Exploratorius Redux

Atelier Aquarell & Fotografie

Tag Archives: National Parks

Serene And Peaceful Now


Gettysburg Battlefield in the spring
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania — May 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

It’s hard to believe, but this pastoral scene was once the epicenter of a pivotal battle of the American Civil War — Pickett’s Charge in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  This is the viewpoint of the Confederates, looking toward the Union lines — a hard-fought contest that resulted in a decisive defeat for the South (with over 50 percent casualties) and effectively signaled the beginning to end for them, as they never fully recovered from their losses here.

While the total casualties at Gettysburg over a three-day period were appalling for both sides (23,049 for the Union and well over 23,000 for the Confederates), it still didn’t match the one-day total for both sides at Antietam, just 9-months prior to the battle here and which remains the bloodiest day in US history.

The Red Buds Are Blooming


Redbud (Cercis) tree in full bloom
Great Falls Tavern, Maryland — April 2018
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

Do you like vibrant pink blossoms?  If so, now is the time to go out and enjoy redbud (Cercis) trees.  Guess what else likes — really really likes — redbud trees?


We once lived on a property that had a small pond which attracted beavers like there was no tomorrow.  There were a large number of redbud trees on the property, including one that was just inches from the house.  Every year the beavers would tear into those redbud trees just as they hit peak color, including the one that was right next to the house.  Eventually the damaged tree became such a safety hazard that we had to cut it down… a sad day to be sure, but the beavers had chomped almost completely through it, and the trunk was in danger of taking out our roof.

So if you’re seeing redbud trees without any damage around the lower trunk area, then there may not be any beavers lingering about.

The Abandoned Ten


Wildrose charcoal kilns
Death Valley, California — October 2016
Zeiss Ikon ZM + Zeiss Biogon 21/4.5 ZM
Kodak T-Max 100 + T-MAX RS (stock) 4 minutes

Here’s an odd sight to see way up in the arid mountains of Death Valley, miles away from the closest source of water — ten beautifully preserved charcoal kilns.  And truly — there’s nothing else there.  No town.  No other historical buildings.  Just a narrow dirt road that winds up and up into the high mountain scrub, then these pop into view.

We spent about an hour there, and in that short time all of us got cooked — even me, with a long sleeve shirt and wide-brimmed hat!  What must it have been like for the people that actually worked here… cutting and transporting wood to the kilns, firing them up to produce charcoal, then extracting all that black sooty material out and packing it for transport?  All without a break from the heat and no local water source!  That must have been a truly miserable job.

Hot Stuff


Norris Geyser Basin
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming — October 2017
iPhone 6S + 29/2.2

Anytime we pass by the Norris Geyser Basin, we always stop — even if it’s just for a brief visit.

In The Noonday Sun


Bison at Slough Creek
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park — October 2017
Sony RX100 V + Zeiss Vario-Sonnar 24-70/1.8-2.8

We were in the car, creeping past these incredible creatures, while taking photos.  The one in the foreground appears nonchalant, but the one to the rear has its tail raised — which is a warning sign of being irritated.  This image wasn’t taken with a telephoto; we were — in fact — about 10 feet or so away from them.

Vista Extraordinaire


Red Canyon
Fremont County, Wyoming — October 2017
iPhone 6S + 29/2.2

If you’ve never seen the sweeping grandeur of the wide open spaces of the American West, the scenic overlook for Red Canyon is a good place to start (be sure to click on the image at least twice to see it at full scale).

Located just 13 miles to the southwest of Lander, Wyoming, the crimson cliffs (red sandstone colored by ferrous oxide) really “pop” amidst the more subdued tan and sage colors of the surrounding native flora.

You can read more about the area via Wikipedia here, and a little more history of it here.

Just In Time For Halloween — Devils Tower


Devils Tower National Monument
Hulett, Wyoming — October 2017
iPhone 6S + 29/2.2

I’m back.  After a break of many months, I’m posting original content again (the above image is from our recent epic road trip out to Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho).

This is a completely different website (free, not paid or hosted by another service this time), a different template (also free… free is good), a different mindset, a different pace, and starting on WordPress from scratch (no importing of old images and pages like I did with my previous effort).  Please note: I have since had to revert to a paid WordPress subscription due to the onerous full-page takeover ads that were placed between my site and my viewers (GRRRRRR!).

Why did I nuke my old site, Exploratorius.us?  I grew frustrated with the fact that the import of my first site on Blogger was never successful and looked like it was going to require many months or more to correct.  Also, I was quickly running out of my available space on the paid version of WordPress and just decided to kill it and start over.


Starting this one up from scratch will take some time for me to flesh out the pages and details.  Just be patient.

It does feel good to be posting again.