Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bosque Del Apache

Time sure flies when you're having fun, so the saying goes. The week with my family over Christmas was a time get reconnected after 17 Christmases in Minnesota but it is time to start heading back to Minnesota.

Only one photography stop on the way home and it is a doozy, Bosque Del Apache. I have known of Bosque Del Apache for many years and this will be my first visit. It is truely an amazing sight to watch thousands of Snow Geese take flight at the same time. I experienced my first 'blastoff' while photographing by one of the fields. All of the Snow Geese took off at the same time, circled the field then landed back where they started. WOW was the first work from my mouth. There were many more wonders this day that these few images can not convey. If you are ever in the Albuquerque ares you have to check this place out.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Huntington Library

Today was a trip to the Huntington Library with cousin-in-law Gene. Gene used to work at the Huntington Library and is now a member. The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens is located in San Moreno California and is a top cultural location in Southern California.

Members can enter the Library grounds 2 1/2 hours before the Library opens to the general public. We used that time to explore the new Chinese Garden. It was magical being alone with the morning quiet in this beautiful place.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Joshua Tree National Park

My brothers have been keeping me very busy and I've been having a ball. Ralph and I had a day of shooting and we decided meet Ralph's friend Paul and shoot Joshua Tree National Park. I have been to Joshua Tree many times but not for the past 20 years so it was like rediscovering Joshua tree all over again.

We did what Ralph likes to call a "DDD" which stands for a Dawn Desert Dash. What this means is that we get up at 2:30am, leave by 3:00am, so we could be in the Cholla Gardens by sunrise at 6:48am. We made it with time to spare. I was playing with blurring the Chollas and this one is my favorite. It looks like a bird ready to take flight.

One of our stops was a campground that had this tree. According to Ralph it's the only tree of it's kind in the park. I forgot to ask Ralph what kind of tree is was, though.

We ended the day with a hike into the Wonderland. There were many wonderful things in Wonderland and this cactus and dead wood was just a sample.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Valley of Fire and the Mojave Desert

The detour caused by the prediction of snow in Flagstaff had many benefits. Not only was I able to drive thru Zion yesterday but on the suggestion of my brother Ralph I was in for more treats. Ralph's first suggestion was a detour thru the Valley of Fire in Nevada, along with a beautiful drive along the shore of Lake Mead. The Valley of Fire is a Nevada State Park and is a pretty incredible place. The previous image is but just a sample of this place.

The second suggestion was to cut over from I-15 to I-40 thru the Mojave Desert in California. At first I thought I was on a desolate desert road until I realized that this was a pretty popular place. A stand of Joshua Trees rivaled those in Joshua Tree National Park. As you can see in this image there was still some snow on the ground even though this was a beautiful day.

The next stop is at Robert and Paula's and celebrating Christmas with all of my family in Southern California.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Horseshoe Bend

I've picked two images to share with you from today's adventures. As originally planned I took a detour to Page AZ and stopped off at Horseshoe Bend. The day was cloudy but the sight was awesome. A thousand feet straight down is enough to get the butterflies active in ones stomach. When I get back to this part of the country I'll be giving Horseshoe Bend another visit.

My new destination for tonight was changed from Flagstaff, AZ to Hurricane, UT. I didn't want to get stuck in Flagstaff what with the snow on it's way. One benefit of the new route was that it went thru Zion National Park.

On the road to the east entrance of Zion there was a pasture with buffalo. Most were gathered around a wind mill but these were off on their own. I really like the contrast of the buffalo against the snow and the overcast sky.

I didn't get to Zion till about 5pm as nightfall was quickly descending. The east entrance is spectacular with the high mountains and deep canyons. Have I been there an hour earlier there would have been some nice photo ops. While my camera does not hold any mages of Zion my eye took in all the beauty.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Canyon De Chelly

I arrived at Canyon De Chelly after dark yesterday. When I checked into the Thunderbird Lodge I found out there were only two groups of travelers at the Lodge. I guess business is slow indeed.

The forecast was for sun with periods of clouds. Well the period, singular, of clouds lasted the whole day. We were teased once or twice when the sun peeked thru the clouds but it was gone again with the blink of the eye. I really needed sun today but it was not to be had. Most of the day was spend at the South Rim Drive overlooks marveling at the wonderous canyon and the history that lies below my eyes.

The one place in Canyon De Chelly where non-natives can go without an escort is the White House Ruins. I had made the hike back in the 70's and was looking forward to a return trip. It is only about a 3 mile journey but descends 600 feet into the canyon. When I first visited White House Ruins one had to get across the stream as best one could which usually meant taking your shoes off, rolling up your pant legs then finding a shallow place to cross. Times have changed and now there is a foot bridge to make the hike a bit easier (actually I was looking forward to getting my feet wet but opted for the bridge).

The image I chose to share is of the White House Ruins from the canyon level. Seems to me in the 70's we used to be able to go right up to the ruins but overuse has resulted in a safety zone around the fragile area.

Tomorrow I'm off again and plan to stop by Horseshoe Bend. I've seen many an image of Horseshoe Bend but have never been there. The forecast is rain so my hopes are not very high. One more night on the road and I've be with my brother Robert and sister-in-law Paula.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Aztec and Shiprock

The morning started with a visit to Aztec Ruins National Monument. Aztec Ruins is located about 50 miles north of Chaco Canyon. Aztec's first inhabitants were strongly influenced by Chaco and may have been an outlier of Chaco. In the early 1920's Earl H. Morris excavated Aztec over the course of 7 seasons. In 1934 Morris returned to rebuild the Great Kiva. There is much debate as to the accuracy of the construction but Morris employed what he know at that time. It is none the less a fascinating Kiva to visit and to show your respect.

The road to Chinle, AZ and Canyon de Chelley takes one by Shiprock. Shiprock can be seen from distances of 10s of miles, standing proud. I ended up taking a road that was closed during the winter but ended up making the trip worthwhile with a few images.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Chaco Canyon

I'm on my way to Southern California to spend Christmas with my two brothers and their families. Along the way there are a few stops that must be made. The first is Chaco Canyon.

Chaco Canyon is a fascinating place if you have any interest in the pre-historic peoples that inhabited the Southwest over 1000 years ago. Chaco Canyon was the hub of a far reaching advanced civilization that stretches long distances across the four corners region. Many current day tribes trace their ancestors back to Chaco and hold this ground as a sacred place.

My reasons for going there was not photographic but I did lug my camera gears around with me. The magical places for me in Chaco Canyon are the Kivas. Kivas are believed to be places where spiritual rituals occurred. There are many great Kivas in Chaco Canyon and the one I picked to share is one at Pueblo Bonito.

Google Chaco Canyon is you want to know more.

Tomorrow it's on to Canyon De Chelley.