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February 2016

WPC: State of Mind

On my first visit to Yellowstone National Park, I entered the park via the Beartooth Highway, on the northeast side.  When I started in the morning, it had been relatively sunny and warm, but by the time I reached the road’s summit, winter conditions prevailed.  This was in the 2nd week of July.

The snow had started to accumulate to at least a couple inches, and the clouds made visibility very poor.  This mountain road turns and climbs to an elevation well above treeline.  What I remember most was the lack of a guardrail, and the eerie bamboo poles stuck into the ground at the road’s edge – a guide for the plows to find the road when their time came.

I had been in 4wd, and I’m sure my top speed was no more than 25mph.  At one point I came across a fairly long section of straightaway and decided to test the braking ability ever so lightly.  As I did, I could feel there was no traction underneath and I started to slide a little towards the downhill side.  That was the last time I made any attempts at braking, and slowed my pace even further.  Although not a sheer cliff, the mountainside sloped downward at least 1000 feet, and if I rolled off, it would have been at least a day before anyone would have found me.  I found out later that the road was closed minutes after I started my ascent, which explained why I was the only one out there that day.

Upon descending back to the forested regions, I came across this small lake and pulled over.  By now, I was just glad to have something flat on the side of the road, and having that crazy drive over the mountain pass behind me.  I remember feeling so much more relaxed when I got out.  This scene, with the calm lake, and the storm clouds moving out, echoed my state of mind at the time.

Mid-week Mixings: Valentine’s Day Hearts & Kisses

As we approach Valentine’s Day, just a reminder to show those you love your appreciation.  We should be doing that everyday, anyway.

The heart shaped falls are from Hawaii, near Hilo.

The kissing rocks are from Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada.

Kissing Rocks - Steve Bruno

Window Seat V: Sunset From 30,000 feet

On my flight to Seattle last November I captured one of my favorite images ever from the air. The return flight looked as though there would be nothing to see, because cloud cover had moved into the Pacific northwest just before my departure.  Somewhere around northwestern Nevada, the clouds started to break, and a little bit of color hit the far eastern horizon.  If I had been on the ground and seen these clouds, I would have thought there were some powerful winds aloft.  Our flight was as calm as could be, and I was glad to take a single shot on the return journey.

But this turned out to be just the start.  We had now passed the edge of the cloud layer and the color was getting stronger.  Mountains on the desert floor were beginning to glow as the eastern horizon lit up more before eventually darkening.  The light seemed to go on forever, and the time stamps on my images show that from the top shot to my last was over 15 minutes.Airplane Seattle to Las Vegas 02 - Steve BrunoAirplane Seattle to Las Vegas 03 - Steve BrunoAirplane Seattle to Las Vegas 04 - Steve Bruno

WPC: Time

Although there are new studies which are saying the Grand Canyon may be much older, it is generally believed that the Grand Canyon is over 5 million years in the making.  This is the first place I thought of when seeing this week’s Daily Post challenge of Time.

Mid-week Mixings: What To Do With All That Snow

When I was still in high school, one of my older brothers was attending college in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, at MTU.  We went to visit when they were having their Winter Carnival.  I had never seen such a creative use of ice and snow before.  In a land that received hundreds of inches of snow every year, they knew what to do with it.  Just remember, these were created by college students.

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