Standing stones from prehistoric times, henges, are so mystical. I love them! And the Scottish Highlands and islands have so many of these sites. One Neolithic Orkney site is called The Ring of Brodgar. It was breathtaking. Maybe it was set up for practicing Astronomy, or perhaps for ritual.
We took a thrilling trip to Ireland and Great Britain last year, and I’m excited to share some photos with you. I’ll start with my favorite, the Orkney Islands. You really have to travel far to get there, and once you do, it feels pristine and untouched except for the magnificent job the Scottish people have done with preserving one of the most amazing stone-age sites of all time. It’s called Skara Brae, and here are some photos to show you what we experienced. Note: It rained a lot while we were there, but we were undaunted!
Fortunately, my camera survived. That wasn’t smart to take photos in the rain!
This trip is not part of my current book, but it will be part of a future book. In the meantime, I plan to share the photos and stories with you, so stay tuned .
I’ve been busy the last couple of years and have written a couple books but haven’t published them. I’ve changed genres a couple times and have landed finally on women’s fiction, which is more general than Romance. The emphasis is more on the woman’s life and there might be a romance in it, but it wouldn’t be the emphasis, and it also might not even have a romantic element. I’m working on a book now that does have a romantic element. I like general fiction about life, and especially women’s lives as they learn, grow, and achieve their dreams, so that’s what I’m writing.
My work in progress features a lot of travel. You know my husband and I travel as much as possible, well I thought I’d figure out a way to work that into my books more. In this book, Easter Island is one of the locations visited. I thought I’d share some of the images from that trip, or re-share, because actually, I shared them a long time ago when I first started this blog. Easter Island is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen, and I feel very lucky to have had a chance to visit it.
This is what the start of winter looks like in the Sierras near Lake Tahoe.
Plus it’s very cold so the resorts are making snow. The two resorts will be able to open for the huge Thanksgiving holiday week, which is this week. Their work prepared them for the opportunity of early snowfall and cold temperatures, and now there is a huge economic benefit, not just for the resort owners, but for all the employees who rely on the season for their livelihoods. Extending the season in the spring and fall helps stabilize the economy up here. I grew up here and it’s nice to see the doldrums of shoulder seasons shrinking. Nice to see people working.
Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows prepared over the last years and especially last summer to be ready for snow making. The temperature has to be cold enough to make snow and you have to have a lot of infrastructure to be able to do it. We passed by an installation of electrical lines on the mountain side when we were hiking in Alpine Meadows a month or two ago.
The only huge problem is lack of housing. Somehow economic growth always seems to leave out adequate housing. Hopefully the expansion and development and Squaw Valley will include employee housing. I’m not sure if it does or not. In California we need 3.5 million more homes.
Sorry for the long delay in getting more Australia photos posted. I had to concentrate to finish a novel. The cover is on the blog in the right frame (desktop and tablet) or in the cluster of images at the bottom (on mobile devices).
I worked on STOLEN when we were in Australia, but the setting of the book is another location I have traveled to twice, Monaco. Though it was so long ago I don’t even have pictures, Monaco is a glamorous place that left an indelible impression on me.
Of course the same can be said of Australia. Maybe not the glamour in the same way, but the indelible impression. On this trip we saw different parts, always scratching the surface you know, but pretty much blown away and left wanting more.
Broome, where Cable Beach is located, is an access point for the Kimberley wilderness in Western Australia. We arrived at the Cable Beach Resort, one of the places on my Must See lists, just before sunset. This was not accidental! Actually we were supposed to get there a few hours earlier, but our flight from Darwin was delayed. We were lucky not to miss the famous sunset.
Guests at the Cable Beach Resort were mostly Australians from the south having a beach vacation away from their winter. The Kimberley and Broome are way north, closer to the equator and have a wet and dry season. The season when people visit is Dry which runs, I believe, from May to August.
It was nice to be some of the very few Americans around. I’m not sure why we were, but it’s a long way, and there’s a lot to see in Australia (understatement). I think most foreigners hit Sydney, the Great Barrier Reef, and Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock). Friends of ours who emigrated from the US to Australia have settled in Western Australia, and they were the ones who told us about the Kimberley.
Anyway, I love tide pools, and I went crazy with my camera at Cable Beach. Here are a ton of photos if you want to see what it’s like. If you can go, I highly recommend it.
I looked for books while I was there and found one in a used bookstore in Fremantle, near Perth. It’s called Tracks by Robyn Davidson. She crossed a massive amount of Australia alone with three camels and her dog. It’s great, a tough non-romanticized view. Parts of it are sad, but I like the knowledge in the book. Our guide also recommended a couple books about the land, animals, and plants that I want to read as well. On this trip, the tours we took made me feel like I’d visited the Australia I imagine from reading my friend’s books about the outback. Australia will be in a book of mine soon, one co-authored with my friend John Holland who provides all the Australiana.
It was amazing to see animals in the wild after having been so recently to the San Diego Zoo.
Here is is the Plumed Whistling Duck we saw in the Kakadu park in Australia. Not a perfect photo, they were far away and suffered camera jiggle, but this is one of my favorite photos anyway. It was just the feeling I had being there among so much bird life. I wasn’t sure if the amazing displays of birds would be present during the dry season, but I wasn’t disappointed.
There was enough water in the Kakadu to see wildlife without being overwhelmed by monsoons (and thrown overboard to swim with crocs). I don’t think they do tours in the wet season, or “The Wet,” as locals call it. Here are some shots showing the environment in The Dry.
As you can see, it’s still not so dry! These are fantastic wetlands. Let’s hope they continue to be because they are vital habitat for almost 300 species of birds.
I hope you have a good Monday, or a good Monday evening for my Australian friends and a good week ahead. I will be continuing to share photos from our mad dash around Australia, so stay tuned!
I didn’t get the info on all of these amazing birds, and I’m kicking myself now for that. The first one is a whistling duck. I had to also capture these birds on video because it is amazing how their throats swell and vibrate, a phenomenon that simply cannot be captured in a still shot.
All three of these species are in the same habitat. I’m not sure if they are all from the same environment in the wild. If not, that would be interesting that the zookeepers could make it work. Another reason I wish I had photographed all the descriptions.
I have a few more photos to show you, including a grand finale.
It was fairly hot last Saturday, and a lot of the animals were sleeping.
Or standing in the shade.
Look how graceful the antlers are on this one.
We’re getting through the zoo animals pretty quickly! I’m going to have to do another photography outing.
It is suddenly very hot here and mornings are the only time to do yard work. It was almost 100 degrees the last two days. It’s early for that, but I guess it’s a heat wave. I should go to the beach for some photos. Maybe on the weekend, early though.
I hope you have a good rest of the week. It’s all downhill from here, in a good way I hope!
Hello, I hope you are having a good week. I had the big thrill of visiting the San Diego Zoo, which I loved. I’m ready to start sharing photos.
Growing up, we had an Encyclopedia. It was the only one my dad sold during his very short-lived days as a door-to-door salesman, LOL. Anyway, I loved looking at the animals and the anteater was one of my favorites.
When I looked down and saw it at the zoo, I was so excited. As a child I thought they were really weird looking, but I had no idea they are pretty! This one looks pretty healthy, huh? His coat looks healthy to me. I didn’t know they were black and white with stripes. They move pretty fast. I guess he was out on the hunt for ants.
Another animal I was always interested in was the warthog. My brother and I used to run around calling each other warthogs. So every time I came up to a cage and saw something that I thought was a warthog I would cry out to my husband, “Look, a warthog,” but then it wouldn’t be. Finally I found one, sleeping peacefully by a rock.
Big news, I cancelled my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. I have an older laptop, not super powerful, and the background processes were slowing down my machine. Rather than investing in a new computer, I canceled the subscription. I would say that’s a tad more economical a solution, LOL! No new computer, no ten dollars a month.
I am back to GIMP. I might buy Lightroom or another software package someday but not as a cloud service. Anyway, how this affects you is I that can’t batch process, or at least, I don’t know how, so my photos will be coming out a little at a time. That might not be a bad thing since I don’t spend as much time shooting new photos as I should! Maybe I can communicate more often now, sharing a few images at a time and talking to you more. I’ll also be doing less processing. I am going more natural, taking my photography more towards just the photography part and less image processing, although I still will probably do some digital photo painting. I have that software and a little tablet that I haven’t used in a couple years, and I miss working this way.
I certainly have a treasure trove of images from the zoo to share. Here is my favorite image of the day. I’ve never seen an orangutan in person, wow!