Happy Independence Day!

On this date in U.S. history…

1776: In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of British Colonial America from Great Britain and its king.

The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution that were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France’s intervention on behalf of the Patriots.

The Declaration of Independence was largely the work of Virginian Thomas Jefferson. In justifying American independence, Jefferson drew generously from the political philosophy of John Locke, an advocate of natural rights, and from the work of other English theorists.

Of the 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons, or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when the composed the most magnificent curtain line in world history. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, an our sacred honor.” We are so grateful for their sacrifice. #HappyBirthdayAmerica

May we always remember the freedoms we enjoy because of the sacrifice of the Founders and all our ancestors that fought the world’s most powerful army-and won!

Today during your celebrations, please read the Declaration of Independence to remember why we celebrate and to instruct the rising generation of our great country.

Here is that sacred document:

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton
Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton
Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton
Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean
Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark
Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Updated Prints & Accessories Page

I recently updated my Prints and Accessories page to include dimensions and prices of my images. All images in the Galleries are available for purchase. The images will be on metal with hangars attached.

To purchase an image, please use Contact Artist page and then enter the image name/number from the gallery and the desired size. I will then contact you to finalize the purchase. I’m looking into better options for purchasing my images, so this will be updated in the near future.

I can also have accessories, such as mouse pads, phone cases, clothing, etc., printed with the image of your choice.

D-Day, Plus 76 Years

76 years ago today, Allied forces invaded Nazi occupied France. It was known as Operation Overlord, and it was the largest invasion force ever assembled up to that time. The US forces landed at Utah Beach, Omaha Beach and Point du Hoc, which lies between the two beaches.

Last year, I was privileged to visit these beaches for the 75th anniversary. I also visited Longues-sur-Mer, which is above Juno Beach where British forces landed.

Entrance of the D-Day Museum near Omaha Beach

These brave men gave everything including their lives to liberate the world from fascism and tyranny.

American Cemetery at Omaha Beach

Over 8,000 US soldiers were killed during the initial invasion, and several more thousand would join them during the coming months of fighting.

Several days before D-Day, the 101st and 82nd Airborne dropped behind enemy lines to secure bridges, roads and crossroads to keep German forces from getting to the beaches in Normandy for a counter offensive.

Monument at La Fière Bridge to the 82nd Airborne

Looking around at what is happening in the country right now with the protests, riots and civil unrest, it is more important than ever to remember what we were fighting for a generation ago. We were fighting for freedom from oppression, fascism and tyranny not just in Europe but in Asia.

Today we face many issues that are tearing our country apart at the seams. I hope and pray that we as country can get through these difficult times with our country intact. If we can create a national and local dialogue to solve the problems we now face with civility and respect, we will get through this civil unrest to rebuild our cities and country to be stronger, more unified and better than ever. This is my wish as we celebrate D-Day, to remember what we fought for so we can keep freedom alive and strong from oppression and tyranny, for everyone.

The Last Super Moon of 2020

Last Thursday night was the last super moon of 2020. It seemed like a good idea at the time to go out and get photos of it. In retrospect, next time I will go to higher elevations for reasons you will soon discover. I asked Siri when the moon would rise that night, and it said 21:03 (or 9:03pm). I thought that would be fantastic, so I grabbed my equipment about 8:45pm to set up everything to capture the moon. It wasn’t too much longer before it got dark. I checked my astronomy app for the position of the moon, and sure enough, it was just coming up over the horizon. I knew I had time to kill, so I decided to take a couple of star shots before the moon came up. According to my app, the bright star in the center is Antares.


After about a half hour, I realized that I was going to be there a while, because I’m looking at a 2,000 foot cliff waiting for the moon to come up over the horizon and peer into this deep canyon. Finally, I was rewarded for my wait. Three hours later, the moon started its rise over the cliffs about 12:30am, way past my bed time, but the wait was absolutely worth it!

The moon was illuminating the trees on the top of the cliffs just before it came up.

Slowly, but surely, the moon made it from behind the cliff, and it was an amazing sight to behold. Check it out!

I went to bed not long after, basking in the pleasure of seeing the last super moon of 2020 rise over the cliffs of Zion National Park. I found out later that the super moon peaked at 6:30 that morning. It was tiring but fun. Enjoy!

PFTA: Zabriskie Point

In my former life as a tour guide, I took a small group to Yosemite and San Francisco.  After leaving Las Vegas, the first stop we made was at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park.  It’s a nice two minute walk from the road up a small hill that has this beautiful vista.  It was a beautiful spring morning and I was enjoying my first visit to Death Valley.  I saw this view, and I was in awe at the beauty of the desert. 

Enjoy

PFTA: Reflections

In the Fall of 2016, I went to Kolob Reservoir which is just outside of Zion National Park to look at the fall colors.  The lake is surrounded by Quaking Aspen and pine trees.  This was taken from the dam.

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It is my wish that everyone can take a few minutes or more every day during this time of stress and uncertainty, and reflect on the blessings, the positive things and have hope for a quick return of some normalcy in life.

If we really think about it, do we want more of the same rat race we had before the shutdown?  Or do we want to remember the things we’ve learned during this quarantine to become better people, better family and neighbors, and cherish that human contact we are all craving in this time of separation?

Enjoy

 

PFTA: Watcher in the Brush

On a beautiful fall day in 2014, it seemed like a good idea (at the time) to go into the mountains to chase elk.  It was a beautiful day, and the weather was perfect for such an activity.  Up on the Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park, it was easy to go off into the wilderness to go look for elk.  Something to remember, this is the fall, and during the fall is rutting season for the elk.   Coming into a clearing with beautiful vistas of lower Zion and the plateaus in Arizona off in the distance, I decided to stand on this boulder to look over the scrub oak and photograph this view.

IMG_2076_1.jpgIf you look closer, there is a watcher in the brush.  He was looking at me very intently and I was starting to get a bit nervous, because he’s only about 30 feet away and the only thing between us is the brush.  I spoke to him and told him I was only taking his photograph, and he settled down.  I got a little higher up on the boulder and realized he had a lady friend there on the ground and I was interrupting him.  Oops…

PFTA: Not Social Distancing

Every once in a while I get a hankering to hike in the deserts of Southern Utah.  This image comes from one such adventure in 2014.  I was taking macro shots of this yellow desert flower when I had a couple of unexpected visitors.  I guess they didn’t mind each other’s company, and I enjoyed the moments of (not so) close interaction.  These two are not social distancing, but I’m glad I kept my distance.

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Enjoy

PFTA: Half Dome

Going through my archives tonight, I asked myself-where was I in late March, and early April a decade ago?  In doing so, it hit me like a ton of bricks that it has been 10 years since I was a tour guide for a company in Las Vegas, NV.  This trip to Yosemite National Park was actually my very first solo tour with this company (it will remain nameless), and my first time visiting Yosemite National Park.  It was a five day whirlwind tour of Grand Canyon South Rim, Monument Valley, Zion, Bryce, Death Valley, Yosemite and ending in San Francisco.    It was still early spring, so the only way into Yosemite was the north entrance.  It was a beautiful drive.  During this tour of Yosemite, I was able to do some photography and took this image of Half Dome.

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Enjoy

PFTA: Underground City?

This is an interesting photo.  I took it while traveling near Las Vegas, Nevada back in 2006.  I showed it to a friend, and she asked me where I found this underground city.  I was confused for a minute, and she repeated the question.  So I asked her to elaborate on where it could be, and she had no idea.

I’ll let you in on a little secret:  it’s not an underground city, but Hoover Dam at night.  This was before the new bridge was completed, they had just started working on it actually, so all traffic had to go across the dam.

I was traveling to the Grand Canyon after spending my days off in Las Vegas, it was late at night, and I saw the dam, and was blown away at how amazing it is at night.  It’s not often I’ve seen anyone photograph it at night, so I made several attempts before I came away with this gem.

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Enjoy,

Kelly