Beauty Abounds

Beauty comes in many forms.  Sometimes beauty is in your face obvious while other times it takes a little longer to seek out.  From my first scenic overlook sighting at Bryce Canyon National Park to each subsequent visit, wow was usually the first word I uttered.  The scenery was breathtaking, stunning, mesmerizing, and obviously beautiful.

beauty abounds when we open our eyes

beauty abounds when we open our eyes

After spending an incredible week exploring Bryce Canyon Country, it was time to move on.  Although I must admit, I could’ve easily spent another week staring at those mind-boggling hoodoos.Bryce Canyon

Willard Bay State Park, South Campground

Willard Bay State Park, South Campground

Our journey from Panguitch, Utah took us north through Salt Lake City, Utah.  We enjoyed a quick overnight stay at Willard Bay State Park camped near the shores of the Great Salt Lake.  We thought about spending a second night which would allow us to explore the main part of the state park, but the bugs were rather bad and the next day a severe storm was heading in our direction.

Note all the bugs in this photo. Traipsing through the tall grasses for photo-ops was probably not my smartest move. I left with more bug bites than photos :-(

Note all the spots in my photo in the sky, those are bugs. Traipsing through the tall grasses for photo-ops was probably not my smartest move. I left with more bug bites than photographs 😦

Thus, with high wind warnings in the forecast, we hightailed it out of there early the next morning before the 66 mile per hour gusts of wind arrived.  A little over three hours later, we were setting up camp at our summer home at the Mountain View RV Park in Arco, Idaho.  Al and I decided to give “Workamping” a whirl this summer which is how we ended up here.  Once I get a chance, I’ll do a separate post on life as a Workamper.

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon National Monument

The biggest draw to this part of Idaho is Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.  Since arriving in Arco, Idaho, I’ve had the opportunity to visit this park a few times.  During my first visit, Al and I gathered information at the visitor center and drove the scenic loop while stopping at a few points of interest.  Knowing we had the entire summer to explore Craters of the Moon NM, we focused on a general overview.

entrance to a Lava tube

entrance to a Lava tube

On our next visit, we embarked on a hike that took me out of my comfort zone.  I’m not usually a fan of enclosed spaces like caves or crowded elevators.  So, I didn’t exactly jump at the  thought of hiking a Lava tube tunnel, but I am on an adventure after all, and the last thing I was going to do was allow a little phobia to hinder my explorations.

inside Indian Tunnel - Lava tube cave

inside Indian Tunnel – Lava tube cave

On my third visit, I focused on the beauty found around this harsh landscape.  Just like at Bryce Canyon National Park, I uttered the word “wow” routinely, but more in a strange and curious tone as opposed to wow that’s beautiful.

Sometimes it takes looking at the smaller details to see the beauty.

Sometimes it takes looking at the smaller details to see the beauty.

When I first laid eyes on Craters of the Moon, the word beautiful was not at the forefront.   I think my thoughts were more along the lines of …. stark, harsh, unforgiving, barren, mean, bewildering, and maybe even ugly.  With each subsequent visit my opinion seemed to change …. intriguing, fascinating, perplexing, and yes, beautiful.Craters of the MoonIn my attempt to find the beauty, I visited the morning after a heavy rainstorm.  As I meandered along a trail, I could hear water trickling between the rocks.  Birds were chirping.  Chipmunks were running around foraging for food, and the wildflowers were springing to life.  There seemed to be a bevy of activity.Craters of the Moon

I found myself surrounded by a strange beauty, and couldn’t help but feel a level of respect for all things surviving in this severe landscape.

I found beauty in the strangest place.  I assure you, there will be more posts about Craters of the Moon.  Stay tuned….

finding beauty in the smaller things

finding beauty in the smaller things

Moon Idaho (Moon Handbooks)

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In the Details

I love zooming in on a subject.  Quite often via macro photography I see details in a subject that I didn’t notice with my naked eye.  Many a time, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results of a photo once I’m able to view it on my computer.  For instance this Rose….rosesI adore Roses and I knew shooting after a recent rain that the petals might still be wet. I was hoping to capture a Rose with clinging droplets but couldn’t see the raindrops all that clearly on the camera screen.  I was pleasantly surprised once I uploaded the photos to the computer that I actually captured my vision.

Last summer while strolling around the James Robb State Park in Grand Junction, Colorado I noticed a bunch of dragonflies.  With my camera slung cross body, I was ready for them to fly off once I raised the camera to my face.  To my delight, many were so busy with breakfast that they weren’t bothered by my presence.dragonflyThis dragonfly allowed me to get incredibly close.  Doesn’t he have the cutest face?  It has so much personality.

And speaking of personality, Rosie the Roseate Spoonbill and I shared a moment.  It was an early January morning in Port Aransas, Texas when I went out for a stroll and happened to come across Rosie sitting on a fence rail.  We spent at least 15 minutes visiting with each other.roseate spoonbillI returned to the same place several times in hopes of a repeat, to no avail.  Any spoonbills that were in the area stayed a safe distance away from people.  My morning with Rosie still remains a birding highlight.

In preparation for our long drive east, last week I was busy in the kitchen baking and cooking up a storm.  I stocked the RV freezer with healthy meals and treats.paleo cookiesThese chocolate chip cookies are baked with Almond Flour and thus packed with protein and considered Paleo.  Not only are they yummy, but they provide a nice energy boost.  Yes, a healthy cookie 🙂

So the last couple of days, we’ve been on the road.  Saturday morning we bid farewell to Colorado and today we say hello to Illinois…… to visit family and eat LOTS of this……macro photography

Ah, not to worry, September will find us back in Colorado just in time for fall colors and spending more time hanging with our daughter.  I’m already looking forward to it.hummingbird

This post is in response to the WordPress Daily Post – photo challengeClose Up.

Tony Northrup’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography