August 31, 2011

Roadtrip, Part 6, Navajo to Peekaboo

Please forgive me for splitting our mere 4-hour hike into several days' posts. I took nearly 1000 (!!) pictures in Bryce Canyon, and I LOVE 89.5% of them; thus I'm finding it difficult to strike a balance between sharing the overwhelming beauty of this National Park, while not overwhelming myself with the editing & posting ;-). Yesterday's post was the easy, flat Rim Trail portion of the hike. Today's post is the super-easy downhill portion of Navajo Loop and then transitioning into the uphill trek via Peekaboo Trail.






along the navajo

Right about here is when our uphill trek began ... uphill at 7500+ feet elevation. Oy.

navajo to peekaboo

Yet another 90-second slideshow (and yes, that is a large rattler!) ...

Next up, the rest of the portion of Peekaboo Loop that we climbed.

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August 30, 2011

Roadtrip, Part 5, wherein we hike again. Further in & Higher up.

This day's hike made the former night's hike look & feel like a mere stroll in the park.  :-}  Expecting a longer, tougher hike, we started the day with a hearty, free hotel "breakfast of the champions"; which, for the Dudes, translates to being a plate piled high with bacon.  Well, ok, I'm simplifying.  Middle Dude also added Fruit Loops & pancakes to his plate to complement the bacon.  ;-)


Off to the Rim.  We parked at Bryce Point (where we expected to finish); took the shuttle to Inspiration Point; and walked the Rim trail to Sunset Point, where we again went down the Navajo Loop.  There was a prescribed control-burn fire happening the park while we were there. We saw its effects off and on throughout the day.shuttlefireIMG_4273rim trail 1IMG_4275IMG_4302

And back to the Navajo Loop – the same trail we hiked the previous evening.  This day, it was merely the beginning of our hike … IMG_4322

More to come …

Ugh. Looks like Livewriter butchered the resolution, color & contrast of these pics. But I'm feeling too lazy to rectify it by starting over with Flickr. :-(

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August 29, 2011

Meet Karen :: Orange County Family Photography

She has the distinction of being the only woman I've ever approached in a grocery store and said, "Will you be my friend?" Which is note-worthy, because as an introvert, I rarely, if ever, strike up conversations with strangers, much less ask them if they have time in their life for another playdate. But I was new in town. And I was just a wee bit desperate to find friends for my kiddos. And Karen, you see, had three delightful, gregarious, polite boys who were all about the same ages as my boys. And desperate times call for desperate measures. So I took a chance. And she took a chance. And a lovely friendship was born. :-)

And here we are, seven years later. Meet Karen and her family ...

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August 28, 2011

Grazing in Good Pastures ...


“‘For thus says the LORD GOD:
I Myself will search for my sheep and seek them out.
As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them,
so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.
I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries,
and I will bring them into their own land.
I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel,
by the streams
and in all the settlements in the land.
I will feed them in a good pasture,
and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land.
There they will lie down in good grazing land,
and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
I Myself will feed my flock and I will lead them to rest,
declares the LORD God.
I will seek the lost
bring back the scattered,
bind up the broken,
and strengthen the sick ...
Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them
and that they, the house of Israel, are my people,
declares the LORD GOD.’”

Ezekiel 34:12-16, 30


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August 25, 2011

Roadtrip, Part 4, wherein we hike.

Last year we vowed to return here. Without Dog Dude. And hike.

And that's exactly what we did this year. We returned. And headed straight-away to this trail, which is, quite simply, amazing. Stupendous. Awe-inspiring. Colorful. Larger than life.

IMG_3965IMG_3987IMG_4025IMG_4033IMG_4034IMG_4037IMG_4039navajo loop 1At the bottom.  Gosh, that wasn’t hard at all.  Winking smile


Heading back up.  [huff, puff, rest.  repeat.]IMG_4202IMG_4214navajo loop 2navajo loop 3

Trail facts: we started at 8000 ft elevation; dropped to 7476 ft elevation (duck soup); and climbed back up (not duck soup). Temperature hovered just under 90*. We were mostly in the shade. Big Dude tracked us on the phone. His stats: 2.3 miles. 50 minutes moving time. 1hr47minutes total. And in the following slideshow, I condense our whole hike into 90 seconds so you may vicariously -& quickly- come along with us - down down down & up up up. :-)

Some photo stats: I was traveling relatively "light" - by that, I mean my 5d + 24-105mm lens + 15mm lens. I left the heavy tripod back at the car. I shouldn't have :-(. It would have been nice to have in the hoodoo-slot-canyon. Out in the open sky sections of the trail, I was shooting at smaller apertures (7.1, 8, 11) and 400iso. In the slot canyon (little-to-no sky above), I was shooting at 1600iso and had to open up my aperture (f/4) to let more light in. If I'd had my tripod, I would have shot at 200iso, a smaller aperture (probably f/8), and with a longer exposure. Kicking myself a bit now. Lesson learned. The other lesson I learned: inside these exuberantly orange walls, I should have shot in RAW mode. I'm a die-hard JPG-shooter in most circumstances. But for people pics inside these canyon walls, it really would have behooved me to shoot RAW in order to remove that crazy color cast from skin. RAW would have been additionally beneficial in terms of capturing greater "dynamic range" of light. I lightly tweaked most of my exposures in Lightroom (usually just adding a little fill light to lift shadows), created the slideshow in Lightroom, and created the side-by-side vertical diptychs in LR, using Kellie Hatcher's beta-version LR print templates.

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Roadtrip, Part 3

While still in the middle of Nowhere, Utah, we heard the only signs of enthusiastic life from The Teen as he exclaimed:

"I see a BEAR! It's a black bear! Down by the river!"

So Big Dude pulled off the highway to have a look-see for himself. Big Dude appreciates any opportunity to see a bear. I guess bear sightings in the wild are kinda a rare thing.

The Teen directed us (he was the only one seeing snippets of the bear down by the river), finally pointing, "THERE!"

Of course, I snapped a picture of the momentous occasion:


Littlest Dude recorded the momentous occasion in his journal of important vacation snippets:


[Very big grin] From then on, we saw lots of B'Cows on our trip ...

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August 24, 2011

Keller Annual Summer Roadtrip, Part 2

Second stop: middle of nowhere, Utah.
Activity: letting men & boys be ... boys. Shooting slingshots. At rocks and a stray beer bottle.
Accuracy stats: All of us hit exactly none targets. ;-)

slingshot 1IMG_3868slingshot 3IMG_3880slingshot 2IMG_3893

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