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Monochrome Madness: MM3-48

Spring has made it here, and it almost felt like we were going to jump right to summer.  Fortunately, temperatures have returned to normal, and we can go out and enjoy the flowers which have made their presence as a result of decent winter rains.  The cacti are usually the last to bloom, and it doesn’t matter to them if there was rain or not.

This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  Instructions on how to participate, and the contributions of others can be found on her website.

WPC: Atop

For this week’s Daily Post Challenge of Atop, I have a photo from my trip to New Orleans a couple months ago.  The Robert E. Lee Monument is a massive column with a small (by comparison) statue of General Lee atop.  I have finally had some time to edit all the photos from that trip, and made a portfolio of those, which can be seen in the link in the menu above.

Although this monument is on the National Register of Historic Places, there is a real possibility of it being taken down.  In an effort to rid America of all things associated with the South, this statue has been involved in court cases during the last couple years.  Will this eradicate racism?  No.  What can be put up in its place that will not offend people now or in another hundred years?  Perhaps a Big Mac and an order of fries?

Monochrome Madness: MM3-43

You won’t find any covered bridges in the desert, so this is as close as you’ll get to one.  On a lonely road somewhere west of Phoenix, I discovered this bridge.  It had such incredible oxidation taking place, that I couldn’t resist taking a few photos.  In order to maintain a vintage feel, I didn’t convert it to b&w, but desaturated the original to the point that you see.

This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  Instructions on how to participate, and the contributions of others can be found on her website.

Monochrome Madness: MM3-42

Winter made a much better effort in the southwest this year than it has in several years.  A record high yesterday and several other warm days, however, tell me that I should be expecting spring soon.  Places in the desert have green beginning to emerge, but for a wildflower bonanza, we need the rains to continue.  No matter what the conditions, the trees always bloom, such as this redbud tree in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada.

This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  Instructions on how to participate, and the contributions of others can be found on her website.

WPC: Shadow

When I schedule my flights, I try to arrange them so that I’m taking photos near sunrise or sunset.  The colors are more saturated, and the shadows of even the smallest features become elongated.  For this week’s challenge of shadow, I immediately thought of being up in the skies looking down, and my photo comes from somewhere northwest of Las Vegas.

WPC: Solitude

When I first started venturing out on photographic journeys, I felt solitude almost immediately upon leaving the city.  Unless it was a holiday weekend.  Nowadays, finding a quiet space seems a little more difficult, but not impossible.  There are still places where I can hear the pulsing of a hawk’s wings, or a lizard moving upon the sands, or just plain silence.

Monochrome Madness: MM3-41

One of the great places to hike and take photographs in the southwestern US is Arizona’s West Clear Creek Wilderness.  Hiking becomes wading in many places, and swimming in a few.  Despite being in the middle of Arizona, there is a short season.  From July through August, there are many days when the thunderstorm threat makes this canyon a bad choice.  Mostly the short season is due to the cold, not the heat, and the fact that you will get wet at some point.  The longest of the pools is unswimmable, even at the end of summer, due to hypothermia risk.

For photography, the creek is more about pools than flowing water.  Mornings usually have the stillest air, and glass-like reflections can occur.  As the name implies, the water has a beautiful clarity to it, and the rocks in the creek bottom add to the subject matter.  The shot above is a mixture of the reflection from the cliffs above, and seeing to the rocks below.  I took this in early afternoon, and my timing was based on waiting for the passing clouds to produce shadow in the foreground while the cliffs remained lit.

This is my contribution to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week, and the theme of reflection.  You can see what others have come up with this week on her website, or join the madness yourself next time.  Instructions for participating are on her site as well.

Monochrome Madness: MM3-40

About a year ago, I finally took some time to stop in the Newberry Mountains of southern Nevada.  I posted some of the images in color, but never in b&w.  The landscape provided great texture, and I like this one in b&w more than the color original.

You can find this photo, along with the work of other photographers in Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness this week.  You will also find instructions in how to join in, if you’d like.

WPC: Graceful

A 2000 pound animal graceful?  Are you kidding?

There are 2 places in Arizona where you can find buffalo.  One of them, House Rock Valley Ranch, has no fences.  The Grand Canyon, Kaibab Plateau, and Vermillion Cliffs all form a natural perimeter.  With that much land to cover, don’t expect coming here for animal sightings.

On my first visit to House Rock Valley, I had my brother and his daughter along.  She got excited when she saw the sign about the buffalo ranch, but we let her know about the vastness of the property so her hopes were not too high.  We drove many miles out to where we set up camp overlooking Marble Canyon, then drove back slightly for another overlook.  When we came across a road junction which we had crossed not more than an hour before, there were 5 buffalo standing in the road.  Collectively, they easily outweighed my vehicle, so we just sat and watched.  After a minute or so, they got bored with the standoff, and started to move along the side of the road.  We drove slowly beside them, and then they picked up their pace.  We matched them.  They continued to pick up their pace, at which point I noticed we were driving 35mph.  We were on a fairly smooth road, they weren’t!  After about a minute of running with the herd, they peeled away until we lost sight of them.

A few years later I returned to House Rock Valley.  This time was specifically to cover the buffalo, and unfortunately, it was hunting season.  The herd’s numbers are maintained, and only a handful of permits are issued each year.  These buffalo know when it’s hunting season, and become scarce.  Rising from the valley at about a 45 degree angle, the Kaibab Plateau has some twisting, sheer walled canyons.  The buffalo traverse these canyons like bighorn sheep, and the hunters can’t follow. I met with the manager of the ranch, and he was full of information about these animals.  One story he relayed was about the animals’ ability to leave no trace.  There are no reliable water sources here, so they have placed water tanks about in several spots.  In hunting season, the buffalo will enter from one side, then step on a rock or clump of grass, get their drink, walk around to the other side of the tank, all the while being selective as to where they step, and not leave a track within ten feet.  Is it any wonder these animals were so revered by Native Americans?

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