Al's Photography Blog

Al's Photography Blog
Folly Beach, South Carolina

Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer Wildflowers

Here are some wildflowers from a couple of recent hikes. Fall will be here soon, and the leaves turning, but in the meantime I plan to enjoy the last warm outdoors weekends.
Visit the My World Tuesday site for lots of great photographs from around our world.

Friday, August 27, 2010

West Thumb (Yellowstone)

Here's another Scenic Sunday post from Yellowstone, which has several different areas which contain geysers and hot springs. One of them is right next to lake Yellowstone, and it's called West Thumb. The thermal activity can be seen long before the area is reached.
One you get there a series of boardwalks will lead you safely through the various attractions. Mostly this consists of steam and hot pools, as the geysers here don't go off very often. But it's very much worth seeing for these amazing springs, like Bluebell Pool, shown here. You can see our shadows in this shot, as well as the shadow of the boardwalk.
Next is a photograph of Lake Yellowstone.
The Abyss Pool looked just like you'd expect, as if it was bottomless.
The steam was thick in places, and there was definitely that famous sulfur smell to it.
Finally, here is a photo of Blue Funnel Spring.
While it may not have the spectacular geysers of some of the other basins, don't make the mistake of missing West Thumb if you're ever in Yellowstone.
Scenic Sunday

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Magical Sunrise

Taken Monday morning for the magical Skywatch Friday meme - be sure to visit it soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Canyon Village Dining Room (Yellowstone)

One day at Yellowstone we stopped for lunch at the Canyon Lodge dining room in Canyon Village. I thought it looked like something from a different decade, classic American decor but from a different era. The food and service were from this day and age, casual but tasty.
I liked the outside of the building, with huge steel beams holding up the roof. I bet in the winter these are needed to support the weight of the snow.
And that was my world, just a few weeks ago. Visit the My World Tuesday site for lots more unpredictable, fun and interesting photos.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Yellowstone - Canary Spring

One of the places we visited in Yellowstone was Mammoth Hot Springs, famous for a series of terraced springs that sometimes flow and sometimes don't. Several of the springs were flowing when we were there, including Canary Spring, shown here at its source.
As it flows downhill it creates a series of natural terraces.
The heat and minerals of the water kill nearby trees.
These springs are uniquely beautiful, and I'll have more photographs of them in future posts.
Scenic Sunday

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Late Summer Skies and Trees

For this week's Skywatch Friday post, here are some typical late-summer skies seen through the trees at Fox Run Park, taken recently while I was walking Socks. First up is a pine tree, followed by a beautiful Colorado aspen. These blue skies with white clouds are very common in the early afternoon; later those clouds can build into strong thunderstorms.
And finally, here's a sky which I though looked like it was painted in watercolors - not worth a post by itself but I wanted to show it anyway.
For more beautiful skies visit the Skywatch Friday page.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seattle Docks At Night

For My World Tuesday, I'm posting the last of the Seattle shots from February, taken on our last evening there. We ate an enjoyable meal at a well-known seafood place,and I took this shot of their sign as we left.
There were a fair number of people out enjoying the surprisingly pleasant weather.
But I found that as soon as we were off the main street near the water, it quickly started to feel deserted, not a place to hang around. This final shot was taken on the way back to the car.
I'm sure we will be visiting Seattle again since we've got family there. In the meantime, I know that some participants of My World Tuesday live there, so click on the link and you'll see more shots from Seattle and around the world.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Palmer Lake Reservoirs (2)

I had a couple of questions on how I get the lightning shots. These most recent three all had similar settings with f-stop between 8 and 11, to get depth of field without getting that annoying, unavoidable softness at very small apertures (larger numbers) that only happens on digital cameras. ISO was set to 100, so as to not let direct lightning wash out the whole picture. Focus was manual, set near infinity (in fact I let the camera focus on a distant light and then changed it to manual without touching the focus ring). The exposure time is a little trickier. I used a tripod and a wireless remote control so I didn't have to touch the camera. I use the "bulb" setting, in which one press of the remote opens the shutter and a second press closes it. Depending on the lightning I will leave it open for more or less time, which takes a little experimentation until it's right - even lightning that's out of the frame provides illumination. The more lightning, the shorter the exposure, and if there's something spectacular, end the shot immediately because it probably provided enough light with that one bolt. These shots varied from 16 to 73 seconds.

I've been able to get out hiking a few times this summer, and this week I'll take a break from Yellowstone to post some photos from one of these hikes. This is one that's close to home, Palmer Lake Reservoirs. I've posted it before (click on the Palmer Lake link below to see those photos) but I tried to get some different perspectives this time.

The trail leads up a canyon to a dam that keeps the water for the first reservoir.
The trail then continues to climb. I liked the shape of this wood.
This weather station is seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but I bet it's related to the reservoirs.
Eventually, another dam holds back the water for the second, larger reservoir.
I always love this old, rusted sign.
Near where I turned around there was an impressive grove of aspens. I'll have to get up there in the fall when they change colors.
Scenic Sunday

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Lightning

I had several options available for this Skywatch Friday post, but I decided to go with these lightning shots. As I was driving back from Denver on Sunday evening, after I passed over Monument Hill there were two storms. One was on my right (west), over the mountains, while the other was to my left (east), over the plains. Needless to say, when I got home I got out the tripod and camera and was lucky enough to capture a handful of strikes, although nothing really close.
I bet there are more lightning shots on the Skywatch Friday meme page, so visit it soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Little Ike Tunnel

Back in 1991, Colorado voters legalized limited-stakes gambling in three towns, one of which is Cripple Creek, on the other side of Pikes Peak from Colorado Springs. There is one major road in and out of town (State Highway 67), and it went through an old railroad tunnel (known as the Little Ike Tunnel), only wide enough for one lane, with a traffic light at either end so only one direction could go at a time.
You can imagine the fun with tour buses full of gamblers and lines of cars trying to get through. Anyway, in 1993 some structural issues were found with the tunnel and it was closed. The road was rebuilt around the tunnel and is now wide enough for one lane in each direction, so traffic flow is much better. Since then the tunnel has continued to deteriorate, as can be seen in the above photograph taken last weekend while I was hiking in the area. (The tunnel is closed by gates at either end so it's not possible to get inside.)

Visit the always-entertaining My World Tuesday page to see other peoples' worlds from around the globe.

Thank you to everyone who comments - I read every comment, even when they're on an old post. To catch up on a couple of recent questions from those comments:

1. I did not see anyone jumping or swimming around Firehole Falls, it looked very dangerous.

2. I most definitely do not chase tornadoes. I've seen an occasional funnel cloud but don't feel the need to go near them. Maybe I'll capture one on my camera one day but I haven't yet done so.

3. Socks is a Pomeranian.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Firehole Falls (Yellowstone)

Yellowstone has a lot of waterfalls, and some are spectacular (more in a later post). Here's one called Firehole Falls, on the Firehole River. The first shot is a short exposure, and the second is a long exposure on a tripod to get the curtain effect. I think they make for very different moods in the photos.
Scenic Sunday

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Typical Afternoon Clouds

For Skywatch Friday this week, here are a couple of recent photos of typical afternoon clouds taken from my front yard. Clear mornings and afternoon storms are very common during this time of year, as monsoon moisture causes clouds to build over the mountains and move over the plains. Sometimes these clouds build into impressive thunderstorms, spawning tornadoes and large hail, and other times they're much milder, like these examples.
Visit the Skywatch Friday blog for more cloudy and clear skies.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sleepy Socks

It's time for My World Tuesday where people from around the globe show you parts of their lives - go and check it out, there's always tons of interesting things to see. Here's a sleepy part of my world, Socks ready to close his eyes as he's lying on our bed. Sometimes he puts his head on a pillow just like a person.
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