New Book

There is absolutely no excuse  for not updating blog posts on a regular basis.  That said, it was beyond my control and I’ll tell you why:  I WAS ABDUCTED BY ALIENS!!!!   I’ve just returned home after being released in the beautiful predawn of Yellowstone Park.

 

Kidding aside, I’ve been involved with an even  more arduous task than escaping aliens which I’ll elaborate on in a future post.  You see, I’m learning film-making and while it is very exciting, it has also taken over a major part of my life.

For now, I would like to announce some exciting news:  My sister, Brigitte Downey, has a new book on Amazon kindle:

This is a new addition to her novels (also available on Amazon) but is a nonfictional story about what she experienced some years ago.  It is an uplifting and inspirational page-turner on recovering from loss and making wonderful discoveries after a stroke. For a short while, it will be available at the very affordable price of 99cents.  You can’t lose by purchasing it and you will gain a poignant and often times hilarious journey through the streets of London.   I am so proud of her.  She is among those people who face dire challenges with humor and determination.  Enough said!! Go and check out the link above–you will not regret it!

On another note–and this is for my sister in particular–Spring has arrived in Southwest Florida!  What this means is that we get a few days of lovely breezes and temperatures in the 80′s before the gagging humidity settles in.  It also means that we have new life in the yard.  One of  my favorite sights is the blooming confederate jasmine (which has now entirely covered the pergola)  and the Queen’s Wreath blossoms that struggle to showcase their gowns with the jealous jasmine vines.  Here you are, Brigitte–a little touch of color to warm up the dreary London skies:

Here is a close-up of the Queen’s Wreath:

A year ago, Jim started planting the head of pineapples in the garden.  The leaves survived on several heads and just the other day, I saw OUR FIRST PINEAPPLE.  I am so excited–here’s hoping that it will survive being eaten by all the big and little critters that make our yard their home.  Hey guys, leave us ONE bite at least!

I promise to return soon with new images and musings–unless I’m abducted by aliens.  Meanwhile, y’all have a wondrous journey through your day of delights.

 

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Where Are the Grand Tetons?

I had been hearing wonderful descriptions and seeing jaw-dropping images of the beautiful Grand Tetons for years!  So, as Jim and I prepared for our trip to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, I conjured up visions of unimaginable proportions.  The road from Salt Lake City in Utah to Jackson in Wyoming wound through some  beautiful scenes:  old cabins, lots of horses, brilliant red, orange and yellow foliage.  At our first sighting of the Snake River, I got more and more excited because very soon, that legendary mountainous vista would appear.  Would, could but never did!!  The Grand Tetons were shrouded in thick smoke from all the wildfires and we found out that they hadn’t been visible for weeks.  Well, we told ourselves, maybe tomorrow will be a different story.  We drove to Coulter Bay where we were to stay for two nights and I looked forward to eating the food we had picked up in Jackson.  We had been on planes all day and driving for 5 hours, so we were starving.  At check-in, Jim was advised to leave the cooler with food in the car because a Grizzly Bear AND a Black Bear were sighted in the area.  Now, if I haven’t made myself clear on the subject of all critters on this earth, let me just say I ADORE them; so I was horrified to find myself thinking bad thoughts about the bears who would be ripping into my very delicious organic berries.  My imagination went on a rampage of scenarios of huge bears tearing down the cabin door because they could smell the chicken that had been there an hour before.  I made sure that Jim slept near the door because he would be more able to fend off a chicken-and-berries-hungry bear or two.  All night I could hear noises on the roof of the cabin–probably pine cones falling–and I had visions of bears ripping off the old roof and jumping in to gobble us up.  At one point Jim had to reassure me that the food was safe because if they DID try to break into the car, the alarm would scare them away!  I finally fell asleep for a few hours and next day was so smoke-ridden, we decided to go on up to Yellowstone.

Before we went on this trip, I had researched the best spots for photography and we had a tight schedule for each iconic spot in the park.  I know there are a million images of Oxbow Bend, etc. but I wanted to have my own.  Now, all  that planning was of no use so we had to devise another schedule.  There is so much to see in Yellowstone, I became dizzy at the prospect!  We drove past Lewis Falls and then onto Kepler  Cascades.  That was the beginning of ten marvelous days of sights and experiences.  I’ll be back soon with more tales from Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons–yes, we did, eventually see them at the end of our trip.

I will eventually have a gallery of  images from the trip on my website but for now, here are a few shots.

 

End of day vista of the Grand Tetons near the Snake River

Two Ravens kept us company as I was photographing the Bison herd in the distance:

The Welcoming Committee

 

Lewis Falls

The Aspens

This was the only bear we encountered.  I took the shot as we drove by.  The bear was in a tree right next to the road.

Black Bear

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The Wild Mustangs of Wyoming

Here’s a taste of what’s to come soon:

These are two of the magnificent wild Mustangs near Cody, Wyoming.  We took some time away from Yellowstone to travel to Cody and went to look at  these gorgeous creatures.  Ken Martin, who is the owner of Red Canyon Wild Mustang Tours, is so passionate about these horses– took us on an unforgettable trip.  His co-guide, Willy, is also very passionate about these horses.  I’ll be back with lots of images and information on these horses and organizations who are doing everything to protect them.  This phenomenon of seeing wild horses will soon be history if we all don’t pitch in.  Stay tuned for more information.  First, though, as promised–I’ll be back soon with tales of our trip to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.

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I Fell in Love again…

…with wildlife and yes, my darling husband , Jim!  We just got back from Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks.  I will write at length in the coming weeks about our experience but I’m anxious to post some images which are not “acceptable”  in the photography world.  In short, we were there at a time when the the smoke from wildfires obliterated the Grand Tetons mountains.  Most of my images are clouded with smoke but are cherished because I had the most magical moments of my life in the gorgeous states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

You have to understand:  as a little girl growing up in rural Ireland, I had quite an education of the “Wild West in America” through movies from Hollywood.  It always bothered me that the “Indians” and the wildlife were portrayed as the enemy.  Thankfully, we now live in a more enlightened world and those of us who LOVE the environment can enjoy thrills in such national parks as Yellowstone and Grand Tetons.  I left my heart there and some of my soul so I have to make clear plans on getting back there.  Right now, I don’t know how I shall do that but I’ll work on it.

Here are the the first few of my journey:

This little boo-boo, a massive Bison calmly walked by our car and I, shamelessly, took a few pics in a moving car.  Sorry, major, beautiful. huge bison.  Notice the tic near his/her eye?

Under 32 degrees this morning–lots of frost

These splendid creatures endure severe variations in temperature.  On our morning together, most of the bison were covered in frost.

This last image is the one that makes me crazy.  Taken through the car’s windshield, it, it is not good, technically.  This little roan calf starts walking across the the road with its Mom.  Now, just let me elaborate on the the word “walk”.  It just did not not do a walk–every part, inch and atom of that roan baby did a wiggle in and out and up and down and brought new meaning to the joy of life.  Every inch of this little angel was quivering with JOY as it passed between our ugly cars.  It followed its Mama carefully and went quickly into the pasture beyond.  We were both left with the most sublime feeling of renewed memories:  that wiggle /waddle of explosive joy at the very fact of being alive! I try to melt into that impression every time I think of that precious wiggly bag of joy.  And I hope you can imagine it, too when the dark times come.  Hey, just look at that little Bubba :)

Here’s one of my faves– Brucie

Be back soon with  lovely images of Yellowstone.  Many wishes of love and greatness to you all.

 

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October 4, 2012 - 11:10 am

JIm Berger - Enchanting! Beautiful!

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