June 25 - Busiek State Forest

I needed a hike today, so I headed out to Busiek to walk a short loop. There's a nice size hill in the bottom corner of this natural area (I had to huff and puff a bit to get up it today), and I found this cone flower going down the other side.

I've also been working up a few more pictures from my recent trip to Mesa Verda and Canyonlands. This is Cliff Palace from the opposite side of the canyon.

And this is Mesa Arch.

June 14 - Springfield, MO

Not much to post lately, but I did get out this evening for a few flower pictures. This one is a "Cup Plant" (Silphium perfoliatum) also known as "Cup Rosin Weed", or "Carpenter's Weed".

June 2 - Mesa Arch

An early morning start (3:30am) meant we could get to Mesa Arch before the sun would. I've seen many beautiful images of this arch and was quite thrilled to be in front of it with good light and a camera in my hand.

Here are the images in the order in which they were taken. (OK - I know it's a lot of pictures of the same arch, but I really like them!)

June 1 - Dead Horse Point State Park

After driving around Canyonland National Park during the heat of the day (had a nice hike or two, despite the sun) we stopped by Dead Horse Point State Park. This park is just North of Canyonland NP and contains some pretty views of the Colorado River.

I started at the observation area and took a few pictures, but a bus full of teenegers arrived not too long afterword and I moved on (literally, a Greyhound-sized bus pulled up and teenagers carrying pizza and drinks walked up to the observation area).

Here's the picture I took from that viewpoint. Legend has it that cowboys herded horses onto this mesa and blocked it off forming a corral bordered by some very formidable fences. For whatever reasons, the cowboys took a few of the horses and left, letting the rest die of thirst with the Colorodo River in sight. (Gruesome, isn't it.)

I moved on and took a few more pictures from the same area as the sun went down...

One of the other sunset observers was in the way, so I included him in the picture.

A close-up view of the sunset.

A little bit of a different take on the view towards the sunset - that's the 1/4 moon in the upper left.

And finally, back towards the river after the light was nearly gone.

May 31 - Arches National Park

It was late afternoon by the time we arrived at Arches NP. While it was certainly incredibly beautiful, I couldn't really grasp how one would approach the massive structures of rock with a camera in hand. I always like sunsets, though, and when it finally arrived, I was ready.

This just means that I'll have to return to Arches someday and take some real pictures.

May 31 - Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde was the next stop. It's a beautiful area with incredible buildings that the early Americans built into the sides of cliffs. There is so much to see and do. As always, being at the right place at the right time of day means everything to photography.

We took a tour of Cliff Palace, but my best shots came the next morning when I could set up a tripod and think more about what I was doing. Here's a small part of the dwelling:

And here's the entire Cliff Palace - I'd seen it treated this way in a gallery and thought I'd imitate that effect.

May 29 - Durango

I've been hearing about the Durango-Silverton narrow gauge railroad for quite a while. Maybe it was a Travel Channel feature, but I've always wanted to see what it was all about. I finally got my chance. Photography (or at least good photography) I found to be kind of difficult from the moving train, and although I took over 500 pictures I only had a few that I thought were half-way decent.

Here's the train as it is going around a corner so sharp that it allows the back cars to see the engine clearly.

Regardless of my inability to take good pictures from a moving train, I highly recommend this trip. Two recommendations: dress warm, and be ready for soot.

May 28 - Santa Fe

Santa Fe is fun - very diverse and kind of artsy. In fact, some of the best photographers and artists in the country work in and around this area. Studios and galleries are ever present - as are the booths of artists selling their wares.

There is a lot of interesting architecture in Santa Fe - here's one building on Burro Alley. The clouds were what interested me in this picture - they looked like they were coming out of the building...

This is the same building, but just down the alley a little more. Street photography has never been something I've been that good at - it's a challenge since everything moves all the time.

We drove on toward Abiquiu (pronounced uh-BEE-key as far as I could tell) to find Georgia O'Keeffe's home of some 35 years. We did find the home, but didn't know that you needed reservations months in advance for the tour. Oh well, Abiquiu had some other interesting architecture, such as this small church.

May 27 - Drive to Santa Fe

I've been traveling on vacation for the last week, so I have a lot of updating to do during the next few days. The trip included stops in Santa Fe, Durango, Mesa Verde National Park, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Needless to say I still have a lot of pictures to process.

On the way out, we stopped in Oklahoma City to see the Memorial. I thought is was really well done and well worth the visit. Here's my tourist snapshot...

In the panhandle of Texas, even the BBQ grills are Texas-shaped. This one's from a windmill powered rest area.

And this is my first New Mexico Sunset - not a great sunset, but I had fun stopping on the road and shooting this before the light disappeared.

We arrived at Santa Fe in the dark - which may not be the best time to arrive if you've never been there before. Santa Fe has city ordinances that keep the city dark to keep light pollution down. This is really great, because it's one of the only cities I've been in where you can see the stars vividly, but it can make finding things a little bit more difficult.