northern winds swirl, sting
snowflakes dance, drift, and alight
kisses of winter
northern winds swirl, sting
northern winds swirl, sting
snowflakes dance, drift, and alight
kisses of winter
You’ll see unique sights if you visit Hot Springs State Park in central Wyoming. Unlike other state parks in Wyoming, entrance to this park, located in the city of Thermopolis, is free. I’ve included a map of this day-use park at the end of this post.
In 1897, Big Horn Hot Springs State Reserve became Wyoming’s first state park. The park, now called Hot Springs State Park, has always been famous for its therapeutic mineral hot springs.
On the iconic Monument Hill, you’ll see the words “World’s Largest Mineral Hot Springs” in large white letters.
Visitors can enjoy unique attractions at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado. While visiting here, I found myself constantly shifting my field of view to things above and below me. Colorful tilting rocks in vast landscapes showed geology in action. Petroglyphs and pictographs told stories of Indigenous people from long ago. An amazing collection of dinosaur fossils took me even further back in time.
The Monument also includes places to hike, fish, river raft, picnic, and camp. There’s a visitor center in Utah, and another in Colorado.
The small Visitor Center in Utah features informational exhibits and a store.
Green up close
In triangular Vanilla Leaf leaves
And tiny Huckleberry leaves
In splitting Gingko leaves
Green up close
In frond fans of Maidenhair Fern
Yes, I know you’ve all been waiting to see more of my blooper photos. This is where I share pictures that don’t quite fit into any category so I try to add a little humor to them. Here are a few 2023 bloopers to entertain you. 😀
“Am I still your good girl?”
I believe I finally found the true cause of global warming.Continue reading
Last week, I showed symmetrical displays of history at the Museum of the American West in Lander, Wyoming. However, history is not always balanced. A good museum shows our similarities and differences. Here are more items on display at the Museum.
At times, our differences stand out.
Though what we wear differs, from practical and utilitarian…
To ornamental and symbolic, our clothing reflects who we are.
While visiting Wyoming, I noticed the interesting pose of this happy Hyopsodus wortmani fossil at one of our stops. To me, it looked like a dog asleep on its back.
I thought I’d try to draw what it may have looked like based on the fossil. The first drawing is in pencil.
The second one is pen and ink, drawn with a dip pen with a pointed nib tip dipped in ink.
On the last one, I added a light wash of acrylic paint.
You may have noticed the Hyopsodus I drew is smiling. Do mammals smile?
Here’s a recent picture of one of my dogs, hogging both dog beds. You be the judge. 😉
Check out the happy Hyopsodus and many other amazing fossils at Fossil Butte National Monument in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
First Friday Art (FFA)
Here are some treasures of the Old West at the Museum of the American West, in Lander, Wyoming, shown in both color and black and white. Click on the arrows to see monochrome versions highlighting their symmetry.
Wheels may carry you forward, towards new horizons
Or back, to a final resting place
You may choose to wander in another’s shoesContinue reading
I saw this creative beer bike rack in Bend at On Tap. This is one of seven “pods” where food trucks can park. Customers can enjoy a wide variety of food from the trucks and beer and other beverages on tap inside the main building.
I LOVE the Rush’s Squares pizza food truck here! My favorite is the Pesto Margherita pizza.
I saw this jailbird jay while out walking in Bend. It perched on a rock behind the heavy bars of a fence around the Hayden Homes Amphitheatre.
This is a California Scrub-jay. Here’s a closer look.
In 2016, the American Ornithological Union (AOU) split the Western Scrub-jay into two species, the California Scrub-jay, Aphelocoma californica, and Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay, Aphelocoma woodhouseii. They appear very similar. This post by Andy Birch describes and shows the characteristics of each species.
After recently covering indoor signs on my post about the National Neon Sign Museum, I thought I’d feature some unique roadside signs today.
The first picture is of a unique animal of the Wild West. It’s a jackalope, part jackrabbit, part antelope. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Are they real or another legend of the West? Chainsaw carver Jarrett Dahl paid tribute to these animals in an impressive 40-foot sculpture near the iconic Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota.
Completed in 2022, the jackalope is holding a sign that says, “Believe.” Though it looks like it’s just a big carving, it’s hollow inside with a stairway leading to a balcony. Inside, you’ll find carved jackalopes, murals, and 71 wood spirits, hidden within its cracks and crevices.
The next sign is at the cafe and gift store by Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. You can see a bear next to the tower on the sign and the real tower in the background. In the oral stories of Native Americans, the tower formed in different ways. In several versions, a bear tries to claw its way to the peak, thereby creating its distinctive appearance.
Last Saturday, we had an Oregon Outback morning. We drove south of Silver Lake, Oregon to get a good view of the annular eclipse. Unfortunately, the clouds never cleared during the peak minutes of the eclipse. For today’s One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons.
Beautiful cloudscapes hung over the land, highlighting the Basin and Range topography. We stood in the middle of a basin surrounded by low mountains and buttes.
I used Corel PaintShopPro 2021 for different photo processing effects. In the original image I slightly increased the contrast and fill light and cropped the edges.
The first two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Black and White effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Black and White Film. I used the BW Heavy setting because it works well on clouds.
The next two show the original photograph and the same picture with a neon effect. For this image I went to Adjust>Hue & Saturation>Hue map>Neon glow. I liked how this effect enhances the mysticism associated with High Desert environments.Continue reading
Whispers of autumn
Blown in on
Cool and crisp
From verdant to
Another day, another sunrise over the High Desert
If you’re travelling to Wyoming and like dinosaurs, consider stopping at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center (WDC) in Thermopolis. In 1993, dinosaur fossils were discovered near here at the Warm Springs Ranch. Fossils discovered here and elsewhere are on display at WDC. Visitors will see fifty-eight articulated dinosaur skeletons and a wide variety of fossils.
You’ll see dinosaur skeletons large and small in the display hall. Some are real, others are recreated from casts of fossils.
Remember the Velociraptors in “Jurassic Park?” Here’s one, blending into the background.
I especially liked this one because it shows a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur attacking a Stegosaurus.
A fruitful trip to Parkdale, Oregon
lamplit paths tremble
a bridge arises from green
ripples of summer
When I looked through my Oregon photos, it was hard to narrow it down to only ten pictures for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge of Tell us why. These are the photos I chose, shown by category.
Sometimes you take a picture and when you look at it later on a larger screen, you say, “Wow!”
I took this picture of an old homestead without fussing with the settings first. It almost looks like one of those old-time stereoscope images. I like this photo because it captured a glimpse of history.
I took a lot of pictures of the Spruce Goose aircraft in McMinnville and described it in a recent post. When I saw the lines in this photo, I knew it would look great in black and white.
I noticed I had many portraits of majestic mountains when I browsed through my Oregon photos.
The first photo, is of Steens Mountain, in southeast Oregon. The lupine was in bloom so I focused on its purple flowers. This 50-mile long mountain is one of my favorite places in Oregon. I like taking pictures that show its powerful presence.
When I went on the High Desert Garden Tour in Bend, Oregon in July 2022, I was impressed by a couple edibles & more gardens. Their yards had edible plants in the front, sides, and back.
These are gooseberries growing on a shrub in full sun. I remember a gooseberry plant at one of my childhood homes.
These radishes were in a raised bed. We grow them as well and I love their spicy taste.
Raspberries! One of my favorite fruits. Over the years, our dogs have enjoyed eating them off the vines so we have to pick them fast.
Where do you go when you’re looking for a quick recharge? To the National Neon Sign Museum in The Dalles, Oregon, of course!
On the main floor, you’ll see a rainbow of neon colors. The signs on display are from the late 1800s through the 1960s.
Do you recognize any of these iconic signs?
How about this wall filled with Coca Cola signs?
These three sandstone formations are located in Tillamook Bay, north of Garibaldi, Oregon. Known locally as The Three Graces, they’re also called Crab Rocks. If the tides are low, they’re a great place to explore when out kayaking. Check tides before venturing there.
The Oregon coast has several seastacks near the shore. These are smaller in stature, but still very photogenic.
While taking pictures of the Pioneer Village in Lander, Wyoming, I immediately thought of how they would look in sepia tones. I wanted to focus on their structure and emphasize their age.
The Pioneer Village buildings are part of the Museum of the American West. The main museum showcases a wide variety of artifacts from people who lived in this area in the mid-1800s to early-1900s.
The Guinard Cabin, circa 1902, has a rough plank and mortar construction. The overall brown color in the picture below hides the presence of a garden hose. A windmill and teepee blend into the background.
This storage shed and Saloon would fit right into an old time neighborhood.
Last September, we visited the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, located in McMinnville, Oregon. This large facility is a great place to visit, whether you’re an aviator or not.
I featured their star attraction, the Spruce Goose, in a previous post. It dwarfs the other aircraft there. In several of my images, you’ll see parts of the Spruce Goose towering overhead.
I’ve divided this post by sections shown on the Museum map at the end of this post.
Several of the aircraft in this and other sections are replicas of the original. The first is a flying machine as envisioned by Leonardo Da Vinci, 400 years before the Wright brothers.
The next plane is a replica of a Curtiss Pusher.
This de Havilland DH-4 aircraft was used to deliver mail in the 1920s, as weather permitted.Continue reading
A house of stone, west of Casper, Wyoming.
A glistening serpent slithers through a natural frame of duckweed and sedges
White calla lilies, surrounded by leathery green leaves, enlighten
Crimson canna lily leaves punctuate a layered landscape of greennessContinue reading
I saw this beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail on a penstemon flower in my front yard recently. We try to plant flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. We’ve seen LOTS of butterflies this year.
Driving into Geology, Boysen State Park, Wyoming
This Curtiss JN-4A Jenny, shown without fabric covering, shows the structure of wings. This is one of the many aircraft on display at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
Here’s an informational poster next to the plane. Note the photo of a couple playing tennis on its wings!
Earlier this month, we went to the local Summer Festival here in Bend, Oregon.
If it’s a summer festival, you might see fairies walking down the street, right? Are those blurry spots behind them spots on my windshield? Nope, I’m pretty sure that’s a cloud of fairy dust. 😉
As the sign says, this festival features music, food, and art. It takes place downtown on three city blocks, plus a couple side streets. It’s estimated that 70,000 people attend this two and a half day festival.
The art booths have everything from jewelry and landscape art, to pillows featuring an image of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Various businesses feature their products and services in the Bend Business Showcase section.Continue reading
Old Soda Springs ranch in Idaho
Fencing of rock is heavy and enduring,
Guiding the way
And dividing the land to conserve it
A fence of rope is lightweight,
Preserving the past
On July 9th, I returned to Silverton, Oregon, to go on a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright house. When I think of simplicity in architecture, I think of Frank Lloyd Wright. I recently featured a view from the road of the Gordon House. Limited tours of the inside are available by reservation only.
Our 45-minute tour began in the great room. Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass doors flanked towering ceilings. They opened to allow a welcome cross breeze on this warm summer day. As in all Wright houses, a fireplace served as a focal point. Red concrete slabs with radiant heat covered the floors, and they made the walls from concrete blocks. Built-in cabinets, desks, and tables are in nearly every room.
The design featured the fretwork seen here on the interior and exterior of the house. One of the workers joked how he’d gone through all the router bits in the state cutting the house’s fretwork. That was long before laser cutters!
Visitors from near and far converged in Burns, Oregon for the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival in mid-April. I signed up for six tours and events spread out over four days. I already featured the Downtown Walking Tour in a previous post, but this time I’ll focus on the bird-related tours.
Though I have participated in this bird festival several times, this was the first time I was able to register for the Basin Big Day Tour. Eight participants, guided by Brodie Cass Talbott and assisted by Duke Tuffy, met at 6:00 am at the Fairgrounds for this tour. We returned at 7:00 pm. The goal was to see as many species as we could in that time frame.
One of our first stops was in front of someone’s house, northeast of Burns. We had permission to scan their feeders for birds. We saw lots of White-crowned Sparrows here and elsewhere that day.
A bit farther north, we stopped near flooded fields. A few days before my arrival, snow covered these fields. That’s unusual. Our guide said the weird weather meant fewer birds were being seen, but there was more diversity. More species was what we were looking for so this could work out great for us.
This week, as part of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, host Ritva Sillanmäki asked us to show a photo of our favorite cup. My favorite mug features a wraparound image of Grand Prismatic Hot Spring at Yellowstone National Park. It’s beautiful, like its inspiration, and comfortable to hold. I also like how there is printing inside the mug near the rim.
Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is especially photogenic. Though I can’t get a drone shot like the one on my mug, I have taken many pictures of this hot spring. Here are a few that show its gorgeous colors.
My Grand Prismatic mug reminds me of this special place in Yellowstone everytime I use it.
This Frank Lloyd Wright house in Silverton, is the only one designed by the well-known architect in Oregon. The Gordon House was designed in 1957 and completed in 1963. When new owners wanted to tear it down in 1997, it was moved from Wilsonville to Silverton. It was carefully refurbished and opened to the public in 2002. It looks right at home, surrounded by stately oak trees.
This house was designed as part of the Usonian series, structures meant to provide affordable housing for working class people.
Though I only looked at the Gordon House from a distance, private tours are available of the inside for a small fee. For a higher fee, up to four people can spend the night in this beautiful house.
Here’s a peek of the inside and outside of the house. I hope to go on the tour soon to get a closer look. 🙂
Writing on the walls of abandoned house near Vale, Oregon
I always think of yellow and gold flower petals as capturing sunlight in a flower.
The flowers shown in this post of little rays of sunshine are dedicated to fellow blogger, Bren, of Brashley Photography.
She recently lost her fight with cancer but will be remembered for her stunning, ethereal portraits of flowers. May her gentle soul rest in peace.
I saw this little bit of everything garden on the High Desert Garden Tour in Bend, Oregon in July 2022. The long, narrow yard at this house included fruits, vegetables, and lots of flowers. The homeowners have been working on it for 22 years.
The owners created large, elevated raised beds from wood and tin roofing. You can see sweet alyssum blooming near the front edge. Hummingbird feeders hang near them. They’re growing pear, cherry, and apples on espaliers behind the raised beds.
This raised bed was at ground level. It included red lantana, yellow petunias, orange ganzia, purple salvia, and dark pink snapdragons.
This tiered bed surrounded a tree. It included common sunflowers, orange marigolds, and golden celosia.