Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

One of my photos was recently published on the Tiny House blog.  It is in the “Tiny House in a Landscape” series.  This post is to share a few more pics from that location.






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New Years tree

The large snag in the center of this pic fell sometime between our new years visit of 2011 / 2012 and our visit back in April.  It was something I noticed as soon as we arrived.  Being in tune with your surroundings is something many folks miss.  A good example of this is the phase of the moon.  Ask any random person in the office or on the street and I think the far majority of them would not have a clue.  They would however be able to tell you who is on the current cover of  “People” magazine.  To me this is just sad.  When we live at the cabin we are always more in tune with nature.  I think some of this stems from having to go outside more, just like at home we go out to get firewood, but there we also go out to use the facilities  ( our sawdust composting toilet)  and to retrieve items from the cooler.  While most folk spend entire days sitting on the couch and stare dumbly at a TV.



A Void in our southern horizon.


Some possible firewood for the summer roundup.


The fallen tree was upwards of 2 feet in diameter at its base.  Its age is still a mystery, as well as how long it has stood silent and naked waiting for its turn to return to the earth and nourish the next generation of patriarchs.  This Ponderosa was one of a handful we have on our land.   In the southwest corner of our ranch we have the “Four elders”, who are still alive and going strong, as well as the “Moontree”  from which we named our ranch.

The four elders

The four elders on the horizon and 2 youngsters in the foreground.

When we trimmed some juniper on our driveway, I cut some cross sections of the limbs which were about the size of my wrist.  After looking over them with a magnifying glass  I was seeing close to 100 growth rings per inch, putting the age of these limbs at 100 to 150 years old.  The big Ponderosas may be 500 to 1000 years old or more.

When I was building the cabin Gil stopped by one day,  as he walked past our picnic table he picked up and handed me an arrow head.  He says he has found many near our land, and along the ridge of the bigger canyon nearby.  Our little canyon is about 40 to 50 feet deep as it exits our land, the nearby bigger canyon is close to 100 feet deep.   Thousands and thousands of years of erosion,  and perhaps thousands of fallen patriarchs.

In august of last year I took my girls back to my home state of Michigan and got to visit some of my old stomping grounds.  Some of the trees we planted in my old front yard are now quite big and no longer resemble the scrawny sticks I remember.  We also visited the Nature Center where I spent many summers as a camper and, later,  as a counselor.  We strolled through the beech maple forest of my youth and the forest had indeed changed.  The big trees were laying about while a new crop of younger trees were reaching for the canopy.



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Last week after picking up our Christmas house guests, we swung by the Denver Botanic Gardens for the light show.  Tori and I had stopped there a couple of years ago.  At that time there was a very large tree that was completely covered in small blue lights, and to us it gained tremendous favor as ” The Blue Tree” and we have fashioned our personal indoor Christmas trees in its style.  Last year we upcycled the blue LED lights on our tree for under the bed,  That can be seen at this post.

Those lights are still in service as a “nightlight”.

This year the great blue tree was decked out in green and red…impressive but not to the level of the original.


The Great Blue Tree is now Red and Green

Denver Botanic Gardens

Japanese Gardens with the Creek in the foreground

The Big Pool

Main Walkway near the Entrance

All of these shots were done with my Nikon D90 and a basic tripod, this year it was WAY warmer than the original “Blue Tree” year…but still cold enough for the ponds to have a bit of ice in them.



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Now that we had relocated to a campsite that was not crawling with caterpillars, we were able to start enjoying the park.  On other trips to great locations I often did not have the time to really explore an area…this trip was to be an exception and an adventure.  Tori had never done any hiking in true slot canyons and Zion would provide her first experience.  Unlike the trips with “the guys” this was to be a casual hike in a slot canyon rather than the more hardcore canyoneering that I have done with the guys.  No 150 foot free rappels into potholes waist deep with freezing water.

We started our Zion hiking with a little jaunt to the canyon overlook just east of the Carmel Tunnel.  The park service did a fine job of adding just a few amenities to make the less experienced hikers feel safe on some of the dicey sections.  The “catwalk”  here was one of them.

The Catwalk on the overlook trail

The view at the end of this trail was awesome.  After this warm  up hike we hit a small slot canyon on the other side of the road, we went in far enough to get a good feel for it….and our feet wet…but not to the extreme. Tori was hooked.

Tori in the slot

The next few days we hiked some of the more common hikes in the park.  Angels Landing was one of my favorites for the great views from the top, we also checked out the emerald pools, which in reality were more like caramel pools.  The spotted vegetation set against the sandstone is a look that will always remind me of this trip.

Falls at lower emerald pools

We had some visits from the wild turkeys that inhabit the park, and I got to do some great time lapse work.  This turkey’s call was a sound that I have not heard in the wild for some time.

local wildlife

This time-lapse shot was about 30 minutes long, I also did many still sets and compiled them into a video.  You can check that out on my You Tube page here

Time-lapse at Zion

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We woke to another perfect day, looking back now I see that a 10 day road trip with virtually no rain was indeed a blessing.  Even though we traveled in the desert southwest spring rains can still occur.  We did get a minor touch of rain on the evening of our last night in Colorado.  As we left the Grand Canyon we had just a touch of clouds.  Which is something we were hoping for, at least I was, having some clouds does add to more dramatic Infrared shots.  Today was the first day I dragged out the Sony for some IR shots.

Grand Canyon in Infrared

We started the day with a little hike along the rim trail near the visitor center, it is cool that dogs can join their humans on these trails.  The norm in nearly all National Parks is that no dogs are allowed on any trails.  We got a few pics of the dogs, so they can show their friends how nice their humans were to take them on such a cool trip.

Miss Maybelle at the Grand Canyon

Tori had commented how the background almost looked fake…as if we were doing a photo shoot in some type of studio with the pull down backgrounds.  Eventually we  made our way back toward Desert View and out the way we came in.  Tori got some cool dolly pics with the canyon in the back ground to show off to her doll friends.

We made our way up through Page, and Lake Powell and picked up some more supplies, before heading into Utah.  We broke up the drive  a little by grabbing a couple of Caches outside of Page.  We were 2 for 4, I could have spent some more time looking but I was dressed in jeans and Tori was waiting in the car with the desert heat starting to rise.

The drive into Zion was new undiscovered country for both of us.  We entered Zion from the east entrance and got to see the canyon after driving trough the Carmel Tunnel…hands down the coolest tunnel I have driven trough in some time.  At 1.1 miles it was the longest car tunnel in the US when it opened in 1930.  My first impressions of Zion were that it was a cross between Yosemite and Moab!  Very unique and from now on…its pure Zion.

We made our way to Watchman campground and our three nights worth of reservations.  The loop we camped in was a tent only loop, and no generators were allowed, one bonus we were looking forward to.  However, we had an unfortunate swarm of caterpillars in our camp…it was so bad we ended up moving to the other campground, which turned out to be better for its awesome stars and canyon views.

Our first camp was reserved sight unseen online, South Campground, the other main campground in this part of the park, is first come first served.  With the help of one of the excellent park rangers (Juli Neff ) we were taken care of and our former site was quarantined due to the ‘pillar infestation.  Thanks Juli…you Rock!

Caterpillar Camp

We had dropped the pups off at the doggie dude ranch first thing in the morning so the move to the other site was pretty quick.  We  had a shortened hiking day because of the move, but made up for it by staying an extra day.  One of the joys of first come first serve is nobody has dibs on your spot until you leave…so grabbing an extra day is a piece of cake.

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In our second days journey we had thought about making our way to the Four Corners area before heading up to Monument Valley.  When I called the Navajo Tribal offices about some camping in the area the gal told me that the Four Corners Monument was closed for construction until the middle of June.  So plan “B” went into effect and I found this area called Angel Peak south of Bloomfield NM.  We plotted our course on the back roads from our cabin to there with some stops along the way.  One of the first stops was Abiquiu New Mexico, This is a quiet little town that was once home to Georgia O’Keeffe.  We got off the main road and headed up to the old part of town, here we found some old ruins and a church.

Old Abode ruins in Abiquiu

Church door

While we were checking out the ruins we ran into an older couple who were on a Photography vacation from New Jersey, She was also a D90 user and we chatted a bit.  She was staying at the nearby Ghost Ranch and mentioned Ansel Adams Moonrise over Hernandez.  I remembered the famous shot but had thought in was shot in Mexico…Not New Mexico, after consulting with her husband, who was waiting in the car, we backtracked to Hernandez which was about 15 miles behind us.  We gave a quick search but did not find the actual location, since our cabin is only 40 minutes away or so we decided we could always come back.  Since we returned home I found the GPS Coordinates for it online and will put them in my GPS for next time.  (  N 36 03.778 W 106 07.161)   A lot of change has happened in the area since Ansel Adams took this famous picture back in October of 1941, but it will still be cool to try to capture the same type of shot on our next visit.

Moonrise over Hernandez 1941

Further down the road we stopped at the Abiquiu Reservoir where spring was in full bloom.

Spring Blossoms

After passing trough some cool small towns we made our way to the Angel Peak area and had to drive through a few inches of sleet on the road.  We made camp in the small free campground that we shared with only one other traveler.  This is the view out the back of the truck that night, we would have many more awesome camps on our trip.

Angel Peak from the back of the truck

Before we settled in for the night we toured the campground area, the storm that dropped the sleet was moving off to the south, the angled evening light was nice.  The trails and roads however were a sticky muddy mess after the precipitation.

South of Angel Peak

Rather than post a ton of Photos into these Blog posts I’ll set up a folder on my Flickr pages and will set up a link in the side bar, yesterday I spent the better part of the day consolidating the SD cards from the camera onto the desktop computer.  We had about 1000 pics in regular mode, hundreds more in a smaller size for my time-lapse sequences,a handful of video and infrared shots as well.  Total it was just under 9.5 Gig.

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We woke to a few inches of powder this morning and the temperature is back down into the low teens. Our feathered friends returned, as they usually do when the feeder is full and the fresh snow is covering the land. We were treated to a visit from the normal group of Chickadees, Pine Siskin’s, Nuthatches and Juncos, but today we also got a Clark’s Nutcracker. These have only been visiting recently…I think their range has shifted due to climate shift. These are typically found further north.

Clark's Nutcracker (yes, from Lewis and Clark)

After “Clark” we got a few visits from a couple Magpie’s, a Stellars Jay or two and then the “Gang” moved in…The Evening Grosbeak Gang…Seriously these folks travel in a pack of at least 25 Birds…Even with the slider closed we can hear them chattering, and chirping as they vie for “pecking order” This shot here only shows about 75% of the upper group, there is a second group of about 15-20 on the ground below the feeder.

Pack of Evening Grosbeaks

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