A few weeks ago, we visited family in the Gettysburg, PA area. While there, we were treated to some snow and
very cold weather. On one early, sunny, morning we drove along Confederate Ave.
The street. On Seminary Ridge, overlooks open meadows ringed with farms. The
ridge top is where Confederate troops set up their artillery and was the
starting point for many Confederate troop assaults. On July 3rd,
1863, it was the site of Pickett’s charge against the troops of Union General
George C. Meade.
On this early morning, the guns laid quiet. Sunlight glistened on the icy snow while frost gave trees, weeds and other objects a silvery glow. Though snow adds a burden to our efforts to maintain a normal life and we grow tired of it after a time, a morning like this makes you slow down and appreciate the beauty that nature bestows in winter.
Please click on caption to see images at higher resolution.
Returning from a recent trip to the Seattle area, we stopped
at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. The visitor center and restrooms
were closed but the government shutdown didn’t affect the birds. This stop
turned out to be very productive. It was a great day for raptors. The star was
a juvenile Bald Eagle on a kill. But we saw Ferruginous Hawks, Northern
Harriers, Rough Legged Hawks, a Cooper’s Hawk and a Red-shouldered hawk also.
This is feast time for the raptors at Sacramento NWR because of the large
numbers of waterfowl that spend the winter months there.
I didn’t share images of the Rough-legged haws because I only got a rear quarter shot and it didn’t show enough to make the shot interesting. I’ve shared other Cooper’s Hawks and Red-shouldered Hawks in the recent past, so I didn’t include them. But, I hope you enjoy what I shared.
Note: Please click on caption to see image in higher resolution.
Here is a few shots of some wildlife we saw travelling through various places. The locations are listed with each image.
We hadn’t seen any bears in the wild for several years. Then, on one trip, we saw 2. Unfortunately, the one that got away, was a cinnamon colored one. Maybe someday I’ll be able to photograph one of those.
The tufa in Mono Lake are beautiful themselves but we got a rare treat – an osprey on its nest on top of a tufa.
Note: Click on caption to see image at higher resolution.
The Grand Prismatic Spring is another of Yellowstone’s iconic hydrothermal features. It is the one that looks like a big orange and blue eye. The spring sits along the Firehole River in the general area of the Upper Geyser Basin where Old Faithful resides. It produces a constant flow of water that flows into and heats the Firehole River. To me, the Firehole River is the most fascinating of Yellowstone’s rivers. It flows from Madison Lake, on the continental divide, 21 miles to the Gibbon River at Madison Junction. What fascinates me, is that it travels through the Upper Geyser Basin, where Old Faithful is located, and past the Grand Prismatic Spring. Those and other hydrothermal features dump their water into the Firehole. This raises the temperature 9-18 degrees Fahrenheit.
The pool filled by the Grand Prismatic Spring is very shallow. It is colored by the brown. orange and yellow bacteria and algae that grow in its pool. The sun highlights its colored features and the water reflects the blue of the sky. Steam rising from the spring adds mystery to the landscape. Though you can appreciate the spring by just giving it a cursory walk-by, paying attention to the details and seeing how the light seems to make them change provides a breathtaking experience.
Bryce Canyon, in Utah, is stunningly beautiful; especially at sunrise and sunset. It should be on your bucket list. You can enjoy it any time of day but, I recommend being there in the morning, before the sun creeps over the distant mountains and as the sun sets in the evening. The colors saturate, the whites appear almost translucent at hose times and it will take your breath away. If you can, walk the trails that take you below the base and look at the hoodoos face on.
As I looked over the landscape, my thoughts turned to the ancient cities from fantasy and action adventures. Perhaps drawing from Petra in southern Jordan. I can imagine temples and palaces constructed from the hoodoos. I see “impregnable” walls being breached by the barbarians outside. It’s a fun connection.
For me, the process of how the land became to look as it does, enhances its beauty. In this case, water channels away the softer soil, forming the hoodoos. The freeze-thaw cycle sculpts the hoodoos by breaking off chunks. The wind helps sculpt too, but, to a lesser degree. What is left are acres of an orange and cream landscape filled with spectacular hoodoos and the erosional hills and valleys at their base.
I can’t wait to go back. Only this time, I am going to allow a day to hike and see what other treasures I uncover. I wonder what it would like in snow.
Note: Please click on caption to see higher resolution images.
Abstract art uses color, shape and line to create a pleasing image. That image may or may not represent something real. In photography, you arrive at the result through a different route. You find a candidate and create a composition that emphasizes the pattern created by the color, shape and/or line over the subject itself.
I am a primarily a landscape photographer. As I progressed and learned more about that art, I became fascinated with the questions about how a scene evolved; what processes shaped it in the past and what processes are shaping it today. As I observed, I began to see the patterns and to understand how to recognize the effects of the wind, water and tectonic events that influenced it. I also began to see how the patterns repeated themselves in different ways in different objects. It is those patterns that often make a wonderful abstract image.
On a recent cross-country trip, we flew over the high plains of Kansas and the foothills and peaks of the Rocky Mountains. In many places the snowpack was broken; ice and snow lay in the crevices where snowmelt flows, while the remaining surfaces were clear. I was struck by the patterns that I saw. Erosion created patterns like those of a bush branching or leaves branching on a stem. In one spot, I saw a fish backbone with its tiny ribs extended. Using my trusty phone camera, through an airplane window, I created some abstracts from the landscapes I love.
I hope you enjoy these images. Reflect on the patterns – what do you see?
Note: Click on Caption to see larger, higher resolution image
We recently visited Yosemite National Park. On the day we visited, I decided to look for perspectives that aren’t commonly photographed. I love the iconic images but there are lots of nooks and crannies that provide wonderful landscapes. I hope you enjoy these images.
Note: Click on caption to see image at larger size.