Monday, August 28, 2006

Web Cams

Web cams are great - you can see what's happening someplace else live. There is a webcam that shows Old Faithful; it was out of service while they were remodeling the Visitor Center. The Center was reopened last week and now the web cam is back in service. The picture updates every 20 seconds and operates 24 hours, except of course that you can only actually see stuff during daylight hours.

These are some pictures from today:

Old Faithful at first light. It's so much easier to see the sunrise at Old Faithful from the East Coast where we're two hours ahead.

First eruption of the day occurred at 6:15am. There's nobody there to watch it. During the middle of the day those benches are full of people.

The sun is high enough to cast some light on the geyser basin. I would like to figure out a way to use these real time webcam pictures as my computer wallpaper.

On an art note - the piece on which I am currently working met with disaster when I tried to take it off the design wall. Hundreds of little pieces of fabric were pinned to a lightweight base but not securely enough and they all ended up on the floor. WonderUnder is the solution and I now have a large piece of padded ironing board cover on the design wall, with wonder under pinned onto that and will now re-pin all the fabrics. I hope it works. If it doesn't, I will know that this piece was destined not to be.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bits of stuff

I just got Nancy Crow's newest book in the mail. It's pretty spectacular - pictures of her work and journal entries that accompany the pieces. I find it so interesting to see how people work - each person has worked out her own process (hopefully one that works pretty well) and tailored it to fit her work. Here is the link to Amazon if you would like to check it out.

There is a new blog for art quilt reviews. The intent is to present an objective view of both the good and bad points of art quilt shows. Too often we all work at being too nice and don't want to say anything negative. That's a counterproductive attitude because how are we ever going to improve if we don't look at ourselves honestly? Check it out: Art Quilt Reviews

And lastly - the Purdue commission is finished, packed, and shipped. I talk about this piece in some of my May postings: Where does the time go? I'm not ready to post an image yet because I want the Purdue people to see it before it's put on display here and on my web page. In a week or so I'll put it up.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Travelogue - Grand Teton National Park

The second part of our week was spent at Grand Teton National Park. We stayed at the Signal Mountain Lodge in a lake front cabin with a view of the Tetons right off the front porch. Such a hardship!
The morning after we arrive the photographers in the group head out to Schwabacher Landing for sunrise shots. It's amazing how much difference there is in the temperature between sunrise and the middle of the day. We are wearing many layers, hats, and gloves and there is frost on some of the plants. By the middle of the day we will be in t-shirts and shorts and looking for shade. Although, compared to the heat wave we left at home, we weren't complaining.

Anyhow, here you see the mountains catching the first rays of the sun.

On the way back to the cabin we pass a herd of bison behind a fence. They must belong to somebody - I can't imagine that they would choose to be captive. While we were there a tour bus pulled up and disgorged. I thought that the picture of the herd of people was way more interesting than the herd of bison.

There is a wonderful hike around the southern part of Jenny Lake, about 2 miles through the woods. Another hiker told us that he saw moose down by a pond, so we took a detour to look for them. After a while it was apparent that the moose had left and since we weren't sure where this detour path ended up, we retraced our steps back to the main path and continued around the lake. At the end of the hike it is possible to take a boat back to the trailhead and by the time we were getting close, the little kids were wearing out. Imagine our dismay when we got to the bridge and discovered that it was under repair and we needed to detour half a mile to another bridge that was up a steep incline. The smaller children had to be carried at that point. We finally made it to the boat landing and while waiting in line heard that a bear had been sighted not far up the path eating berries. We had been hoping to see a bear, and were disappointed that we missed it.

Next morning it's off to the Snake River Overlook for more sunrise shots. The sun was obscured by clouds so there wasn't much color, but a lousy sunrise in the Tetons is still pretty darn good.

This was the sunrise looking into the sun.

Returning to the cabin we again passed the herd of bison except somehow a gap had opened in the fence and they were all leaving so they could cross the road. Looking into the sun makes for an interesting picture. Too bad that fence is there.You can almost hear them saying "And what are you looking at?"

Near the Signal Mountain Lodge is an excellent moose watching area. Here is Momma Moose.
And here is Baby Moose. I'm using a telephoto lens and am nowhere near as close as it seems. It is a very bad idea to get too close to a baby moose when momma is nearby.

And not far away is Daddy, at least I think he's the Daddy. He's pretty well hidden in the willow bushes. You can see that the velvet is still on his antlers.

Off in the distance is the smoke from a forest fire in the Teton National Forest. This is the view from the top of Signal Mountain. Part of our group had seen a grizzly bear the previous night from this vantage point so we were hoping he would return. No luck.

The trip home was not so much fun. We flew from Jackson to Dallas where a 3 hour layover turned into a 5 hour layover because of lightening. We finally arrived home around 1:30am East Coast time. Or maybe it was 2:30am, I think I was nearly unconscious by that time. It was good to be home in my own bed.

Today I received the 5 yards of silk dupion I ordered from Dharma and spent the afternoon dyeing it. Will post pictures soon.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Travelogue - Yellowstone National Park

I just returned from a week's vacation at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. If you have never been there, I highly recommend a visit. These are just some of the pictures I took.
This is Old Faithful Geyser at dawn. It isn't erupting at the moment, but the ever-present steam is drifting with the wind. Old Faithful erupts approximately every 92 minutes and is quite spectacular with the shooting water and the whooshing sounds.

This is an eruption; the stream can go as high as 180 ft, although this one was not that high. Still pretty cool to watch.

This is the site of another geyser - Grand - which is the tallest predictable geyser in the world. It goes 200 feet in the air and often erupts simultaneously with 2 other geysers in the same area. It erupts about once every 13 hours, but there is plus or minus 90 minutes for each predition. We sat on the benches waiting for 2 hours during the window of 5:30 to 8:30pm. Most of my group left but I stuck it out until 9pm, by which time it was way too dark to take any pictures. And it was getting quite cold, so I left. Grand finally went off at 9:15pm.

I took this picture of the sunset while waiting for Grand.

This is my husband and grandson walking on the boardwalk. Aren't they cute?

These are the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.

This is the Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest spring in the Park. These colors are not exaggerated - they are truly this spectacular. The temperature range of this water is between 147 and 188 degrees Farenheit and the different temperatures determine which algae and bacteria are present.

I think this one is Morning Glory Pool, but I'm not certain.

One day we take a drive through Hayden Valley, where herds of bison can be found. The thing about bison is that they are not intimidated by anything and they're just like house pets in that they always want to be on the other side of where ever they are now. If there is a road, it must be crossed. Traffic has no option but to stop and let them cross. Of course, everybody is eager to see bison, so stopping is not a problem.

This is my husband and son, and they're not as close as it looks. It's not a good idea to approach the wildlife, even though they are quite accustomed to the presence of humans.

I think that bison were designed by the same committee that designed African wildebeests. And they make a most unattractive bleeting grunting sound that only another bison would find alluring.

Elk are also frequently seen in the park. This is a 12 point buck who happened to be grazing alongside the road. I stood sort of behind a small tree and took pictures. He suddenly stopped grazing and began to walk towards me. The tree no longer seemed to be much protection and I very slowly and quietly backed away. At this time of year the bucks are not aggressive, but in another month during mating season, being this close would be very dangerous to my health and well being.

Outside the west gate entrance of the park is the town of West Yellowstone, and in this town is the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. This place is a research center that rescues grizzlies and wolves and also provides opportunities for the public to see them up close, but not too close. As part of the research, the GWDC also is a testing facility. In order to keep bears and humans separate, it is important that bears not be able to get to human food. Garbage cans must be made sturdy enough to ensure that bears cannot get to the contents. Businesses that make such garbage cans test them with the grizzlies. The cans are filled with enticing food and the bears have the chance to work on them. Any can that lasts 90 minutes with the bears passes the test. This one didn't make it.

Next installment: Grand Teton National Park.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Moving out

This afternoon we're getting on a plane and heading west to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. It will be a group event with kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles, cousins - 12 in all. I don't think we'll be doing the kind of hiking we normally do on our vacations - too many small children. But they will really enjoy seeing the wildlife - maybe we will see some bears, but for sure coyote, marmots, and bison. And the geysers. We keep telling the kids they're going to see the Gooey Geyser (you have to have seen Dora the Explorer to understand that one). No Internet access in the National Parks so we'll have to survive without knowing what's happening in the outside world.

The exciting thing is that we're going from temperatures in the upper 90's to over 100 here to a range of 38-80 degrees out there. It's hard to pack long sleeves and coats when you're sweating.

I plan to come back with lots of wonderful pictures!