National Botanical Gardens

Posted on 16th August 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring
Water Lily

Water Lily

Updated this set with some additional photos. Botanical Gardens are great for revisiting, as they are perpetually changing throughout the year.

Check out the complete flickr set here.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, Ocean City, Maryland

Posted on 9th August 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

Ekoi Human Skin Mask

Ekoi Human Skin Mask

Thanks to Vicky, I’ve rediscovered a whole new realm of cool, awe-inspiring, fascination-evoking, wonder-inducing material with the Robert L. Ripley’s Believe It or Not cabinet-of-curiosities style collections of natural oddities, science facts, and anthropological anomalies1. The Ripley’s website is a great resource for daily fun facts, which I hope to start incorporating into my daily links on occasion.

Check out the complete flickr set here.


1 I know it offends modes of multicultural thought to use the word “anomaly” in reference to other cultures, but when a Medieval Culture or isolated tribe commits torture, manufactures art from non-consensually obtained human body parts, or commits murder in honor of their deity, that’s abnormal.

Appalachian Trail – Punchbowl Mountain to Spy Rock

Posted on 2nd August 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

Spring Buds, Pedlar Lake

Spring Buds, Pedlar Lake

30 Miles over three days. 6,000 Foot Ascent on the second day.

There’s a magnificience in the changing leaves that comes with the fall, but there’s also a sublime beauty in the sprinkles of green with the spring buds.

Check out the complete flickr set here.

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National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Posted on 26th July 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

Taxonomy of Flight

Taxonomy of Flight

Walking around this fantastic collection of aircraft, I was immersed in thoughts of the Technium, the idea that technology is the seventh kingdom of life. The technodiversity surrounding me in the main hangar display was overwhelming. The technological adaptations for vertical flight, human-powered flight, jet propulsion, and numerous others are designed by human minds, which makes them memetic innovations rather than genetic, but they evolve and adapt nonetheless.

Check out the complete flickr set here.

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National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: James S. McDonnell Space Hangar

Posted on 19th July 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

James S. McDonnell Space Hangar

James S. McDonnell Space Hangar

It’s a happy coincidence that I had a space-themed flickr set to upload just the day before the 40th anniversary of humans stepping foot on the Moon with the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar. Displays of toys and science fiction models really convey the cultural impact space exploration has had on our society, while rockets and satellites everywhere visually communicate the incredible number and diversity of tools and instruments we have put into space in the last five decades. The display has grown dramatically in the short time since it opened, as we can see by comparing my photos with this one from just a few years ago.

Check out the complete flickr set here.

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Virginia Living Museum: Costal Plain Aviary

Posted on 12th July 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron

Check out the complete flickr set here.

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Virginia Living Museum Mammals Outdoors

Posted on 5th July 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

There were a lot of neat miscellanous exhibits at the VLM, including an indoor bee hive, fossilized dinosaur tracks, and this nifty display of a snake’s fangs opening and closing:


Fangs

Fangs

I finally managed to get some photos of a river otter. These are the most playful animals of the all, always hamming it up for vistors. The only problem is that they are so spastic, it’s impossible to get a photograph of them. I usually come home with lots of blurs on my camera. I got three photos of this one, nothing spectacular, but it was nice to have something since this was my fourth attempt photographing this animal:


River Otter

River Otter

Check out the complete flickr set here and here.

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Virginia’s Mountains and World of Darkness

Posted on 28th June 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

Eastern Newt

Eastern Newt

The Virginia Living Museum, like zoos and other natural history museums, recreates many different ecological niches indoors, where visitors can get up close and admire the biology in detail. There’s a sense of wonder in admiring the uniqueness of life without it being able to run away and hide.


Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

As nice as it is taking in these details, there’s still nothing like encountering life outside, in its natural environment. There’s a little jump in your heart when you catch a glimpse of something scurrying away or diving below the surface. Seeing life in a museum or zoo is fascinating, seeing it in the natural world is exciting.

Check out the complete flickr set here and here.

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Virginia Living Museum: Cypress Swamp Exhibit

Posted on 21st June 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

Eastern Snapping Turtle

Eastern Snapping Turtle

Swamps, like deserts, are a metaphor for awful things in life. We get bogged down in swamps, monsters come out of swamps, to “swamp” a person is to capture them in a quagmire of responsibilities. But this derision of swamps is very anthropocentric, and I like the old German proverb, “Where there are no swamps there are no frogs.”

Check out the complete flickr set here.

Virginia Living Museum: Chesapeake Bay Discovery Center and Virginia’s Coastal Plain

Posted on 14th June 2009 by Ryan Somma in Adventuring

Striped Burrfish

Striped Burrfish

The Virginia Living Museum reminds me very much of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, where the focus is on the natural world specific to the state. Like NCMNS, the VLM divides its exhibits into ecosystems found in Virginia, from the coast all the way up into the Appalachian Mountains, and the incredible wealth of biodiversity found between them.


Sting Ray

Sting Ray

I’ve started this collection off with the Chesapeak Bay and Coastal Plain, and will work my way into the Mountains next week. If you ever want to be enchanted by the world of life in your own local, find a museum like one of these to peruse.

Check out the complete flickr set here and here.