After a boozy rowdy night in some of Belfast’s best pubs, today was a day of beauty and peace, wandering the coast along the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
March 3rd, 2014 · No Comments
February 17th, 2014 · 3 Comments
I was treated to some one-on-one instruction of wildlife photography this weekend by my friend Bill at the Gilbert Riparian Preserve. It was a lot of fun, but it showed me that I have a LOT to learn to become a serious wildlife photographer! Here’s a couple shots from the day – none of which I’m super excited about – but you have to start somewhere!
February 5th, 2014 · 4 Comments
Just enjoyed a couple nights in the Superstition Wilderness, hiking across Barkley Basin From the Peralta Trailhead, then back across Miner’s Needle to Bluff Springs and finally looping back to the trailhead via the Bluff Springs trail.
The stretch across the basin as we heading toward Coffee Flat provided fantastic long views, with Picketpost Mountain far to the east.
Even though we didn’t find one drop of water flowing anywhere, the vegetation here is lush and thick. We found a small grassy spot to camp on for the first night and it seemed like the perfect spot until we discovered scorpions EVERYWHERE. Small Bark Scorpions, (the deadliest kind) were found under every rock and log we lifted… so we stopped moving things around!
We made a fine fire, cooked up a quick meal and sipped on Jameson while the sun descended. The night was quiet without a whisper of wind and shadows of the calm rolling hills were punctuated by the silhouettes sharp cliffs topped with hoodoos. It was a cloudy night so the star gazing wasn’t great, but reasonably warm.
The next day we hiked about 11 miles and landed atop a peak overlooking the valley – we decide to not use tents, just sleeping out in the open and enjoying the fine views. As the sun set, the clouds disappeared and we enjoyed a clear starry night. I watched three shooting stars before finally dropping off to sleep.
January 13th, 2014 · 1 Comment
December 13th, 2013 · 1 Comment
December 7th, 2013 · No Comments
Artist Dale Chihuly’s incredible glass creations have returned to the Desert Botanical Garden! This is an amazing exhibition of his vibrant works of art placed within the desert setting.
December 2nd, 2013 · No Comments
It’s a great time of the year to explore in the Superstition Wilderness, so I decided to combine some backpacking with a 4X4 adventure in the eastern section. I started at the Roger’s Trough Trailhead and hiked up into Reavis Ranch, then returned back to the truck to complete a 48 mile loop through some fantastic and exciting primitive roads.
Reavis Ranch is an abandoned homestead, named after Elisha Reavis, one of the first settlers here and known as the “Hermit of the Superstitions”. Reavis had a little farm high up on the plateau where he grew vegetables and would occasionally make his way into the Florence area to sell them.
The trail begins with a steep descent down to the creek, then climbs up to over 5200 feet in elevation. When I reached the top, a completely new ecosystem is revealed with abundant Manzanita, Juniper and Pines. I walked through beautiful open grassy meadows next to a permanently flowing stream, and there was a good bit of snow cover on the ground.
I found a pretty little campsite near the stream and quickly made camp as the sun set. Within a very short time, I had my tent set and a roaring fire. Manzanita makes a wonderful campfire with brisk flames and pleasant smoky scent. The temperature dropped quickly, but the fire and a flask of jameson’s kept me nice and warm! The skies were clear and moonless and perfect for a night of stargazing.
The next morning I rose early and decided to hike for a few hours before breakfast. Taking just my camera, I strolled through the pleasant valley in the morning sun. Moving quickly and silently, I saw a lot of wildlife: four bluejays, a cardinal, some kind of grouse, a couple hawks, about a dozen whitetail deer, garter snake and my first encounter with Arizona bears! I rounded a corner and surprised two of them – very small in size, probably about 200 pounds, and they bolted into the woods before I could even lift my camera.
I also discovered a magnificent giant and ancient Juniper tree , a good 10 or 12 feet in diameter.
Returning to camp, I made a quick breakfast and then packed up and returned to the truck. From there I continued along forest road 172 and then to 650 to complete an exciting but hairy drive up and over the mountains. It was single lane the entire lane and there were many times I thought there was no possible way my truck could handle the challenge of negotiating large rocks, deep gulleys, scary tilted hills and thick pools of mud. But the FJ had no problem with any of it, and when I wasn’t super scared, I actually was enjoying the fantastic views from high up on the range.
It was a terrific adventure and one I will definitely revisit!
December 2nd, 2013 · No Comments
My favorite shots from the last four Coachella Music festivals, all wrapped up into one frenetic music video!
November 7th, 2013 · 1 Comment
An example of the roads leading to the cottage in rural Wales!
October 31st, 2013 · 1 Comment
Hafod Y Garreg – or “Cottage on the Rock”, where we stayed in rural Wales. Beautiful! Thank you once again Roger!
October 30th, 2013 · No Comments
October 26th, 2013 · 1 Comment
Stopped here in Machynleth, Wales to purchase a cool Wales Red Dragon beer stein. Quirky owner is completely immersed in his rambling collection of odds and ends.
October 25th, 2013 · No Comments
October 24th, 2013 · No Comments
Portmeirion is a tourist village in Gwynedd, North Wales. It was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975 in the style of an Italian village and is now owned by a charitable trust. Wandering through the grounds here is an eerie experience – it’s scenic but weirdly artificial. Still, the vibrant colors and eccentric juxtaposition of architectural elements made for some interesting photos.
October 24th, 2013 · No Comments
Barmouth is located on the west coast of North Wales, lying between a mountain range and the sea on the mouth of the river Mawddach. This shot is taken from just north of my friends cottage… beautiful!
October 16th, 2013 · No Comments
Main street, Lyddington.
Next to the church in the beautiful ironstone village of Lyddington, Lyddington Bede House originated as the medieval wing of a palace belonging to the Bishops of Lincoln. By 1600 it had passed to Sir Thomas Cecil, son of Queen Elizabeth’s chief minister, who converted it into an almshouse for 12 poor ‘bedesmen’ over 30 years old and two women (over 45), all free of lunacy, leprosy or the French pox.
October 15th, 2013 · 1 Comment
Had a nice afternoon wandering around the university area and Coventry Cathedral, then lunch with my Aunties and Uncle!
Coventry has had three Cathedrals in the past 1000 years: the 12th century Priory Church of St Mary, the Medieval Parish Church Cathedral of St Michael and the modern Coventry Cathedral, also named for St Michael.
The majority of the great ruined churches and cathedrals of England are the outcome of the violence of the dissolution in 1539. The ruins of St Michael’s are the consequence of violence in our own time. On the night of 14 November 1940, the city of Coventry was devastated by bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe. The Cathedral burned with the city, having been hit by several incendiary devices.
October 13th, 2013 · No Comments
This castle was built by Llywelyn the Great in the 1220′s to maintain his authority over the local people and to defend the south-west part of the area of Gwynedd. It’s just on the other side of the mountain that overlooks Roger’s cottage to the north.
September 3rd, 2013 · 1 Comment
Over the long weekend, my friend Bruce and I enjoyed a challenging but beautiful adventure in the Pinaleño Mountains, starting at the trailhead for Ash creek at 9,500 feet and then dropping to close to 5,000 feet over the next eight miles.
As we approached Mount Graham, the entire range was shrouded in dark ominous clouds that certainly would scare some people away, but Bruce and I have kind of a perverse joy of dealing with bad weather – we were both chomping at the bit to make our way to the top of the mountain and get this adventure going!
Rain was coming down gently as we began the hike, but it quickly dissipated and we enjoyed wonderful weather for the entire trip. The flora at the top of the trail was incredible, unlike anything I had seen before… lush, mossy, wet, cool, broadleafed, thickly forested, dark, mushroomy, flowery and impossibly green.
We crossed the creek a number of times, descending down, down, down before finally leveling off somewhat for a little while, then passing by a viewpoint where we could see a very high waterfall – at least 150 feet I would guess, and massive views to the Northeast, past Safford and into the Black Range in southwestern New Mexico.
By the time we reached the bottom of the canyon, my legs were shaking from the exertion and I was really hoping to find a suitable spot to camp for the night soon.
We came upon a lovely site with a fire ring and bench already setup, looking upon a happy little waterfall just 50 feet away. Bruce used his amazing fire-starting skills to build a roaring fire out of wet wood and life was good!
Dinner that night was my Smoked Salmon with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce Pasta, washed down with some 12-year Jameson. The sky was cloudy, so stargazing was not great, but no matter because I was spent and crashed immediately.
Bruce cooked up a fine breakfast the next day of potato pancakes and coffee and we then set out to explore the area, descending further down to high desert views and much hotter weather. The trail was littered with bear scat, at least every quarter mile, and that was a bit un-nerving… I also found some mountain lion tracks with claw marks almost an inch in length. We saw only two other hikers the entire day, and one backpacker who mysteriously vanished before my eyes… still bothers me thinking about that guy.
By the time we returned to camp in the late afternoon, I was drenched in sweat and ready to chill for a few hours. I shot some photos and video and then prepped dinner for the evening of potato and spam burros.
The next day was a loooong climb out of there. It was similar in elevation to climbing out of the Grand canyon from the bottom, but with steeper trails. We took it bit by bit and eventually emerged back at the top, again soaked in sweat but happy for a successful trip!
July 25th, 2013 · 1 Comment
Took the new Cruiser out to Point Sublime at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon – fantastic trip! Almost two hours of 4WD paths, some sections really muddy and others super steep with large rocks. Had to stop twice to pull logs out of the road. We saw wild turkeys, a rare Kaibab Squirrel, a 4 point Buck and many birds, rodents and lizards. Great day!