Denali Splendor

Denali Splendor, Denali National Park, Alaska “I stand quietly, feet squishing into the ground, my eyes feasting on the scene before me. I’m mesmerized by the magnificence; captivated by brilliantly colored reds, yellows, browns, and abundance of green. The tundra below mountains of rock, snow, and ice are decorated with a color palette only God could create!” Continue reading

Delightful Big Sur

McWay Fall in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a rare tide fall. Neil and I celebrated our anniversary this month by driving up to Big Sur, California. We had a delicious lunch on the patio of a restaurant next to the river and enjoyed the entertainment of two Steller’s Jays cleaning up half eaten plates. Our waiter didn’t appreciate the birds much but we let him know that their antics added to the ambiance and to our enjoyment. Continue reading

Quest to Photograph Ancient Bristlecone Pines

Ancient Bristlecone Pine (A true story of a harrowing night spent fighting the symptoms of altitude sickness.) I wake with a start. It is eerily quiet in the inky blackness of the moonless night. My mouth is parched and my head throbs with a dull ache. Wondering what time it is, I fumble with the light on my watch to discover that it is only 9:30 PM. In my sleepy state, it takes a few minutes to remember that I am in the White Mountains where I’d come to photograph the ancient Bristlecone Pines, home of the oldest living things on earth. I ponder what possessed me to be here, at 11,000 feet, in a tent on the side of a mountain. I can’t imagine how I’m going to get through this night. Continue reading

Horsetail Fall or “Firefall?”

At every art-in-the-park show, we always get two questions about this image, “Is this the Firefall?” and “Are the colors real?”  Well, the answers are, “No” and “Yes!”  Let me explain…

Horsetail Fall in Yosemite NP

The photo is of the naturally occurring Horsetail Fall and not the historic “Firefall.”

Horsetail Fall is a small, ephemeral waterfall that flows over the edge of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.  The orange glow is a natural occurrence that is only visible for about two weeks in February.  If all the elements come together, that of a clear sky and enough snow melt, the Fall is back lit by the descending sun, creating a spectacular scene.

The “Firefall” was a man-made event, promoted as an official Yosemite attraction from the late 19th century until the plug was pulled by the National Park Service in 1968.  The event was first introduced by the owner of a small hotel, located at the Glacier Point overlook.  As it grew in popularity, large crowds of people would drive into the valley to watch the large bonfire be pushed over the rock edge.  Refer to http://firefall.info/mthouse.html for a historical account of the Firefall event.

Even though the Firefall no longer exists, the amazing Horsetail Fall event can still be seen every February, if conditions are right.  To plan for 2013, you will need to watch the mid-February weather report.  But even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, go anyway, as the winter time in Yosemite can be magical.

 

Lower Yellowstone Falls

Lower Yellowstone Falls

Lower Yellowstone Falls

 

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone displays the power and beauty of the Yellowstone River’s waterfalls. The Lower Falls is the tallest waterfall in Yellowstone National Park at 308 feet. According to Wikipedia, the Yellowstone River is approximately 692 miles and is the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states. It flows northward from the Continental Divide in Wyoming, feeding and draining Yellowstone Lake, through Montana, and  eventually connecting with the Missouri River in North Dakota.

Listening to the thunderous roar of the Falls and pondering the river’s travels, I am keenly aware of how interdependent all of life is.  This is a spectacular place, one that deserves a visit!

Osprey Chicks of Yellowstone

I spent several hours  enjoying the entertainment provided by three young ospreys trying to fledge. To my amazement, their nest was sitting on top of a huge spire in the middle of the canyon.

Their location was far enough away that you needed binoculars or a camera with a large lens fixed to a tripod to view them, so when visitors asked what I was looking at,  I allowed them to look through my lens.

What a joy it was to see their smiling faces and hear the excitement in their voices once they watched awhile. Many people had never seen these raptors in action except for on their television sets and their enthusiasm attracted a small crowd sharing their nature stories.
These interactive moments are what make nature viewing special.

Osprey Chicks Learning to Fly

Osprey Chicks Learning to Fly

Osprey Chicks Learning to Fly

Osprey Chicks Learning to Fly