March 4, 2014
Nice photo from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Caption from the Tumblr of the Department of Interior: Sunset over Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Photo: Austin Leih (www.sharetheexperience.org)
Beautiful place, nice photographic capture.
Then I look, and I see a lot of necrotic tree tops. Acid Rain? Warming? Pine borers or some other insect?
Sometimes, Mark Twain’s lament is right. Sometimes you know too much to just sit back in awe. Feynman was right, too.
March 1, 2014
Tweet from the Department of Interior: 142 years ago today, @YellowstoneNPS became America’s first national park. RT to wish them a very happy birthday! pic.twitter.com/drka6iq0Tc
Ken Burns called the National Parks probably the best idea America has had.
Certainly a great idea — really born on this day, 142 years ago, with the designation of Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone NP contains the world’s largest collection of geysers. It is the heart of the largest, nearly-intact temperate zone ecosystem on Earth as well, contained in 3,468 square miles (8,983 km²), a laboratory and playground for geologists, geographers, botanists, zoologists, and almost anyone else who loves the nature and the wild.
Only 142 years old? In the U.S., we have more than 300 units in the National Park System, now, including National Historic Places as well as the best of the wild. Around the world, how much land has been saved, for the benefit of humanity, by this idea? Not enough.
What’s your favorite memory of Yellowstone? What’s your favorite feature?
- Note at Indian Country Today media network, on the troubled history, too
- Disease-free Yellowstone bison okayed to start wild herds in other places, Christian Science Monitor
- “Its up, up and away for ancient trapped helium at Yellowstone National Park,” Los Angeles Times
- Yellowstone recruiting for 2014 Youth Conservation Corps
- “The wonders of wolf-watching in Yellowstone National Park,” Washington Post
- “Yellowstone: The great American family vacation,” at Experiential Passage
- Ferdinand Hayden’s geological survey, at Now We Know ‘Em
- “Why we love America’s National Parks,” at Passport To Your National Parks® Blog
- “Hitching a ride” and “Winter Walk” at Fiordiliso Photography
- “Wolf as ecosystem engineer,” at 9 Fox Tales
From National Geographic: Great Fountain Geyser in Yellowstone, the first U.S. national park, erupts every 9 to 15 hours, shooting water up to 220 feet high. Photograph by Michael Melford
February 12, 2014
Photo by Lynn Sessions; “THE EYE OF THE #MOON: North Window arch at Arches National Park in #Utah. #NatGeo pic.twitter.com/XwHfdWK5Ft
It’s just a click of the shutter? Ha!
I’m assuming not a lot of post-photo processing on this. Lynn Sessions had to figure out when the Moon would be in the North Window Arch, calculate exposure, and shoot off enough of them to get a decent shot before the Moon moved. I suspect the rocks were “painted” with a flashlight during the exposure.
(Haven’t yet found the technical details of the shot. But I did find this about the photographer:
I’m a frustrated amateur photographer who is trying to visit every corner in Utah as well as hike/photograph every canyon in southern Utah. More at http://www.DreamBreeze.com )
Patience, planning, creativity — then just push the button.
January 29, 2014
From the U.S. Department of Interior: Really cool reflection photo from America’s largest national park: @WrangellStENPS in #Alaska. pic.twitter.com/WHUYkgJNTH
Wrangell-St. Elias is our largest National Park? At 20,587 square miles, it’s about 80% as large as West Virginia, and larger than nine other states.
Just the facts:
Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve is a United States national park and national preserve managed by the National Park Service in south central Alaska. The park and preserve was established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. This protected area is included in an International Biosphere Reserve and is part of the Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park and preserve form the largest area managed by the National Park Service in the United States by area with a total of 13,175,799 acres (20,587.19 sq mi; 53,320.57 km2). The park includes a large portion of the Saint Elias Mountains, which include most of the highest peaks in the United States and Canada, yet are within 10 miles (16 km) of tidewater, one of the highest reliefs in the world. Wrangell-St. Elias borders on Canada’s Kluane National Park and Reserve to the east and approaches the U.S. Glacier Bay National Park to the south. The chief distinction between park and preserve lands is that sport hunting is prohibited in the park and permitted in the preserve. In addition, 9,078,675 acres (3,674,009 ha) of the park are designated as the largest single wilderness in the United States.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Monument was initially designated on December 1, 1978 by President Jimmy Carter using the Antiquities Act, pending final legislation to resolve the allotment of public lands in Alaska. Establishment as a national park and preserve followed the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. The park, which is bigger than the nation of Switzerland, has long, extremely cold winters and a short summer season. It supports a variety of large mammals in an environment defined by relative land elevation. Plate tectonics are responsible for the uplift of the mountain ranges that cross the park. The park’s extreme high point is Mount St. Elias at 18,008 feet (5,489 m), the second tallest mountain in both the United States and Canada. The park has been shaped by the competing forces of volcanism and glaciation. Mount Wrangell is an active volcano, one of several volcanoes in the western Wrangell Mountains. In the St. Elias Range Mount Churchill has erupted explosively within the past 2000 years. The park’s glacial features include Malaspina Glacier, the largest piedmont glacier in North America, Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska, and Nabesna Glacier, the world’s longest valley glacier. The Bagley Icefield covers much of the park’s interior, which includes 60% of the permanently ice-covered terrain in Alaska. At the center of the park, the boomtown of Kennecott exploited one of the world’s richest deposits of copper from 1903 to 1938, exposed by and in part incorporated into Kennicott Glacier. The mine buildings and mills, now abandoned, compose a National Historic Landmark district.
January 21, 2014
This one NOT taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, though I suspect a telephoto lens was involved.
“An amazing photo of a full moon over the Lincoln Memorial.” Photo: NASA
Another photo from the Department of Interior’s Great American Outdoors Tumblr site.
It’s a rising Moon, with the photo taken from the west side of the Lincoln Memorial, perhaps from the Virginia side of the Potomac River. The Lincoln Memorial is now part of the National Park Service’s portfolio of properties around our national capital.
Update: Jude Crook points out in comments (below) that this was a NASA Photo of the Day, originally; two federal agencies cooperating in the interest of photographic excellence . . .
The full moon is seen as it rises near the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, March 19, 2011, in Washington. The full moon tonight is called a super perigee moon since it is at its closest to Earth in 2011. The last full moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March 1993.
Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
January 19, 2014
A long exposure, you can tell by the airplane streaks near the horizon. Walking that fine photography edge of long enough to get the exposure, but short enough not to distort the stars too much.
Long exposure of a Joshua tree, in Joshua Tree National Park. Photo: Sarah Chah (www.sharetheexperience.org)
Captioned at America’s Great Outdoors Tumblr, by the U.S. Department of Interior:
Viewed from the road, this desert park only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place. Come see Joshua Tree National Park for yourself!
Photo: Sarah Chah (www.sharetheexperience.org)
January 15, 2014
A Grizzly Bear crossing the Snake River at sunrise in the Grand Teton National Park. Photo: Donald Higgs (www.sharetheexperience.org)
From the U.S. Department of Interior’s Great American Outdoors Tumblr:
A Grizzly Bear crossing the Snake River at sunrise in the Grand Teton National Park.
Photo: Donald Higgs (www.sharetheexperience.org)
I was born on the Snake River, farther south and west, in Burley, Idaho. It’s a grand river, not so much in the water it moves as the way it moves through the landscape and becomes a part of grander parts of the American west. Kathryn and I honeymooned in Yellowstone, and stayed in Grand Teton on the way out.
There is nothing grander on Earth than a sunrise in the Tetons. Do you think a grizzly appreciates that?
Yeah, gotta get back there.
January 11, 2014
Here’s why, another video from the good people at Yosemite National Park:
Any of the National Parks is special, in winter. What is your snow and cold experience in them?
Winter photo of the Yosemite Valley, by Q T Luong — a key photo used by the Ken Burns group in their series of films on the National Parks.
December 30, 2013
I love the poetic descriptions, from geologists!
From Yosemite National Park’s “Nature Notes”:
Uploaded on Dec 7, 2009
Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in North America, and is a powerful presence in Yosemite Valley. From winter ice to spring flood to autumn dryness, this magnificent waterfall is a dynamic force of nature.
There’s even a resurrection story for the falls. Maybe Emily Dickinson was on to something about finding religion in nature.
National Park Service photo of Upper Yosemite Falls
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (left) and nature preservationist John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club , on Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park in 1903. In the background: Upper and lower Yosemite Falls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
November 7, 2013
U.S. Mint‘s Acting Associate Director for Manufacturing, David Croft delivers his remarks. — in Custer, SD.
Interesting view of Mt. Rushmore on the new Mt. Rushmore Quarter.
Here’s David Croft, Acting Associate Director for Manufacturing of the U.S. Mint, introducing the coin yesterday in Custer, South Dakota.
(Wow; how much history is packed in that? Too little of it in the high school texts. Who is on Rushmore? Who made the sculptures on Rushmore, and when? After whom is Custer, South Dakota, named, and why?)
Sign near Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota, informing travelers that the Alfred Hithcock film “North by Northwest” was partially filmed in the area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
November 5, 2013
It’s a composite of 11 photographs to get the whole panoramic view — which just demonstrates that in photography it’s great to be lucky, but it usually takes great skill to get that amount of luck.
How much processing was involved, really?
Don’t worry, just check out the photo.
Double Moonbow, lava glow and fading Lunar Halo; 11-picture Panoramic taken on the rim of Kilauea’s Caldera On the Last Super Moon. Sean King, Atmospheric Phenomena
See the Facebook page for Hawaii Stargazing Adventures.
Click thumbnail for a larger image.
October 25, 2013
Or any other time of year.
From the Department of Interior Twitter feeds:
US Dept of Interior @Interior 16h Is there any doubt fall is best enjoyed in America’s great outdoors? Here’s great example from Devils Tower NM. pic.twitter.com/YRo1U8DSMQ
What do you think Richard Dreyfus thinks when he sees that? Stephen Spielberg?
“Devils Tower NM” means “National Monument,” not New Mexico. This volcano remnant stands in Wyoming.
Old friend, painter and photographer Nancy Christensen Littlefield offers a more close-up view.
Devil’s Tower on a July morning. Photo by Nancy Christensen LIttlefield.
And looking even closer, you spy Richard Dreyfus never-wanna-bes:
Climbers on Devils Tower. Photographer Nancy Littlefield said: “There were Native American prayer bundles along the trail around the base. It really is awe inspiring. Early morning gives you the best light to photograph it by.”
Devils Tower is the plug of an old volcano. What’s left is the magma that hardened, and what we see is left after the softer cone eroded away.