Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wild Rhubarb and Ladybug

Wild rhubarb in Snow Canyon, taken just before the sun set.

Ladybug balancing on edge of rhubarb leaf.  I learned that ladybugs love wild rhubarb.  They were congregating on this bush, but the darn things would not hold still for a portrait.  It took me about an hour to finally get a decent photo!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bees, Cactus & Gopher Plant

 I took these photos about two weeks ago in my southern Utah backyard.  This is a close up of what is commonly called a gopher plant.  (I was too lazy to see if it has a more 'official' name.)

 The gopher plants in my yard were in full bloom and the bees were going crazy!  Here, one cluster of blooms was nestled against a cactus, creating a very interesting backdrop.

The bees were so busy with their work that they hardly noticed me.  The lens of my camera was only an inch or so away from this guy.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Modena Revisited

After I posted my photos of the 'almost' ghost town of Modena, (see post here), I had enough photographers wanting me to organize a photo trip there that I did just that about a week ago.  We had a great time and some great pictures were taken.  Since I had been there only a week or so earlier, it was a challenge for me to find fresh compositions and interesting scenes that I hadn't photographed the first time.  I concentrated on interesting points of view, and details.  Here they are:













Saturday, March 14, 2015

Early Desert Spring

I usually think of the desert as a harsh, intense environment of extremes, especially in summer and winter.  In the daytime the temperature can be so hot as to be life threatening, and at night, freezing cold.  The landscape is defined by barren, rugged rock formations and mountains, intermixed with vast vistas dotted with unfriendly cacti and cacti like plants with sharp, prickly spines and needles.  And did I mention the rattlesnakes and scorpions?

This bloom is about 1/2 inch wide in real life.
(Shot with a 100mm macro lens)

But then comes spring.  When spring is in full force, in about a month or so, there will be an explosion of big, beautiful, show stopping blooms of almost every color, that for me, will justify the reason for the very existence of cacti!   

But I'm talking about now, very early spring, when the desert wakes up after winter and shows a delicate, even dainty, softer side, seemingly out of place in this usually harsh landscape. The blooms are often found on unremarkable, even boring plants other than cacti, and are very tiny, so most people just pass them by, unnoticed and unappreciated.

But like most all landscape and nature lovers, (and photographers), I notice and appreciate them and delight in preserving their fleeting beauty with my camera.  I took all of these photos yesterday, which by the way, was an absolutely perfect 73 degree day in the southern Utah desert.

         This is a flowering groundcover.  The blossom is about 1/8 inch wide.
(Shot with a 100mm macro lens)

 These blossoms are about 1/4 inch wide. 
(Shot with a 100mm macro lens) 

 The body of this itty bitty spider was about 1/4 inch long.
(Shot with a 100mm macro lens) 

 This bloom was about 1/2 inch wide.
(Shot with a 100mm macro lens)

  This is a cactus bud getting ready to pop open.  It was about an inch wide.
(Shot with a 100mm macro lens)

 (Shot with a 100mm macro lens)

We have busy lives, and important stuff to accomplish each day.  But it doesn't take much time to be aware of our surroundings, to notice the beauty around us, and gives thanks to a Father in Heaven who also loves nature, because He has created beauty not only in grand vistas, but also in the smallest of details.

 


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Modena, Utah

Modena, Utah
POPULATION:  16

For those of you who have followed my last few posts showing the paradise that is Moorea, (which is part of French Polynesia), this set of photos will be a stark contrast!!

About a week ago, I drug, (dragged?), Jeff on a day ride out in the southern Utah country near the Nevada border.  We happened on what we thought was a small western 'ghost' town, out in the middle of nowhere.   We soon discovered there were a few residents (16 we found out), still living there.

After we came home,  I looked up the history of Modena.  It was a railroad town and sprung up as a stopping point for the cowboys and miners in the late 1800s.  Below are a few of the buildings that have seen better days. 



 The above photos are of the largest building still standing.  The lettering is still visible and the proprietor of this general store and hotel is B. J. Lund.  I learned that he was the main founder of the town and had buildings and roads named after him.  This was interesting to me as my maiden name is Lund, and my father's family were among the early pioneers in Utah.  I am not aware of any relative named Brigham J. Lund, but who knows.

 I think we missed our 'last chance'!



Above are homes of a few former residents.

From a photographic point of view, I prefer to take photos of old west scenes in the winter with drab neutral colors which emphasize the look of abandonment and loneliness.   I was in luck and had a beautiful, puffy cloud day which was a great contrast to the neutral colors of the buildings and landscape.


Abandoned vehicles add texture and interest for photography, and are reminders that children went to school, and people lived and worked in this tiny barren and windswept prairie town. 



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Moorea - Photos 25 & 26

 Two of my favorite photos, both taken at sunset. 
This one is facing away from the sunset and looking at where we stayed.

This one is facing into the sunset and was taken from Tahiti, looking to Moorea in the background.  And with this I will say goodbye to my 'walk down memory lane'.  Moorea is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Moorea - Photos 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 &20

 Every sunset was magical and unique.

 After the sunset it was time to get reading for the evening dinner and show.

 Here we are with almost a front row seat.

 Of course there were the beautiful Tahitian dancers.

 Then the war dancers who came right up to our table.

 Next the guy who rips coconuts open with his teeth.

And finally the guy who breaths out fire like a dragon.
(And much more that I won't post here.)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Moorea - Photos 11, 12 & 13




Places of Worship
Places of worship on Moorea were very modest and very photogenic.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Moorea - Photos 9 & 10


We saw dolphins and turtles without even having to go out on a boat!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Moorea - Photos 7 & 8

 During the day we relaxed here.


In the evenings waiting for the sunset, we relaxed here.  That is Jeff looking pretty relaxed!

You might think we were in this beautiful place on a vacation.  Well, that's only partly correct.  We spent 18 months traveling throughout the South Pacific on missionary assignments for our church.  Many senior couples of our faith choose to do this after retirement, (around 5,000 couples at any given time), as a way to serve others, as devotion to our faith and as a way to do our part to make the world a better place.  We willing go where ever we are called, (we don't choose where we go although we can suggest), we do whatever we are asked to do, and we pay all our own expenses and consider it a privilege to do so.  If we are sent out of the US we usually serve for 18 months or 23 months.  We have friends who have served, or are serving, all over the world, providing humanitarian aid, teaching English and religion classes, providing medical and legal assistance or in many other capacities. 

We were stationed in Auckland, New Zealand, and in 18 months we were on airplanes over 55 times traveling to various assignments on many of the South Pacific Islands.  Sometimes we traveled on commercial jets going to large cities such as Sydney, Australia, and sometimes on tiny, rickety small planes, held together with duct tape, (really), flying into tiny little islands such as Taveuni, Fiji where the beginning of a tiny runway began and ended in the ocean!

We worked very hard, and had many challenging assignments, and we loved every minute of it.  But where ever we traveled, we also had some time to enjoy the local culture and relax from our labors.  In this case, after our assignments in Tahiti were completed,  we were able to spend a couple of magical days in Moorea.

Jeff and I count these 18 months as a highlight in our lives and one of the most meaningful things we have ever done, along with our lifelong devotion to children and grandchildren and family.  We have wonderful memories of people, and places half way around the world that we have grown to love and respect, and of faith promoting experiences that have drawn us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ.