Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Like Clockwork

Columbia, Pennsylvania, has at least one claim to fame: the National Watch and Clock Museum. When Sandy visited me in February, just prior to her great travel nurse adventure, rain was threatening our outdoor activities, so we decided to explore the museum.

Given the museum setting, good photography was difficult. But the subject matter was really interesting, so we took lots of pictures anyway. The museum was surprisingly nice. It had just been redone, and had several displays on loan from the Smithsonian.

This little museum also had examples of mechanical, animated clocks and player pianos. Here is the "code" that a player piano uses, up close:

At least I think that is what it is, I could be wrong :P

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bon Voyage

Blog friends, I will be out and about for the next 10 days, exploring Las Vegas, Zion, and Bryce Canyon - searching, searching, searching for new blog material!

I am trying out Blogger's new feature, where you can schedule posts to publish whenever you'd like them. Hopefully (keep your fingers crossed!), a couple of posts will pop up over the next week and a half. If not, never fear, I'll be back around May 7th!

Friday, April 25, 2008

SPS goes Black and White

Sandy has been doing her best to convince you all that Bryce Canyon is the best place ever, so I am feeling the need to lob a few more Yellowstone shots out there :)

A ranger told us that this elk had been fighting fairly heavily the day before, and was probably resting on this day. He was tucked away in the remnants of a marble terrace, out of the sight of other bulls. The ranger told us that many elk like to hang around the hot springs formations in the cooler weather, because of the heat the springs provide.

These three shots were all taken in and around Mammoth Hot Springs, on the northern edge of the park, back in fall of 2005. I remember learning that this area is like an "inside-out" cave, because the hot water seeps out of the ground and deposits marble (travertine, I think?) in terrace-like formations as it evaporates. The entire area is enchanting.

I found that I had five or six shots that, for whatever reason, looked average in color, but really appealed to me in black and white. I will have to share the other three shots next week :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More flower power ...

Here are a few more shots from Saturday morning's wildflower shoot with Dad. It was mostly too early for the trout lilies, but we found a solitary bloom by the edge of the creek.

Spring beauties are one of the most common of wildflowers in these parts. The closer up you get to them, the more beautiful details appear.

Rue anemone is another one of the more common wildflowers here. Between the anemone, the spring beauties, and the dutchman's breeches, the forest floor was fairly well covered with pretty spring blooms.

Maybe Sunday's rain brought even more blossoms out!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Birds ....

This weekend, Mom's birdfeeders were filled with gold and purple finches. I was able to capture a few of them sitting pretty:

The goldfinches have, for the most part, returned to their brilliant yellow summer coloring, but many still had olive-drab patches.

In a few more days, these branches will be obscured by the emerging leaves of the chestnut tree they are perching on. I was lucky to get the shots while I could!

... & Blooms

Dad and I spent some time Saturday morning, looking for wildflower shots. We stopped over at Salty's place first, taking shots of a few of his ornamental shrubs. This first is my best shot of the cherry blossoms.

This next picture is cardinal bush. I've always been fond of it, due to its color. I'm happy to have a few nice photos of it now :)

And lastly, we went to a little area in the woods were wildflowers were peeping up. We found plenty of rue anemone, dutchman's breeches (shown below), spring beauty, trout lilies, and one small patch of hepatica.

I'll have to post a few more of these, as the week passes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Western Wildflowers

Here are some western wildflowers for your Super Park enjoyment. I'm not sure what any of the varieties are, but they were mostly in Mesa Verde and Black Canyon NPs, in Colorado.

I spent some time this morning with the PA Wildlife Photographer, shooting Pennsylvania wildflowers. We'll have some shots to post from that expedition soon, I'm sure :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Urban Blossoms

The sunny days have finally arrived. Today, I got a few more shots of the blossoming bradford pear trees that line a few blocks of the main street in York:

This lamp is not on. It is blocking the morning sun and appears to glow a bit.

York City may have its fair share and more of problems, but the blooms really bring out the best of the downtown atmosphere.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Time to Go to Work

I stuck around for a few minutes after work on Friday, and was able to capture a few shots of the old courthouse in York surrounded by bradford pear blossoms.

I've been taking my camera to work with me daily, in hopes of finding a few sunny free minutes to capture the trees, but so far all I've gotten is overcast/drizzly days. That's April in Pennsylvania! Looks like I'll have a fighting chance today, though.

This one is from our lunchroom, looking out across York's main street. A coworker called me from the lunchroom and told me to get myself and my camera up there to take a picture of the blooms reflecting in the windows. To us, it looked like the trees were inside the building.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

SPS: Red Rocks & A Plea for Help :)

Sandy's got me in the mood to post some red rocks this Saturday!

These are all from Canyon De Chelly in Arizona. Canyon De Chelly (pronounced D'Shay) is a National Monument, but members of the Navajo Nation live in and farm the bottom of the canyon. Visitors are only allowed on the floor of the canyon on one trail, unless they are accompanied by a Navajo guide.

Canyon De Chelly has wonderful red rock walls.

Here you can see how one layer of rock looks like layers of sand.

Geologists probably have field days in this place.

Here's a wider view of the canyon landscape. A truly beautiful place.

And now that I've schnookered you way down here with park pictures, I'd like to ask if anyone has any advice for traveling to and/or taking pictures in Zion or Bryce Canyon, or Las Vegas. I'll be heading there in about two weeks, and any "hot tips" on scenic views, must-see attractions, or beautiful day hikes would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Doggie Day & Other Sights

It was Fala Day (aka Doggie Day) at Hopewell Furnace, which meant that admission was free and puppies were welcome. The day is in honor of Fala, one of the more famous of presidential pets. Fala was Franklin Delano Roosevelt's beloved scottish terrier. Doggie-oriented activities were the order of the day.

There were a pair of horses in the park. They were extremely even-tempered, and were happy to meet-and-greet with the dogs in the park.

Here's a better shot of one horse by itself. A park ranger was nearby at all times, but the horse was content to stand and be petted. This guy was huge!

Here is a scene from inside one of the reconstructed worker's homes at Hopewell Furnace. The items in this house were reproductions that you could freely handle.

I guess I should've explained that Hopewell Furnace was an early ironworks that produced cannon and stove parts, among other things, before and after the American Revolution. Several of the buildings are still standing and are open to the public.

And I'll leave you with an early spring bloom we found in the woods. I'm not sure what type of flower it is, but it was brave to be out so early!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Warning: Extreme Cuteness Ahead!

It was lambing season at Hopewell Furnace Historic Park, where we went for a jaunt today. The park ranger on duty said that the lambs were adorable for a few weeks, and then they turn into holy terrors.

These lambs are still on the cute side, but I could see a few holy terror tendencies emerging:

"Wake up!"

"No, really, wake up!!"

"Being ornery makes me itchy!"

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A Canyon by Any Other Name is Just as Grand

While there's still a little nip in the air, I thought I would post a picture from last spring's trip to Colroado, where we ran into some snow in the higher elevations. This shot is from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

To get the full sweep of the depth of the canyon, I used the panoramic function to stitch three or four photos together.

I have visited the Grand Canyon before, and I must say that Black Canyon to me was every bit as impressive. The scale of the place, with the narrow but very deep canyon, and near vertical walls, is breathtaking. Here's one more, taken directly behind the Visitor's Center.

It was snowing pretty heavily when we got there, and it was also foggy, so we hung around for a while at the Visitor's Center, hoping for the weather to break and the views to clear. Once the snow cooperated, we had a lovely, if chilly, afternoon to explore the park.

If you would like to join us on our park rambles every Saturday, you can sign up here.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It's Probably Spring by Now, in Knoxville

These pictures are from my archives, and were taken mid-March of 2006 in Knoxville. I worked in an office there that was across the road from a very large cemetery. The cemetery had beautiful landscaping and many people liked to walk through it on their lunch hour.

Knoxville may have long, dreary, rainy winters, but springtime comes early and absolutely knock your socks off :)

I admit it, I was playing with the "soft focus" function in the above picture.

Most of the spring bulbs are up around here now. Daffodils and hyacinths and crocuses. I love the return of blooms as winter blends into spring and finally passes on.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tuesday's Walk

I took my camera out with me this evening, and this is what I found:

A slightly ironic street name ...

some little flags (surely the cables must be buried, cause I don't see them up top anywhere :)

And a buzzard (vulture) floating on an air current. A trick of the lighting took the natural sheen of the feathers and made them appear white.