Kaloniot: The Red Anemones in Israel Near Gaza…

Eileen and I, along with our friends Ariiet and Ilana took a trip to the Negev area to see the Kaloniot that are in bloom almost everywhere. I really didn’t know what to expect and I found out I was in for a special treat. It was a weekday afternoon and the area was crowded with Israelis also on a mission to see these beautiful flowers. I along with many others had  a misconception about the area around Gaza — far from being barren desert, it is one of the most fertile, green, and simply stunning areas in Israel. I hope you enjoy some of the images from this trip.
(Reminder: Click on one of the images to begin slide show)!

Advertisements

The Olympic Peninsula: Day 2…

Day 2 of our trip to The Olympic Peninsula was spent visiting Olympic National Park.

Olympic National Park can be divided into four basic regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west side temperate rainforest and the forests of the drier east side. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt originally created Mount Olympus National Monument in 1909 and after Congress voted to authorize a re-designation to National Park status, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the legislation June 29, 1938. In 1976, Olympic National Park became an International Biosphere Reserve, and in 1981 it was designated a World Heritage Site. In 1988, Congress designated 95 percent of the park as the Olympic Wilderness.

The most  popular viewpoint in the park is known as Hurricane Ridge.

View from Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center…

Spectacular views of the Olympic National Park can be seen from the Hurricane Ridge viewpoint.

Deer resting in field at Hurricane Ridge Visitor’s Center…

But in order to get there we had to drive several miles through some of the densest fog I’ve ever driven through.

View from side of road…fir trees in the fog…

Several cars in front of us turned back but we persevered and were glad we did. About two-thirds of the way up we broke out of the fog and into some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen.

Breaking out of the fog…

On our return to Port Angeles, the road had cleared of fog and we were able to see areas we had missed. The ‘old-growth’ forests were plentiful.

An ‘old-growth’ forest…

There is an abundance of rivers and waterfalls in the park. Many of the rapids were in ‘full stream’ as they continue to run off the melting snow.

Rapids…

In our travels in the Pacific Northwest and our visits to our National Parks we’ve discovered what a valuable service the Park Rangers provide. They are always helpful, friendly and encouraging. Kudos to them.

Ranger Station…

The Olympic Peninsula: Day One…

The Olympic Peninsula…

The Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park are two of the places we love to visit when in the Northwest. We began this year’s visit by taking the ferry from Edmonds with Neah Bay and nearby Cape Flattery as our first photo destination. Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States. We were hoping that weather permitting we could get some images of  The Cape Flattery Light sitting atop Tatoosh Island.  The ride from Edmonds to the Cape was quite extraordinary with changes in climate/eco-systems practically around every bend in the road.

The ride did offer some interesting photo opportunities. In Port Gamble, the port’s historic district is a U.S. National Historic Landmark with it’s beautiful restored homes, buildings, houses of worship and shops.

Walker-Ames House, Port Gamble, Wa….

St. Paul’s Church sits on a sloping grass hill overlooking the waters of Port Gamble Bay. The church, built in 1869, is modeled after a church in the Maine hometown of Port Gamble’s founders.

St. Paul’s Church…

Our ride continued with a stop for lunch in Port Townsend. This ‘lighthouse’ home greets visitors entering the town.

Lighthouse, Port Townsend, Wa….

After lunch we continued our journey to Neah Bay and the Cape Flattery Lighthouse. We wanted to get there before dark so we didn’t have much time to stop and shoot along the way. Here are a few images I managed to get:

Rocky Beach along the peninsula on the Strait of San Fuca…

Apache Feeds…

Stable…

We continued on to view the Cape Flattery Lighthouse which was built in 1854. Although closed to the public, it can be viewed from Cape Flattery via a short 30 minute walk which we took in near darkness.  The island the lighthouse lies on is named Tatoosh Island after a Native American chief of the Makah Tribe. It is the farthest north lighthouse on the West Coast of the continental United States.

Cape Flattery Lighthouse…

Tatoosh Island, home of the Cape Flattery Lighthouse…

To be continued with our visit to Olympic National Park…

Mt Rainier National Park…

When in the Bellevue/Seattle area, one of the more spectacular sites is seeing the great Mount Rainier looming in the distance looking over the city and its environs.   We visited Mount Rainier National Park and hopefully the mountain will cooperate and stay away from the clouds. Mt. Rainier National Park is located in southeast Pierce County and northeast Lewis County in Washington state about a 90 minute ride from where we were staying (Eileen’s daughter’s house).  It was established on March 2, 1899 as the fifth national park in the United States.   The mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding land with elevations in the park ranging from 1,600 feet (490 m) to over 14,000 feet which is the highest point in the Cascade Range. Around it are valleys, waterfalls, subalpine wildflower meadows, old growth forest and more than 25 glaciers. The volcano is often shrouded in clouds that dump enormous amounts of rain and snow on the peak every year and hide it from the crowds that head to the park on weekends. On this visit we were very lucky as the mountain (volcano) decided to stay out and allow us to shoot her.  About 1.8 million people visit Mount Rainier National Park each year. Mount Rainier is a popular peak for mountain climbing with some 10,000 attempts per year with approximately 50% making it to the summit. No way we were attempting the climb!

Below are some images from our trip. Remember to click on any one of the images to see slide show!

Enjoy!

Pacific Coast Lighthouses…

One of the things Eileen and I love to do when heading out to visit our family and friends (yes, I still have a couple of them!) in Bellevue/Seattle, Wa. is to travel along the Pacific coastline.  Because of the complex geological history of the Pacific Northwest, the geography of the Pacific Coast is diversely varied. The need for lighthouses is very obvious and we love to visit and shoot them.

On our trip to Olympic National Park the first lighthouse we went to shoot was the Cape Flattery Lighthouse which was built in 1854. Its first light was displayed s in 1857 and was Washington Territory’s third lighthouse.  Although closed to the public, it can be viewed from Cape Flattery via a short 30 minute walk which is what we did. The island the lighthouse lies on is named Tatoosh Island after a Native American chief of the Makah Tribe. It is the farthest north lighthouse on the West Coast of the continental United States.

Cape Flattery Lighthouse on Tatoosh Island as seen from the mainland…[click on image to enlarge]

The Admiralty Head Lightis a lighthouse located in Fort Casey State Park near Coupeville on Whidbey Island, Washington.  The original Red Bluff wooden lighthouse  was completed during the months just prior to the Civil War and was among the West’s earliest navigational aids.  This light welcomed Puget Sound marine traffic to Admiralty Inlet. In 1890, with construction of Fort Casey to protect Admiralty Inlet, the light was relocated and was demolished to make room for soldiers and guns in Fort Casey. The replacement lighthouse  was built in 1903 but was discontinued in 1922 and the lantern moved to the New Dungeness Lighthouse in 1927. The lighthouse has since been restored by the Washington State Parks and  is open to the public throughout the year.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse, Fort Casey, Whidbey Island, Wa….

Lunchtime at the Admiralty Head Lighthouse…

On our way home from the Olympic Peninsula Eileen and I decided to visit the New Dungeness Lighthouse which  is located on the Dungeness Spit in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge near the town of Sequim.  Unfortunately we didn’t realize that in order to get to the lighthouse it was necessary to walk 5 miles along the coast and we did not have enough time for this hike.

The original New Dungeness lighthouse was a 1 ½ story duplex with a tower rising from the roof. The tower stood at 100 feet (30 m) painted black on the top half and white on the lower section. Over time, the tower developed structural cracks from the artillery at nearby forts. In 1927, the cracks in the tower were so severe that the lighthouse inspector feared that the tower would topple. It was decided that year that the tower would be lowered to its current height of 63 feet.  In 1994, the Dungeness Lighthouse was one of the few lighthouses in the United States to have a full-time keeper when the Coast Guard boarded up all the windows at the station, checked all the electrical equipment and left. The station didn’t stay boarded up long. Within months, the United States Lighthouse Society started the New Dungeness chapter and were able to secure a lease from the Coast Guard. The station has been completely restored. Today, the lighthouse is manned weekly by society members who pay a fee to stay at the light.

The New Dungeness Lighthouse with Mt. Baker in the background…

In Seattle, the West Point Light, also known as the Discovery Park Lighthouse, is a 23-foot-high lighthouse on Seattle, Washington’s West Point which juts into Puget Sound. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It became automated in 1985, the last station in Washington to do so. Seattle Parks and Recreation has been looking for groups to help maintain the light due to their lack of funding, and in the future, hopes to have the station open to the public.

West Point Light, Seattle, Wa….

West Point Light, Seattle, Wa….

Fini…

The Fourth of July 2012: Boston Mass…

Blue Angels fly above the USS Constitution and the USCGC Eagle in Boston Harbor…

Eileen and I recently spent the Fourth of July with our friends Paul and Jona. They live in Boston and it was fun spending time in the area where it all began.

Paul, Ellery, Jona and Eileen watching the ships in Boston Harbor…

We went down to the harbor area to see the ‘tall ships’ as they sailed. The highlight of the viewing was seeing the USS Constitution as it sailed (ok…pushed by tugboats) and shot off its cannons.

The USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America, she is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat.

As we celebrate the 200th Anniversary of The War of 1812, it should be noted that the Constitution is most famous for her actions during the war against Great Britain, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated five British warships: HMS Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane and Levant. The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname of “Old Ironsides” and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping.

The USS Constitution, ‘Old Ironsides’, parades through Boston Harbor…

The USCG Eagle is a 295-ft barque used as a training cutter for future officers of the United States Coast Guard. She is one of only two active commissioned sailing vessels in American military service, the other being the USS Constitution.

USCGC Eagle

Of course any Independence Day celebration is not complete without the Blue Angels performing.

The Blue Angels in formation…

The Blue Angels in formation…

The Blue Angels in formation…

Joining the Angels were the Navy Seals…It was great to see them and see how much everyone on shore showed their appreciation for the job the Seals are doing to protect our country. It was American pride and patriotism at its best.

Old Glory arrives with a Navy Seal…

The Navy Seals put on a spectacular exhibit…