Thursday, December 29, 2011

Garnet Ghost Town

Garnet Ghost Town is near Missoula, Montana. Back in September, we were visiting while my husband took classes, so I couldn't resist making a side trip.

The best part is we arrived at dusk. Unfortunately, this meant that the buildings they open up during tourist hours were closed. Still, nothing beat the atmosphere. And the lighting was awesome. Just low enough to lend a subdued eerie tone to the scene.

Amazingly, I had no problems being there. No tingles of the spine. No heebie-jeebies. I will admit the cans below confounded me. I was equally repulsed and facinated. The history major in me thought cool, too bad you can't read the labels. The other half of me that gets easily grossed out by stale food tried not to wretch. It's an interesting combination.

The only other spot that left me somewhat off was a little house that I tried to photograph. No matter how hard I tried or which camera settings I chose, I could not get a clear shot of it. All the other buildings and artifacts shot in the same light came out fine. That particular house kept coming in blurry and dark. I gave up and read the plaque. A family had died there of flu or something. Yikes! Still, I did not have my spidey senses set off. Perhaps the ghosts are benign.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gates of the Mountains

This past summer my husband and I finally got the chance to take the river tour of Gates of the Mountains. I've been meaning to this for about two years, and it was well worth the wait. The tour winds through a canyon and the views are magnificent. That doesn't even touch upon the different kinds of wildlife that grace the area. We saw many different types of birds and some deer. If you're lucky, there will be mountain goats out and about. There are a couple of campsites along the way where they will drop you off and pick you up later. We didn't take them up on that, but we did get a quick 15 minute break at one of the sites which yielded some wonderful shots I'll share later.

This post mainly focuses on the view at the start of the tour, a mule deer we saw and the site where the Mann Gulch Fire took place. The last photo is a perpetual gravel slide that continues to bury one of the campsites. It is currently closed as it is unusable. The picnic tables are completely buried under the gravel.

I highly recommend this tour if there are plans to visit Montana in your near future.

Scenic View at the Start of the Tour

Mule Deer

Mann Gulch Fire Site

Gravel Slide From Mann Gulch Fire
Picnic Tables are Buried Under the Gravel

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Treasures in My Yard

One of my favorite things about yardwork is you never know what you'll find while digging around in the dirt or clipping back branches. These two were just a couple of the treasures I found this past summer. The spider was actually down in the grass, and I was quite lucky to spot him/her. I'm thinking perhaps they were looking for a meal.

The moth was also a lucky find. I thought it was dead at first because it didn't move an inch while I was clipping grass around the tree trunk. Unfortunately, I've been unable to identify it. It's very striking, though.

Finds like these two make all that hard work worth the effort.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas Hike

The weather around here has been unusually warm which is great if you like to go hiking, but you don't want to be pelted with sleet in temperatures below zero. Keeping that in mind we decided to take advantage of the beautiful Christmas day and do exactly that - go hiking.

So off we went to The M which is a favorite spot. The guys headed up the steep trail. Having lost one of my x-tracks, I took the less treacherous route. At first, I was a bit out of sorts to be seperated from my men, but I was quickly distracted by the beautiful fauna poking its head up above the snow.

Soon, I had other diversions as well. A Japanese couple stopped to say hi and ask me if I knew what type of animals were in the area. I said I'm not sure about this season. Then they proceeded to describe the animal and in the middle of that started pointing and said there it is. Well, I couldn't see it until it ran up the trail. And run it did. That is the closest I have ever been to a ferret that isn't a pet. Unfortunately, neither one of us was fast enough to get a shot of the animal. Can't complain though. That adventure was just what I needed to lift me out of my duldrums.

Later as I was heading down the trail, I missed getting a shot of a small red squirrel who couldn't have been more than six inches from me. Again, too slow. However, I realized I need to spend more time at the M in the winter. Next time I'll be ready not just for the plants that sit still, but the animals that are lightening quick.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In Hot Water

Love splashing water. Thought I'd see what I could do with photoshop. Liked the melted cup look. Fits my mood.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Transparent Nature

This is another set of double exposure photos. Some of my favorites of this genre. I find it interesting how nature insinuated itself into or obliterated the man made objects in these two photos. A subtle reminder that nothing lasts forever.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lunchbags and Weight

I have recently discovered the multiple exposure setting in my camera's menu. It's been a lot of fun trying to line up items that make an impact on each other. The first image below is a combination of a ladybug magnet and my lunch bag. I wanted the pattern of the bag to cover the magnet which I think it did nicely. The second photo was merely the happy accident of some experimentation. I happened to notice that the middle of the tape dispenser was about the same size as the circle which shows the numbers for the scale. The outcome was very pleasing.  The title of said photo is not a Freudian slip;)
Lady Lunch

Sticky Weight

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What I Find Disturbing

As weird as this may seem, I find it disturbing that a spittle bug can be infected with a mite. Spittle bugs are about 1/4" long if that. Probably about 1/8" wide. They're not very big. How in the world can a mite latch onto that. I can't even figure out if there's a benefit for the mite. Although, as you can see, there is quite the difference in size, so perhaps there is some nutritional value there. The other thing I find disturbing is the two photographs below are taken from different sides of the hopper. If I had noticed the mite, when I took the photograph, I would've checked. However, unless the one mite moved while I was taking pictures, this hopper is actually infested with two mites. Ewwww!

I find the whole thing disturbing because I believe it proves my theory that the world is shrinking. We don't have to worry about cockroaches inheriting the earth, they'll be gone, too. It'll be mites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and algae.

Lights in the Sky

We had a really awesome Fourth of July this year. One of the best parts about where we live is we can see several displays at once. Mainly because our neighborhood really knows how to celebrate the fourth. However, they also do one down at the county fairgrounds which we can see from our house. It doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Colors of Summer

Winter has come to settle in around here. I love how white makes everything look so fresh and new. Still, it becomes a challenge not to be snowblind by the end of the season. In an effort to prevent that from happening anytime soon, I thought I'd post a few more colorful shots from this past summer.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Insects of Summer

I took these shots while hiking in Hyalite Canyon this past summer. A way too short summer for my taste. I will miss my little six legged friends until the thaw next spring.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Adventures of a Lifetime

Some moments are so magical, maybe even mystical, that they remain fresh in memory as if the event happened merely yesterday.  One such experience took place many years ago, during a brief time when we had lived in Montana before.

We had a  favorite place to hike out in the countryside.  A little spot that was fenced off, but if you knew how to get there and where to park, you could gain access to forest land along this little path that wound through private land.

On many occasions we had gone out there, but we never made it very far much less to the fabled forest off into the distance.  When one is packing a small child, one tends not to outstay the child's ability to remain in a good mood.  So here we are on what we assume to be familiar land.  Listening once again to the moose bugling in the background.  Wondering if they are close to the edge of the forest or maybe deeper in.  Photographing the clouds.  The mountains.  The beautiful scenery in general.  Looking along the ground for a late blooming insect or perhaps some interesitng seed worthy of the camera's attention. 

When out of nowhere, like air materialized into form, came walking two horses.  OK.  We had no idea that this land we were on supported horses.  To this day, we don't know where they came from.  They just walked on up easy as you please and proceeded to check out my husband and my son.  Before I could even take the whole scene in, my guys were surrounded by six to eight horses.  A whole herd.

Now, I'm not one who feels at ease around horses, especially not a whole herd who now has their backs to me.  I'm trying to keep the dog from spooking them.  I'm trying not to get kicked.  And I'm hoping they don't spook and rear on my loved ones.  Needless worry I must add.  While I don't think they were happy with me being unseen, so to speak, they tolerated my presence and allowed me to wander around until I was facing them. 

Fortunately for me, since I was then able to capture these photos should the memories ever fade.  I doubt they ever will, though.  I can't see forgetting one of the coolest experiences of my life.

To see the second story in this series, head over here.  From there, you can catch a link to the first story.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exploring With a Camera: Found Texture - Yellowstone Style

The topic for Exploring With a Camera is found textures. Despite the fact that textures are one of my favorite things to photograph, this topic actually gave me pause, and I had to sit and think what I might have in my archives that I could use for a submission.

I came across this image of one of the pools in Mammoth Hot Springs.  I decided that this was the best submission.  For one thing, there are many different textures respresented in the photograph.  Although, I suppose you could sum it up with the word - rough.  Sand paper or course rock.  The spiky plants also lend themselves to this imagery.  Also, I find the abstract quality of this photo extremely interesting. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was, cool, I have a photo of an alien landscape.  Then I thought, hum, this could have easily have been a piece of the ocean.    This composition is a microcosm of a much larger world, a world full of all kinds of found textures.

Stop by The Kat Eye View of the World to see all kinds of texture and maybe even join in the challenge yourself!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Playing Hookie - Sort Of

Technically I was in the clear. A week ago, I had just recovered from a really awful cold that tried to turn into a sinus infection. I called in on that Monday to say I was taking one more day off to make sure I was actually well. The school I work for actually encourages this.

I count it as playing hookie since I did not actually stay at home and rest. Probably a technicality at best. We'd just come off of a very beautiful Fall weekend, and I had been cooped up for the whole thing. I missed Raptor Fest for the first time since we moved here five years ago. I couldn't stand the thought of spending another gorgeous fall day inside. So I drove to Yellowstone. I figured if I went to Mammoth Hot Springs maybe the sulfur air would clear out my sinuses and lungs. Worked like a charm, and I've been on the mend since.

Of course, with views like the ones below, how could I not have felt better?

Canary Springs - Main Terrace - Mammoth Hot Springs

Main Terrace - Mammoth Hot Springs

Main Terrace - Mammoth Hot Springs

Main Terrace - Mammoth Hot Springs

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Consumers or Consumables

Sometimes I think this is what big business sees when they look at people. I know, if I'm so outraged I should stop buying things. I'll get right on that as soon as I figure out how to grow plastic. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday - A Cool Rock Pattern

Shadow Shot Sunday is hosted by Hey Harriet. If you love shadows, stop by and check it out. Better yet, submit a shot of your own!

I captured this delicate shadow while exploring in Hyalite Canyon. This particular trail cuts through a forest that grows near the reservior. The trees let in just enough light to make for great shadow play. One of the more interesting shadows I found that day was left by the leaves near this rock.

Sundays in My City - Intense Gaze

Sundays in My City is hosted by Unknown Mami. Each week she is kind enough to let us share a slice of our city with the world. Check it out. Better yet, join in the fun and share a bit of your city with us!

This week is a bit slow, so I decided to post a candid shot of our cat. He was as ever, very curious as to what I was doing. However, he got bored and decided it was more fun to roll around in the sun on our porch. I was on the ground which gave me the perfect eye level shot of his intense gaze.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Around the House

Just a few insects I found hanging around the house literally. Well, hanging on the outside of the house anyway. Apparently they're just as excited as we are to have the siding on the house replaced.

Crane Fly


Unidentified Spider
Hoping he ate the mosquito!