Well…not quite daily recently…

Archive for December, 2010

Photo #777 – 12.31.10

Noah, Hannah, Jada and Madison say, “Goodbye 2010!”

Last year on New Year’s Eve, I posted a photo of my lovely nieces and nephew {photo #412}, so I figured I would end 2010 with an updated picture of them!  I hope you had a great year, and I’m sure 2011 will be even better!

Enjoy the midnight festivities (if you can stay up that long!) and have a happy new year!

Photo #776 – 12.30.10

Giant Steps in the Catskills

While climbing up a mountain-side in the Catskills along the Long Path, I came across this set of giant steps that really are pretty large!  It certainly wasn’t easy stepping up them (or down on the return trip), but it was a neat geological feature that the trail passed over.  I believe it was just beyond the upper reaches of the stairs that a great postcard-view opened up of the nearby mountains {photo #730}.

Photo #775 – 12.29.10

Quarter Circle Bridge

To get to the trailhead of the Apgar Lookout Trail {photo #356} in Glacier National Park, you have to take a side road from the town of West Glacier and cross this cool wooden plank quarter circle bridge.  I guess that it made more sense at the time to make a circular bridge rather than try to align the roadway on either side for a regular straight bridge.  Whatever the reason, it’s a neat little bridge to come upon, and you certainly want to make sure you are paying attention as you cross it…those short wooden curbs don’t seem like they would stop much!

Photo #774 – 12.28.10

Evening Sun on the Pelly Mountains

While doing fieldwork in the Yukon, we stayed for a bit in a nice little house that usually operated as a bed & breakfast (it was just us while we were there, though…so we made our own breakfast).  It was located in the small town of Faro, and while the view of the town from the front was not anything special, the back porch provided some stunning scenes of Yukon goodness.  This photo captured the distant Pelly Mountains and winding Pelly River lit by the orange light of the setting sun to the west, and the view was much more expansive and awesome than what is shown here!

Photo #773 – 12.27.10

Jackson Pollock Snow

With the amount of snow and heavy winds the East Coast received today and yesterday, I’m sure many are familiar with the sight of blowing snow.  This photo is a 2-second exposure that captured the twisting paths of snowflakes blowing in front of a bright light.  To me, the photo looks more like a black canvas splattered with white paint in the style of Jackson Pollock.

Check out a neat feature on Jackson Pollock by clicking here!

Photo #772 – 12.26.10

Milky Way Above the Smokies

The night skies over the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee can be quite dark at times.  We had some very clear skies on one of our first nights staying in the Smokies, and I was able to capture some neat starry photos, including this >1-minute exposure of the Milky Way rising up from the distant mountain profile.  The Milky Way arced all the way across the sky, and one of the longer exposures I shot really showed our galaxy well {photo #635}.

Photo #771 – 12.25.10

Ho ho ho!  Merry Christmas!

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas full of joy and relaxation!

Photo #770 – 12.24.10

It’s A Major Award!!

Today is Christmas Eve, and no house is truly decked out for Christmas without a wonderful leg lamp.  The leg lamp is one of the iconic symbols of “A Christmas Story”, best described by little Ralphie as the ‘soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window’.  I was lucky enough to get this 3-foot-tall leg lamp puzzle from Amy and Brian for Christmas last year (it even came in a wooden crate with ‘FRAGILE’ written on it…must be Italian!), and it makes a great addition to our other holiday decor.

Don’t forget to tune in to TBS for the “A Christmas Story” 24-hour marathon that starts tonight at 8pm and runs all day Christmas!  And have an enjoyable Christmas Eve!

Photo #769 – 12.23.10

Crazy Cousins

Hannah and Madison are often inseparable when they get together, dressing up as princesses or playing games or beating up Uncle Jer and Aunt Heather…  They are certainly good at being goofy, as you can see in the photo above from this past October.

Photo #768 – 12.22.10

Pedal Car Christmas Tree

What is there not to like about a Christmas tree adorned with pedal cars (and trucks/boats/planes/bikes) of varying sizes?!?  My dad decorated this particular tree in our basement, and it was situated right next to a giant Absolut christmas display (check out the cool ball ornaments on the right side above!).  And the little santa lights go perfectly with the little cars on this little tree.

Photo #767 – 12.21.10

It’s Wintertime Again!

Well, today sure did not have a lot of daylight as the northern Winter Solstice arrived in a chilly, breezy fashion.  The arrival of winter means that scenes like the one above of frozen Lake Rutherford in High Point State Park from a couple years ago are going to stay with us for at least a couple more months.  I think winter landscapes look pretty cool!

If you don’t like the winter, at least you can take comfort in the fact that the days are going to start getting longer after today!

Photo #766 – 12.20.10

Solstice Eclipse

Photo by John Chumack, submitted on Spaceweather.com

Set your alarm clocks for about 3am Tuesday morning for a very rare total lunar eclipse on the northern winter solstice!  The full moon will enter Earth’s deepest shadow between 1:30am and 5am on the east coast, with the greatest eclipse occurring around 3:15am.  That is when the moon will be a dark orange-red as it reaches the point closest to the middle of our planet’s shadow, and it will look similar to the center image above.  While I did not take the series of photos above, I did witness this particular lunar eclipse back in November of 2003, and it was spectacular.

So if you don’t mind the cold or getting up pretty early (or staying up extra late…), check out this cool lunar event!  In the last 2000 years, a lunar eclipse has matched up with the northern winter solstice only once before.  Click here for a cool animated time sequence of what the eclipse should look like.

Photo #765 – 12.19.10

Two Mallards

Right before Amy’s wedding in September, a couple of friendly ducks waddled their way up from the lake to where Amy was having some lovely bride photos taken.  Once they realized we were too busy to feed them and had a wedding to get to, they wandered away, but they think they still ended up getting some treats later on anyway.

Photo #764 – 12.18.10

Rainbow Fire

I think you’ll find pretty much all of the colors of the rainbow coming out of the campfire in the photo above.  It’s probably not everyday that you see purple, blue, green flames shooting out of a fire…but they sure make a pretty addition to the red/orange/yellow flames from a typical pile of burning logs.

Stay warm during this upcoming week of chilly weather and the official start of winter!

Photo #763 – 12.17.10

A Captive Audience of Brightly-Colored Animals

You may wonder what these four exotic animals are staring at off to the left (well, except the purple zebra that is kind of staring off into space…).  They were actually watching little Jada open her birthday presents at her first birthday party a couple months ago.  She must have gotten some good presents!

Photo #762 – 12.16.10

The Snowy Yukon From Above

Arriving or departing from the Whitehorse International Airport in the Yukon Territory usually provided an excellent opportunity to view the awesome landscape from a new vantage point.  This particular shot was taken as we were leaving the Yukon for the last time, and it captures the region near the Wheaton River Valley where I spent most of my time up there.  Our cabin was nestled behind the first mountain range in this view, and the larger road on the lower left is the Klondike Highway, which was our means of getting to the city of Whitehorse and beyond.

With the snow-covered mountains, white lakes, and vast boreal forest, I think this southern Yukon landscape from the air is pretty cool!

Photo #761 – 12.15.10

10 Days ‘Til Christmas

That time of joy and family and gift-unwrapping known as Christmas is drawing ever closer…only 10 days before a jolly old dude slides down some chimneys.

The 10-day forecast right now isn’t showing a White Christmas, but it will certainly be cold enough for snow should any precipitation come our way!

Photo #760 – 12.14.10

Pink Petals

On this chilly and breezy ‘feels like it is winter already’ day, why not think about something a bit warmer…like a pretty pink flower on a sunny summer day!  It probably won’t make the spring come any faster if you are not looking forward to the upcoming winter, but hey, a nice flower photo won’t hurt.

Photo #759 – 12.13.10

Warning: Stay on Trail

When you go to check out a hiking trail and encounter a sign like this at the trailhead, you know you’re in for a fun hike!  This sign warning of a rough walking trail with non-potable water, falling rocks, and dangerous waterfalls greeted me at the beginning of the Indian Ladders Trail in John Boyd Thacher State Park {photo #437}.  There certainly were areas that required some careful footwork, and there were plenty of overhanging cliff faces with chunks of rock just waiting to drop down.  But it was a cool place to explore.

I wonder how many people get to this point, read the sign and turn right back around…?  I’m sure there have been some thirsty hikers that just wanted a drink from a waterfall but were denied by a big warning sign…

Photo #758 – 12.12.10

Mom and Dad on the Tioga Central Railroad

The Tioga Central Railroad operates out of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania (which is pretty much in the north-central part of the state), and they offer scenic excursions through some beautiful landscapes.  My parents and I enjoyed this train ride about 6 years ago, and this shot of them hanging out the open observation car of the train was taken while we were passing by Lake Hammond.  There were a bunch of other cool cars, including some neat old dining cars, but this open air car made for a fun ride on a nice day.

Photo #757 – 12.11.10

Hannah and Noah on Christmas

The sister/brother duo of Hannah and Noah certainly enjoys Christmas…even if Noah doesn’t quite know it yet.  This photo was taken last year and was Noah’s first Christmas, but big sister Hannah was a Christmas pro by this point.

I don’t believe the santa hat lasted too long on Noah’s head…

Photo #756 – 12.10.10

Morning Clouds in the Caribbean

Sure, it’s nice to wake up to a bright blue sky and know that it will be a spectacularly sunny day, but sometimes starting out with a few clouds isn’t all that bad.  This particular morning out in the Bahamas was a bit cloudy (still a nice sunrise!), but by mid-day, most of these clouds were long gone.  At Half Moon Cay {photo #402}, we had the sunniest, hottest day of the cruise, which was perfect for a day on a powdered-sugar sand beach!

So don’t worry about some morning clouds…they just might lead to a bright, clear day ahead.

Photo #755 – 12.09.10

Circus Squirrels and a Blue Jay

These aren’t actually circus-trained squirrels…but their high-wire theatrics sure qualify them for the circus!  These squirrels will try anything just to get some birdfeed, and it is quite a lot of fun watching them try…and fail…and try again.  They would walk across the clothes line from the deck (just off the right side of the photo), run quickly across spinning pvc pipe, dangle from the top of the birdfeeder while stretching to the edge of the dome, then drop and hope they catch on to the birdfeeder past the plastic disc.  I’m pretty sure the dangling one hit the plastic disk and fell to the ground, since he had nothing to hold on to.  The squirrel on the right seemed like he could not make up his mind with which rope to walk on, or he just had bad balance.

And the blue jay is either waiting for these guys to finish so he can get something to eat…or he is enjoying watching these two make fools of themselves.

Photo #754 – 12.08.10

Cookie Monster Santa?

Well, I guess it kind of makes sense…especially with all of those cookies being left out on Christmas Eve…but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Cookie Monster Santa prior to this past weekend.  Heather was driving through a mall parking lot when she spotted this santa in front of a Hobbytown store (I’m still not getting the connection between Cookie Monster and hobbies…).  Luckily, I had my camera right by me and was able to take a couple of stealth shots as we drove by.

I do have a Cookie Monster ornament hanging on our Christmas tree, but he is just holding a bunch of cookies and is not dressed like Santa…