Skip navigation

Category Archives: Landscape Photography

On a beautiful Sunday morning we drove over to Cornucopia, Wisconsin to meet some friends and hike into Lost Creek Falls. Several years ago we made this hike and were covered in mud because of the trail conditions. Someone has done a wonderful job of improving the trail.

There were a few flowers out along the trail. We saw quite a few Bunchberries and Bluebead Lilies along the trail.

The waterfall was beautiful as usual.

Intense discussion about a new camera.

A little mossy area flowing into the creek.

Advertisements

I normally submit photos to the Great Lakes Photo contest run by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. This year the title of the calendar has been changed to Wisconsin’s Great Waters Calendar and reflects photos from the Mississippi River. For the first time all three of my submissions were included in this year’s calendar.

Apostle Islands Sea Cave

This is a part of the Apostle Islands sea caves located near Cornucopia, Wisconsin. Linda and I and Linda’s two sisters booked a trip out to the sea caves with Good Earth Outfitters of Cornucopia. We had visited the caves many times during the winter when they are known as the Apostle Islands Ice Caves but we had never visited them in the summer. This was one of the first shots I took on the trip.

Trempealeau Mountain

Perrot State Park is one of our favorite spring and fall destinations. On this fall trip we hit it just right when the fall colors were at their peak. Trempealeau Mountain sits in the backwaters of the Mississippi River near Trempealeau, Wisconsin. This view is from Brady’s Bluff Trail.

 Northern Pacific Ore Dock Number 1

This is a decommissioned ore dock that can be seen in Superior, Wisconsin. This was taken late one fall afternoon when the late afternoon light was directly on the ore docks.

We arrived in the badlands late in the afternoon. We hoped for a nice sunset but it didn’t happen. There were a large number of Bighorn Sheep grazing near the park entrance. We drove out a little ways on Sage Creek Road but not a lot was happening.

More photos from the Badlands can be found on my website.

We drove further into the park before we lost the light.

The next morning we were up for an early start and out in the park for sunrise. It was just an average sunrise. We took a few photos of the plains from the Buffalo Jump.

We drove on through the rest of the park before pushing on to Wisconsin.

By early afternoon the frost was gone and the sun was out. There were also a lot more visitors in the Park. Most of them probably didn’t realize what they had missed in the morning. While Garden of the Gods in nice it is much better on a frosty or snowy morning.

More photos from the Garden of the Gods can be found on my website.

When we woke up in Colorado Springs it was fogy out and the trees were covered in frost. We had planned on driving out to the Garden of the Gods and when we arrived we encountered an incredible sight. All of the trees were covered in a thick coating of frost. This was one of those cases where luck brought us to the right location at the right time. We spent the morning hiking the trails and taking photos. More photos from this spectacular morning can be found on my website.

 

 

Following our visit to Mesa Verde we were undecided on our next destination. We had hoped to drive over to Durango, Colorado then through the mountains to Denver. However, there was a big snowstorm forecast for the mountains. We thought about heading south to Chaco Culture National Historic Park but I happened to run across a road report and decided it wasn’t something we wanted to do in a van. We finally decided to drive over to the Great Sand Dunes National Park then drive up the front range to avoid the snow.

I had visited the Park several times in the past but at a little later in the spring. I thought we would have to wade through water to get to the sand dunes and I was very surprised to find there was no water in the river. Apparently there was almost no snow pack this past winter resulting in a dry river bed.

The wind was blowing and there was a family flying a kite.

Sandboarding is apparently a popular sport at the Park. When I visited years ago I hiked to the top of the sand dunes and found a snowborder at the top trying to board down the dunes. He wasn’t having much success.

We didn’t have enough time for a long hike so we took some photos and then headed out.

The plan was to drive to Pueblo, Colorado for the night but we were making good time so we decided to continue on to Colorado Springs where we wanted to visit the Garden of the Gods. We started to question our decision when it started snowing soon after we left Pueblo. Fortunately it didn’t accumulate and turned into rain.

We arrived in Cortez late in the afternoon and drove out to the park headquarters to pickup some information and plan for the following day. The next morning we headed into the park. One of the advantages of traveling in the shoulder seasons is there are fewer people in the parks. One of the disadvantages is that many of the park attractions are closed. In the case of Mesa Verde this was particularly noticeable because there were no tours of ruins being offered.

We started out the day hiking the Petroglyph Point Trail. Fortunately the trail was mostly in the shade early in the morning. It turned out to be one of the more difficult trails we have hiked recently. Lots of narrow passageways and steep steps.

At the end of the trail there were a few petroglyphs. Just after the petroglyphs the trail took a sharp turn up with a handhold that required a little effort to get up. Once over this section the trail to the top was easy.

The return trail was relatively flat and offered some great views of the canyon below. There were a few flowers out.

At the end of the trail there were some nice views of Spruce Tree House. Unfortunately it was closed because of falling rock.

We then took the rim drive and stopped at various locations to view ruins. It would have been nice to be able to hike to them but as I mentioned they were closed.

Square Tower House

 

Pit House

 

Cliff Palace

After driving for a while we stopped and hiked the Soda Canyon Overlook Trail which offered some nice views but nothing up close.

We were on our way out of the park. This is a shot of a burn area. Not sure when the fire occurred.

We stopped and hiked a short distance on the Farming terrace Trail. We could see remains of farming terraces.

Just a short distance down the road was Cedar Tree Tower.

Our last stop of the day was the Far View Sites.

My wife is a  white knuckle driver in the mountains so I couldn’t resist taking here photo. I love mountain driving but she thinks I drive too fast.

 

After leaving the Petrified Forest National Park we drove north to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. We arrived mid afternoon and checked into our motel before heading out on a late afternoon drive along the South Rim Drive. The South Rim Drive is best photographed in the evening. Our first stop was Tunnel Overlook.

More photos from Canyon de Chelly can be found on my website.

We took the overlooks as they came so our next stop was Tsegi Overlook. The wind was really blowing so it was difficult to stand up to take photos. I considered getting the tripod out but figured it would tip over in the wind.

We then headed to Junction Overlook.

Our final stoop of the evening was White House Overlook. This was our last stop of the day. We headed back to our hotel planning for an early start in the morning.

We were up early for breakfast before heading out on a morning tour of the North Rim Drive. The North Rim Drive is best photographed in the morning. Fortunately it was not as windy as it was yesterday. We drove out to Massacre Cave Overlook and started working our way back to town.

Mummy Cave Overlook was our next stop on the North Rim.

Our final stop was Antelope House Overlook.

We then headed back to the South Rim. There is only one hike that can be made in Canyon de Chelly without a native guide and that is the White House Trail. Our goal was to take this hike. It looked a lot worse than it was. Although it was a warm day the hiking was relatively easy. We made it down and back in a few hours with plenty of opportunities for photos.

My wife is in her usual position as close to the inside of the trail as she can get.

Our destination was the White House Ruins.

After hiking back out of the Canyon we decided to finish the South Rim Drive that we had started the day before. Our first stop was Spider Rock Overlook.

We then stopped at  Face Rock Overlook on our way back to town.

We grabbed a bite to eat at the hotel restaurant before heading out on our late afternoon Canyon tour with a native guide. Ironically I had photographed him, from the South Rim, on the tour he led before ours. We had met him earlier in the day and he had an open jeep. I thought at the time that it would be a cold ride early in the morning. When he picked us up he had switched to an enclosed jeep because his morning customers froze to death. It had been very dry this spring. Normally we would have been driving through streams this time of year or maybe not being able to get into the Canyon at all because of high water. As the sand dries out it is more difficult to drive through. People were already getting stuck in the sand.

This is another tour group using an old army surplus vehicle.

Driving through the Canyon there were many examples of petroglyphs which could be photographed up close.

In addition to the petroglyphs there were plenty of ruins that could be seen.

 

 

After leaving El Morro National Monument we drove to Gallup, New Mexico for the evening. We were up early the next morning heading for the Petrified Forest National Park.

More photos from our visit to Petrified National Forest can be found on my website.

We arrived a little before 8am when the park was supposed to open. However when we arrived we noticed the gate was closed and there were others waiting to get into the park. We had forgotten that the four corners area is a mess when it comes to knowing what time it is. When the park finally opened we noticed this display in the visitors center and it says it all. Arizona really creates problems for the locals and lots of missed tours and connections for the tourists.

After stopping at the Painted Desert Visitors Center we drove to the Painted Desert Inn and took some photos of the Painted Desert. The colors were spectacular.

We made a quick stop at old Route 66 which ran through the park. There is an old 1932 Studebaker and a line of telephone poles marking the spot. You can see the current freeway in the background.

We also made a quick stop at Puerco Pueblo. Not much remained only a few foundations. A short distance down the road we turned off to look at Newspaper Rock. Unfortunately it is quite a distance from the viewing stand. It was not nearly as impressive as Inscription Rock at El Morro National Monument.

We pulled over to photograph Tepee Rocks. While were photographing the rock formations this Raven walked up to the car.

I think our favorite spot in the park was Blue Mesa. There was a short walk into the formations. The blue colors made the formations unique.

After our hike at Blue Mesa we drove to Agate Bridge. This is a petrified log spanning a gully. As I recall the CCC put a cement support under the log to keep it from breaking up.

We continued on to our destination which was the Rainbow Forest Visitors Center at the southern entrance to the park. We hiked into the rainbow forest on what looked like an old park road. Apparently at one time cars could drive and park in the forest but now it is hiking only. There were large numbers of petrified logs along the trail and a small reconstructed pueblo built out of agate.

Unfortunately we were headed north so we had to backtrack through the park to the Painted Desert Visitors Center. We had a long way to go to our next destination so we didn’t make many stops on our trip back through the park. We did stop at the Painted Desert to take some photos because there was some great light on the rocks.

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while since I posted anything about our spring trip to the southwest. In the intervening weeks something happened to both of my hard drives on my computer. So I was without a computer for over two weeks. The doctor was able to resurrect the data from drive C which contained all of my programs and some of my data. Drive D was too far gone to restore the any data. Unfortunately this drive contained all of my photos from the last 15 years. Fortunately I have a couple of backups of this data and was able to restore drive D. So with everything working again I started going through my photographs. In my last post from the trip we had just stopped at El Malpais National Monument and were heading to El Morro National Monument. We discovered that the trail in El Morro closed at 4pm so we had to move quickly so we could take a couple of hikes.

More photos from El Morro can be found on my website.

We started out on the Inscription Rock trail. This trail follows along the base of a rock where visitors to the area placed their version of graffiti. This is a relatively short trail although it takes quite a while to hike it given all of the inscriptions to read. the Park provides a nice guide so you can follow inscriptions and also get a bit of the history behind them.

The Inscriptions Rock Trail soon turns into the Headland Trail. This trail goes around to back side of the rock formation and then weaves its way to the top. The cacti were still red and just starting to green up. At the top of the rock the trail was marked with cairns. There were some spectacular views from the Headlands Trail.

 

As we crossed the top of the rock formation we encountered Atsinna.  Atsinna, or “place of writings on rock”. Between approximately 1275 to 1350 AD, up to 1500 people lived in this 875 room pueblo. The location was strategic—it was near the only water source for many miles and located atop a nearly impenetrable bluff. Atsinna was partially excavated in the 1950s and masons and archeologists continue to work towards its stabilization.

It was a beautiful day and we quickly lost track of time as we wandered along the top of the rock. We almost forgot that we had to be off the trail by 4pm. We made it down with about 10 minutes to spare.