Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts


Well, yeaaUH !

Says it needs work.
I may have mentioned....I'm in Kansas for the past month or so by the way of Arlington Texas for a couple of days.  I'm staying in a casino for crying out loud.  Since I'm too cheap to gamble, it just doesn't have an appeal for me.
I'll have to be blunt...while these folks up here are the salt of the earth, there just isn't a lot of things to do other than just go out and count the number of yard art tractors, rusting automobiles and miles and miles of checkerboard acreage.
 The highlights of my days are the 14 mile trip from my office in Wellington to my room at night where I keep my eyes peeled for some new curiosity.  Sometimes the sunrise is fabulous
 and sometimes there's a notable sunset.
 This past weekend, I managed to find a little fishing lake just east of me and found a half moon trying to peak through the trees.
 To my surprise, an Eagle flew up in one of the Cottonwoods near me.
 I would have loved getting closer for a tighter shot but eagle stalking isn't one of my strong suits so when I got a little closer it took flight leaving me with 40 more miles across the prairie to the hotel.
 At least I'm not somewhere in Minnesota chest deep in snow.  I admit that I wanted off Oahu and remember thinking that I would miss that place after I'd gotten home and it's true but never understood how true.  It was a place where you could just pick up your camera and find a great picture to take.


The End Is Near

On Darlene's last day here, we spent time walking around in Waikiki, had breakfast at Eggs N Things and enjoyed watching the huge variety of people all over the place.

At one time, we discussed how skimpy bathing suits have become over the years and talked about how we did not see that back home.  I remarked that it wouldn't surprise me if in the near future, men would start wearing a male version of the thongs that were in such abundance here.  Ms Darlene dismissed that notion and the subject was dropped.

We made our way down the street to the Moana Surfrider hotel where you could sit out under a giant Banyan tree and have dinner, drinks or just sit under a hundred year old Banyan tree and enjoy the ambiance.

Admittedly, I have the attention span of a lightening bolt and so Ms Darlene and I decided to take one last tour up the beach before going back to our room, collect her bags and make our way to the airport.

Since I had not brought my Nikon and had played on my cell phone until the battery was down to zero, I had no way of taking a picture but that was no big deal...right?

Well, as we were making our way out onto the sand I looked up and saw this dude in the tiniest thong I'd ever seen.  Darlene had not noticed so I motioned for her to look (as discreetly as possible) in a certain direction. 

"Take the picture!", I exclaimed.  "My phone is dead and can't take it!"  She fired off this beauty.

So, our final and parting shot should be entitled, "The End Is Near".


The Northshore Pipeline

We took a little drive up to the north shore of Oahu to see how the waves were.  For the most part, the Bonsai Pipeline was pretty tame but still, it was nice to see surfers out there.  In the late winter and early spring, the waves can be awesome and the dream of serious surfers everywhere.

A few years ago, while working here on the island, it was a favorite place of mine and visited it and the nearby town of Hale`iwa  (pronounced "Ha-lay-ee-vah") often.  You pretty much need to be looking for it to find because there are no glaring signs pointing to it saying "TURN HERE".  In other words, just Google it and click on the map.

Here's a few pictures.


Oahu - Honolulu

A couple of weekends ago, before the rain, I checked out Manoa Falls here on Oahu.   From the parking lot, it's just less than a mile up to the falls through groves of bamboo and a rocky and somewhat muddy trail.

Well visited by locals and visitors alike, it's not all that difficult and little keikis (local word for children) running ahead of their parents who continued to yell at them to be careful.

Honestly, I pretended to stop a lot to be courteous and let other travelers pass on the narrow trail so I wouldn't appear out of breath.  I was grateful I had brought along my tripod to stabilize myself in fear of slipping on the rocks.  They had gotten very greasy after hundreds of muddy feet had plastered mud on them.

I won't even try to tell you it was the most outstanding thing I've seen on Oahu but it was a better venue  than hanging out with the tourists on Waikiki.

Also, on the trip back, I stopped off at a couple of waysides to get down and visit some small flowing streams.

I had planned on visiting the arboretum near there but ¾ the way down, it began to rain so I opted to speed up and visit the Treetops Restaurant adjacent to the parking lot.  The food was a so-so buffet of Asian/Fusion dishes with some good old mainland bread pudding as a comfort food.

This weekend, I took a tour around the NE side, trying to see if I could find the old Magnum PI TV show location.

Failing to find the home of Magnum and Higgins, stumbled onto several hang gliders working the cliffs.

A couple of them really got off on buzzing the half dozen bystanders positioned by the road overlooking the bay.  While looking toward the sea, you could hear a little breezy sound and look up just in time to see them zip over you.  Sometimes they approached head on.

So, after church Sunday, I felt a little guilty just sitting around at the hotel so I strolled on down to Waikiki to see if it was still there. Sure enough, it was crowded with the usual surfers coming and going, old tourists trudging around in shorts, flowered Aloha shirts and sandals with socks on them.

I know I will not get a lot of sympathy from anyone but the temperatures were in the low nineties with high humidity making the real feel at 103°.

So I headed back to the hotel to sit under the air condition until late in the afternoon when I would go out.  The light will be better for photos later...yes, that's it.  The light's better.

So just east of here is Hawaii Kai.  Nice sunset.


Early on the Ala Wai

I'm living at the Aqua Aloha Surf hotel on the corner of Kanekapale and Ala Wai Avenue in Waikiki.  That's a mouthful, huh?

Anyway, I woke early and looked out to see a crescent moon reflection on the Ala Wai Canal and it seemed right and just to grab my faithful Nikon and take a short stroll.  At 4:30 in the morning, I pretty much had it to myself, save a few other insomniacs, joggers and walkers.

Hard as I tried, I couldn't make the camera produce the beauty I saw with my own eyes.  As the morning brightened, more and more walkers and runners began to take advantage of the early morning beauty.   Being careful to keep my lens pack on my back rather than putting it on the ground so I wouldn't be an easy target for purse and pack snatchers (we have to have our stuff), I squeezed off a hundred or so images hoping to produce "the one" that I was looking for.

I was so enthused about the crescent moon and later the sunrise that came from the same direction and I began to reflect on how God produces miracles served up daily and our only job is to recognize them.  It's like an Easter egg hunt where many eggs are hidden and the children have to search for them, occasionally asking the father or mother for hints to where they can be found.

After feeling all holy and blessed, I observed a man still sleeping on a bench and wondered if his observance of beauty and miracles would be like mine.  I just don't know.


They say it's been there all along

I have been working in Enumclaw, Washington for a week now and this is my first glimpse of Mount Rainier. 

If I move my head just right, squint and look through the trees, I have my own view of this mountain from my office. 
Western Washington is well renowned for being wet for which I will attest.


Memorial Day 2015

Early this morning, I shoved a very full garbage can out to the street and wondered if there would be a trash pickup today, since it was Memorial Day.

Reflecting on that, I made my mind up that I would observe it in the manner in which it was intended.  Looking up various locations for the observance on the internet, I chose Baton Rouge for partly selfish reasons.  Selfish reasons were mostly the chance to ride Boudreaux II up old River Road, a nice peaceful drive.

It was a sunny day yet cool in my short sleeves.  As I rode north up by the levee, disturbing the occasional egret and crane in the water filled ditches, I passed strings of bicyclists who motioned for me to pass. With hardly any motorized traffic and the cool wind in my face, I felt as if the world was mine alone.

With that in mind, I began to think of the blessing I had received over the years and how nothing is truly free.  I thanked Almighty God for what seemed to be the obvious things but also thought about how even though His Son had died for my salvation, there were others who had sacrificed their own lives so that I could ride down a road and enjoy life without recourse.

Other than one distant cousin that I barely knew, I had not known anyone who had given the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

The Bible tells us there will be wars and rumors of wars and the past couple of decades have proved this to be true.  Some wars seem justified and some don't but at the time, I suspect even those wars seemed to be justified.  Politics have a way of changing the relevancy of events to suit current passions.

Anyway, I arrived at the USS Kidd near the I-10 bridge in Baton Rouge where a small group of people were gathered to pay homage to those who had fallen.  A half dozen speakers including Gold Star family members and politicians gave short speeches amounting to 45 minutes of ceremony.

There was even a guy playing bagpipes ( I still don't understand the kilt thing) and what was a probably a Korean War veteran who played taps.  Thinking the taps rendition was the end of it, I began walking down the levee back toward my bike only to hear another speaker tap the microphone.

At least I did stop and bow my head when I heard someone offering a benediction.

Really, I thought taps always signaled the end to it all.


Leaving Arizona

After six weeks, I am out of here.  Well, maybe not so fast.

As we walked out on the tarmac to board the plane, there was a pretty stiff wind blowing, pelting us with a mix of sleet, snow, graupel and a splattering of rain. That with a temperature of 36 global warming degrees made me question if this really was the month of May.  I believe it is supposed to be in the mid 80s at home.

Just as we were taxiing out, the pilot announced we would be going back to the terminal to be de-iced.  

I am not complaining.


Along Route 66

As my tenure in northern Arizona is about to come to an end, I thought I'd mention a few other sites I've managed to see while here.  The place is scattered with National Parks and National Monuments.

What's the difference between a park and monument you may ask. Well, without getting into getting into a bureaucratic discussion, it's a distinction between a congressional vote and a presidential designation. National monuments are designated by a presidential order and protects things like historical places such as Muir Woods, Ford's Theater, Mount Rushmore and ancient ruins.  Congress designates things like Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and so forth.

All across northern Arizona, the place is dotted with things worth protecting. For example, when the Petrified Forest was publicized, train loads of people flocked to the area, hauling off petrified wood by the tons and destroyed much of it before it became protected.

Today, you can drive into the "forest" and take all the photos you like but don't even think about picking up a chunk of it.

All this is within the Painted Desert, a wide area that spans across Navajo country.  As part of the auto tour, you can enter into the park either from the southern side by exiting off I-40/Route 66 at Holbrook or from the northern end on I-40 at exit 311.  there's also a trip through the Navajo and Hopi reservations if you're into a self guided trip up highway 77.

Either way, you're in for some unusual colors.

Further east, (no national parks or anything) lies Winslow, Arizona.  Remember the Eagles hit, Take It Easy that mentions "Standin' on a corner in Winslow,'s a girl, my Lord, in a flat bed Ford, slowin' down to take a look at me...." I loved the Eagles.

Yep, they have a corner there complete with a statue and the flatbed Ford with a bar across the street  blaring Eagles music, all right there on the old Route 66.

Back nearer to Flagstaff, there's Walnut Canyon National Monument.  It is the former home of cliff dwellers who lived in the layers of the canyon walls for quite a while.

If I have my facts correct, the layers above a limestone base is around 180 feet form the canyon rim  to the base and pueblo dwellings can be seen all along both sides of the canyon in 6 or so layers.

Unfortunately, the mini ice age appeared in the 12th century changing weather patterns for a few decades causing droughts, sending the Indians off for better water resources.

This too, was one of the places that 19th century tourism openly promoted the pillage of artifacts.  so with that, it became a national monument as well as the Sunset Crater volcano crater and the Wupatki Navajo pueblos.

I must mention Meteor Crater also on Route 66.  Unfortunately, I went to visit there and they were closing within a few minutes and their guided tour had already stopped.  It is a commercial venture but if I get a chance to get out there before I leave, I believe it's worth a couple of hours.

According to their information, an asteroid hit the earth 50,000 years ago, estimated at 26,000 mph, leaving a crater over 500 feet deep and a mile across.  I bet that kicked up a pile of dust for a few days.

Anyway, if you think all this place is nothing but snakes and lizards, you are sadly mistaken.

It is rife with artifacts and history beyond your imagination.


Grand Canyon

After skipping a couple of weekend homes, it was great having Darlene come out to visit me (thanks, Mr. Jones) in Flagstaff.

Late Friday afternoon, she and I took a little run down US 89a toward Sedona.  As you descend down alongside Oak Creek, you are treated with vermillion cliffs that make you stop every chance you can, just to marvel at the beauty.

In Sedona, we weighed our options on eating and finally settling on The Cowboy Club where we both chowed down on a brisket sandwich.  I must mention that it had started raining that afternoon and found ourselves fighting for space under a hastily purchased undersized and over priced umbrella.  So that may have played a part in the decision for the Cowboy Club since it was in walking distance from the parking garage.

Making our way back up the beautiful Hwy 89a, we sat by the fire at the hotel and chatted with a couple of Canadians who knew more about the area than I did after 4 weeks here.

Saturday, we headed up to the Grand Canyon.  Arriving there, it was cold, wet and the visibility was less than opportune.  We were confronted with sudden storms of something called "graupel", a substance somewhere between hail, sleet and snow.  With that and the wet splattering snow, we rode east back to the eastern entrance and checked out the trading post in Cameron before giving up and coming back into Flagstaff.

Needless to say, Darlene was more than just a little disappointed in the canyon experience so for her last day here, we decided to try it again.  As we drove west on I-40, we began to see more snow and by the time we were to turn north at Williams, there was enough of it that we began seeing snow trucks dropping sand.  Within 20 miles north of the interstate, the heavens opened, the snow ceased and the sun came out and began to warm.  What  a difference a day makes.

We had not intended to walk as much as we did but found ourselves walking from the visitor's center all the way to El Tovar Lodge.  Along the way we were swarmed with Asian tour crowds and watched as they took selfies of themselves with hand held extensions for their iPhones.

Getting away from the bus stops, we still watched people taking extraordinary photo opportunities near the edges.  We heard stories of the more bullet proof visitors doing hand stand near the edge and we witnessed several near edge experiences.  Of course the older ones kept a safe distance.  Time being short, you just don't want to lose those extra days.

At one point we saw a very large bird taking advantages of the updrafts.  Having heard about the California Condors being released into the area I wanted to believe I saw one. Zooming in, I could see what appeared to be white numbers under the wings.  One man's Condor is another's buzzard.

I might have been wrong but still, this squirrel was keeping an eye out for it.

  As we walked, we couldn't help stopping, taking pictures and marveling at every turn along the trail.

Each and every view seemed to be more spectacular than the last.  As we walked, we speculated on how difficult the trail down the canyon would be and if we were able to not get down...but if we could get back up.  That place is deep. 

After walking better than 3 miles along the paved walkway, we came to a cliff that overlooked Bright Angel Trail, the more widely used trail

It's also the one that the mules take riders down.  I wouldn't ride one simply because I'd feel sorry for the mules.  It reminded me of the poor horse I rode up a trail on Maui last year.  In this picture, you can see a glimpse of the Colorado River.  The dark line in the top right is the bridge that hikers as well as the mules use to cross the river.

Anyway, we arrived at El Tovar, near the park shuttle connection, and had lunch there.  The prices were reasonable and the food was great.  I had the Reuben sandwich.

After taking the shuttle back, we got back into our car and rode around the camp grounds admiring some of the travel trailers and motor homes.  There were elk all over the place but looked pretty scruffy as they began losing their winter coats.

Along the way headed east, I was a sucker for every pull out along the canyon rim.

As we ended the trip, the sun was getting low which warmed up the canyon walls.

At Desert View, we could see the Colorado River quite well near the beginning of the larger canyon.

   It was a great trip and Ms Darlene hopes to return soon.

Noted visitors