Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
It's a must to view these large (click images), or if you dare go for the giant-sized originals hot-linked under each photo (3-4 mbs/ea-dial-up warning).
Sundown at the Medicine Wheel
Castle Geyser Surreal
The Top Photograph is from the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, a place I hope to explore quite a bit more someday in the near future. We were attempting to visit the Medicine Wheel and were stopped on the account of deep drifting snow and light.
The Medicine Wheel is an important place to many peoples. From the Stanford Solar Center:
On top of the Bighorn Range in Wyoming, a desolate 9,642 feet high and only reachable during the warm summer months, lies an ancient Native American construction -- an 80' diameter wheel-like pattern made of stones. At the center of the circle is a doughnut-shaped pile of stones, a cairn, connected to the rim by 28 spoke-like lines of stones. Six more stone cairns are arranged around the circle, most large enough to hold a sitting human. The central cairn is about 12 feet in diameter and 2' high.
If you stand or sit at one cairn looking towards another, you will be pointed to certain places on the distant horizon. These points indicate where the Sun rises or sets on summer solstice and where certain important stars rise heliacally, that is, first rise at dawn after being behind the Sun. The dawn stars helped foretell when the Sun ceremonial days would be coming. The area is free of snow only for 2 months -- around the summer solstice.
The wheel has 28 spokes, the same number used in the roofs of ceremonial buildings such as the Lakota Sundance lodge. These always includes an entrance to the east, facing the rising Sun, and include 28 rafters for the 28 days in the lunar cycle. The number 28 is sacred to some of the Indian tribes because of its significance as the lunar month. In Bighorn's case, could the special number 28 also refer to the helicial or dawn rising of Rigel 28 days past the Solstice, and Sirius another 28 past that?
Still interested in learning more? Keep reading this article here.
The Bottom Photograph features Castle Geyser, which has some of the most impressive sinter deposits in the world. For more info on this impressive formation from Wikipedia:
The geyser has a 10-12 hour eruption cycle. The geyser erupts hot water for about 20 minutes to a height of 90 feet (27 meters) before changing to a noisy steam phase for 30-40 minutes.
It is also noted for the particularly large sinter deposits that form its cone. These have been likened in appearance to a castle. This appearance led Lieutenant G.C. Doane to name it Castle Geyser in 1870. The geyser is located in the Upper Geyser Basin a short walk from Old Faithful Geyser.
The sinter cone for Castle Geyser was dated to around 1022 using carbon-14 dating. This date is much younger than the presumed age of 5000 to 15000 years. A 3-D laser scan done of the cone shows evidence that this geyser has gone through four to five distinct stages to reach its current configuration.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Grand Prismatic Paisley
On top we see a view from Grand Teton National Park at Oxbow Bend on the Snake River right at daybreak. Below is a scene from the largest hot spring in the United States and third largest in the world: Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Crescent Moon Sunset, Yellowstone Lake
There's nothing quite like mountain twilight and a crescent moon setting into the sunset to create an opportunity to play with night photography. I most likely will blog a few more of my photos from our trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone that we've just returned home from, happy fall!
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Snow Geese numbering in the thousands upon thousands take their first morning flight at sunrise. Flyout at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico during migration is something everyone should see! If you are lucky you will be rewarded with a beautiful sunrise for your efforts of getting up before dawn to be there on time. Bosque is an amazing place that has had some great success. In 1941, only 17 Sandhill Cranes used the refuge. Sandhills now number as high as 17,000 on the refuge.
Monday, August 21, 2006
A Dog Day Cicada (Tibicen canicularis) finishing up a moult, looking straight of the set of the movie Aliens. Cicadas are fascinating insects, with the Magicicada variety famous for it's 13- and 17- year periodic life cycle.
You can see the abandoned skin under the insect. Cicadas are incredibly beautiful at this "just reborn" phase when their wings are still so fresh. Their singing was nice too.
Please do view large to see the best details (click on the image).
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
The cat that has been with my wife and I since we met ten years ago died today. We found her coated in dog saliva with bits of white dog hair near her body. She was the greatest cat anyone can imagine and I have no words to express my sadness that she had to come to such an awful end. We have no kids, our cats are our family. We love you sweet soft Wickett.
Monday, July 31, 2006
I finally got the chance to test my new digital SLR (Nikon D70) out on some long-time exposures for star trails. The moon set really early on Saturday night and I was in a place with low light pollution. I was initially cynical that it wouldn't be worth it on a digital SLR, but surprisingly if you use the special long-time noise reduction tool you can get usable results!
Here's one that was a bit more than 10 minutes long from night before last up at my sister's land in southern Colorado looking towards the Wet Mountains. You can see the light from the Milky Way emanating from above the trees on the middle right into the night sky. Make sure to view it large, since the photo is so dark it's hard to see at this small size (click photo to view large).
Friday, July 28, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Saturated colors that is. We went on a rafting trip this past weekend up on the Colorado River in the Gore Canyon area. We rafted 12 miles down the river and spent nearly that entire time in the rain. There were a few who were cold, but I really enjoyed the day and especially enjoyed the intense colors the diffuse cloud-lighting brought out.
Here is the Colorado River at the mouth of Upper Gore Canyon where the river quickly turns into world-class rapids upstream from here:
On Sunday we decided to drive the scenic route home over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was quite the storm, with some pretty serious wind and cold. We had rain, sleet and mist all at the same time when I took this next photo. The hill with rocks in the background would disappear into the clouds every few moments while we were there.
I like the dark moody feel. Best viewed large (click on photo)!
Here's another from Trail Ridge (again, best viewed large) :
Friday, July 07, 2006
Just wanted to show off this photo that just won an icon of the day prize over on Flickr. Woot!
A morning scene at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. This is just before the sun fully emerged. Bosque is easily one of the finest locations for bird photography I have been.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
This is a time-lapse sequence of a spider lily flower that opened tonight. It opens in no time at all, with the main part of the show just 15-20 minutes.
The flowers open at dusk (notice it getting darker) as it's night-pollinated (moths, etc.). The species seen here is native to Mexico, growing near river banks and similar habitat. It smells really sweet at night!
I took the photo using the D70's onboard flash with the camera on a tripod. It's amazing how much the plant moves over the course of an hour and a half or so, heh. I used a total of 34 photos to make this animation. If you want to see a continuously-looping animated GIF version that is slightly higher-quality click here (dial-up warning, 4 mbs).
Friday, June 23, 2006
One of my favorite native wildflowers of Colorado with a little insect friend. The Monument Plant (Frasera speciosa) is an amazing plant, learn all about it here. A few quick factoids to underscore that point (from the link above):
Dr. David Inouye at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado indicates that Monument Plant flowers only once in its lifetime of 20 to 80 years and then dies. It is thus called a monocarpic plant, i.e., one which grows many years, flowers once, then dies. They can reach heights of over six feet!
Dr. Inouye's research also shows that large numbers of Monument Plants flower every 2-4 years. When such a coordinated flowering occurs, dozens, or even hundreds of plants flower within a small area (often a sunny, grassy hillside). The 2003 blooming season was the most spectacular in at least the past 40 years. The 2005 blooming season almost equaled the 2003 season.
From first hand experience I would agree that they were very good years for viewing this great plant. One place to see them is just south of Tie Siding Wyoming on a dirt road that heads to Cherokee Park Road in Colorado. Can't think of the name of it, but pull up a map and you will find it, or send me a message and I will look it up!
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Black-Crowned Night Herons now have a productive rookery near where I grew up in Greeley, Colorado. The rookery is at Glenmere Park on an island in the middle of a lake. Previously the island had become a rundown rat-infested affair but after a community effort to clean it up the lake is now a premier birding stop in Greeley. Today I was in town to get count them TWO root canals done and decided to swing by the park why I recovered and see if I could get some shots. Here's a Black-Crowned Heron coming in for a landing:
Sharing the island with the herons are a number of breeding Snowy Egrets, one of our more elegant birds:
Monday, June 05, 2006
One of the more regal birds to me has always been the Great Blue Heron. But they certainly have the capacity to be goofy as seen with this one sunning itself on some rocks:
After sunning itself a few minutes the GBH took flight, affording me an excellent opportunity to practice some flight shots!
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The North Fork of the Poudre River in the Laramie Foothills offers one of the last major unroaded canyons in Colorado. The Nature Conservancy has one of the most striking portions in the Phantom Canyon Preserve and upstream of their property the Colorado Division of Wildlife holds the land in the Turkey Roost section of the canyon. This area really is still a mostly unknown treasure of the Front Range of Colorado, and in my opinion one of the most beautiful landscapes we have. Thankfully, local groups have undertaken one of the most successful large-scale conservation projects in the urban corridor of Colorado, with the entire Laramie Foothills area clear out to the plains looking set to be protected for a long time to come.
This is where we headed for the holiday weekend and once there we saw virtually nobody the entire time, it was a great respite from the busy city daily grind. I barely touched the camera as we mostly sat around lounging playing board games and staring at the gorgeous scenery. But I had to take a few photos to share.
Here's a couple of the Turkey Roost area just as a major thunderstorm was moving in. Lucky for us we were on our way home just as it struck.
This next photograph features the view from our campsite just north of the area above.
Here's a shot taken at twilight as we walked back to our campsite.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is world famous for its Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes, but few know of it's extraordinary canyons. When I was looking through some photos I had taken in the area, I realized how these might be well-suited for some experimentation. Here's a view of one of Bosque's canyons done with an artificial infrared effect:
Here color gets thrown into a desert wind...
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Based on the photographs I've posted here so far it would probably seem safe to assume I am a strictly nature photography kind of guy. However, we all know the dangers of the word assume.
In an effort to prove the maxim true, here is a surreal landscape that began life as a photograph I took of the Lake Michigan shoreline (make sure you click the picture to view a larger version, the small one here is lacking a lot of detail).
And I just can't resist sharing this photograph of my niece from this past Mother's Day weekend.