Exploring Alaska’s Inside Passage

. . . aboard the National Geographic Venture

The National Geographic Venture

It was one of those rare white-knuckle experiences as our plane suddenly pulled up from what felt like a normal landing. It was our final approach into Sitka, Alaska where we were to embark on a “bucket list” adventure. Fog and cloud cover prevented a line-of-sight landing on our Captain’s first attempt, but he informed us he had fuel enough for a couple more tries. I can’t say that comforted my wife and me any or increased the blood flow in our knuckles as we held tight to our armrests. . . We also wondered if fog and cloud cover would follow us during our Alaska adventure over the course of next week.

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Death Valley National Park. . .

. . . A remarkably diverse landscape to explore

Death Valley National Park

Driving into Death Valley National Park along California Highway 190, you certainly understand how Death Valley got its name. The brown barren desert landscape is all you can see for miles around. We were headed for “The Ranch at Death Valley”, a self-described casual hotel that would be our home base for the next 6 days. The Ranch turned out to be a convenient centrally located lodge to access the Valley’s most remarkable places to visit. We were excited to finally explore one of the few major National Parks we have never experienced, but we were not at all prepared for the landscape vistas and diversity we were about to encounter.

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My Favorite 2021 Images and the Stories behind them. . .

It is my tradition to pick my favorite images of the year and tell the stories behind them. Reviewing all my photos from the year is always fun. The exercise provides insight on where I have been, the people I have met, and gives me some ideas for resolutions in the new year. I get to relive the experiences and special moments all over again, and I learn a lot. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys photography. You will find the difficult part is selecting only 10 favorites. I spent almost another full year socially distanced at home but managed to enjoy some travel to National Parks at year end. Several of my favorite photos came from these travels, and a few from right around my hometown.

So once again, here are my top ten favorite images of 2021 and the stories behind them.

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My 2020 Top Ten Images and the stories behind them. . .

Well, we can certainly chalk up 2020 as a most unusual year! Let’s hope and pray we can get back to some sort of normalcy in 2021. I spent most of the year hunkered down at home but still managed to have fun photographing the world around me. So, I thought I would keep my tradition of picking my top ten favorite images of the year and the stories behind them. I always find the photo review process enlightening and would recommend it to everyone who has a passion for photography. Reflecting on the past year certainly has its challenges this year. But picking your favorite images will provide insight on where you have been, the people you met, and maybe a little peek into the future.

So once again, in no particular order, here are my top ten favorite images of 2020 and the stories behind them.

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It’s the worst of times. . . it’s the best of times

2:20 Underwater

It has been awhile since I posted to this blog. The whole year seems to have flown by while I am stuck at home. Like most people. . . travels were canceled, plans destroyed, and few family gatherings have been our norm for 2020. The good news, my family has remained healthy. As this strange year comes close to an end, I can’t help but think that time stood still in 2020. No remarkable images of far-away places or events to share.

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Exploring Boneyard Beach

Boneyard Beach, Big Talbot Island, FL
Boneyard Beach, Big Talbot Island, FL

We stepped from the park path down onto the beach and I thought I just might have stumbled into a scene from the Twilight Zone. The beach scattered with massive driftwood trees resembled images of a pre-historic graveyard. My wife and I looked at each other and almost in unison said, “now we know how this place got its name”. We were at Boneyard Beach on Big Talbot Island, a closely kept secret beach on Florida’s East Coast, just Northeast of Jacksonville.

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My Top Ten 2019 Images and the Stories Behind Them

For many years I have found the process of reviewing photos taken in the past year enjoyable and in many ways enlightening. I used to flip through printed albums but in the days of digital photography, I scroll through all the files on my computer. I would guess most of us don’t spend enough time reliving the special moments of family and travels captured in those files so carefully put away on our disk drives or phones. May I suggest you take the time to review your 2019 images and pick your favorites or even print them. I am sure reflecting on why they are your favorites will bring a little insight on where you have been, the people you have met, and quite possibly what’s in store for you in the new year.

My 2019 was filled with new discoveries right here in my hometown, travels to new faraway places, and many new interesting people I met along the way. So once again in no particular order, here are my top ten favorite images of 2019 and the stories behind them.    Continue reading

Exploring Tuscany. . . the culture, delicious food, and unforgettable scenery

I could feel my excitement growing as the train slowed to a stop in Chiusi, our gateway to exploring the Tuscany region of Italy. We had just spent a few hours on a very comfortable Italian train originating from Venice so we were ready to begin our Tuscany adventure. There is no place on earth like Tuscany. Beautiful medieval towns, rolling hill landscapes, art, delicious food, and some of the best wine in the world. We were anxious to get going on our adventure.

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All Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer. . .

Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer - Vancouver to Kamloops

All Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer

I was a little apprehensive climbing on the charter bus on a warm June morning in Vancouver, Canada. My wife and I rarely travel in a tour group preferring to take our own path while traveling. . . planning our own days and arranging our own accommodations. Our bus was about to take us to a unique travel experience… especially for us. Just a few minutes away our driver would drop us off at the Rocky Mountaineer Train Station. For the next two days we would see the back-country sights of the Canadian Rockies from the legendary Rocky Mountaineer Train. Continue reading