Well…not quite daily recently…

Archive for November, 2009

Photo #381 – 11.30.09

Campfire Fireworks (but not Fireworks IN the Campfire…)

The great thing about camping on a piece of property with no real neighbors (except for neighbors that come join in your festivities!) is that you don’t have to worry about annoying anyone with fireworks, gunshots, four-wheelers, and loud snoring from certain campers…

The photo above was taken this past Labor Day as we settled in for the night to watch sparks fly both from the campfire and from colorful cardboard tubes of all shapes and sizes.  It was a great show…and nothing burned that wasn’t supposed to burn…


Photo #380 – 11.29.09

Jada’s Baptism

This morning, we witnessed and took part in the baptism of Jada Aaltje.  She looked beautiful with her long, flowing dress.  And while she did flinch a bit when the pastor put the water across her forehead, it must not have bothered her too much, since she practically slept through the whole thing!

So congratulations to Jada and to Jon, Kristin and Madison!


Photo #379 – 11.28.09

Shingles from the 1800s

These are some old shingles.  Found on the top of the John Oliver Cabin in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, these wooden shingles are definitely showing their age, with plenty of rotting wood, moss, lichen, and other things growing on top.  But hey, the inside of the cabin seemed nice and dry, so they must do an okay job of keeping out the rain!


Photo #378 – 11.27.09

Rollin’ Bear

Bear is a big, older German Shepherd, but when he’s in the mood to play, he can certainly act like a puppy.  In this case, all it took was some fresh grass and warm sunshine and he was rolling all over the place.


Photo #377 – 11.26.09

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!


Photo #376 – 11.25.09

Autumn in Sussex County

From the top of Sunrise Mountain, the changing leaves across Frankford and Wantage can be quite a sight.  These yellows and oranges dominated much of the landscape at this point in late October, even though the area was slightly past peak fall foliage.


Photo #375 – 11.24.09

Where’s the Bald Eagle?

You get a gold star if you can use your ‘eagle eyes’ to spot the bald eagle in this photo.  In April 2007, Ken and I were driving back to our cabin after a long day of hiking up mountains and digging snowpits, and out of the corner of my eye I spotted this bald eagle off in the distance.  Coincidentally, a year prior I spotted a bald eagle about 500 feet further down this road sitting on a rock ledge…same one?!?  You be the judge…if you can see them…

Bald Eagle Avoiding My Camera – April 2006


Photo #374 – 11.23.09

Pink Bloom

I’m not quite sure what kind of flower this is (any help would be greatly appreciated).  But these pink blooms certainly are beautiful, especially with a slight touch of orange light from the setting sun.


Photo #373 – 11.22.09

Rest in Peace, Alice Tallamy

Yesterday, after a long and courageous battle with cancer, the Tallamy family had to say goodbye to a loving wife, a wonderful mother, and an adoring grandmother.  Alice fought a good fight and always kept a smile on her face through the toughest times for her family and friends.

In Alice’s words, “Sometimes I look back and see only one set of footprints, and then I realize that God has carried me through this trial in life. Although this cancer is one negative thing in my life, God has blessed me in many ways that shadows the cancer that burdens me.”  She will be missed greatly, but we are grateful that she is in a better place and has left a lasting impression of love with her family, friends and community.

Friends may pay their respects to the family on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 from 4-7 p.m. at the Pinkel Funeral Home, 31 Bank Street, Sussex.  A celebration of Alice’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, November 27, 2009 at the Sussex Christian Reformed Church.

~~NJ Herald Obituary~~


Photo #372 – 11.21.09

Happy Birthday, Michael!!!

Lots of birthday cakes (and pies!), lots of birthdays, and time to add one more to the list.  Today is Michael’s birthday, but I’m not sure if any cake would have enough room for all the candles he needs!

Have a great birthday, Mike!  Oh, and do you still listen to your Smurf AM Radio??


Photo #371 – 11.20.09

Clingman’s Dome Fog

Although the fog at the top of Clingman’s Dome prevented us from being able to see some spectacular views from the 6,643-foot-high summit of the highest peak in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (and highest peak of the Appalachian Trail), it did look pretty neat within the spruce-fir forest up there.  In addition, a bunch of ‘skeleton’ trees throughout the forest added to the foggy scenery.  These trees have been killed by the invasive insects called Balsam wooly adelgids, and it is actually a huge problem throughout the park.


Photo #370 – 11.19.09

Sunset Over New Jersey

This particular sunset on our cruise this past summer reminded me more of an abstract painting of vibrant oranges and purples than a traditional sunset.  But I guess since New Jersey is a particularly beautiful place, it makes sense that a beautiful sunset would occur there.


Photo #369 – 11.18.09

Hannah and the Sprinkler Ball

If you’re a kid, there’s nothing better on a hot, July day than getting soaking wet (well, maybe eating ice cream is up there too…).  Here Hannah is getting plenty wet while playing with Madison and the giant sprinkler ball, and she must have been thirsty!  The cup wasn’t for drinking, though…that was for filling up with water to toss on the feet of the adults!

A few of us got a little wet…


Photo #368 – 11.17.09

Sunrise in the Bahamas

On the 6th day of our cruise this past July, we were sailing into port at Nassau, Bahamas as the sun rose above the distant horizon through clumps of clouds.  It was a pretty neat sky, and this lonely lighthouse, the Nassau Harbour Lighthouse, made for a nice foreground object.  Outside the frame of this photo to the right is the Atlantis Resort and then the rest of Nassau.

Nassau was not our favorite place to visit…but at least the sunrise was nice.


Photo #367 – 11.16.09

British Columbia Mountain in Summer

British Columbia Mountain in Winter

This is the closest I have been to Alaska…the Canada/US border is about 10 miles beyond this mountain in British Columbia.  This spot is located just off the Klondike Highway that connects the Yukon and British Columbia to Skagway, Alaska, and was the location of some snowpits and vegetation surveys we conducted during the summer/winter in and around the Yukon.

In the summer, the spotty patches of snow were cool to see, but the thick blanket of snow in the winter was even more impressive.  Where we were at the base of the mountain (~3000 feet above sea level), the snow was about 2 meters deep (the deepest snowpit we did…that was fun to dig out!), so you can imagine what it was on top (~5500 feet above sea level)!


Photo #366 – 11.15.09

1 Year of Daily Photos!!

1 Year of Daily Photos!!!

Well, it has been 1 full year since I put photo #1 up on this site, and one year later, the photo above is number 404 (a little more than 365 since there have been many multiple-photo posts).  It has been a great experience going through my photo library each day to pick out a photo and write up a little something about it, and there are definitely plenty more to keep going!

So thanks to everyone for checking out my Daily Photographs!  If you’re interested in stats (who doesn’t love stats??), I’ve received 12,000 views in the past year and 319 great comments.  I’ve recently been maintaining an average of about 40 views a day.  There are 100 tags (the top 45 or so are listed on the left, but if you don’t see something there, just enter it in the search box above the tags), and I’ve only mistakenly duplicated a photo once…I think (can you find it?!?).

If you like any photos, be sure to click them to go to my main photo site, http://japgar.smugmug.com/ and check out the full-size photo and similar photos.  I’m still transitioning from my old photo site (Zoto), but I’ve got a lot of albums and other features, including a map with locations of photos (I’ve got a bunch to add for sure), so come along and visit every once in a while!

Thanks again for viewing my Daily Photograph selections and leaving excellent comments.  I hope to present many more fun photos in the coming year, so feel free to share this site with others, and stay tuned!!

(P.S. – If you don’t see your favorite photo(s) in the picture above, I was only able to fit about 12% of the photos and they were chosen somewhat randomly.  If you’d like to comment below about some of your favorite Daily Photograph selections from the past year, that would be great!)


Photo #365 – 11.14.09

Barn in the Foggy Smokies

Nestled in the fairly remote Cataloochee Valley of North Carolina, this area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is pretty cool.  It’s best known for being the place to see elk roaming around in the park, but we unfortunately missed them on the foggy and rainy day we visited the valley.  We still had a great time checking out the turn-of-the-century buildings, and this barn was a pretty cool structure across the way from a farmhouse.

Click here to check out all the photos from our trip to the Smokies of Tennessee and North Carolina!


Photo #364 – 11.13.09

Blackhead Range Panorama, Catskill Forest Preserve, NY

(For the full resolution of this panorama, click here!)

Map This Photo!!

Behold the Blackhead Range in the northern Catskills, awash in orange and yellow during peak fall foliage.  The three main peaks, Blackhead Mtn, Black Dome Mtn, and Thomas Cole Mtn, are among the tallest ones in the Catskills (5th, 3rd, and 4th respectively).  Blackhead Mtn (the one on the far left) is around 3,940 feet in elevation, and while it seems far away from this point, I eventually made it up there during an exhausting hike a month ago.

The hike climbed almost 1,800 feet, and the climb up Blackhead Mountain itself was the most difficult trail I’ve ever been on, full of rock scrambles and climbing…it was fun!  But it was definitely worth it at the top with sweeping views across the Hudson Valley and rest of the Catskills, and overall, hiking through this area of the Catskills with the colorful leaves in early October was outstanding.


Photo #363 – 11.12.09

Jada’s Baby Blanket – Handcrafted by Heather

Heather loves her sewing machine!  With the arrival of baby Jada about a month and a half ago, Heather busily put together this great baby blanket in September.  It was pieced together with fabric we picked out while down in Tennessee, and it’s about 3′ x 3′ in size.

I think it’s pretty cute.


Photo #362 – 11.11.09

Bonfire by the Light of the Moon

Is there a better way to spend a chilly November evening outdoors in wonderful Wantage than next to a blazing campfire with friends, hot dogs, and gooey silver clouds??  Probably not.

On this night, some clouds rolled in and spoiled the clear starry sky as the moon started to rise behind Ken K.’s backyard.  We didn’t set any Christmas trees ablaze…but the fire was cracklin’ along just fine.


Photo #361 – 11.10.09

Heather and the Smokies

This photo was taken from a roadside stop along Newfound Gap Road, a cool road that pretty much bisects Great Smoky Mountains National Park and climbs about 3,000 feet through a bunch of different ecosystems.  This particular stop was only a short distance from the highest point in the road (Newfound Gap, 5046 feet in elevation)and the Tennessee/North Carolina border.  We had some good weather at this point in the day, but the higher elevations were a bit foggy.

The Smokies are great.


Photo #360 – 11.09.09

Circumzenithal Arc

If you were looking at the sun and the rest of the sky today in northern New Jersey around 2:30-3:30pm, you likely witnessed a pretty cool display of colorful halos and other atmospheric phenomena.  A bunch of high-altitude cirrus clouds full of tiny ice crystals created all kinds of rainbow-like arcs, including [click on each type for a description and examples of each]: a partial 22° circular halo, a pair of brilliant sundogs, a nearly-full parhelic circle, and an awesome circumzenithal arc (the only portion I was able to capture with my camera in the photo above!).

All of these were created by ice crystals of different shapes and orientations refracting and reflecting light (check out this diagram for an illustration), so they are all types of ice halos and not rainbows, since they require raindrops.  The circumzenithal arc shown above was the best part, as it was directly overhead with really vibrant colors…plus it looked like a huge smile in the sky!

So if you see these types of clouds, be on the lookout for some beautiful halos throughout the sky!


Photo #359 – 11.08.09

Deutsche Marks, Francs, and Schillings

European currency is so fun looking.  Here we’ve got 10 Deutsche Marks (Germany), 10 Francs (Switzerland), and 20 Schilling (Austria).  In US Dollars, these are currently worth $7.60, $9.83, and $2.16, respectively, for a total of $19.59…expensive souvenir!  Unfortunately, both the Deutsche Marks and Schillings have been replaced by the Euro since 2002, but the Swiss Franc is still used in Switzerland (and nearby Liechtenstein).

I did bring some Deutsche Mark coins to a German bar in New York City earlier this year, but I didn’t try to use them…maybe another time.


Photo #358 – 11.07.09

Madison Missed the Ball

Don’t you hate it when you aim for a ball, swing your leg, and miss the ball entirely?!?  I’m not quite sure how Madison managed to do that with this ball, unless her foot went right through it, but I think she did kick it behind her on her back swing.