Fotonic Images, LLC: Blog https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog en-us (C) Fotonic Images, LLC (Fotonic Images, LLC) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:32:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:32:00 GMT https://www.fotonicimages.com/img/s/v-12/u948460916-o2769323-50.jpg Fotonic Images, LLC: Blog https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog 80 120 Keep Your Hands Warm This Winter https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2020/2/keep-your-hands-warm-this-winter Keep Your Hands Warm This Winter
 

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I am cheating a little bit with this months blog post. How you say? Well, I have started doing workshops and I wrote a little blog post about gloves and keeping your hands warm in the winter. And since it's one of the top questions I get asked, so I thought I would share it over here. I know it's a little taboo to do that, but sometimes a girl just has to break the rules. Besides good information is good information, or maybe just information. Either way since we can't go to Hawaii we might as well get out & explore the great, vast, white wilderness. It goes faster that way. And just so I don't share the whole story I won't share the video. You'll have to go to the website to see that. :) www.InspirePhotoTours.com/Blog

      While there are no specific answers or one magical mitten out there, I do have a few suggestions for you that won’t break the bank.           I carry a variety of things with me at all times. You never know if you are going to get a pair wet, lose a pair or simply need to layer up. I also find that If I am snowshoeing, cross country skiing or hiking into a location I can get quite sweaty and it’s nice to have something dry and warm to put on.

            When choosing your gloves or mittens, look for things that are windproof, have polar fleece, thinsulate or other warming technology. You also want to make sure that whatever you choose you have a lot of finger dexterity for managing your camera buttons. Thick bulky ski gloves or mittens just do not work well for photography. Often times they are made of stiffer materials and contain lots of thinsulate, so they aren’t conducive to pressing small buttons or moving dials. They do work great if you are skiing or going to and from locations.

            Just like dressing for the day, think about keeping your hands warm by layering them. A good pair of liners can wick away moisture or have specific heat reflecting technology to help keep you warmer.  The type of liner I wear depends on the conditions. If it isn’t subarctic, I find that Seirus Thermalux Heat Pocket Liner works really well. I like that it has a pocket for a handwarmer, keeping it put throughout the day. Seirus Innovation Heatwave Cold Weather Glove Liner also works quite well. The downside to both of these is that neither id touch screen compatible. Both of these options are around $25.00.

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            The next “liner” I like to use are actually a runner glove. I got them at Costco, for around $20.00. They are made by Head and they are windproof and touch screen compatible. Head also makes a hybrid glove that is a bit warmer of a glove. It is thicker than the others but they have polar fleece and a thermal “fur” to help keep you a bit warmer. They are also windproof and touch screen compatible. They are also under $25.00 and if your outer glove layer is a little bit larger, they fit quite well under another glove. I also have a pair of Outdoor Research stretch gloves. They are windproof and are lined with polar fleece. They work well alone or under another pair of gloves. They were about $30.00

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            gloves & mittens-111gloves & mittens-111 For my outer layer, I have two pair of convertible mittens. The first I found in the bow hunting section at Gander Mountain. The have quite a bit of thinsulate in them and are made out of windproof polar fleece. I like them really well and I find they keep my hands pretty warm. They have ¾ fingers built into them so it is hard to fit some liners or thin gloves in them, but I have done it. They also don’t have a handwarmer pocket and because of how they are made it is really hard to get one into them. They are not waterproof, but they have a nice magnet that holds the top in place while you are working with your camera gear. They were under $40.00.

            gloves & mittens-109gloves & mittens-109 One of my absolute favorite gloves is my Ice Armor, polar fleece ice fishing glove. I found them at Fleet Farm in the ice fishing section. Fleet farm is similar to a Runnings, for those of you who don’t have a Fleet Farm. They were under $50.00. They are a convertible glove, but they do not have finger slots so I can put on a heavier glove underneath them. They also have a handwarmer pocket which is really nice. They are windproof and are flexible enough that I can press the shutter without flipping over the mitten part, though I still need to when changing settings. They have a Velcro tab which holds the flap in place so it’s not flopping all over.

            My last pair of gloves seem to contradict what I have said about ski gloves and mittens, because they are so big and bulky. I found them at Fleet Farm in the hunting section. They have a ton of thinsulate in them. They are more of a chopper style and I bought them big so I could wear a liner in them and place a handwarmer inside the mitten. Even though these are large and bulky the materials that they are made of are super soft and supple so I am able to manage my camera really well. My hands have never gotten cold in these mittens. And I have been out in some pretty cold temps.

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            I also use a hand muff, that has a waist strap on it. You put a couple of handwarmers in there and you can keep your hands really toasty in between shots. Mine is filled with polar fleece and thinsulate and is made of a sturdy waterproof material. I purchased this in the hunting section as well and it was about $45.00.

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            I always have those chemical handwarmer packets with me. You just never know when you might need a little bit of extra warmth. Sometimes I will use the toe warmers in my gloves, because they have the adhesive back and I can put it on the back of my hand, on the liner and it stays put. This year I also added an electronic hand warmer, that is recharged by a USB plug. So, you can even recharge it in the car! It has three settings and gets quite warm. It is too big for your glove, but it works well in the hand muff or if you have two of them you can put one in each of your pockets and put hour hands in periodically to warm up.

            Everyone has such a unique tolerance for cold, so there really isn’t one magic mitten. However, there are lots of options these days to help keep those hands warm.  This is so awesome because winter offers many unique photo opportunities to get out there and explore the world creatively.

 

Please share your winter secrets in the comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Also I am sharing Amazon links for some of these products in case you would like to check them out for yourself. Otherwise check out the ice fishing or hunting section at your favorite sporting good store, you might be surprised by the options you can find there. Serus, has added touch screen compatible to the liners I like so I included them here. 

 

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) glove keep your hands warm mitten review warm winter winter landscapes winter photography https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2020/2/keep-your-hands-warm-this-winter Tue, 11 Feb 2020 15:30:00 GMT
Ten Below https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2020/1/ten-below Ten Below

Gunflint mail run sled dog race-345Gunflint mail run sled dog race-345

 

            In hour between dusk and dawn I arose from my bed, to venture north to the Gunflint Trail. The cold had crept indoors as the heat in our little cabin was not working properly, so I was happy to start adding the layers before making my way to the car. Coffee in one hand, keys in the other and heat turned all the way up. I was not going to freeze during the hour and half drive north to Trail Center where the Gunflint Mail Run would start.

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            The car thermometer said ten below, though that never takes into account the windchill. A little warmer than it was last year for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race, which was one of the coldest I could remember at -36 at the start of the race. The dogs do love the cold. They actually seem to run better when the temps are cooler. Their caloric needs are much higher when it’s cold and when they are running. They may need up to 10,000 calories a day to meet their metabolic needs.

            I have never been up for the Mail Run before, so I was excited to see familiar faces and the same unbridled excitement of the dogs as I do at the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. I don’t think they realize that they are running a race, they just know they get a chance to run. And boy do they love it!

Gunflint Mail Run 2020 Before the StartGetting Ready to Run!

 

            The Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race is a continuous race consisting of two legs of equal distance, separated by a mandatory layover. There are two classes in the race: a 12-dog, 100-mile race and an 8-dog, 65-mile race. Races start and finish at Trail Center. The Mail Run evolved from The Can-Am Sled Dog Races on Devil’s Track Lake organized by Bud Kratoska of Trout Lake Lodge in the early to mid-seventies. The Mail Run also gave birth to the longer race known as the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. You can read more about the history of the mail run at: https://gunflintmailrun.com/about-history/

Gunflint trail mapGunflint trail map

 

                I am sad that I am unable to attend the Beargrease this year. It is always one of my favorite times of the year. I will be with them in spirit though. You can follow the race on-line, both on Facebook and on their website at: John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon If you are looking for something a little more local there will also be the first time ever Klondike Dog Derby. February 9th, 2020. It would be a good time to learn more about the dogs and sled dog racing.

The Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby is a world-class sled dog race that will introduce the incredible sport of mushing to the local community. The 8-dog, 40-mile race will start and finish on Water St. in the heart of historic Excelsior, MN and then run along the beautiful shores of Lower Lake Minnetonka. To get more information on this event visit: https://www.klondikedogderby.com/

The weekend was great fun, I got to enjoy sweet potato fries, with honey-jalapeno sauce at My Sister’s Place in Grand Marais. I also got to stop at one of my favorite breakfast spots, the Rustic Inn. Their breakfast potatoes are awesome and their pies are really good too. We also made a stop to check out the surfers at Stoney Point, and saw a Bald Eagle. The Stoney Point Surfers are so fun to watch. You can check them out on Facebook. Maybe someday I'll learn to surf...but in Hawaii, definitely, in Hawaii.

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               While watching the dogs is always fun, I do enjoy getting to see all my friends and fellow photographers. My travel buddies are the best. Travel is always better with friends and makes for more of an adventure. We all need a few more laughs along the way. Gunflint mail run sled dog race-245Gunflint mail run sled dog race-245

 

Congratulations to this year’s mail run participants (results from:  WTIP North Shore Communit Radio )

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1st Ryan Redington – Callin’ Trail Kennel – 8:18:48
2nd Ryan Anderson – Ander Tier Racing – 8:21:43
3rd Rita Wehseler – Stoney Creek Kennels – 8:26:32
4th Erin Redington  – Callin’ Trail Kennel – 8:29:46
5th Matt Schmidt  – Mush Lake Racing – 8:39:13
6th Blake Freking – Manitou Crossing Kennels – 8:49:23
7th Nathan Schroedrer  – Schroeder Mushing – 9:10:26
8th Frank Moe  – Moetown Kennels – 9:11:20
9th Andy Heerschap  – Paws on Patrol Sled Dog Kennel – 9:52:42
10th Jaye Foucher  – Sibersong Sleddogs – 9:55:30
11th Laura Neese  – Nature’s Kennel – 10:12:57
12th Kevin Mathis  – Go the Distance Kennel – 10:18:03
13th Talia Martens – Talia’s Team – 10:30:19
14th John Fisher – Meander Mountain Huskies – 11:06:08

8-dog (top five finishers

1st Joanna Oberg – Run Silent Racing – 5:12:37
2nd Erin Schouweiler – Otter Run Kennel – 5:18:10
3rd Brian Bergen – Gone to the Dogs Racing – 5:23:30
4th Stephanie Love – Moetown Kennels – 5:37:31
5th Dusty Klaven – Klaven’s Crazy K-9’s – 5:40:17
6th Ryan Beaber – Flying K Kennel – 5:47:57
7th Erin Altemus – Mush Lake Racing – 5:51:22
8th Craig Fox – Flying K Kennel – 6:03:24
9th Janet Bahe – Unleashed Sled Dog Adventures – 6:07:28
10th Andrea DeBoer – Amarok Kennel – 6:10:18
11th Steve Peterson – Snow Mtn Ranch Dog Sledding – 6:10:26
12th Darcy Stanley-Nord  – NordStar Racing – 6:12:47
13th Anna Bolvin – YesICan Racing Kennel – 6:15:23
14th Nicole Grangroth – True North Kennel – 7:03:30
15th Alice White – Wolf Moon – 7:11:41th
16th Andre Duval– All American Sled Dog Team – Scratch

 

You can also checkout some of my images and images of other great photographers at the Great Lakes Aquarium, in Duluth Minnesota. The display will be up until March 8th, 2020.

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Until next time, adventure on!

To view more images visit: Gunflint Mail Run 2020

 

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Cook County Dog Sled Dog Sled Race Grand Marais Minnesota Gunflint Mail Run Gunflint Trail Outdoor Photographer Sled Dogs Winter Winter Photography https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2020/1/ten-below Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:53:47 GMT
Welcome 2020 https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2020/1/welcome-2020 Welcome 2020

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Just like that we are into a new year and a new decade. It’s hard to believe how fast the year has gone. I feel like it was just yesterday, last January, that my husband and I sat down and scheduled all our camping for the year. Between camping, traveling with friends and leading workshops, I traveled to eight states and put on approximately 17,000 miles. You’d think I would be tired of traveling, but I am not. I am looking forward to the adventures that 2020 will bring.

I am not big into new year’s resolutions, and I don’t make them, though I do look at the new year as a kick off spot for a reboot on everything from finances to healthy life style choices. And with the turn of the calendar it’s a great time to plan the year. Planning does include personal goals, such as eating healthy and setting new fitness goals. We also take a look at our finances and ways to de-clutter, though I must say travel is always at the top. This year will be a little different because there will be more travel. YAY!

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My husband and I love the RV lifestyle and the variety of places we can go. We have developed some close friendships with several other couples that enjoy camping. We have a lot of fun, hiking, biking and exploring new places with others. Last year we did a 2400-mile loop that started in Minnesota, took us through Wisconsin, a large portion of Michigan and back through Wisconsin landing us back in Minnesota. We also enjoyed Palisades state park, just across the border in South Dakota. It’s a tiny little park, but very beautiful and unique. And of course, we knocked off a few state parks in Minnesota.

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With the launch of Inspire Photo Tours, I traveled to Northern Minnesota and Colorado leading workshops. I will be teaching more workshops and presenting at more organizations in 2020. I will also be exploring several other locations in anticipation of tours to be scheduled in 2021. Super cool and I can’t wait to tell you all about upcoming adventures. Sign up for news alerts on the Inspire Photo Tours website to keep informed on upcoming trips.
 

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January is also a great time to start planning home projects cleaning and organizing and thinking about what to plant in the garden. It’s hard not to when you get at least one garden catalog a day. It seems weird, but it does make you think about spring and warm summer days.  I do love my garden. Going down to pick produce an hour or so before dinner. When my kids were little they would just go down to the garden and pick their snacks. Then they discovered junk food and all that was over.

 

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I didn’t get a garden in last year. Between the weather and the schedule, it just didn’t get done. I really missed it. I also missed making wine and my salsa. The whole family was sad about the salsa. It’s a little bit sweeter than normal salsas, but that makes it SO good on breakfast burritos. I’ll add the recipe here in case you want to give it a go, though make sure you adjust it to meet your “heat” needs.

 

 

What are you waiting for? Plan those trips and get all your spring cleaning done now so when the weather turns warm you can get out there and enjoy all that 2020 has to offer.

I wish you and your family health, happiness and the best of adventure!

Blessings,

Kristy & “the Office Staff”

 

Salsa

 

4 tomatoes, peeled & chopped

2 cups onions, chopped

2 cups peppers, (any mixture see below), chopped

1/2 to 1 cup vinegar

1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Peppers: any mixture: green, red, red chili, 2 jalapenos, etc. The hotter the pepper the spicier the salsa.

bring to boil, then reduce heat to med-low and simmer until the desired consistency is reached (3-8 hours). Stir every 1/2 hour.

 

Place in sterile jars & seal. Cover the jars with at least 1-inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil and process for 15 minutes (20 minutes for altitudes 1000 to 6000 ft, 25 minutes above 6000 ft). Then turn off heat and let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) 2019 2020 Colorado Dakota gardening happy Minnesota new palisades park review RV RVing salsa South state travel year https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2020/1/welcome-2020 Sat, 04 Jan 2020 15:30:00 GMT
Looking Your Best Starts Well Before Your Photoshoot https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2019/5/looking-your-best-starts-well-before-your-photoshoot

During pre-consultation, I get a lot of questions regarding preparation for a photo shoot. Especially concerning makeup. Well, preparation starts long before a photoshoot and I thought who better to talk about beauty than a beauty expert. So please welcome, Jacqueline. Beauty expert and Mary Kay consultant. You can find Jacqueline at: www.marykay.com/jfore . Thank you so much Jacqueline for your expertise!

 

 

 

 

Do you want to look absolutely fabulous in your photo shoot?  The best thing you can do is start today with a healthy skin care routine that will leave your skin glowing!  A proper skin care routine can get your skin in tip top shape so that you are ready for the camera and for the every-day!  As an independent beauty consultant with Mary Kay cosmetics with 17 years of experience, I recommend 5 essential steps for healthy skin whether you are getting ready for the big day, or want to look great every day. 

 

  1. Cleanse – It is so important to wash your face in the morning and night.  This is important to remove any makeup on your skin as well as anything that has fallen on your face throughout the day from the environment.  Think of how dirty your glasses can get in a single day – those same particles are falling on your face and it is important to wash them off!  In the morning, it is important to cleanse the skin after a nights rest where oils tend to see out of pores and potential residue from your pillow and sheets could be lingering on your skin. 
  2. Exfoliate – Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface layer of your skin, leaving you looking fresh and vibrant.  I recommend talking with your beauty consultant to determine what the best formula and frequency of exfoliation will work best for your skin type.
  3. Tone – A good toner is an important part of the skin care routine to freshen the skin and tighten up your pores
  4. Moisturize ­– Did you know that one of the leading cause of wrinkles is under-moisturization?  Moisturizing is an important step to ensure the skin is not dried out, to help fight wrinkles, and is also an important step before makeup application.
  5. Protect ­– Protection can come in two ways – a quality SPF product can protect your skin from the sun.  Remember that even if you aren’t spending the day on the beach, the sun’s rays still comes through windows and your car windshield.  A quality foundation can also protect the skin, acting as a layer between your skin and what is floating around in the atmosphere. 

 

These skin care steps can help anyone get on the path to healthy, radiant skin!  I recommend for you to talk to your beauty consultant to determine which formulas are best suited for your skin as we all have individual needs as well. 

 

Jacqueline

www.marykay.com/jfore

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) look your best make up photoshoot skin care https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2019/5/looking-your-best-starts-well-before-your-photoshoot Tue, 07 May 2019 15:46:14 GMT
They Took Flight: Hudson Hot Air Affair https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2019/2/they-took-flight-hudson-hot-air-affair They Took Flight: Hudson Hot Air Affair

By Kristy Johnson

               The pink hues of dawn gave way to a frozen field of snow as we waited for the first balloonists began to appear. It was the 30th annual Hudson Hot Air Affair, in Hudson Wisconsin and the theme was “Pirates Fly’n the Croix-ribbean. Cute theme. They even had a pirate, though I was never able to catch him!

Let the Unloading BeginIt takes a lot to set up a balloon in the cold. The pilots could not do it very easily with out the ground crew. So, thank you to all who donated their time.

 

Let the Unloading Begin

It takes a lot to set up a balloon in the cold. The pilots could not do it very easily with out the ground crew. So, thank you to all who donated their time.
 

               One by one the pilots began to arrive and set up their balloons. Organized chaos as baskets, fans and of course balloons were unloaded. There were ropes and people everywhere. This was my third time at the hot air affair and the only time I witnessed the balloons taking flight. The first time, I arrived late and was only able to see them from a distance and the weather was too bad for them to take off in the evening, but they put on quite of show for what is know as the field of fire. The second time I went, they couldn’t take off due to weather conditions, but as they say the third time was a charm.

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                      Once they started going up, they rose really quickly. I see balloons all the time going by in my neighborhood and they just peacefully go by. That is until the office staff hears them. Dogs really hate balloons. I asked one of the pilots about this. Apparently, my babies aren’t the only ones who do not like hot air balloons. He said they hear them all the time during flight. The pilot thought it had something to do with a high-pitched frequency that the burner makes. Maybe they are really excited about a giant ball in the sky and they are frustrated that they can’t catch it.

Up, Up and AwaySo many pretty balloons. One day I will take my own ride. When It's warmer that is.

So many pretty balloons. One day I will take my own ride. When It's warmer that is.
 

               Barking dogs aren’t the only thing that a balloon pilot has to deal with. They do need to get a pilot’s license or airman’s certificate. According to the Hudson Hot Air Affair’s website, pilots will only take off if the wind speed is less than 6 mph, there is good visibility, sunshine or if there are clouds that they are at a high cloud ceiling. Hmmm…sounds like some of my drone specifications.

               I was curious about balloons so I Googled them. In Google’s “People Ask” section Google told me that Hot Air Balloons travel with the wind and an hour flight can carry it approximately 15 miles. The balloon also flies at different altitudes. Although the balloon is at the mercy of the wind when it comes to direction, the vertical control of a balloon can be very precise. Most balloons can fly for about 1 hour depending on the outside temperature and the weight it is carrying. On a cold day with only the pilot flying, a 2-3-hour flight would be possible. Hot air Balloons can fly all year round with calm winds. There are plenty more tidbits about balloons and ballooning if you are interested, just use our favorite friend Google.

Hudson Hot Air Affair- hot air balloons 2019-104Hudson Hot Air Affair- hot air balloons 2019-104

               The Hot Air Affair, is a three-day event, that includes geo catching, craft fair, fireworks, a 5K run/walk, museum tours, kite flying and so much more. It is usually the first weekend in February so plan your next years adventure to Hudson Wisconsin and check it out. Just remember to bring your warm gear and stop in at Keys Cafe. They had a great breakfast, and even had some gluten free toast for me. 

 


 

 

Until Next time! Adventure on!!

 

You can view more images at :Hudson Hot Air Affair 2019 or Hot Air Ballons
 

              

 

              

              

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Hot Air Ballon festival Hot air balloons Hudson Hudson Hot Air Affair Hudson Hot Air Affair hot air balloons 2019 Hudson Wisconsin Wisconsin https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2019/2/they-took-flight-hudson-hot-air-affair Thu, 07 Feb 2019 15:45:00 GMT
Red Rock Scenic Loop, Crescent Moon Ranch, Lower Chimney Rock Trail: Sedona Arizona https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2018/5/red-rock-scenic-loop-crescent-moon-ranch-lower-chimney-rock-trail-sedona-arizona Red Rock Scenic Loop, Crescent Moon Ranch, Lower Chimney Rock Trail: Sedona Arizona

Red Rock Scenic Loop in Under 1- minuteA video slide show journal of Red Rock Scenic Loop Sedona Arizona

                It’s hard to believe we’ve been back from Arizona two weeks. It seems like two months we’ve been so busy around here and the weather has been crazy. Minnesota has been bombarded by snowstorms. The weekend we got back from Sedona we got a big snowstorm, then the following weekend we got hit again. A whopping 16 inches of snow here at our house. It would have been great in January, just not the end of April. Now we’re about two weeks behind. The yard and garden need a little help, but the work will wait.

       

        I also set up an art display for the Rosemount Area Arts Council, located in Rosemount, Minnesota at the Steeple Center. We had opening night just last week. It is an honor to hang my artwork alongside award-winning water-color artist Laura Baker. Her watercolors are quite impressive, if you’re nearby you should check out her work. I even gave a speech! It went pretty well for my first time speaking in front of people. Thanks again to all who showed up. Artwork will be on display thru June, so if you’re in the neighborhood stop by and check it out. Just make sure you head upstairs, there is more on the second level.

                But enough of that, let’s get back to Sedona. It was warm, sunny and the clouds were amazing. I just couldn’t get over the clouds there. It was like someone took a paint brush and added big fluffy white clouds on the deep blue sky. Such a contrast in colors. I also liked how the clouds often times framed a tree or one of the many rock formations. Nature is so cool.

Red Rock Loop Scenic Drive--8Red Rock Loop Scenic Drive--8One of Sedona's unique trees

Images of Red Rock Scenic Loop

                Our day started with coffee and a healthy breakfast. From there we loaded the car with photo gear, several layers of clothing, lots of snacks and water. The weather changed frequently throughout the day, or depending on elevation, so we spent lots of time dressing and undressing. I am going to Alaska later this year so I figure it was good practice.

                We started on the Red Rock Scenic Loop. It’s about fifteen miles long but could take you several hours to complete depending on how many times you stop to take in the panoramic views. I read a bit that traffic would be bad on the loop, but for us there wasn't a lot of traffic, just some really big trucks driving way too fast. You can click on the Red Rock Scenic Loop link to learn all about the drive. Take note of the trees there. Actually, not just there but all over the Sedona area. They are pretty cool if you take some time to study them. Some say that the energy vortexes play a role in their appearance. While I can’t speak to that, I can speak to their unique addition to the landscape. When I got back I found I had taken a ton of pictures of them.

 Images of Crescent Moon Ranch

                                                 

Crescent Moon Ranch is also located on this loop. If you stop at Crescent Moon Ranch, it will cost you $10.00 to go in. It’s a pretty park and the trail takes you along the river. If you want you can cross the river and walk on the other side. They are known for the reflection photo of Cathedral Rock. I didn’t get the iconic shot while I was there, but with was a beautiful hike on a glorious day. Some might consider the $10.00 a lot for what the park has to offer, but if you consider it more of a donation in preservation, it’s definitely worth the stop.

                They also have a beautiful picnic shelter there, in which we enjoyed our lunch before heading on to Lower Chimney Rock Trail. You do need a park pass to park in the parking area. It cost $15.00 and you can pick it up in the visitor center downtown Sedona. I would give Chimney Rock trail an easy rating as far as hiking goes, but I would give it an A+ on pretty.

Chimney Rock Trail--49Chimney Rock Trail--49It's almost like they're belching out hte clouds

Images of Lower Chimney Rock Trail

                The views from this trail were fabulous. And the clouds really preformed. There were also some rain clouds in the distance, so that was pretty cool. I was hoping for big storm clouds in the distance, with the big bolts of lightning, but alas that was not to be. Still we got some pretty cool views of the distant clouds and lots of big fluffy white ones that made the landscape pop. I really didn't have expectations of what I would find in Arizona, but I must admit I was expecting more of a dry desert area. So, I was quite surprised at the diverse landscape and the amount of trees that were around. The Sedona area does not get a lot of rain during the year, so the some of the trees have adapted by secreting acids from their roots which can eat through soft rock and allow the tree to search for water in the porous rock. Inner Journey's blog, wrote quite an interesting post about this.  All in all, a great day. 

 

Adventure on and to view more images from my journey through Arizona visit: Images of Arizona

 

               

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) arizona crescent moon ranch day hiking fotonic images hiking landscape photography lower chimney rock trail photography red rock scenic loop sedona sedona arizona travel travel journal https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2018/5/red-rock-scenic-loop-crescent-moon-ranch-lower-chimney-rock-trail-sedona-arizona Fri, 04 May 2018 15:02:07 GMT
Airport Loop Trail – Brins Mesa Trail: Sedona Arizona https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2018/4/airport-loop-trail-brins-mesa-trail-sedona-arizona Airport Loop Trail – Brins Mesa Trail: Sedona Arizona

        Airport loop trail in under 1 minuteAirport Loop Trail Sedona Arizona in Under a Minute

        I’m still basking in the afterglow of vacation in Sedona Arizona, even with the looming blizzard here in Minnesota. Crazy weather for sure. But what would Minnesotans talk about if it wasn’t for the weather? Going on their next adventure, I’m sure.

        The weather in Arizona was a little goofy while we were there too. It was in the 50’s and 60’s for the first few days we were there. Then if you were at a higher elevation it was a little chilly, and of course it cooled off a bit in the evening, so I found myself putting on a coat, taking off my coat, putting on a vest, taking off a vest, several times a day. But the sun was shining and I was out exploring new territory, I could live with a few wardrobe changes.

        If you read my last posting you know we started out our day in Jerome, Arizona. A cute little town that has a unique character. Our second stop was Sedona, Arizona.

        Before we left Minnesota, we heard from a lot of people that we needed to go to the airport to check out the view. It was on our list though we figured we would go to the visitor center first. However, we saw the signs for the airport first, so we decided to stop.

airport loop trail Sedona Arizona-63airport loop trail Sedona Arizona-63Landscape view of Sedona from Airport Loop Trail

        We drove up the road to the airport, also know as Table Top Mountain. Part way up there is a small parking lot for the trail, which was full and my understanding is that this is normal for this trail. So, we drove all the way up to the top and parked in the large lot up there. It does cost $3.00 to park there, but it’s good all day, so you can go back for sunset if you want. And since I mentioned parking fees, you do need to purchase parking pass to park at the trail heads. However, know that this pass does not cover all parking areas and you will need to pay additional parking or access fees for various other areas.

        Fee paid, car parked, backpack loaded with camera gear and water, we were ready to hit our first trail in Arizona. All the reports that we received from people were spot on. The views of Sedona from the airport are spectacular. We spent a few hours on the trail, we hiked over to the summit. Along the way we also spotted the superintendent from our tiny little school district. Such a small world.

        While we were at the Summit and vortex area we spotted three individuals. Two were lying on their backs, arms stretched out, on the edge of the rocky slope, while the third beat a drum over them. This is not something I would do. We never did figure out what they were doing, but it was interesting.

airport loop trail Sedona Arizona-44airport loop trail Sedona Arizona-44

 

  We did not complete the whole loop. We hiked from the upper airport parking lot, to the summit, which is 1.2 miles, we went up to the top, then down and we walked a bit down the loop trail. The first part of this was a bit tricky, but from what I read the rest gets better though it is rocky and steep in some places, but overall a moderate hike, and just a bit over three miles on top of the 1.2 to the parking lot, so be aware of that in your hiking plans.

airport loop trail Sedona Arizona-45airport loop trail Sedona Arizona-45A ceremony of some sort being held on the edge of a steep cliff overlooking the valley. There are three people there, two lying down while the third beats a drum over them. I have no idea how long they have been there.

        Also, a hiking must in Arizona is to take plenty of water and wear good shoes. It is dry, rocky terrain and at higher altitudes than you may be used to, so staying hydrated is very important. All the hiking maps, guides and locals will tell you, “don’t forget your water bottle.”

        I also took a walking pole, which helps take some strain off of my knees and adds some confidence on the steep slopes. I carry a lot of gear on my back so I really do appreciate the extra little boost I get from my walking pole. Sometimes it gets in the way though while I am trying to take pictures or if the terrain I am clambering over requires two hands. I have to say this trip was a little nerve wracking for me due to the heights.

        In my younger years my husband and I spent a bit of time rock climbing. I never gave the height a second thought. But for some reason this trip, the heights really made me uncomfortable. I felt dizzy and a little wonky. While we were walking out to the summit there was two incidences where we were hiking, not on real high ground or and edge but I had quite a little rush of dizziness. We wondered if I was feeling a vortex, but the feeling stayed with me the whole trip and was really apparent in the Grand Canyon. I returned home with the same dizzy feeling. It’s not vertigo, so I am thinking with the flight and dry weather my sinuses could be just a little wonky. I hope that I am not affected the same way when I go to Alaska this summer. I don’t like feeling held back, I want to be on the edge. Just not over the edge.

        We also had three Apache helicopters fly over us, while we almost back to our car. They were really loud and very cool. We beat feet back to the car and over to the airport where we watched them take off. They each took turns, leaving the ground, then the one that took off would hover while they waited for the next and so on until all three were in the air. Then they took formation and flew off. The husbands we oohing and ahhing the whole time. I must admit, it was pretty cool.

airport loop trail Sedona Arizona-31airport loop trail Sedona Arizona-31

        After our hike on Airport Loop Trail, we made it to downtown Sedona. We stopped at the visitor center, got our parking permit and lots of information on various trails and things to do in the area. However, before we could go any further we needed to refuel. Lunch was calling our name.

        A local girl gave me a recommendation for a nice BBQ place. She said they had good food at reasonable prices. It was easy to find, and we were able to find parking about a block away. The Outlaw Grill, located at 250 Jordan Road Sedona, Arizona. It is a small little place, there are a few tables, which seem to be in an indoor alley way and there is a window where you place your order.  They do bring the food to you, the prices were reasonable, and yes, the BBQ was great. I had fries which I thought were good. My husband had the coleslaw, which he said was so-so. I did not see a gluten free option, so I ordered my meal without a bun. I still got a bun. My girlfriend was happy though because she got an extra brioche bun, which she said was really good.

        Tummies filled, we walked around Sedona for a while. We checked out the shops, bought a few souvenirs and headed for our next trail. We didn’t know exactly where that would be at, but traffic was bad going through town so we stayed on Jordan Road, which paralleled the main drag through town. It meandered through a neighborhood, where it ended a Jordan Road Trailhead.

Brins Mesa Trail-15Brins Mesa Trail-15Sunset at Brins Mesa Trail

        You can take many different routes from here, but we were going to be heading up towards Brins Mesa. We were hopeful that we would get a nice sunset here. The rocks of Mormon canyon did light up very pretty for us, though I think next time I will have to go with the view from the airport, because that is the view EVERYONE suggested for sunset.

 

        I will have to say the trail at Brins Mesa was one of the prettiest trails we were on. It was also the least crowded, which also made it one of my favorites. I found two good websites that explained the trail and terrain very well. So, if you are planning a trip or just want to read about it please go and visit these sites. They’ve done an excellent job.:

http://takemytrip.com/2016/08/brins-mesa-trail-sedona/

And

https://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=318

Brins Mesa Trail-5Brins Mesa Trail-5Sunset at Brins Mesa Trail

 

        It was a full day and we were exhausted by time we made it back to the house we had rented. Pretty much we cleaned up and went to bed. It was well worth it though, as Sedona dazzled us with beautiful red rocks, spectacular views and rugged terrain.

As always Thanks for stopping & adventure on!

You can view more images from these hikes at: Airport Loop - Brins Mesa

 

 

 

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) adventure airport loop trail arizona brins mesa trail day hiking hiking red rocks sedona sedona arizona https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2018/4/airport-loop-trail-brins-mesa-trail-sedona-arizona Fri, 13 Apr 2018 16:15:00 GMT
Jerome Arizona https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2018/4/jerome-arizona Jerome Arizona

Jerome Arizona

Jerome Arizona in Less than 1 MinuteJerome Arizona in Less than 1 Minute

            It’s been a strange winter here in Minnesota. Lots of cold without any snow and I love snow. It’s downright boring around here without the fluffy white stuff. You can imagine my excitement when some friends of ours asked us to go to Sedona Arizona with them for spring break. It took all of about five minutes for us to say yes.

            Our flight was uneventful, and we arrived in Phoenix on Saturday the 24th of March, at 6:30 P.M. Arizona time. Our first goal, procuring our rental car. One might think this would be an easy task, especially since I had reserved it in advance. But alas that was not to be. I guess it’s just part of the adventure. While we arrived an hour and a half before our friends they were the ones waiting for us. So much for booking a car in advance. But we were on vacation and we didn’t have to wear coats.

Our next task was to pick up our friends a terminal three. Have you ever tried to find terminal three at the Phoenix airport? Lots of signs, but always in the wrong lane. Not sure who designed this airport, they must have spent too much time in the sun. Friends procured we grabbed a quick bite to eat and braved the crazy Saturday night traffic. Motorcycles and super-fast drivers everywhere! Hopefully the rest of the trip will be a little more laid back. By time we arrived at our rental house we were all pretty much ready for bed.  With quick good nights it was off to dreamland.

We woke refreshed and ready to start exploring. We started by exploring our rental house. A new, two-bedroom condo in Clarkdale, Arizona. A Vacation Rental by Owner, the house was reasonably priced, clean, in a quiet neighborhood and had a super location. Located about twenty minutes from Sedona between Cottonwood and Jerome it was the perfect location to go exploring.

After coffee and a nice hot shower, we headed up the hill to Jerome. Jerome was interesting. There are some cool shops, great restaurants and an awesome view. You could see for miles. Jerome is a rough and tumble mining town that has reinvented itself into a tourist town bustling with unique shops and eateries. Jerome Arizona-130Jerome Arizona-130Tattoo Anyone?

If you go, I would recommend stopping in the kaleidoscope shop, Nellie Bly - kaleidoscopes and art glass. It is the largest dealer of kaleidoscopes in the world. And while we didn’t have an opportunity to eat in Jerome, Bobby D’s BBQ and the Haunted Hamburger came highly recommended to us. They will definitely be on the list for our next visit.

Jerome Arizona-123Jerome Arizona-123Bartlett Hotel

We walked around town, which is quite interesting, there is some very interesting buildings, sculptures and ruins. The Bartlett Hotel with it’s collection of toilets is quite humorous and you can practice throwing coins into the assortment of bowls. Jerome Arizona-122Jerome Arizona-122Coin Toss All the change collected goes towards restoration and preservation of the area. You can meander by the old jail and take in the spectacular view. There is mine museum which talks about the importance of copper mining in the development of the town. To read about the towns history you can visit: Home Sweet Jerome or the Chamber of Commerce. There is a ghost town a couple miles from town. The road leading up to the trading post where you pay a small fee to enter the ghost town is littered with old cars and pieces of machinery.

We did not pay to go in to the ghost town area so I can’t report on the interest level, but if you are interested in old cars it might be worth the drive. I would also think if you are traveling with children they would find the ghost town interesting and fun. In my opinion Jerome is a great stop if you're in the area. Though I would recommend going up the hill a little later in the day, either having a late lunch and then hit the shops or hit the shops and have a nice dinner. Remember, Jerome Arizona is a destination for people, so know that at peak times you can have trouble finding parking and you could wait for an hour or more for a seat at a table, just be patient and enjoy Jerome's unique atmosphere. As for us we were ready to head to Sedona, to explore the town and do some hiking.

To view more images from Jerome, Arizona visit: JeromeAZ

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) arizona bartlett hotel ghost town jerome jerome arizona kaleidoscope https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2018/4/jerome-arizona Thu, 05 Apr 2018 15:30:00 GMT
2018 John Beargrease Sled Dog Race https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2018/2/2018-john-beargrease-sled-dog-race 2018 John Beargrease Sled Dog Race

 

Gliding amongst the pine like a gentle whisper, emerges a force beyond compare. A team of dogs and their musher, gently sailing over the glistening snow. Peace, solitude, invigorating energy as they move in unison towards their goal, the finish line.

            It was a balmy ten degrees, early on the morning of January 28th, as the dogs and their mushers began to show up eight miles west of Two Harbors, Minnesota, the starting point of the 2018 John Beargrease sled dog race. Shortly after the teams began to arrive, the spectators began their arrival in mass, in order to meet the mushers and the furry athletes.

            A list if this year’s mushers can be found by visiting: https://beargrease.com/meet-the-mushers/

 

            Highway two was lined up with cars for at least a mile in either direction.  People were walking or taking the shuttle bus down to the starting point. It is very cool to see all the people who show up in order to support the racers. They definitely deserve the attention. I am not sure people understand how much work goes into a sled dog team. Besides countless hours of training and feedings, there is also the financial burden of veterinary bills, food, equipment, travel expenses and housing, and most importantly the emotional investment that goes into each and every lovable dog.

            One might wonder why they do it with such a large investment. While, I have never formally interviewed any of the mushers on this subject, I have gleaned bits of information from them here and there and have formed a speculation on why. They love it, and so do the dogs. And if you don’t believe me, just show up at the beginning of a run and watch the dogs. They are so excited to get going they use heavy off-road vehicles at the start of the race to help control the dogs so they just don’t take off down the trail.

 I have been dog sledding twice and I loved it both times. It is so exhilarating, balancing on the skis of the sled, silently flying over the snow, your body ebbing and flowing with the twists and turns of the trail, feeling the energy of the dogs. It just seems so amazing that they can pull you and a sled across the miles so effortlessly and with such enthusiasm. Believe it or not you can reach speeds of 12 to 18 mph. Quite the rush! I would highly recommend a trip with a qualified musher. There are several top-rated kennels in Minnesota that can accommodate you. 

 

The John Beargrease sled dog race was established in 1980 and is the longest sled dog race in the lower 48 states. The course is close to 400 miles long. The course takes the marathoners from Two Harbors, MN, up to Grand Portage, MN and back to Billy’s, just north of Duluth, MN. Along with the marathon mushers there are also mid-distancers and junior racers. You can get a better vision of the scope of the race by checking out the map below.  Race officials always put out a complete list of the checkpoints and driving directions to help spectators follow the teams.

From JohnBeargrease.com

 Checkpoint driving directions: https://beargrease.com/checkpoint-driving-directions/

The race is in honor of John Beargrease, who initially delivered mail by sled dog up the North Shore, helping to establish many of the towns that exist today. You can read a detailed history of his life at: https://beargrease.com/about-john-beargrease/ and or view the education resources at: https://beargrease.com/education-resources/. An interesting side note, to honor the sled dog’s rich history of carrying the mail, the mushers carry trail mail during the race. You can purchase a commemorative envelope, write a letter, and have it receive a stamped cancelation which reads, “carried by dog sled.” Kind of a neat gift to give that special someone. For further information on purchasing trail mail visit: https://beargrease.com/trail-mail/ .

I would also like to take a moment and thank the over 500 volunteers that help make the race a reality. There are veterinarians, road crossing guards, check point controllers, race assistants and countless others who contribute to the racers success. It is so wonderful that there are such a great group of people willing to sacrifice several days to support the teams.

I seem to be rambling on about the nuts and bolts of the race, but it’s important I think to know why the race started and who participates. After several years of going up to photograph the race, I have developed some great relationships with other photographers, racers and support staff. Truly each and every person up there is remarkable. I look forward to connecting with people up there that I only see at the race and best of all, it’s like we’ve seen each every day. No lack of things to talk about or awkward silences. It’s my once a year family and I am already looking forward to next year.

If you have the time There will be an open house on March 11th from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. at the Duluth aquarium. You can see some of the photographs from last years race as well as meet some of the other photographers and a few of the mushers. I’ve even heard a rumor there will be cake.

Final race results from this year’s race can be found at: https://beargrease.com/2018-race-results/

 

 

This poor guy got injured on the trail. He doesn't let it slow him down however, he just keeps going. 

 

Thank you for reading this far & Adventure on! 

More images can be found at: 2018 Beargrease

 

 

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) 2018 john beargrease sled dog race marathon minnesota mushers north shore sled dog two harbors winter https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2018/2/2018-john-beargrease-sled-dog-race Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:45:19 GMT
Oh, Christmas Tree https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/12/oh-christmas-tree Oh, Christmas Tree

            I can’t believe it’s December, let alone that Christmas eve is upon us. This year has flown by at warp speed. Of course, the weather hasn’t helped strengthen the fact that it’s December.  Up until a few weeks ago everything was still brown and it was 57 degrees. No way could this be December in Minnesota! But alas, it did not last. Good thing too because I love the snow. It was a shame we only got a couple of inches and not a foot or more. Hopefully soon.

            I am sure most of you are running around doing all the things that come with December. Shopping, cooking, and preparing your home for friends and family. I love having everyone over for the holidays, though I must say I have been putting out fewer and fewer decorations these past few years. I can’t say it’s do to anything in particular, I just don’t. One thing we never skimp on though is the Christmas tree.

            I wonder every year why we bring this fire hazard into our house. I mean seriously have you ever lit one on fire and watched how fast it goes up? It’s crazy how fast they burn and to think people used to put lit candles on their trees. Here is a couple of quick links to read about the history of the Christmas tree if you feel so inclined. I thought it was pretty interesting of how it all got started.

How it all got started

The History of Christmas Trees

Why do We Have Christmas Trees

 

            We don’t typically spend a lot of time picking out the tree. We go to the lot, everyone takes a row, though it usually seems the eight to nine foot trees are in the same row. So, we all manage to find our way back to each other amongst the aroma of pine and the prickle of needles. Now it’s just a matter of choosing the right one. It’s like a Christmas tree version of Goldie Locks and the Three Bears with choruses of, “this one is too thin”, “this one is too short”, “this one is too tall”, and “this one is too girthy”, yes, I did say girthy. Don’t know how we managed to come up with girthy, but we did. Which caused a lot of chuckling amongst the pines.

            Between laughter, and a few breakout wrestle sessions with the boys, we managed to pick a tree and wrestle it to the truck. Where the boys proceeded to tie it down. While the tree lot guy impatiently waited for husband to count out the cash. All this in under fifteen minutes. Off to Starbucks for hot chocolate and coffee before church.

            Believe it or not the tree made it home and into the garage, though I had visions of it flying out of the truck and through someone’s windshield causing a scene right out of a National Lampoons Christmas movie. The poor thing sat in the garage for nearly a week before we brought it in to the house, where it sat another week before we decorated it.

            I love decorating our tree. I really do. I love pulling out the ornaments and placing them on the tree. You see each year that we have been married we have gone to the store at Christmas time and picked out ornaments. We have continued this tradition with our kids. This process takes a bit longer than picking out our tree. I mean there is a lot that goes into picking out the yearly ornament.

We have also purchased Christmas ornaments from the places we have visited and if something significant occurred throughout the year I have purchased an ornament to honor that achievement or that failure. Like the ornament we made for our oldest when he crashed his car into the corn field. I bought a matchbox Trail Blazer, painted it white and then glued dried grass into the hood. Then there’s my husband’s one horned dear and my youngest son’s ornament, for making the traveling basketball team

and of course I have a camera.

I also have countless handmade ornaments from my kids, my grandma and myself, as I have had many hobbies over the years that have lent themselves nicely to ornament making. We also made ornaments one year while the whole family was visiting for Christmas. It got a little competitive as we each tried to create the best-looking ornament.

 Our Christmas tree is literally a time capsule of our life.  And I am touched by each and every ornament on our tree. We have more ornaments than our tree can handle so it’s choosing which ones to put on the tree is quite tough. I keep telling my husband we need two trees. He just groans because that means he has to finish the basement so we have someplace to put it. But at least I would be able to look at all or ornaments.

I hope my boys continue this tradition when they get married and start homes of their own. They will also be able to take their collection of ornaments with them, so they will have a good start on decorating their own Christmas Tree when the time comes. My grandma kinda got me started on this. She didn’t take me to pick out an ornament, but she did purchase one for me and put it away. I love that she had the foresight to do this and I love that I was able to expand on this tradition and make it something unique to our family.

 

     Another one of our little traditions falls on Christmas eve. We make a meal called Shabu Shabu. It’s like fondue only we use chicken broth. Then at the end of the meal you drink the broth. It’s a long meal and by the end we are all stuffed. We cook chicken, shrimp and steak, along with a variety of vegetables. We use dipping sauces for the meats and little baskets instead of fondue forks. By the end we seem to get tired of the baskets and just throw the food in the pot. Of course, we get a little competitive about who owns which piece, but it’s a friendly competition.

I am breaking with tradition this year though and am making a prime rib (click on the link to view the recipe in question). I saw the meal on Facebook and it looked SO GOOD! I hope it is because prime rib is expensive. Husband says Christmas only comes around once a year, so we will be eating a lot more chicken in the next month or two to offset the cost. Though I am going to have to figure out a when to make Shabu Shabu, because the troops have expressed a little, well a lot of displeasure in the fact that I am breaking with tradition.

It does my heart good to know that my family has enjoyed the traditions that we have fostered throughout the years and I am glad they enjoy them enough that they are missed. My hope is that they will continue these traditions when they get married and start families of their own. I also hope that whatever your traditions are for the Christmas season or the holidays that you celebrate that you can enjoy them with family.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! May you be blessed and find adventure!

             

           

 

 

           

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) christmas christmas tree family family traditions ornament ornaments tradition traditions tree https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/12/oh-christmas-tree Sun, 24 Dec 2017 05:12:08 GMT
Whirlwind Trips https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/11/whirlwind-trips Whirlwind Trips

Split Rock Light house-104Split Rock Light house-104 Split Rock Light House

 

                Yes, yes, I know, I’m behind again. I am not sure how this happens, I really don’t. Okay, maybe I do, I just can’t stay home. When I’m not shooting portraits or real estate, I tend to wander, a lot. This past week my travels brought me first to the North Shore of Lake Superior, for the lighting of Split Rock Light house.

                The Lighthouse, just North of Two Harbors Minnesota, lights the beacon every year on November 10th in honor of the wreck of the Edmunds Fitzgerald and all of the other vessels lost on the Great Lakes. How many of you are currently hearing the voice of Gordon Lightfoot in your head now?

“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down

Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

When the skies of November turn gloomy…”

(you can hear the whole song at: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" - Gordon Lightfoot)

 

                They do a really nice ceremony at the foot of the lighthouse, before they light it. Dressed in period costumes, the Naval Hymn is played and the name of the twenty-nine crew members are read as the ships bell is rung and then the lighthouse beacon is lit. It really is quite a nice ceremony. Depending on the weather you can have several hundred people there enjoying the ceremony with you, but it’s a great experience. You can view the ceremony from 2014 on youtube.

                I went up with five other photographers, and as you could imagine we had a little bit of fun traipsing around the great white north. We made several stops as were playing a little bit of tour guide to a fellow photog from North Carolina. We took her to the usual spots like the lift bridge and Gooseberry Falls on our way up to the lighthouse.  She handled the cold extremely well, though it wasn’t terribly cold, at least for us hardy Minnesotan’s.

Just A Bridge Over Frozen WaterAmnicon Falls Wisconsin

Amnicon Falls Wisconsin

                I was up there from Thursday through Sunday evening, at which point I came home, repacked my camera gear, double checked my suitcase, and crawled into bed in order to be up by 4:30 A.M. Why so early you ask? Because I was catching a plane to Seattle Washington. Yep, trip two was less than twelve hours away.

                The flight was good up to the landing point, upon which time the plane bumped and rocked all the way to the landing strip. I was very grateful when my feet finally hit solid earth, though I heard that later flights had to go around again as the winds were so bad upon their arrival. So grateful that wasn’t us. I hate flying and really have to focus on the destination and not the journey in order to get me there. I guess that’s why I try to drive everywhere I go. But we made it and we were ready to have some fun.

                We grabbed out bags and shuffled our way to the shuttle bus, which took us to the rental car company. They gave us a sporty red Camaro that barely held our measly amount of luggage. Good thing I didn’t bring all my photo gear! Definitely nice to drive in all of the Seattle traffic, lane changes took on a whole new meaning, though I must say I would have rather had four-wheel drive for my adventures into the country side. Another surprising thing was the fact the it is still fall in Washington. They still had leaves on the trees.

Space Needle 

                We checked into our hotel and then drove downtown to see the space needle and visit Pikes Market. What we go was a soggy selfie of us below the space needle, a ride on the train, a nice dinner, a closed market and a $45.00 parking ticket because our ticket was “improperly displayed”. That was more that it cost to park in the lot! Not happy on our first day in Seattle.

                Day two went a little bit better. I dropped hubby off at his seminar and promptly headed out of town. Mt. Rainier here I come. Plugged the info into the GPS, struggled through traffic and ended up in Carbonate Canyon. While not the desired location, it was still beautiful. I walked around a bit as the rain started to fall, took a few quick pictures, adjusted the GPS and headed off once again to Mt. Rainier.

                I made it this time only to hit a road block. They had eighteen inches of snow overnight and the road was closed. They were trying to get the road cleared, I could try again tomorrow, they said. Nope. I would be off to a new destination tomorrow, I told the ranger.

“Where?” she asked.

                “North Cascades.” I replied.

                Laughing she said, “We just closed that road for the season because we got too much snow.”

                Olympic National Park it is! But for now, I will enjoy the six open miles of Mt. Rainier and oh, yeah, it’s still snowing up there and I can’t see the mountain. I got in a couple of short little hikes and found this cute little waterfall. It’s still raining, but that’s okay because this girl pretty much has the whole park to herself.

All Tucked InAl little bridge I found off of one of the side raods: Mt Rainier

 

                Day three, checked the Olympic parks website, roads look open, drop off hubby at his conference and brave the traffic to the Kingston Ferry, which will take me across the water cutting off some mileage to Olympic National Park. I checked the website, only a couple of roads are closed so I should be good. Right?

Ferry video

 

                The ferry was pretty cool, super easy to manage. There was a huge lounge on one of the upper decks, and of course there was an outside viewing deck. I was the only crazy person out on the viewing deck enjoying the wind and rain. I’ve only taken the ferry out of Bayfield, WI to Madeline Island before, this was a much bigger boat, you couldn’t even tell you were really moving.

0I4A3622

                Shortly after I left the ferry I drove into wonderful, warm sunshine. YAY! I final made it to the ranger station to get a map and see where the best place to go was. Yet another ranger dashed my hopes of a few nice hikes. They hadn’t updated the website before I left so there was some flooding and four feet of snow. Yep, you read that right four feet of snow which closed the roads. I could get to Marymere Falls, which I did. Of course, I hadn’t made it a block when the skies opened up and the rain began to fall. No matter I was here and ready to hike.

 

                The falls were very pretty and so was the trail. I found a huge tree covered in moss with ferns growing out of the moss. Super cool. I knew Washington was partly covered in rainforest but until you are standing amongst the trees it is really hard to comprehend how large the trees are or how bright the moss is. In a way it reminded me of the moss that covered the ground in Iceland. The cloudy skies really made the moss pop, giving the landscape a very fairy like appearance.

                The trail paralleled the road when you got close to the parking lot and when I was a few blocks away I noticed that there was a line of cars in the direction I would be traveling when I left to return to Seattle. Then I noticed that there was a truck coming from the opposite direction, with a big sign that said pace car. Oooo, I had to hurry if I wanted to get in the line and make it back to Seattle to pick up the hubby. I ran the las couple of blocks to the car, threw all my soggy gear into the passenger seat and headed towards the road. A nice man let me in so I only had to wait behind about half of the cars which probably stretched a good half mile. Then we proceeded to go through a single lane, while the other lane was being cleared of rocks, trees and other debris that had fallen. Quite an adventure.

                A quick stop at Starbucks and back to the ferry. I made it with about twenty minutes to spare. I arrived back in Seattle only to face rush hour traffic, and yes, I was an hour late picking him up. Sorry honey. We went to dinner at this little burger joint in Bellevue called Broiler Bay. It was one of those places you would call a dive, but the reviews were good and the guys running the place were great and they didn’t look at me funny when I said “No bun please.” Sometimes being gluten-free isn’t very fun. Besides we like to sample local fare and find places that the locals eat. It still didn’t compare to the Corner Bar in Bemidji, Minnesota, but it was good after a long day on the road.

                Day four was back home to Minnesota. While the weather didn’t cooperate, I must say that the parts of Washington are truly beautiful and I would love to come back when the weather is better and do some exploring. If you like cities, I would also say that Seattle has a lot to offer and worth exploring but be prepared for the traffic. It takes a while to get anywhere even in what I would consider the off time. Next time I would skip the space needle and just try to get a nice view of it from across the water, at night all lit up, without the rain. But as a Seattle-an would say. “I got the whole Seattle experience.”

To view more images from these two exciting trips visit:Whirl Wind Trips

More images will be added over the next few days so stop back often.

Until next Time. Adventure on!

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) amnicon falls lake superior lighting ceremony minnesota mt rainier olympic national park seattle split rock lighthouse travel photography washington waterfall wisconsin https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/11/whirlwind-trips Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:15:00 GMT
Moving on With My Journey to Glacier: Second Stop Bozeman, Montana https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/10/moving-on-with-my-journey-to-glacier-second-stop-bozeman-montana Moving on With My Journey to Glacier

Second Stop Bozeman Montana

 

                With my last post, I asked a question, what should I focus on? I got one request on Facebook to continue on with my journey to Glacier National Park, so today I honor that request and add the next phase in our adventure. To recap for those of you just joining me on my journey or to refresh the memories of those of you who’ve been following along you know that we left Minnesota early in the morning on July 22nd for our first long haul with our travel trailer. Our first stop was in Valley City, North Dakota, where we enjoyed a nice lunch, of burgers and all the fixins’ prepared for us by Steve and his son Alex.  We can’t thank them enough for opening your home to us during your kitchen remodel and serving us lunch. We really felt honored and blessed by your kindness.

                417 miles.

From Valley City we drove to Medora, North Dakota where we spent two nights and one full day. The full day was a pack it all in, tour of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Painted Canyon. The weather was hot, dry and very sunny. We saw tons of bison and prairie dogs, a few horses and gorgeous scenery. It was an exhausting day trying to fit it all in, but well worth it. You can read more about my day there at: Theodore Roosevelt Park and Sentinel

+266 miles

And then it was back on the road to Glacier. We were still quite a way away so we planned a stay in Bozeman, Montana. The drive was uneventful though as we got closer we heard more and more about the fires that were spreading across the west. We saw lots of smoke and fire fighters, but no fires. I wanted to take their pictures but they seemed to be in a great rush or really tired, so I let them be.

 

The campground that we stayed at was okay. Our site was not very level and extremely close to the neighboring sites. It was like a gravel parking lot in the middle of a field. Though I must say the view of that field was very pretty and the sunset was spectacular. The staff was friendly and the showers and bathroom were very clean, though the men had no soap in their bathroom to wash their hands. It did the job by giving us an overnight place to stay, though I wouldn’t stay here for an extended period.

After the long drive from Medora, North Dakota, we were ready to get our and stretch our legs. First stop the Madison River Brewing Company. The beer was good and the clientele was super friendly. I met a couple there that said they had come to Montana over ten years ago on vacation, and never left because Montanans were so friendly. I totally understood. Could I move there, in some respects in a heartbeat in others, no. I think my heart is too tied to Minnesota and all the lakes to make an official move, but I could definitely stay for several months.

After the brewery we drove into historic Bozeman, Montana to walk around. Such a cute little area. Bozeman has long been a center for Native Americans, early settlers as well as Lewis and Clark expedition, so it's no surprise that the area has several historical markers and a strong historical museum. There were all kinds of metal sculptures and adorable little buildings. I don’t usually do street photography but I was so taken in by the charms of the area I couldn’t resist. I was also very intrigued by the metal sculptures and all of their little cogs and the buildings were great. I spied a lizard on the side of a building, a rearing horse advertising bicycles and cross-country skis to the art gallery called, The Altitude Gallery, which I think was my favorite, with all the bright colored glass in the window and the “crown” above the door. It would have been fun to go in but it was not to be. Next time along with several other things that looked cool to do in Bozeman. Like hike around the Gallatian River and canyon or hike to see Grotto Falls or the Palisade Falls. Sometimes Trip Advisor gives me too many ideas, but it's what brings you back. Right?

Though most things were closed when we go there due to the hour, there were quite a few quaint shops and several good looking restaurants.  We walked around taking pictures and exploring for about an hour before the sky opened up and the rain came down. We took shelter under one of the restaurant awnings while we waited for the rain to pass. Returning to our campsite the sun came out and graced us with a snippet of a rainbow in the distance and a beautiful pink sunset.

Once again, we were up early in order to hit the road. This would be the last leg in our journey to Glacier National Park. I was excited to get there and start exploring the park. My husband and I had been there two years ago in mid-June, but only for one day, which was not remotely enough time. this time we would have four full days to explore.  We had been lucky enough though to get there on a day that Going to the Sun Road had opened up to Logan pass. It was crazy to think about how much snow they have there and that the road was still covered in snow. Glacier averages a sixteen-foot snow pack according to the Glacier National Park weather page. Which seems crazy to me. I can't even imagine that amount of snow.

+423 miles

In retrospect four days was not enough time in Glacier, though it was much better than one. I guess that just means another trip to the great park is in my future, though there are so many other spectacular places in the United States to see. I have been to twenty-five of the fifty states and I am looking forward to seeing the rest of them and sharing my journey with all of you.

Thanks for stopping and adventure on!

To view more image from Bozeman, Montana Visit: Bozeman

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) art bozeman bozeman montana glacier natioanl park long haul metal montana photography rv street photography travel trailer https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/10/moving-on-with-my-journey-to-glacier-second-stop-bozeman-montana Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:16:10 GMT
What to Focus On? https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/10/what-to-focus-on What to Focus On?

 

Last week I wrote a little bit about my most recent trip out west. This week I am struggling as I consider what to fill this blog post with. Do I go back and write about Glacier or do I continue to write about my most recent trip? I haven’t even finished processing my trip from Iceland a year ago, how sad is that? Then there is the conundrum about Las Vegas. I mean how can I write about trips and beautiful places when there is so much sadness in the world? It was a terrible thing that happened and I feel so sorry for all the people that had to endure such a horrific event. Though I must say it is very uplifting to see all the people who risked their lives to help others during the shooting and the outpouring of people who came together to donate blood, and supplies afterwards.

As I ponder all of this though, I think, I write and take photographs, because I want to show that there is beauty in this world, even though it can sometimes be very ugly. Whether it’s a portrait, or a beautiful landscape, each and every image shows the beauty of my subject and the world around us. It might be a simplistic view, but I think we often forget to look around us. We forget that there is beauty in nature as well as in each other. We rush around, ignoring everything around us, instead of pausing to see what is important. I believe that is part of the reason I love traveling and working with people, because it allows me to pause and see the beauty in the world. I try to keep remembering this as I look over all my images and wonder where to start.

The beginning? Well, that would be January when I went to San Antonio for the Professional Photographers Association conference.  Or would that just be summer travels starting in May?  I did some calculations this morning and figured I’ve driven over 7500 miles this summer.  That is a lot of miles. I have also met and talked with countless people along the way. It has been a great joy to take moments out to chat with total strangers about their journey. I love hearing about their adventures and places they’ve gone. I get lots of ideas about where to go next and I get a glimpse into the joy that I share with others about this beautiful world.

But that still doesn’t help me to figure out which adventure to write about or which pictures to post. I lean towards writing about my most recent trip, because that is the freshest in my mind, and while there were some cool things that happened, there were also some really cool things that happened on my other travels. Should I write about the people? The funniest person I met was in San Antonio at the Alamo. He was from Australia. He lives on the Gold Coast not far from where a dear friend of mine lives. Then there was the cute couple I met in Montana who said they came for vacation and never left. Then there was a lady we met in North Dakota on my most recent trip who was there with her mother and was thrilled to be there because she had planned it for two years or the cute retired couple who said they’d been on the road for over six weeks and couldn’t wait to get home.

Six weeks on the road! What an adventure. Could I, do it? I think I could. I would at least like to try. My husband and I talk about it. It sounds so romantic, just he and I, on the open road, going wherever the wind takes us. Our kids have moved back home so we’d have people to take care of the dogs (aka the Office Staff), chickens and the lawn. We had a nice taste of this type of lifestyle when we went to Glacier for ten days. We managed to live in twenty-nine feet with all our stuff and we didn’t kill each other or break an ankle on all our shoes. I mean seriously, do you realize how many pairs of shoes you need? You need hiking boots, then you need water shoes, sandals, tennis shoes and of course I have my extra hiking shoes, not boots, then it’s nice to have a pair of slip on shoes to wear around camp so you’re not tracking in all kinds of debris, saving on cleaning. Because who wants to clean when you’re in the middle of Glacier National park? Not me. I want to be hiking and exploring.

A Little Lake Action from McDonald LakePeaceful water sounds and pretty rocks - McDonald Lake Glacier National Park

A short video clip from McDonald Lake Glacier National Park

 

And then there’s clothing. I have to pack extra because well, it might be cold or hot, or rainy and I don’t want to be cold, hot or wet and I definitely don’t want to be stuck in a laundromat if I don’t have too.  Though if we go for more than ten days we will be doing laundry. I won’t even go into the amount of photo gear that comes with me wherever I go. I also don’t like to grocery shop, but our food was to say the least awesome. We grilled every night and I made little quiches before we went with eggs from our chickens. Quick and easy and more importantly no dishes. I make them in little plastic muffin type cups that I got off amazon. You can put anything you like in them out favorited are spinach, bacon and feta or potato, sausage, bacon and cheese. I’ll include the recipe and a link to the cups at the end in case you would like to try them. I have tried just using muffin tins but even with spray coating them with oil they were a mess to get out and clean.

So, adventure on my friends and enjoy the wonderful ride that is life!

To view more images from my journey please visit: North DakotaSouthDakotaIceland

 

 

Basic Quiche Recipe

12 eggs beaten

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

4 cups milk or half and half

Optional ingredients

Bag of hash browns

Shredded cheese

Feta cheese

Browned and drained bulk sausage

Browned, drained and crumbled bacon

Spinach

Mushrooms

Your favorite veggies

Mix eggs and seasonings. Place your favorite ingredients in the bottom of quiche cups, filling about a ¼ to ½ way, then top with egg mixture leaving ¼ inch to ½ inch from top of cup.

Place cups on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until cooked through. Allow to cool, then place in a large Tupperware, separating layers with waxed paper and freeze. Reheat in microwave for about 5 minutes.

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) adventure alamo camping eating focus food glacier glacier national park grilling healthy journey lake mcdonald people quiche rv travel west https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/10/what-to-focus-on Tue, 10 Oct 2017 14:30:00 GMT
I am Back Again https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/9/i-am-back-again Crazy. Yep, this summer has been one crazy ride. I just got back from a week’s long journey to South and North Dakota, with the same ladies I went to Iceland with. We had a great time and took lots of wonderful images. Though, I am still working through images I took at Glacier National Park in July before all the fires and now I have a ton more images to go through. I guess I will have plenty to do this winter when I can’t get out as much.

                One of our ladies had never been out to South Dakota before so of course we had to do all the funny touristy stuff along the way. Our first stop was in Pipestone, MN. We stopped at the Pipestone National Monument. It’s a cute little park with a nice waterfall, it made for a great first stop on our photographic adventure.

Pipestone National MonumentOver the Boulders

For more images from Pipestone visit: PipestoneMN

                Next stop the world’s only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. Mitchell is also known for pheasant hunting, though we didn’t get a chance to “shoot” any with our cameras. The corn palace is pretty cool when you look closely at its construction. Constructed of colored corn, grains and native grasses, and redesigned each year with a different theme. No small feat when you consider the first corn palace was constructed in 1882 and has been a Mitchell South Dakota tradition ever since.  

         From Mitchell, we traveled to Chamberlain South Dakota where we stopped at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive & Keelboat Center. This is a beautiful rest stop, that with a short walk behind the center, there are breathtaking views of the river below. This is also the home of the Native American statue, Dignity. Fifty feet tall, only a year old and designed by sculptor Dale Lamphere, to honor the Lakota and Dakota people. He used three Native American models of varying ages to perfect her face. Which I find very cool. Dignity is truly a work of art that will be a welcome addition to Chamberlain and all of her visitors.

Dignity

Dignity: Chamberlain SD

                We still had a way to go, since we were staying in Keystone, but we couldn’t pass up Wall, South Dakota, the infamous home of Wall Drug. It’s kinda like a rite of passage to all first timers and weary travelers. Besides everyone needs a picture of themselves astride a giant jack-a-lope.  A bit of homemade ice cream to sustain us and a walk around the shops in order to look at all the trinkets and we were off to our final destination and the adventure that awaited us.

To view more images from my trip please visit: pipestonemn or southdakota-chamberlain

Thank you for stopping. Adventure on!!

 

 

 

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) chamberlain south dakota corn palace dignity mitchell south dakota pipestone pipestone minnesota pipestone mn pipestone natioanl monument road trip south dakota wall drug wall south dakota https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/9/i-am-back-again Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Prairie Dogs: Theodore Roosevelt National Park https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/9/prairie-dogs-theodore-roosevelt-national-park Prairie Dogs

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

"Prairie-dogs are abundant...:they are in a shape like little woodchucks, and are the most noisy and inquisitive animals imaginable. They are never found singly, but always in towns of  several hundred inhabitants; and these towns are found in all kinds of places where the country is flat and treeless." Theodore Roosevelt

           

 

Theodore Roosevelt

(quote take from the official Theodore Roosevelt National Park website)

            Our first official stop in Medora, North Dakota was to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We decided to take the south loop since the entrance is right in Medora, North Dakota. Not too far into the loop we encountered our first, and probably the largest prairie dog town we saw in the park. These little guys are a hoot. We stayed quite a while, listening to them chirp, run and poke their little heads out of their holes. The whack-a-mole game must have been invented by someone who viewed a similar scene.

            Fascinated by these little guys I did a little reading on them. They are actually quite remarkable. Cousins to squirrels, they form close family groups and they have a complex system of communication that will signal different types of predators. They seem quite harmless and skittish, but there are several reports of prairie dogs biting people. They have super sharp teeth and claws and they aren’t afraid to use them if they need to.

            I am not sure what kind of bird it was, but it kept harassing the little rodents, to which they would chase it off, only to have it come back a few moments later. A few horses meandered through in the distance. I couldn’t help but wonder how they missed all of the little burrow openings. They were everywhere.

            How many miles of tunnels did they have underground? What kind of shenanigans occurs underground? Yeah, I kind of want to know. Back to Google. National Geographic states that typically a prairie dog town covers less than half a square mile, but some have been larger. The largest recorded prairie dog town covered some 25,000 square miles. That Texas town was home to perhaps four hundred million prairie dogs. I am not a fan of rodents but these guys were pretty cute. But as usual we must move on, there is a vast park out there that we need to explore.

 

To read more on Prairie Dogs you can visit: Defenders and 8 Surprising Facts.

To view more of my images from the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, just click the link.

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) medora medora north dakota north dakota prairie dog theodore roosevelt national park https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/9/prairie-dogs-theodore-roosevelt-national-park Sat, 02 Sep 2017 16:49:31 GMT
Sentinel https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/8/sentinel Sentinel

Look closely in the distance you can see three herds of Bison.SentinelEver watchful over his valley

            Though it is early, the heat of the day has already set in. But here I stand.

On the edge of a bluff, with no cooling breeze, here I stand.

Heat reflected off the valley floor, rolls ever upward to my viewing post, and it is here I stand, for this is my valley.

 A lone sentinel, I watch.

I watch as the birds fly by and the rabbits play.

I watch as the strange metal beasts come and go. Stopping and opening up their bellies, allowing strange bi-pedded beings to escape.  These beings wander around for a bit, some with purpose, some aimlessly but all under my watchful eye.

Eventually they return to the belly of the metal beast and travel away. Once again leaving me alone to watch over my valley.

My kind once filled these great plains and canyons, but now we are just a few small herds, for I am the great American Bison and I am forever watchful high above the valley.

  • ***

I was just approaching the high point on Wind Canyon Trail, in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, when another hiker was coming down the trail. He was really excited when he whispered to me, “there’s a really big buffalo just over the ridge.”

“Cool!” I replied, increasing my speed to the top. I was excited to get an up-close shot of a buffalo from a safe perch.

While I never quite got the shot I was looking for, I was not disappointed. This was a huge male Bison. He looked like he was sleeping when I got to the top, but that soon changed. A herd of Bison were moving down in the valley below and he began to perk up.

The male from the herd below, began to bellow. I couldn’t believe how clearly you could hear him, since they were quite a distance away. This perked up my hilltop Bison and he began to paw the earth, sending clouds of dust into the air. He was grunting and pawing, then he peed, pawed some more and then he rolled in it. He was so close to the edge of the bluff, I thought he would roll right off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once he finished rolling, he got back up to his feet, sides heaving, he continued to let out a low humph-ing sound. I am not sure if it carried to the Bison below, but he kept making the sound and you could hear other Bison bellowing from the valley.

I truly could have stayed here all day watching this fellow, but alas we only had one day here in Theodore Roosevelt National park and we had several more stops to make. I will be returning here in September so maybe I will be blessed with a similar sight or something even better.

To view more images from Theodore Roosevelt National Park please visit: Theodore Roosevelt

Thanks for stopping & Adventure On!

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) bison fotonic images hiking medora north dakota photography theodore roosevelt national park wind canyon trail https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/8/sentinel Fri, 11 Aug 2017 14:01:53 GMT
It Finally Happened https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/8/it-finally-happened It Finally Happened

            My dear sweet husband and I have joked around for years about getting an RV and traveling the country. We’ve laughed, poked fun and casually looked at campers whenever a camping show came to town, then two years ago for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary we drove to Idaho. We did a combination of tent camping and hoteling. We drove everyday exploring along the route, by the end of twelve days we were fed up with packing and unpacking the car. And we decided to get serious about an RV. That started a process of scrimping, saving, collecting RV brochures and visiting every RV dealer we came across, but we finally did it! Yay us!

Leaving the RV lot

            When I posted our new purchase on Facebook one of my friends said, “Hey, you want to go to Glacier with us?” It took all of two minutes for the hubby and I to check our schedules and say yes. Who cares that we hadn’t even stayed one night in the camper yet or ever pulled camper 1,183 miles (one way), it would be an adventure. We’d better get a few trial runs in before we go.

            Our first weekend took us three hours Northwest of home, at which point it rained the whole weekend. We still got out in the rain, did a couple of scenic drives, discovered Pottyville and of course hit Walmart for all the things we forgot. It gave us time to organize the camper and just relax in front of the TV watching movies.

PottyVille PottyVille

            Our second weekend we went North. It was a little drier than our first weekend, but we toured the area, did a little hiking and avoided Walmart. We dropped of the RV to get the leak and a few other small items fixed and talked about a new truck with a larger gas tank for our big adventure. The ironic thing about this is that during our search for the perfect travel trailer we were adamant that the campers weight had to comply with our trucks towing capacity, which it did. What we hadn’t considered though was the size of the gas tank and how little gas mileage we would actually get. To complicate the matter, we were down to four weeks before we had to leave for Glacier National Park.

 

 

            New truck, check.

            Food and clothing for a ten-day trip, (probably more like two weeks), check.

            Photography gear, check.

            Husband, check.

            Yep, we are ready for our first long haul. It will be an adventure. Join me as I share my adventure. You can allays find posts here or on Twitter or Facebook.

 

           

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Happy 4th of July! https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/7/happy-4th-of-july Happy 4th of July from the Office StaffHappy 4th of July from the Office Staff!

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Still on Day Five https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/6/still-on-day-five Still on Day Five

Photo Credit: Lisa Asp

 

Every time I open my Iceland folder I just find more images that I am in love with and want to share. I am not sure how long it will take me to go through all of my images, but I am hoping it will be before I start my adventure with these same wonderful ladies into the South Dakota Badlands this fall.

Just before we arrived at Vik Iceland, we stopped at Dyrholaey Lighthouse. Such a cool view it made it hard to move along down the road towards Vik.  On the distant shore of the black beach you could see the stacks of Vik in the distance. I would have liked to walk the beach but due to the weather and time restraints we couldn’t. There were several crazy people that were out on the edges of the rocks trying to catch a picture of the crashing waves.  Shortly after we left the beach was closed as a woman got swept out to sea (Article). Water is just one of those things that has immense power that always has to be respected. I think we take that for granted here in Minnesota because most of our lakes are pretty tame even on the roughest of days. Yes, we do have Lake Superior, which has its own unique disposition, however, most of us only experience local lakes.

 

Six days in Iceland just isn’t enough, by time you recover from the jet lag, find your accommodations and get your bearings   you’ve already lost a day. Then it seems like you need to pull over every couple of miles because you find something unique and different that requires you to capture an image or just revel in Iceland’s beauty.

 

Adventure on!

 

To view more images from my Iceland adventure visit: http://www.fotonicimages.com/iceland

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Black DYRHÓLAEY. Iceland Sunset beach https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/6/still-on-day-five Fri, 09 Jun 2017 22:21:49 GMT
A Day In Vik, Iceland https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/5/a-day-in-vik-iceland Vik Iceland

 

From the iconic red roof church to the black sandy beaches, Vik Iceland is a great place to visit. We spent quite a bit of time in exploring Vik. It is hard to pick a highlight from Vik, though if pressed, I would have to say the sea stacks were my favorite. I absolutely love the sound of the surf hitting the rocks as the waves roll over, spraying water and salt into the air. I am always in awe of the immense power of the sea and the calming sounds it makes.

Sunset was the goal in Vik, though the weather did not cooperate. We still managed to spend an hour on the beach. Taking photos and watching the sea birds.  A couple of girls rode by on horseback for their evening ride. How spectacular would that be to ride your horse every evening along the sea shore at sunset?

 

 

We stopped a little shop and bought souvenirs for the folks back home, and of course a little something for me. I bought Icelandic wool hats for me and my family. I have to say they are the warmest hats we have ever worn. The store had a big window on the second floor where you could look down and watch how all the wool products are made. Very interesting process when you see all the strands of wool being woven into your hat.

We also enjoyed dinner in Vik at the Halldorskaffi restaurant. It was a quaint little restaurant off of the main street. The setting was homey, the staff was super friendly and the food was superb.   I had fish and a couple of the other girls had veal. With all the sheep in Iceland, veal is definitely a specialty. I also splurged and had a piece of chocolate cake. I am gluten-free, but found that I tolerated flour based products pretty well in Iceland.

After dinner, we headed back to our cabin, to plan our last day in Iceland as we headed back to the airport. Six days really were not enough time, it went so fast and there was still so much more to explore. I would like return to Vik in better weather, of course I’ve already been there so do you go back or find new? That is always a tough question for me.

 

Adventure on!

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Iceland Vik Vik Iceland black beach church ocean sunset surf https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/5/a-day-in-vik-iceland Fri, 19 May 2017 16:33:21 GMT
I Haven’t Forgotten About Iceland, Just a Little Detour https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/5/i-haven-t-forgotten-about-iceland-just-a-little-detour I Haven’t Forgotten About Iceland, Just a Little Detour

Welcome to Whalan, MNWelcome to Whalan, MN

 

WOW! What a couple of hectic weeks. Between work and planning this summer’s adventures the time has gotten away from me, but I am back at it. This summer’s adventures will be taking me to Glacier National Park, and the Gunflint Trail before rounding out my Summer in the Bad Lands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Yes, I am trying to make more room on my hard drive for images.

Cedar Valley resortOur Retreat Cabin

Cedar Valley Resort

               But before all that, I started out May with a retreat for writers to Whalen, Minnesota. Located in South East Minnesota, near Lanesboro, Whalen is just the cutest little town. Of course, I was there to write and glean vast amounts of knowledge from other writers, all while trying to get a few words to page. I couldn’t leave home without my camera, a girl just never knows what she will find. Always time for exploring my surroundings and with spring in full bloom there were plenty of subjects.

 

 

               I am sure most of you are looking forward to seeing a bit more of Iceland and I promise next week I will have another look into my visit there. I could probably write forever on Iceland, though there are only a couple of more days to go. I am really looking forward to the return in 2018.

 

To view more image from Whalan, MN Visit: www.Fotonicimages.com/Whalan 

To check out my books visit: www.WildHorsePublications.com

 

Adventure on & Thanks for stopping by!

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Flowers Minnesota Spring Whalan Whalan Minnesota https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/5/i-haven-t-forgotten-about-iceland-just-a-little-detour Tue, 09 May 2017 21:18:01 GMT
Day 3: Gullfoss and a Five Mile Hike to a Missed Location https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/4/day-3-gullfoss-and-a-five-mile-hike-to-a-missed-location Day 4: Gullfoss and a Five Mile Hike to a Missed Location

 

                Day four in Iceland did not bring better weather, still our photo exploration had to continue. The one ray of sunshine is that during November sunrise isn’t until 9:30 A.M. in Iceland, however it’s not much conciliation when you stay up half the night hoping to see Northern Lights, that, much like the sun didn’t come out and play.Grabbing our coffee mugs and a couple of Gluten-Free granola bars, we crammed ourselves and all our gear into the rental car and headed out for the day. First stop Burafoss Waterfall. Off the beaten path, we hoped to capture some images of the turquoise blue water and some unique images. What we ended up with was a beautiful rushing stream, some curious sheep and slush bombs pelting us as we hiked. It was a great hike and we had lots of laughs, despite the miscalculation in direction.

 

 

 

 

               

A Little River in Burafoss

To learn more about Icelandic Sheep, please click the link.

GullfossA Mighty Roar of Water

 

                Off to the next stop, Gullfoss. I was not prepared for the massive crevice that was filled with the roar of raging water. Wow! The trail that led down to the water’s edge was closed due to the treacherous weather conditions, so I stood pressed up against the rope and watched the water roar for several minutes before taking my camera out. We spent about an hour there at the edge of the trail, then up above the powerful waterfall. This will definitely be a spot to return to in better weather and a must see if you ever venture to Iceland.

GullFossGullFoss GullFossGullFoss GullFossGullFoss

 

To view Images from our trip please visit:Iceland

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Burafoss Gullfoss Iceland Icelandic sheep Sheep Waterfall https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/4/day-3-gullfoss-and-a-five-mile-hike-to-a-missed-location Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:30:00 GMT
Day 3: Horses & the Blue Lagoon https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/4/day-3-horses-the-blue-lagoon Day 3: Horses & the Blue Lagoon

 

Time to bid ado to our first location and head off to new landscape. Our new “home” would be located in the heart of the golden circle. I can’t say enough about how happy we were with AirBnB. The houses we stayed at. They both were awesome. They offered us enough room to spread out with all our gear, make a few meals and sleep comfortably. The homes were very clean and the locations fit our needs. I would use AirBnB again, way better than a hotel and cheaper too.

Our new diggs Our new diggs

Braving the weather: Icelandic Horses

Our travels today would take us past several beautiful horses braving the elements, and bountiful wet wooly sheep. The highlight of today however was our visit to the Blue Lagoon. Yes, it is a tourist destination, but oh so worth it. We soaked in the natural warm mineral water for several hours. Soaking the damp chill out of our tired bones.

The Blue Lagoon

The locker rooms were very clean and the process of getting into the pool was quite invigorating. I say this because once exiting the locker room, you need to hang up your towel amongst the countless other white towels, all the while being pelted with cold icy rain water. And did I mention the ever ceaseless wind? Oh, yeah, there was wind.  I think we stayed in the pool longer than we probably would have if we didn’t have to walk back through the rain and wind and into the building. We ran in to several Americans while we were there. Funny thing was whenever we met someone from the states, right after “hello” was “Did you vote?”  Very funny to see our candidates in an Icelandic newspaper and I was truly hoping to stop hearing about politics when I got back. Still no luck on that score.

The Vote is in.

To view more images Please visit : ICELAND

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Blue Lagoon Election results Golden Circle Horses Iceland Icelandic Horses https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/4/day-3-horses-the-blue-lagoon Thu, 20 Apr 2017 14:30:00 GMT
Did Someone Say Windy? Day two in Iceland https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/4/did-someone-say-windy-day-two-in-iceland Did Someone Say Windy? Day two in Iceland

Holding Up the Rocks

 

                We woke up on day two ready for adventure. After a long day of travel, catching up on some much needed rest, we headed out for our first full day of exploration in Iceland. We had spent the evening scouring maps and looking at our travel notes and we had a plan. The first stop of the day was Kirkjufellsfoss or “Church Mountain Falls”. Located in the West region of Iceland on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. We had planned well, or so we thought. It was late fall, but we had planned for wet winter weather, we were from Minnesota after all and we would not be deterred by a little cold weather. What we had not counted on however was the wind!

                When we arrived at the waterfall, we sat in the car for about thirty minutes, hoping the wind and rain would settle down, laughing at other tourists as they got out of their cars, walked a short way, got blown about and returned drenched to their cars. We were in Iceland however and we did not fly into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to sit in a car. So out we went. We got blown about just like the other guys, but we climbed, up and over the top, carrying our tripods and cameras. I had a rain sleeve on my camera, and my camera is supposed to be weather resistant but it still got soaked and quit working, until it dried out. I now have a new rain sleeve that I hope will protect my camera better. (Rain Cover)

KirkjufellsfossKirkjufellsfoss Iceland waterfall

                From there we made our way around the peninsula, stopping at several points of interest. It was a bit disappointing as many of the trails and beaches were closed due to high tides and ferocious winds. We still managed to take is some spectacular sights. Some of the highlights were: Djupalonssandur, village of Arnarstapi, The Black church at Búðir, Ingjaldsholl (Lutheran) church, along with many scenic views.

The Black church at BúðirOne of the few brown churches in Iceland The Balck Beach Iceland

 

Twice while making the drive around Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the car rocked up on two wheels. It was one of the scariest drives I have ever done. We made it though, all the way around the peninsula. I will never laugh again at all the signs in the car rental place that read, “Hold on to car doors, the wind can take them off.”

Atlantic Ocean - IcelandA view of the raging sea off the Snæfellsnes Peninsula Iceland

 

To view more of my images from Iceland please visit: WWW.FotonicImages.com/Iceland

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Exploration Iceland Snæfellsnes Peninsula West Region church waterfall https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/4/did-someone-say-windy-day-two-in-iceland Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:30:00 GMT
The First Day in Iceland https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/4/the-first-day-in-iceland Iceland Day Number One

November 5th 2016

Our FlightMinneapolis to Keflavik, the adventure begins

In the pitch dark of early morning our plane arrived in Iceland. It was cold, dark and rainy, we were tired and half starved, but very excited to be there. We followed the line of weary travelers, retrieving our baggage, passing through customs and out to the curb to catch the shuttle. The shuttle was taking us to get our rental car. We waited for twenty minutes or so in the dreary darkness, only to be dropped off about a block away. All we would have had to do was walk around the corner and we would have been there. Instead we froze and nearly got shut in the doorway of the bus, a great beginning.

Once the gear was loaded we headed to Reykjavik in search of breakfast. We ate at the Laundromat Café. The food was excellent, though very pricey by our standards. I experimented a bit and ate some bread and little pancake type things that were most excellent. I am gluten-free and have heard that in European countries the flour is different. So I went for it. I am happy to report I had no issues, though later in the trip I had pizza and suffice it to say that didn’t go as well.

ReykjavíkA brief exploration of Reykjavík ReykjavíkA brief exploration of Reykjavík

From Reykjavik, we drove to our first destination. We used Airbnb for our accommodations and were anxious to get to our first destination.  Our route took us through through the through the through the Hvalfjörður Tunnel, it seemed like it would never, never end. A very cool piece of engineering. Other than actually getting to Iceland, this was the coolest thing we experience the first day. By time we purchased groceries, found our house we were all so exhausted we went straight to bed.  After a several hours we woke had dinner and began planning our first official day in Iceland. 

Our "First Home" in IcelandThe first place we stayed in Iceland. We had hoped to escape city lights in order to capture Northern Lights. As you can see the rain and fog said no.

     To View Images visit: FotonicImages/Iceland

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Hvalfjörður Tunnel Iceland Reykjavík airbnb the laundromat cafe https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/4/the-first-day-in-iceland Tue, 04 Apr 2017 14:30:00 GMT
Where Did the Time Go? https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/3/where-did-the-time-go Where did the time go?

 

It seems like just yesterday my friends and I journeyed to Iceland though in reality it was all the way back in November. Now we are planning a trip to the Badlands this fall. It is always exciting planning a new adventure, though it reminds me I haven’t finished going through all my Iceland images. 

 

The CrewTaken while exploring Dverghamrar, which is a Basalt rock formation.

This is a Basalt Formation. Location: Dverghamrar. Regína Hrönn  Ragnarsdóttir wrote a nice article in Guide to Iceland about this unique place. Dverghamrar

 

When I got back in from six days in Iceland, I was totally wiped out. I wasn’t quite prepared for the time change coming back. We were up late every night hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern lights and up early to get to our destination before sunrise. The weather never cooperated on either front however. Regardless, the return home was hard, but oh so worth it.  After a few days of catch up sleep I rolled right in work, then Christmas, then in January, San Antonio, Texas for Imaging.


Time for a little touring around San Antonio. The Alamo was one of the highlights.

 

 

Imaging in one of the largest gatherings of photographers in the country. Its sole purpose is to bring photographers together for three days of learning and networking. I came home from Texas ready to get to work and try out a few new tricks and then poof it’s the end of March and I am just getting back to Iceland.

 

In a way it’s kinda nice to have the delay in looking at my images. They bring back lots of wonderful memories and are brightening up this dreary day that’s somewhere between winter and spring. I know we have to get through this in between time in order to find spring, but I’m ready for some green.

An Icelandic Rainbow

Icelandic Rainbow

 

We plan on returning to Iceland in 2018 and during a better weather season. It is a gorgeous and unique country and I can’t wait to go back. Please check back frequently as I will be post images soon.

 

Icelandic Horse

The infamous Icelandic Horse. To read more about this breed of Horse Icelandic Horse or to view more images from my trip to ICELAND, click on the links 

Thanks for stopping by & adventure on J

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Adventure Dverghamrar Iceland Icelandic Horse Photography San Antonio texas Texas horse rainbow san Antonio, Alamo, time https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2017/3/where-did-the-time-go Mon, 27 Mar 2017 14:30:00 GMT
Happy St. Patrick's Day! https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2016/3/happy-st-patricks-day The staff was a little out of sorts today, but we still managed to sit still for a minute. Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone. #StPatricksDay #Irish #JustforFun

Happy St. Patrick's Day

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) , dogs, Black Day Happy St. Patrick Labs" The Office Staff s https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2016/3/happy-st-patricks-day Thu, 17 Mar 2016 23:03:10 GMT
Happy Valentines Day! https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2016/2/happy-valentines-day

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Happy Valentines Day https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2016/2/happy-valentines-day Mon, 15 Feb 2016 02:17:26 GMT
The John Beargrease Sled Dog Race 2016 https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2016/2/the-john-beargrease-sled-dog-race-2016 The John Beargrease Sled Dog Race

Is It Time?John Beargrease Sled Dog

The last weekend of January has many people thinking about vacations in Florida or other warm areas of the world. Not me, I chose to venture to northern Minnesota for five days and follow sled dogs from Two Harbors, up to Grand Portage, and back down to Billy’s bar in Northern Duluth. The purpose for this crazy adventure was to photograph the John Beargrease sled dog race which started in 1980 and is the longest sled dog race in the lower 48 states at nearly 400 miles. It started to honor John Beargrease and his relentless commitment to deliver the mail between Two Harbors and Grand Portage Minnesota. To read more of the history of this dedicated man please visit: http://www.beargrease.com/aboutjohnbeargrease.htm

This Is So Much Fun!

My journey was a bit crazy, up at 4:00 A.M, back to the hotel well past midnight, missed meals, but all worth it to photograph these amazing four legged athletes and their dedicated mushers. You can tell that these dogs love to run. They bark, howl and carry on when they know it’s getting close to race time. I envy the amount of energy these dogs possess.  

I met so many interesting people, petted all the dogs I could and took tons of photos along the way. I am already looking forward to next year’s race and I hope that one day I can go all the way to Alaska and follow the dogs of the Iditarod. Maybe I’ll even see you up on the trail next year. I Think They're getting Ready

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Duluth ExploreMN Grand Portage John Beargrease Minnesota Mushing Sled-dogs Two Harbors https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2016/2/the-john-beargrease-sled-dog-race-2016 Sun, 14 Feb 2016 06:48:38 GMT
Happy New Year! https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2016/1/happy-new-year Happy New Year!Happy New Year!Happy New Year!

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2016/1/happy-new-year Fri, 01 Jan 2016 07:40:34 GMT
Merry Christmas! https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/12/merry-christmas Merry Christmas!Merry Christmas!Merry Christmas!

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Christmas! Merry https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/12/merry-christmas Sun, 27 Dec 2015 20:54:39 GMT
Happy Thanksgiving! https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/11/happy-thanksgiving Happy Thanksgiving!

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/11/happy-thanksgiving Fri, 27 Nov 2015 05:51:45 GMT
Happy Halloween https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/10/happy-halloween Happy HalloweenThe "Office Staff" Wishes you all a happy & safe Halloween

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Black Lab Halloween https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/10/happy-halloween Sat, 31 Oct 2015 21:16:21 GMT
The Grand Tetons https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/9/the-grand-tetons I can’t believe its Labor Day. Amazing! Between vacations, photography trips UP North and college visits, I have put enough miles on my car to have three oil changes this summer. Can you believe it? I sure can’t. No pun intended it’s been quite a ride.

I am still working my way through photos from all my summer time adventures and with the hot steaming weather it is a perfect time to do so. Two of the photos I came across are both from the Grand Tetons National Park. Out of the five national parks, I have to say this was by far my most favorite. Don’t get me wrong each and every one of the parks we visited were gorgeous, but there was just something about the Tetons.

Sunset at Oxbow BendSunset at Oxbow Bend The Grand Tetons National Park This photo was taken at Oxbow Bend at sunset in the Tetons. We went there to view wildlife, the only thing we found besides this gorgeous sunset was mosquitoes. Up until this point I thought Minnesota had the corner on mosquitoes, oh was I wrong! There were so many squadrons flying around our heads we retreated to the car to watch out the windows. While I was in the car I set my camera, connected it to the tripod, then when I thought the color was just about right I bolted from the vehicle, quickly taking my spot. I was only able to capture a few images before I found myself racing back to the car in search of refuge. We stayed at Oxbow until the sun went down completely, I think we did this mostly out of fear because we were camping this night and we were both afraid to make the break from the car to the tent.

Sunrise ReflectionSunrise Reflection in the Grand Tetons National Park This was one of the few nights we camped while on our adventure and this night was our 25th wedding anniversary. I had chatted with the gate attendant, in order to find a campsite on the lake. Unfortunately there are no campsites directly on the lake but he did open a loop for us and put us at a site that was directly across from the lake. It was a spectacular to wake up, walk about 100 feet, sit on a log and enjoy our morning coffee looking out over Jackson Lake at the base of the Tetons. So peaceful and majestic, I almost didn’t want to press on with the rest of our adventure. But check out time was upon us and we were both looking forward to see what was beyond the bend.

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Grand Mosquitoes National Park. Sunset Tetons and camping in photography sunrise the https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/9/the-grand-tetons Mon, 07 Sep 2015 15:30:00 GMT
College Tour 2015 https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/8/college-tour-2015                 My son will be a senior this year! I can’t believe that it is time for my youngest boy child to leave the nest. It seems like just yesterday that he was born, I know that is so clique, but well, it’s true. With him entering his senior year, not only do I get to take his senior class pictures, I get to tour College campuses with him.

                Our search for him to find the perfect home for the next four years of his life has allowed us to spend quite a few hours in the car together road tripping.  I’m an adventurer at heart so this is right up my alley of top ten things to do. This adventurer also loves to sing along to the radio or play an air instrument if I don’t know the words. All this has brought several strange looks from my son and a staunch refusal to join my band. I am sure he thinks I have totally lost my mind at this point and is ready to put me in a home for the mentally unstable. But I digress.

                So far we have toured three colleges and we have two left to go. I have tried to make a point of finding fun things to do in each location, so that he not only has a feel for the college he might attend but for the surrounding area. I think it’s important to know what the area is like before you move there, I mean what good is it if you move to an area you hate. Exploring the world around you should be part of the college experience.

                We have bowled, gone to the movies, zip-lined and took a ride on an alpine coaster, enjoyed meals at some out of the way restaurants and seen some interesting sights. But the most fun to me is watching my son have a good time and seeing the light in his eyes brighten as he sees a world with endless possibilities.

Will it be work? Yes.

Will there be struggles? Yes.

But there will also be lots of fun an adventure as you start to truly explore your world as an adult, meeting new people, seeing new sites and trying new activities.  Yes!

I am very excited and happy for my son as well as all the upcoming 2016 graduates. You all have a bright future in store for you no matter what path you decide to follow. For some of you it might mean college, others it could mean technical school or the military. Others of you may already have jobs or plan on backpacking Europe or something. There are endless possibilities for your path and your future, and whatever path you decide to follow make it an adventure!

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) College High adventure explore school senior tour https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/8/college-tour-2015 Fri, 07 Aug 2015 22:53:06 GMT
Planning Your Senior Portrait Session https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/planning-your-senior-portrait-session You’re a senior, now what? Being a senior can be quite overwhelming. There are college tours, applications to fill out, graduation requirements to complete, you seem to be deciding your whole future in a few short months. Well, relax and enjoy the process. This should be one of the most exciting times in your life. You are on the brink of being an adult and the pursuit of your dreams. Don’t forget though one of the most fun things in the process is your senior portrait session. This is the time where you can really show off your style.

Your school may have some requirements for your senior portrait, due to yearbook constraints and I am sure your mom and grandmother have a request or two, but the remainder of your images are yours and should reflect who you are at this moment in your life. So take a moment or two to organize your thoughts, your wardrobe and work with your photographer to plan your session.

The first planning item is your wardrobe and while back to school fashion can be quite fun, remember for your senior portraits pick timeless pieces. Timeless doesn't equal boring and you can still put in some fun trendy pieces together that shows your unique style. If you need some inspiration you can look on line at sites like Pinterest or Tumblr, but if that’s not your style head to the mall to check out a few of your favorite stores. Most stores display whole outfits and by visiting a few of the stores you can really get a feel for what the current styles and colors are. Also make sure you inform your photographer about any activities, hobbies, interests or sports you are involved in. It is always fun to include some of your interests in your session.

Here are some tips for you when choosing your portrait session.

  • Loud colors and big prints don’t photograph well and will quickly become outdated so try to avoid those. Look for complementing solid colors that allow you to be the subject clothing. This is even more important when you are in a group.
  • The color of your clothes can also make you look larger or smaller.
    • Examples
      • Brights make you look larger especially reds, oranges and yellows.
      • White top dark pants will make your top look bigger.
      • White pants dark top will make your bottom look bigger.
      • Similar tones on top and bottom will ensure that none of your body parts look larger than the other.
  • Choose a tops with sleeves that come at least to the elbow. This is important because your arms have more skin area than your face. By showing more skin attention will be drawn away from your face and to your arms which may make your arms appear larger.
  • Choose long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies for the same reason as above. Also you will be able to sit and bend without showing too much leg.
  • Choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo) because white just sticks out like a sore thumb and that’s all you’ll notice in your portrait.
  • Jewelry and nail polish should also be kept simple so your face is noticed in your portrait not your accessories.
  • Do your hair the way you’d normally wear it and if you will be getting a haircut do it two weeks before your session. Most people aren’t comfortable will their new dew and it will be noticeable in your session. Also match your makeup and hair to the clothing you will be wearing at your session. If you want a formal look make a second session time or make time at the end of your session for formal hair and makeup.

 

 

I hope this gives you some good guidelines to follow for your portrait session, just remember keep all your deadlines straight on your calendar and have fun, this is your senior year and your new adventure is about to begin.

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Senior choice clothing portraits https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/planning-your-senior-portrait-session Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:30:00 GMT
Our Adventure West: 25 years in the Making https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/our-adventure-west-25-years-in-the-making 2015 is a special year to me and my husband as we are celebrating 25 years of marriage! I still can’t believe it is possible because the time has just flown by. I am pretty sure the next 25 years will go just as fast. To celebrate our many years together we decided to take a little drive, 3800 miles and five states and five national parks later we arrived back home.

                Once I arrived home I began working on pictures right away. As a photographer, that can be a daunting task considering everything can be a subject, who am I kidding everything is a subject. I am also one of those people who suffers from, “I may never be back to this spot again” and “this (insert:  scene, object, whatever, here) will never look this way again so I had better capture it now” philosophy. I will have to give my husband credit he is extremely patient with me and never seemed to tire of waiting for me while I took “just one more shot.”

I did make sure my husband was armed with his own camera for our adventure, the man has a good eye and I could tell he enjoys capturing his own moments. I finally got him to upload all his photos so I could look at his pictures.  I mean seriously, I relived the whole vacation the same day we arrived home and here he is, almost a full month later, hoarding his photos on his camera. He does that with new clothes also. He’ll get a new outfit for father’s day, birthday, etc. and it will sit in his closet for a while, me I get a new outfit and I am wearing it the next day. Oh, well I digress.

I did notice a theme in his photos though, and I have to laugh.  What is that theme you might wonder? Well, it’s me taking photos. 

 

 

 

Yep, looks like all I did on vacation was take pictures. It definitely was a big part of our trip.  We also spent a lot of time hiking, horseback riding, looking for wildlife and of course exploring. This trip will go down in my memory as one of my favorites as it was something we have been talking about since we were married.

We have taken a few tropical vacations and I have loved them very much, however there is just something to be said about the beauty and wonder that is offered in the United States and within driving distance. I am astonished to think how it must have been for the early settlers to cross our nation. It is so vast and just plain big. They must have wondered if they would ever make it to their desired destinations. I think about how slowly they would have traveled and how that compares to us driving 80 through the Great Plains. I am already planning our next adventure to visit other states that we haven’t seen and I think a great goal will be to see all of our beautiful states by time we hit our 50th wedding anniversary. So keep your bag packed and tires on the car honey, we have a lot more driving to do.

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) National Parks Photography Travel West https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/our-adventure-west-25-years-in-the-making Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:30:00 GMT
2015 June North Shore Trip Day 3 https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/2015-june-north-shore-trip-day-3 2015 June North Shore Trip Day 3

 

On the third day of our glorious adventure up North, we did not get up early enough for sunrise. We were up in Grand Marais the night before which put us three hours away from home, then we stayed up late waiting in hopes of seeing Northern Lights. No such luck this trip. But the weather was great and we were ready to hit the trail, waterfalls and wild flowers look out we are on our way!

We headed back up the coast from Duluth towards Two Harbors, spending a great deal of time in Tettegouche State Park, I was fortunate enough to catch a rainbow at the waterfall there. It was a nice hike to get to the falls and there were a lot of people enjoying the sunshine, some were even brave enough to wade in the river. Water was a little too cold for me.

From Tettegouche we headed to Temperance River State park, where I donated a filter to the river. I have to say I like the effect and versatility my new VU Filter system offers, but I am not fond of the holder itself. The holder is supposed to allow up to three square filters and one circular filter that screws into the holder itself. There are three channels that hold each filter in and there are four little screws that tighten or loosen so that you can easily slide the filters in or out or position to meet the sky line when using a graduated filter.  The filter that I lost was my 100x150 graduated 3 stop Neutral Density Soft edge filter. It slid right out of the bottom of the filter holder, crashing on several rock ledges and eventually landing in the river a hundred feet or so below us. The sound it made echoing in the canon was amazing to say the least. My bargain trip just became expensive.

After leaving Temperance we went in search of a good place to catch the sunset. Unfortunately the sky became overcast and the sun dipped down fast, so we ended our days adventure at Grandma’s in Duluth. I enjoyed their wild rice soup and their raspberry salad, though I would recommend putting some actual raspberries in the salad versus just raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Back to the cabin, because tomorrow we are going to be up for sunrise.

To view more images from this or other trips please visit: www.FotonicImages.com

Links to products I used for this adventure

 
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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Duluth Filters Harbors Minnesota North Park River Shore State Temperance Tettegouche Two Vu Waterfall river https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/2015-june-north-shore-trip-day-3 Wed, 08 Jul 2015 15:30:00 GMT
What to Wear for Your Family Portrait https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/what-to-wear-for-your-family-portrait Your session is booked and you finally corralled your family, but now what? What does a family wear to a portrait session so you all look like you are part of a same group?  More importantly what does a family or anyone wear to their portrait session so that you portrait will not only look beautiful on your wall today, but be a timeless piece of art to be treasured forever.

You could spend hours on Pinterest gleaning ideas both good and not so good or you can talk with your portrait photographer. A good portrait photographer will guide you through some choices and give you some direction. However, if your family is accustomed to a certain look and feel you don’t want to stuff them all in clothing that they are not comfortable in.  It might result in a mutiny that will leave you pulling your hair out. Part of the portrait experience is to capture the essence of you and your family.

Many people will say “Just do the black shirt and jeans,”   While that is a Classic option, it doesn’t always work for everyone. What does work? Color schemes where there are one to three colors with similar tones or soft patterns work well together. For example the kids will wear teal, the mother will wear a blue shirt with the same tone, but wear a teal scarf and the father would wear a similar blue shirt to mom, tying them all together. This can change if you are a very large group and want to set various family groups apart, an example would be at a family reunion.

A few other suggestions would be:

¨ Stay away from really large patterns, strong logos and extremely bright colors.

¨ Choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow & long pants for men/ladies or a skirt below the knee for ladies.

¨ Choose dark socks and footwear (unless it’s a barefoot photo on the beach).

¨ Keep jewelry simple and minimalistic. Same goes for nail polish.

¨ Do your hair the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes.

If getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session. Just remember your portrait session is about you and your family. The goal is of your session to capture what your family is all about and the connections you have to each other, so, relax, be comfortable in what you are wearing 

For more ideas Follow me on Pinterest at: http://www.pinterest.com/outdoorgirl45/what-to-wear-for-senior-portraits/

 

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Clothing Family Portraits Senior https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/what-to-wear-for-your-family-portrait Tue, 07 Jul 2015 15:30:00 GMT
2015 June North Shore trip Day 2 https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/2015-june-north-shore-trip-day-2 After a long day of driving and photography, we drove to my father-in-laws cabin, which would be our home base for the next couple of nights. We arrived late after waiting for sunset in Ashland, WI. The sunset was pretty, but not the spectacular spectacle of light we were hoping for.

While we were up early, we took time for coffee, drying out the tent and a little conversation with our lovely hosts. We planned our day’s adventure and decided we would hunt for lady slippers and waterfalls. It was a glorious morning on the screen porch listening to the birds chirp, soaking up the warmth of the sun and looking over the gardens.

Upon leaving the cabin our first stop was the Superior lighthouse and then up the Scenic Drive towards Two Harbors landing us in Grand Marais for sunset and a wonderful meal at My Sister’s Place. At My Sister’s Place, we had absolutely great service and they offered Gluten Free selections which I was thrilled with. My friend Kim enjoyed one of their microbrews, which she stated was one of the best beers she’d ever had. This will definitely be a return spot and I can’t wait to take my husband.

 We did a lot of hiking that day and we managed to find a waterfall or two and some pink lady slippers that were on their last leg. But I have to say the highlight of this trip was making it to Grand Marais.

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Beer Food Free Gluten Grand Hiking Lady Marais Micro-brew Minnesota My North Place Shore Sister's Slipper Sunset Waterfall Wisconsin https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/7/2015-june-north-shore-trip-day-2 Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:14:18 GMT
2015 June Northshore Adventure https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/6/2015-june-northshore-adventure The flowers of the North Shore maybe short lived but they offer a spectacular display of beauty while they are in bloom. This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the shores of Lake Superior in the quest to find some of these beautiful gems along with some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. While I never found the elusive "Showy" Lady Slipper I did manage to find some nice pink ones, though they were at the end of their life cycle.

Another beautiful flower that I found was the western columbine and these cute little orange flowers known as Hieracium or hawkweeds.  These little orange flowers were everywhere and were often covered in these cute little orange months.

Our trip started out with a visit to Madeline Island, we had hopes of capturing a nice sunset and sunrise, though all we managed to get was wet. Yep, it rained before out visit and during the night. We still managed to drive the whole island, explore La Pointe and have a nice dinner at the Pub at the Inn.

In the morning we packed up the wet tent while enjoying our coffee. I payed extra for the electric set up so that I could use my electric tea pot instead of the camp stove and headed to the ferry. Of course we had to stop and take a few photos on the way out. The ferry ride is a short jaunt, about 20-25 minutes, and before we knew it we were back in Bayfield, WI. We enjoyed a quick breakfast and Gruenke’s. Gruenke’s is a cute little restaurant that is filled with nostalgia and quirky memorabilia, giving a diner lots to look at while you wait for your food.

After breakfast we headed up the coast towards Ashland, WI. This trip took us all day because we took many side roads to explore the country. We also enjoyed a nice hike up to Houghton Falls, which unfortunately had dried up, but if you are a fan of hobbits and elves this is surely where they live. Most importantly though we stopped to photograph Lupines. Lupines bloom over a two month period and come in a variety of colors, though we seemed to find them mostly in blue and pink. Some were so tall that a person could easily get lost in a field of them. They were truly a delight.

Arriving in Ashland we, dined at the Deep Water Grill, where I enjoyed melt in your mouth beef medallions and picked up a growler of Nut Brown Ale for my husband. The North Shore has quite a few microbreweries and while I myself am not a beer drinker I find that my husband likes the variety of microbrews that are offered on the Shores of Lake Superior, besides when they are empty I smile at him and say, “awe shucks, they’re empty, I had better go refill them for you.” He laughs because he knows I am ready to grab my camera and head Up North on a moments notice.

 

 


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(Fotonic Images, LLC) Ashland Columbine Falls Hawkweed Houton Island Ladyslipper Lupine Madeline North Shore Wisconsin beer camping dining hiking microbrew photography https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/6/2015-june-northshore-adventure Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:38:48 GMT
Rosemount Area Arts https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/6/rosemount-area-arts Come join the fun with me and the Rosemount Area Arts Council, tomorrow June 20th from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at Fluegels in Rosemount. It is a lot of fun for the whole family . A great time to show off you pet, listen to some great music and have your photograph taken with your pet.

Flugels Farm & Pet Supply

14700 S Robert Trail, Rosemount, MN 55068
(651) 423-1587

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(Fotonic Images, LLC) https://www.fotonicimages.com/blog/2015/6/rosemount-area-arts Fri, 19 Jun 2015 19:04:06 GMT