Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge is things found in a park.
Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is a wonder of geological formations called “hoodoos.” These orangish sandstone shapes were carved over millions of years through water and wind erosion. Besides being orange, look carefully to see the holes!
Another beautiful national park in Utah is Arches National Park, named for the many arches carved by nature into the orange rocks. The first picture below is an iconic image, which many people have seen on calendars or posters. I had to use my telephoto lens to get a good shot of this beautiful arch, because without an arduous climb we could not get very close to it! The second photo is another of the park’s arches, which form a type of hole due to erosion, out of the whole rock!
Pumpkins, when they carved, become jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. At night you can see the light of the candle glowing through the holes!
Chihuly piece at Museum of Glass in Tacoma
Orange foliage with “holes” between the leaves!
I keep this (whole) water bottle next to my bed.
It has a hole in the top where the straw goes in!
Patterns are everywhere in nature. Indeed, humans have imitated nature in creating patterns. Patterns in Nature is the wonderful topic for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.
Flowers make many patterns.
I love photographing mushrooms, which appear in many shapes and sizes.
Tree branches, leaves and trunks make their own complex patterns.
It is always worthwhile to stop and admire small leaves and plants – often they surprise you!
Some animals have patterns on their skin, tail, or feathers.
Layers painted rock formations over millions of years. In Arizona, there are many examples of this, at the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert and in Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona.
Lisa Coleman’s Bird Weekly Challenge this week is birds with black feathers.
- One of my favorite gifts that Harry Potter received came from the Weasley Twins; and was “Mrs. Mooney’s Marauder’s Map”. This magical document showed every classroom, hallway and secret corner in all of Hogwarts. It also showed you the location- by name- of every person in Hogwarts. If you had such a magical map of your town, what would you use it for? If you would not use it, is there another person to whom you would gift it?
I think this makes more sense to have at a school or at a large company, both of which are rife with gossip and in both places, you might like to know where everyone is so you can continue the gossip! As for my town, GPS does well for me.
- When was the last time you made a snowball? Were in a snowball fight?
I don’t like snowball fights – I’ve always been a wimp! The last time I was in a “snowball fight” was at Yosemite (pronounced yo-SEH-mih-tee, in case you, like Trump, have never heard of this place!) National Park in 1998. Our family was on a trip to California for our nephew’s wedding and we did some traveling around in the state. Even though it was early July, we thought it was really cool to find snow in the upper altitudes of Yosemite – so the kids and I got out of the car and started throwing snow at each other – very ad hoc, not really “snowballs.” The last time I made a snowball was probably two years ago at another national park – Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, where again at the higher elevations there was snow. I think I just made a snowball with my bare hands just to prove to myself that it was indeed snow, in spite of hot weather down below! I promptly dropped it because why would I have gloves with me when traveling in June?
- Many cultures set great value in each child of the family having godparents. Did you have godparents? Are you a godparent yourself?
I may have had godparents, I don’t know. I am not a godparent, at least I hope not…I did actually agree to be the godparent for the daughter of a sort-of friend who was very persuasive and I remember attending an informal “ceremony” in her living room. I lost touch with her soon after that (for which I am grateful) and never saw nor heard from her or the little girl again.
- You have found a secret tunnel under your house. Where does it go?
Someplace where it’s warm when it’s winter here, where there is no or minimal Covid-19, that I could crawl to without having to get on an airplane. (New Zealand, here I come!!)
Muggle Questions (of a more philosophical bent this week):
Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?
Both are useful. Intelligence can lead to wisdom, but intelligence can exist without wisdom, at least early in one’s life. Wisdom requires that you have had experiences in life that you learned lessons from and you can look back on. Intelligence is just having knowledge and knowing how to apply it. So children may have intelligence, but only when they are older will they obtain wisdom.
How important is play in living a healthy and fulfilling life?
Play is as important as work. Play is when you learn things while enjoying yourself, or engaging in a hobby or interest. Breaks from work are necessary to be healthy, physically or mentally. Some workaholics would say they have a fulfilling life, I guess if their work has given them that fulfillment – I think one would have to have a job they really love to feel fulfilled, unless one was lying to oneself. I’m all for play! Take a vay-cay!!
Is happiness just chemicals flowing through your brain or something more?
If you study happiness scientifically as to how it manifests itself in the brain, then the former may be true. But for most people, happiness is an important part of life, without which you would probably be rather unhealthy. Positive emotions are necessary in order to have a satisfying and healthy life. I think everyone seeks happiness. I sometimes ask myself if I am happy – not just that day, but in general. I always want the answer to be yes, but it isn’t always, if I’m honest with myself… I think a lot of people reflect on this because happiness is something we all strive for.
GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional)
I’m grateful for:
the ability to play (i.e. find enjoyment in life)
living a fulfilling life
both intelligence and wisdom
it being currently summer with no possibility to be hit with a snowball!
Lens-Artists’ 100th(!) photo challenge is long and winding roads.
And to end, I can’t resist – because this is what I was singing in my head while composing this post.
There’s snow on the mountain tops in June, at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado – such gorgeous scenery!
Becky’s Square Tops
Since I have been posting flowers from our road trip in the stretch from Grand Junction, Colorado into eastern Utah, here are some beautiful scenes along the road into Arches National Park, for Which Way Photo Challenge.
We got out of the car and took the walking path around Balanced Rock.
Here’s me on the path.
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.
Austria – cruising the Inn River near Schärding
June at Kinderdijk, Netherlands
February in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Mount Kilimanjaro – on a flight from the Serengeti to Arusha, Tanzania
Des Plaines, Illinois on a snowy February day
June at Devil’s Elbow Bridge, Missouri
June at the Painted Desert, Arizona
May at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
June in Arches National Park, Utah
December along the Nile River near Luxor, Egypt
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:
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.
Once inside the national monument, details of the rocky tower appear. The weather cleared up, temporarily, too!
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.
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.
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.
The requisite tourist photo opp!
From this angle you can see the base of the formation, sort of a wider platform from which rises the columned tower.
This alien statue is meant to resemble the aliens in the movie.
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.
As we left, we saw this unusual sculpture, dwarfed by the majesty of the tower.
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!