Salt Lake City – September 2022 – Tracy Aviary Part 1

Normally I am not a fan of zoos or other places where animals are held outside their native territories, and the Tracy Aviary was a similar feeling. Setting those emotions aside we ended up spending a couple of hours touring their facility.

Giving myself a challenge I used a 400mm Canon lens and a single point focus to get through the cages/netting to get the camera to focus on the subjects, with some color correction to minimize the grid patterns that were remaining.

I am happy enough with the results there are enough good shots for 2 postings.

I am not a birding person, therefore other than the very basics (ducks, pigeons and seagulls!) I have difficulty identifying the specific breed, so all identifications were done using Google Images – feel free to send corrections.

We start with a Trumpeter Swan

Long Billed Curlew

Avocet

Great Horned Owl – Despite the slight grid from the cage this is one of my favorite photos I have taken in a long time.

Long-Eared Owl keeping an eye on me.

Red Tailed Hawk

Barred Owl

Barn Owl

King Vulture

White Faced Whistling Duck

Chilean Flamingos

Palouse Hills, Washington – May 2022 – Impressive Waterfalls

The Palouse Hills area of eastern Washington is unique in that they were created over tens of thousands of years from wind blown dust called loess. This land turned out to be very fertile for the growing of wheat and barley, and the hills are covered with these fields.

Near the crossroads town of Washtucna is an old bus that, much like Cadillac Ranch, people come along and paint it, over and over again.

Palouse Falls is a 200′ high waterfalls situated in a 377′ deep canyon, shaped like a huge bowl. It is very impressive.

The overlook has a large number of marmot’s.

Birds seemed to like to ride the updrafts from the falls.

Just down the road (and river) is the confluence of the Snake and Palouse rivers at Lyons Ferry. There is an impressive road bridge crossing the Snake.

Just down river is the more impressive rail bridge, which we had the good fortunate of catching a long freight train crossing.

The Palouse Hills is a very scenic area far from any large cities.

Patagonia, Arizona – April 2022 – Birders Paradise

The small mountain town of Patagonia was named when Welsh miners who had gone to Patagonia in Argentina migrated to the area to work in the silver mines of Arizona. They thought (correctly) that it resembled the area they came from in Argentina so they named it after their former home.

The entire area is well known as a birders paradise, with Patagonia Lake, a creek and a hummingbird sanctuary drawing people from all over the country. We stopped by for a brief visit, and was entertained by the birds, and the people.

North Central Ohio – May 2021 – Wanderings on a Saturday

A recent Saturday was spent wandering the back roads of North Central Ohio from Columbus all the way to Lake Erie.

First stop was in the small town of Mt Gilead, the county seat of Morrow County. The old county jail dates from 1850.

Next door is a soldiers monument.

Next stop – Galion, where we checked out the old train station and theater.

The Huron County Courthouse clocktower in Norwalk.

At last – the Lake Erie shoreline in the town of Huron. The lighthouse was built in 1939, reflecting the style of the period.

Sandusky is the center of the lakeshore for this area. Home to what is generally acknowledged as the best amusement park in the world (Cedar Point), Sandusky relies heavily on tourism.

Starting back south we made a stop in Castalia, at the fish hatchery. Unfortunately it was closed, but the nearby creek has a number of well feed fish, along with some birds looking for lunch.

We passed through Bellevue and had the photo op of a very long, slow moving freight train passing the Mad River Railroad Museum – providing a contrast of the size of locomotive from the past and today.

Time to cruise on home, amazingly following the same vintage car southbound that we were behind for about 20 miles going north earlier.

Lancaster, Ohio – August 2020 – Random Views of Fairfield County

The Random Views of Ohio Counties continues with Fairfield County. This county is the transition from suburban Columbus flatlands to southern Ohio rolling hills.

Rock Mill is a restored grain mill in a park, but with Covid it was closed.

It appears the field in the foreground was soybeans this year, but corn last year – with a few left overs regrowing. They look as though they have been left behind from the rest of the corn in the far field.

Random views of the countryside, most with an abstract approach.

The largest city is Lancaster. As you approach town from the east you pass the vintage Skyview Drive In Movie Theater. With the social distancing the drive in movies are making a comeback, but the Skyview has been there since 1948 (old photo is from their website)

Downtown Lancaster is comprised of almost all 100 year old buildings. This one has not only been well restored with ornate details, it has a couple of great ‘ghost signs’ on the side.

An old shoe factory is starting to come back to life.

The county fairground’s famed round barn.

Normally this time of year the fairgrounds is getting ready for the big event – the county fair. Not this year – just vacant grandstands.

Fairfield County has one of the largest collections of covered bridges in the country. This one is located on the community college grounds.

Columbus – August 2020 – Sunday Morning Lake Views

Sunday morning at O’Saughnessy Reservoir.

With a lack of rain the dam wasn’t allowing any water to flow downriver, giving an unusual view of the rocks.

The nature preserve was busy.

The marina was just coming to life for the day.

The sunflowers are in bloom.

They attract the colorful Goldfinch that unfortunately destroys the flowers pecking at the petals.

Columbus – July 2020 – Birds and Buds of the Backyard

Continuing to stay close to home doesn’t mean you can’t find subjects for photography. Sitting on the patio on a Saturday morning checking out the birds and buds of the backyard.

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It has been 4 months since returning from Argentina. With ‘nothing else to do’ I, like many people around the world, have taken to gardening – a new skill for me.

Everything has been grown from seeds. All of these buds are from the same ‘family’.

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The first couple sunflowers have fully bloomed – guessing many more are soon to appear.

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As a new gardener I made the mistake of planting seeds in the small planter on the right and throwing away the packaging – the mystery plant has yet to be identified via the apps on the phone. I could be carefully cultivating weeds for all I know.

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Virtual Travel – Texas

Texas!

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Texas is a big state with a great variety of places for photography, therefore this is a LONG posting.

 

 

 

 

Texas Culture

1952     1958     1991     2007     2009     2011     2012     2016

 

 

Austin – State Capital

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The Texas State Capitol dates from 1885. The land it is on was acquired in a barter deal, 3 million acres of Texas Panhandle for this land!

Texas shows it’s Tex-Mex history in the state foods…

State Pastries – two – Strudel & Sopiapilla

Apple strudel     

 

State Small Mammal – Armadillo

 

 

 

The city of Austin is proud of it’s motto – Keep Austin Weird.

With the music scene, including a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Congress Street bats it is a great place to be.

 

 

 

Prairies

1949     1969     1972     2013     2014

 

Roads & Bridges

1954     1964     1974     1975     1977     1978    1983     1987

 

I have more Texas Official Highway Maps than any other state. So many this section has combined the Prairies with the Highways which is appropriate because it features Amarillo and Route 66

 

Amarillo

You are half way there – IF you are going from Chicago to Los Angeles, or vice versa.

 

 

The legendary Cadillac Ranch. For more than 40 years people have been spray painting these cars. The good folks of Amarillo liked the planted Cadillacs they have expanded (in different parts of town) to VW Beetles and Combines.

 

 

Mountains

1953     1959     1970     1993     2017

 

 

Terlingua  – The ‘ghost town’ of Terlingua is a former mining town, but is not vacant, as it is a destination for tourist from Big Bend National Park.

Once a year they hold the world’s largest chili cook-off.

 

 

Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. These two parks cover much of the Rio Grande Valley of West Texas. Their natural scenery is stunning.

A plus is being able to take a row boat across the river to Mexico for lunch in Bouillas.

 

 

Marathon – Gage Hotel   We had the good fortune of spending the night in this crossroads town on the way to Big Bend. The Gage Hotel is a historic property that attracts people just for the atmosphere and food.

 

 

Langtry – Made famous by Judge Roy Bean and his Law West of the Pecos, and even more famous when Paul Newman starred in a movie of the same name. The town is pretty much vacant, but the area is scenic.

Nearby is Seminole Canyon State Historic Park. This park holds significant cave art.

 

 

 

Cities & Beaches

1961     1968     2015     2019

 

 

San Antonio. While the city is large, it has a feel very different than Houston or Dallas. The downtown is much more compact, with a significant amount of Art Deco architecture.

 

 

Missions – There are five missions in San Antonio, and four of those are maintained by the National Park Service (the 5th is the Alamo). Mission San Jose is the most impressive architecturally.  Our day in San Antonio included a visit to Mission Concepcion.

 

Alamo – The most famous mission in the state, and likely the country, it is not known for it’s service as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, but more so it’s use as a fort in the Mexican independence effort when a group of Texas soldiers died defending it.

 

 

Houston – The city is the 4th largest city in the country, with 2.3 million people in the city. It is the 5th largest metro area (by some calculations) with 7 million people.

The city has more buildings over 150m (492′) than any city in the United States other than New York, Chicago and Miami.

There are still a few historic buildings downtown, but many have been destroyed over the years as they went taller and newer.

 

 

Houston Art – One of the great finds in our travels was the very cool, quirky art of Houston. From top to bottom. Giant Presidential Heads – Sanctioned Graffiti – Beer Can House – Luck Land – Smithers Park.

 

 

Parks and Rec  Houston also provided some unique ‘park’ experiences – from going under the Buffalo Bayou Park to see the Cistern, to the Botanical Gardens, and finally inside for some baseball.

 

 

Galveston     Another pleasant surprise was Galveston. It seemed like 3 cities in one – the typical seaside resort with amusement rides and motels, a great state park natural area, and finally the historic area on the bay side.

 

 

Dallas – Fort Worth    While Houston gained lots of photos on this posting I have actually been to Dallas far more, just some time ago and without a camera.

Dallas is corporate, Fort Worth is cowboy (I know – stereotypes, but it seems to fit).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Louisiana

Bonjour de la Louisiana. Our trip today takes us to the bayou.

 

1977 – Bogue Chitto River. This river is 65 miles north of New Orleans in a park with more than 1,000 acres.

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1979 – Bayou. Much of southern Louisiana is made up of bayous and swamps.

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2005

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The residents of these parts are very proud of their alligators.

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The bayous have a unique beauty.

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1981 – Acadia. This area of Louisiana has the strongest French culture. In Louisiana the counties are known as parishes. Some of the parishes in this area are over 25% French speaking (although not a French someone from Paris or Montreal would likely easily understand).

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We passed through this area in 2019, making a stop at the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island.

 

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Acadia is rice growing country.

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In New Ibiera is the Conrad Rice Mill, America’s oldest.

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1984 – Mississippi River. The river is the economic driver for Louisiana.

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Bridges in New Orleans.

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Many overseas freighters come up the river to New Orleans to dock and offload.

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The tourist sternwheeler leaves for a tour.

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Upriver at the crossing from Vicksburg, Mississippi to the town of Delta, Louisiana.

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1986 – 1992 – 2001 – Music

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New Orleans is music, food and partying.

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1990 – Flowers

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With the warm weather and abundant rain, Louisiana has amazing flora and fauna.

 

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1998 – State Capitol. While New Orleans is the center of the world for all things Louisiana, Baton Rouge is the capital.

 

 

 

2002 & 2007 – Food

 

Louisiana is known for food, primarily (photos from Wikipedia)

Crawfish

Louisiana Crawfish Boil - This Ole Mom

 

Po-boys

Best Po-Boys in Louisiana - Thrillist

 

And Beignets

Beignets Recipe: New Orleans-Style Fried Dough - PureWow

 

 

 

2003 – Louisiana Purchase (historic New Orleans)

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New Orleans was the center of the French owned territory in the new world.  The Cabildo is beside St Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.

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The French Quarter is representative of the city at that time (except for all the dive bars).

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2018 – Birds

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2019 05 20 206 Avery Island LA Tabasco Factory and Gardens.jpgAvery Island, Louisiana has a very impressive bird sanctuary.

 

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