Rocky Mountain National Park

30 10 2008

We spent this past Sunday photographing wildlife and scenery in Rocky Mountain National Park. These are some of the best images I shot. We were astounded by the number of animals out in the open, seemingly unafraid, and easy to photograph….at least a couple hundred elk, two coyotes, several mule deer, many beautifully-colored Black-billed Magpies, and dozens of small, colorful Rainbow Trout at Sprague Lake. On the way out of the park, we stopped to photograph a herd of elk comprised of 52 females and 7 males. With my 80-400 Nikkor VR lens, I was able to get full frame shots of the elk. The weather was amazing, the light golden, and the photographic opportunities endless!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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The road to Spokane

1 10 2008

On Saturday morning, September 13, after our hike through the wildflower meadows around Lake Tipsoo at the crest of Chinook Pass (with Mt. Rainier as an amazing backdrop), we hit the road to Spokane. We couldn’t believe how fast the terrain changed from mountainous to Arizona-desert-like! A few hours down the road, I spotted the teapot-shaped gas station and implored Michael to turn around, knowing how much Sue would probably get a kick out of (she is an all-things-tea guru and fanatic!). I also just had to get her in the requisite “I’m a little teapot” pose. Before the business closed in 2003, it was the oldest operating gas station in the U.S. Apparently diesel was just $1.79 a gallon during its last year in operation, as evidenced by the sign.

I searched online and discovered it is called the “Zillah Teapot Gas Station.” Located in Zillah, a town about 15 miles southeast of Yakima, the gas station was built in 1922 by Jack Ainsworth as a commentary on the Teapot Dome scandal involving President Warren G. Harding and a federal petroleum reserve in Wyoming. Learn more about its origins here and here.

I told Sue we should pool our resources to buy it and put it in her backyard in Huntsville. She could turn it into either a little tea shack or a potting shed—although at a purported cost of $250,000 to move, it would be one mighty pricey tool shed…not to mention what the homeowners association might have to say about it!

Concerned residents in Zillah formed a “Friends of the Teapot Association” to raise money to move and preserve the structure. Learn about the potential new use for the actual Teapot Dome Field here and here.

The drive to Spokane took us through a vast farming region where we saw lots of signs for apples, peaches, and other edibles for sale. The photo below the farm truck image was taken at a visitor center and rest stop along the way—quite a panoramic scene (this is just one section of it) for a rest stop. We got a kick out of a sign posted at the entrance to the parking lot: “Beware of rattlesnakes and don’t feed the seagulls.” Sue’s Mom heeded the rattlesnake warning (we didn’t see any), and there were no seagulls present to sneak food to anyway. The “harvest moon” photograph at the bottom was shot from Barb and Dean’s second floor balcony later that night.

NEWSFLASH! Thanks to my fellow blogger Toni, a fused-glass artist/photographer who lives in the Tri-Cities area on the way to Spokane, I now know the lake behind the rest stop was Sprague Lake (covering 1,840 acres!) in Adams County, Washington. Thanks for the info, Toni.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.