Al's Photography Blog

Al's Photography Blog
Folly Beach, South Carolina

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Paraglider

A couple of months ago I posted a picture from the top of Mount Herman, and I mentioned that I had some older photos of paragliders taken from the top. I dug them out, and here they are. They are from September 2007, and they'll make an appropriate Skywatch Friday post.

For a paraglider, the term "takeoff run" is literal, as they run to get lift. In this case, they run off the top of the mountain, over a cliff. It takes more guts than I'd have - in fact, one of them almost crashed because he didn't get enough lift. However, this one had a perfect takeoff.
For more photos featuring the sky as a background, visit the Skywatch Friday meme.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pulpit Socks

From my recent climb up Pulpit Rock, here's a photo of my hiking buddy Socks near the top (hence the bad pun in the title). He'll hike for miles, and handles steep terrain better than I do.
This little critter is an important part of my world, and that's why he's my entry for the My World Tuesday meme again. Visit it today!

Friday, September 24, 2010

More Golden Aspen

For Scenic Sunday, here are more aspen photos from last weekend's hike in Horsethief Park. There weren't many good stands of golden aspen, but I found one.
Here are a couple of close-ups.
I liked the pine tree in the middle of these aspen; in a couple of weeks it will be much more visible.
Finally, here's a wide shot of the valley up which I hiked to see these aspen. To get back to the road, you'd hike down to the base of the pine-covered mountain, turn right, and hike downhill for another half-mile.
For more landscapes and other scenic shots, visit Scenic Sunday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Golden Aspen & Blue Sky

This hasn't been a good year for aspen, as the incredibly hot, dry fall has stressed the trees, and many of them are dropping their leaves while still green. But I was able to find one good stand after hiking up into a valley a little over 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in elevation on the back of Pikes Peak, in an area known as Horsethief Park (because it's where horse thieves used to hide).
I'll post more aspen photos in a couple of days. For more sky-themed photos, visit Skywatch Friday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Our first night in Yellowstone we stayed in the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, also known as the Lake Yellowstone Lodge. It was an attractive, old (for the area) building on the shore of Lake Yellowstone. Here's a photo taken shortly after sunset.
There was a string quartet playing classical music when we arrived.
This was the corridor where our room was, it seemed somehow slightly creepy to me.
It was nice to be able to stay in the park rather than needing to drive in each day, I'd recommend that to anybody who wants to visit. And that's a part of my world from a few weeks ago, visit the My World Tuesday site for lots of other blog posts on all types of things.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mud Volcano & Dragon's Mouth Spring (Yellowstone)

One of the areas along the Yellowstone roads contains two main attractions. It's in a fairly active area, as can be seen from the several areas of steam in this first photo.
First from the boardwalk you can see the Dragon's Mouth Spring, so-called because it belches large plumes of steam and roars like a dragon. It also sends out periodic waves of water.
The water drains out along a channel; the colors are from bacterial mats.
There is also a bubbling pool of mud.
And finally, the mud volcano is visible. It doesn't look impressive in this photo, but it's a boiling mass of muddy water that never stops exploding.
Scenic Sunday

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pulpit Rock From Below

This week's Skywatch Friday posts contains some photos from a hike I took on Sunday up Pulpit Rock, which is one of many parks in the city of Colorado Springs. These photographs show the rock from below - Socks and I made it to the top, and I'll have other assorted photos later. The weather was beautiful - a few clouds, warm but not too hot. This first shot is looking south towards Pulpit Rock.
The next one was taken part way up, looking at the very top.
And finally, after descending on the other side, here's a photo looking back towards it (looking north).
For more upward-looking photos, visit the Skywatch Friday meme.

Monday, September 13, 2010

On Top of Pikes Peak

Despite an elevation of 14,110 feet (4.3 km), there is some civilization on top of Pikes Peak.
 As far back as 1873, before Colorado was even a state, enough people were getting to the top to make it worth building a summit house. One wall is still standing.
Now, between the road and the railway, there's an entire building with tourist stuff to buy, including fudge and hot drinks. Believe it or not, this final photo of today's post was taken on the top of the mountain!
For more views of the world, visit My World Tuesday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pikes Peak Highway

For those who thought I climbed Pikes Peak, I cheated. There are actually three ways to get to the top, and hiking's the hardest; I've done it, but not this time. There's also a cog railroad, but I drove up the highway, which goes all the way to the top. Here's one of the views if you get out of the car by one of the lakes.
The lakes are artificial, here's the dam for this lake. The highway runs across the top of this dam.
And finally, here's a view down onto the highway from above treeline; again, this photo was taken from the side of the road. You can see the highway winding down from the right to the left, and then down into the trees.
This highway is about as scenic as it gets, so it's my post for Scenic Sunday.
Scenic Sunday

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

View From 14,110 Feet

For this week's Skywatch Friday post, here's a view from the sky, atop Colorado's 31st-highest mountain. Our local mountain, Pikes Peak, reaches 14,110 feet (4.3 km) in elevation. I was being a tourist guide for my daughter and her friend on Monday and so we went to the top; more on that in future posts. Here's a view from the top.
It was a somewhat hazy day so the views weren't up to their best standard, but I think that they're impressive anyway. It was also very cold, 32 F (0 C) with 50 MPH (80 kph) winds.

For more views of the sky, visit Skywatch Friday.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Balloon Glow 2010

Each Labor Day weekend, the Colorado Balloon Classic brings together dozens of hot air balloons in Colorado Springs for one of the country's largest balloon festivals. At night, they light up the balloons from the insides with the propane heaters, resulting in a lovely and very unusual scene. These photos were taken on Saturday evening during this balloon glow. We're lucky because it's possible to get right in to where all the balloons are glowing, they don't hold the crowds back.
As this last photograph shows, it's a rather popular event.
I didn't make it to any of the ascensions this year, maybe next year I'll get up early enough to make it there at 7:00 AM for the liftoff next year. But my first ever blog post includes a photo from another year of that, so click on the Balloon label just below this post and that will come up (along with shots from last year's balloon glow).

For more fun and informative photos from around the globe, visit the My World Tuesday meme. It's worth a visit!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yellowstone Southeast Entrance Road

For this week's Scenic Sunday post, I'm going to show some of our first views of the park. We entered through the southeast entrance, and the road to the lake drove over a mountain range with some beautiful views. Even in late June, some snow was still visible below the road in places.
And, from a couple of days later, here's a view from the rim looking into the caldera. As you may know, Yellowstone is a supervolcano, so it wouldn't be a good place to be if it ever blew up.
Believe it or not, I've still got lots more photos from Yellowstone, so if you've liked the tour so far, keep checking back!
Scenic Sunday

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stormy Skies

I know these aren't very good photos, but I want to show a different side of our skies today. To boast a little bit, we get around 300 sunny days a year in my area. This is because we're on the sheltered side of a major mountain range, so the mountains catch most of the weather. In the summer this can lead to thunderstorms building and moving over us, as I've shown in numerous other posts. And once in a while, the winds can turn around and force moisture against the mountains, leaving us in fog and low clouds. Here are some photos from a couple of weeks ago when this happened. The clouds always seem lower here since we're 7,500 feet (2.2 km) above sea level.
In the winter a weather pattern like this will occasionally drop as much as 4 feet of snow (over 100 cm) on our ridge in 24 hours; this might happen once every 5 years, but we'll get a number of falls in the 1 to 2 foot (30 to 60 cm) range each winter. But I'm happy to say that sunshine and boring sunsets like this one are much more common, even on days when a thunderstorm moves over.
For more photographs featuring the sky, visit the Skywatch Friday home page.
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