All posts tagged: landscape

WordPress.com – Upsetting the Balance

As of the end of this month (and 2,000 Daily Prompts, 380 Photo Challenges, 260 Community Pools, and 100 First Fridays later), we will no longer publish new posts, prompts, or challenges on this site. – Ben Huberman, WordPress.com The Daily Post – As you can see from the announcement above, WordPress Prompts and Photo Challenges will soon be a thing of the past. It isn’t the first time that WordPress has suddenly discontinued a feature that many bloggers faithfully use and enjoy. I’ve been submitting photos to the Photo Challenges for almost 8 years. Polite words can’t express my disappointment that they have decided to terminate access to our community of photographers. As a replacement, WordPress suggests that bloggers try this: post a photo (any topic you feel like) and tag it with ‘photo challenge’. Then, open your WordPress Reader and type ‘photo challenge’ in the search bar…  Really – you think that makes it a challenge? Nope –  it’s just a bunch of posts with photos. WordPress, you remind me of this rock …

Blanche Russell Rock Houses

A few years ago, after a visit to the Grand Canyon, we drove east on Hgw 64, then north on Hgws 89 and 89A. We crossed the Colorado River on the Navajo Bridge, and were on final approach to the Vermillion Cliffs when we were surprised to see some mushroom shaped rocks that looked like a group of Smurfs had built houses under them. We stopped to investigate  and quickly realized they really were ‘Tiny Houses’. A worn and badly damaged sign nearby told the story of  Blanche Russell  and her husband William (Bill), whose car broke down in the area in about 1927 (or maybe 1920)… The pair took shelter under the mushroom rocks over night. Blanche liked the area so much that she bought the property and built permanent structures. She lived there for about 10 years and operated a business. When I looked online for more information about the Blanche Russel Rock Houses, I found a number of  ‘folklore’ stories on several sites: “Around 1927, Blanch Russell’s car broke down as she traveled …

The Greenery of Arizona

You might not think of the word ‘green’ when you think of Arizona – but the State is more than just desert with a few cactus! The Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens is a showcase of arid-land plants from deserts around the world. This Dale Chihuly Glass Sculpture– Desert Towers welcomes visitors. It was installed as the entry-point to Chihuly’s first Desert Botanical exhibition in 2008. The installation was purchased by the Garden as a legacy to the exhibition. East of Phoenix are the Superstition Mountains. In the spring, they sport a coat of green, sprinkled with bursts of color when the desert plants bloom. The mountains rise steeply to an elevation of 5,024 feet, and are characterized by sheer-sided, jagged, volcanic peaks and ridges. North and east of Phoenix is the Water Users Recreation Site on the Salt River in Tonto National Forest. The Tonto National Forest, encompassing 2,873,200 acres, is the largest of the six national forests in Arizona and is the fifth largest national forest in the United States. North of Phoenix is …

Calf Creek Overlook – Highway 12, Utah

Calf Creek Overlook on  Scenic Byway 12, south of Boulder, Utah. Unique panorama photos of this area are at Don Bain’s Panoramas. In 2002, State Route 12 was designated an “All-American Road.” Spanning 122 miles, and connecting Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, it took almost 40 years (from the ’40s to the ’80s) to complete construction. The scenic byway crosses some of the most magnificent scenery on the Colorado Plateau: red-rock desert, mesas, buttes, cliffs, and even lush mountain forests. – Matador Network – Utah has the largest open-pit mine in the world. Visible from outer space, the Kennecott Copper Mine is nearly a mile deep and 2.5 miles wide. The mind is still in production and it takes trucks more than two hours to drive from the bottom to the top. – National Geographic – In the Fishlake National Forest in Utah, a giant has lived quietly for the past 80,000 years. The Trembling Giant, or Pando, is a enormous grove of quaking aspens that takes the “forest as a …

The Grand Canyon – Half and Half Vistas

Many of my photos of the Grand Canyon attempt to show the immense size and depth of this geological wonder.  The photos below, however, capture the half and half balance between rock and sky, or rock and trees. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about this aspect of composition when I took the photos. The WordPress Half and Half photo challenge made me go looking for photos, and this is what I found: Desert View Watchtower on the south rim of the Grand Canyon – this really is a half and half photo, isn’t it! Did you know that a woman, architect Mary Colter, designed this building? It was completed in 1932. Desert View Watchtower – really more of a thirds photo with sky, rock and trees. South rim of the Grand Canyon – the foreground is one half, and the background is the other. South rim of the Grand Canyon – a diagonal half and half split. When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income. – Chi …

From Arizona to Alberta – Grand Canyon

In the foothills of the Mazatzal Mountains in Arizona, the cool night time air has a moderating effect on the heat that climbs up from the desert in the valley. But as spring progresses, the heat becomes more intense earlier and earlier in the day. When we start to think it would be a good time to check out how the air conditioner is working, we know it is  time to leave the desert and head north to Alberta. So we packed up our Jeep and began a long and scenic journey home. The Car Guy was confident that the Jeep GPS System would guide us, but he packed a paper map book just in case. He had a number of maps to choose from, but selected the one put out by Harley Davidson because it highlighted the most scenic routes… for motorcycles. Early in the trip, the Jeep GPS declared a distaste for conventional routes, as if to say, “I am a Jeep – I want to feel the rocks and mud beneath my …

Looking Down a Canyon – Grand, Bryce, deChelly

I ran down the hallway to the office and discovered that the computer was down. That got me down so bad that I had to down a drink or two (of milk), then I curled up on the couch with my quilt made of down. Down – what a versatile little word. It can be a preposition, adverb, adjective, verb or a noun. Did I achieve that in the sentence about the computer? Actually, I’m not sure. For a Photo Challenge this week I’ve selected some special places with ‘Down’ view points. The American Southwest is home to many wonderful canyons, some that can be viewed from all along the rim. The most famous is probably The Grand Canyon in Arizona. On a scale of 1 to 10 for depth, width and wow value, this canyon is a 12! Another beautiful canyon is Bryce in Utah. Most people don’t visit the canyons in the winter, but I think they are most dramatic in a coat of snow. Our most recent Canyon experience was Canyon de …

Peace and Quiet at the End of the Cabin Season

It is a Tuesday in mid October. All the families and their children have gone back to the city. Mosquito season is over. Not a single breath of wind disturbs the leaves that will soon blanket the woods and meadows. The only human stirring along the edge of the little lake is me!  I capture the Peace and Tranquility with my camera, then, I do what the Grandchildren would expect me to do. I throw rocks in the water.

Snow Covered Mountains and Furniture

Winter is that discouraging time of the year when the house uses more fuel than the car. – Doug Larson – The first word that pops into my mind when I think Winter? Snow! The second word? Cold! Then chocolate and nap, not because they are winter words, but because it is New Years Day and both sound like a good idea right now… Winter Snow Photos: We were in the Canadian Rockies in early December. This is the unretouched photo of an overcast, cold, snowy day. Talk about Shades of Grey! This is the same photo, but it has a watercolor filter applied – still shades of grey, but sharper! When viewed in higher resolution, it really does look like a watercolor painting. This is what the Adirondack Tête-a-Tête Chair looked like (a few winters ago) in a thick blanket of snow. It would be quite soft and comfy to sit in, I suppose, but terribly cold! Here is the same photo, but with a spatter filter. Doesn’t it look like Jack Frost painted …

Winter White Means Snow and Ice

All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them. – Erma Bombeck – A carpet of white snow is slowly blanketing our part of the world. No one minds if children trod upon it, build snowmen with it, or slide down it. Children don’t seem to think winter is nearly as long as their parents do! Across the street from the Red House, the Hay Bales got their first dusting of white a few weeks ago. The bales are looking more and more like frosted shredded wheat! Our recent heavy frost briefly left a coat of white ice crystals on every surface. This tree stump looks like it has sprouted white feathers! Cascade Mountain sports the first snow of the winter. It won’t be long before there is enough snow in the mountains for the ski season to start!

Alberta – Land of Opportunity

100 years ago, my great grandparents arrived in a place much like this, and declared, “This is the Land of Opportunity.” With little more than determination, they made Canada their home. It wasn’t easy to live in this land of vast prairie grassland with howling winds year long. But the pioneers knew that this land would give them a life that was better than the one they left behind. “This is the Land of Opportunity“, they said. This week my grandson, Curious George, looked out over the river valley near the cabin. He stood still for a few moments and scanned the vista for signs of wildlife – a fish jumping, a bird flying, a bug crawling. This is a Land of Opportunity for his generation too. A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston Churchill – What is your heritage? Do you know when you ancestors arrived in the country you now live in?