Hilton Head Island sunrise reflections

Wish I could always start my day like this.  You have to get up early, but it is worth it!

My favorite part of our stay at Hilton Head was when we would walk over to the beach and watch the sun rise.  At this particular time, the tide was out and the color of the sky and the clouds overhead were reflected in the water on the beach.  It’s almost like having two sunrises at the same time.

Hilton Head Island
Palmetto Dunes Beach Park

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/16 – 1/3 sec – ISO 100

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Helen Balloon Festival

Joyce and I went out at 0-dark thirty yesterday to see the Balloon Festival in Helen, GA.  The event was scheduled to start at 6:30am and it took about an hour and a half to drive there so, that tells you when we had to leave.

We had  a great time meeting up with the North Georgia Photography Club and watching as the crews laid the balloons out, filled them with hot air and launched.  It was beautifully colorful and lots of fun to see.

I only got part way through my post-processing since I ran out of steam before it got to be late.  Should have taken a nap in the afternoon but, that didn’t happen.  More pics to come soon.

44th Annual Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race & Festival
Helen, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/10 – 1/60 sec – ISO 200

Mountain sunset panorama

Sunset colors are sometimes more vivid after the sun goes down.

I have been busy this past week and it’s taken me a while to work through my images from last week’s trip up to Brasstown Bald.  This is a panoramic view of the what the sky looked like just after sunset from the observation deck at the peak of Brasstown Bald.

I have also posted a collection of sunset and Milky Way shots on my Facebook page if anyone wants to look these over.  It is so wonderful to view nature’s beauty from high places and since Brasstown Bald is Georgia’s highest point, the scenery doesn’t get any better.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sunset Panorama
Observation Deck at summit of
Brasstown Bald Mountain
Towns and Union Counties, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
21mm at f/4.5 – 1/10 sec – ISO 400 (3-shots merged into panorama)

#Georgia #BrasstownBald #BlueRidge #Appalachian #mountains #sunset #southern #photography #WithMyTamron #Nikon

Sunset from the Summit

Mountain sunsets are gorgeous and clouds add a lot of drama to the sky

If you haven’t been to Brasstown Bald, let me tell you a few things.  First, this is the highest point in the State of Georgia.  Second, you get great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from here.  Third, the climb up to the summit from the parking lot is pretty steep!

Once you get to the top though, it is worth the effort.  Joyce and I made the trip to do some night-time photography with the North Georgia Photography Club here.  We were hoping for beautiful clear skies away from the city lights.  It wasn’t looking like we would get the clear skies when sunset rolled around.  This made for a stunning sunset with all the color and light reflected off the clouds but made me think the stars would be hard to see.

There were a good number of photographers out on the observation platform to watch this gorgeous event.  We all marveled as the sky was painted in vibrant hues and even the Blue Ridge mountains were tinted in red, orange, and yellow.  It was an amazing sight.

Sunset from the Summit
Brasstown Bald Mountain
Towns and Union Counties, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di II
10mm at f/20 – 1/30 sec – ISO 400

#Georgia #BrasstownBald #BlueRidge #Appalachian #mountains #sunset #southern #photography #WithMyTamron #Nikon

Desert Storm

It was looking very ominous but we made it to our destination

Don’t let a little rain stop you

This is one of my favorite memories of Arches National Park in Utah.  We took that “short” walk to see the famous Delicate Arch on an evening where we were being chased by a storm.  It was one of those, probably won’t get another chance type of moments.  How could we pass up this opportunity?  When I look back, it was a bit of a miracle that we got there at all.

Bad Information and Determination

It all started out with bad information.  I swear that I read somewhere that the hike to Delicate Arch was an easy half-mile walk.  Anybody that has been here can tell you it is a difficult, steep climb of about 1.5 miles (each way).  Joyce was sure it was going to start raining at any moment but I was convinced that we could make it there and back easily.  I kept walking and walking till I got to a narrow curve that looked like it was going nowhere.

I turned back thinking that Joyce had stayed put back down the slope only to find that she wasn’t far behind.  We convinced each other that we had come this far so, may as well keep going.  It was worth the effort to see this most famous spot in the park.

Unfortunately, quite a few others had the same idea and it was pretty crowded by the arch.

RMNP_May 07 2016_1057
Delicate Arch is surrounded by tourists even on stormy evenings

Rewards in spite of it all

In spite of the ugly-looking weather that was trailing us, we got to one of the must-see places in the state of Utah and ended up with a beautiful sunset on the way back down.  Well, that and aching legs!  Still, it was worth the risk and we ended up not getting rained on during our trek.

Sometimes, I guess you just have to go for it and hope for the best.

Daily Prompt: Storm

Dry Mesa Wash at the approach to Delicate Arch
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah, USA

Nikon D7000
NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
62mm at f/5.3 – 1/13 second – ISO 400

#landscape #photography #nature #travel #ArchesNationalPark #clouds #desert #Moab #Utah #NationalPark #NationalParksService #USNPS

End of the Rainbow?

No pot of gold but it definitely looked like the rainbow’s end.

I almost forgot about this event we witnessed on the way to Rocky Mountain National Park back in May.  This isn’t the best quality image since it was taken out a car window while moving, in the rain, with my cell phone.  Still, it came out OK and I just had to share.

Our approach to RMNP was a winding route through the mountains south of the park.  It was cloudy and rainy most of the way there but the skies brightened up every now and then which is ideal for rainbows.  As we came to one especially twisty part of the road I spotted a rainbow but it wasn’t high in the sky.  It looked like it was almost flat on the ground!

Fullscreen capture 7122016 82743 PM.bmpThis was in a spot called Peaceful Valley. Colorado Route 72 takes a big hairpin turn around the valley here and we could see the rainbow all the way around.  When we got around the side, we could see how this “ground rainbow” came to be.  Down into the valley you could see the full rainbow but where we had first seen it, only the top of the arch was peeking up out of the valley.

I have never seen anything like this before and may not be lucky enough to experience it again.  I am sure glad that we got to see it and at least could record the event even if it was just on my cell phone.

Daily Prompt: Journey

Peaceful Valley Rainbow
Boulder County, Colorado, USA

Samsung Galaxy S5

#rainbow #EndOfTheRainbow #OverTheRainbow #PeacefulValley #Colorado #RockyMountains #trees #mountains #aspentrees #valley

Blogging Challenge: For Posterity – National Treasures

Are you aware of what a gift we have in the State and National Parks in this country?

The Blogging Challenge

As an attempt to improve on my blogging skills, I am trying out a series of challenges provided by WordPress University.  The first of these was titled “For Posterity” and the challenge was to present something that you felt was very important to preserve.

In May, my wife and I went for the first time to experience some of our National Parks in Utah and Colorado.  To say that I was amazed would be a huge understatement.  These national treasures are so special that there are literally no words that do this justice.  At the same time, if we don’t speak out about things as important as this, we are failing to do our duty to make people aware of how glorious a gift we have here.

Becoming Aware

Awareness may be the most important thing that I could hope to pass on to posterity.  Not just to my children but to all children of this world.  This is something that seems to be missing in today’s world.  People go through their day’s in a haze.  A million messages flashing before us on screens small and large and every surface we pass by.  And yet, how little we are aware of.

While in the National Parks, I could see how some people were awed by the grandeur and beauty.  At the same time, I saw careless tourists who raced for spot to spot, climbing over delicate natural formations to make silly faces and take selfies.  Some people were aware while others were not.  Some, like me, felt a grateful reverence for everything from the incredible vistas to the tiny wild flowers.  Others, seem to think this was an amusement meant only for their passing fancy.

If we can not be aware and appreciative of that which is around us, the importance of things passes us by.  Life becomes a progression of titillations.  Always looking for the new thrill but never being satisfied.  This is evident in the “entertainment” that we view now.  Each new show must be more spectacular, more shocking, more ludicrous and by doing so, each thing that was previously unacceptable becomes more common.

A challenge for all of us

I had a challenge to discuss something that was important for posterity.  So here it is: a challenge to all of us.  Can we become more aware and more appreciative of the treasures that surround us in nature and in the people who fill our daily lives will we continue to follow the downward spiral of voyeurism that drives today’s world?

Visitor’s Center Overlook
Dead Horse Point State Park
Moab, Utah, USA

Nikon D7000
Nikkor 18-105mm lens
18mm at 1/125 sec – f/16 – ISO400

#DeadHorseStatePark #Utah #MoabUtah #UtahStateParks #canyons #nature #photography #landscape