The drive between Redding, CA and Roseburg, OR. on Interstate
5, takes you through some beautiful mountain scenery. Between Redding and the
Oregon border, Mt Lassen and Mt Shasta, 2 Cascade volcanoes can be seen. The
mountains of California and Oregon’s coastal range line both sides of the
highway. Because the area is so close to the Pacific ocean, the area is often
blanketed in a layer of stratus clouds and fog. But, don’t think of it as
dismal. In the morning and evening, the sun often pushes through the clouds casting
spotlights, replete with crepuscular rays, that play on the ridge tops and valleys
creating magical landscapes.
Returning from Seattle, we saw many such vignettes. One spot made me break the rules and pull off to photograph it. Fortunately, this spot gave us room to get off safely. I hope you’ll agree this image was worth it.
Note: To see image at higher resolution, please click on caption.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is another one of Yellowstone National Park’s iconic features. The steep, rugged canyon is cut through volcanic rocks that are colored by deposits of iron. It is being cut by the Yellowstone river which, in other parts of the park, seem calm and serene. But, in the canyon, it is a raging torrent. It tumbles down over Upper Yellowstone Falls (109’) then, after a short distance, tumbles over Lower Yellowstone Falls (308’). After the falls, the river flows its way alongside fumaroles and over cascades as it winds its way through the canyon.
Most of these images are from a recent trip. But I decided to include 3 from previous trips to give you some other perspectives of the canyon. They are Bottom of Lower Yellowstone Falls with rainbow like color, The Beam, a unique winter phenomenon and Lower Yellowstone Falls in Winter by the Light of the Full Moon.
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
I was intrigued by the Lava Fields that I saw in Iceland last summer. A lava field, or lava bed, is a flat plain over which lava flowed and cooled. The ones that intrigued me the most were those that looked like rocks strewn at random. But what really caught my eye was how nature found a way to turn this area of desolation into a soft blanket of green. Lichens took over and attached themselves to the rock. Low shrubs invaded and even a clump of trees found a way to survive. The images I am sharing attempt to convey the beauty of these features. I hope you enjoy them.
Note: Click on caption to see larger, high resolution copy of image.