One of many hundreds — possibly thousands — of photos I’ve taken of orchids down at the US Botanic Garden in DC over the years, but I think that this is my favorite shot of them all. I love the glowing colors, this particular bloom, the overall composition, the shallow depth of field — and the dreamy, almost painterly quality of the image. All that’s missing from this image is the amazing scent, wafting through the air.
Photo info: Yellow orchid Annual Orchid Exhibit — US Botanic Garden Washington, DC March 2014 Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH lens Leica M240 digital camera
During one of our many road trips to the American West, we stopped by the St. Anthony Sand Dunes. The sand dunes were new to me. Even though my hometown of Idaho Falls was fairly close by, I’d never been to the sand dunes before and didn’t even know that they existed. Considering that this section of eastern Idaho is all basalt, sand dunes just didn’t figure into my perception of what home really was.
However, once we parked in front of them, there was no denying that the sand dunes were right there in front of our eyes — so we spent most of the day exploring them and the surrounding area. This particular photo was taken on the northern side of the sand dunes, in an area devoid of anything but a rough dirt road and desert scrub… no houses, no fences, no property markers, no trees, no water… nothing except short bushes of aromatic sagebrush and isolated patches of tall dry grass.
Which makes the KEEP OUT sign all the more baffling… keep out of what, precisely? Keep out of trouble, perhaps? There was nothing to denote a property line. The only road was the one we were on, which was public, even if it was just dirt and poorly maintained. Not only that, but this was the only KEEP OUT sign to be found… weathered and forgotten.
Photo info: Keep Out St. Anthony Sand Dunes St. Anthony, Idaho September 2014 Kodak TMAX 100 film Voigtländer 15/4.5 ASPH lens Leica M3 35mm film camera
This is a beautiful, wind-blown, isolated place on the very northern tip of The Big Island of Hawai’i. It’s also reputed to be one of the spookiest and most tragic. The place in question is the Moʻokini Heiau, one of the oldest and most sacred of all the heiau (places of worship) in the Hawaiian Islands. And the reason for the ugly reputation is human sacrifice… lots of it. The total number of people sacrificed here will never be known, but authoritative sources believe the figure to be “many thousands”.
Some visitors claim to feel spirits of the dead wandering about the grounds, but all I felt when I visited this historic site was the strong wind and bright warm sunshine. Being so isolated, there was no one else there at the time that I explored the grounds, and the only noise I could hear was of the muffled sound of the strong surf pounding the base of the nearby shore cliffs.
The National Park Service now cares for this National Historic Landmark, and you can find many more details and directions on how to find it here.
Photo info: Moʻokini Heiau Kohala Historical Sites State Monument Hawi, The Big Island, Hawaiʻi April 2009 Leica D-LUX 4 digicam