My apologies for the title of this post, I couldn’t help myself. I could have gotten these pictures up a lot faster too, but I had considered combining a few New England trips into one posting, including a visit to Cape Cod and my upcoming excursion to Vermont, but I feel as if my week on Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, deserves it’s own space. And to be honest I don’t have much to say. I could easily gush about the beauty and possibilities of this natural wonderland, or how it feels like the perfect combination of almost everything I could ever want. For now though I will just show pictures; low tide, the forest floor, mountaintop views, and rocky shores.
I do have a couple of shots from Cape Cod worth a look. If you’d like to see them you can visit my New Images Gallery and find them there along with a handful of other recent pictures not found in these posts.
Bruce Peninsula National Park is a small but significant park in Ontario, Canada perched on the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula itself. The “Bruce”, as it’s known, divides Lake Huron from the Georgian Bay and is the perfect size for a couple nights of backpacking with big payoffs in the form of expansive views out over the lake and rugged, rocky shores fit for exploring. The bay’s water along the shore of the park is a rainbow of perfectly clear tropical tones which beg to be swam in. The shore is lined with geometric slabs, cobbled stones, and jagged boulders of dolomite limestone. The rock in the area is ancient, pre-dating the dinosaurs by a mere 50 million years or so. The park sits midway on the Niagara Escarpment which runs south past the world famous Niagara Falls. The same forces that shaped the massive falls on the U.S./Canada border are responsible for the dramatic cliffs, overhangs, and geologic features of the Bruce shoreline. Bruce Peninsula is a World Biosphere Reserve and is home to many unique species of plants and a collection of centuries-old Eastern White Cedars, the oldest living tree being around 850 years of age (the oldest discovered tree in the area, a cedar that died 1500 years ago, was almost 2000 years old).
Time has been on the side of this magnificent place, it was given the chance to form and grow. It’s a shame I could only spend a couple of nights there, it deserves much more than that.
We all know about Detroit; the ruins, the fires, the collapse… but there is a phrase that stuck out to me amongst all that I have heard: Ghost Gardens. The phrase was coined by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Charlie LeDuff while showing Anthony Bourdain around Detroit on his show, Parts Unknown (you can watch the segment here if you so desire). The idea of Ghost Gardens was intriguing to me; abandoned homes, left to rot, and their flower beds left unattended. A resurgence each spring, a spec of beauty and color poking out through ruin.
I wanted to see it for myself, not the ruin of this great city necessarily, but the flower beds, the growth. I didn’t find it, I looked but it wasn’t there. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. I certainly didn’t explore a wide swath of the city, but the ghost gardens were gone. Grown over and pushed out by weeds and wildflowers. There were signs of the old gardens here and there, but nothing recognizable. Occasionally, settled amidst ruins on an empty block, would be a tended garden; mowed and weeded. But there was little sign that much had returned or would again in the coming years. Despite all of this I found beauty and interest in the wild growing fields and deserted lots filled with wildflowers. The twitter of songbirds sprang from tall grass, as did the occasional rabbit. It felt like the beginning of a return to something much older than the city itself. If I traipsed far enough into the weeds, closed one eye, and leaned to one side I could block out the telephone poles behind a tree. I could crouch just enough so that the potholed road became hidden by the tall grass. I could wait for the bleeding sound of a distant siren to dissipate and let the silence of the place fill the air. The gardens were gone and the apparition of something much more significant had taken over.
Well… spring has sprung and the late winter lull is over. To celebrate I took a short trip south to the Delaware Bay to catch a glimpse of the annual horseshoe crab migration (this event has been happening since before humans, dinosaurs, or pretty much anything else on earth existed) and to see what other springtime festivities I could photograph. Birds migrate heavily through the area this time of year so there were plenty of those, along with all sorts of flowering plants and lush landscapes. The pictures from the trip can be seen in the New Images gallery on my website, and if you haven’t visited in a while you may notice a few other new galleries are up featuring images from both the U.S. and Tanzania… so take some time to explore and keep in mind that all my pictures are available as fine prints. More soon!
Over a year ago I promised to post a gallery of images of California, but first I wanted to explore more of the state. At the time I had spent a week in the desert and had made a couple of trips to the coast. I’ve since been back to the desert twice, visited the coast a couple more times, and spent time in the Sierra Nevada mountains and redwood forests. Turns out I have a pretty good span of pictures for someone who lives clear on the other side of the continent. There is no doubt I will be back for more. It’s a big state with plenty to explore, and as far as natural beauty it stands out amongst others in the lower forty-eight. I think this gallery does a fairly decent job of exemplifying the contrasting landscapes, flora, and fauna of the state. There is plenty I have left out and it will take many more trips across the the country to capture it all. By no means am I done visiting the state. There are places there that feel like home, places that my heart yearns for. A strong sentiment, I know, but there is no other way to describe the feeling. I’ll never live there, this much is clear to me, but I will always go back to say hello.
To explore the gallery of images of California follow this link: California Gallery, or visit the Image Galleries page via the top menu. Have you visited any of these special places? Wouldn’t it be nice to hang a memory on your wall? All of the pictures contained in the gallery are for sale as prints. Visit my About page for prices and contact me directly with any questions.
Home sweet home. Rochester, NY is mine. It’s where I grew up, it’s where I go to visit family, and it was there that I gained an interest in photography. Maybe it began in high school, sporadically shooting with my dad’s old Nikkormat, taking months to fill a roll and spending my allowance on processing and purchasing film. Film school may have advanced this interest, but it wasn’t until after college when I moved back home and began exploring the surrounding landscape that my interest really took off. This time turned out to be the beginning of something amazing for me. I gained a passion for nature and with that a desire to share it with other people.
You could say that Mendon Ponds is the place where this passion was born. It’s a county park south of Rochester filled with unique glacial features and plenty of wildlife. It’s known for its chickadees, so tame they will land in your hand if tempted with seed. Even the more timid birds such as cardinals and nuthatches will get close if you stand perfectly still. Songbirds like these are what you will typically run across in winter. In the warmer months the ponds are alive with snakes, snapping turtles, beavers, and muskrats. Deer traverse the meadows year round and migratory birds pass through every year. It stands out as a truly beautiful and diverse natural landscape. There are plenty of spots like it surrounding the Rochester area, many of which I have never visited. With a week to spend in the area over the holidays I had time to travel around and visit other small parks. Sterling Nature Center, a beautiful spot perched on the shore of Lake Ontario, is known for its great blue heron rookery. The herons are nowhere to be found this time of year but the lake shore is dramatic in winter and was worth the drive out (I considered the trip as reconnaissance and after checking out the empty rookery promised myself that I’d return later in the year after the herons return). I also spent a good amount of time looking for snowy owls, though it wasn’t until my last day in town that I finally found one. Thankfully the owl was cooperative and it didn’t take much effort to get a few shots.
Maybe it’s me, but I feel as if people take for granted what they have right in front of them. For as much as I appreciated Rochester when I lived there I never took full advantage of what I had access to. It makes me wonder if I’m missing anything where I live now. It’s hard to comprehend the fact that I will never see it all, no matter where I live and no matter where I travel something will be missed. I think it’s a nice idea to pick a place, somewhere you will always return, somewhere to explore and to memorize. Maybe mine will be a small park outside of Rochester, or perhaps it will be a huge one in a place like Alaska. Time will tell.