With a newly broken toe, I walked a long trail and climbed 374 steps to the summit of Bartolome Island, which is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering obelisk that rises from the shore and is the best known landmark in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. I’d broken my toe when I slipped on a wet boat deck, exhausted from snorkeling in deep water, but I wasn’t going to miss this view even though a storm was rolling in. It started to rainhard as our group made its way down. Amazingly my cameras weren’t damaged. My son took pity on me and carried my heavier camera, and we both protected them as best we could under our shirts. We’d left the camera bags in the boat.
Photographs are powerful souvenirs from trips. When we look at a photo that we’ve taken, we remember so much more than what the photograph seems to reveal. We can relieve the whole experience.
We remember the people we traveled with, even meals we ate that day, the weather, and in my case, the mishaps that occurred while I was taking the photos. Sometimes, it’s easier to remember the injuries than the many more times I escaped unscathed. Anyway, I’m not complaining, because every bug bite, black eye, bruise, scraped knee and broken bone was worth it. I’m lucky I didn’t fall from a cliff or attacked by a wild animal, as has happened to some photographers when they were engrossed in taking a photograph. I’ve had some close calls, such as encountering a tiger snake in Tasmania, Australia, while my friends and I were on a walk. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see and photograph so many wonderful places, animals and people.
As we were driving along a highway in Kauai, Hawaii, my husband pointed out the surfers on this beach, so we stopped, where I took a lot of photographs, including this fabulous sunset over Niihau Island. Afterward, as I was climbing up the rocks to the parking lot, holding a camera in each hand with the straps wrapped around my wrists, I lost my balance and fell on my face. I got a black eye. But I saved my cameras! And look at this photo!
I was so intent on photographing roses at the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden during the Texas Rose Festival that I didn’t notice tiny ants crawling over my bare toes in sandals. The ants looked harmless, but they were fire ants. I brushed them off, but it was too late. Wow, their tiny stings hurt for days! Now I know why Texans favor cowboy boots. Cowboy boots are not just for riding horses.
Look how smart these tourists are wearing their rubber boots as they listen to their guide talk about giant tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. You can see a giant tortoise in the background on the right. We had just arrived on the Galapagos Islands. It was hot, and I decided against wearing any boots. I thought I’d just wash my flip-flop-clad feet if I stepped into mud. But mud wasn’t the only hazard. As I stood on a trail, I saw tiny ants crawling over my toes. Yes, fire ants again! They’ve invaded the Galapagos Islands! They stung me, and I had to deal with that pain plus sun-burned feet. (And later sun-burned shoulders, too.)
This is the most iconic view of Machu Picchu in Peru. Even though I took a bus up a steep hill to the entrance, there were a lot of steps to reach this point. Normally, I could have easily walked it, but I was still weak from acute altitude sickness in Cusco, which is at an elevation of 11,152 feet. It was a relief to come down to 7,970 feet at Machu Picchu. I happy to make the journey to this magnificent place, even though I felt so weak. Somehow I managed to take a lot of photos!
I have a scar on my knee from scraping my knee when I stepped into a hole at Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge in Mound City, Missouri. I was hurrying to a viewing stand, not paying attention, and found myself on the ground. “Are you ok,” my friend asked as she helped me up. “More importantly, are your cameras ok?” she joked. My knee was scuffed up, but my cameras were fine! We were there to see the more than a million snow geese that visit the refuge as they migrate, shown in my photograph here. Seeing and hearing the rush of those birds as they lifted en masse into the air was a magnificent experience, worth the pain, although next time I’ll be more careful when I walk!
I got scratched by some dried weeds when I took this photograph of a bison cow at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge in Kansas. (There was a tall fence between us, so no danger from the bison.) I thought the scratches were all that happened to me until a week later I felt what I thought was a scab on the back of my shoulder. I scratched at it. The scab started walking. It was a tick! I’m sure it crawled on me in that tall grass. For months after that, every time I felt tired or had a headache, I thought I had some kind of tick fever. I even got tested for it, rare for me. Results were negative. Phew!
Sometimes, we venture into dangerous areas, where lions and leopards roam freely, and miraculously leave unscathed. We watched as this Cape Buffalo Bull enjoyed a mud bath in Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa. Guess he didn’t like us spying on us, because after his bath he started our way. His buddy, who had taken the first bath, was watching us from the bushes. Fortunately, it was a stand-off . Our guide backed up the jeep, and we were out of there! Cape Buffalo are dangerous. They can gore you.
My friend Anita recorded this encounter in Tasmania, Australia. I had a crazy notion that I wanted to pet a Tasmanian Devil. The keeper at NatureWorld held this young devil so I could have my wish. “Nice devil, devil,” I said as I stroked him. A young man also wanted to join in. The once calm devil jerked his head around, and growled. You can see the man’s hand pulling back in the bottom photo. I didn’t lose any fingers!
Four of us were on a hike in Tasmania, when Anita saw this very poisonous tiger snake heading our way. For some crazy reason, my husband threw a stick near it, thinking he could scare it away, but that just provoked the snake, which reared up. You never saw four people run so fast in the other direction. We jumped in the car and hurried away.
Because of the weather, the captain of our boat warned us that the trip along the Na Pali Coast of Kauai could be rough and said we could reschedule, but we only had two days left on the island. I’d never been seasick before. How bad could it be? Even though my husband and I took the recommended seasick pills, we both got sick. How sick? I used three buckets! TMI, I know. The swells were seventeen-feet high. We couldn’t even think of eating the sunset dinner buffet. The sun refused to come out from behind the clouds, and we had to put away our cameras, so we didn’t get any close photos of the humpback whales we saw. But it definitely was a memorable trip, even without beautiful photos.
Here’s one of the videos I shot before the seas got really rough. You can see how gloomy it was. You can also see a humpback whale breaching in the distance.
A mother duck leads her ducklings through Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead to a pond.
I love to visit the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, even without children in tow. I try to go a couple of times a summer, but this year I didn’t go until mid-July and at almost noon. It was hot and sunny. I was soon drooping until I spotted a mother duck with her ducklings following close behind her. I knew she was heading to the swan pond so I followed her, snapping photos as quickly as I could. She was fast! I wish I would have captured at least one of the ducklings jumping into the pond, but they were too fast for me to focus.
If you click on the photo collage, you’ll get a larger view.
About the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.
I saw these limestone fence posts, called post rocks, on a recent drive to western Kansas.
I’ve lived in Kansas most of my life, but I hadn’t seen more than a few limestone fence posts until this past weekend when I saw miles of them as I drove west in a section of the state I’d never visited before. It has been estimated that at the peak of their use, there were about 40,000 miles of these stone post fences in central Kansas. In the last quarter of the 19th century, ranchers and farmers needed fences to keep the cattle from wandering onto cropland, but wood was scarce. Providentially, there is a bed of limestone buried only a few inches beneath the top soil, which is about about 18 inches in thickness, the perfect dimension for fence posts. It was easy to shape the soft stone, which hardened, enabling the posts to resist weathering in the elements.
About Post Rocks in Kansas.
More about Post Rock Fences and Where to Find Them.
After watching this mother fox diligently tend to her young, I think she says “I’m exhausted!”
On and off for many years in the Spring, red foxes have made a den in the rocky ledges of friends’ rural backyard in the Kansas City. This year, there are two adults and six kits. A fox family consists of a male and female adult, plus their offspring, although sometimes a female from the previous litter will help. The gender of the second adult in this family wasn’t clear. The kits (also known as pups or cubs) may be about three weeks old in these photographs, taken April 5, 2014. They are gray and roundish, but are quickly turning red like their parents. Last year when I saw young foxes in early May, they already looked like smaller versions of the adults.
The foxes are very active in this rural neighborhood, and my friend Pat has seen all sorts of behavior, including adults carrying prey, burying it in leaves and then retrieving it; carrying tiny kits in their mouths; nursing the kits; and grooming behavior. Earlier, one of the adult foxes spent about two hours screaming as he ran around the area, possibly as a way to announce his territory. The screaming was so loud that neighbors called out of concern that something terrible was happening, Pat said.
Click on a photograph to see a full-size version and begin a slideshow with descriptions.
A mother fox returning to her den is greeted by her hungry kits.
Six fox kits compete for a space at their mother’s nipples.
A mother fox scans the forest as her six kits nurse.
The fox kits wonder where their mother went when she leaves the den for a few minutes on her “break.”
A mother fox nudges one of her kits back to the den.
The fox kits try to hang on as the mother fox leaves to take a break from caretaking.
The mother fox rests a few yards from the den. Occasionally, a kit will wander up to get her attention, but she sends them back to the den.
Her short break over, the mother fox returns to the den.
The kits are getting brave and spending more time outside their den, especially when their mother is there to watch over them.
Another fox adult, possibly the father, joins the family get-together.
The two adults take a break from the children, grooming each other on a rock above the den.
The six kits are back for another meal.
Evening is falling, the fox kits are fed and put to bed in the den, and now the mother heads to a higher rock to rest.
Art, music and lively conversation transformed the space into “Arti Gras” in the community room of Leawood City Hall, where I’ve taken yoga classes.
In the slideshow below are photographs from the opening night gala on Feb. 21, 2014. It was Leawood’s third Juried Art Show. The opening night art show featured a Mardi Gras theme in decor and food. The Dixieland Jazz Band “12th Street Revue” and magician Barry Nelson entertained the crowd. Another gallery featured children’s art. The Leawood Foundation presented the show, with the support of the Leawood Arts Council.
I went with my friend Lynn, a talented photographer. There were many great artworks in the show I didn’t include in the slide show, partly because of reflections on the glass, but you can see all of the artworks if you click on the link under the slideshow.
Next year, plan to to attend so you can enjoy the work in person. I’m thinking of entering some of my photographs for the 2015 show. Watch this space to see whether I follow through with my plan…Lynn will give me a nudge or three, as will Sharon, a photographer friend who was at the show, too. I hope they also enter!
To see the artworks in the 2015 show, click on Arti Gras 2015 Art Gallery.
These are the first strawberries to ripen in my garden this year (2013). This is more than two weeks later than usual.
This year’s (2013) first strawberries to ripen were the latest since I planted them more than six years ago. This year, I picked my first strawberries on June 6th. Usually I start picking in mid-May and by the end of the first week of June, the strawberries are done. In the Kansas City area, we had a cold, wet winter, and it’s wet and cool now. In May, we got 8.70 inches of rain. The average is 5.41 inches.
The rain has really helped to produce lush foliage, even if all of the plants are late to develop. Our neighborhood butterfly garden is prospering. Now, all we need are butterflies!
Click here to see last year’s post, a photograph and recipe for a strawberry walnut and blue cheese salad with balsamic vinegar dressing. Fifth Annual Strawberry Photograph.