Three to Go

Today’s post is about three very different subjects.  I am only personally familiar with the first subject, but the other two include a bird species I have always wanted to photograph, and a location I have always wanted to visit.

The desert southwest and the many Indian ruins is a subject I only wish I would have done more of as a photographer. Of the historic locations I have visited personally, I would list Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park as the tops.  I am told Arizona’s Canyon De Chelly is terrific as well.  The single state that holds the nation’s most Native American history is New Mexico.  There is more reservation land in New Mexico than any other.  It is chock full of ruins, petroglyphs, and old Spanish Missions.

From the Miriam Webster Dictionary

kiva noun (Concise Encyclopedia)

Underground chamber of the Pueblo Indian villages of the southwestern U.S., notable for the murals that decorate its walls. A small hole in its floor, the sípapu, serves as the symbolic place of origin of the tribe. Though the kiva’s primary purpose is for men’s rituals and ceremonies, it is also used for political meetings or casual gatherings. Women perform their rituals and ceremonies in other parts of the pueblo and generally avoid entering the kiva. The traditional round form of the kiva, in contrast to the otherwise square or rectangular Pueblo architecture, recalls the circular pit houses of the prehistoric basket-weaving culture from which these tribes descend.

I made this image of an Indian ceremonial kiva in New Mexico some 20 years ago.  This shot was made on 35mm slide film and the extremely high contrast of the dark underground kiva, and the blazing sunlight beaming down the entrance, always made this particular shot of the Pecos ruins, unusable for publication.  While the contrast range is still high, with software I was able to keep the highlights down just enough to not burn your eyes when you view it.  I am sure that with current software, and someone capable of using it, this image could be totally revamped into a good shot.

Yes I did carry my camera bag full of equipment and a tripod down the ladder.  20 years ago it didn’t require the slightest amount of energy.  Of course just three days before this I made a daylong (many miles) hike in the Guadalupe  Mts. of southern New Mexico with full medium format gear.Slides2 058

In my opinion the Atlantic Puffin is one of the avian world’s most photogenic species.  Those crisp definitions between light and dark, and their spectacular bills both in color and shape, make them a photographer’s dream.

The Puffin info comes from National Geographic and both of the photos below were borrowed from Google photos.  The flight shot is quite outstanding.

Atlantic puffins have penguin-like coloring but they sport a colorful beak that has led some to dub them the “sea parrot.” The beak fades to a drab gray during the winter and blooms with color again in the spring—suggesting that it may be attractive to potential mates.

These birds live most of their lives at sea, resting on the waves when not swimming. They are excellent swimmers that use their wings to stroke underwater with a flying motion. They steer with rudderlike webbed feet and can dive to depths of 200 feet (61 meters), though they usually stay underwater for only 20 or 30 seconds. Puffins typically hunt small fish like herring or sand eels.

In the air, puffins are surprisingly fleet flyers. By flapping their wings up to 400 times per minute they can reach speeds of 55 miles (88 kilometers) an hour.

Atlantic puffins land on North Atlantic seacoasts and islands to form breeding colonies each spring and summer. Iceland is the breeding home of perhaps 60 percent of the world’s Atlantic puffins. The birds often select precipitous, rocky cliff tops to build their nests, which they line with feathers or grass. Females lay a single egg, and both parents take turns incubating it. When a chick hatches, its parents take turns feeding it by carrying small fish back to the nest in their relatively spacious bills. Puffin couples often reunite at the same burrow site each year. It is unclear how these birds navigate back to their home grounds. They may use visual reference points, smells, sounds, the Earth’s magnetic fields—or perhaps even the stars

Fast Facts: Type: Bird

Diet: Carnivore

Average life span in the wild: 20 years or more

Size: 10 in (25 cm)

Weight: 17.5 oz (500 g)

Group name: ColonyAtlantic_Puffin15AtlanticPuffin

Most people who visit Montana’s Glacier National Park or Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park don’t include Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness on their tour.  Admittedly much of BM has to be hiked or visited from the back of a horse, but I think it is worth it.  I would have loved that horseback trip.

The information below comes from

Description: Bob Marshall Wilderness – Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex

Located in Northwestern Montana on both sides of the Continental Divide, this large complex includes three Wilderness areas: the Great Bear, the Scapegoat, and the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Together the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex makes up an area of more than 1.5 million acres, the third largest in the lower 48 states. Grizzly bear, lynx, wolverine, deer, elk, gray wolf, moose, black bear, mountain lion, mountain goat, and mountain sheep roam about these rugged ridge tops, gently sloping alpine meadows, thickly forested river bottoms and open grass parks. Across this continuous landscape over 1700 miles of trail provide challenges and experiences to satisfy visitors with a wide range of skills.

The Bob Marshall Wilderness was named after forester, wilderness preservation pioneer and Wilderness Society cofounder: Bob Marshall. The region was set aside as the South Fork, Pentagon and Sun River Primitive Areas between the years of 1931-1934 then, congressionally designated as Wilderness in 1964. In 1978, additional lands were designated bringing the total to 1,009,356 acres.

The Continental Divide separates the Flathead and Sun River drainages with elevations ranging from 4,000 feet to more than 9,000 feet. A huge escarpment called the Chinese Wall, a part of the Divide, highlights the Bob’s vast untrammeled beauty, with an average height of more than 1,000 feet and a length of 22 miles. The Chinese Wall extends into the Scapegoat Wilderness, which lies to the south, while the Great Bear Wilderness shares the border to the north.  Once again, these images come from Google Images, they are not mine.chinesewallChinese-Wall-Bob-Marshall-Wilderness-Montana

I hope all of you have been enjoying the images from other photographers that I have been sharing here on Earth Images. Note that I have been searching out great pictures, rather than attempting to find images that are inferior to mine.  In fact my contrast troubled old slide picture of a kiva, is the weakest image on this page, although I will admit that I would have composed the top Puffin image differently if it had been mine.

I thank each of you for stopping by, and I hope you will visit again,                                         Wayne

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