This photo selection is mostly intended for photos which have not been included in the blog posts. They might be either from trips not covered on this blog or photos just not included in the posts … as I have way too many to be posting all the ones I like. I make no claim as to the artistic or technical merit of the photos, they are simply ones that I personally like for one reason or another.
Please note most photos can be viewed at larger size by opening in a new tab (right-click)
10.23.2020. Is there anybody left who doesn't know how much I love capturing an animal with its tongue out? My favorite big cat, the cheetah, with his tongue out: woo-hoo. In a cheetah pile of five males who have formed a coalition in the Masai Mara, Kenya.
10.16.2020. Earlier this summer, two days after the Cameron Peak Fire started, which has now become the largest wildfire in Colorado's history still raging two months later, we attended our second Gambler 500 rally. The fire started near the trails set for the rally and some of them had to be rerouted. Wildfires are something we live with every year in Colorado, some years more than others. Right now in the middle of a pretty severe drought, there are fires all throughout the mountains. Here the sun lights the hill a particularly golden color with a smokey blue sky as the backdrop.
10.9.2020. It's peak "leaf-peeping" season in my neck of the woods. We just have aspen trees and lots of different bushes and grasses that turn color. One of my very favorite places to go for a walk during this season is Caribou Ranch Open Space. Here are a few pics I took in the last few days. You can read a whole post I made about this trail, which follows the old Switzerland Railroad grade, and its historic features, HERE.
10.2.2020. Into the mine! 25 years ago we could still find mines in our area of Colorado that hadn't been closed in. (I hear tell, of course ... naturally I'm not so old as to have been exploring 25 years ago.) But in more recent years, most of them were purposefully blocked at the entrance by pulling rocks down -- basically a man-made cave-in. Some mines only have a grate across the entrance and it's fun to peer inside, but most of those no longer have cart tracks extending inside, just the dirt ground. So this was a pretty rare find for this day and age of a mine not caved in with tracks still in tact and perfect view inside ... way inside.
9.25.2020. Whew boy, I'm really slacking on the Friday Photo this year. But Erik and I just took a week vacation to another area of Colorado a couple hours away from us to do 4x4 routes. So ... I have a new batch of photos! But I'll start with just an autumn pic because, sadly, autumn is already here. It's beautiful but I don't appreciate it being the harbinger of winter. The area around Breckenridge, CO, is full of little valleys that have been all dammed up by beavers. For as many dams and beaver lodges as I saw over the week, I can't believe I never saw an actual beaver! Here's such a valley, filled with willow bushes, called Chihuahua Gulch. You definitely need a high-clearance vehicle to drive up this route.
7.24.2020. Summer at home is a blast exploring all the 4x4 roads around us -- forest service roads and innumerable old mining roads. It's hard to even fathom how many cabins and mines were lived in and operating during the century between mid 1800s and mid 1900s. When you look out at the area, it looks like just forested wilderness. But when you start exploring, you realize it was practically a metropolis around here. There's a huge map of all the old mining claims in the Nederland Mining Museum, and it looks like a Spirograph drawing gone wrong. Every year we think surely we've found just about everything there is to find. But in mid-July this year we've already found three new mining sites and one strange hoarder site. Anyway, here are a few photos from this month's outings.
7.3.2020. OK, so I've been chillin' at home whilst the COVID19 pandemic swirls around me and the world. But it is my immeasurably great fortune to have a home next to a gem of a little forest where wildflowers abound in the summer. Below is a little album of some of the local flowers blooming to date. So I didn't travel far as the crow flies to get these, but it really is another world as soon as I step into the forest even though my house is just over yonder. I'm putting them in the order in which they bloom. It's still early summer here, so more will be coming out by the day. The first photo is actually a little jaunt by vehicle from my house taken at the Caribou townsite (Colorado).
Wild iris just about to unfurl its petals (a couple hours later they were down), a little bug checking out the inside:
Shooting star with bumblebee guzzling some nectar:
Colorado's state flower, the blue columbine:
Spotted coral root, an extremely tiny, delicate orchid:
Wood lily waiting for some little insect feet to come spread its pollen:
Another columbine holding up its friend ... looks like its petals are wrapped around the little white flower as in a side hug.
4.17.2020. Who knew goats could fly?? They apparently can in Morocco! Or maybe they climbed on the camel's back to get up!? (ha) On the road between Marrakech and Essaouira.
4.3.2020. In the spectacular Bahia Palace in Marrakech, Morocco. A spot of colorful stained glass showing through a latticed gate behind two beautiful wooden doors. These layers of intricacy and beauty define the architectural style of the palace built in the late 1800s.
3.20.2020. Stunning and opulent Saadian Tombs in the middle of Marrakech's medina, Morocco. An unlikely sight, such open peaceful space surrounded by the crowded narrow alleys of the medina. Built in the late 1500s.
2.21.2020. Back to Ixtapa, Mexico! And my favorite little lagoon, Popoyote Lagoon at Playa Linda. Sadly, things changed a lot this year and it was much harder to get photographs of the wildlife. But this was a toothy morning at the inlet where the lagoon meets the beach.
12.13.2019. Another amazing redwood tree from Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California. This one isn't nearly as tall as a lot of them, but it shows some the funky trunk formations typical of the redwoods. One of the most fascinating things about these trees is their trunks ... incredible variety of shape and color and topography.
12.6.2019. Eeks, I didn't realize I'd fallen so far behind. So I guess I took a siesta during November for Friday Photos. Well, I've still been working on some animal black-and-white conversions, so here's another lion, this from Botswana 2017. Part of the reason I chose him is because he has an infected eye, so to publish the photo in color, you just get distracted by his owie. I showed him in the post, "Dark Heart of Nature." The way he's turned in this photo, this is the better of his eyes, but you're still drawn to it in color, it looks like it may have healed from a past infection. He's such a lovely lion, otherwise, with a beautiful mane, so a b/w conversion diverts attention from this and let's us appreciate his otherwise stately appearance. Notice the notches in his ear ... he has seen a few battles in his day.
10.25.2019. Masai women of East Africa wear an impressive array of jewelry around their necks and hanging from their ears. I admire the earrings, but it makes my own ears hurt to think of wearing them! A common tourist activity in Tanzania is to visit a Masai village. I recommend it, as you get to see inside their huts -- they are not what you expect! -- and learn about their customs. They may ask you to buy some crafts, but the money supports the village as a whole, not just one individual. I bought some jewelry and my mom bought a basket, and I think they are all very lovely.
10.04.2019. I'm not sure why, but I think lions make particularly good subjects for black-and-white conversion. I've done a number of them that I rather like. Here's one from Ndutu in Tanzania. A young male sitting in the shade of an acacia.
9.06.2019. Flash back to the past with a photo from Kairouan, Tunisia (2007). This is the only photo I ever manipulated to reflect the reality of what we saw when the camera could not accomplish it on its own. I believe I was using a Canon S80 pocket camera. I took one pic metered to show the Great Mosque in the window and one metered to show the interior of the medina. Then I melded them in Photoshop. (A Photoshop version more than 10 years old.) I recently upgraded one of my cameras to full professional grade and it has HDR capability, which Erik just pointed out to me is basically what I manually did with this photo ... HDR takes multiple exposures and melds them together. So look at me, I was old school! Kairouan is a UNESCO World Heritage town and the Great Mosque is one of the largest and most important in North Africa.
8.30.2019. Oops I fell a little behind this month, enjoying summer in my 'hood. Here's a pic from a ghost town we ran across in our 4x4 adventures this summer, near Fall River Road in Colorado.
8.2.2019. Looking up a cluster of relatively young redwood trees in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California. There are trees in this park 1,800 years old. I don't know how old these are, but their trunks are still quite thin compared to others. You look up and up, and can't even see the tops. Puts you in your place as a tiny creature in both size and time.
7.12.2019. Here's a super oldie, from a trip not chronicled on my blog to Italy. The ceiling of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City. What an amazing piece of art and architecture. Somewhat renowned as the quintessential piece Renaissance architecture. I don't know much of anything about architectural periods, all I know is the basilica is absolutely ethereal.
6.28.2019. Red chair, empty in the early morning. The significance: In Armila, these were our neighbors on the north side ... the only huts between ours and the river. That chair always had somebody in it, and usually there were several chairs occupied outside. The woman of the house was often hand-sewing molas while sitting in that chair (read about molas HERE). Kids playing, men talking. Woman laughing the loud cackle laugh that all Kuna women seem to have. There were always plastic chairs full of people there in that space between the two bamboo huts. So one early morning when I walked by and that chair was empty, just sitting there facing the river, it stood out to me, and in context of my own experience there, it was somehow poetic. In a strange way, to me it represented the family's continual motion and vivacity through this singular moment of emptiness. And so I share with you ... the red chair.
5.24.2019. Leatherback turtle tears: today's Friday Photo ... I think it's one of my most favorite shots ever. Some say turtles cry when they lay their eggs because they're sad to leave their babies behind. It's poetic, so let's pretend for a moment that it's true. It fits the picture.
To come clean, I didn't set out to photograph turtle tears, this is way cropped in on a full leatherback head, but when I zoomed in to 1:1 to see how in focus it was and I saw the clarity of the tears, I was really excited to crop it in. The more I look at it, the more I love it. Not my photograph per se, but just the turtle herself, her eyeball is so beautiful and trippy, reflecting the sky, and the little bubbles inside the gooey tear are so delicate, perfect little globes. I will talk more about the leatherbacks in the future (including their tears) ... witnessing them nesting was one of the most profound experiences I had in Armila. Or frankly, ever.
4.19.2019. Amboseli skies, Kenya. I love how immense the sky feels on the savanna plains of Africa. It can be a blistering clear blue, but my favorite is when the clouds take over the sky as their playful or dramatic canvas, depending on their mood.
4.5.2019. From Tarangire in Tanzania. Today's photo I title, "Texture." Although I think it's really sweet, the baby suckling its mom, what strikes me about it is the variety of textures on the baby's trunk, its ear, and mom's leg and tummy. The skin on mom's tummy almost looks the bark of a tree. And to see all the muscles in the little trunk crinkling it up. Plus various layers of dried mud on the thick skin add to the texture and color.
3.29.2019. From Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. We saw more grey crowned cranes than I would ever have imaged hanging out in one place! Our guide said it was mating season so the males were coming together in groups and showing off for the ladies. I saw flocks of 20 or 30, and when they all took off in flight together, it was majestic. But unfortunately, I was never quick enough on the draw to capture a whole flock in flight. But today I share a small group, one of them just about to take off.
3.22.2019. From Tarangire, Tanzania. This was a park with very unexpected landscape and terrain. I put it on my itinerary based solely on the recommendation of an acquaintance who frequents East Africa, so I'd done no research or anything on it ahead of time. I absolutely loved the huge baobab trees dotting the landscape, interspersed with acacia. Not really what I expected in East Africa, the land of savannas. We saw so many elephants there, it was such a treat.
3.15.2019. Back from a most excellent safari in East Africa. Today's Friday Photo features the animal I most wanted to see on this safari. Each safari I usually have a specific animal as a goal to see. Amazingly, it usually works out! For example, last time, in the Okavango Delta, I most hoped to see a leopard. (as described HERE) This time, even though I felt it was a tall order, I most hoped to see a baby cheetah. I've never seen one in the wild, but they are the cutest animal ever on TV and in other peoples' photos. And guess what?!! Look who's peeking over mama's head in a small bare patch among the tall reeds. Sighting this precious creature was just about the best thing ever. Ndutu, Tanzania.
2.01.219. I'm back from vacation in Mexico. Here's one of the lovely creatures I just met there. I've probably met him several times before, as I always visit this lagoon which gets more and more full of roseate spoonbills every year. My particular delight this year was capturing spoonbills in flight, finally with some decent shots, which I've been pining for. Perhaps I'll make a Tuesday Tale with a series of flight photos ... I didn't photograph too much else this year besides that. But in the meantime, please meet Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Spoonbill (they all look alike) stretching its wings, an elegant spread of feathers above its head for me to admire.
And here's one more with a view of the underside of the wings. Here you can even see the skeletal structure. I think he looks like a vampire with cape pulled up about to fly to me and suck my blood. My cousin thinks he looks like a conductor with his baton raised ready to start a symphony. What do you think?
1.11.2019. From Chios Island, Greece. I'm part of a Google+ group (for however long Google+ lasts, then transfer to MeWe) that's all about abandoned places, so I've been going through some of my past trips looking for appropriate photos. It's been rather fun. Here's one from Volissos, a town half abandoned and half lived in.
1.04.2019. From Costa Rica, at the La Fortuna waterfall just outside of town, Erik and I walked through what was advertised as an orchid garden at La Fortuna waterfall. Although we were inspired by the concept and by the picture tags beside each orchid that showed its flower, very few were actually in bloom at the time. But this was the most interesting one. I think it looks like a couple in traditional costume dancing ... the man with billowing pants and boots and hat behind a buxom woman in a long skirt, both of them with their arms wide open.
12.21.2018. From Costa Rica, a mama sloth and her baby. I went to some amount of trouble to get to the interior rainforest region of Costa Rica with one purpose in mind: to see sloths. If I was going to Costa Rica, the number one thing I wanted to see was sloths! So Erik and I took a minivan shuttle from our base in Tamarindo into La Fortuna in the Arenal region for a couple days and booked couple guided walks/tours to find them, and we saw about 15 or 16 (more than I expected)! They are literally everywhere, but the untrained eye will walk right beneath them or by them and never know it, they are so well camouflaged in the thick canopy of trees. These guys actually had a ray of sunshine cut through the forest and warm them up, they moved around and spent some time giving themselves a good scratch with their wickedly long claws. Taken (oddly enough) with a cell phone camera help up to a little telescope.
12.14.2018. From Kashan, Iran. A wealthy merchant home, the Borujerdi House, a relatively recently-built home (mid-1800s) now open to the public as a museum. Typical Iranian architecture with the beautiful reflecting pool -- quite a long one for a private home, I guess illustrating the wealth of the homeowner -- and the wind tower (or wind catcher) rising up behind.
12.07.2018. Today's photo comes from a series I took of the spectacular designs in the sand on Tamarindo Beach in Costa Rica left by the receding tide. I have to credit my mom for first thinking to take a photo of this beautiful phenomenon with her point-and-shoot camera. I got the idea from that to take some with my phone camera. I spent a good 30 minutes photographing the sand one morning. People were watching me wondering what I was doing ... some even came to ask, haha. I was mystified at first over how these patterns were made, they are so intricate and yet repeating, and they remind me of paintings, like some kind of Japanese or Chinese style painting of trees in a gentle forest. But it turns out it's nothing more than water eroding the sand ... this sand happens to be the right consistency, density and with the black color bands (which I also see in Mexico), and probably the right slope on the beach for the water to run down. I asked many people if they'd seen anything like it, people who spend a lot of time around water, and only a couple had. So I don't think it's particularly common to find these specific types of designs. Anyway, I thought they were magical. I processed a whole bunch of the pics and will probably throw them all into a post.
11.30.2018. Today's photo comes from my recent excursion to Costa Rica. Our nature guide asked if we wanted to go check and see if a viper was still hanging out where he had seen one the day before. I'm not a fan of snakes. Actually, I'm terrified of them. (although I did survive a 15+ foot, 100+ pound python being draped around my neck in Uganda ...) And yet, I chirped up, "Yes!" And weirdly, I genuinely meant it, in spite of my fear. So ... I'm figuring we're looking for a typical snake, maybe 4, 6 or 8 feet long. Suddenly our guide steps off the trail and tells us to be careful as we approach him, he lifts up a leaf on a bush and there, curled up on top of another leaf, is a tiny snake, so small it doesn't even take up the whole leaf. I was stunned! As stunned by its smallness as I was by the Uganda python's enormity. To think that venomous snakes aren't just slithering around but that you could brush up against a benign-looking bush and find yourself in the path of their fangs ... eeeeks! It was hard to get the camera to focus on his little head. But I got this one shot of his eyeball nice and crisp. I included a pic from further away though his head is unfocused, to try to give a better sense of scale.
11.09.2018. Today's photo, from Chobe National Park in Botswana, shows a lion cub licking blood off his mouth as he and his family gorge on an elephant who collapsed and died the day before (don't know why). It's sad for the elephant, but the lions are getting a heck of a meal! I like this pic for the scale it provides ... the elephant's ear is larger than the whole young lion! You can see a lioness with her head underneath the flopped-over ear behind.
11.02.2018. This Friday Mosque in Esfahan, Iran, is very old ... the oldest parts are left bare, not used in the current day, so tourists -- non-Muslim as well as Muslim -- can walk around in it. I really like the brickwork line patterns. This ancient portion of the mosque feels particularly elegant in its austerity.
10.19.2018. Back to Antarctica. I took a fair number of pics of small birds far away on ice shelves and never really looked closely at them on the computer ... as they didn't seem very crisply focused and didn't really have much interesting context with just flat snow all around them. But I was scrolling through a few days ago, and thought this one was kind of fun. These are kelp gulls. The one has his two look-outs and appears to be cleared for take-off!
10.12.2018. While I'm a big fan of Game of Thrones in terms of watching the show (and rewatching the show several times), I'm not one of those fans who knows all about the actors and the sets and the behind the scenes theories and etc. etc. However, Erik and I do sometimes talk about the characters as if they were real people, wondering what their motives are, criticizing their decisions, etc. I specifically remember walking along the medieval cobblestone streets of Girona in Catalonia, Spain, and having such a discussion. The new season (2015) was going to premiere while we were traveling in Europe, so it was on our minds. Well, I only just found out that Girona was used as the filming location for several Game of Thrones scenes. Though those plot lines in the Girona setting hadn't taken place yet when we were there, now I can look back on my photos from Girona and see how they compare (as there are now many websites touring the filming locations, comparing the real life set to the film). We stumbled across these quiet steps leading up Sant Marti Convent early in the morning before the cafes had even opened. Turns out this is the setting in the Free City of Essos where the blind Arya Stark got in the knife fight with that creepy other "girl with no name." My guess is that since being used as the film set, it's more difficult to find a deserted time like this. You can see me in the second picture, perfectly healthy at the bottom of the steps -- fortunately I have both a name and a face.
10.05.2018. Sometimes I don't have to travel far at all to find beauty worth sharing. Though traveling is my passion, I'm blessed to live in a place that other people visit as a vacation destination -- Colorado's Rocky Mountains. This sweet pond is just about a 30-minute walk or a 5-minute drive from my house. The beginning of the autumn leaf turning. We don't have the wide variety of leaf colors that places like the East Coast of the USA have, mostly just golden leaves of the quaking aspen trees. But they have their own magic.
09.28.2018. A quiet space inside a rooftop basilica in Girona, Spain. As a photo, I liked the lighting and how green the water was (though I don't really know why ... algae?) As a visitor, the peaceful atmosphere was pretty serene. Girona is not an overcrowded tourist destination, so it's not like we needed a serenity break, but it's nice in any circumstance to get those breaths of quiet air.
09.21.2018. A door to the spectacular Imam Mosque in Isfahan (also Esfahan), Iran. To get a sense of scale, notice the bench for humans to sit upon on the left in the first pic. So an average person would have to stand on a sizeable stool to actually use the door handle, or door knockers, though it looks to me like a handle to pull the door shut. It was impressive for its size, but I thought it was quite beautiful for the intricacy of the metal work and the subtle shift in colors along it. Including three photos working down from full size to close-up detail.
08.31.2018. By far my favorite cemetery, and one of my favorite places to have visited, period, is Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. The post I published about it HERE on the blog remains the most photo-laden article I've ever presented, yet I had to cull so many images I liked to trim it down to that size! I was recently browsing through my folder of images I had flagged for processing, and seeing all the images there that I didn't include in my post sparked the sudden remembrance that this is precisely what "Friday Photo" is for! What's so amazing about that place is that looking down every alley, around every corner, there is something beautiful, profound, unusual or just plain photogenic. My 10-22mm wide angle lens never had a better use, as there was usually very little space between the camera and a tall mausoleum or statue.
Anyway ... here's a double-header. The first pic is just another example of a typical "street" corner in the cemetery -- a corner that would seem singular and notable in another setting, but is merely run-of-the-mill here. The second pic is just another typical "alley" with a rather pretty mausoleum at the end. It's even prettier from the front, but I like the "back alley" view, the small white cross, the stained glass on the other small mausoleum, and the purple flowering bush in the open space. I'm not generally fond of humans in my photos, but I think the lady here actually adds something.
08.24.2018. Brainard Lake Recreation Area near Ward, Colorado, is where I spent a fair amount of my time photographing wildflowers this summer. Although it's near where I live, it had been off my radar for many years as I felt the entry fee was prohibitive to casual visits. Then I found out that my American the Beautiful parks pass works to get in there! So huzzah! One evening after photographing I sat on some rocks in Long Lake (just off the shoreline) and had a happy hour beer that I had toted with me. It wasn't an amazing sunset, but it was extremely peaceful and relaxing and the perfect end to my day. It's occasions like this when I really appreciate my wide-angle lens that I was shooting with that day.
08.17.2018. I spent a lot of time photographing flowers in the mountains around where I live this summer. Elephant heads are my favorite wildflower because, well, because they look like tiny elephant heads! The are a very high altitude flower that likes marshy zones. One magical morning I was in a field of them shortly after a soft rain, and the sun came up shining on all the water turning it into a crystal field. This is an elephant head and some grass sparkling in the sun.
08.03.2018. I don't know the lady's name. I met her with Berrie in Namibia in 2017, we went to talk to a woman named Helena who has built for herself a successful life while disavowing witchcraft. I worry for her because of her success, but she refuses to be intimidated. She tries to help her neighbors by giving them seeds from the fruits and vegetables on her successful farm plot so they can start their own. But she says they are mostly too lazy to do their own work, they just beg her for food and feel resentful that she's successful. She is an incredibly hard worker with wonderful, strong vision. I hope she stays safe. Anyway, while we were waiting in her courtyard for her to get home from her office job, various members of her extended family passed through, some stayed to talk to us. This woman passed through, coming in from the field with a wooden hoe over her shoulder. She was very friendly, and graciously agreed to be photographed. I liked her hat perched on top of her head.
07.27.2018. I'm usually photographing creatures who are a little larger on my travels. This year, closer to home, I tried my hand a few times at capturing some lovely butterflies hanging around the wildflowers. An arachne checkerspot sleeping on a harebell:
A parnassus butterfly perched on a shooting star, one of my favorite wildflowers:
07.20.2018. A hippo on the Chobe River, Botswana, a veritable waterfall coming out of its mouth. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure exactly what's going on ... at first I thought he was shoveling that water into his mouth, but it looks like it's actually falling out of his mouth, so maybe he's just playing taking water in and swishing it around and spitting it back out. Well, in any case, I like the look of it and his reflection in the water.
07.13.2018. One day I will find the energy to make photo galleries by subject, and the first one I'll make is of critter tongues ... you may know by now that I love capturing an animal when it's got its tongue out. It's weird, I know. I'm probably lying about finding the energy, but in the meantime, here's a lion cub lick!
07.06.2018. I really don't think "collections" are going to be the new norm on Friday Photo, but this Friday I'm sharing another collection taken in the past week on 4x4 trails near my home in Nederland, Colorado. It's our state flower, the blue columbine. I think they are such cheery and interesting flowers. They grow wild particularly well at high altitude, the location of the photos below is at about 10,000 feet above sea level. They prefer moist soil and shaded areas, so you will find batches of them especially in groves of aspen trees or in dense marshy bushes.
06.29.2018. The first thing I was drawn to take photographs of -- this was before I ever went on safari and became addicted to critter photography -- was doors and their details ... especially keyholes and locks. But I seldom included them in blog posts because they didn't really help illustrate or describe a place, and I guess I've always intended my feature posts to be a little more informative, either of the location itself or of my own adventures there (eeks, that sounds kind of self-centered, haha). But I'm still fond of the subject, and have printed a lot of these types of pics to hang around my house. So I thought I would start sharing some of them in Friday Photo, which is precisely my place for sharing photographs of any nature, whether or not they are relevant to feature posts. So here's a little collection of keyholes and padlocks from Central Europe ... Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
06.15.2018. Today I share a few photos from my own backyard ... please see my post about Colorado Wildlife for more pics from my yard in the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding area ... a lovely destination for any tourist desiring to spend time in the outdoors. This was a terribly exciting morning for me when I walked out on my balcony and saw this large mother moose and twin newborns in tow. I don't know their age, but others in town estimated maybe a week old. I was just beside myself, and I ran and got my camera and fired off several shots before I even found Erik to tell him, I wanted so much to get some photos of such a blessed sighting! So I share a few with you here.
06.01.2018. I chose this week's photo with Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on the Big Island in the news, how it's changing the landscape once again, lava rolling across it with the raw power of the planet itself. I'm often awed by the force of weather events, the power of water in an ocean, etc., both those are things that reside on the planet, whereas the volcano IS the planet, birthed from the mass of minerals that first came together and formed a molten core. Watching the lava flows moving across the land, you get the unmistakable feeling of the earth being alive. This photo is of the extinct volcano on Maui, Haleakala. You can read more about it in my Hawaii post. It's one of the most unique places I've been, and one of the cool things is how high the summit of the main crater is, up above the clouds. What struck me about this photo, while it may not be the most photogenic scene, is how much the clouds behind the mountain look like ocean water crashing against rocks on the shore. It's like the clouds have rolled in as a big wave, hit the mountain lower down and have now shot up into the air in a cloud spray. For comparison, below it is a photo of water crashing into rocks on the shoreline of Maui, water spraying up into the air.
05.18.2018. This is a blast from the past, and while I generally try to make Friday Photo a section where photos are either published first before being included in an larger article or feature photos that will never be included in a feature post. This pic was published in an Iceland post, "Fire and Ice," however, I've gotten much better at post-production with my photos since then, so it's been reprocessed here. But the reason I'm posting it today is because I have finally finished binge watching Vikings, and when Floki steps onto Iceland and is walking around all these magical places, the first place I recognized was Skógafoss. Anyone who left his life up to his Gods and then stumbled across this magnificent waterfall and rainbow would surely think, as Floki did, that he was blessed and it was a blessed land. There is supposedly a legend that one of the early Viking settlers (in real life) in the area hid a treasure chest behind the waterfall and it still waits to be found!
05.11.2018. I've started to spend some time converting color pics into black-and-white. I don't really know what I'm doing, haha. I'm just having a little fun. Put on some nice tunes or select a fun podcast to listen to and scroll through photos looking for good conversion candidates, then play around with them ... good way to waste a few hours in a day! Here are two lions, the first from Botswana, the second from Namibia, that I converted. The first I title, "sad lion." He looks melancholy, or at least very thoughtful.
05.04.2018. Today's photo is a throwback to my first trip to China, when I was romping around Beijing all by myself, managing to get by with my smidgen of Mandarin. My relatives who had earlier visited Beijing recommended this off-the-beaten track place of Prince Gong's Palace. It was easy to get to and I spent an afternoon leisurely toodling around it, and had a lovely time. I love the rounded doorways in traditional Chinese architecture. So quaint and inviting.
04.20.2018. Life was hard on the Colorado Rocky Mountain frontier in the 19th and early 20th century. This is gold and silver mining country, "the mineral belt." Brutally cold winters, short summers and very hard labor in the mines, plus the inevitable diseases of the era took many miners and their families into an early grave. I came across this old cemetery, Buckskin Joe cemetery, a few miles northwest of the town of Alma in South Park. Baby Berry in the background lived five days, and another child not long enough for a name or dates. We can only surmise what took the wee ones so quickly.
04.13.2018. I wanted to take a photo of this woman making and holding the basket she was weaving. I've bought several of these throughout Africa; I use them for hot pads and coasters, I actually don't know how the locals use them. We were in her family's courtyard in northern Namibia to introduce ourselves to a local witchdoctor, Makukutu. I posted a Friday Photo of his father January 26, 2018. I think this woman is Makukutu's sister. Anyway, he noticed me asking her if I could photograph her, and before I could get the camera up and explain to her what I wanted in the photo (her and her work), Makukutu had leaped over and inserted himself into the scene -- a master photo bomber. He looks like such a weasel (second pic), or a little snake who slithers off into the grass after an evil deed. Don't you think? He looks obsequious, except his attention was unwanted, so he obsequented pointlessly, haha! (sure, it's a word) Well, he ditched us the following day when we made a specific appointment with him and confirmed it only 10 minutes before arriving. When we got there, a little gang of kids came out to greet us and told us he had to very suddenly go into town. Anyway, so the one photo I got of her by herself is not great but it does show her creation, a very common type of weaving in Africa. The second pic makes me both cringe and laugh.
04.06.2018. In memory of Granny Sabina, who passed away this week. Beautiful, ebullient soul. She put the cheer in cheerfulness. She and her family are some of the featured people interviewed in the film African Witchfinder.
03.16.2018. This is one of my very favorite photos from my last trip to Botswana. I just love the position of the adult elephant smooshing its face into the mud, and then the baby standing nearby. This was on a Chobe afternoon boat "cruise" in Chobe National Park, part of the Okavango Delta region.
03.9.2018. I love vervet monkeys in spite of their rascal nature. Or I don't know, maybe actually because of it. Except when they are chasing *me* and attacking me when I'm trying to walk home with my leftover pizza (as would happen to me when I lived on the grounds of the UWEC). My favorite feature of the vervets is their hands. They're just so adorable, these little furry human-like hands. I like watching them eat and groom each other. I chose this pic for today's Friday Photo because I find the one monkey holding the other's one hand so sweet, presumably mother and child. If you like vervets, you can see a bunch more in my post about the ones at the UWEC.
03.02.2018. I think this is almost like a cartoon scene, the crocodile trying to be so incognito, disguised as a log, with his eye just cracked open to signal to us he is cognizant of his villainous position and intent. And the turtles seem blissfully unaware ... the one even has his foot right on the crocodile's mouth. I spent ages watching this, waiting for the croc to suddenly snatch that turtle, but it didn't happen on my watch. From my favorite cocodrilario ... the crocodile reserve at Popoyote Lagoon on Playa Linda in Ixtapa, Mexico. I like to imagine that crocodile's journal entry: "Dear Diary, today I successfully infiltrated the turtle club on Log 7 in the northeastern quarter of the lagoon. No one suspected. It was such a thrill. I didn't even eat a turtle, it was fun just to lurk and revel in my disguise, knowing I could munch them for lunch at any second." And p.s. the water really is crazy green, that's not me saturating the color.
02.9.2018. Today's portrait comes from the next post I'm working on about the Candombe parade we watched in Buenos Aires. I haven't shared much of anything about our time in Buenos Aires yet except about the amazing Recoleta Cemetery. But we had some other lovely days and experiences, and one of the most fun was unexpectedly running across this Afro-Uruguayan parade, which I later found out is listed as an "Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. Stay tuned for more about it coming in my next feature post. This is one of lovely dancers smiling with all the grace of someone having a genuinely good time twirling around the cobblestone streets!
02.2.2018. Driving around Chios Island, Greece, we saw many of these roadside shrines, which we were told are erected in the memory of someone who died at that spot. It's a bit astonishing to think so many people die along the roadsides. I have a photo post in the making showing just these. But here's a preview, this is my favorite one, because it's very old and weathered, not like a lot of the newer fancy, sparkling, smartly painted ones, and also for the setting -- crooked on the hillside, with the lone tree beside it and the way the clouds are coming up behind it. To me, it has a mood and a feel of time.
01.26.2018. This is the father of a witch doctor and supposed traditional healer in Divundu, Namibia, known as Makukutu. If you know the call of the red-eyed dove, a constant background noise in southern Africa (along with the ring-necked dove), you'll understand why we mimicked the dove sound with the words, "who is Makukutu," among other variations with "Makukutu" for the rest of the trip after he evaded us when we requested to visit him for an official interview in 2017. Without launching into the whole story (perhaps appropriate for a vignette in Tuesday Tales), I simply present the father as a quiet man with a kindly face, whose witch doctor-healer son was apparently not powerful enough to heal his own father of cataracts and incontinence ... when the man stood up, I noticed a stream of urine running down his ankle beneath his pant leg onto the ground. I don't point that out to degrade the elderly man's dignity, but in exasperation of this witchcraft culture that puts such faith in conmen "doctors" who clearly can't or won't even heal their own kin. I think this man was a wonderfully photogenic face (whether or not I did justice to it). And I wish his son could heal him.
01.19.2018. You'll find 1.4 million better photos out there of this waterfall, but I chose one of my pics of Victoria Falls for today's Friday Photo, taken from the Zimbabwe side (looking at the Zambia side), because of the personal significance to me of having made it to one of the big items on my "list." As shared in Friday Photo on October 6, 2017, I got to actually look over the edge of the falls on my tummy. That was uber cool. But also viewing them from the opposite bank was delightful. Everyone told us we were there in an unusually low water season; only a fraction of the full width of the falls had water actually spilling over it. The locals we encountered (such as our B&B proprietors) were worried we would be disappointed. But in my book, it was still pretty damn spectacular. Didn't take a fancy helicopter ride, just marveled at it from the opposite bank of the Zambezi River. There were other more expansive views of the impressive width of the falls, and views with misty rainbows in them, but I kind of like this one for its secretive nature. It's kind of like you're trekking through the jungle, all hot and sweaty and thirsty as hell, and then the fronds part, and this little portrait of paradise shimmers before you. Is it a mirage? Is it real, cold, dazzling and refreshing water?? Heck, yeah! We were also told that in higher water times, the mist is so thick that you have to wear a raincoat and can't even see much of the falls because they're obscured behind the mist. So every cloud has a silver lining ... the volume of water may have been low, but the upshot was being able to see the rocky precipice, the length of the falls and the river below with clarity.
01.12.2018. Granny Sabina we were told was 89 years old when I visited her with Berrie last September. I first met her with Berrie and film crew in the encounter detailed in my post, "The Peace in Human Touch" (the second story down). I featured her daughter in Friday Photo on October 20, 2017. We visited her at her home twice in September, and the second time we showed up, she called us "friend," which was pretty sweet. I do think I'll try to write a little vignette of our time together this year in a Tuesday Tale, but for today, on this Friday, please just enjoy a snapshot of her infectious joyous countenance.
01.05.2018. Today we have an elephant ear. I think they are remarkable features, and they construct so much of an elephant's mood and personality. The ears are also great at multi-tasking as air-conditioners and fly swatters in addition to collecting audio information (although elephants detect each others' low frequency communication through their feet via the ground). I particularly favor the larger ear of the African elephant (versus smaller Asian). I like the light on this one, and the vertical vein running along the scalloped edge, almost like the hem of a skirt from which the ruffle hangs ... the ruffle here being the vast network of veins edging the ear. Moremi game reserve, Botswana.