Friday, September 20, 2013

Digital Art from Vacation

While on vacation, I played with some photos and created some digital art.  I thought I'd share them! ( You will probably need to click on the images to read the quotes.)

I loved this little bee, hanging onto the flower bloom for all he's worth!  I created a watercolor background and framed the photo with some computer graphics.  Then, I added an appropriate quote.

For the above piece, I applied a creative filter to this photo of a butterfly.  His pose was so perfect, I knew I had to do something special with this image.  And, of course, the quote just seemed to speak to this image.

I loved this image of these flowers.  I processed it through my HDR software to improve it, and then added this appropriate quote.  It truly speaks to life in general.

I just loved this image and placed in on top of some background paper that I made using Citrasolv.  The actual paper was scanned so that I could use it for digital art.  I just loved this quote and how it also applies to every aspect of life.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Almost Home !

Our last day of this trip began with a climb up a narrow mountain and ended with home sweet home, but here are some scenes in between!

Altho at times the mountain road was a bit harrowing, there would be intervals of beautiful scenery as we reach a sort of break in the climbing up or down the mountain passes.

At one point, we stopped to give Miki a change to take a potty break, and I took a photo break!  Altho this wasn't a window, I thought it looked like one with a view of the mountain in the distance.

When I turned from the "window", I saw these lovely wildflowers blooming along side an old fence.  What a lovely little intimate nature portrait....

Wouldn't this be quite the place to live?  What great views out of all your windows!  Such a calming peaceful feeling, too....

Arches National Park

The last national park we visited on this trip was Arches National Park.  We had accidentally discovered this national park on a previous trip a number of years ago, but it is one that we both really like, so we decided a return trip was just the ticket!

As we drove into the park, the clouds were sort of hanging over or peeking over the bluffs on the other side of the road from the park, and I just had to capture this image.  The clouds sort of give it a bit of 3-D effect.

I don't generally like to have people in my images, but this image proves the exception.  We were at Windows Arch (NOT named after the computer operating system!) and I saw these 2 people in the arch, one standing and one sitting.  They really give some perspective to this, so that you can get an idea of how large the arch is.  You may need to click on the image to see a larger version to really see the people.

I had a small summer cold when we visited here, so I wasn't up for much walking or hiking.  However, we did walk to Sand Dune Arch and I did get sort of inside and under the arch to capture this image.  I just love the sort of flow, texture and shadows in this image.

Isn't this a wonderful view inside the park?  I just love the contrast in this image - the stark, dead tree, lush green of the bushes and the red clay earth - not to mention the beautiful blue sky!

Scenery on the Colorado Side of Dinosaur National Monument

We also explored the road on the Colorado side of Dinosaur National Monument, and saw some really lovely sights....altho no dinosaur bones!

I just loved the texture in the rocks in this image!  And the color is so bold when compared to the rocks on the hill/mountain behind it.

Altho there were no dinosaur bones, homesteads or petroglyphs on this side of Dinosaur National Monument, there was some really striking scenery.  The above image really conveys a sense of the vast countryside surrounding us.

This last image was looking out toward the Utah side of Dinosaur National Monument.  I couldn't help but think of those large beasts sort of dotting the land as I looked out on this.  However, I'm sure the landscape was vastly different during the time they roamed the earth.

Dinosaur National Monument Petroglyphs

On the road to Josie Morris' homestead, there were a few areas that contained some petroglyphs.  I am always sort of taken by petroglyphs.  I don't know if it's the artist in me, or just the fact that I'm standing so close to actual communication from people that lived where I'm standing so very long ago....

This is probably the first petroglyph of what appears to be a vase and flowers that I've ever seen!  I don't know if that's what it really is, but it certainly looks that way to me.  I'm not sure what the small carving is at the bottom of the vase....a dead bloom....maybe a bug....?  It's fun to use one's imagination when looking at these!

Here's a petroglyph of what I think is either a warrior or a hunter.  Who knew there were such tall, dark men in our past?  But, the question still remains - was he handsome???

I had just commented to Jeff that we hadn't seen as many antelope on this trip as I thought we might, when I spotted this one in the rock!  It was right next to the tall dark gentleman in the image above, so maybe he was a hunter....

Josie Morris Homestead

At the end of the road in the Utah area of Dinosaur National Monument is the old homestead of a real pioneer type personality - one Josie Morris.  This was Josie's home until her death at age 89 in 1964.  She seemed to be quite the character, married 5 times until she decided she was better off single (that's the way she phrased it!), accused of cattle rustling (altho never proven!), she made this her home, with no utilities or running least the way we think of it!

This was Josie's cabin.  I think there were 3 or 4 rooms total in this cabin....which was hardly luxurious!

I took this image inside her cabin, standing in one room and looking into another.  Yes, the floor in her cabin was a dirt floor!  I just love the sort of reflective feel of this image, tho.

This was the view standing just outside Josie's cabin, looking toward her pasture, where she kept various animals, including those cattle she didn't rustle!  On the right side of the path, the green bushes are actually grape vines.  Jeff did walk over there and sampled a few of her grapes.  He said they were pretty good!

This last image is of Josie's version of running water.....a bit different from my version, that's for sure!  There was a sign here telling us not to drink this water....I guess Josie was from hardier stock than we are......

Vivid Flowers among the Grey Bones at Dinosaur National Monument

Right outside the visitors center at Dinosaur National Monument were a collection of beautiful flowers.  Their vivid colors were in stark contrast to the brown/grey tones of the bones in the exhibit area.

The above image is of a bloom called a Brillan waterleaf, I believe.  In addition to the fabulous color, I really like the sort of spiky tendrils that radiate from the bloom.  They remind me of those fiber optic  tendrils that I see on my artificial Christmas tree!

Such a pretty sunflower!  I love the detail that is reflected in the center of this bloom.....and the soft feel to this image!

I really like the color of this variation of a hawksbeard bloom.  It's both vivid and almost pastel at the same time.  Hardly seems possible, but that's Mother Nature for you!

Dinosaur Bones !

I had never heard of Dinosaur National Monument until Jeff mentioned it when we were planning this trip.  It is really a very cool place, located in both Utah and Colorado.  A huge discovery of dinosaur bones was made here, which is what prompted its becoming a national monument.  In one observation area, a "wall" of dinosaur bones was preserved so that visitors can get an idea of how incredible the discovery was.  Take a look -

The above bones seem to be a tailbone of a dinosaur.  Most of the dinosaurs found in this area were the ones that look like a brontosaurus, altho there are several different species of it.  I really like the way the shadows play on the exposed portion of the bones.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not really sure what part of the dinosaur body this is from - but the top part of it reminds me of a sort of duck billed creature of some sort.  Again, very cool the way all these bones are just right on top of each other and next to each other.

This collection of bones reminds me of some sort of ancient abstract art.  I really like the different tones that are captured in this image.  And, all the different bones!  It was very cool because at one point, we are allowed to actually touch a bone, which was I believe a thigh bone.  It was almost as long as my leg!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Last Day in the Tetons & Excitement Leaving

Our last day in the Tetons was a bit of an overcast one....and then the "excitement" of leaving.....

The overcast cloud cover on our last day in the Tetons provided a pretty cool, semi-moody feel to the day.  I really like how the clouds are hanging low on the peaks.

The next day, as we were driving out of the Park, someone crossed over the center line of the road we were on, and hit us!  It wasn't a direct head-on accident, thank goodness, but they did manage to break off the side mirror on the driver's side and it swung around and smashed right thru the side window and into Jeff's lap!  Thank goodness he was able to maintain control of the RV and pulled safely to the side of the road.  We were so lucky that no one was hurt (just covered in glass) and that we were able to get the window fixed and mirror replaced within 2 days to continue the journey.  I wish I could say the person who hit us had the good character to stop, but he/she didn't. Oh, well....
We enjoyed the Tetons just the same!

Magnificent Mormon Row

At one point in time, many people lived in the area now called Grand Tetons National Park.  When John D. Rockefeller first saw the Tetons, he was so taken with them, and so distressed by the land surrounding them that was being gobbled up by ranchers and farmers, he set about to purchase that land from them and gift it to the federal government for the purpose of expanding the National Park.  He was concerned that the beauty of the Tetons would be lost by over development in future years.  The purchase agreement did allow the farmers/ranchers to continue to live on the land, but at the end of their lifetime, it reverted to the federal government and the Park.  There was one settlement of Mormons whose homesteads are protected and somewhat preserved in Grand Teton National Park as a tribute to the farmers and ranchers from the past.

The above image (and actually a couple of the following images as well) just seemed to me to be the view of western life on the range that we hold in our imaginations.  Can you image - this was reality to the families that lived here!

It does seem sort of romantic a lifestyle, but this would have been a hard life, especially in the winter when several feet of snow would have buried this little community in the middle of nowhere.  There is only one road to this community, and it's really out in the middle of some fairly vast plains that lead up to the mountains.

Notice the extreme slant of the roof on this cabin - it's so the snow has an easier time of sliding off the roof, so as not to cause the roof to crash down on the family inside.  I do love the clouds, trees, cabin and mountains in this image.  This particular cabin was fairly close to a little stream, so running water was easier for this family to get to than the others!

This final image illustrates what I meant earlier about the homesteads being in the middle of the plains and how vast they were.  This is actually looking away from the Tetons toward some other mountains.  The valley in which these homesteads are is called Jackson Hole.  Many folks think that's the name of the town that's nearby, but actually Jackson Hole is the name of the valley alongside the Tetons.


Signal Mountain Views

I wish there was some really cool piece of history I could share with you as to how Signal Mountain in the Grand Tetons got its name.....but, I can't.  It's called that because there are all sorts of cell towers at the top of the mountain - sigh.  Still, looking out from it gave us some great views!

As we stood atop Signal Mountain (which we could drive up, thank goodness!), I watched a crow or raven soar above the countryside.  I was lucky enough to capture him as he passed me by one time.

And, here's a great view of the actual Teton range from atop Signal Mountain.  It looks a bit hazy due to the wildfire in Idaho, but the trees and cloud line still provide some great accents to the mountains themselves.

Antelope Flats

One of the great things about exploring around and in Grand Teton National Park is the variety of things that can be seen.  Here are just a couple of images from the area known as Antelope Flats.

Of course, with a name like Antelope Flats, you'd expect to see some antelope!  We did see a number of them, altho I was only able to capture this one with a semi-good view (meaning, something other than his back end).  They just seemed to bound away from us whenever we saw them!

We also came across this deserted cabin or homestead.  I loved the old fence that still seemed to protect it from curious viewers!

Views from Heron Lake Trail

On the Heron Lake side of the trail, the views were different - mainly thanks to the Tetons in the background!  

Waterlilies in the foreground, a tiny reflection of trees in the center and the magnificent Tetons in the background created a wonderful view that greeting us as we emerged from the forest portion of the hike between Swan Lake and Heron Lake.  

I had to share this image of a spent sunflower.  I still love the center of it, and the dried petals that now seem to form spikes were really quite pretty, in an "almost fall" sort of way!

And, finally, another view of Heron Lake and the Tetons - another great reflection view. These mountains were so craggy and jagged, I never got tired of looking at them.

Swan Lake HIke

On another morning, we hiked along Swan and Heron Lakes.  Altho it was the same trail, the views seen from both lakes were very different.  Here are the views from Swan Lake -

I really like the above view of Swan Lake from the darkness of the wooded trail.  We would emerge from the coolness of the forest to the warmth of the morning sun.  The green that this image looks out onto is actually the lake, covered in water lilies.  Very vibrant green, but no longer blooming...

Walking in the woods, I'd frequently be looking down so that I didn't miss little treasures like this - an Oregon fleabane bloom.  I really love the vibrant color of the purple bloom.

Actually, water lilies weren't the only thing in Swan Lake - cattails were there, too.  This image reminded me of my childhood when we'd pick the cattails from a lake in Wisconsin, let them dry and then light them in the evenings.....or try to!

Can you spot the little duck in this image?  Hint:  Look in the lower center!  Small ducks that aren't really good at flying will frequently seek the protection of the water lilies.  Their predators have as difficult a time seeing them as we do!

Flowers Along Christopher Pond

The same hike along Christopher Pond had some lovely wildflowers (or remainders of them!) for us to enjoy along the way, too!

The above bloom is a Canadian Thistle (I believe) - I really liked the color of this one and the pattern of the petals.  Against the background, it really reminds me of fall.....

How lucky could I get to see another perfect "fuzzy head" of a dandelion?  I really like the color of this one in the morning sun.  There are some advantages to getting up early - seeing things like this!

I really liked the way the morning sun lit up just the tops of this bloom/grass.  I'm not sure what it is exactly, but the colors just seemed to calming and yet invigorating, I had to share.

And finally, isn't this just a luscious shade of purple?  Again, the detail in the bloom itself is what drew me to this. Perfection in nature....

HIking Near Jackson Lodge at Grand Teton National Park

Another morning at Grand Teton National Park, we hiked a trail around Jackson Lodge.  The views were really quite peaceful and calming - take a look -

I just loved the way the sun reflected on the clumps of grass growing in the center of Christopher Pond.  It sort of creates a little abstract.

Here's a small duck doing the swimming version of a morning stroll!  He just sort of glided across the water, leaving hardly a trace of his movement.

This is a view of just about all of Christopher Pond.  I had hoped we might see some moose along the shore - but, alas, it was not to be!  

Here's someone we did see, tho!  This little guy seemed to follow us for a short time.  Our own little chipmunk hiking buddy!