CFFC: The Ground We Travel

Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge this week is: Ground: sand, dirt, paths, walks, trails, roads, etc.

Bridges, paths & walkways, desert and mountain terrains, and national parks – these are some of the places to find interesting “ground.” Sometimes there is an added bonus: a lizard, a flower, or a butterfly, or something ugly, like trash. This challenge is a way to showcase the photos I don’t usually publish in other posts!

Chicago Botanic Gardens: bridges, paths, and walkways

Cuba Marsh Wildlife Preserve (Illinois): walkways and grassland

The Middle East (Egypt and Israel): Desert landscapes, markets and farms

Mountain and Southwest (USA) terrain: ground above & below the tree line and rocks at Rocky Mountain National Park; trails and paths at Bryce Canyon National Park

CFFC/CMMC: Oranges & Holes

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week has the topic of hole/whole. And for her newest challenge, Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge, the topic is orange.

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!

A Special CFFC: Bryce Canyon NP

I already participated in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with the theme orange and green. But later I remembered this beautiful national park we visited two years ago, so I wanted to share some of the beautiful vistas we saw there! Here is a gallery of orange and green at Bryce Canyon National Park! Click on the photos to enlarge. (I had intended to include more photos but the new “Block” system on WordPress deleted all but these when I tried to change the format from “Gallery” to “Tiled Gallery.” Since I had already spent quite a bit of time downloading the photos, I decided to give up at that point!)

2020 Photo Challenge: Shot From Above

Travel Words’ 2020 Photo Challenge theme for September is “point of view” and for this final week, the subject is shoot from above.

Looking down on Maasai villages from prop plane flying from Serengeti National Park to Arusha, Tanzania
Plane ride Serengeti-Arusha, Tanzania
Hotel room balcony view, Old Cataract Hotel, Aswan, Egypt
Ruins of Roman settlement during the siege of Masada, from Masada plateau, Israel
Looking down from the courtyard behind the abbey atop Mont St-Michel, France
Looking down on the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle in Germany
Looking down on hoodoos from the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
A trail we chose to view from above rather than hike down! Bryce Canyon NP, Utah

LAPC: Long & Winding

Lens-Artists’ 100th(!) photo challenge is long and winding roads.

French countryside, province of Normandy
Not exactly a road, actually it’s a path. But it’s a long way down! Above the town of Arromanches, France and Port Winason. The British created an artificial harbor here using old barges and truck bodies, which was named Port Winston, in preparation for D-Day.
The island of Mont St-Michel is reached by a long causeway at low tide (at high tide, the island is cut off from the shore). Taken from the abbey at the top of Mont St-Michel, France.
Are we looking down at the road just traveled, the road yet to be traveled, or the road not traveled? Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA
The road winds up and down mountains at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
A long and winding hiking trail (which we did not explore) at Arches National Park, Utah, USA. We were content to photograph the scenery!
A dusty and winding road at the base of Masada plateau, Israel – the workers’ entrance?
A very long and very dusty path for the hardy hikers who take it up to the Masada plateau. Taken from the cable car our group wisely chose!
Another photo of hikers on a very windy path taken from the top, at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
Not much of the road is visible here, but the sign tells us about it! Near Oatman, Arizona, USA
Around that 15 mph bend in the road and who do we see? A couple of Oatman residents on the road! Oatman, Arizona, an old mining town today survives because of the tourists on Route 66, (of which this is a part), who come for the burros that hang around town – and hike along the road! Oatman has a couple of Route 66 touristy stores and buildings that are the remnants of its mining heyday.
Leaving Sedona, Arizona, after a weekend celebration of the 70th anniversary of Verde Valley School, where I attended high school (but much less than 70 years ago!).

And to end, I can’t resist – because this is what I was singing in my head while composing this post.

SquareTops: Utah State Capitol

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Looking up to the TOP of the state capitol of Utah in Salt Lake City, for Becky’s April Squares: #SquareTops

We visited the Utah state capitol in Salt Lake City in June of 2018. Here are more views of the capitol building.
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Side view, which is where you enter

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I don’t know why the sculptor of this lion made his right paw different from his left. Perhaps it was a nod to the Lincoln statue in Washington D.C., with one of his hands in a fist to symbolize strength.

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View of the Rockies from the capitol

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On the grounds were buffalo painted with different designs and colors.

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Seal of the state of Utah in the rotunda

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We took a tour – this is one of the elegant state rooms they showed us.

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Statues representing different parts of society were in niches around the rotunda.

Symmetrical designs on the marble walls – the builders matched up marble panels to make symmetry.

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Above the entrance to the Supreme Court

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House of Representatives

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Mural depicting women gaining the right to vote

Lens-Artists #82: Capitals & Capitols

The Lens–Artists photo challenge this week has a guest host, Viveka, whose topic is capitals.

On our road trips around the United States, we try to visit as many capitals as possible – not just the capital cities, but also their capitol buildings. I have a series of posts featuring some of the capitols we’ve visited lately. (Check them out in my archives – that’s why I’ve put the dates in below.) These are the ones that we have seen in the last 3 years.

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA (May 2017)
Capitol exterior and its dome from inside

Some of the memorials and statues on the capitol grounds

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA (May 2017)
Capitol building exterior (no, it doesn’t have a dome) and view of grounds from the top floor viewing area

Some famous North Dakotans

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA (May 2018)
Capitol exterior (the dome is at the top of this multistoried building), floor of the rotunda, visiting school group

Artwork viewed from the rotunda, including a colorful door

DENVER, COLORADO (June 2018)
Exterior and view from the dome

Stained glass portraits

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (June 2018)
Exterior and staircase

Slideshow of some of the sights inside

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SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO (June 2018)
The capitol building in Santa Fe is shaped like the Zuni sun symbol, which is also depicted in the rotunda and on the state flag. The first two photos are a partial view of the exterior and one of the curved hallways.

The New Mexico capitol building has a lot of artwork by New Mexican artists. The slideshow shows some of them.

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA (June 2018)
The Oklahoma state capitol has the distinction of being the only capitol in the U.S. that has an oil rig visible at every cardinal direction. Two of these can be seen below. The middle photo is the dome from the rotunda, and the photo at right is a commemoration of Oklahoma’s native tribes, each of which has its own flag.

Sculpture, artwork, and artifacts in the capitol

DES MOINES, IOWA (Sept. 2018)
Capitol exterior and chamber of the legislature

Iowa’s capitol has colorful designs and patterns on its floors.

On the capitol grounds, there is a Holocaust memorial.

Interestingly, this post does not contain photos from my home state capital (Springfield, IL – I was last there in 2012) nor the capital of the state north of here, the state where I was born and I grew up (Madison, WI – I can’t remember the last time I visited the capitol).

I have also visited several foreign capitals in recent years (2017-2019), but not their government buildings – can you figure out which cities these are? One is a provincial capital, the others are national capitals.