from on high

Driving the south rim of Canyon de Chelly was a fantastic preview of what was to come during the Jeep tour down in the canyon. It gave a context to what was to come.

It was nearly impossible to pare down the shots of this amazing place to a manageable level. So… with no further ado, here is just a taste of what the canyon looks like from the sometimes 1,000 ft height above the canyon floor.
(click on an image for a slideshow and a better look)

Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings. 
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Canyon de Chelly

(pronounced d’shay)
Personally I liked it better than the Grand Canyon. I had a bit of fun with the following image because I think of it as having the guardian and the guide into the canyon, though I’m still sorting through so many shots taken from the south rim above de Chelly that posting them will have to wait a bit. Not to mention the Jeep tour with our Navajo driver down into the bottom of the canyon. You can’t go down into the canyon without a Navajo guide. I liked it that way because it made the experience richer to have one who had lived and grown up in this magical spot take us on the tour.

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More to come….

Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you — beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
Edward Abbey

Monument Valley

Then we were in the Navajo Nation…

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Love the way the Navajo (known to its own speakers as Diné) built the View Hotel to blend into the land so as not to detract from the beauty of the land around it. No garish neon lights here. The top floor features StarView rooms with unforgettable views of the stars, the entirety of Monument Valley.  The rounded shape to the right is the visitor center.

The scenics here are so jaw-dropping that I’ve had a hard time keeping the images I post to my usual minimum. Without further ado, here is what I came up with:MonumentValley-0712

One of the ubiquitous Reservation dogs to greet us…

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The “Mittens” seem to have developed iconic status. A prominent and unique feature, they have appeared in a number of movies, particularly Westerns. I believe John Ford may have been the one to start the trend.

Some more images in random order. You can take a closer look by clicking on any image.

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A last look back as we left Monument Valley, heading for Mexican Hat.

How Mexican Hat got its name.

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Another marvelous formation as we continued down the road. There seemed to be no end to them in this amazing landscape.

Oh, Great Spirit, Oh Grandfathers,
How lucky can one be to know such beauty?
One can search the world over
And not find this much loveliness.

Dineh (Navajo) Wind Prayer by Wolfeyes 

escape to the Sonoran desert

Leaving Las Vegas the next day just as quickly as we could, our next stop was Flagstaff, Arizona. It was the longest and more tedious of the drives on this trip since our real destination was on the far side of the state. But we did find some clicks even so.

We did take the time to stop to explore Willow Beach at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Arizona. We were lucky to encounter this Desert Mountain Bighorn Sheep (an endangered species.)

I spotted some color along the road even zooming along at 70 mph and we were lucky to find a spot to pull over. Looks like at least some of the cacti were in bloom.

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The final shot for the day was this tiny globe mallow. It’s a great time to visit the desert after some rain to bring out the flowers.

Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way. 
Terry Pratchett, Jingo

postcards from sin city

I seem to have an allergy to big cities, but I soldiered through a night in Las Vegas in order to catch a glimpse of the real Cirque du Soleil. Sorry, no cameras allowed (wish I’d taken the little point ‘n shoot with me on this trip…) But here’s a trailer of the show we saw. (Watch it, it’s really fun and not nearly long enough.) There is no way to describe it.

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The view from our room for the night. This is absolutely one time when the images had to reflect my surreal reaction to this crazy city.

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Keep in mind that I’m shooting through glass and the weird tube on the reflecting building is a light fixture inside our room.

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The next morning while waiting to grab our rented Jeep and escape to the desert…

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Can’t think of an adequate comment to this one. It just is.

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The only real “wild life” we saw.

Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

things to come

Just back from a most wonderful adventure. I thought I’d post this as a preview of coming attractions and to let my friends and followers know I’m returned. It may take me awhile to settle back into life as I normally know it and there are lots and lots of photos to sort through… I’m also hoping to get back to the folks I follow soon. I’ve missed you! Internet access has been really spotty this last couple of weeks.O_o

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Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return. 
Leonardo da Vinci

shy lily

I remember lily of the valley from days gone by in New England. It was also a scent my mom used when I was small… happy memories. I don’t see it much here in Oregon. I planted some and they are finally spreading.

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I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.
Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

a whale of a tale

Easter Sunday. Near as we can remember we were just north of Humbug Mt. Sorry, but the excitement knocked all sense of location and other technical details of shooting out of my head…..

Eric spotted a head surfacing as we were driving along and there just happened to be a handy turnout where we could stop and watch and shoot…

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My first shot turned out to be some kelp… how terribly disappointing!

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But I finally spotted a “blow”… this shot caught the remnants of the spray where the gray whale breathed (blowing out a spray of mist). The back of the whale can be seen out in front of the little puff of spray.

Let me tell you, shooting these was not easy. I had to watch for a sign of the whale surfacing and then find it with the camera zoomed out. If I was lucky, I managed to zoom in a bit for the shot. I think I need a whole lot more practice with this sort of shooting.

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This one was a bit easier because there was a clear look at the back of the whale. The contrast helped to spot it in this instance, too.

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But then the excitement level kicked up a notch when we began to suspect there was a baby along side the mother. It wasn’t until we were home and looking at the shots on the computer screen that we thought she might actually have twins! That’s a rare event and truly thrilling to catch.

The above shot clearly shows a smaller whale in front, but toward the back end of (presumably) mom in the middle. The little one seems to be in the middle of a blow. The one at the top and out in front appears to be another baby.

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The above shot, taken a split second later shows the group going underwater. The fact that they would disappear and pop up elsewhere wasn’t helping matters in catching images.

Two more glimpses…

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…and then the finale as one of the calves popped its head up at just the perfect moment.

I’m sure these images don’t begin to convey the excitement I felt, but they sure bring back the joy of seeing these marvelous creatures swimming out there.

For anyone interested, here’s a link to someone who caught a mother and twins and managed to film them with a drone. It’s worth a look.

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing. 
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

 

smoke signals

not sure what it’s saying…

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” …but you had a point about language. When you get right down to it, it’s a work-around. Like trying to describe dreams with smoke signals. It’s noble, it’s maybe the most noble thing a body can do but you can’t turn a sunset into a string of grunts without losing something.”
Peter Watts, Blindsight

Celebrate the Vernal Equinox

(…well I can remember longing for rain last summer…❤ )

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Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. 
Langston Hughes

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