Category Archives: National Parks

Majestic Mt. Rainer

“Mt. Rainer Afternoon Sun Break”
Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington

This image was taken driving back down the hill from the “Sunrise” visitors center on the east side of Mt. Rainer. I had just finished a little hike up the side of the mountain to the tree line. Driving back down in the early evening, I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw a little sun break. I found the nearest turnout to enjoy a few fleeting moments before the shadows fully engulfed the mountain.

Every time I drive up to the Mountain it has a different feeling about it. Each facet looks different depending on the time of day and the amount of sunlight or shadows present. It may be covered with clouds or protruding into the clear sky above the tree-covered slopes below. It is a pleasure to just stop and gaze at its majestic presence.

High Water at Gettysburg

“High-Watermark of Picket’s Charge”
Gettysburg National Park, Pennsylvania

This post continues my series on some of our National Parks. Gettysburg National Park has always been one of my favorite places to visit. My first visit was over 50 years ago, back in 1966 when our family took a cross-country vacation in the “Blue Blimp”, a blue and white Dodge motor home. I was fascinated with the battlefield back then. When we lived in the Washington, DC area, we made several trips with our visitors, learning more each time. During our 16 years in the Philadelphia area, we must have made 9-10 visits. My last trip to the park was 2 years ago, when we visited the Washington, DC area. Each time I visit the battlefield, I learn something new and gain a greater understanding of what what this turning point in the Civil War meant to the Country and our people.

This particular site is a solemn point. It was the farthest point that the Confederates made against the Union forces during Pickets charge. The Confederates sent 15,000 troops across this field and suffered fifty-percent casualties. Gettysburg along with the concurrent Confederate surrender at Vicksburg marked the turning point of the Civil War.

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.

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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.