Mysteries of Fire

Fire can be a strange substance. It’s cozy in a campsite while roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. It can be destructive in excess. If a forest it can be very strange, from a small ember to creating its own weather.

I’ve been through a couple of forest fires, the first one was a mess. The second one, well, my friend is still upset with me for trying to burn up her car. We were driving on a back road and it turned into a forest fire. I had her stop and ran out with my camera to a burning stump and got this shot. It’s a once in a lifetime shot.

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Macro on a Superscale

With macro photography, the general idea is to make something small look big. Sometimes, though, Mother Nature likes to throw us a curve ball.

Ponderosa Pine trees are massive, ranging from 40-60 feet tall. However, height is relative. Here in Zion National Park, the walls tower over 2000 feet over the valley floor, and some places are even higher.

To give you an idea, take a look at this photograph from the West Rim Trail, one of my absolute favorite trails in Zion. The wall is so high, you can’t even see the top.

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Connections to the Past

There is a lot of pre-history in the Desert Southwest. The Basket-weaver Indians were in Southwest Utah and northern Arizona between 400 AD to approximately 600 AD. They disappeared before the Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloans came into the area.

The artwork left behind by these tribes is absolutely astounding. Their carvings range from simple figures scratched in the desert varnish to elaborate panels of pictographs in monotones to full color. It is amazing that these panels survived intact all these centuries and just the way these people left them. These images are only a small sample of the artwork I this area.

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Bliss

I love being near waterfalls. Yes, we do have them here in the desert. The best kind are springs that flow year-round. They are some of the best places to get away from the crowds and be alone, at least for a little while. (Then work calls.)

The serenity of these places is unmatched by almost anything. The Canyon Tree Frog croaking away at each other adds to the serenity and tranquility (they sound like sheep, not frogs).

Well, here’s my bliss:

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Water, and Man’s Quest to Conquer It

Water. It’s a simple word, but it means a lot to people, especially here in the Desert Southwest. There are only a few sources of fresh water here, like the Colorado River and its tributaries.

Of course, without water we wouldn’t have the Grand Canyon.

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Having the Colorado River running through your back yard is an awesome sight to behold, but fraught with danger. Every time there is a major storm along the river or its tributaries, there is a flash flood which is both deadly and damaging to the surrounding areas.

Man has always longed to tame this river and to control its power. In order to do that, he would make an undertaking that was monumental, even by today’s standards. It would take many years and thousands of workers to accomplish. In fact, it took so many people to build, they would need a city to accommodate everyone. A new city was born not far from the dam that is still a major tourist destination today, because of the new lake that formed because of this dam, Boulder City, Nevada.

Workers weren’t a problem, because during the Great Depression people were clamoring for work anywhere they could get it. Several years and millions of tons of concrete later (which was poured so fast, it’s still curing even after 70 years), man had finally conquered the Mighty Colorado.

The result of all this blood, sweat and tears, and sadly, many lives, is the historic Hoover Dam. It was dedicated on September 30, 1935, nearly two years ahead of schedule. It’s the only government project of any time to be completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

Thousands of people flock to this landmark every day. However, when night comes, the people disappear, the lights come on and the entire atmosphere changes.

Here is my favorite view of Hoover Dam:

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My Place Called Home

I’ve recently joined a challenge to post a photo a day. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do anyway, but just needs a bit of a push. Today’s topic is Home.

Well, I have an amazing home! It’s a bit public, and is visited by 2.7 million people each year. It’s Zion National Park, in Southwest Utah.

Here’s a view of my home and workplace.

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