Franklin’s gulls over the apparently misnamed Crow Lake.
You never really know what you’re going to get. Central South Dakota is not exactly a hotspot. I blew through it a few times on the interstate. If you can call five and a half hours blowing through. It was just a necessity of moving from point A to point B. They raised the speed limit to 80 recently. That helps.
For a month one autumn I drove around in circles in central South Dakota. I wasn’t lost or stuck. I was looking for migrating birds. I didn’t find what I was looking for. And that was a good thing. It seems I was the one who should have been migrating.
One evening there was a horde of Franklin’s gulls, on Crow Lake. Naturally. It was dusk, the light was beautiful. In my endless circling, I saw the flocks, pushed by the wind, accumulating in the southern bay. In the air and on the water, they were everywhere.
I took this photo for the light, the motion, and the fluidity of the scene. I returned at dawn, better prepared to photograph the migrating mass, but, in the air or on the water, there were no birds anywhere.
For too many years Hart Mountain was out of my line of travel and added just enough extra time and miles to the trip at hand that I by-passed it. This spring I made the effort to go there, just there, and was well rewarded. It is a long slog from anywhere, the roads can be quagmires, the dust invasive, the heat crushing, and the mosquitoes draining. May it always remain this way.
Swallowtail and balsamroot
Looked down upon by a northern harrier
Subtle layers of color and texture
Bumblebee with balsamroot
On the executioner’s block: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
It is already true that one can be dropped on any commercial strip in the USA and have no idea where they are. Each is so much the same, so not unique, that Chattanooga and Bakersfield look much the same. We have eradicated the prairies, slaughtered the forests, and filled the wetlands, must we also quash the individuality of the national monuments and make them conform to the ideals of capitalism, consumerism, and corporate expansion? What of calm, contentment, and courage to step outside of the box, to appreciate the subtle realm of time, space, and light that is not under our control? Where will we go for peace when we have used up all that is wild?
You have seen my photos over the last year. Many of those photos were taken in national monuments (including the two on this page). If you enjoyed my meager attempts at conveying the intensity of these landscapes, you will enjoy this (free ebook) photographic journey through the national monuments by exquisite landscape photographers
And, I hope you will send comments in support of retaining the national monuments.
Stay the executions.
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Spring arrived on Emigrant Lake recently. The lake is calm and beautiful and rowers are again plying its waters. Larkspurs and biscuitroot are blooming. The oaks are pushing leaves. The Siskiyous create a misty, almost-mythical backdrop.
Morning row on Emigrant Lake.
Reflections on Emigrant Lake.
Inundated island of oaks in Emigrant Lake.
Yellow-rumped warbler in spring oaks.
Happy Winter Solstice!
All the best and brightest for 2017!
Spring trees after morning rain. Beartown State Forest, Massachusetts
Yampa River valley, cottonwoods, snow, and afternoon light. Colorado
Fern aliens. How can so many shades of green live in one place? Mount Baker, Washington
Sea alien – A.K.A. anemone. Deception Pass State Park, Washington
Paintbrush in lichen-laden sagebrush. Steens Mountain, Oregon
The road through Candy Land
Fall color against red rock. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Super moon set. Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Kalahari Milky Way. Botswana
Zebra-belly nap face. Moremi National Park, Botswana
Personal grooming is important in maintaining superiority.
Elephant knees and toenails and a little one tucked under the trunk. Chobe, Botswana
Lilac-breasted roller. Moremi National Park, Botswana
Paradise Found, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe