bette ann: Blog https://betteannphotography.com/blog en-us @bette ann betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) Wed, 17 May 2017 15:18:00 GMT Wed, 17 May 2017 15:18:00 GMT https://betteannphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u447222518-o86611617-50.jpg bette ann: Blog https://betteannphotography.com/blog 120 77 Backyard Bird(s) Story https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2017/5/backyard-bird-s-story Our backyard was quite prolific this past month. A photo-journal opportunity for sure.

First we spotted a dove tucked in a tree and figured she just might be sitting on a nest. Sure enough. Only 2 of 4 eggs hatched though, and we were away the week these babies flew away.

 

 

 

In the same tree, just a few branches down, we spotted a hummingbird nest. Then a newborn. Then mom and newborn in the nest. And then that baby flew away.

Another very smart mommy hummingbird built her nest in a spiny ocotillo, right by a window. This one we could photograph without bothering mom or babies at all! Watching this drama unfold was fascinating!

MOM ON NEST

TWINS ABOUT 10 DAYS OLD!

 

EARLY WEEK 3, BROTHER IS GETTING READY TO LEAVE THE NEST

 

 

MOM IS GIVING SOME ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE "RELUCTANT-ONE"

CUTE CLOSE-UP

I CAN'T BELIEVE BROTHER LEFT ME. SURELY HE'S COMING BACK. RIGHT? THIS WENT ON FOR 2 DAYS!

 

MOM PATIENTLY FED "THE RELUCTANT ONE"

 

 

AND THEN THE GIG'S UP. YOUR TURN, MISSY!! 

 

 

THE END

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) baby hummingbird leaving the nest dove dove on nest hummingbird hummingbird babies hummingbird babies in nest hummingbird in nest mommy hummingbird feed baby hummingbird newly hatched baby doves newly hatched hummingbird young hummingbird https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2017/5/backyard-bird-s-story Tue, 16 May 2017 23:27:47 GMT
Hawaii February 2017 - Part 1 :The Cruise https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2017/3/hawaii-february-2017---part-1-the-cruise Uncruise/Safari Explorer 7 days from Moloka'i to the Island of Hawaii (Big Island)

 

This is the same operator and boat we traveled with to Alaska a few years ago. 36 guests, quite comfortable cabins, amazing chef and pastry chef in a small boat galley, knowledgeable adventure guides, and a good staff that deals effortlessly with table service, pouring wines, tidying rooms, yoga class, and managing the the skiffs, kayaks, etc as if there were no swells bobbing everything everywhere. 

safari explorersafari explorer

For this trip we were only 24 passengers, including Linda/Denny Trostle with whom we traveled in Alaska, and our good buddy Sue from Denver. Here's a fun comparison. Uh, kids, 3 years and you still don't have that nsync thing going with the oars :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Linda and Denny Trostle

Sue's lovin' the water.

 

Unforgettable Cultural Experiences

We met up on Moloka'I.

Our first activity as a group, en route to the boat, was a stop at Moloka'i Plumerias – the largest plumeria farm in Hawaii. In addition to a tour of the farm, we each had our hand at making a lei. It takes roughly 50 flowers to make a lei. It took me about 5 minutes to gently string on 4. It takes the trained staff less than a minute to complete one lei without losing one single flower.

Plumeria Trees as far as the eye can see, all maintained to the same moderately low height so all the flowers can be hand picked without ladders.

 

plumeriaplumeria

Here's half of our group who went to lei-making class while the rest of us toured the farm - sitting there looking so smug, like they actually each made their lei, right? Ha - they'd all still be there trying. But it was pretty funny to come around the bend and see them sitting there like this.

 

After our first night on the boat, we had one more day on Moloka'I. A long, winding van ride took us to the remote Halawa Valley for a hike and cultural visit with Anakala Pilipo Solatorie and his son Greg. Here is the description they have in their literature – sort, sweet and very impressive, so no need to edit this. It was, indeed, an honor to spend time at their Hale and learn of their culture and deeply felt commitment to continuing their cultural practices.

ANAKALA PILIPO SOLATORIO

Pilipo is the last living Hawaiian descendent to be born and raised in Halawa who still resides there. He was chosen at the age of five to study and become the cultural practitioner for his family. This honor meant he was given responsibility of carrying on their traditions and cultural practices. Pilipo is one of the few witnesses of the April 1, 1946 tsunami still living.

GREGORY KAWAIMAKA SOLATORIO

Greg is one of Anakala Pilipo's six children and is the only son currently residing in Halawa Valley. Like his father, he too has been chosen to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture. Greg grew up hunting, fishing, and working in Halawa Valley before leaving Moloka'i for Oahu to start a family. He has recently returned to the valley to manage the family farm and follow in his father's footsteps

This is a photo of Greg sounding the shell to announce our arrival onto the property. In prior times, Greg explained, no one would come onto your land without announcing themselves this way, and waiting for a reply.

A wonderful lesson we might all keep in mind today: Look for Similars rather than Differences.

Greg told us a story of one of his first experiences as a young boy when his dad left him at the beach and said he could come home when he found something similar.  He said he sat there for the better part of the day having no idea what his dad intended him to see. And then he noticed that the Ti leaf is the shape of a heart (like I have, he thought); the Taro Root from the Ti Leaf feeds us and gives us life. We give it life, it gives us life. Sharing Similars.

Here is Greg making poi for us from his farm's Ti leaf and Taro Root, using a generations-old bowl and his personal stones for grinding.

greg_making_poigreg_making_poiGreg is the next in line as cultural leader of the original Hawaiian descendants living in the Halawa Valley on Molokai.Here he is making poi from taro roots grown in their garden, using a wood bowl generations old and stone grinders made of stones that "selected him."

A closer look at the "mise en place."

mise_en_place_for_making_poimise_en_place_for_making_poithis is Greg's prep table

For those who enjoy history, the Halawa Valley is home to the first Moloka'I residents. (Halawavalley.com), settled during the 7th century by settlers from the Marquesas Islands in southern Polynesia. For over 1200 years the valley was a center of taro lo’i (patches), heiau (spiritual temples) and a thriving population. In 1836, one of the first missionaries on Molokai reported a population of about 500 Hawaiians farming more than a thousand lo’i and other types of produce in the valley. However, in 1946 and again in 1957, tsunamis with waves as tall as 45 feet swept up the valley and destroyed nearly all the homes, the taro lo’i and devastated the area.

It is stunning territory.

 

Our final experience on Moloka'I was to visit the Moloka'i Museum for a pa'ina (party) where they served an amazing luau (feast) of traditional dishes - and of course, hulu dancing and outstanding local music with cultural instruments.  There is also an extensive display of photographs from the days when Moloka'i was a leper colony.

Whale of a Tale

One of the reasons we took this specific trip is because our adventure guide on the Alaska trip (Jill) said we really should close the loop of our experience following the humpback whales. When we saw them in Alaska, early August, they were calorie loading and getting ready for their long journey to Hawaii.  By early February, they would be getting ready to start their journey back to Alaska, now with their calves.

This is likely more detail than most of you want but, for those interested, here's the condensed version of the Humpback Whale Migration.

(SOURCE: WILDHAWAII.ORG) Humpback Whale Migration
North Pacific Humpback Whales leave the icy waters around Alaska during the fall, swimming practically non-stop for nearly 6 to 8 weeks before reaching their Hawaiian winter home, where they mate, give birth, and nurture their calves. Their annual migration of about 6,000 miles is one of the longest of any mammal. Like most northern hemisphere baleen whales, humpbacks feed during the summer in sub-arctic regions and migrate to sub-tropical waters in winter to breed. Today, there may be as many as 6,000 humpbacks found in the North Pacific, in three somewhat distinct populations.

The central stock summers in southeast Alaska and the Gulf of Alaska and winters in the waters around Hawai'i. Beginning in mid to late November, mother whales nursing their calves usually arrive first in Hawai'i. Then juveniles and newly weaned yearlings come. The adult males arrive next, double the number of adult females who follow. Finally, the pregnant females arrive, after feeding up to the last minute in Alaska. The waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands are one of the most important humpback whale habitats. Humpbacks prefer two major areas in Hawai'i: the four-island region of Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kaho'olawe, and the Penguin Band, a tongue of shallow water extending 25 miles southwest of western Molokai.

AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHERE WE WERE!!

So now, let's move onto something photogenic.

The waters are a little rough, so no kayaking or snorkeling. But, Kent (adventure leader) said – let's at least head out on the skiffs and see if we can spot a whale. Kent drops a microphone into the water and we can hear the whales singing. We were having a chat about whale acoustics when -- the whales spotted us!

Mom and calf started at one skiff, just about sticking their heads up onto the pontoons for a better look at the folks inside. Then they came over to our skiff.  We were all holding our collective breadth that this was a friendly visit.  The baby rolled on its back right at our skiff (you could see the light aqua belly); mom rolled over and gently tail-flapped. The bowsmen decided to tie the skiffs together as a safer position (they are not allowed to turn the engines on with the whales this close). Mitch – one of our adventure guides – stuck his camera underwater and got the amazing shot right at the whales head. Carlo got some amazing videos with his GoPro that we are all hoping he will share. LInda and Steven each got some good shots shared here. This went on for a quite awhile  – and then, --  they just swam away.

And then, -- we all remembered to breath.

whale nearby- shot by lindawhale nearby- shot by linda

Photographer: Linda Trostle

whale really really close!whale really really close!

really really close- shot by mitchreally really close- shot by mitch

Photographer: Mitch

 

On The Water

We had a few good days for snorkeling, which is better than no days but not as many as we had hoped.  Our first water adventure was pretty unique though – snorkeling in the Molokini Volcanic Crater. This is one of only 3 volcanic calderas in the world.

Of course I didn't take this photo, but I like that it gives you an idea of what this caldera looks like.

When we got back to the boat we continued our on-water activities with high board jumping (some, not me), swimming, and stand-up paddle boarding . Or, in my case, stand up sit down stand up get on your knees before you fall paddle boarding. 

For our second on-water opportunity, we transferred from our skiffs onto Captain Zodiacs speed boats (very cool) and in addition to taking us into the cove to snorkel, we had a great tour of the cliffs, coves, and sighting of the trifecta of the ocean – whales, dolphins, sharks.

Our second snorkel was in Kealakekua Bay, Big Island – otherwise known as Captain Cook's Cove.  This is the very cove where Captain Cook had an argument with the King and was, in turn, killed by the Hawaiians. It's quite a good story about bad timing and misunderstandings. If it interests you to learn more, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/captain-cook-killed-in-hawaii.

This trip was my first try at water photography and it took me close to an hour to figure it out. I think Carlo made the better choice with a GoPro on a Stick, but stuck with my choice, here's what I learned. If you stay on top of the choppy, swirling water it is nearly impossible to steady a small camera.  But, if you go down just a bit and chase the fish, it is calmer and you are heading in the same direction – and you can get some shots.

So -- here are several shots of these various water activities.

pink tail trigger fish

pufferpuffer

puffer

raccoon butterfly fishraccoon butterfly fish

raccoon butterfly

trumpet_fishtrumpet_fish trumpet fish

yellow_tang_-black_sea_urchinyellow_tang_-black_sea_urchin

yellow tang, black urchin on coral

steven_snorklingsteven_snorkling

steven

kind_of_pretty_down_therekind_of_pretty_down_there

a beautiful view

too rough to standtoo rough to stand scaredy cat

 

The snorkel of all snorkels though was the Night Manta Ray experience. Oh my goodness, when one of those gigantic rays flows up from the ocean floor to right underneath you it is nothing short of other-worldly. Most of us literally gasped and giggled right into our snorkels. One of our team got this shot -- my little camera was useless in all the turbulence and dark.

manta_raymanta_raynight snorkel sighting

Here's what a manta ray looks like when it's not a dark outline shadow (stock photo). Imagine that being up to 15 ft across.

We kayaked only one day, and even that was plenty rough and choppy. We were able to paddle fairly close to a 400 ft. high cliff and see the water caves, but it was too rough to get any closer. Kent said the trip was about 2 miles, and I think we were all truly delighted to sight our boat and know that the kayak trip was about done.

Off we go--

anyone_want_to_kayak_in_thereanyone_want_to_kayak_in_there

Anyone want to go in there ?

With Kent up ahead setting the boundary, Carlo and Carrie sneaked up on this cave.

seems_a_good_idea_when_we_startedseems_a_good_idea_when_we_started

Seemed a good idea when we started -- where's that darn boat of ours?

 

We'll just have to come back and hope for calmer seas.

On Shore Events

We had 3 town opportunities.We didn't take too many shots in the towns, so, just a few for flavor.

Lahaina'i (Maui). 

1.94 acres of Banyon Tree - the largest in the United States

Lahana'i has some outstanding art galleries, but this was my personal favorite - the old jailhouse cells, now galleries.

Ok, Buffet fans, here ya go.

Lanai City (Lanai) used to be home to Dole Pineapple plantations.  Now it is 98% owned by Larry Ellison, with 2 Four Season Resorts. 

Kona (Big Island)

Indeed - a tree runs through it.

Rambutan in the Farmer's Market

Me playing tourist

 

Just Photography

Critters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

school of jumping fishschool of jumping fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

one big spider and webone big spider and web

and one without the spider

 

Botanics

stunning palm bloomstunning palm bloom

New coconut tree starting 

Scenic

Safari Explorer skiffs tied to the back of the boat. Plenty choppy out there.

island of Lana'Iisland of Lana'IThis island is just slightly southwest of Maui.

View out of our cabin door one afternoon
Big Island - water power 

lava and water everywherelava and water everywhere storm_swells_cpt_cooks_covestorm_swells_cpt_cooks_cove

photographer's paradisephotographer's paradise View from Molokai Hotel

first night's sunset on moloka'ifirst night's sunset on moloka'i Moloka'i sunset

another_great_sunsetanother_great_sunset

hui hou kākou

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2017/3/hawaii-february-2017---part-1-the-cruise Sat, 04 Mar 2017 00:06:00 GMT
Hawaii February 2017 - Part 2 The Big Island https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2017/3/hawaii-february-2017---part-2-the-big-island This will be a shorter story, but affords the opportunity to share a few extra photos.

We left the ship and travel-buddies and now we are on our own. We decided we needed to try to get in a snorkel before heading to our condo. Our goal was "2-step beach" which is just below where we had gone snorkeling the day before in Captain Cook's Cove. There is a Historic Park there we wanted to explore, too.

Well, this didn't turn out as well as we had hoped. I don't know why we thought the waters would be any calmer just because we were no longer on the boat. Sue watched as I did the obligatory "2-step" -- lava cliff drop down onto lower lava cliff, push off across the breaker into calmer snorkeling waters -- except, there was no "calmer snorkeling waters." Instead, it was all about swells pushing me back into the lava ridge. Not fun. Get me out of here. 

In short, then, here was the rest of our stay on the big island.

From our condo in Waikoloa Beach Resort area we could walk the Petroglph/Waikoloa Kings Trail hike. These are petrogphs dating 1400-1800's. The entire field of the hike is covered with these drawing. The entire hike is on lava.

Actually most of the big island is lava

Steven and I played golf one day, and this next shot pretty much tells the tale. First I'll put up our excuse -- we were using rented clubs so we didn't have a lot of confidence about club distances. Anyway -- here ya go. If you fade (push right) you go into lava. If you draw (pull left) or hit short, you're in a deep sand trap. Too far, your ball is in the ocean. Well, how much fun is this!

We did a day trip to Volcano National Park - yes the Kīlauea Volcano is still very active. The VOG (volcanic gases -  aka a fog-like effect with high levels of sulphur dioxide from the volcano) was pretty strong when we started - even the park Visitor's Center was closed. But as we moved upwards, we were fine. We did several good hikes across lava fields, in lava tubes, and in the rainforest. We were hoping to see/photograph one of those fabulous lava explosions. But, (a) that kind of activity doesn't happen now,  (b) we were on the ground and if we wanted to see the fire-like lava flowing into the sea at night we needed to be in a helicopter or switch our all day hiking to an twilight 10 mile hike down to that viewing area. Next time. We did get a photo of the lava lake activity in Halema‘uma‘u Crater from the visitor'c center (1+ mile away). The fog was rolling in so we were lucky to see even this.

Keanakakoi Crater: 115 ft deep; 1500 ft wide, from the 1974 eruption 

Lava Trail Hike

Steam from lava

Rainforest end of hike just before sunset

Hapu'u pulu

This is just such an interesting fern. A descendant from prehistoric plants, the fiddleheads of this tree fern are covered with pulp - golden wool, amazingly soft to the touch - that protects its new growth from drying. Soft pulu was used as a dressing for wounds or for stuffing pillows and the like.

Lava Lake from the Visitor's Center. The evening fog rolled in just as we got to our viewing spot, so we were luck to see even this.

Just a touch of humor. En route to the park we stopped for a snack at a local cafe. Here is a shot of their "Tea Garden."

While I'm at it, here's another touch of humor. This is a shot at a restaurant - up to you to decide how this happened.

Sue went diving for dolphins with Linda Trostle. We went fishing for marlin. Sue and Linda swam with dolphins. We toured the ocean for 4 hours, saw some dolphins, a shark, and some humpback whales. None of the boats in the area caught anything. We seem to be caught in a questionable karma space. On the bright side, we are playing in Hawaii and other people are working. It's all about perspective, right?

 

That's pretty much the end of the tale. We had some excellent dinners around Waikoloa, and went back to Kona for the farmer's market and lunch one day. We walked down to a local beach near the Honokohau Marina and waded out to to find the turtles. We found some good beach bars for watching those unbelievable sunsets. And then, as one of my friends messaged, it was time for us to return to Paradise (aka sunny Palm Springs).

Steven got this shot of a swarm of mussels at the "turtle" beach

Thanks for taking the time to let us share our travels with you. As always, we look forward to your comments. Next up: Mojave Desert/Valley of Fire photo group trip, and then sometime this summer, the Channel Islands.  

bette & steven

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2017/3/hawaii-february-2017---part-2-the-big-island Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:06:00 GMT
SUMMER 2016 ROAD TRIP FINALE https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/9/summer-2016-road-trip-finale  

36 days

3586 miles

4 States (NV,UT,WY,CA)

42 miles hiking; 40 biking (10 at a time x 1000+ gain each); 19 fish landed; 8 rounds of golf; 3639 photos.

447 (Palm Springs altitude) to 10,700 (Mirror Lake Byway) with most of our trip at 6,000-7,000 altitude.

 

The Last Segment: Park City to South Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Lakes and Home

The drive from Park City to Tahoe was far more interesting than we expected. Who knew there was so much salt! 

Catching this public art piece as we drove by it, literally in the middle of nowhere, we learned afterwards that it is a rather famous piece of art, titled "Tree of Utah." From Wikipedia: It is an 87-foot-tall sculpture that was created by the Swedish artist Karl Momen in the 1980s and dedicated in 1986. It is located in the desolate Great Salt Lake Desert of Utah on the north side of Interstate 80, about 25 miles east of Wendover and midway between the former railroad communities of Arinosa and Barro. The sculpture, which is constructed mainly of concrete, consists of a squarish 'trunk' holding up six spheres that are coated with natural rock and minerals native to Utah. There are also several hollow sphere segments on the ground around the base. The sculpture currently has a fence surrounding the base to protect people from falling tiles.

First sighting of Lake Tahoe -- one REALLY large lake. Just a little basic information, from Wikipedia: Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. Its depth is 1,645 ft, making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake (1,945 ft). Additionally, Lake Tahoe is the sixth largest lake by volume in the United States at 122,160,280 acre·ft (150,682,490 dam3), behind the five Great Lakes.

Our first night in Tahoe,  we headed to the beach for the annual Labor Day (night) fireworks show.

The sunset was maybe even better than the fireworks show. I had a little photo-art fun presenting the fireworks.

I have 2 shots here for all our golfing friends. Edgewood Golf (Nevada side of Tahoe): check out this shot tee-to-green from the red pine cones (aka t- box markers). And, the second photo seems aptly titled, "Bridge Over Water Trouble." 

 
Brad and Jordan joined us for a few days; hiked; rented a boat for a spin of this gigantic lake.
 
Brad moving boulders.

They said it was a moderate hike AROUND the lake! 

And then we headed to our last stop: Mammoth Lakes. Stunning scenery!

We had a final fishing trip lined up for Crawley Lake (steelheads in mind) but at 29-degrees at 7am, with thunderstorm predicted - we summoned up our adult and cancelled. Instead, we did a little shore fishing from Lake Mary (zip, zero except for cold feet), then took a drive over to Crawley Lake. Indeed, here's that storm rolling in - and we were delighted to view fit rom the inside of the car rather than from a cold bench on a small boat in the middle of the lake!

We decided it was time to head back to the desert heat. 

We are home.

Thanks for sharing this year's journey with us.

Next up - February, Hawaii. Stay tuned …

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) Utah salt flats, autumn colors clouds fireworks golf mountain lakes mountain landscape mountains stories storm clouds sunset weather https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/9/summer-2016-road-trip-finale Mon, 19 Sep 2016 20:59:25 GMT
PARK CITY https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/9/park-city Week 3, and we are now in Park City UT. We've been in this area before to ski, but this is our first time seeing the canyons without snow. We arrived just in time for the Saturday night rock-blues concert . 

 

 

Sunday we went over to the Olympic Training Village and by chance a team was practicing ski jumping. If you've ever wondered how in the heck they practice these jumps well here it is -- they have a huge safety pool and their practice skies have holes in them to soften the landing. Of course, I can't figure how anyone learns to do (has the courage to do) these moves with our without water.

 

Speaking of timing, we arrived just as the leaves started to change. Our first day - everything was green. Then the night weather changed to close to freezing and it pushed Fall. Every day the colors intensified. Awesome.

This is a shot at the Olympic Training Village of the bobsled track and the hill above, just starting to turn color. (8/21)

 

This is one week later. I couldn't resist doing a little photo-art technique here - the scene begged to have a watercolor effect.

We met up with friends from CA, Kal and Linda Kaplan. Kal joined us one day for golf. Steven and I did some biking, notably a ride with a huff-a-puffa 950 ft. elevation gain, add 40mph+ gusting winds and I literally had trouble moving forward. We did several hikes up in the high canyons and lakes.

Here are a few shots.

JEREMY RANCH GOLF COURSE - ONE TOUGH SHOT INTO THE GREEN

 

 

 

 

THERE'S A REASON WHY IT'S CALLED MIRROR LAKE

And, finally, let's talk about the fishing. We were fly fishing in rushing mountain-stream water, waist to chest high in waders. We caught some pretty decent fish but after about 3 hours I was frozen numb and Steven agreed he'd had enough--  right after he landed the 2-fister sized brook trout. (We agreed that next fishing event has to be in a boat --or we need to get 5mm waders!). 

Steven's best.

 

 

 

 

Bette's best.

 

Finally, I wanted to share a gorgeous sunrise, and equally stunning sunset.

 

SUNRISE OVER PARK CITY

 

SUNSET - CANYON'S VILLAGE GONDOLA LIFT

 

Next stop - South Lake Tahoe. 

Thanks for spending some time with us. Thanks to all who sent along comments from the first bog - keep it up. It's fun hearing from everyone.

b.

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/9/park-city Mon, 05 Sep 2016 22:36:53 GMT
SUMMER 2016: WEEKS 1 & 2 https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/8/summer-2016-weeks-1-2 This summer's adventure started 8/11.  First stop, St. George UT. Our goal was to play golf at Wolf Creek (actually in Mesquite NV) -  some steps above our skill set but one of those challenges we just needed to try.  Every hole is stunning. 

 

Wolf Creek Golf Course Mequite UT Wolf Creek Golf Course Mequite UT

 

Next stop – Jackson Hole. We rented a condo for 2 weeks during which time we hiked the Tetons National Park and Yellowstone National Park, did some bike rides, played a few rounds of golf, and did a 12 mile float fly fishing trip down the Snake River (yep – caught some trout).  Life coincidence – we met up with a friends from a prior trip, Denny & Linda, who just happened to be starting a tour of the area the day we arrived!

Here's a photographic summary.

 

SOME ANIMALS

 

 

deerdeer

 

 

 

elkelk

 

 

 

SOME SCENERY

PHELPS LAKE HIKE, TETONS NP.

 

STEVEN DOING SOME MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY.

 


I TRIED MY HAND AT MACRO, TOO.

CAREFUL THERE, MISSY.

 

PHELPS LAKE

 

 

YELLOWSTONE NP

BLOOD GEYSER

 

UPPER FALLS AND GRAND CANYON OF YELLOWSTONE

 

ARTIST POINT

 

FIREHOLE LAKE

 

FISHING THE SNAKE RIVER

EARLY MORNING VIEW OF THE TETONS FROM SNAKE RIVER

 

TROUT!

 

STORM BREWING - TIME TO GO!

 

Good buddies from Denver,  Ellen and Jeff , joined us for a few days. Unfortunately, there was a major fire in theTetons throwing heavy smoke and ash all over the area, causing some campgrounds evacuations and road closures! We toughed out one hike and called it quits on outdoor activities. These last few shots are from our final hiking day in Jackson Hole.  We're bailing a little early to get away from the heavy smoke. Next stop – Park City UT.

 

TAGGERT - BRADLEY LAKES LOOP: TETONS NATIONAL PARK

SMOKEY SUNRISE

 

37 DEGREES!

 

IN SPITE OF THE HAZY SMOKE, LOTS OF EYE-CANDY

 

HAZY (PAST 3 DAYS) V. CLEAR (FIRST WEEK)

Thanks for taking a look. Next blog -- probably a week from now when we leave Park City.

 

all the best

b.

 

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) bike fish golf hike jackson hole lake mountains st. george ut trout wolf creek wyoming https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/8/summer-2016-weeks-1-2 Fri, 26 Aug 2016 19:47:38 GMT
PANAMA CANAL/PANAMA CITY JANUARY 2016 https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/2/panama-canal/panama-city-january-2016 Ok, THIS is a "wow." The vision to harness water gravity, apply the laws of buoyancy, and then the engineering to execute this man-made canal is indeed amazing.

There is no point in my rewriting the history – so, for those of you interested, here is the Wikipedia short version.

A Brief History

The Panamá Canal (Spanish: Canal de Panamá) is a 48-mile (77 km) ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean. The canal cuts across the Isthmus of Panama and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. There are locks at each end to lift ships up to Gatun Lake, an artificial lake created to reduce the amount of excavation work required for the canal, 26 metres (85 ft) above sea level. The current locks are 33.5 metres (110 ft) wide. A third, wider lane of locks is currently under construction and is due to open in 2016.

France began work on the canal in 1881, but had to stop because of engineering problems and high mortality (20,000 +) due to lack of understanding of the infrastructure needed to move that much dirt to avoid landslides, and especially due to disease (malaria and yellow fever). The United States took over the project in 1904, and took a decade to complete the canal, which was officially opened on August 15, 1914.

One of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken, the Panama Canal shortcut greatly reduced the time for ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, enabling them to avoid the lengthy, hazardous Cape Horn route around the southernmost tip of South America via the Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan. The shorter, faster, and safer route to the U.S. West Coast and to nations in and around the Pacific Ocean allowed those places to become more integrated with the world economy.

During construction, ownership of the territory that the Panama Canal now passes through was first Colombian, then French, and then American. The US continued to control the canal and surrounding Panama Canal Zone until the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties provided for handover to Panama. After a period of joint American–Panamanian control, the canal was taken over by the Panamanian government in 1999, and is now managed and operated by the Panama Canal Authority, a Panamanian government agency.

Annual traffic has risen from about 1,000 ships in 1914, when the canal opened, to 14,702 vessels in 2008, the latter measuring a total of 309.6 million Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tons. By 2008, more than 815,000 vessels had passed through the canal; the largest ships that can transit the canal today are called Panamax.[1] It takes 6 to 8 hours to pass through the Panama Canal. The American Society of Civil Engineers has named the Panama Canal one of the seven wonders of the modern world.[2]

 

A brief note about how the water thing works:

The Canal is built up higher than the oceans on either side (85ft above sea level) because the oceans on either side of Panama have an eight-inch difference in sea level. This means that in order to cross from one side to the next, a ship must be elevated up to the maximum height of the canal on one side, and then lowered back down to sea level on the other side.  The Canal itself consists of fresh water that is fed from Lake Gatun (164 sq miles - at the time it was built, the largest man-made lake in the world), which is also situated in an area that receives massive amounts of rain. The rainwater helps maintain the lake’s freshwater levels, even though the Canal is flanked by salt water on either side (the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans).

The freshwater of the Canal is used in excessive volumes to elevate the ships that are going through the locks (laws of buoyancy). Each lock consists of one to three chambers with large concrete doors that are 7 feet thick. Once the large double set of doors are closed, the chamber will fill up (or empty) in order to raise (or lower) vessels to the Canal level (or the Ocean level).

 

 

Now that we have the history and details behind us, here's how you go through the locks and it works exactly the same today as when the first ships went through in 1914. Why?, we asked. Answer – It Works.

  • A Canal Pilot comes on board to take command of your boat.
  • Line Handlers come on board and hang around the bow.
  • When the Canal Director on shore in the Control Center signals the pilot that it's your turn to get into position to go through the top lock, a guy in a row boat comes alongside and hands over a rope that starts the process of securing the boat to a mule train.  On the other side, a guy on the dock tosses a rope to the Line Handlers just like the best-ever rodeo cowboy, and attaches his end to the mule train on that side. The Line Handlers now pull both ropes taut, securing the boat in position in the center of the lock.
  • Now the mule trains start moving, guiding the boat into the lock and stop at a defined position.
  • The lock either fills or empties depending on which direction you are going. When that is done, gigantic 7-feet thick concrete doors (same doors that have always been there) slowly swing open and allow (a) the water to flow into the next lock, and (b) the boat to pass on to the next lock.

Here's what it looks like in pictures.

We went through the Miraflores locks at night (Pacific to Gatun Lake), then through the Gatun locks the next afternoon (empty into the Atlantic) and off we went to Colon/Panama.

First things first. You wait. You and lots of other boats small, big, and gigantic all wait. You wait for hours - yep, right through sunset, for your turn.

Nice sunset though.

 

 

Then finally -  a tug boat brings the Canal Pilot to the ship. He will take command until we are through the locks.

 

He will wait for instructions to move ahead to the locks land, and follow the arrow.

 

 

Line Handlers have boarded, and drop a rope to the row boat guys.

 

 

Row boat guys take that rope and tie it to the cable from the mule train.

 

Here's the lasso toss of the other rope - which is already tied to that mule train.

 

 

Line Handlers have this perfect team cadence for pulling the ropes taut so the boat is basically centered between the ropes, then held in that position by connection to the mule trains.

 

 

(Even this looks more exciting at night).

 

Here's the mule train guiding us along. You can see the water mark here and the measurements. Yep, we're going to just sit here until the lock fills all the way.

 


 

Night version

 

Water fills up.

Look at the size of the ship we shared the Miraflores locks with. You can see a mule train on either side of that big boy, keeping it centered and guiding it through the lock.

 

 

 

Or water empties to takes you down (roughly the same amount of time to happen for the water-filling process; lots of drinking and snacking happens while going through the Panama Canal).

Here we are, going through the Gatun locks headed down to the Atlantic side. The big boat is done. Once those doors open, we are heading into the lock right there in front of us.

 

 

 

 

Those doors are 7 feet thick concrete. You can get a better feel for how massive they are from this night shot when the doors were behind us.

 

 

 

Here's the ship that was behind us in our lock as we went through the Gatun locks (down). Their crew were waving out their windows and taking pictures of us taking pictures of them.

 

 

And we're out.

26 million gallons of water per lock.

8-10 hours (though we stopped half way to anchor in Gatun Lake after our night trip through the first 3 locks).

 



We had a tour of the new lock, just getting ready for it's dry run opening (which actually means testing that the water flows in/out correctly so I suspect "dry run" isn't the correct description). It will handle the new the Panamax-size boats, which are about one and a half times the current maximum width and length and can carry over twice as much cargo. Old = 1000 ft long; New = 1400.

Three major differences in structure and operations - instead of walls that open, the new lock has sliding gates;  instead of all that water just dumping out into the ocean, the new lock recaptures some of the water into a parallel reservoir; there are no mule trains - the ships guide themselves.

 



 

 

PANAMA CITY, with a population of about 1.4 million (half the population of Panama), has a very new Downtown of massive and modern high rises next to the Old Downtown, which is next to Old Town, which is rimmed by poverty.

Here's a shot from the top of Ancon Hill, the highest point above the city.

 

 

From the boat, we could get good look (though somewhat hazy) at just the new downtown. This has all been built in the past 12 years.

 

 

Old Town is the center of tourism. It was recently designated as a World Heritage Site, with architecture from 1600's through modern European, including the Presidential Palace, and most of the historic landmarks and statues. There is significant reconstruction throughout all of Old Town.

Just a few shots to give you some idea of the flavor of Old Town…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The contrast to the very old, poor area is quite dramatic. In the second shot here you can see the wires on the building, basically stealing electricity.

 

 

 

 

 

That's pretty much it for this trip. Thanks for coming along.

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) gatun locks going through the panama canal miraflores locks old town panama city panama canal panama city panama hats https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/2/panama-canal/panama-city-january-2016 Fri, 12 Feb 2016 19:39:09 GMT
COSTA RICA JANUARY 2016 https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/2/costa-rica-january-2016 Some trips have a wow moment, like coming through the sun gate atop Machu Picchu, or your first sunrise sighting of the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon.  Our visit to Costa Rica didn't have one of those huge oh-my moments.  Instead, it was filled with days of quiet connection to nature --  rain forests, mangrove-filled rivers, coral reefs off remote islands, sunrises and sunsets in ocean coves and not another boat in sight. Our thanks to National Geographic and their Naturalists for taking us to pristine places, and for sharing their seemingly endless knowledge of forest, plants, birds, habitats, mammal habits on and on.

 

It's amazing how much plant life is shared in just a few feet of a rain forest…

 

 

 

How crystal clear the water is at the coral reef off a remote island …

 

photo by christian: underwater cam

 

Costa Rica is home to some 800 birds (of which our birder friends counted over a 100 seen on our hikes and river trips) …

 

 

And stunning sunsets.

 

Here is a quick summary of our trip.

 

 

SAN JOSE TO THE MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST

Hikes in the cloud forest and high up above the canopy of the forest on sky walks. 4500 ft altitude. Visits to: Hummingbird Garden, Bat Jungle, Butterfly Farm. Fonda Vela lodge.

Special thanks to our naturalist, Max, for his passionate discussions about the symbiotic relationships and survival tactics of plant life, sighting of birds and mammals no one else would have even noticed, and hidden gems like the teenie berry that tastes like garlic or the even smaller bud that yields an amazing red juice used to dye cloth (or make face paint in our case). Oh, and for sharing his second favorite restaurant in Costa Rica with – trust me here – maybe among the best pizza I've ever had, and pretty darn good local beer.

 

Boat tour at the Tarcoles River – successfully hunting for crocodiles.


 

Herradura (Pacific Coast):  Board the Linblad Expeditions/National Geographic Sea Lion - our 155 ft/62 passenger boat.

 

Over the next 7 days aboard the Sea Lion

  • Manuel Antonio National Park. Hike.
  • Agujitas River - Hike, Swim.
  • Oso Peninsula  - Caletas Reserve. Hike; Corcovada National Park. Hike with Mountain Waterfall Swim.
  • Golfo Dulce – Casa Orquidea Botanic Gardens. Paddle Boarding. Tigre River Kayaking.
  • Coiba National Park – the smallest island you've ever seen (humming Here On Gilligan's Isle as we approached in our zodiacs). Ga-zillions of hermit crabs – no people, no buildings, no nothing but the surrounding pristine coral reef. Snorkel.
  • Bona Island Zodiac Shoreline Cruise. Boobies & Frigates!
  • Panama Canal the 3 locks Miraflores and Pedro Miguel at night lifting us  feet above sea level from the Pacific into the Culebra cut and large man-made Gutan Lake.
  • Gutan Lake – Barro Colorado Island guided tour/hike (managed by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)
  • 3 Gatun Locks lowering us 85 feet to the level of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Dock at Colon.
  • Disembark and head to Panama City.
  •  

I will detail our experience through the Panama Canal and the visit to Panama City in the next blog: "Panama- January 2106".

 

Costa Rica Additional Photos

(Note: We are not "birders" and did not have the lenses nor the skill to capture photos of those darn birds that persist in hiding 200 + feet up in a tree in a dark dense forest. But we became friends with a couple from NJ – Phi and Becky Witt  who are phenomenal photographers, birds especially. They graciously shared a few of their shots which I have included below. If you want to see more of their work: philwitt.smugmug.com)

 

capuchin monkey

 

 

coatimundi

 

 

photo by phil witt: scarlet macaw

 

photo by phil witt: 3 toed sloth

 

 

toucan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

our private swimming hole - waterfall hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE OTHER 3000 PHOTOS!

HOPE YOU ENJOYED SHARING OUR ADVENTURE.

 

bette & steven

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) 3-toed sloth Banana Tree Butterfly Cloud Forest Costa Rica Crockodile Hummingbird Iguana Kayaing Macaw Monteverde Orchids Rainforest Spider Sunset Toucan Waterfall https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/2/costa-rica-january-2016 Wed, 10 Feb 2016 04:59:39 GMT
JURIED SHOW FINALIST https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/1/juried-show-finalist Well, I didn't win a coveted first, second, or third place, but I'm still pretty proud to have made it to the Exhibition Finalist section for this year's Artist Choice Fusion Art Palm Springs Online Juried show. Not with just one shot but with all 3 shots I submitted. They have hundreds of submissions from all over the world, so this was pretty exciting!

http://fusionartps.com/artists-choice-exhibition-january-2016/


Sailboats in Marina - Dillon COSailboats in Marina - Dillon CO

 

Japanese Garden ArtisticJapanese Garden ArtisticThis is an artistically enhanced photograph of the Japanese Gardens in Pasadena (Huntington Library/Botanic Gardens).

 

Grey Heron On BicycleGrey Heron On Bicycle

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) fusion art palm springs juried show finalist online art show finalist https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2016/1/juried-show-finalist Mon, 04 Jan 2016 16:07:24 GMT
SEDONA - THE FINALE https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/8/sedona---the-finale The first weeks of this summer's journey put us on eye-candy overload, but the drive from Santa Fe to Sedona involving the Painted Desert National Park, and then the red rock formations in Sedona raised the bar. This is our 4th visit to Sedona - starting many years ago when it was basically a small artist village with a few spas in the outskirts, to now this sprawling community with a long list of good restaurants, shops, galleries and tourist shops. We still prefer to spend our time in the red rocks, hiking and, of course, taking photos. Oh, right, and a few mornings playing golf which is quite difficult to do because the scenery is so darn distracting!

Here are a few shots of the incredible landscape.

EN ROUTE SANTE FE TO SEDONA, A STOP AT THE PAINTED DESERT NATIONAL PARK

THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF PETROGLYPHS IN THIS ONE SECTION OF THE PARK

 

SEDONA - HOW'S THIS FOR AN AFTERNOON WINE AND RELAXATION SPOT

WEST FORK HIKE, OAK CREEK CANYON

OAK CREEK CANYON DRIVE FROM SEDONA TO FLAGSTAFF - JUST A FEW SWITCHBACKS

SEDONA GOLF RESORT - OAK CREEK VILLAGE

THIS IS KNOWN AS "CATHEDRAL ROCK"

 

This ends our journey. From here, we head home to Palm Springs.

Thanks for coming along.

best,

bette & steven

 

 

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) arizona golf oak creek canyon az painted desert red rocks sedona https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/8/sedona---the-finale Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:36:54 GMT
COLORADO https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/8/colorado COLORADO

We have 2 places we call "home" in Colorado: The High Country (Breckenridge) and The Front Range ( Denver). Both still feel like home, and it was delightful spending time with good friends in both areas.

Each location has undergone some amazing changes.

Breckenridge has a new library and a wow-upgraded movie theater; an expansive Arts District in both buildings and programs; and of course some new eateries. With added housing as well, this is no sleepy little mountain village. Breckenridge even in summer is jammed! The marinas in Frisco and Dillon are jammed. Quiet fishing spots are still to be found though we're not sure where the fish went. Thanks, Jan and Steve, for taking us in - and letting us steer the sailboat!

Denver – by which I refer specifically to lower downtown Denver (LoDo) where we used to live – has built up so much it is jaw dropping. The Union Station development, which was just beginning when we left, has redefined "downtown" – with a hotel in the old station, eateries, wine bars, entertainment venues, and new access areas to buses and trains. The area around lower downtown continues to grow with new high and mid-rise residences. It's like someone said "build it and they will come" meaning by the thousands. There is so much urban energy here. Thankfully, if you get out early enough, you can still have the Platt River bike trail pretty much to yourself at least for 25 miles or so. 

In both places we couldn't help but be amazed with the amount of water.  While California has a drought, both the High Country and Denver have had record rainfalls.  The Platt River at the lower part of downtown would normally be a kayak park but has too much current.

Here are a few shots from Colorado, including my friend Sue's new office with one of my shots wall-sized! It was amazing to walk in and see this.

 

BRECKENRIDGE - THE MOUNTAIN

BreckenridgeView of the ski mountain

 

LAKE DILLON - DILLON CO

Lake DillonJan and Steve took us sailing

 

DOWNTOWN DENVER FROM THE NORTH PLATT RIVER BIKE PATH

Downtown Denver From The North Platt Bike Path

 

CONFLUENCE OF CHERRY CREEK AND THE PLATT RIVER IN LOWER DOWNTOWN DENVER. THERE IS USUALLY A KAYAK PARK HERE BUT THE WATER IS RUNNING TOO HIGH AND TOO FAST.

 

Kayak Park No MoreThe Platt River is running so fast that the kayak park has been obliterated!

FAVORITES FROM THE DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS. Thanks, Jeff & Ellen, for a delightful day, plus inviting us to join in the monthly dinner gathering at Waterside Lofts to also see Paul, Niki, Mary Fran, and Bob.

Favorites from Denver Botanic Garden

 

PROGRESSIVE HEALTH CENTER'S NEW OFFICE RECEPTION AREA. THIS IS A SHOT I TOOK AT THE PASADENA BOTANIC GARDENS, WALL-SIZED! We met up with some more good buddies here - Sue, Dominique, Gary, Mary Lou, and a new friend, Alice.

One of my photos as a full wallImagine walking in to an office and seeing one of your photos as the entire wall!

 

We're off to Sedona --

best, 

steven & bette

 

 

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) Breckenridge CO Denver CO downtown lake mountains water https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/8/colorado Sat, 22 Aug 2015 02:55:27 GMT
Nevada-Utah-Colorado https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/8/nevada-utah-colorado Steven is doing the drive this morning as we head to Frisco CO.  It seems a good time to post stories and shots about the first few days of this summer's adventure.

DAY 1: MESQUITE NV.

We had an uneventful 5-1/2 hour drive from Palm Springs to Mesquite NV. There is no reason to stop in Mesquite except for several amazing golf courses, which is why we are here.

DAY 2: MESQUITE NV + DRIVE TO ZION NATIONAL PARK

GOLF

We played the Oasis/Palmer Golf Course. A solid challenge, and stunning scenery, The other shot I'm posting here is why we will come back to Mesquite -  to play Wolf Creek.

Steven Tees Off This t-box is at a 100 foot elevation.

Wolf Creek Golf Course18 "signature holes"

After golf, we headed on to ZIon National Park. 

Driving to Zion

WELCOME TO ZION.

 

First Sighting of Zion National Park

ZION NATIONAL PARK/SPRINGDALE

This is the second time we have stayed at the small lodge, The Cliffrose. It is a perfect location right on  the Virgin River, and just a short walk to the entrance to Zion National Park.

Here's a shot from our room, right along the Virgin River. (no fishing, but tubing is good)

Virgin River and Zion National ParkThis is a shot from our back patio.

DAY 3: ZION NATIONAL PARK

We're up early, ready to hike. It is raining! I mean really raining. For someone from California - well into a 4 year drought, with imposed water-use restrictions - this is shock and awe. Everything is already so green, the river is already full and flowing – and here it is, raining! Undaunted, off we go for our hike to The Narrows.

The Narrows is anywhere from a short hiking experience to a permit-required, 2 day, 16 mile trek. Regardless of how much of it you decide to do, the hike is IN the river, up to at least ankles, maybe knees, sometimes up to waist in water. The main attraction is the 3.5 mile gorge through a slot canyon, with walls a thousand feet tall and the river sometimes 20-30 feet wide.

HAD we done the hike, here's what we would have seen.

The Narrow Slot Canyon However, after doing the river access hike, as we approached the entrance to The Narrows itself, wouldn't you know it – flash flood warnings.  It's so hard acting like a grown-up, but, we indeed decided to turn back.  Did I mention that it's raining, and the water temperature was posted at 65-degrees. Here is where we turned around.

Start of The Narrows

These are a few others shots as we headed through the park. With Steven as a size perspective you can get an idea of the immense height of these walls. Everything around the river is so lush!

Lush River Shoreline

 

A Wall In Zion

We headed for the center of the park, to Zion Lodge, and hung out with a few hundred other hikers waiting for the rain to slow down. No such luck. And since almost all of the hikes here are steep and on what are now muddy, slippery trails we swallowed our disappointment and headed back to our lodge.

DAY 4: DRIVE TO GRAND JUNCTION CO.

The sun is out. Should we go back and do The Narrows? OMG – it's Saturday and by the time we are done with breakfast (7:00am) the park is already jammed. Nothing will be quiet, peaceful, or a commune with nature. The Narrows will look like a parking lot as it is one of the most popular hikes. We decided to follow our original plan and head to Grand Junction. We'll just have to make plans to come back to Zion.

Early morning on a sunny day this drive is yet more breath-taking for the colors and shadows. Can you imagine, this is not even a designated Scenic Drive!

 

FUN SHORT STORY:

In Utah, on I-15, we pass a posted Speed Limit 80 sign, and we and the cars around us slowed down.

GRAND JUNCTION CO.

We get to Grand Junction and immediately head off on a bike ride. For those of you not familiar with the Grand Junction/Fruita area, this is home to epic mountain biking. it's almost impossible for us to be here and not immediately think RIDE.

 

Steven On The River Bike Trail

Tomorrow we head to "home" to Breckenridge. Technically, we will be staying in Frisco CO, one town over from Breckenridge, with our best buddies Jan and Steve Cornwell.

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) Utah scenery Zion Zion National Park golf golfer mountain drive scenic drive https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/8/nevada-utah-colorado Mon, 10 Aug 2015 16:26:27 GMT
SUMMER 2015: JUNE-JULY VISITS TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BEACHES https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/7/summer-2015-june-july Instead of the 9-week adventure of last summer, this year we decided that for the first part of summer we would head to the near-by beaches now and then, to escape the heat of Palm Springs.

 

Early June was a bit of a stutter-start for summer get-aways. We were set to go to Santa Barbara, but there was this mega oil spill that closed the beach. Scratch that. Instead, we found a cabin at Bass Lake (just south of Yosemite) and also made plans to meet up with our friends Lori and Bruce Howard who run the best BnB in the Yosemite area. I reached out to one of the fishing captains to make arrangements with him, and learned the lake was so low due to the CA draught that maybe we should reconsider. Scratch.

 

Slow start to the summer get-away plans.

 

But, finally, we’re on a roll.

 

Santa Monica. Mid-June.

 

We always enjoy being in Santa Monica. We have some friends there. Our son Brad met up with us for Father’s Day and his birthday celebration at The Ivy. We had a lovely, quiet day at the beach with 50,000 + best friends, and took a drive up to Malibu to find some quieter space.

 

 

SUNDAY AT SANTA MONICA BEACH

Santa Monica BeachSanta Monica BeachWeekend at the Santa Monica CA beach. Plan to share it with lots of people!

 

MALIBU

 

Down Time At MalibuDown Time At MalibuSometimes you can find a quiet place at Malibu beach.

 

 

 

Huntington Beach. July 4th week.

 

What would 4th of July be without a visit to Huntington Beach, with the added plus of spending time with friends from Denver who have a condo there and were in town for the week. According to the official Visitor’s Center Info, Huntington Beach has the longest July 4th Parade anywhere west of the Mississippi. I’m not going to dispute this. We walked/watched for over 2 hours and decided that was enough parade for us. It was still going strong! Late night -  good fireworks show over the pier.

 

I think our favorite part of Huntington Beach is the bike trail. Most every day we did a bike ride down to Newport, or up to Seal Beach for breakfast  (10 miles@). We spent some time doing photography at the Bolsa Chica Conservancy (LOTS of birds), and also when biking through HB Central Park and Gardens. 

 

Maybe someday we’ll give a go at surfing. Huntington Beach - Surf Town USA. It looks like a lot of fun, but then I remember that you have to get into the 65-deg salty ocean to play at this sport. Even with a wet suit, I pass. 

 

 

JULY 4 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SURF CITY USA

Surfers Waiting and WaitingSurfers Waiting and Waiting

 

 

HUNTINGTON BEACH SUNSET

Huntington Beach at SunsetHuntington Beach at Sunset

 

Carlsbad/Oceanside: Mid-July:

 

Mid-July, 110+ in the desert. Time to go.

 

Carlsbad and Oceanside are quiet beach villages about a 2 hour drive from Palm Springs. This was mostly a beach and golf week for us. It also gets us close enough to San Diego for my cousin to come join us for a visit. Nice.

 

 

 

NORTH OCEANSIDE BEACH - PHOTO TAKEN FROM THE PIER

Oceanside Beach PainterlyOceanside Beach PainterlyPhoto-art of Oceanside Beach taken from the Pier. Lots families and friends having a fun weekend at the beach.

 

 

A LOVELY BEACH COTTAGE - OCEANSIDE

A Little Beach CottageA Little Beach CottageA little beach cottage that is a perfect postcard.

 

 

LOOKING THROUGH A FENCE AT THE "COASTER" TRACKS - A TRAIN THAT RUNS BETWEEN SAN DIEGO AND OCEANSIDE.

 

 

 

Oceanside Coaster Train TracksOceanside Coaster Train TracksTrain tracks through a fence - wondering when it comes, and where it goes.

 

 

 

THE PHOTOGRAPHS BELOW ARE FROM VARIOUS BIRD CONSERVANCIES, GARDENS,

AND DISCOVERIES WHILE HIKING OR BIKING.

 

 

Yellow-Footed HeronYellow-Footed Heron HeronHeronThis heron is stretched out ready to punch on his next meal.

Solitary SandpiperSolitary SandpiperSolitary Sandpiper at Bolsa Chica Conservancy, Huntington Beach CA. Western Tiger Swallowtail ButterflyWestern Tiger Swallowtail ButterflyMacro of a Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. Strawberry Tree FruitsStrawberry Tree FruitsThis is a beautiful cluster of the fruits of a strawberry tree,

 

 

 

 

 

STAY TUNED. 

WE ARE ABOUT TO START A 3-WEEK ADVENTURE THROUGH UTAH, COLORADO, AND ARIZONA.     

 

Cameras. check.

Bikes. check.

Golf Bags/ check.

Hiking and Fishing Gear. check.

 

Good to go. 

 

 

PhotographerPhotographerMe taking a shot of me? Maybe. best, b.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) California California beach Carlsbad Huntington Beach July 4th fireworks July 4th parade Santa Monica California beach beach umbrellas crowded beach people at the beach summer at the beach surfers https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/7/summer-2015-june-july Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:44:33 GMT
New Work https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/2/new-work I was in a slump.

I hadn't touched a camera almost since our return from the summer adventure.

Every gallery I went to, every outdoor photography work I looked at online served as a reminder that the world really doesn't need another photo of a snow capped mountain, half-dome at Yosemite, cactus, flowers, hazing mountain mornings. Some photographers do amazing things with these types of shots - but, I needed to find something new and amazing to reignite my interest.

As luck would have it, I came across of course in blending photographs and illustration; seeking the unexpected; learning how to deliver a different perspective. And THAT is what I have been working on for over 2 months now.

I can't even count the number of hours of attempts that ended up in the trash. But, there have been a few successes and I am ready to share a few of these.  I need to go harvest more and more shots for this type of imagining, as most of this body of work involves layering several shots (at the least), maybe changing out the actual background for another, etc.  But, it's a start and I am once again having a wonderful time.

Here are several samples. See the others in the Photo-Artistry gallery (click HOME then click on that gallery title).

Chair and Bench AbstractChair and Bench Abstract Horse Jumping HurdleHorse Jumping Hurdle

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/2/new-work Wed, 18 Feb 2015 23:26:12 GMT
2015 Rose Bowl Parade Floats Up Close https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/1/2015-rose-bowl-parade-floats-up-close This year, instead of going to the Rose Bowl Parade itself (did I mention it was 30-something degrees in Pasadena 1/1/2015), we decided to go January 2 when they have all the floats on display. We got to the Park & Ride at the Pasadena City College by 9am -  lots of parking spaces, a quick trip through the ticket line, and we were on the shuttle by 9:15. On the walk over to the shuttle we noticed that the back -to-back tennis courts at the City College were lined with posts and crowd barriers. I asked one of the volunteers what that was for and she said, "An hour from now that will be completely filled with people standing in line for the shuttles."  We thought she was kidding.

They have this system down pat. It's about a 10 minute ride to the display field. Once off the shuttle bus, we spent the next 3 hours (2.5 miles walking) gawking at the amazing organics of these floats. The sun was shining, lots of music happening, and, indeed, within an hour we were sharing this fabulous experience with 20,000 + of our best friends. 

I'm going to just load up some shots here to give you a glimpse of the full float itself, and then one feature magnified. All these are best seen on a full size computer screen and take it up to full screen because the detail is just incredible. Everything is organic, and everything is in it's natural state (you can not spray paint or dye anything). Beans, rice varieties, grains, bark, leaves of all sorts (eucalyptus turned inside out, for example, was used for tree bark), hay, grasses, and, of course, flowers.

By the way, these shots are exactly as taken with just a little brightening here and there so you can see the details. 

The rest of these shots are close ups of some of my and Steven's favorite float parts. I have also posted these as a ROSE BOWL FLOAT gallery on my home page in case you want to order a print.

I hope you enjoy looking at these amazing pieces of organic art. Next year we might volunteer for the few days before to help build a float.

Finally, here is The Crowd. And the End Piece which might be titled, "Did I Show Up On The Wrong Day."

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) 2015 Rose Bowl Parade Floats Parade Floats Pasadena Rose Bowl Floats crowd of people floats flowers organic designs, https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2015/1/2015-rose-bowl-parade-floats-up-close Thu, 08 Jan 2015 00:52:44 GMT
THE GRAND FINALE https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/9/thegrandfinale August 19th - we're on the 54th day of our adventure as we roll into Waterton National Park.  Located in Alberta, this is the Canadian side of the Glacier National Park, sharing borders with Montana and British Columbia. We thought we'd stay here a few days to do some light hiking, lake fishing, and ease out a little before heading on to Glacier National Park. Well, we did the "ease out" part but the rest was restricted by the weather. We hit 3 solid days of rain -- misty mornings, just enough of a somewhat clear window to get in a short hike each day, then a downpour. 
 
Here's about all we saw of Waterton (excluding bars and eateries).
 
 
THE FAMOUS PRINCE OF WALES HOTEL - BEST "HIGH TEA" IN TOWN FOR SURE.
 
 
THEY HAVE A PROTECTED BUFFALO HERD, WHICH MEANS THEY ARE PRETTY EASY TO SPOT.
 
 
CAMERON LAKE. WE GOT IN A GOOD HIKE AROUND AND OVER TO THE GLACIER WALL. SIGHTINGS OF BEAR CUBS ADDED SOME TENSION! 
 
 
RED CANYON. THIS IS A GIGANTIC GEOLOGICAL FORMATION WITH SEVERAL OFFSHOOT HIKES TO WATERFALLS.
 
STEVEN GOT THIS ADORABLE CHIPPY SHOT
 
 
Next, we headed off to Glacier National Park.  We had talked for days about our strategy for driving the famed Going-To-The-Sun road, on National Geographic's "10 top drives" list. All for naught. It continued to rain. We opted to hop onto the free shuttle rather than risk driving the steep and heavily switch-backed road in the fog. The Pass was fogged in. We didn't see much.
 
Day 2 we did an excellent low-level hike to the basin of one of the glaciers, met some nice folks, saw our bear, had a picnic lunch at the glacier lake, and got back to our car just before the rain started again. Another break in the weather - we headed off to fish. The rains started again, and we gave up all hope of seeing the top of the park or doing any of the interior hikes.
 
It just means we'll have to come back.
 
 
 
AVALANCHE CREEK BELOW BEARHAT MT (8600).  THE SPERRY GLACIER IS AT THE TOP BEHIND THE MIST AND CLOUDS.
 
 
NICE LUNCH SPOT
 
 
 
STEVEN, UNDAUNTED, FISHING AT LAKE MCDONALD IN THE RAIN.
 
 
COLD ENOUGH TO START THE FIREPLACE!
 
 
IF YOU CAN'T HIKE, FISH, OR BIKE, YOU MIGHT AS WELL DRINK. THAT'S OUR MOTTO.
 
 
SNOW IS ON THE MOUNTAIN TOPS.  IT'S 36F.  IT'S TIME TO HEAD BACK TO SUNNY CALIFORNIA.
 
 
HEADING THROUGH MONTANA. THINGS ARE LOOKING UP. 
 
 
THAT'S IT.  I'M DONE!
 
 
HOME.  WE'VE COME UNDONE
 
6016.5 miles
62 days
during which we did…
83 miles on bikes
80 miles on hiking trails
8 rounds of golf
5 fishing attempts 
and took 2792 photos
 
fabulous experience
good to be home
 
best
bette & steven
 
 
 
 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) bison boats boats on lake cameron lake waterton national park chipmunk country road country road with clouds fishing glacier national park glaciers lakes man fishing at lake moonshine mountains red canyon waterton national park water waterton national park woman in swimming pool https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/9/thegrandfinale Fri, 05 Sep 2014 01:05:35 GMT
THE CANADIAN ADVENTURE CONTINUES https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/8/the-canadian-adventure-continues I can't believe it has been 8 weeks since we left Palm Springs. Several friends have asked if we aren't tired of traveling or, more pointedly, tired of each other by now. Steven and I agree that the only thing we are tired of is that each of us has one duffel of clothes we have been dressing from for 8 weeks, half of which are heavier items that we could have left at home. And one more week to go of these same wardrobes – oy!

We are now in Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta). We have our first rainy day of the entire trip.  Before today, the weather has been a little hotter than expected, but for we desert rats it has been cooler than at home and that's good enough. There has been a little rain here and there as typical of mountain areas, but nothing much to get in the way of activities. Based on advice from friends who had been this way before us, we were loaded with bug spray and bug nets for our hats and the only bugs we met up with were a few miscreants on a hike along the wooded river hike in Edmonton.

Given this rainy morning, I am inspired to catch up on our travel journal, starting with leaving Vancouver 8/4 and driving to Kelowna.

KELOWNA is BC's winery center. As we approached town, we veered off to West Kelowna and the wineries, and started our visit here with a delightful lunch and tasting (the first of several occasions). Our hotel was on the south side of town with a beach and marina on the Okanagan Lake (135 sq miles really big lake). There are good bike trails all around town. We intended to bike over to the Wednesday Farmers' Market but on our way we saw a sign for Herb Farms and ended up biking into farm country instead. The cherries were amazing. The sunflowers were twice my height. We never made it to the herb farm – we had already biked some serious hills and around curves for 10 miles and figured that was enough for one day, especially since my backpack was now full. Check out the first hole of the golf course we played (Tower Ranch).  Our last day here was hot, so after a morning bike ride, we pulled some deck chairs up to the water's edge and did a little "chillin."

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GOLF CART BLING :)

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8/7 we headed off to CANMORE- Alberta, the drive serving as our introduction to the more craggy, rough rock formations of the Canadian Rockies.  Canmore is a stunning mountain village less than 30-minutes south of Banff. Less crowded than Banff or Lake Louise. And, home to our friends George and Barb Crookshank, who assigned themselves the roles of hosts, tour guides, hike leaders, and golf outing organizers. Our other good buddies -  Allan and Suzan from Edmonton, and Dave and Maureen from Calgary, joined us in Canmore. Outstanding time. It was a "Mission Hills North" event.

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The shot below is of George Crookshank across the lake from where I was standing on our hike to Rummel Lake. George is probably about 6'2" - just to provide a context for the enormity of the space for our hike's lunch destination.

JAW-DROPPING SCENERY

Steven and I spent one day touring LAKE LOUISE and BANFF. We started very early, arriving at the parking lot at Lake Louise by 8:00 am – maybe the 5th car in the lot. The scenery was spectacular – the sun angle just perfect. We headed off for the 2.5 mile shoreline walk and, by the time we returned, bus-loads of people were heading toward us on the trail, and the parking lot was already overflowed to the lower lot!  We were ahead of the crowds for 2 other short hikes but by mid-day it was clearly time to pack it in and head for a quiet picnic table. Lake Louise and Banff have spectacular scenery but way too many people, reinforcing what a good idea it had been to stay in Canmore.

 

LAKE LOUISE

JOHNSTON CANYON

 

8/11 we started our drive to JASPER along the ICEFIELDS PARKWAY. This is a roughly 4 hour drive on a good 2-lane road. However, we took a little over 9 hours to do this drive – checking out every pull-out for jaw-dropping scenery. Stunning mountains/glaciers. Walking on the icefields. Glacial Waterfalls. Short hikes for optimal viewpoints. The Icefields Parkway is on National Geographic's list of "10 most amazing drives" and it certainly deserves that reputation. We took almost 300 shots, and there would have been more, except we found ourselves spending a lot of time just embracing the beauty.

BOW LAKE

THE ICEFIELDS - YOU CAN HIKE UP TO THIS OR TAKE A "TRACTOR" AND WALK ON THE FIELD. 

PYRAMID LAKE

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We stayed in a cabin park in the charming mountain town of Jasper for 3 days. Hiking, Biking, FISHING, yep, Linda and George, you paying attention, we caught some trout! 

STEVEN SETTING UP FISHING GEAR

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8:00 AM - MALIGNE LAKE

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9:15 MY FIRST BROOKIE OF THE DAY (BEHIND ME IS GEORGE OUR GUIDE AND FISHING GURU). 

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8/15, we headed to EDMONTON to stay with our friends Allan and Suzan (and their wonderful dog, Ocean, who clearly owns the place). We had home-cooked meals, Suzan led us on a walking tour (6 miles), Allan led the biking tour (15 miles) and driving tour (I forgot to count). We played golf at their club, had dinner with Herb and Susan – other Edmonton friends we met in Palm Springs, and went downtown to the Fringe Festival for a little while. We had a great visit!

Next up, Waterton Lakes (Canadian side) and Glacier (US side) National Parks. I probably won't post this last leg of our trip until we get home.

Thanks for continuing to share our journey.

best

steven & bette

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) ALBERTA AWESOME SCENERY BANFF BEACH CHAIRS BRITISH COLUMBIA CANADA CANADIAN ROCKIES CANMORE COLORFUL BEACH CHAIRS FISHING GOLF COURSE ICEFIELDS PARKWAY JASPER KELOWNA LADIES GOLFING LAKE LOUISE MALIGNE LAKE JASPER MAN ON BICYCLE MIST MOUNTAINS RUMMEL LAKE SCENERY TROUT WATERFALLS WINE GLASS https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/8/the-canadian-adventure-continues Sat, 23 Aug 2014 00:37:28 GMT
ALASKA! https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/8/alaska It's difficult to explain size and scope where there is no context. That pretty much describes Alaska. Everywhere is big and far. And stunning beyond belief. Raw, bold, simple, natural, intense, gentle, complex, wet. Very wet.

24/7 of eye-candy. 

That's is basically all I need to say about Alaska.

Our trip was put together by the amazing folks at Adventure Life. They booked us into the perfect kind of small boat adventure we were looking for --  a small craft (36 passengers; 145 footer) run by Un-Cruise. If you are ever thinking about a cruise vacation, check these guys out. The boat was excellent, with very comfortable accommodations. The crew was outstanding. Everything you need is provided from high boots, wet gear, kayaks, etc, right on to fine wines and food flowing pretty much all day.  Here's a story for you:  one morning we were kayaking up to a glacier. You get close to a glacier, it is cold. We were there a fairly long time because it was so beautiful being right there while the glacier was calving that no one wanted to go back to the boat. Well, out comes the steward crew with hot chocolate, coffee, and Bailey's – tossing to-go thermos into the kayaks. Nice touch!

We hiked old-growth rain forests. Kayaked under waterfalls and along glaciers. Tucked into small lagoons at night, allowing for breath-taking misty morning kayaking.

And of course, there are the critters of Alaska.

Humpback Whales – two times we had a whale playfully doing the whole show:  blow, pec slap, tail slap, head lunge, breach. Our last day a large humpback did a long show for us then came straight at us and mugged the boat with a huge head rise.

Bears. I took about 300 shots of a mom with triplets. I just couldn't stop myself they were so adorable, mom catching fish then teaching the cubs to fish.

Harbor seals who playfully swished around out kayaks. Sea Lions amassed on icebergs.

Eagles, adults and juveniles. Puffins. Black Oystercatchers. Galls. Salmon. Mussels. Clams. Crabs. Starfish. Even the banana slug is big in Alaska.

It's all pretty indescribable.  Better just to show some pictures…

 

This photo journey starts with a shot in Juneau. It was raining when we landed in Juneau. We walked around for awhile, then spotted a local brew-pub. So, here is my first shot of the Alaska experience.

 

Here are a few shots to explain about the size of things. One is the size of our boat (see arrow) compared with some of the cruise ships. The other is a reflection of me in a display case of a full-sized grizzly. And lastly our "tiny kayaks" against a huge glacier.

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Here's a harbor seal messing around with us as we kayaked.

 

Some shots of birds and critters-


 

 

The scenery.  Mystical. Jaw dropping. Serene. Big.

Old-Growth Rain Forests.

 

Icebergs, glaciers, sunrises, sunsets, misty mornings, improbable clouds.

 

 

I'll close with my favorite shot. I looked out our cabin window one morning around 5:00, hoping to catch a sunrise to photograph. I saw this instead,

 

If you are interested in our itinerary or day by day details of our trip, let me know.  Basically, we were in the Glacier National Park and then the Inner Passage.

I hope you enjoyed this travel journal. 

We are now off to a drive through British Columbia and Alberta. 

best,

bette (and steven)

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) alaska bear bear with cubs black oystercatcher forest galciers galls kayak kayak at glacier mist mist over water misty morning puffin sealions small boats small boats in fog starfish sunrise sunset https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/8/alaska Tue, 12 Aug 2014 05:35:03 GMT
40 Hours In Vancouver BC https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/8/40-hours-in-vancouver-bc It's going to take a few more days before I can post the Travel Journal for our trip to Alaska. I need a little more time to figure out how to filter the experience to less than 100 pages, and how to select just a handful of representative and enticing photos from the close to 2000 we took on our 8 day journey.

Therefore, I am jumping ahead to Vancouver. This helps me feel as though I am not falling too far behind.

We flew from Juneau to Seattle. Picked up the car. Spent 4 hours at the laundromat. Then drove to Vancouver, ready for the next part of our adventure.

Steven and I knew we would enjoy a few days of urban life after a week in remote Alaska. We have only been here once, and were looking forward to getting better acquainted with this cosmopolitan city. Little did we know that we were going to be here on "BC DAY" weekend. A celebration. The city was jammed, and we loved being part of it.

Highlights

  • Sunny, 85+ degree weather.
  • Vancouver is a very picturesque city.
  • Saturday night was maybe the most spectacular fireworks show we have ever seen. We made 500,00 or so new friends.
  • Sunday we did a 30 mile bike ride through Stanley Park and downtown, stopping at the newly renovated Aquarium in the park.
  • Part of the ride downtown included watching the Pride Parade, sharing that experience with what they estimated at 650,000.

Here are a few shots 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) BC DAY 2014 alligator city crowds crowds of people fireworks jellyfish vancouver vancouver BC https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/8/40-hours-in-vancouver-bc Mon, 04 Aug 2014 00:54:52 GMT
17 DAYS IN SEATTLE https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/7/17-days-in-seattle JULY 7 -  we arrived in Seattle. Here was our first sight of downtown. Crisp and clear! 

 

I just have to say straight off, if the weather all year was similar to what we have experienced, this could easily be our "other home base."  A robust urban center with excellent mass transit + a strong arts center + interesting neighborhoods each with its own personality + water, mountains, vistas, ferries, beaches, hiking trails, biking trails + good golf + really nice people + great food and wines. AND -- we have been treated to sunny 80+ degree days most of our stay.

 

Our VRBO townhouse was in West Seattle, which has its own urban center with everything imaginable within walking distance, health/fit/holistic oriented, several parks, 20 minute bus to downtown Seattle (or a water taxi), but most of all it has Alki Beach – walk, bike, rent a kayak, play beach volleyball, watch amazing sunsets, or just find a bench to sit and do nothing – preferable with some wine.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR SEATTLE VISIT

 

Steven took a tour of the Boeing plant. He hasn't stopped talking about it. The day he was there he saw the delivery of the first 787-9; it was for New Zealand. The Dream Lifter is a modified 747 to bring segments of the 787 to the Boeing Plant. There are only 4 of these in service. Then he spent another day at the Museum of Flight.

 

Tourist day downtown: Pikes Market, Etta's for brunch, Sculpture Garden, Seattle Center: Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, EMP .  

 

 

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Chihuly gardens

 

Sculpture Garden

 

The EMP Museum is so unique I have to share some information about it (quoting their web site)--EMP Museum is a nonprofit museum, dedicated to contemporary popular culture. EMP Museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000. Since that time EMP has organized dozens of exhibits, 17 of which have toured across the US and internationally. (A Tribute To Jimmy Henrix, "Nirvana, Taking Punk To The Masses," and a complete historic collection of Gibson Guitars along with a film of the best ever guitar players were several of the exhibits we saw. Plus the Lego Architecture Exhibit. And the Icons of Science Fiction.)

 

 


We went to several street fairs. West Seattle had a 3-day Street Fair (loved their poster headline: "Let's Close A Street And See What Happens"). Freemont has a neighborhood Sunday Market, which we paired with brunch and a walk around the neighborhood,  Joining us, our good friend Sue from Denver who came to visit for a few days (see hula hooper).

 

 

 

And, of course, no visit to Seattle is complete without some ferry rides. We went off one day to Bainbridge, and another to San Juan Island Friday Harbor where we hopped on a small boat with Captain Carli at the helm and one other couple and headed off to find whales. We saw several pods of Orcas, and one grey whale "mugged" our boat. It was so unexpected and so gigantic I could only get part of his head into a shot as he dived under the boat.

 

 

 

 

Here is my favorite shot from San Juan Island: The small lighthouse is on the point of Griffith Bay and, at roughly 100 miles away, Mt. Baker in the background. While only the 3rd tallest in the Cascades at 10,870 ft, Mt Baker set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season in 1999 with 1,140 in. 

 

 

We met up with Diane Stielstra and Donn Fry for a walk and dinner in Capital Hill, their home-base neighborhood for a few months. We had dinner at the Columbia Tower Club (75th floor) with Steven & Merrily Pettibone.  Diane and Ann Tamara came to visit after a neighborhood group walk they joined in on that gathered and ended just a few blocks down from our place. This place is starting to feel like home.

 

This is a shot out the window at sunset from the 75th floor of the Columbia Tower Building in downtown Seattle:

 

 

Since I'm showing off downtown, here's a shot we took just as our ferry from Bainbridge pulled into pier.

 

 

One day we went about 40 minutes outside of Seattle to Snoqualmie Falls, a 268 ft (82 m) waterfall on the Snoqualmie River - longer than Niagara Falls (vertical drop 165 ft).  The hike down to the bottom of the Falls (and back up) was a plenty steep workout.  Here's the official info from their website which explains why this is a pretty impressive place to visit:  There are two hydroelectric power plants at Snoqualmie Falls, both currently operated by Puget Sound Energy. Power plant 1 was built in 1898 and operates at the base of the falls embedded in the rock 270 feet (82 m) below the surface.  It was the world's first completely underground power plant. Power plant 2 was built in 1910 and further expanded in 1957, and is located a short distance downstream of the falls. Approximately 1% of Puget Sound Energy sales comes from the plant.

 

I caught this shot on the hike we did down to the base of the Falls 

 

 

We did a bike ride or city walk almost every day, except on days when we played golf. Below is the signature hole from each of Canterwood, Auburn Golf Course, and Washington National.

 

 

 

 

We spent an afternoon at Discovery Park, Seattle largest in-city park.  Within the park is an 11 mile loop trail through what feels like a rainforest it is so dense and humid. The views from the beaches are breath-taking.  Here's the official description: Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular view of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes two miles of protected tidal beaches as well as open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams.

 

This is a shot of Mt. Rainier (about 80 miles away) from the south beach of Discovery Park. 

 

 

Steven in the deep woods on the loop trail.

 

 

After this jaunt, we met up with Deb Arnold for dinner are Ray's Boathouse because how can you come to Seattle and not go to the Ballard neighborhood, and, therefore, Ray's. Steven and Deb both had smoked sable which I have never seen before as a fresh-prepared fish, and I would be happy to show you a photo but both plates were almost empty before I could get my camera out! The fried egg over grilled asparagus will have to suffice.

 

(This one's for you. Bobbi!)

 

We were busy every day. And yet, we have a pretty solid list of what we didn't have time to do -- for "next time." This is one big territory!

 

July 24 we are headed to SEATAC to catch a flight to Juneau. The next segment of our journey is an 8-day small ship adventure in the Glacial Peninsula of Alaska. 

 

Hope you are enjoying the journey with us. As always, we look forward to your comments. BUT - FYI - if I do not respond to your notes and comments right away it is because WE WILL BE OFF THE GRID FROM JULY 25 UNTIL AUGUST 2. OUR BOAT HAS NO CELL, NO WIFI, JUST ADVENTURE.

 

I'll close with a few spectacular sunsets.

 

 

All the best

b.

 

 

 

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betteannphotography@gmail.com (bette ann) alki beach downtown seattle ferries friday harbor mt baker mt. rainier orcas pod of orcas san juan island seattle snaqualmie water fall sunset sunset over the water waterfall west seattle, https://betteannphotography.com/blog/2014/7/17-days-in-seattle Wed, 23 Jul 2014 05:36:47 GMT