Thursday, October 30, 2008

366 Theme 144: Big

Not just big, Mammoth.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

366 Theme 358: Bent

The first joshua tree I encountered close up at Joshua Tree National Park. The growth pattern is typical, branches growing at all angles. The best way I saw it described is that it is a tree straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. (Seems this is a popular sentiment, as a Google search for "Dr Seuss Joshua Tree" turned up over 20,000 hits.)

Another image from the Page Museum and another cat, this time an american lion.

At least what's left of one.

Another image from La Brea, this one of a saber toothed tiger. One of many that met its fate in the tar pits.

On my recent California trip we stopped at the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. And it was there that I made this image of the inside of a fossil horse. Which is now the outside.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

1776 Style. This is an "original copy" of one of the most important political documents in US  history. "Original copy" means s copy made at the same time as the original. This is one of a number of documents that rotate into and out of the exhibit.

This was a vary hard image to get. The display is small and people crowd around to see the documents (draft versions of the constitution with editors notes and sections crossed out were also on display). The display itself and the room it is in are both very dark, and flash photography is not permitted. I used an 50 mm 1.4 lens wide open, which resulted in a shallow depth of field as seen by the increasingly blurry text across the document. Shooting digital was a great help here as I was able to take as many shots as I liked and I could check the sharpness on the monitor. I took over twenty shots to get this image.

As part of the Independence National Historical Park complex, the PECO Energy Liberty Center has a Ghost of Ben Franklin exhibit. Here you can use an interactive display to ask Ben Franklin questions and his ghost, shown here, will answer them. 

I don't know what technology is used to create the image, but the website says, "the "ghost" appears as a life-size holographic image of Dr. Franklin." Not quite the holodeck from the Enterprise, but entertaining never the less.

A more iconic view of the American icon from the last post. I was lucky to be visiting on a relatively uncrowded afternoon and was able to get several shots of the bell not surrounded by people.

That famous one with the crack in Philadelphia.

In the desert, you can see the forest and the trees. This is the Lost Valley Joshua Tree forest. There are trees as far as the eye can see. And then there are more trees on the other side of the far ridge, in the Queen Valley forest.

"Leaves of three, let it be." The mnemonic warning taught to me as a boy scout a long time ago to identify this plant, poison ivy. A warning I'm very glad I learned, as I'm quite susceptible.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The end of my first day at Joshua Tree National Park. A very cool place.

One of many curious rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park. 

I came upon this fellow while hiking around the Skull Rock area (this is not Skull Rock). I wound up off the trail and even though I could see the road I could not find a path to it. I would either come to a dead end with rock walls all around, or I'd be at the top of those rock walls, with a long drop down to more rocks. It took me over an hour to find my way back to the road. But it was a beautiful day with a nice breeze and I had plenty of water. And my camera. I quite enjoyed it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

These are Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds, which form when two different layers of air are moving next to each other at different speeds. The top air layer is moving faster, which results in the rolled of tops of the "waves".

There's gold in them there flowers. Gold spots anyways. This is a Pine-Barren Gentian, which is one of the latest blooming flowers in the NJ Pinelands. This beauty marks the end of summer, coming into flower late September to mid October.

This house is less than five hundred meters form US Route 206 in the NJ Pinelands. But it is a relic of another time, when this was farmland. But the former farmland is now the Wharton State Forest and the house is slowly falling apart. The Pinelands are full of places like this, ghost towns from the glory days first of iron production, then glassworks, and later farming. Most have faded completely away, with just an intersection of sand roads, a clearing, and perhaps a hole where the foundation of a tavern once was.

A friend and I were wandering down some sand roads in the NJ Pinelands when we came upon this tractor slowly rusting away.

Monday, October 6, 2008

That famous one in San Francisco.

I was driving back form Muir woods (theme 164 Tall) when I came out of the tunnel just north of the bridge, and found it shrouded in fog. I quick took the exit to the viewing area to get a shot while there was still light. I was not successful. The fog rolled in as I was setting up my camera and the bridge disappeared before my eyes. 

The viewing area on the north side is above the bridge. As I drove back down to Highway 101 the bridge came back into view, still enveloped in fog as I had seen it earlier. But there was nowhere to pull over and take the shot.

As I paid my toll on the south side I asked if there was anywhere I could pull over and take some pictures. The attendant directed me to exit on the right which went under the bridge to a parking area set up for tourists like me. I was now below the bridge and the fog and able to take the shot. I hope you like it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's that time of year here in the northern hemisphere, when the leaves turn vivid colors. Another shot from the Pinelands National Reserve in New Jersey. Of blueberry leaves.

I went wandering about in the NJ Pinelands this weekend and took some pictures. The corkscrew plants shown here are curly grass fern. This plant is very small, less then 3 cm tall. A nice contrast with the plants in my previous image.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

This time my business trip was to California, and I added eight days to the front and back ends of the trip. The first place I visited was Muir Woods National Monument, north of San Francisco, home of an old growth redwood forest.

I really like Muir woods, and despite it being ~ 3000 miles from my home, I've visited it at least four (maybe five?) times over the past ten years (it helps that I've a brother who lives in the area). It is a very serene place; cool, dark, and quiet. And very green at the right time of the year. On this visit it was also very wet, as a steady drizzle was falling. It can be quite crowded at times, but the weather apparently chased most folks away.

To get the image I had to find a dry spot under the foliage, and hope stray raindrops didn't hit my lens while shooting (they usually did). I obtained a plastic trash bag at the gift shop as a make shift cover for my camera while wandering the trails. I on the other had was wearing shorts and a tee shirt, as the forecast called for a warm sunny day. I loved it.