Thursday, May 10, 2018

Trip to Washington DC

I have an annual trek to Washington DC in one of my volunteer capacities.  I am always led to the mall and the amazing statues I see there.  These are a few of my favorites.  





Having been a marine during the Viet Nam Era, this statue always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Of course, with the wall looming in the foreground, these guys were the lucky ones.


This is a wider shot of the same statue.  It is always haunting no matter when I see it.



The wall is also very haunting.  I have a song from an Irish Group from Washington called "Still Waiting at the Wall" which talks about how when you look at the wall and people are touching the names it looks like hands are reaching back (with the reflection in that beautiful black stone).


This is a new one that I saw a couple of weeks ago.  Obviously the medics and the nurses were closest to marines and they saved a great deal of lives - lost their own trying to save others so it is a most fitting statue and salute to those who risked their lives to save others.


It's always great to be in the Nation's Capitol during the burst of color from the Cherry Blossoms.


My dad was on Guadalcanal, so I took this to emphasize that World War II had two massive fronts.


One can never visit the mall without taking a look at Lincoln. 


Another haunting monument is the Korean War Memorial.  I can feel the men at the "Frozen Chosen" looking at this revealing mass of soldiers in foul weather gear.


I always try to find frames that take spectators out, but this one seemed fitting.


This is my favorite shot of the Iwo Jima Statue in Arlington Cemetery.  Obviously this is the famous image people have, but they don't realize that this was the second flag raising that day and that the battle was not nearly over - it raged for over a month after this flag raising.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

North Dakota/South Dakota trip

An old friend contacted me last summer and said he was coming out for a football game that he goes to every year and that when he does, he tries to visit two or three states he hasn't visited before.  He said he was coming to Montana and wanted to travel to North and South Dakota.  We discussed him staying with me when he came to Billings and that we could travel together to North and South Dakota.  In October he arrived and we went on an interesting journey.



Our first stop was in North Dakota at the Teddy Roosevelt National Park.  It was very scenic and we got to see spectacular views and many animals. Like this Prairie Dog.  There were many Prairie Dog towns in the park. (10/28/2019)

Prairie Dogs were nearly invisible at the entrance to their holes.  (10/28/2017)


We saw many sandstone bluffs, here with a herd of bison in the foreground. (10/28/2017)



Many of the bison were close enough to get fairly good close up shots. (10/28/2017)




The national park offered many very interesting landscapes.(10/28/2017)



This was late afternoon when we were checking out this vast area of ridges and canyons. (10/28/2017)



The next day we drove to South Dakota and in Belle Foursche we arrived at the center of the United States which has a compass marker where the center would be.  Doesn't seem right you say, well think about it.  When you look at the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska it really skews where the center is located. (10/29/2017)



After visiting the center of the US we journeyed south and stayed in Deadwood.  This is the area that gold was found when Custer came to the Black Hills.  I read an interesting account of that mission and a quote from the book was:  "Bierce (author Ambrose Bierce) crafted an acerbic definition for his Devil's Dictionary: 'Gold, n. A yellow metal greatly prized for its convenience in the various kinds of robbery known as trade. The word was formerly spelled 'God"  --  the l was inserted to distinguish it from the name of another inferior deity.'" (The Black Hills & the Indians: A haven of our hopes by Martin Luschei, 2007, Niobrara Press, San Luis Obispo, CA. p. 102). (10/29/2017)



The grave of Wild Bill Hickok.  He died two months after Custer - note the inscription "Custer was lonely without him". (10/29/2017)



In the saloon where Hickok died is this tribute to his famous "Dead Man's Hand"  (aces and eights). (10/29/2017)


Returning from Deadwood, still in the Black Hills we visited Devil's Tower a sacred mountain to the Sioux. (10/30/2017)



As we got closer, details began to stand out. (10/30/2017)


Final photo taken from the Visiter's center.  Many people will remember Devil's Tower from the Movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (10/30/2017)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Bellagio Christmas 2017

In early December I attended a meeting in Henderson, NV.  While I was there, several of us decided to go into Las Vegas to see the Christmas Decorations at the Bellagio.  As a result, these photos show some of the grandeur of that special celebration.  


This photo is of the Snow Queen in that display.  Taken with a Droid Turbo II phone.


These two bears were playing in the pond on the ice flows.  They look like they are really enjoying themselves.  Take with a Droid Turbo II phone.



This Bear and moon sliver were in another portion of the display.  They were framed by the beautiful stained glass in the Bellagio.  Photo taken with a Droid Turbo II phone.


This tree was being decorated by elves.  Taken with Droid Turbo II phone.



This is a view from behind the tree and the snow queen of another bear in the display.  Taken by a Droid Turbo II phone.



Obviously, every Christmas tree has to have a train circulating around it's base.  This is no exception.  Taken by a Droid Turbo II phone.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Beartooth Byway in August 2016

In August 2016, my wife and I spent our Anniversary in Yellowstone Park.  On the way we traveled over the Beartooth Byway from Red Lodge to Cooke City and back.  It is a spectacular highway with very rugged country and breathtaking views for miles and miles.  As a matter of fact we passed through a campground/general store complex called top of the world.  The Beartooth highway climbs up over 10,000 feet in the Beartooth mountains.  



Just as you cross the top of the mountains coming from Red Lodge - and you dip down a few hundred feet you get this view towards Cooke City and Yellowstone Park.  8/5/2016 at 10:15 am.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/8000 sec; ISO-1600; 26 mm focal length)


Heading down from the top and looking back towards Red Lodge this is the view from near the top.  8/5/2016 at 10:07 am.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/4000 sec; ISO-1600; 18 mm focal length)


Continuing on down the mountain on the south side one sees this view.  8/5/2016 at 10:15 am.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/8000 sec; ISO-1600; 26 mm focal length)


Further along one sees a series of lakes such as this one.  8/5/2016 at 10:16 am. (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/8000 sec; ISO-1600; 26 mm focal length)



As the highway cuts between two rocky hills, on the left side of the car we could ee this cute little marmot.  8/5/2016 at 10:20 am.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/2500 sec; ISO-1600; 135 mm focal length)


Returning from Cooke City, there is an interesting waterfall on the north side of the highway.  8/6/2016 at 2:18 pm.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/3.5; 1/4000 sec; ISO-400; 18 mm focal length)


Lower version of the same waterfall.  8/6/2016 at 2:18 pm.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/3.5; 1/3200 sec; ISO-400; 18 mm focal length)



The Beartooth Byway in August 2016

In August 2016, my wife and I spent our Anniversary in Yellowstone Park.  On the way we traveled over the Beartooth Byway from Red Lodge to Cooke City and back.  It is a spectacular highway with very rugged country and breathtaking views for miles and miles.  As a matter of fact we passed through a campground/general store complex called top of the world.  The Beartooth highway climbs up over 10,000 feet in the Beartooth mountains.  



Just as you cross the top of the mountains coming from Red Lodge - and you dip down a few hundred feet you get this view towards Cooke City and Yellowstone Park.  8/5/2016 at 10:15 am.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/8000 sec; ISO-1600; 26 mm focal length)


Heading down from the top and looking back towards Red Lodge this is the view from near the top.  8/5/2016 at 10:07 am.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/4000 sec; ISO-1600; 18 mm focal length)


Continuing on down the mountain on the south side one sees this view.  8/5/2016 at 10:15 am.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/8000 sec; ISO-1600; 26 mm focal length)


Further along one sees a series of lakes such as this one.  8/5/2016 at 10:16 am. (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/8000 sec; ISO-1600; 26 mm focal length)



As the highway cuts between two rocky hills, on the left side of the car we could ee this cute little marmot.  8/5/2016 at 10:20 am.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/14; 1/2500 sec; ISO-1600; 135 mm focal length)


Returning from Cooke City, there is an interesting waterfall on the north side of the highway.  8/6/2016 at 2:18 pm.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/3.5; 1/4000 sec; ISO-400; 18 mm focal length)


Lower version of the same waterfall.  8/6/2016 at 2:18 pm.  (Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 18-135 IS lens) (f/3.5; 1/3200 sec; ISO-400; 18 mm focal length)



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Shiloh Conservation Area in Billings, MT

Shiloh Conservation area is a man made park in the West end of Billings, Montana.  It has become a gathering place and habitat for a great many different kinds of birds and small animals.  It also has several paved trails for hiking, walking and bicycling.  With several lakes and various types of other water bodies connecting each other through the property as well as plantings of many types of natural foliage and trees it is becoming a very excellent destination for people who are interested in observing nature in a population area like Billings.  



Here several American Avocets feed in one of the many water bodies.  May 27, 2016 at 10:46 am. (Canon EOS 7D w/  EF-S 18-135 mm IS lens) (f/14; 1/8000 sec; ISO 1600; 300 mm focal length)


Here is an American Coot preening near one of the bodies of water.  July 19, 2016 at 5:31 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/5; 1/2500 sec.; ISO-400; 150 mm focal length)


American Coot w/ young in one of the many lakes. July 19, 2016 at 5:37 am. (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/5; 1/3200 sec.; ISO-400; 150 mm focal length)


Creek through field near parking lot on southeast side of the park.  July 19, 2016 at 5:01 am. (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF-S 18-55 mm  Lens)(f/5; 1/500 sec.; ISO-400; 39 mm focal length)


Dam from one water feature to another on the property.  May 22, 2016 at 7:07 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/5.6; 1/800 sec.; ISO-100; 95 mm focal length)


Flowers, straw and fence post near southeast entrance to the conservation area. July 18, 2016 at 4:37 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/4.5; 1/1250 sec.; ISO-400; 120 mm focal length)


Great Blue Heron fishing in one of the water features on the property. May 27, 2016 at 10:48 am. (Canon EOS 7D w/ Sigma 150-500 mm f5-6.3 lens) (f/14; 1/6400 sec.; ISO-1600; 300 mm focal length)


Great Blue Heron after successfully fishing in one of the waterways.  May 22, 2016 at 7:21 am. (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/11; 1/125 sec.; ISO-100; 300 mm focal length)  


Great Blue Heron watching the waterway.  May 22, 2016 at 7:00 am. (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/10; 1/500 sec.; ISO-250; 300 mm focal length)


Kildeer resting on rock near water feature in conservation area.  May 22, 2016 at 6:53 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/10; 1/500 sec.; ISO-250; 300 mm focal length)


Fishing shelter on the lake near the southeast entrance to the conservation area.  July 19, 2016 at 5:08 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF -S 18-55 mm Lens)(f/5; 1/2500 sec.; ISO-400; 41 mm focal length)


Mallard drake swimming in lake near the southeastern entrance to the conservation area.  May 22, 2016 at 7:22 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/11; 1/200 sec.; ISO-100; 300 mm focal length)


Man made waterfall on the lake near the southeastern entrance to the conservation area.  July 19, 2016 at 5:05 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF-S 18-55 mm Lens)(f/4.5; 1/1600 sec.; ISO-400; 31 mm focal length)


Toward the Southwest with a view of the Beartooth Mountains.  May 22, 2016 at 7:08 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/5.6; 1/800 sec.; ISO-100; 140 mm focal length)


Mallard Hen next to one of the water features in the conservation area. July 18, 2016 at 4:42 am.  (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/5.6; 1/500 sec.; ISO-400; 300 mm focal length)


One of the many red winged blackbirds that inhabit the conservation area.  May 27, 2016 at 10:30 am. (Canon EOS 7D w/ Sigma 150-500 mm f5-6.3 lens) (f/14; 1/8000 sec.; ISO-1600; 300 mm focal length)


Interesting combination of downed tree and growing one near the southeastern entrance to the conservation area.  July 18, 2016 at 4:35 am.   (Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi with EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III Lens)(f/4; 1/2500 sec.; ISO-400; 75 mm focal length)