Tag Archive | landscapes

OWPC – Panorama

The One Word Photo Challenge from Tourmaline this week is Panorama and, going through the photo files, I’ve come to the conclusion that some of my best panoramic shots were taken on our trip to Utah a couple of years ago.

For more on the OWPC go to This Week’s Challenges: April 15 – 21 (OWPC, WW & CYW)

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Silence

We rarely go to places where there is total silence. In our immediate area, if there isn’t the sound of airplanes passing overhead then you can hear busy traffic on a nearby road or trains hooting and clanging as they make their way along the tracks.  So it makes a welcome break to go anywhere where the only thing you can hear is the wind rustling through the leaves or the birds twittering in the trees. That, for us, is comparative silence.  Here are just a few of the places where we have enjoyed such a respite from the daily clatter of life.

Wasatch National Forest near Alta in Utah.

Antelope Island near Salt Lake City in Utah.

Off-season at Heritage Hill State Historical Park in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Snowy Range scenic byway in Laramie, Wyoming.

For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Silence

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Scale

Sometimes when you take a photo it’s hard to get a feel for the actual scale of things.  It isn’t until you add something else to the picture that you get a better sense of just how large or how small that object really is.  Normally the vehicle seen in the lower half of the first image might seem quite large but, seen against the immensity of the mountains in Utah, it appears no bigger than an ant scurrying across the landscape.

The same could be said for the buffalo seen here on Antelope Island in Utah.

The cars in the lower decks of Marina City in Chicago look like nothing more than children’s toys.

You will have to look closely at the left of this picture to make out the parasailer, dwarfed by the mighty Mackinac Bridge in Michigan. He makes even the boat seem huge.

A close-up of these two window cleaners in downtown Chicago wouldn’t necessarily give you any idea of the height at which they were working which is why I pulled the camera back to give a better view of where they really were.

For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge go to Scale

The Nature of Glensheen

Earlier this autumn we traveled up north to visit Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota.  Despite the fact that the sun decided to hide behind the clouds for much of the time, there were still a few good opportunities for outside photos.  The garden was, understandably, past it’s best, but you could get a sense of how beautiful it would look when everything was in flower.  I could definitely understand why our guide said it was a popular venue for weddings, despite the rather macabre history of the house.

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Glensheen sits right on the shores of Lake Superior and, depending on the weather, the view from the beach can look rather forbidding or quite inviting.

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Walking through the grounds, which originally covered 22 acres but have now been reduced to 12, we came across a bridge that led to precisely nowhere.

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The view from the bridge was quite interesting, however.  The Congdon family wanted to preserve as much of the natural beauty of the property as possible and if you look from one side of the bridge you can see the house framed by trees and from the other side you can see down to the lake.

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The landscaping was carried out some time between 1905 and 1908 by Charles Wellford Leavitt who designed the estate to be self sufficient, incorporating a large vegetable garden, greenhouse, orchard, cow barn and water reservoir in the plans. Glensheen is well worth a visit not only for the very interesting tour of the house but also the garden and grounds.

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The Nature Of Biltmore

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As I imagined, there was far more to the Biltmore Estate than just walking around a magnificent house, although that in itself was well worth the price of admission.  The nature of Biltmore extends to every corner of the 8,000-acre estate which includes some spectacular gardens.

Biltmore was landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s final major project and what an almighty challenge it must have been.  In 1895, the original property purchased by George W. Vanderbilt covered 125,000 acres, much of it over-farmed and with many of its trees already cut down, but with the help of Olmsted’s brilliant planning it was turned into a profitable, self-sustaining estate.

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It is interesting to note that the Biltmore Estate appears on the National Historic Landmark Register not because of the house, but because Carl A. Schenck established the first forestry education program in the U.S. here on the estate grounds in 1898.

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Vanderbilt had asked Olmsted to set aside 75 acres to be transformed into formal gardens, one of which is the Italian Garden that features three large water gardens and classical statuary.  Each pool contains water lilies, lotus and papyrus as well as other water plants.   You will see koi and goldfish swimming about among the lily pads and I also noticed a large number of tadpoles in various stages of development lounging around the edges of the center pool.

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The 4-acre Walled Garden features thousands of tulips in the spring and colorful mums at autumn time. Our visit came just after they had planted out all the summer annuals and as they hadn’t had time to become established, the beds were not quite as spectacular as they might have been, but the garden still looked beautiful nevertheless.

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Similarly, the rose garden had already seen the first flowers in full bloom and they were past their best but if you didn’t examine them too closely you could imagine how gorgeous the garden must have looked just a few weeks previously.  Timing is everything and it’s not always possible to visit these places at exactly the right moment.  Still, we were very lucky with the weather and enjoyed brilliant sunshine throughout our stay in Asheville.

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Water plays an important part at Biltmore. The French Broad River runs through the middle of the estate which also features a bass pond and waterfall.

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Traveling further from the house you come to the Farm, Antler Hill Village and The Winery, all of which are overlooked by The Inn on Biltmore Estate.

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As always seems to be the case, we had to cram as much sightseeing as we could into one day, but you could easily spend a few days at Biltmore in order to look at everything.

Starved Rock – From The Other Side

Starved Rock which, according to legend, was where, in about 1769, the Ottawa and Potawatomi chased the Illiniwek and held them under siege until they starved to death, is the busiest of the Illinois State Parks. Ask anyone who has grown up in Illinois and they will almost certainly tell you that they have visited Starved Rock at one time or another, either with family or as a school field trip.

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We have been to the park on numerous occasions, mostly when our girls were growing up, and thought nothing of climbing all the steps that were required to reach the summit of the Rock and look out over the Illinois River. These days we are not quite so adventurous and decided to take this trip, sans children, at a slightly more leisurely pace.

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This was probably the first time that we had actually seen Starved Rock from the other side of the river. After visiting Utah last year, the bluffs didn’t appear quite so awe-inspiring this time, but the history attached to the place still makes them an interesting feature of the landscape.

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The timing of our visit to the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, just across the river, was perfect as it gave us the opportunity to watch a barge going through the lock.

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We were also treated to a fly-past by a couple of the pelicans that gather at the foot of the dam in order to catch fish.

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We did eventually cross over the Illinois River just to pay a brief visit to the Park for old time’s sake. They’ve built a new visitor’s center since we were there last, but those steps looked just as daunting as ever and, with advancing years and gimpy knees, we decided not to try to make it all the way to the top.

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Conserving our energy, we moved on to neighboring Matthiessen State Park. The terrain there is similar to that of Starved Rock; lots of steps, leafy dells with little pools and high rocky walls. I took mostly close-up shots as the patches of bright light and deep shade made it difficult to get a good picture of the overall landscape.

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Returning to the north side of the river we stopped off at Buffalo Rock State Park and caught a glimpse of one of the buffalo enjoying a dust bath which made us feel like it was time to get back to the B&B to enjoy the sunset and recuperate after an exhausting day.

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Time To Reflect – Snippets From Colorado

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It was our misfortune that we were unable to spend any appreciable amount of time in Colorado on our return trip from Utah and the only opportunities that I had for scenic photography were either through the window of a fast-moving car or by the one rest area that we stopped at during the journey.

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However, I was determined to capture some pictorial record of our whirlwind passage through the state no matter how blurred or poorly composed it might be.

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As with much of our trip out west, I was struck by the ever-changing nature of the terrain, a different picture at every turn of the road.  And the light varied too, cloudy and gloomy at times and at others bright and sunny with blue skies.

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Despite the fact that it was only mid-September and the trees hadn’t really begun to change color, there were already brilliant splashes of autumnal shades to be seen.

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