Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wall Street Subway Station

Last year my son and I took a trip to New York, hoping to see the fall colors.

We waited until the end of October since that is when we read the fall colors came on, turns out last year was a late year for fall colors, plus we got there right in the middle of a hurricane.

We never had to stay indoors, but we got rained on every day, and the sun never shined, cloudy, and overcast when it wasn't raining. and the light was way to flat for good photography.

We took the subway everywhere we went, then walked to the various locations we wanted to see. The subway system is very efficient in New York, almost as good as the system in Washington DC. The only complaint I had about the subway is in Queens, where we stayed someone had made the elevator to one of the stops their private restroom.

Even though the weather was bad, the light was bad, and the elevator restroom experience was bad, I loved New York, it was a trip I wouldn't want to have not taken, the people were friendly, the sidewalks weren't crowded like you see on TV.

I did learn from a police officer that Manhattan does not have good pizza, if you want good pizza you need to go to Brooklyn, he did admit to being from Brooklyn, and did direct us to a place that did have decent pizza for Manhattan!!

One evening we went to Times Square, I had been advised to not go to Times Square before we lift for New York, I am glad we did not head that advise, I loved Times Square, you could feel the electricity the minute you got there, the people were interesting, the giant TV billboards were cool to see in real life, all of the sights and sounds, the painted ladies, no really painted ladies,  mostly painted as super heroes, waiting for people to pay to have their photos taken with them, we declined that experience, and the vendors were many.

While at Times Square we decided to have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, if you have never eaten there, I would advise you to go, the food was fantastic, a highlight meal for this trip!

I would say the highlight of the trip was the 911 museum at ground zero, the grounds were nice, with the fountains that drain into the earth, but inside the museum was fantastic, you could feel the depth of what happened that day, the burned fire trucks, police cars, and taxi cabs, what a sad day, but in the true American spirit New York overcame the destruction, and like a Phoenix rose from those ashes, even stronger.

For me the strongest testament to the people who lived and died that day was the Never Forget wall, behind which bodies that were never able to be recovered still reside, in the words of Virgil which are inscribed on that wall "No day shall erase you from the memory of time"!!!

I was only able to get a couple of photographs there that I was happy with, I tried taking a night photograph of the Queens Borough bridge, but the wind was blowing so hard I couldn't stabilize my little travel tripod.

One of the photographs I was happy with was this photograph of the Wall Street Subway Station, it has nice tile walls, and these columns, once the people got off of the subway they all left the platform in a hurry to be where ever they had to go, and left it quite deserted, I quickly turned around, composed the photograph, and got this.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Calm Waters
On the last day of our Washington trip, my wife and I stayed at a hotel in Seattle so we could be near the airport for our flight home, we decided to take a drive along the Alki  Avenue to Alki beach, the avenue, runs along the south side of Elliott bay, from this highway you can get a decent view of the Seattle skyline.

Once we got to the beach, and found a place to park the car, we got out and started to walk, and check out the beach, and surrounding territory. It is a nice beach, with cement steps that lead to the bay, I would imagine so people can go wading, or perhaps swimming, there was neither of those things going on because it was a little cold, we had gotten to Washington in the middle of a drought, but with the exception of a couple of days it rained the entire week that we were there.

The wind was blowing, and the water was a little choppy, I set up the camera, and waited for the light to start changing, as I was waiting a local came by and talked with me for just a moment, he told me this was the calmest he had ever seen the bay. That surprised me a little considering I had my camera on a tripod, and a bag of rocks hanging from the center post to help stabilize it in the wind!!

As the sun began to set in the west, and the storm clouds of the day dissipated this one sailboat, with it's American flag on the stern came sailing by, the waters calmed down, and the beautiful gold of the sunset lit the sails on the boat making it one beautiful sight on the waters of Elliott bay. It silently drifted by on it's way back to port. I wonder where it was headed, it could have been going to the Smith cove waterway, or perhaps Harbor Island, maybe even the Seattle pier, wherever it was headed it was a beautiful, and calming sight to see.

I loved our trip to Washington, it was beautiful from the San Juan island in the north, to Seattle, and everywhere in between, beautiful green forests, and mountains on the peninsula that reached into the clouds, from the stormy seas that we viewed because of the winds, and the storms, to these Calm Waters.

If you get the chance you owe it to yourself to visit the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you for looking.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Timp First Light

Mount Timpanogos, considered by many to be the "jewel of the Wasatch" looms large over the cities of Alpine, and Highland on the Wasatch front, and the beautiful Heber valley on the Wasatch back.

Part of the Wasatch mountain range of the Rockies as they run through Utah,  Mount Timpanogos raises to a height of 11,752 feet, it has several peeks, North Timpanogos, South Timpanogos, Forgotten peak, and Razorback Ridge, it is truly a majestic mountain, it even sports it's own glacier, the only one in Utah!

Timpanogos has several hiking trails, and can be accessed from several different locations in Utah, along the Alpine loop, if you are ever in the area in the summer months you owe it to yourself to take a drive along the Alpine loop, you can either access the loop from Provo canyon just above Sundance ski area, or from the American fork side of the mountain.

I have taken several photographs of  "Timp" but this is my favorite, there is an 8' photograph of this hanging in the Heber City Public safety building.

This view of Timp was taken from Mill Canyon, just off of the Alpine loop as it makes it's way to Cascade springs, and on to the Heber valley.

I took several trips to Mill canyon hoping to catch Timp bathed in perfect light, along with the beginning colors of fall, on this particular morning I got up early, loaded up my camera gear into my Polaris Ranger and headed out, up over the foot hills of the Wasatch mountains as they line the Heber valley near Midway Utah, past Cascade springs, and up to Mill Canyon Peak.

Traveling mostly in the dark, I had visions of catching some beautiful clouds bathed in the morning glow of the rising sun, as they hung above the peaks of the mountain.

As luck would have it no clouds on this day, but I still set up my camera planning on doing some test shots, as I was waiting for the first rays of light to strike the peaks of this beauty, just as the morning light began to fall on the mountain the sky started to show these beautiful colors of coral, salmon, and blue, morning's first blush of color, then gone just as fast as it appeared.

This photograph was made by stitching 4 separate photographs together to make one large panoramic photograph.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Three of a Kind - American White Pelican

Three American White Pelicans (Pelicanus erythrorhynchos) drift silently by on a secluded pond in the river bottoms near Midway, Utah.

I watch and followed a large pod of these beautiful birds for several days as they took up residence in the valley for the spring.

Finally I was able to catch a colony of them on this secluded pond, I thought it was interesting that they had landed on a pond that was not very deep, and as far as I know, contains no fish, but here they were, thinking they were hidden from the world. I watch them for several minutes, then decided I had to get closer to them to get a decent shot.

As I crawled, in full camo, through the muck of the surrounding swamp, trying to keep my camera gear from getting wet, and muddy, I noticed that a small group of them had separated from the main colony and were drifting lazily on the far side of this small pond.

As I got closer the colony began to break up and these three became separated, I took several photographs as I inched my self closer, and closer, finally able to capture this photograph of these stunning birds.

As you can see in the photograph these birds are in their breeding attire, with horned bills, after the breeding season they will lose those horns, and have the smooth bills that we are familiar with.

When you watch large pods of these magnificent birds flying through the air, they look a little ungainly, moving like a large ribbon through the clouds, but when you get two or three of them they can fly amazingly fast, and agile, flying in perfect unison, great white birds with black flight feathers, with orange bills, and feet, what a majestic bird they are.

Many birds have brown, and black eyes, some have red, and some gold or yellow, these birds have beautiful pale blue eyes, surrounded by orange. 

One quick story about a white American pelican, one day one of my sons, and I were walking through the fields near the fish hatchery, my son noticed this gigantic white bird standing alone in the field, and asked me what it was, I told him it was a pelican, and suggested we see if we could get closer, as we walked up on the bird, it just waddled away from us, my dog, filled with curiosity rushed the bird, I thought surely it would be gone, but nope, each time my dog would get close it would snap at the dog, I thought my black lab was going to end up pelican lunch, it started to move away again until it reached a small irrigation ditch. It jumped in the ditch, which at the time had no water in it.

I walked up on the pelican to try and find out what was wrong with it, as I reached for it, of course it tried to defend itself by biting at me, I took a stick expecting it to latch onto the stick and then I could pick it up, nope, they don't latch onto anything, just open and close their large bills. I managed to get my hands around it's bill, which as it turns out is kind of rubbery feeling, with two large bows for the bottom, I am guessing so they can expand it to catch fish, and a mouth full of water.

 These birds are larger than they appear, and heavy, this one had a wounded wing, turns out the fish hatchery had shot it, to keep it, and other from eating all of the fish,. What a treat though to actually handle one of these live and in the wild.

Thanks for looking, and have a great day!