Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Yellowstone National Park; Bear En Route to Mammoth Hot Springs

I’m posting this Yellowstone National Park map again to help you orient yourself on today’s adventures. We go from Canyon Village to Artist Paintpots (at last!), stop a lengthy time to watch a sedate mother grizzly and her cubs, view an awesome mountain, arrive in Mammoth Springs, have lunch in Gardiner, Montana, outside the North gate to the park, visit the upper Terrace at Mammoth, and spend the late afternoon once again in Lamar Valley, our happy place. This evening, my husband gets attacked by an irate Mama elk.

Yellowstone is so do-able. We did all the above, and never felt rushed.

 

This is an easy day, and our plan is to get up when we feel like it, but we are both awake by seven, and in fifteen minutes we are ready to go. We shake the dust from our feet!

From Canyon, we take the road directly going West. When we get to the junction, we turn South, just to get us to Artist Paintpots. We’ve tried twice before, and the parking lot was jammed and overflowing. This time, we are the first car in the lot. It’s only about 7:30 a.m. and the long weekend is long passed. There are fewer visitors, and even fewer who are out and about this early. (We are still early in the park season, once the summer rush starts, even early may not be early enough.)

 

 

Yep, you guessed it, Artistic Paintpots is so named because of the wondrous colors created by the variety of minerals leached into the boiling hot water, and the bacteria that thrives in the steaming springs.

 

I cannot even imagine a caldera this big, but as we drove, we tried to identify the ridges. The floor of this caldera thinly covers molten lava and the geysers and springs are caused by the heating of water in the ground which expands and comes out with varying degrees of force. This is how I understand it; someone with a more technical background can give you a more thorough explanation. So Yellowstone is a super volcano, and last erupted 700,000 years ago. It could erupt again. We were constantly aware of how very thin the crust of the earth is here, and now we obliviously walk over the possibility of instant, painful death.

But oh, the combination of heat, and minerals creates some magnificent colors and an eerily beautiful landscape.

 

 

 

 

 

It is a beautiful hike, one of the best on our trip. It is worth finding a serene time to visit the Artist Paintpots.

Back in the car, we see a big jam of cars on the road, and people running. Anywhere else, you would think someone had a car accident, but in Yellowstone, a jam like that with people parking anywhere – sometimes just leaving their car in the middle of the road (!) means that some kind of game has been spotted. This time, it was a Mama Grizzly and her two cubs.

So many people! Many of them had powerful, huge lenses, and tripods. They were all set up to take photos when the bear would be in clear view. I just use a little Lumix with a big telephoto, and it takes surprisingly sharp photos, considering it has a very light and easily tucked-in-a-purse kind of body.

There was an empty place where no one wanted to be. We really just wanted to watch. (Yes, we had backed up to a real viewing point and parked legally. The rule is – or is supposed to be – that you are supposed to be outside the white line delineating the outer boundary of the road.

We watched the very placid sow dig up some roots, keeping an eye on the playful cubs.

 

 

 

 

I just got lucky. The bear and her cubs moved to directly in front of me. It’s . . .well, it’s like a God thing, if the photo is put right in front of you, you are meant to take it, right?

More and more people came. They were quiet and respectful of the bear, and of one another, but their parking was not respectful of the trucks and RVs that needed to get through. Soon, the park rangers arrived. We were told they can ticket anyone not parked outside the white lines, and that the fine is HUGE, but this is a tourist attraction, and the rangers we saw used good humor and persistence, and cajoled people into moving along and parking legally. We never saw anyone ticketed, and we also never saw anyone argue with a ranger.

Advertisements

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Civility, Customer Service, Geography / Maps, Law and Order, Lumix, Photos, Road Trips, Travel, Wildlife | , , , , | Leave a comment

End of 2017 Wrap Up Photos

Thanksgiving Sunset at Panama City Beach:

The weather was mild and beautiful. It was a sad and happy Thanksgiving; sad for those not with us any longer, happy to be with those who love the departed.

Pelicans at PCB:

Finally, a year when both grandchildren could make it through the entire Nutcracker Ballet in Pensacola, and were utterly rapt. We want them to have this joyous experience!

For the first time, they were checking bags, and almost didn’t let me take my camera in. One person said “no photos” but the other said “you can take photos but no video and no flash” which is fine by me; my little Lumix does great in low light.

 

 

Maybe I’m not a kid anymore, but I have always loved the arrival of the pirate ship!

My favorite dance:

Hmmm  .  . . . well, maybe Nutcracker isn’t just for the grandchildren 🙂

We had the most wonderful Christmas day, family in the morning and afternoon, friends in the evening. We also decided not to go to New Orleans during the week between Christmas and New Years as we often do, and to go in February, after Lent starts on February 14 (what a dismal day for Lent to start! Valentine’s Day for Ash Wednesday!)  I have some more items for our friends at Zito’s to clean and polish for me. The work they do gives us so much pleasure.

Christmas was also a little odd, because I was energetic and got the first step up – lights and greenery going up the staircase, and a thousand or so little silver stars – only to discover that our two new rescue cats, well, new since February, thought this was all for their delight. Ragnar, especially, loved untying the strings that tied up the greenery, and then – horrors! – chewed through the wires on the lights, in several places! I completely re-did the lights, twice, and just as quickly, he chewed through the strings and the lights. I finally figured out that green ribbon worked to keep the greenery up, but we had to forego the lights. We didn’t want a fire hazard, and we didn’t want the cats to be electrocuted. Uhtred pulled a star or two off every day, but they were easily replaced.

We have been hitting our favorite restaurants, and one new one we weren’t crazy about. At our absolute favorite restaurant, a Cajun/beach style restaurant, when we went to pay the bill, they told us as “frequent and highly valued customers,” our meal was on them. Wow. What is so funny is that we had just been talking about our Christmas experiences in Germany, where those restaurants you frequented would give you some small gift, like an Italian restaurant had gift Pannetones, and a German restaurant might gift you with a small schnapps. The Chinese restaurants would give you a small Plum wine. We were missing that, and then, we were stunned when they told us thank you for being such good customers and that it was their treat this time. It totally made my day, another small kindness, but even the smallest kindness packs a punch.

This morning, the last day of 2017, we hit the early service at Christ Church, visited with our friends and neighbors, then had breakfast at C.J.’s, as I needed to make a trip to the commissary and CJ’s is on the way. I like the one-egg breakfast, but today I also ordered a side of one beignet, and the waitress said that the order of 3 was a better deal; you pay $2 for one, and you get 3 for $3. Makes sense to me; I ordered the 3 and AdventureMan helped me out by eating one and we have one to warm up and split tomorrow on New Year’s morning. These beignets were so fresh and so good! We’ve had a little bit of New Orleans without going to New Orleans.

Mardi Gras starts here on January 5 with an all-Krewe party and parade downtown, big party. When all the partying is over, we’ll head back to New Orleans.

December 31, 2017 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Christmas, Community, Customer Service, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Lent, Local Lore, Lumix, Mardi Gras, New Orleans, Pensacola | Leave a comment

Rain for Ramadan

Frequent commenter Daggero asked for photos of clouds and rain to help him get through the long hot days of Ramadan in Kuwait. Yesterday I published cloud photos; today we had a downpour, so here are some rain photos:

First thing I learned is that it’s not that easy to shoot rain drops. You have to shoot them against a darker background, and you have to shoot them at a slower speed, else you don’t see them at all.

This was great exercise. Now I want to go to Paris in November for more practice. Paris gets lots of rain in November, fewer tourists, it’s more the real Paris. It would also be great for shooting in black and white, people holding umbrellas, bent against the wind-driven rain, great architectural and textured backgrounds . . . 🙂

July 26, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Ramadan, Weather | 4 Comments

Perfectly Beautiful Doha Skyline

Every now and then, the perfect night comes along. We weren’t the only ones out taking photos – it was that kind of night.


January 30, 2010 Posted by | Beauty, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Qatar, Weather | Leave a comment

Doha Gallery 5 October

There are still pockets of serenity; one of the older fishing boats moored in Doha:

00DohaFishingBoat

This isn’t a great shot, shooting through the windshield while at a stop-light, but this is the Barzan Towers. It used to be one of my very favorite buildings in town; I loved the way it incorporated some of the old Gulf themes into it’s modern day structure. Now, it is dwarfed by taller buildings, some of which also incorporate traditional details, most of which don’t. You really have to look for it to see it now.

00BarzanTowers

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Building, Doha, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Qatar | Leave a comment

Gigantic Sunrise

It’s not photoshopped, or any kind of shopped – it’s the “light haze” that makes this rising sun appear so gigantic. I can’t even focus as I try to shoot it, there is so much refracted light. I just have to trust, as I snap the shutter, that the camera can figure out how to manage it. Once again, I focused on the reflection; it was the only line the camera could focus on; the rest is just a blur. I am using my smaller Lumix, it doesn’t have a viewfinder, so it is much harder to see what you are shooting.

00giganticsunrise

It’s going to be HOT today. For me, anyway, anything above 22°C / 72°F is getting a little heated up. 😉

7apr09

Have a great day, Kuwait.

April 7, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Lumix, sunrise series, Weather | 5 Comments

Flotilla Photography

While you are getting all dressed up in your Eid clothing, and preparing to visit one another, I am still in my nightgown, blogging away, and snapping photos, trying to capture the vastness of the fishing blockade off the coastline. It is too much for my mind to comprehend, and there is too little I can do to get a good photo.

Here is a section of the flotilla – just a section; there are so many fishing boats!

Here is a close up, using the extended zoom (it’s so pixellated that I think extended zoom is not always such a good thing)

And so I asked my photo program – iPhoto – to see what it could do, just clicked “enhance” and this is what my photo program thought would be a better photo:

LLLLOOOOLLLLLLLL!

September 30, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Technical Issue | 5 Comments

Change in the Weather

At 0700 this morning, it is only 81°F / 27°C. What a change! No steamed up windows, the humidity is also down.

I love October in Kuwait, when the temperatures swing dramatically into the comfortable zone, and we can even start eating outside at night. We are yearning to go back to the Souk Mubarakiyya after church on Fridays, or on a relaxed Saturday night. Or Paul’s in the Fehaheel Al Kout Mall, out by the fountains. For six months, Kuwait is a delightful place to be. While my fellow Americans – or at least those not stationed in Kuwait or Iraq or Qatar – are slogging their way through the rain and wind and snow, we are basking in a sweet mostly-warm climate, our reward for the brutality of the summers here.

Although – there ARE people who love the heat! I even notice that I am not so uncomfortable in the summers as I once was. Unless it is humid, I don’t even break a sweat when I am out, or else it is so hot that it is just evaporating off me and I don’t even know it.

Yesterday, when I got up, it was too late to catch the sunrise, but what I did catch was lovely – a whole fleet of boats out fishing. Thanks to Enviro Girl telling me about the enhanced zoom capability on my camera, I was able to get some fairly clear shots, even at a distance:

Here, they’re hauling in something for dinner!


(Or maybe they are just hauling in the anchor. 🙂

If you want to see all the photos from the Souk Mubarakiyya, just do a search in the search box to the right and it will show you all the articles and photos I have taken there.

September 21, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Food, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Weather | 2 Comments

Sunset August 6, 2008, Oregon

I meant to post this one with the others and I forgot.

August 6, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos | , | 6 Comments

Photo Nuts

My two sisters and I all have the same camera, and my niece, and my son and his wife, so we all share information. Like on our trip, EnviroGirl explained that if you made the picture size smaller, it extends the optical zoom, so if you don’t need a really vast photo, you can focus on something and get this huge telephoto. I had no idea until she explained it. Like yes, it is in the book, and I even read the book, but there is SO MUCH in the book.

My sister Sparkle told us about using a feature called Fireworks. She tried it for fireworks – it works! It also works on moon shots, although there is another feature called Starry Nights for that.

One thing totally cracks me up. There used to be a Simple Mode indicated with a heart, it was simple and automatic, and no one liked to use it. The newer models have something called Intelligent Automatic, and we all use that mode because it gets the best photos. We would never dream of using something called “simple” but “intelligent!” That’s very different!

Mariner Man, Sparkle’s husband, doesn’t use the same camera but he showed us a new technique he says is working for him, getting interesting and new photos: put your camera really near the ground or on the ground.

Sand Castle

Sand Castle

Good tip, Mariner Man!

So I’m kind of waiting for sunset, and photo ops just keep happening. There are wonderful kids flying kites, and I wait, and I get the shot I want – what joy!

And then, as the sun continues setting, along come a couple surfers.

This isn’t such a great shot, but it is the only shot I got of one of them up on his board. He wasn’t up for very long.

This hasn’t happened to me for a long time – my memory card is full. I have to quickly go through and delete anything excessive to have room for the sunset. And then – the sun goes into a fog bank. I had thought it would shine through, but no – the fog EATS the sun! And, just at that moment, the surfers decide to go home and I get my last shot:

August 6, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Lumix, Photos, Relationships, Technical Issue, Tools | , | 7 Comments