was very soupy the entire time, filling the air with mist and making us feel as if we were hiking deep in the Amazon jungle, which was fine with me, as that’s a place I’d love to visit someday! The moisture rich air created lush carpets of supple moss everywhere you looked, and I had to stop and pet it often. I think one of my favorite parts of a particular hike, was these two BIG wooden ladders. You climbed down one leading to the stream below, which we crossed and hiked alongside for a short distance before climbing back up another BIG ladder. 

nature photography by rachelle siegrist10

Being wet made them very slippery and it was a large span even for our long legs, which added even more excitement and adventure to the descending and ascending process for adrenaline junkie me! You can tell how large it is, by seeing the comparison to Wes standing up at the top right of the ladder, in the photo below.

nature photography by rachelle siegrist

The towering sandstone walls we walked alongside, were dotted with concave pockets, in varying sizes and depths. 

nature photography by rachelle siegrist4

The alcoves ranged from wee tiny to big, and each one was carpeted with lush moss, and filled with small ferns and other plants, and many housed at least one or more spider’s webs.

nature photography by rachelle siegrist3

Some webs were tiny with a small hole in the middle, while others were triangle or oblong shaped. But this web shown below, was truly magnificent! It was a work of art created by a master engineer of silk, and the fact that it was adorned with literally thousands of water droplets collected from the moist air, added to the incredible beauty of it! It was constructed directly in the middle of the rock shelf and perfectly placed behind a lovely fern at the bottom, as if the spider had checked out the available property and built strictly with aesthetics in mind!

nature photography by rachelle siegrist5

I believe it may have been the slowest we’ve ever hiked, as we couldn’t pass up any of these miniature terrariums of nature, and stopped to peer into each one, feeling as if we were looking into another very small world.

rachelle siegrist

Each one was filled with an interesting assortment of greenery, including moss, ferns, wildflowers and more.

nature photography by rachelle siegrist6

Salamanders obviously thrive in these juicy lush settings and it’s always a treat to see one of these amphibian beauties!

salamander photo by rachelle siegrist

Some of the tightly spun webs greeted us with their owners guarding the entrance.

nature photography by rachelle siegrist7

No matter how many cave-like openings we pass on our hikes, we can’t resist taking a look inside, and I thought this was a neat perspective, looking out from the inside. 

cave photo by rachelle siegrist9

Water was dripping from the entire towering hillside, filling the air with a symphony of water drops plopping into small pools of clear cold water below.  

nature photography by rachelle siegrist2

Wes spotted this amazing little moth, and at first glance thought it was a clump of hairy fungus. But upon closer inspection, he realized that it was indeed a beautiful fuzzy white moth with delicate peach-colored wings.

moth photo wes siegrist

For a nature lover, and especially one that loves moss, ferns and tiny critters of all sorts, it was a woodland Disney World, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our time spent peering into and being absorbed into these amazing little worlds!

I hope to finish my video this coming week, featuring our adventures while camping, and will upload it to our YouTube Chanel. So if you’re not already subscribing to our YouTube Chanel  be sure to do so, to receive notifications when new videos have been added. I’ll also share the link on a future blog post as well.

 

See our miniatures in person this week

 Exquisite Miniatures recently opened at the beautiful The Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL 

We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.

We still have paintings available through these miniature shows listed, so visit their websites linked below to see what can still be yours!

Masterpieces in Miniature
 May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

 The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Glow Worms, Beavers and Bears, Oh My!

rachelle siegrist kayaking

We spent a few days this past week camping, kayaking and exploring, and I must say had great fun doing so! The tropical system sitting atop us kept dumping rain, so we drove in the rain, kayaked in the rain, hiked in the rain and slept in the rain. Thankfully though, there were a few times that the rain stopped and the sun even came out, and we ourselves almost dried out . . . Ha Ha! We’ve kayaked several times in the rain, and actually find it quite peaceful, albeit not a serious downpour. 

wes siegrist kayaking

One of the times whilst kayaking, we had already put on our ponchos and were relaxingly paddling along in the light misty rain, when we could hear and see it coming in the distance, and it was drawing nearer fast! So we quickly paddled over to a large overhanging sandstone cliff, tucking ourselves beneath it’s protective shelter. What a terrific viewpoint it offered, as the rain pounded down, bouncing and dancing across the surface of the water, with the energy of dancer performing a river dance! 

raindrops photo

The falling rain intensified and was truly amazing to watch and listen to, instantly lulling us into a state of complete relaxation and bliss, making us feel as if we could sit there forever! I filmed a short period of the dancing raindrops with my GoPro, and absolutely love these still shots I grabbed form a couple of frames! Looking closely at the shapes and with a little imagination, one can see a dolphin jumping out of the water, a sea turtle atop the water, a duck with one large wing, as well as numerous other things! So . . . what do you see?

raindrops

During our first kayak trip, I couldn’t believe when I saw a large mammal swimming towards me. At first I thought it was an otter, but quickly realized it was much too large for that, and knew instantly that it was a beaver! I was thrilled beyond belief, since I’m always hoping to see beavers when we kayak, and here I was just mere feet from this beautiful animal. I sat very still while videoing it, watching its every move, as it swam closer and closer, until it disappeared into the cave, slipping below the water. 

beaver photo by rachelle siegrist

The next day while kayaking, we were delighted to come up on this large beaver dam constructed across the narrow stream. Beavers are marvels at engineering and I was super impressed not only with their construction of the dam, but as well as the aesthetics of it and the amazing soothing sound of trickling water in surround sound! 

beaver dam

Their pool on the other side of the dam was at least a foot or more higher than the side we were on, and the soft, carefully placed and packed mud along the bottom of the dam, was filled with lots of beaver footprints and scrapings. What an amazing opportunity to be able to witness one of nature’s marvels so up close and personal! Amazingly, we would go on to see at least two more beavers while kayaking, and get to hear one slap it’s tail on the water, creating a sound like a shotgun being fired!

beaver dam2

The beavers weren’t the only critters we encountered whilst kayaking, we often found ourselves being visited and surrounded by a couple of Canada geese families, and I was totally in heaven! I absolutely love Canada geese, and being this close to them, and having them swim alongside me was truly amazing, not to mention that the continual “peeps” of the babies were adorable! We spent quite a bit of time removing fishing line from trees along the banks, and at times the geese stayed right with Wes, watching him work, as if they were thanking him for removing this lethal hazard. 

canada geese photo rachelle siegrist

We enjoyed several hikes as well, walking in the rain much of the time. It certainly made the abundant moss and lichen extremely soft, and I had to stop often to pat and gently squeeze it, telling Wes “Oh, it feels amazing!” The forest was filled with the pink blossoms of the Mountain Laurels and they were everywhere we looked! At one point I asked Wes to take a photo of me standing amongst a group of them, and just as we started to round the corner, he exclaimed “That’s not gonna happen, as there’s a big black bear right in the middle of the trail!” Since it was a loop, we had no choice but to turn back, and let the bear have it to himself, but Wes managed to snap this photo real quick, before we headed back.

black bear photo

If you’re like me, there are things that you really hope to see in your lifetime. Well, for me seeing glow worms was one of them, so I was thrilled to be given a chance to do just that while camping. Having signed up for the glow worm hike, we showed up at the destination a few minutes early. Within a minute after arriving, a Whippoorwill flew over and landed directly beside us! This is one of my favorite bird calls, so I quickly started recording it, and here it is for you to enjoy as well.

When I found out we were going to get to possibly see the glow worms, I researched about using my GoPro to try and get a photo of them. I learned that I needed to use night lapse, and read up on the best settings for it. Excitedly armed with my camera, off I went using my flashlight with red film over it, like all others on the tour, to lessen the disruption of our vision. Arriving at the cave, the ranger told us all about the glow worms, stating that there’s still so much to yet be learned about these incredible insects! To make sure my camera didn’t put out any blue light from the back screen, I went ahead and started recording, thinking for some reason that it worked like a time lapse video and would keep filming the duration of our visit. So as we moved along and gazed in wonder at the illuminated green dots, I stood as still as a soldier, whilst holding my GoPro up next to my stomach, sure that I was gonna capture some amazing shots. When we went to the back off the cave, I carefully knelt down in the sand and sat my tripod down, while covering the back of the camera with my hand to block out the light. At that point my face was mere inches from some of the worms, and I can’t express what an amazing experience it was! Later on at one point, we were standing on a boardwalk in total darkness, and everywhere you looked were hundreds of green glowing dots! It made me feel as if I was walking amongst the stars in outer space. One log was covered with so many worms that it actually glowed green! It was all so truly incredible that I we could say was “Wow!” 

night lapse photo

I continued to proudly film as I stood and moved to new spots, knowing that it was gonna be great. Well, when I checked my video later on, I was so disappointed to see that I had obviously done something very wrong and had only captured one two second video and a one second video, and burst out in laughter at what I had captured, and the folly of my entire attempt at capturing these amazing little creatures. Nonetheless, it made for a funny story to share with you and I thought these two still shots I grabbed from the wee videos, actually look pretty cool! 

night lapse photo2

Here’s a link to visit if you’d like to learn more about glow worms, which are actually not worms at all but are indeed maggots! Now that makes it all even more interesting doesn’t it? . . . Glowing maggots . . . Ha Ha! From what I can find, I believe this is one of their silk threads covered in sticky, reflective droplets to attract and capture prey. 

glow rom silk thread

 

We had an awesome time, even in all the rain, and I’m currently working on a video of our experience for you, as there’s just way too much to share in just a few photos on my blog. So be watching for it soon!

 

See our miniatures in person this week

 Exquisite Miniatures recently opened at the beautiful The Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL 

We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.

We still have paintings available through these miniature shows listed, so visit their websites linked below to see what can still be yours!

Masterpieces in Miniature
 May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

 The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Come Snorkel With Us

underwater photo by Rachelle Siegrist.2

What it looks like above the water

Since so many of you enjoyed the fish photos last week, I decided to share a few more with you this time as well. I was beginning to think we weren’t going to be snorkeling this week, but thankfully the sun came our for a day, so we headed to the river for a couple of very fun hours spent in the water! I absolutely love snorkeling, as it transports me to another world! You can really see the difference between the two worlds in looking at these two photos. The one above is what is typically seen, and this one below, is directly beneath it. Looks like two totally different worlds doesn’t it? . . . It is and it’s awesome to experience this other amazing universe! And while there may not be brilliant-colored coral reefs in mountain streams, as you can see bright pink tree roots add gorgeous splashes of color the the underwater scene.

underwater photo by Rachelle Siegrist

And here’s what it looks like directly below the above water photo

We always see something different each time we snorkel, even if we’re doing it in the same vicinity. This time we were thrilled to see two big Hellbenders! We think these giant salamanders are awesome, and feel blessed each time we get to see and watch one!

hellbender photo Rachelle Siegrist

Wes found this bed filled with literally hundreds of baby bass! The mother was actually patrolling the area and graciously allowed me to capture a short film of them, as well as of her! It was yet another super cool find to say the least!

baby bass

Every so often we spot crawdads, but when I saw this BIG one which was mostly blue, I was instantly smitten with it’s beauty! It was friendly and while I was filming, it actually walked right up to the GoPro! I’m not sure if it was just checking it out or getting ready to take it on, but wow . . . what a neat up-close and personal experience! I’ll be sharing the video on my blog once it’s completed, so be sure and watch for it.

crawdad photo Rachelle Siegrist

There were several Tangerine Darters swimming about, and I really enjoyed watching these two, as they interacted with one another. They’re almost always in an area of very strong current, so it’s harder to hold the camera still while videoing, so that’s why the photo is a bit out of focus. You can still see their gorgeous bright sunny colors though.

tangerine darter

 

See our miniatures in person this week

 Exquisite Miniatures recently opened at the beautiful The Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL 

We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.

Exquisite Miniatures by Rachelle & Wes Siegrist at the Elliott Museum

 

We still have paintings available through these miniature shows listed, so visit their websites linked below to see what can still be yours!

Masterpieces in Miniature
 May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

 30th International Miniature Art Show
May 1-31, 2021: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (We were the judges for the show this year)

 The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle