Archive for category Ma Nature

Kinsee to Kaintsee

Well, you know photographers are supposed to get up in the middle of the night to find sunrise, then stay up till after dark to capture sunset. Makes sense, it’s when the best light occurs. Generally speaking I’m not a very good early riser. I figure if I get up in the morning the whole world owes me something. Here’s an example of how it pays off (click on the images to view them):

Dead Horse Point, Sunrise

Dead Horse Point Sunrise

Dead Horse Point Sunrise

 

And here’s an example of why you should hang around for the afternoon light:

Fisher Towers, Sunset

Fisher Towers Susnet

Fisher Towers Susnet

 

More to follow,

Bob

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Another one of those days

Well, it was a day to remember. Lots of stupid stuff happened, but some good to offset it.

I decided to go to the Procession Panel today. I had it in my mind to do a panorama of the whole glyph. That is, take three or four images and merge them together. I haven’t seen anyone do this yet, so figured I’d be the first one to publish it.

Off to a bad start. I forgot to set my odometer to tell how far I’d gone and identify the right parking place/trailhead. I knew I had gone much too far, so decided to explore (exploration means never having to say you’re lost) and get the panel tomorrow. I pulled into a parking area and decided I must be close to one of the more famous ruins in the area. The parking area looked familiar, but there were benches there, something I had never seen in the area.

Along with the benches were signposts, pointing the way to whatever was up there. (More on that later.) I headed out to see what I was going to see. About 1/4 mile down the trail my boots started to eat my heels. These are boots that I’d broken in already, so I thought they just needed to warm up. Besides, I had already put bandaids on the spots these boots used to bother me. It just got worse. Of course, I hadn’t brought a spare pare because these were broken in. And it only really caused a problem when I was going uphill. The last half of the hike was to be downhill. (That’s a lot different from what happens when you hike with Tom. With him, the first 95% of the hike is uphill and the last 95% is uphill.)

So I followed the cairns and realized that things looked familiar. Continuing on, I saw that I had inadvertently found the right parking place, and was on the way to the Procession Panel. Wow! Now here comes something odd. All my whining and sniveling in the past about not being able to find the panel must have been heard on high, because there was a BLM sign with an arrow pointing to the trail to the panel. What the…

So I got there and got the shot. On the way I found (Ma Nature strikes again) some flowers blooming and saw a lizard scurrying under a rock. It’s way too early for either of those phenomena in my estimation. There’s still snow on the ground up there!

Anyway, here’s the flower, actually larger than lifesize:

LPFs, Procession Panel

LPFs, Procession Panel

And, of course, the Procession Panel isn’t the only glyph in the area. Here’s a dope playing with a snake:

 

Snake Dancer

Snake Dancer

And here’s the Procession Panel panorama. I am not sure how this will come across on your computer, but I just had to try it. You may need to scan left and/or right to see the whole thing.

Procession Panel

Procession Panel

I gotta run and pour some beer on my blisters. From the inside.

More to follow,

Bob

 

 

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Icy, I see!

Well, the snow and ice melted off the roads pretty well, so I went back to see if the ice crystals Nick and I found a couple years ago were there. They weren’t. But I found some new ones. Got out the macro lens and snuck up on them.

Then I went to where I had found a couple of cairns in a very odd place a few years back. I had just read Craig Childs’ House of Rain, and was intrigued by the idea he presented about ‘twins’ being a theme in this part of Cedar Mesa for the ancestral Pueblans who built the ruins we find scattered all over this area. The cairns I found were two, placed about a foot apart. I looked through them like a gunsight and found they made a perfect line between the highest peak in the Abajo Mountains and the hightest point on this part of Comb Ridge. Pretty cool, but I wasn’t convinced that was right. A friend suggested I should have sighted along the line they made rather than through them, so I’ve come back a couple times to try to find them and sight that way. Today, I found then. They pointed to a gap in the mountains about five miles away and to a pointy pile of rocks about 200 meters away. I went toward the rock pile. Beyond that, and in line, was another high point. I went toward that, realizing that the line wasn’t quite accurate, but figured from on high, I could see what I could see. I found what appears to be a way down off the ridge. There was almost a road leading down to a wash that could well make it to the bottom without the risk of a big fall.

I didn’t go down to explore the route further, because when I do something stupid I prefer a witness to be able to tell the rescue team where I fell. The location does seem to match an apparent way down we’ve seen from a few miles away, so further recon will be necessary.

But the ice, what was that like? Here:

This one looked to me like someone gave a kid a pencil and paper and said, “Make a line.” It’s fascinating how the dark streaks seem to e randomly laid down. I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that the lines are caused by water flowing under the ice.

Ice drawing

Ice drawing

When I saw this scene, I could only think of Nick with a sadistic smile on his face. You see, he takes stuff like this and makes jigsaw puzzles out of it. Give me a dollar and I won’t let him use this one.

Ice crystals

Ice crystals

Then there’s Ma Nature’s sense of humor. I came across this in an area that is supposed to be littered with arrow heads. I’ve never found one, so I can’t attest to that, but maybe Ma Nature was telling me something. Or she was making an angel fish, I’m not sure what this is.

Fish or fowl?

Fish or fowl?

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What I’m thankful for

I’m thankful to be here in my favorite place on Earth. There’s every kind of desert image available within a few miles of ‘camp,’ and I take full advantage of it.

This morning we went to Hanksville to check out some new roads we found a nice lady who knew the familly that built the Wolverton Mill. Then we headed for the bentonite country to see what we could see. It was spectacular and I have a lot of images from the area. This may not be the best, but it shows some nice formations and gives a hint to the Spring Break crowd what they can expect. Assuming it doesn’t rain within the week before we get there. This stuff is murder when it’s wet.

Bentonite hills

Bentonite hills

Then there was sunset. This tree grabbed my attention from the start and most of the images I did of the sunset included it. It’s a pine tree, but I don’t discriminate. While I love junipers, I have equal feelings for pines. Especially the ones that look so interesting as this one.

Sunset Tree

Sunset Tree

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Oh, and another thing I’m thankful for: I don’t have to eat turkey or watch football today! Life is good!

More to follow,

Bob

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No, I really can’t help it!

OK, so here we are, looking at all sorts of cool stuff and I just had to go back to Factory Butte. As you’ll see, the sky was spectacular in the Park, so I figured it would be equally good out at the Butte. Besides, we had a couple hours to sunset, so what the heck. Nick knows I’m a pretty whiney goof if I don’t get my way, so off we went. I’m glad we did. Another couple hundred images and something I think I might like.

How did I know we should go to the Butte? Just look at the sky in this image of the west side of the Reef and figure if it will be good to the East.

Capitol Reef Skyline

Capitol Reef Skyline

Then see what the sky had in store for us at the Butte.

Factory Butte #3

Factory Butte #3

Oh, and I also love juniper trees. This one had a nice little desert garden waiting to be discovered, so I had to photograph it. The pale green-leaved plant on the right side of the garden is the Roundleaf Buffalo Berry. According to an interpretive sign at another national park, the Buffaloberry is the only plant that Native Americans couldn’t figure out a use for. It’s kinda nice in this garden, though.

Desert Garden

Desert Garden

More to follow,

Bob

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Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Fall, Winter, Fall, Winter, Winter, Winter, Winter

The title of today’s blog is a sort of recap of Wyoming’s seasons. At least what we’ve had so far. It’s snowing again, and I think Winter is going to set in for good now.

Between the two or three snowstorms in September and October, the cotoneasters in the front yard got all autumny. I went out several times to do some close-up photography (most photographers, including me, generally call this macro photography, but as I understand it, that’s wrong. It’s really micro photography. But if you’re in the .1% of people who insist on being right no matter what, one can sound kind of goofy. So what I’m about to show you are macro shots). (Oh, man, I love parenthetical phrases. They’re so confusing and cool. And they make even me lose my train of thought. Here’s what I was going to say before I so rudely interrupted myself.) Every time I went to make images, Ma Nature turned on the wind machine so I couldn’t get a good image. I finally sort of snuck up on here and got these shots.

Anyway, here are a couple new autumn cotoneaster shots and one you’ve seen before, but one that is something of a victory for me. I’ll tell you more later.

I’d say fall is my favorite season, followed by winter, then spring. I hate summer with its heat, bugs and heat and humidity (in some places) and heat. No, I can’t explain why I’m drawn to the desert, which invented heat. Here is why I like autumn best:

Autumn Cotoneaster 1

Click on image to enlarge

Here’s another example.

Autumn Contoneaster 2

Click on image to enlarge

This fern has driven me nuts. I photographed it in Alaska and put it on the blog as an hommage to Ansel. After all, when I saw this image, I instantly recalled his fern and horsetail shot in, I think, Glacier National Park. I had a poster of that image until life happened and in the transition I managed to damage it. But I always liked that image. I had to emulate Ansel with this scene. When I got home I started to get the photo ready to print. I still can’t explain why, but I can tell you what went wrong. No matter what kind of B&W conversion I used, I got a color cast to the image. Kind of green. Something I hated, but that people who looked at the print said they kind of liked. Well, being the potential-customer-oriented salesman I am I ignored their comments and continued to try to get the stupid thing black-and-white. I finally got there, although I can’t tell you how and probably can’t ever replicate the process, but here is the image I came up with.

Another fernBW

Click to enlarge

Ansel did it right, starting with black-and-white film. Cheers!

 

More to follow,

Bob

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Another Round with Ma Nature

Well, Ma Nature is cooking us here in Wyoming. It was 86° when I got down from the Mountain. And, of course, she fiddled with me while I was trying to do some photography, too, so all-in-all, she’s not being very nice.

It dawned on me earlier that even with my hard drive crashed and trashed and unresponsive and dead and kind of zombie-like, that I would need to continue making photographs. Heck, if my next step doesn’t work I will have to rebuild the thousands of images I had on there. Better get after it.

So I went up to the mountains. After falling in to icy runoff from a snow field (not that dramatic, really, just got in up to my ankles), I found some flowers that seemed to need to be photographed. As is usual with Ma Nature, as I approached the flowers, the air was calm and clear. After I set up the camera, set the exposure and got ready to make the image, Ma turned on the wind machine. Never fails. Perhaps it’s to teach me patience, but that’s something I already have most of the time.

Maybe it’s just to be mean. That’s more likely: she always makes it rain when it should be clear, makes it clear when it should be raining, and she’s left the oven door open lately. grrrrr.

Anyway, here are a couple flower shots that aren’t too bad. Both flowers are on stems from the same plant, but as you’ll notice, the second one seems to have been treated more roughly than the first. I like ’em, anyway.

LYF 1

LYF 1

LYF 2

LYF 2

Yes, they’re LYFs. Little Yellow Flowers. At first I thought they were Arrow Leaf Balsam Roots, but I don’t think so any more. They’re simply those yellow ones I saw today. (Remember, I told you I knew two kinds of flower by name: one is Indian Paintbrush, the other isn’t.)

More to follow,

Bob

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Well, since the rapture didn’t happen

I decided to go out and get some evidence that Spring has sprang. I was going to walk along the Laramie River Green Belt, a trail along the outskirts of town that can be pretty pleasant, but it didn’t happen. When I got there I found that someone in the City decided I was too stupid to avoid flash floods or rapidly rising water, so they closed the trail. Just another example of people in authority being overprotective. Yes, we’ve got a lot of water to come, the snow pack is almost 3x what it usually is (if the people who write the stories are accurate with their math. They say it’s 187% higher than normal. That means, in real math, that it’s almost three times as deep as usual). (God, I love parentheses.)

Anyway, it’s been pretty cool in the high country (cool enough to snow) so, while the water is up to the stream banks, I didn’t feel much of a threat for the trail that runs above the river. But, being a law-abiding citizen, I moved on. The University of Wyoming campus has a pretty decent landscaping program, so I went there looking for flowers that would stand still in 24-mph winds with gusts over 30. Found some, too.

I’ve always loved daffodils. They’re bright, cheery, interestingly shaped and a sure sign that Winter is going to give us our usual 3-month hiatus from blizzards. I like to brag that I’ve been snowed on every month while living in Wyoming except August. I’ve seen snow in May (my graduation day had over a foot of snow), June (18 inches on June 6th a couple years ago) and have been snowed on at the 4th of July rodeo. September is a transitional month and snow often falls then. Actually, last August Tom and I were hiking in the high country and got pelted with white stuff, but I think that was ice pellets, not snow, so I’ve got to try again this year.

Anyway, here are some of the daffodils UW staff and students get to admire every day.

 

Daffodil UW Campus

Daffodil UW Campus

I really prefer the all-yellow versions of the narcissus, like the one above. The others are pretty, to be sure, but I guess you could say I’m a traditionalist.

Here are some of the multi-colored variety:

Three Daffodils, UW Campus

Three Daffodils, UW Campus

Well, that’s it for Spring. It will undoubtedly snow tonight.

 

More to follow.

Bob

 

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Ma Nature’s Little Jokes

Well, even though I haven’t been bad-mouthing Ma Nature lately, she has had her way with me. I think I’ve told you about her tricks, but here is photographic evidence of her capricious nature.

The first two fotos are from Laramie a couple days before Christmas travel. As you can see, we had a bit of a storm. The University campus was a winter wonderland. I caught Ben Franklin getting ready for a snowball fight:

Ben Franklin Contemplates a Snowball

Ben Franklin Contemplates a Snowball

Then I went to the Student Union to hide:

Wyoming Union in snow

Wyoming Union in snow

The next group is from Arches National Park December 30 (yes, I got a firewire cable). A little exciting driving to get here, then some, er, interesting hiking to get to some of the places and what a great day of photography.

I love Junipers, no matter what the weather, no matter what the day. The juniperus utahensis has so much character. This old guy is just waiting for the thaw.

Juniper in Snowstorm

Juniper in Snowstorm

The fins area is where Landscape Arch is located (more in the next post on that one). The land was layered and then just tipped up on its side. It’s a real wonderland. Especially in the snow.

Fins, Snow, Arches NP

Fins, Snow, Arches NP

And then there’s Delicate Arch. What more can I say?

Delicate Arch, Snowstorm

Delicate Arch, Snowstorm

I met a New Zealander this morning. He was gracious in that he allowed me to say New Zealand was the land of hobbits, then we talked about Arches. He was quite impressed with U.S. National Parks in that getting to them and seeing the cool stuff was pretty easy: just drive to them in many cases. Oh, yes, a hike of a mile or so to see the really cool stuff, but no real effort required. He, too, appreciated the weather because, he observed, it kept the crowds down. Yep, yesterday was the only day I ever stood alone at Delicate Arch. The Kiwi said that in NZ, getting to the parks requires ‘putting on your hiking boots.’

More to follow.

Bob

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Ma Nature takes 2010 out with a bang!

Well, first of all, I haven’t said anything negative about Ma Nature for a long time. I always figured she didn’t need a reason to dump on me. But, of course, she marches to her own drummer and does what she wants to. As we approached Thanksgiving, she brought a blizzard to Wyoming to keep us from visiting our family in Salt Lake. As we approached Christmas, she brought a major snowstorm to Laramie. Luckily, we were able to get to Salt Lake to see family and friends. Now I’m in Moab watching it snow for the second day. That’s good and it’s bad. I may never get back to Laramie, but the bad news is that it’s challenging to get around in the desert.

I went to Arches today and got a few photos. Of course, the firewire cable I carefully rolled up and packed in my traveling computer bag isn’t here. I’m not sure I want to go out in the snow to try to find one, if one can be found in Moab anyway.

No big problem. Here are a couple images I made on the G11. The first is the Delicate Arch trail at the top. You can see the footprints starting at the lower left and going around the ledge. The Delicate Arch trail is interesting travel, especially when your feet go out from under you and you land square on your tailbone. It’s starting to get my attention three hours later. Amazingly enough, thanks to the blizzard I was the only person at Delicate Arch. If I can find a firewire, I’ll show you what the arch looks like in a snowstorm. But here’s what I look like at the end of the hike:

The Trail to…

The trail to...

The trail to...

And your intrepid blogger:

Nanook of Arches

Nanook of Arches

More to follow. As soon as I find a firewire cable.

Bob

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