A Photo a Week: Candid Camera

Those of us over 50 most likely remember the old TV series Candid Camera – I can still remember the last line of its theme song: “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week challenge this week is candids. I offer my submission, first with two photos taken of family members at my grand-nephew’s birthday/going away to college family gathering (that’s him in the second photo); and a few animal candids of wild and domestic furred or feathered friends.

Our cat had been sleeping behind some propped pillows on the bed – she’d never slept there before, and she seemed a bit surprised and perhaps annoyed that we found her hiding place!

Bodhi is a Tibetan spaniel (very much like lhasa apso).
A pair of swans preparing their nest – swans mate for life and both share the nest preparation duties. Tragically, shortly after this photo was taken, the male swan died!
A different pair of swans, a happy couple – they are always together!
I seem to have caught this Canada goose at an awkward moment!

A Photo A Week: Faded Flowers

Nancy Merrill’s challenge A Photo a Week invites us to share photos of flowers with a faded treatment.

For my photos, I used the photo software that came with my computer and Snapseed software for cellphone photos.

Zinnia with Snapseed “Vintage Grunge”

A Photo a Week: Happiness Is…

Happiness is an attitude more than anything else. You can choose happiness, or not…

Happiness is a state of mind, not a destination. - Imgur

…which is why I find happiness in many things!

For Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge, the theme is happiness is… so here are some things that happiness is to me.

Flowers…

…especially the ones I grow myself.

Fresh tomatoes in the summer (again, especially those I grow myself, although these aren’t mine).

Animals, especially cats…

my sweet tortie Hazel

…and my grandcats…

…but also dogs – we have one granddog!

Lydia, our new granddog

…and dogs I see everyday on campus.

One of my dog friends, “Iffi” (short for Iphigenia)

Happiness is animal families, near…

…and far.

Elephant family group, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Cheetah mom & cub, Serengeti, Tanzania

Happiness is traveling to fascinating lands…

Karnak, Egypt

…with my (crazy) husband!

“King” Dale in Abu Simbel, Egypt
In front of the kissing statue, Scharding, Austria

Happiness is our new home!

In back of our house – we now have a small garden here and we love to read and have our meals on our screened porch!

Eiffel Tower Perspectives

One of the most memorable moments of our three days in Paris last June was visiting the Eiffel Tower at dusk – we did not reserve in advance to go up to the top, but it was just as well. They light up the tower in the evening so it was especially beautiful on a cloudless night and I was able to take photos of it with various perspectives!

Yours truly & hubby take a selfie!
My sister Judy and my son Jayme
Mini Eiffels for sale – all with flashing lights!

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week: Tower

Becky’s Square Perspectives Day 30

A Photo a Week: Rainbows

I so rarely get a photo of a rainbow – or at least a decent one! Rainbows are so ethereal and fleeting – one has to really be in the right place at the right time to see one! Therefore, I always consider it a special moment when I do get a photo of a rainbow, the subject of Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week.

The most recent photo I took of a rainbow was strictly by chance – I was taking a walk in our community last month and sprinklers were on. In the mist, I saw a rainbow and fortunately my camera was handy. Not very scenic, though.

However, the rainbow photos I’m most proud of were taken three years ago on our trip to the Dakotas. (If they look familiar, it’s because I have posted them before.) We were on our way back into South Dakota from a side trip to see Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. We’d taken a picnic for dinner, but had to rush because it started to rain. For a while, we were driving through pouring rain. Then the storm let up and South Dakota greeted us with a double rainbow! Sometimes we could see the fainter outer rainbow, other times no – but the rainbow stayed with us for several miles.

Landscapes Around the World

Nancy’s A Photo A Week challenge this week features landscapes.

These are some landscapes from my travels, and closer to home.

July in Austria – scene looking down from Melk Abbey, where the Inn and Danube Rivers meet.
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Austria Рcruising the Inn River near Schärding
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June at Kinderdijk, Netherlands
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February in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
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Mount Kilimanjaro – on a flight from the Serengeti to Arusha, Tanzania
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Des Plaines, Illinois on a snowy February day
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June at Devil’s Elbow Bridge, Missouri
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June at the Painted Desert, Arizona
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May at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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June in Arches National Park, Utah
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December along the Nile River near Luxor, Egypt
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Many Angles of Devil’s Tower

I was looking through my photos of our trip to the Dakotas when we took a side trip to Devil’s Tower, because I had just drawn a picture of it with pastels, and was thinking about Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week – her topic this week is taking photos of an object from 3 (or more) different angles. Although I already submitted photos taken today at my daughter’s house, I am cheating a bit by doing another post featuring Devil’s Tower. I did take it from various angles and it can be seen from so far away! It was more spectacular than I expected.

Everyone who likes sci-fi movies – or any kind of movies – has surely heard of Devil’s Tower, which was featured in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

So when I looked on a map and saw how close it was to South Dakota, where we were headed, I convinced Dale to take a side trip to it. Our first sighting was this:
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That part of the country is pretty flat, so this one geological formation jutting upward is so amazing.  It was threatening rain so I also got this dramatic shot as we got nearer.
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Once inside the national monument, details of the rocky tower appear. The weather cleared up, temporarily, too!
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Devil’s Tower is made up of igneous rock (volcanic rock) which formed below the earth’s surface and pushed its way up. Over millions of years, erosion stripped away the soft outer layers, producing a lot of columns. The sign at the visitors’ center explains it.
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This geological phenomenon was not always known as “Devil’s Tower.” The native tribes of that area called it many different things, and legends were built around it, a lot of them having to do with bears, because the columns almost look like they were made by giant bear claws.KODAK Digital Still Camera

Here is a Kiowa legend about the rock:
Before the Kiowa came south they were camped on a stream in the far north where there were a great many bears, many of them. One day, seven little girls were playing at a distance from the village and were chased by some bears. The girls ran toward the village and the bears were just about to catch them when the girls jumped on a low rock, about three feet high. One of the girls prayed to the rock, “Rock take pity on us, rock save us!” The rock heard them and began to grow upwards, pushing the girls higher and higher. When the bears jumped to reach the girls, they scratched the rock, broke their claws, and fell on the ground.

The rock rose higher and higher, the bears still jumped at the girls until they were pushed up into the sky, where they now are, seven little stars in a group (The Pleiades). In the winter, in the middle of the night, the seven stars are right over this high rock. When the people came to look, they found the bears’ claws, turned to stone, all around the base.

The Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne and others also had such legends, but I liked the Kiowa story the best. (The link above will take you to a website with all the stories.)

Nowadays, rock climbers climb the tower. I could see them as dots on the surface of the rock, but I was able to zoom in with my camera to get a better view. Some were wedged between the columns as they climbed, others took advantage of a small ledge to take a rest.

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From this angle you can see the base of the formation, sort of a wider platform from which rises the columned tower.
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This alien statue is meant to resemble the aliens in the movie.
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Surrounding the rock are forests protected by the National Park Service. Devil’s Tower is part of the national park system, although it is considered a “monument”, not a full-fledged national park.
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As we left, we saw this unusual sculpture, dwarfed by the majesty of the tower.
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We stopped nearby to have a picnic dinner, but had to cut it short when it started to rain. By the time we crossed back into South Dakota, we were treated with a double rainbow and a beautiful sunset!