“Lookin Over the Blues”

Great news: Our snow has finally totally melted here!

I spent each day of this last week checking one particular spot to see if any crocus had popped up yet. I was thrilled to see one purple crocus yesterday. I think my excitement got the best of me. I have been going out several times a day to check on its progress, and just enjoy the simple beauty.

Now I’m talking about spring, and crocus. You might even expect I’d put up one of the many images I took of that one flower, but no, that’s not what today is all about.

I was looking back through some images from last spring. Early May to be exact. This one looked like the view I’d like to be seeing right now.

When I go to Shenandoah National Park I make sure to hike out to different locations especially to waterfalls. Sometimes though I just want to enjoy a leisurely drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains and stop at the easily accessible and wonderful overlooks along Skyline Drive.

One thing that I have appreciated ever since I was a child, was the look of the lovely stone walls that line many areas of the park.

I seem to have a special love of stone in general. Cobblestone streets, and buildings. The stones along Lake Superior and the walls they have built with them. Historical architecture built with many types of stone. You name it. I love it all!

In this simple scene below, I place just as much importance on the wall as I do the wondrous scene beyond it. Each stone carefully placed by hand, enhancing the natural beauty of Skyline Drive. Not only for looks, but for safety reasons as well.

So the next time you’re in Shenandoah National Park, look not only to the mountains, valleys and clouds. Look also to these walls which were originally built during the depression era. Walls that are at each of the 75 overlooks on the drive, as well as along much of the mountain sides!

As far as the park goes; Did you know that in 1939 the entrance fee for a car was 25 cents? Times sure have changed, and of course 25 cents went a lot further back then than it does now.

Times have changed but beauty still remains, and I thank those men that worked so hard, so long ago to make this place what is is today!

"Lookin Over the Blues"
“Lookin Over the Blues”

“The Laurel Highlands”

In our last post we visited the vast shores of Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula of MI., on a beautiful windy day. Today I bring you another image in the same colors and hues, lovely greens and blues, but in a totally different setting. The beautiful Laurel Highlands area of Pennsylvania.

This area encompasses many towns,counties, resorts, historic sights, state forests, ski resorts, and some wonderful architecture!

In this view you’ll see some of the area around Ohiopyle PA., where Ohiopyle State Park is located. The views are spectacular especially on days like this one here. Forests in all shades of green. Blue skies filled with large cumulus clouds that cast shadows in shapes across the mountains and valleys.

In Ohiopyle State Park and vicinity, you’ll find plenty to do if you want to enjoy nature to its fullest. Hiking trails galore, kayaking down the Youghiougheny River, a visit to Cucumber Falls and more.

This day is a perfect one for taking in the wonders of the natural world, and casting all of our cares aside.

Take a deep relaxing breath, and Enjoy! 🙂

The Laurel Highlands of PA.
The Laurel Highlands of PA.

“Winter’s Weight”

"Winter's Weight" Snow laden tree branches form a perfect abstract in nature! Winter still hangs on here, but with the arrival of spring this week (LOL) I'm hoping to see some real melting going on! :)
“Winter’s Weight”
Snow laden tree branches form a perfect abstract in nature! Winter still hangs on here, but with the arrival of spring this week (LOL) I’m hoping to see some real melting going on! 🙂
"Winter's Bench" 2 Taken just a few hundred feet away from the tree branches sits a single lonely bench piled high with snow.  Both of these images were taken while it was still snowing. I kept a rain sleeve on my camera during most of my walk. After a while it became so impractical that i just said forget it, and dried all of my gear afterwards. I truly love the look of freshly fallen snow. The only problem is that we've had soooo much of it this year!  The Great Lakes will be happy though! :)
“Winter’s Bench” 2
Taken just a few hundred feet away from the tree branches sits a single lonely bench piled high with snow.
Both of these images were taken while it was still snowing. I kept a rain sleeve on my camera during most of my walk. After a while it became so impractical that i just said forget it, and dried all of my gear afterwards. I truly love the look of freshly fallen snow. The only problem is that we’ve had soooo much of it this year!
The Great Lakes will be happy though! 🙂

“Through Shadow Woods”

As we slowly approach spring. I have begun to process some images from last spring that I hadn’t had the chance to get around to.

This image is from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. In this particular area the trees are tall and straight. The sunlight streams through, leaving areas of shadow and either filtered light in summer when the trees are full, or bright light in spring when leaves are just starting their re-growth.

There is one area on Skyline Drive in this section of trees that has a small place to be able to pull over, get out and walk the trails, to feel the immense height and stunning beauty of the forest.

I never tire of this place, gazing at its grandeur, inhaling the scent of the earth, relishing the warmth of the sun as it rains down, and enjoying the shade when summer heat comes.

I took many images of the trees themselves, some while gazing straight up, some using a wide angle lens to get in as much of the scene as possible.

For this image I got down in the middle of the road, hearing nothing but silence all around me. No cars coming in any direction. I felt the beauty of the road within the woods. I embraced the shadows and light. I could feel how it must feel to be an automobile passing through this greatness. What a beautiful feeling that is!

I passed through this special place at least 10 times last spring, and each time I marveled at its wonders, and never tired of seeing it again and again!

I can only imagine what it would be like to experience this in autumn, with colors of every hue! For now I shall save that for another day, and another time. Instead I will enjoy the pure green beauty of spring. One that has yet to come to most of us. Elusive this year, but in the end I’m sure it will arrive.

I hope you can get a sense of the feelings that I described here! Enjoy your piece of spring!! 🙂

"Through Shadow Woods"
“Through Shadow Woods”

“What’s Left of What Was”

"Walls of Lake Ontario" Beautiful stone walls from what is left of the Olcott Hotel. An historic hotel that was a popular place to stay in the early 1900's, in this area of Lake Ontario. The Great Depression and other factors caused it to be torn down in 1937. In its grander times It had 100 rooms, a ball room, and a great dining hall.  These beautiful stone walls give you a glimpse of what the hotel patrons must have seen! I would say Lovely! :)
“Wall of Lake Ontario” 

 

Beautiful stone walls from what is left of the Olcott Hotel. An historic hotel that was a popular place to stay in the early 1900’s in this area of Lake Ontario. The Great Depression and other factors caused it to be torn down in 1937. In its grander times It had 100 rooms, a ball room, and a great dining hall.
These beautiful stone walls give you a glimpse of what the hotel patrons must have seen! I’d say Lovely! 🙂

"Olcott Park Vista"  Another view of Olcott Park and its historic stone walls as you gaze out onto Lake Ontario.

“Olcott Park Vista”
Another view of Olcott Park and its historic stone walls as you gaze out onto Lake Ontario.

"Old Oak Tree" One of the huge and grand trees still left on what was the hotel property, as well as the continuation of the beautiful walls and vista!  I can just imagine what it must have been like to have been staying in this spectacular hotel with amazing amenities, access to the beach below, and views that go on forever!  A lovely thought to hold onto! :)
“Old Oak Tree”
One of the huge and grand trees still left on what was the hotel property, as well as the continuation of the beautiful walls and vista!
I can just imagine what it must have been like to have been staying in this spectacular hotel with amazing amenities, access to the beach below, and views that go on forever!
A lovely thought to hold onto! 🙂

“Munising Falls”

What do you do when you’re at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore and it rains the whole time your there?

I had originally planned on taking in the beautiful deep turquoise and aqua hued waters of Lake Superior. Enjoying the intense colors and vast vistas against the wonderful rock formations of Pictured Rocks.

But that wasn’t the way it went. So when things don’t go as planned, do you just through in the towel? Do you lounge around your hotel room watching longingly out the window for the weather to change, or sit in your tent, wishing you were back home?

Well, if you do, you shouldn’t! You just need to be prepared for all types of weather, not only with your gear, but in your mind!

Just go out and photograph what you can when the weather is dark, skies are overcast, and rain is coming down whether it is a drizzle or heavy rainfall!

In this case here, I ended up spending several days taking in many of the beautiful waterfalls in the Munising area. Cloudy days are perfect for waterfalls. You don’t have to try and deal with the deep contrast of light and shadow that you would have to on bright sunny days.

Just make sure to bring a sturdy tripod, some type of waterproof camera cover, many micro-fiber lens cleaning cloths, and maybe a good pair of boots!

In wet weather a good rain sleeve for your camera is the best idea, but in a pinch you can always use shower caps from the hotel, or a couple of plastic bags secured with duct tape.

Don’t let the weather keep you from getting out and doing what you love! Don’t let it keep you from taking advantage of your photography trip, or your long awaited vacation.

Get out there and have fun no matter what the skies may bring!! 🙂

“Munising Falls” 2

Munising Falls

“Magical Autumn Mystery”

As you can see I am a little behind in my processing. In my last post you could see the last remnants of fall leaves on the ground with a little snow.

In contrast to that, this frame was taken in early October in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The areas closer to the coast still had abundant color, like in this image here, while the inland areas looked more like winter had already come.

I love this particular area. It is located not too far from Lake Superior, but in a slightly higher elevation. This back country dirt road goes on for about twenty miles. It’s very narrow, and can barely allow two cars to pass. The good thing is almost no one is around, so I had complete freedom to hike, walk, explore, and of course take photos!!

I spent quite a bit of time hiking around in the woods. Enjoying each step, as I walked on moist fallen leaves, drinking up all the golden color with my eyes, and listening to the sound of silence whenever I paused for a minute or so. To me it’s like being in a magical place. A place full of wonder and vibrant color everywhere I turned.

I hope you too can feel the exhilaration and excitement of this fall magic, just as I do!!

“Magical Autumn Mystery”

-Magical Autumn Mystery-

“Autumn Melange”

Sometimes just a section of an area is enough to give you the full feeling of what you’re after. This is a tiny slice of a small mountain filled with a melange of fall colors mixed in with evergreen trees.

After driving down a dirt road off of this mountain, I looked back and saw this lovely assortment of trees and colors of every kind. Of course I had to stop and get in a few shots!! 🙂

I’d guess you’d call this a salad of color!!

Enjoy

 Autumn color and textures in a hillside.
Color upon color.

“Campus in Gold”

The beauty of the last leaves of autumn!

“Campus in Gold”

It’s raining outside today. Almost all the trees are bare at this point, but I went driving around in search of color. I found it on a college campus where there were a few trees still hanging on to their autumn colors.

It was raining pretty hard and with quite a bit of wind, so I got this from the comfort of my car! 🙂

Enjoy~~~

“Center of Attention”

What says autumn other than fall color change on the trees? Well, of course, the vast array of autumnal beauty at your very feet. A gorgeous carpet of joy!

As I walked through the woods on a very rainy day, I got to enjoy the sheer loveliness of what was beneath my feet! This area was filled with many varieties of Maple trees which created a very colorful bit of eye candy as I walked along.

Since this is such a simple shot, I decided to put the focus on the orange leaf in the center, and on the area directly around it. I used a bit of blur in the rest of the image. Take in the image a bit more by reading the description below.

Imagine standing here. Close your eyes for a minute. Breath in the fresh rain filled air, notice the earthy scent of the wet soil and leaves. Feel the chilly breeze on your skin, and the drizzle of rain as it lays a mist on your hair. Now open your eyes and take in colors. Vibrant yellow, orange, gold and red. Muted browns that have fallen earlier. Enjoy the contrast of colors and the depths of the leaves. Inhale every bit of beauty into your soul and remember this well for beauty like this comes but once a year!

Thank you all for stopping by for a bit of autumn joy! I wish you all a wonderful fall this year and every year!!

“Center of Attention”

-Center of Attention-
Carpet of gorgeous maple leaves in every color!!