Saturday, April 23, 2016

Road Trip to Utah and Beyond

Delicate Arch - Arches National Park

I recently completed a road trip from Boulder, Colorado to El Paso, Texas and back.  I decided to take the scenic route that took me to; Arches National Park, a couple of National Monuments, and some Arizona slot canyons.  This blog will show you a good sample of the pictures I took along the way.

Turret Arch framed by the North Window Arch.  Look closely and you will see two young ladies standing in Window Arch.
Landscape Arch - Unfortunately you can no longer walk under this arch.  A piece of the arch fell of a few years ago so the area is fenced off.
The Marching Men can be seen in the background of this photo.  This is the trail to Tower Arch in the northwestern part of Arches National Park.

Corona Arch - After a few days of hiking with the crowds in Arches National Park I decided to get out of the park and hike to Corona Arch and Fisher Towers.  

House on Fire - I headed to Bluff, Utah to walk some remote canyons to checkout some indian ruins.
House on Fire is located in South Mule Canyon.  This is a fairly easy hike from the trailhead.  There was only one other couple on the trail while I was there.
Fallen Roof Ruin is in Road Canyon - This ruin is a little more challenging to find.  I stopped in the ranger station to get a little help.  But the only advice I got was "the road is impassible if it rains and it looks like rain." After capturing this shot I was returning to my car when I ran into another hiker who had been wandering the canyon for two hours looking for the ruin.
Natural Bridges National Monument is very close to both Mule and Road Canyon.  There are three large natural bridges in the monument.  This is a picture of Sipapu Bridge.  To get a good perspective of the sizes of these bridges you need to hike to the bottom of the canyon.  You drop about 500 feet with a couple of log ladders along the way.
I hiked the loop hike from Sipapu Bridge to Kachina Bridge.  Along the canyon bottom I found this large blooming cactus.
Kachina Bridge - After walking to House on Fire, Fallen Roof Ruin, and the loop hike to the two natural bridges I was ready to find my hotel and a good place for dinner.

The next morning I headed to the Valley of the Gods in southern Utah.  The valley has similar features to Monument Valley but not as grand.  But for a photographer this is not a bad location.  You have the freedom to get out of your car and walk through the area.
I had about an hour of sun this morning.  I hiked to many sites in the Valley of Gods.
Castle Butte Reflection
Another perspective of Castle Butte
Valley of Gods - I thought the tree was an interesting subject and tried many compositions.
The Goosenecks State Park - Not far from the west end of the Valley of the Gods are the goosenecks of the San Juan River. In a distance of one mile the San Juan River travels six miles as it winds back and forth.

Hovenweep National Monument was the next stop on the road trip.  Round, D-shaped, and square towers were built at this site.

Another view of Hovenweep.  From Hovenweep I could see some interesting clouds just across the Colorado state line so I decided to head over for a closer view.
First of three cloud pictures.
I thought the clouds were a lot for interesting then the landscape.

Last cloud picture.  As I headed back to Bluff Utah it looked like the sky might light up so I drove an additional 45 miles to reach Monument Valley.
Unfortunately the sunset over Monument Valley did not live up to my expectations.  So it was back to Bluff for bedtime.
The next morning I headed to Page, Arizona.  I stopped at Navajo National Monument to checkout Betatakin, an Ancestral Puebloans ruin. Over a 100 people lived at this site.
After a quick lunch in Page I headed out to Horseshoe Bend.  The trail to this location is about 8 feet wide and you will share it with about 300 people.
The fort at Lee's Ferry.  The ferry was one of the few locations where early Arizona settlers could cross the Colorado River.
Balanced rock near Lee's Ferry.  My Expedition is in the background.
The original Navajo Bridge and it's replacement.  In 1929 the Navajo Bridge on the left was built to replace Lee's Ferry.  The ferry was used to haul some of the bridge parts across the Colorado.  The was a California Condor resting on one of the bridges.
The next morning I went on a photo tour of Cottonwood and Upper Antelope Slot Canyons.  Unfortunately you can no longer take photo tours of Lower Antelope Canyon.

There were only five of us in Cottonwood Canyon.  While not as scenic as Antelope it was nice to be able to compose your shots and not worry about other people.
Tumbleweed in Cottonwood Canyon
Nice colors in Cottonwood.
We walked through this little arch.
Upper Antelope Canyon.  We shared this canyon with 750 people.  There were four photo tour groups here at the same time.  Everyone wanted to capture the same light beams at the same time.
A tour group was asked to hold around the corner so we could capture this shot.
As you look up toward the top of the slot canyon the colors get lighter making for interesting compositions.
My favorite picture from Upper Antelope Canyon
All of the tour guides are throwing sand into the air so people can capture light beam pictures and falling sand pictures.  Therefore the canyon is quite dusty.  The guides are either wearing bandannas or dust mask.  Wish I had one.
One of many light beam pictures.  I was standing in a line of 25 photographers. We had two minutes to get this shot so another group could get the shot.
At the top of this picture you can see some flood debris.  This material is about 15 feet above the floor.  A good reason not to be in slot canyons on a raining day.
That's all for this road trip.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Last Icelandic Blog -Husavik Fishing Village, Puffins, and Horses

This young lad was watching the fishing boats arrive and chewing on what looked to be a pickle.

The private boats left the harbor at midnight and returned between 2 and 3 pm.  Their catch had to be weighed before 5 pm.   Many of the boats looked to be well used wooden hull boats.  Some were more modern fiberglass models.  Most were about 35 feet long and had only one fisherman on board.  The older boats had a captain and a mate.

The most valuable fish is haddock, followed by cod, and then snapper. Every skipper came in with several boxes of fish.  There are shops in town that hire folks to bait the fishing lines with herring. The fisherman then collect the boxes of baited lines and hopes he comes in with boxes of fish.

A typical Icelandic lass checking out the day's catch.

Besides the fishing boats there were wooden sail boats and schooners in the harbor. Quite a few whale watching tours leave from Husavik.  Humpbacks and Minke Whales are common. Occasionally people see Blue Whales

Our guides gave us a choice of taking more puffin pictures or fish pictures.  Three of us headed out to shoot puffin pictures.

Puffins only have their colorful beaks during the mating season.  There as between 8 and 10 million puffins on Iceland. The puffins spend the winter on the seas. At this time their beaks are grey.

The puffins were flying very fast this day.  It was a challenge to capture a good picture.

Lighthouse on a basalt peninsula.  Wish the lighthouse was a little prettier than cigarette cartoon standing on end. 

An Arctic Tern feeding it's chick.  This chick looks to be well fed. The adult terns would dive bomb you if you walked too close to a nest.  Some times they would drop a little present.

Icelandic horses crossing a stream. There were about 40 horses in this herd.  Wish I could have gotten a picture with better separation between the horses.

These horses are beautiful.
That's all for Iceland.  I enjoyed my photo tour here.  Our tour leaders were fantastic.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures.