Monday, November 4, 2013

Never to Return Home

I realize I've been gone awhile and I wish I had some awesome excuse, but I don't. I have a handful of adventures and one very sad event. In September, I lost my father. He was 92, so he lived a very long life, but he is missed by many. I thought I would put together a blog post in honor of the man who raised me.

Dad's Memorial Folder

Golf Themed Casket Spray

Memorial Table

Casket in Hearse

Final Salute

Flag with Sunflower

My Father’s Eulogy

 My Dad once said, “You’ve seen one rock, you’ve seen them all.” He was talking about the Rocky Mountains. My Dad did not realize how wrong he was. I have always known that not all rocks are alike. I just wish he’d known that, too. You see he was my rock. And there isn’t another one like him.

How can I begin to explain? When I was born, he ignored advice to fence in the back yard. Thank You! Now the whole world is my backyard and the outdoors my playground. He let me experience life and was right there along with me. Feeding me an ice cream cone. Teaching me to ride a bike. Kissing my skinned knee. He read to me, a lot. He made me read to him. Showed me whole new worlds opened up with the power of imagination. Showed to all of my violin concerts. He was a fiddle man. Enough said. Remained constant and calm throughout my teenage years. Not an easy task. Gave me a great gift of roots and a strong foundation through 46 years of marriage to my Mom. Put up with more crazy antics in my 20s. The moves to Denver. Keeping my dog when I studied in London. I think my Dad must have been relived when I settled down. Most recently he blessed Chris and I with his respect. He told Chris thank you for taking such good care of his daughter.

My Dad was my rock and this allowed me to grow roots, but it also allowed me to branch out into the world. To start my own life and to lay down a solid foundation of my own.

In closing, I would like to sing the last verse of Tori Amos’ Winter. It speaks for me when I can not…

Hair is gray and the fires are burning
So many dreams on the shelf
You say I wanted you to be proud of me
I always wanted that myself
When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that I’ll always want you near
You say that things change my dear
Never Change
All the White horses

I hope you never doubted I was proud of you Dad. Thank you for being my rock.

Maple in the Back Yard

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pine Creek Falls

Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of hiking The Pine Creek Falls Trailhead. This is another waterfall that you can get fairly close to. These are quite spectacular falls, too. When I went, we had just finished a very rainy spring, so the falls were running at full capacity. I enjoyed being able to get close to such raw awesome power. The shot below is a small side rivlet and just a small taste of what the main falls looked like.

Western Blue Virginsbower

Into the Forest

Pine Creek Falls - Macro

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Sertoma Butterfly House

Located in Sioux City, South Dakota Sertoma Butterfly House and Marine Cove is definitely worth the visit if you're ever in the area. We had the good fortune of discovering this little gem mainly due to the fact that we can no longer drive from Montana to Iowa in two days, so we split it into three. Our second leg took us to Sioux City where we stayed for a day. My husband was looking for things to do and found this spot online. Needless to say I was very excited, and I was not disappointed. The butterflies are everywhere in various shapes, sizes and colors. I didn't stand a chance of being able to identify them all. The staff is very friendly and more than happy to answer questions. We even had a few butterflies land on us while we were there. I will definitely be returning to this magical place during future trips.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Beetle and A Bull Snake

We recently decided to hit eastern Montana in an attempt to finish the Dino Trail. We weren't quite successful, but that's another blog post. Since driving out there takes as long as it does to drive to Rapid City, South Dakota (Wish I were kidding.), we decided to drop by Makoshika State Park. Located in the badlands of Montana, the environment for this park is equivalent to a desert. Perfect for growing things like cacti and rock outcrops. OK, so maybe the later isn't so much grown as it is carved. Not only does this make for some stunning scenery, it also makes for a change of pace. While, another one of my favorite places, Buffalo Jump State Park, also has a desert environment the two places are more like cousins than twins. This meant a whole bunch of new critters for me to photograph. Two of the most interesting were a beetle, my husband spotted and a bull snake we almost tripped over. I would love to go back some time and just go hiking here. I didn't have nearly enough time to explore this wonderous place on this trip.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ousel Falls

Ousel Falls is a set of waterfalls near Big Sky, Montana. All of them spectacular in their unique way. The highlight of this spot is the main falls which is accessible by a set of stairs. That alone makes it awesome. So many falls out here are off the side of a mountain, so you can't get right up close to them nor can you hike down to the base of the falls. Like another one of my favorites, Grotto Falls, you can get pretty close to these falls. And the views are just gorgeous. The overall hike is about two miles, but I had a hard time being in a hurry. I climbed up the trails that follow the rivers edge above the falls and found a rock to sit on and just photographed the water for about an hour. All I wanted to do was sit there and take in the breathtaking view around me.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bannack State Park

About a week ago I mustered up the nerve to go down to Bannack State Park. One, it's quite the drive, and while adventures are fun, striking out such a distance on one's own can be a bit daunting. More importantly though, this is a ghost town which is preserved by the state. The site is supposed to be haunted, so I would have been happy to have a little company. I had been talking to some friends and was under the impression that there were some park personnel around at least. Not so when I showed up. Deserted. Not a soul in sight. Just as spine tingling spooky as I thought it would be.

An entirely deserted ghost town is great for atmosphere, but not so great for steady photographs. I will admit to sticking close to the main street. You can walk around back and view even more buildings, but I didn't feel comfortable doing so. Also, I was confused as to whether the place was open or not. (It's technically not until Mid-May.) Some buildings were locked up tight and some had their doors wide open. That was not helping my nerves any either.  No, I did not fall for the invitation and walk into those empty buildings. A) Not sure I was supposed to. B) Didn't know who had left the door open.  Ghosts or humans?  Either way, I wasn't about to satisfy my curiosity.  I figured some things are better left alone.

I really liked the decorational piece above the door on this house.  I had trouble identfying the property using the guide book, though.  I think it is the site where the first governor's mansion was.  However, I don't believe this is that house.  The guide book states that the governor's mansion burned down and the governor and his wife spent the rest of their stay in Montana in a small sod roofed building.  That building is still present behind this one.

This is the masonic building / school house.  The plaque above the door states that the Masonic hall is on the 2nd floor and the school is on the first.

This is one of the more striking buildings in Bannack.  Before it became the Meade Hotel, it was the courthouse.  Apparently it is haunted, but I didn't spot anything.

You can find out more about Bannack State Park at the following links:

Welcome to Bannack State Park

Legends of America - Bannack

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Camera Obscura Experiment

Shortly before spring break the camera club introduced me to the work of Abelardo Morrell. I didn't have time to go check out the exhibit which is unfortunate, however, I did have time to research the web to find out who this photographer was. While I love the scope of the camera rooms, what really fired my imagination was the camera obscura tents.

Well, I'm not braving freezing cold weather, so that little experiment will have to wait for summer. Still, I was itching to see if I could accomplish the same thing. Could I turn a room in my house into a camera obscura. Could I project an image from the outside of the house onto a wall on the inside. Yup, I have obsessive compulsive disorder, but it usually manifests itself in harmless forms.

I spent the entire next day prepping and setting it all up. I have always been a bit frustrated with how dark our entrance hallway is, however, for once, it had the perfect amount of light. It also is one of the smaller windows in the house making prep and set up quite easy. The one drawback, is the stairs still let in some light. I solved this issue by closing our basement door and hanging a drape over a curtain rod to cut out some of the light coming from the upstairs. This wasn't perfect, in fact, I wasn't sure it had worked.

When I went back down, all I saw were a lot of cool shadows. Well, I guess that'll work. Pause for awhile allowing the eye to adjust and there it was on the back door. Exactly what I was aiming for. A projection of our tree in our front yard!

Camera Obscura Wiki

Camera Obscura Room tutorial

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Beautiful Mammoth Hot Springs

I went digging through my archives and found these photos of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. Definitely one of my favorite places to visit and photograph, this place never ceases to amaze me with its beauty.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Deer Calisthenics

This blog post is brought to you by our local wildlife. They are quite entertaining sometimes. As I was returning from my morning walk this past summer, I caught these guys nibbling on our neighbor's crab apple tree. Unfortunately I couldn't get as close as I'd like since that would scare them off.  The reason I hesitated to do so can be found in the last photo.  If you take a good look at it, you will see a deer in the left hand corner standing on its hind legs to reach the tasty treats. (Well, tasty and crab apples may not really go together, but the deer seem to love them.)  I have seen the deer perform this trick before, but I have never been fortunate enough to capture it with my camera.  While, I do wish I had been closer, I weighed my options and decided I'd rather have the distance shot than nothing at all.  After capturing the deer doing calisthenics to reach its meal, I decided to continue to head home.  To do so, I had to take a path that goes right by these particular trees.  Sure enough they made a run for it, and I was happy to know I'd made the correct decision. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Denver Mash

I have discovered the coolest thing in my PaintFx app. They've added a feature where you can blend two photos together. Too cool, especially with my recent love of creating double exposures. Needless to say I spent the whole night messing around with this option. I had great fun mashing Denver and seeing what I could combine it with. If you look really close you can spot all kinds of cool things including the Jolly Green Giant.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Going Way Back

I'm trying to get back into the groove of things after having been gone awhile, so I decided to go way back. Back to where I started my blog archive anyway. These images were taken a couple of summers ago in Hyalite Canyon. I happened upon a meadow teeming with life.  These are just a few of the insects I saw that day.