Monthly Archives: July 2020

Death Valley Mystery

“The Race Track”
Death Valley National Park, Nevada

What the ????? How did the rock get here? Who or what pushed it? Or was it pulled? Scientists have been studying this since the early 1900’s. Theories have changed over time. In fact, the prominent theory at the time I took this image seven years ago has changed.

The current theory is developed from using time-lapse photography, weather stations, and GPS devices. During the winter of 2013, the elements came together and scientists were able to record the phenomenon of the sliding rocks. During a rain fall followed by an extreme cold night, a thin layer of ice formed. The ice lifted the rocks from the playa surface. The next morning, the ice started to melt creating a thin layer of water between the ice and the playa. The ice sheet started to break up leaving sections of the sheet floating on the water. Winds came up blowing the smaller ice sheets with the embedded rocks across the playa.

Related Images:

Sunrise in Acadia

“Early Morning Sunrise on Otter Cliff”
Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park … where do you start? Everywhere I turned was a photo opportunity. I was overwhelmed and had difficulty sorting out where I should focus. On this morning, I stumbled down to rocks overlooking the coast line with my tripod and camera. It was very dark and I had to use my tripod legs to feel my way to stepping places that were solid. Once I got to a spot, I did not want to move. Luckily, I had a 180 degree view from east to west. My initial focus was to the east waiting for the sun to rise over the horizon. At first it was not too exciting since there were no clouds on the horizon. I glanced over my shoulder to the west and saw the sun starting to light the distant Otter Cliffs. I quickly turned around and created this image. I used a blue and gold polarizer to help bring out the oranges in the sky and rocks as well as the deep blue in the water. It was a glorious morning!

Springtime in the Smokies

Dogwoods
Great Smokies National Park, Tennessee

I am still not able to get out and about much, so I thought I would do a little series of some of the National Parks that I have visited over the years. My first entry is from the Great Smokies National Park in Tennessee.

Springtime in the Smokies is a glorious time of the year. Dogwoods are starting to bloom and light green leaves are emerging from the deciduous forests as seen from this image taken near Cades Cove. The early morning lights turn the light green leaves into an almost gold color.

Roaring streams in lush green stream beds with multiple waterfalls grace the park. Wildlife, including black bears, are becoming active. Morning fog covers much of the area and gradually dissolves to present misty vignettes. Distant hills are covered with a misty haze giving rise to their namesake “Smoky” Mountains.

A Nice Day’s Drive

Mt. Hood and Columbia Gorge
Oregon and Washington

On a clear day, it is hard to beat the drive down to Bend, Oregon from Eastern Washington along US Highway 97. Leaving the Yakima Valley, the snow peak of Mt. Rainer is in the NW, and Mt. Adams overlooks the valley from the west. Reaching Goldendale, Mt. Adams is to the NW and Mt. Hood is to the SW. Turning the bend on Highway 97 heading down into the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood is dead ahead (as in this image). Climbing back out of the Gorge to the Oregon Plateau, Mt. Adams is to the north and Mt. Hood is due west. Continuing south past Shaniko, one sees a little turn out with a clear view of the Cascade Range. From here, Mt. Adams is in the far north, Mt. Hood is in the NW, and Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three-fingered Jack are to the west and SW. Traveling south out of Madras Mt. Jefferson rises prominently above the farm lands to the west. Approaching Redmond, the Three Sisters and Broken Top are seen to the west and SW. Then Mt. Bachelor rises up as you enter the Bend area. It is a pretty impressive four hour drive on a clear day, which is pretty common in sunny Eastern Washington and Oregon!

Grotesque #6

“Medeval Rhetoric”
Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad

Viewing and thinking about the old Education Hall (now Miller Hall) grotesques makes me appreciate what a well-rounded liberal arts education would be. Education has many dimensions with various perspectives from different points of view ranging across cultures, times, and topics.

I feel a little remorse not being exposed to this level of learning as I progressed through a technical degree. I missed a lot during my formal engineering and business education. Over the years I have filled in many of the gaps through reading and recently on-line classes. I currently enjoy viewing lectures from the “Great Courses” on-line education programs. It is never too late to continue learning.

This posting will close my grotesque series for the time being.

Grotesque #5

“Grammar Teacher and Students”
Miller Hall, University of Washington

We need more of these!

I remember grammar classes in school when growing up from grade school through the first couple of years in high school. They were not my favorite, but I learned a lot. Throughout my professional career, clear writing was imperative and essential to communicate. I am thankful for the grammar education I received in my early years.

Now, grammar is not formally taught in many of our schools. Much of our communication is through social media. Most of it is extremely poorly written and sloppy.

Grotesque #4

“Astronomy Grotesque”
Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad

Astronomy is a topic that I have always been interested. During my years at the University as an engineering student, I did not have much of an opportunity to take elective classes outside of engineering-related disciplines if I wanted to graduate in 4 years.

I had to wait until I graduated to take a couple of astronomy classes at the University of Washington “Experimental College”. Subsequently I have taken on-line classes through the “Great Courses” to satisfy my curiosity. There is always opportunity to learn something new. Now, I need to learn how to apply a little creative photography to it.

And we are now laying the foundation to a manned landing on Mars!

Grotesque #2

“The Phoenician Teacher”
Miller Hall, University of Washington Quad

This grotesque, the Phoenician Teacher, is also located on the third floor of Miller Hall. Miller Hall, built in 1922, was originally “Education Hall”, thus being decorated with education-related figures. Carl Gould was the building’s architect. Alonzo Victor Lewis created the 44 sculptures adorning the building.