Visiting Utah

Part Eight

Today’s trip was to Arches National Park at “The Fins,” where the rock formations are flat triangles, hence the name “Fins.” It’s a short drive from Moab, but the clouds overtook the sky, so no night photography and the sunset was a bit drab in color. Sometimes, the weather works against you, I tried to focus on a small group of rocks to compensate for the dull sky.

I also went low and shot looking up; then I added the black-and-white filter to improve the sky. I don’t know what lived in the hole in the ground, but it never came out. I also continued my love affairs with dead trees, there’s something about them.

A Common Raven, I do like them as well.

There was a sliver of sunset between the horizon and the dark clouds, I had to crop the image to get rid of the uninteresting ground and sky. The rock below was lit up with someone’s headlights; they turned on to help us to the parking lot but it did give a nice photo. I also added one of my night sky photos to a fins photo above.

Visiting Utah

Part Six

Headed out to Canyonlands National Park for sunset and the Night Sky. A couple was standing out on the edge, taking wedding photos. I would be too worried to do that; a strong wind could push you off the edge, and a bird could poop on you; it seems like a bad idea.

I think I found Pride’s rock in the park; just need a monkey and a lion cub.

I used the French impressionist filter to create this image.

I had to wait a few hours after sundown, but I saw the Milky Way.

Visiting Utah

Part Five

The next leg of the trip is driving from Bryce to Moab, a small town near loads of national and state parks. The only non-potty or food break was Kodachrome State Park. For those of us whose first camera was digital, I will explain the name. Kodachrome was the first color film created by Kodak; it was long-lasting and held its colors beautifully. Side note: Paul Simon has a song called Kodachrome if you want a photography song. The park did receive permission to rename the Park to Kodachrome State Park, as the name is under copyright.

The last image is driving out of the park, an old one-log cabin with the best view.

Visiting Utah

Part Four

I made it to the hotel, stretched out my legs, had dinner, and then a five-minute drive to the Sunset Point at Bryce National Park. The Sunset Point is a long, curving path with lots of room to capture the view.

Make sure to check out the path to the canyon,

I found a new bird at the park, it’s a Steller’s Jay.

I was impressed by all the trees ground straight from the canyon’s rock; nature is strong.

For the canyon itself, I tried to focus on particular sections. Others have already shot the wide-angle view of the canyon; by focusing on smaller sections, I hoped I conveyed how huge the canyon is in real life.

Visting Utah

Part Three

It was time to leave the Bison behind and continue to Bryce; once you leave Salt Lake City, the road opens to 80 MPH, and you can just hit the cruise control and listen to some road trip music.

After a lunch break, it is time to leave the Highway/Interstate/Motorway for Scenic Route 12, which starts at Dixie National Forrest.

Sometimes, choosing between color and black-and-white images is hard, so which do you prefer, the one above or the one below?

A warning about Scenic Route 12: two lanes go up and down in elevation, sometimes at a 10-degree angle. This means it’s a steep climb up, and you need to stand on the brake going down. The road has many sharp, curly turns and no guardrails; there is also a section where you go so far up you can not see what the road does until you are over the peak. It goes straight down. This road is not for everyone and can get harder due to the weather, and I would not drive it at night.

There are other routes to take, and the scenery is everywhere in southern Utah.

Visiting Utah

Part Two

First full day in Utah, a restful night’s sleep and a good breakfast is a great way to start the day. Day two was the slow drive down to Ruby’s Inn, a few miles outside of Bryce Canyon National Park. Ruby’s is a loge, RV, and Camping area with a restaurant, gift shop, general store, US Post office, and Gas station. You can drive to Bryce Sunset point in 5 mins.

The first stop of the day is Antelope Island State Park, it’s 50 miles north of SLC and lays inside the Great Salt Lake. The big attraction for me is the Bison Herd, most people call them buffalo but they aren’t buffalos they are Bison. Bison’s come in three flavors, Forrest, Plains, and European; the herd on the Island are Plains Bison.

I didn’t have a banana for scale so I included the Camper Van on the road.

Bison like to wallow, they lay down and roll around in the dirt, the bison is so big it creates it’s own deust cloud.

If you look behind the adult bison you will see a little calf, following it’s parent.

The island has more than bison to offer, they have birds, sunflowers, and refelctions in the salt lake as well. I wish I could of spend a whole day here, the sunsets and sunrises must be gorgeous.

View from the road leading into the park.

Most of these birds are American White Pelican or Pelecanus erythrorhynchos.

I added the Claude Monet photoshop filter to one of my sunflower images; fun fact sunflowers are native to South America.

Visting Utah

Part 1: Hot flight

I had a two-part flight to Salt Lake City; the first leg of the journey was rough. It was five hours in a hot plane with a manspreading beside me. The flight should have left around 4:00 PM, but it sat in 100F weather for an hour, fully loaded with people, and the window shades up. The plan never really cooled off. As for the Manspreader, he sat next to me with his leg in my limited legroom. I then had to calculate: is it worth saying something and spending 5 hours next to a disgruntled passenger? Given the many stories I’ve read about unruly passengers losing their minds and causing plane delays, I figured it wasn’t worth it.

The delay of the hot flight decreased the layover time from over an hour to less than 45 minutes. The cabin crew asked everyone with non-connecting flights to let the others go first; it is no surprise that no one listened, and it somehow took longer to deplane than average. A few of us then had to make a 20-minute dash from one end of the airport to another, which included a 5 min train ride to reach terminal C. I made it in time and was given a great view of my troubles.

Sunset from Denver Airport, the pink clouds reflected in the wing, was a great detail I noticed after taking the photos. The golden hour light stayed with us the entire flight; the Rocky Mountains looked like pitched playdough from our view in the sky.

Travel Tip: Try to fly out in the morning; delays can stack up as the day goes on

Be Sick When You Travel

That’s a good clickbait title, but what happens if you don’t feel well on a one-in-a-lifetime trip?

I have health issues that have stopped me from doing activities; it happens. You need to know yourself, how your body/medical issues will react, and make peace with not going and doing something else that is fun.

I was in France and was set to visit the Monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole, where Van Gogh stayed for a year and painted The Starry Night and others. However, it would be 100 degrees or 37 degrees, and that kind of weather is bad for people with asthma, which I have. I wanted to go, but not enough to deal with an asthma attack. So I got up early and walked around Avignon for a few hours, and by ten am, I was in the hotel watching TV and eating some ice cream. Sometimes a day of rest near the end of a vacation is just what you need. As for Vincent’s room in the Monastery, I’ve already seen it as he saw it, through his paintings.

My second antidote happened during my Oregon Trip. I can get Mirgrains due to visual situations. I had a boss with a skinny pinstripe tie that could set me off once, I love Enter the spider verse, but I get a headache after watching it. In Oregon, my issue was straying took long in the fog without sunglass because I was in my hotel. I felt it coming on, and I knew I needed to stay in a dark room to stop the full-blown Mirgain from starting. I had the TV on and found a new favorite life below zero.

I have stories of adventures I didn’t go on for most of my trips; you must accept your limits and make the best of them. I didn’t go hiking up a hill in Australia to go zip lining (again, weather and asthma), so I spent the whole day sitting on the beach under a shady tree. I watched tiny sand crabs clean their section of the beach.

I didn’t walk along the path in Hawaii’s volcano park due to fumes, my family went, and I listened to music while watching the Ocean. I didn’t get off the boat for the morning landing in Antarctica; I took my fast-acting inhaler and just watched the penguins swimming from my room. One day in Patagonia, I didn’t get up with the sunrise morning photo trip; I just went back to sleep. That was the day the wind picked up, and the tiny pebbles hit people. I went out on the hotel deck and took photos of dogs, and the light hit the mountains around 8ish.

You have to ask yourself; can I do this, will I feel miserable the whole time, and could this cause more sick days for the rest of the trip?

I would also say to plan the trip with off days. Don’t try to fit activities for every min of your trip; you will burn out. Have a plan B ready by identifying some easy events like a museum/aquarium or a bus tour (hop on hop off busses are a great way to see the sights when the weather is bad). If you are sick, just let yourself be sick, be kind to yourself.

If you have a bad foot/knee/back and the trip will involve multiple day-long hikes, then put some rest days between the hikes. Talk to your Dr in advance; talk about some just in case of medicine like antibiotics, steroids, prescription anti-inflammatories, what over-the-counter medicine could help (there are other anti-motion sickness medications), going to a physical therapist for exercises to do pre/post activity, getting braces (knee brace, back brace), or spend extra money for better walking/hiking shoes with custom insoles.

Why is Leonardo Divenci buried in France?

Visiting France Part 3

I saw a lot of Chateau the first few days, and Chateau Royal d’Amboise was unexpected because Leonardo (the artist, not the TMNT) Divenci was buried there. The Chapel of Saint-Hubert on the Chateau grounds, it’s just a large stone slab in the private/small Chapel. It’s odd to find the famous Italian Renaissance man, Leonardo, buried outside of Italy.

Leo was world-renowned in his lifetime, and during his golden years, he was invited to come live in France by fanboy King François I of, wait for it, France. Leo was given his own Chateau, Clos Lucé, a 600m or .3 miles from the royal Chateau Royal d’Amboise.

When Leo moved to France, he brought three paintings with him, the most famous being the Mona Lisa, which Leo gave to the French King. This solves a question I never asked, why is the Mona Lisa in France.

Visting France

Part Two

Chateau de Chenonceau, or as our guide called it, the Lady’s Chateau, because all the renowned owners were women. The Chateau became part of the crown’s (the king’s) holders, and he gifted it to The Girl in the Fireplace from Dr. Who, AKA Diane de Poitiers, the King’s Mistress. She outlived the King and was swiftly kicked out by the King’s widow, Queen Catherine de Medici. I think she told Diane, you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

The Chateau’s passed out of the Crown’s holding and was gifted to Louise Dupin, who was a member of the Enlightenment movement. When the revolution happened, her home was not looted because she was a friend to the French People.

Mary Queen of Scot, as in Queen Mary vs. Queen Elizabeth fame, also spent time in the Chateau as she was Queen of France due to her marriage to Queen de Medici’s oldest son, Francis II, who died of an ear issue. No one is sure what killed him because ear pain and fever can cover a lot of medical issues like infection, abscess, or we can always throw in the plague. They had no children so Mary was sent back to Scotland, and Mommy Dearest took the reins for her younger son.

Who doesn’t love a wishing well?

Even the ducks are extra in France.

Visiting France

Part 1

France has been in the news this week, and I just wanted to share photos of France not being on fire. Let’s hop in the way back machine to 2017 for my trip to France.

Today is all about Chateau’s, which is french for very fancy posh house.

Chateau de Chambord was the largest of the Chateau’s we saw on this trip, images how much wood it took to heat this building. I didn’t go inside because it’s emtpy, during the French Revoluation everything was taken.

You might be asking, why was this built and the answer is it was a hunting lodge for the King of France and then became bigger in order to show it off. The King spend 72 days in this building; I’m guessing he got lost and it took 71 days to get out. To be fair I’m starting to see the point of the Revoluation and taking everything inside.

Remember this is just the largest Chateau in the Loire Valley, which means there are bigger Chateau’s in France. There are poeple for scale on the balcony in the middle of the image.

Building round up:

  1. 440 rooms, 83 staircases, 282 fireplaces, zero toilets (when it was built, they have them now)
  2. The Château de Chambord Park is as vast as inner Paris. It is the largest enclosed park in Europe.
  3. It was built between 1519 and 1547, with a brief pause when France went to war with Italy.
  4. The tallest tower is 56 meters or 183 ft tall.
  5. It took forever to clean.

Old Made New.

The photo below shows a small wooden boat parked in the Thermaic Gulf in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Row Row Row your Boat

My trip to Greece was about seven cameras ago, I don’t use years for my photos; just how many cameras have passed between now and then. This photo is so old it was under 1MB. I have since purchased the Topaz Gigapixel AI, not a sponsor, which adds filling to the photo to make it good enough to print in large sizes.

This has led me to review my old pictures (I never delete my photos) and upgrade the good ones. I remember waking up and walking around the harbor around 8 am this morning, and the Mediterranean sun was harsh. I saw a gang of wild dogs that gathered around a car at the red light; I saw the white tower looking a bit beige, and then I looked out over the water and all this boat. Even with the blinding light, I could admire the bold colors that stayed in my mind a few camera’s later. I’m thrilled with how well the image turned out; so if you have old photos you want to make new again, look online and find one you like.