Friday, March 31, 2017

Jefferson in Fog

It was quite a foggy start to the day obscuring at times any view of the Jefferson Memorial from across the lake. Made for a nice ethereal shot without a messy background interfering with the view. By mid-day, it was blue sky and beautiful but the views were of tourist wandering everywhere you looked.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Jefferson Memorial

I caught a trip to Washington DC at the peak of the beautiful Cherry Blossoms season but unfortunately it is a bit of a weak bloom as a cold snap after a warm start to an early spring killed a lot of the buds. Still, beautiful to see all the pink blossoms around Washington. Had to get this classic shot and now I want to come back again to catch a peak bloom in all its glory.

Bryce: Queen's Amphitheater

The queen herself, at least it looks like a young Queen Victoria, presides over the bottom of the canyon in an area called, the "Queen's Amphitheater". Excellent view of the rain and erosion making a piece of art out of the natural landscape.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bryce Natural Bridge

An easy way to spend half a day in Bryce Canyon is to take the scenic 18 mile drive to about 9,000 feet and then drive on down making 8-10 stops at scenic turnoffs along the way back down. Each stop is spectacular and gives uniquely different views. This obviously is an arch, although they call this stop a Natural Bridge. I suppose it is both.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bryce Chess Pieces

These Bryce Canyon Hoodoo's look like complicated chess pieces up close. What is also strange is how similar each is to the ones standing next door. It is like nature put everything on a copier machine and it got stuck on repeat. Beautiful and strange sight up close.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Desert View Watchtower at the Grand Canyon

The Desert Watchtower at the Grand Canyon is a spectacular sight but I don't think it gives any better view of the area as compared to just standing near the edge of the canyon. Still, pretty cool piece of architecture.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bryce Sunset at Inspiration Point

Beautiful view made even more amazing is that the flat top in the distance 35 miles away was once connected to the plateau we were standing on at Inspiration Point in Bryce National Park. The intervening land came as the basin as a whole rose up and was elevated by shifting plates. Subsequent erosion created the famous Hoodoo's in the foreground with the freeze/thaw cycle spiting the rocks vertically. Just amazing.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Stellar's Jay

I have always wanted to see a Stellar's Jay in person having seen a picture of one when I was a kid. We get Blue Jay's out here in the midwest and they are beautiful birds as well. Stellar's Jay hangs out west. Got my first chance to see one last week out in Bryce Canyon. Parked the camper and saw this little guy jumping from the ground to this ledge in one of the parking lots and he hung around long enough for me to get a camera on him. Beautiful bird.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bryce is Nice

It's not fair that all you have to do to see this sight is drive a couple of hours out of Vegas. Park your car and walk up a flight of stairs. A view like this should only be achievable after a long struggle across difficult terrain and many hardships. (Well, if you overnight in Vegas, part of that might be true.) Anyway, it took me almost 60 years to get here. Hope you choose to go sooner.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Life Finds a Way #2

Another example of how life finds a way. A fully grown tree (or nearly so) sitting on the edge of a cliff. Unfortunately, the tree picked a bad spot as eventually, the ground will erode away. Still, this tree proves you can pick a bad spot and still make it work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Life finds a way

Life finds a way as a young tree tries to get a start near the edge of the Bryce Canyon. Being to close to the edge is dangerous as the old tree below shows. The ground erodes away from rain and flash floods that carve out so much of these western landscapes. Plus the normal rain/freeze/expand cycle pushes cracks wider and wider once started. That's how Bryce got its so unique landscape.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bryce Overlook

Now I know why there are National Parks. They take your breath away. That is true with the Grand Canyon, Zion and very true with Bryce. All you have to do to get this view is drive to Bryce, park your car and walk 30 feet to the overlook. Doesn't seem right as you should have to work for this view. The funny thing is all three of these parks are not the far from Las Vegas. So, plan for it. Get yourself to Zion (2 hours from Vegas) and Bryce (another 1.5 hours). Almost 60, but I finally got here. Don't know why I waited so long. Can't wait to get back.

The whole trip included parts of Route 66 from St. Louis to Albuquerque. Work meetings in Albuquerque, Las Cruses, El Paso and Tucson, a Chicago White Sox preseason baseball game and then 4 national parks (Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion). What a trip. Lots of shots for the blog over the next few weeks.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Painted Desert Layer Cake

Out in the Painted Desert within the Petrified Forest you see these layers of different rock sediments and, if you are hungry, it looks like a rock layer cake. Just beautiful to see these different colors in the dry desert so perfectly laid out.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"Winslo, Arizona"

Just can't count a random stranger to take a good shot. I set it up. Put the lens to a wide angle. Focused with a good depth of field (which turned out ok). Asked a nice tourist waiting for their turn to hold the camera and take the shot and now I see we were at "Winslo" Arizona. Oh well. No young girl with a flat bed Ford was going to stop anyway.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Painted Desert in Grey and Brown

This is one of my favorite shots so far in this part Route 66/part work/part Grand Canyon/part Grand Staircase National Park trip. Took the shot in the Painted Desert at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Proves that light is everything as I love how the light cuts across the scene. Looks more like a softer light nearer sunset although this was taken just before the golden hour at 3 pm or so.

Late ad: Yesterday, I posted the wrong shot and just realized it as I saw the shot today. The shot above is the cropped version. I actually like this one a bit better:

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Just a typical day in Tuscon Arizona

Wonderful view out of a financial advisor's office in Tuscon Arizona.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Cadillac Ranch in Color

Some additional fun shots at the Cadillac Ranch. These cars are stuck in the ground in a farm field off of I-40 west of Amarillo, Texas. People get to spray paint the cars, if they plan in advance and bring spray paint.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

On the Bucket List...and immediately off

I'm sorry to say that it has not been a lifelong dream to visit this out-of-the-way place just off of I-40 west of Amarillo, Texas. I've heard of the Cadillac Ranch but never thought I would go there. So, it is great to put something on the bucket list and then immediately take it off. Don't have to worry about that one. Too bad I hit it in the middle of the day with all the harsh shadows but I was happy to get this shot when there were a dozen or more people around. They all went to the other side of the cars or they were standing between the cars and I got this shot without having to Photoshop any people out. That was unexpected!!! To prove there were people all around, I took this shot below right before I scurried over to take the shot above. Just 10 seconds separate the two shots. I didn't even have any people shadows, although there is one in the third gap of the cars down the line. I am not adverse to erasing other tourists if I have to (or their shadows) but no need in this case.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Drive By Monuments

I can confirm that there is not much to see (if you stay on the Interstate) all the way from Chicago to the Texas/Oklahoma border. Did get a drive by of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. Hope to get off the Interstate some tomorrow.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Sucker for an Independent Bookstore

As the title says, I am a sucker for an independent bookstore and I don't think a downtown is worthy of its name unless it has one. Lucky for me, Burlington, Vermont has such a bookstore and a nice one too.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Open Mic at Davern's Tavern

It was open mic at Davern's Tavern and the place was rocking last night. Lots of great musicians there. Had to try out my (possibly) new 105mm lens. Very tight depth of field so hard to get sharp in low light.