Category Photography

Photo Friday: Icy Bay in Alaska

Icy Bay in Southeast Alaska

I took this image for Photo Friday at Icy Bay, which is a remarkable landscape in Southeastern Alaska that is rarely visited because it is so inaccessible and remote.

I was lucky to fly there in a tiny three person Super Cub plane, courtesy of Ultima Thule Lodge, which is located deep inside Wrangell St. Elias National Park. We flew across the Bagley Ice Field, which is the largest non-polar ice field in North America and then flew out over Icy Bay to see hundreds of seals sunbaking on the small icebergs that dotted the bay.

Several glaciers spewed into the icy water from the ice field and their jagged blue cliff faces extended more than three kilometers across the bay. The landscape was eerily silent, except for the cries of a few large birds. That was until a chunk of ice, the size of a city skyscraper, broke off the glacier and crashed into the bay with the sound of an enormous explosion. Sensational.

If you would like to read more about my adventures in the world’s largest protect...

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Photo Friday: Ghost gum in the Red Centre’s King Canyon

Ghost gum in the Red Centre's King's Canyon

Ghost gum in the Red Centre’s King’s Canyon

 

I took this picture during the spectacular six-kilometer Kings Canyon Rim Walk, which is one of Australia’s great day walks.The pure white trunk of the ghost gum makes such a remarkable contrast against the rugged sandstone rocks.

Located in the Watarrka National Park, 300 kilometer’s northeast of Uluru, the landscape is defined by rugged red sandstone ranges and gorges that were laid 440 million years ago at about the same time that first life on land appeared. At its heart Kings Canyon sports spectacular 270-metre sandstone walls, sculpted by the elements, which rise up to a plateau of rocky domes.

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Kings Canyon

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Kings Canyon -24.250641, 131.511454
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Photo Friday: Walking California’s Point Reyes National Seashore

Walking along the Point Reyes National Seashore

I took this picture of a couple of avid walkers of a certain age along the Tomales Point Trail on the Point Reyes National Seashore in West Marin.

This spectacular stretch of wild coastline offers one of the world’s great day walks from historic Pierce Point Ranch to the end of Tomales Point with its stunning views over both the Pacific Ocean and the entrance to Tomales Bay, which is right on the San Andreas fault line above San Francisco. Along the way you will see waves crashing along cliffs and windswept beaches and small herds of native tule elk grazing on the lush green hillsides. In springtime, entire hillsides are blanketed with California poppies, wild iris and mustard flowers while overhead hawks and kestrels ride the wind currents looking for small animals.

This landscape could so easily have been destroyed if it were not for a broad ranging group of conservationists, farmers, ranchers, widows, politicians and volunteers who fought a hard-won battle between 1950 to 1970 to p...

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Photo Friday: Indonesia’s Komodo Dragons

Three Komodo dragons at the UNESCO World Heritage Komodo National Park

I took this Photo Friday image of these three gigantic komodo dragons on UNESCO World Heritage-listed Komodo Island in Komodo National Park off the coast of Flores Island in Eastern Indonesia. They are found only on four volcanic islands that rise Jurassic-park-like from the sea.

Three of them are sunbaking at a waterhole when I visit. Each is three-meters-long with prehistoric claws, beady eyes and scaly skin, which looks like woven metal armor. It feels like I’ve done a Dr Who and dropped into a dinosaur convention. Our diminutive guide is armed with nothing but a pronged stick. One heaves itself up and lurches towards me, so close I can hear its guttural hiss. A foot-long pink forked tongue darts in and out of its mouth. Meanwhile, saliva is drooling from the other two. Even DreamWorks couldn’t have come up with scarier looking creatures. Suddenly, my walk in the Komodo Islands National Park doesn’t feel like…well…a walk in the park anymore...

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Photo Friday: Gardener and chef at Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm

Chef and master gardener at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee

I took this photo one fine spring afternoon at Blackberry Farm, the multi-award-winning Relais et Chateaux property in the hills of Tennessee. Sous chef Adam Cooke has come to collect some herbs for the evening meal.  Garden manager Jeff Ross hands him some white flower buds and spiraling stems or scapes of Russian hard-neck red garlic suggesting the kitchen sautés them in butter as a tasty side dish. It is amusing to reflect on the color of their skin…Adam pale from working in the kitchen, Jeff dark from hours under the sun. Still they make a terrific team contributing equally to the superb meals prepared in the resort’s restaurants.

Everything old is new again.  As consumers seek alternatives to modern, homogenized hybrid vegetables that have been bred for shelf life and machine harvesting (everything except honest flavor),  places like Blackberry Farm in Tennessee are bringing the past back to life.

To this end, master gardener, John Coykendall, and garden manager, Jeff Ro...

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Photo Friday: Whitehaven is one of the world’s best beaches

Whitehaven Beach in Queensland's Whitsunday region is one of the world's most beautiful beaches

Whitehaven Beach, located in the heart of the Whitsundays region of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, is regularly voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

Comprised of 100 percent pure white silica, the seven-kilometer beach stretches along one side of Whitsunday Island, which is the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsunday region.

At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet, which is a stunning cover where the tide shifts the sand and water to create an ever changing fusion of colors.

I took this picture on a scenic helicopter flight from Hamilton Island. We swept along the full stretch of Whitehaven Beach before heading out to Heart Reef, the other iconic attraction in this part of the world.

There are several ways to access Whitehaven Beach. Many companies offer day trips (from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island) by  power boat or sailing boat. Most overnight sailing trips also stop here...

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Photo Friday: Bull elephant in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater

Elephant in Tanzania's Ngorongoro Crater

 

I photographed this ancient bull elephant in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.  He looked like he’d had more than his fare share of battles over the years.

Located west of Arusha, the Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage site because it has yielded an exceptional long sequence of crucial evidence related to human evolution and human-environment dynamics and its stunning landscape combined with its spectacular concentration of wildlife is one of the greatest natural wonders of the planet. It is home to more than 25,000 animals, including the world’s highest density of lions. Maybe this old elephant has had a few run ins with those lions.

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Ngorongoro Crater

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Ngorongoro Crater -3.161752, 35.587670

 

 

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Photo Friday: Heart Reef for Valentine’s Day

Heart Reef on the Great Barrier Reef

I took this photo from a helicopter flying over Hardy Reef in the Whitsundays section of the Great Barrier Reef.  It’s a perfect image to celebrate Valentine’s Day, don’t you think? Many a wedding proposal has been made as loving couples fly over the reef but you are not allowed to snorkel or dive here because of its protected status.

Cruise Whitsundays Reefworld pontoon is not far away and you can spend the day here snorkeling and diving, feeding the giant potato cod and exploring the surrounding reef in a semi submersible. There are helicopter flights from here to see Heart Reef and, if you are so inclined, you can even sleep over on the Reefworld pontoon after the day trippers have left. It is a serenely beautiful experience.

I’d love to hear if you know of any other natural structures in the shape of hearts around the world.

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Heart Reef

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Heart Reef -19.746975, 149.207542
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