27 December 2010

Cabin Fever aka Winter Blues: How I Deal With It.

Cabin fever has been a part of the American lexicon for as long as I can remember. Even if you don’t live in a cabin you can get it. Since everything today has to be a serious medical condition with a fancy name it’s called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. And, because it has this fancy name it must be frightful serious so you’d best be hotfooting it into the doctors office for some prescription medication. You wouldn’t want those pharmaceutical companies getting sad would you?

Winter is the most likely time to be SAD. Me I love winter but I too can fall victim to cabin fever if I’m not careful. I don’t live in a cabin exactly but I am certainly isolated. (SEE: Montana Winter at the Sanctuary).  I have isolation to the max, days that are shorter than a Twitter Tweet, a sun that is loathe to make an appearance more than a few days each month and cold that will frost your fanny before you can sit on it. Gads, I’m SAD just writing this.

A classic case of cabin fever would be Jack Nicholson in the Shining. When I start prowling around the house with an axe over my shoulder and baring my teeth at Koty I know I’m in trouble. Other sure signs; I start photographing insanely stupid things like my TV screen .....

My TV Screen

myself in winter hiking gear ....

Myself looking like the Uni-Bomber

 or icicles hanging from my house. Icicles.

I’m pretty sure loss of light notwithstanding the biggest contributor to the fever is diet and nutrition. The warmer six-months of the year Koty and I are out hiking like souls obsessed. As a result I am able to eat like a truck driver with reckless abandon. But, during the winter outside activities are limited by the climate. If it’s less than twenty degrees I don’t venture far from the “cabin”. Between twenty and thirty I go a little further. Those temps are pretty much what I have to work with in winter so walking doesn’t give me anywhere near what my body needs in order to pursue my gluttonous ways without becoming and a Texaco Tanker.

I purchased exercise videos but have the darndest time following them. I’m forever exhaling when I should be inhaling, using my right leg instead of my left, going up when I should be going down. And, heaven help me when I’m supposed to be doing one thing with my arms and another with my legs and feet, it's a fiasco. I must look like a spastic octopus. Out of sync would be the kindest thing you could say. Still, I religiously flounder through at least thirty minutes a day. I need a little structure in my life.

By far my favorite exercise is dancing. I’ve never been much good at dancing with partners because it’s like those exercise videos you have to concentrate on what you are doing and follow someone else’s lead, not my forte. Loss of concentration is another sign of the blues and I already have the attention span of a gnat. No, I’m more the Isadora Duncan kind of dancer. I just dance what I feel and never give it a thought. I’m actually quite good at it. More than one time in my life I was actually asked if I had considered dancing professionally. Not that being good has anything to do with it. It’s the doing that matters.

My current dance inspiration is a CD by Brule  that’s pronounced like crème brulee. See there, I’m always thinking good food. Anyway, the CD is called Star People. It’s contemporary Native American music and it is awesome. When I crank up the stereo and dance to it I truly enter another galaxy far, far away. Thank heavens it’s highly unlikely that anyone would ever be looking in my window but if they could they would surely think a crazy woman was inside as they watched me fly around my living room. Koty just lies down out of range and covers his eyes with his paws. Huh, just shows what he knows! But, what fabulous aerobic exercise. For me dancing to this music is a total workout for the body and soul.

If I had to say what the single best thing you can do to ward off winter blues it would be exercise. Diet is important also but I find my carb and sweets cravings naturally diminish in direct proportion to the amount of exercise I get. I often tell people I am a drug addict. I love to do it because I get this instant raised eyebrow and slight drawing away effect. But, in a way I am quite serious. The fact is the more exercise you get the more endorphins you produce and endorphins react with the brain’s opiate receptors which gives a general sense of well being. Get that “opiate” receptors? Half the time I’m so happy I annoy myself.

Conventional wisdom says isolation is a killer-diller. I say baloney. I’m by myself most of the time. Not really, Koty is always with me and is a much more pleasant companion than a lot of people I have met. Convention is why I became unconventional. I think everyone could really benefit from experiencing a lot more alone time but “convention” and Madison Avenue are not keen on that happening. If you just go to the park and savor the moment (you don’t have to move to the middle of nowhere like I did) that is away time from all the junk they want to sell you to keep you distracted, addicted and brain dead.

I am told people don’t like to be alone because they don’t want to risk the chance of running into themselves. I guess the assumption is most people don’t actually like themselves. Well, I’ve got a news flash people. You are the best friend you are ever going to have. My advice is; get to know yourself. If there is something you don’t like work on it. We are all works in progress and nobody is perfect. Time by yourself will make your time in the company of others better spent.

Reality check: We are all living alone in our own little cabins in the wilderness of our minds. So I say get up, get out and get those endorphins pumping. Get addicted to loving life regardless of the season. If you’re happy you’ll have no time to be SAD. Like the pistachio people say Get Crackin’.

Hmmm, this piece has given me an idea for next week’s article. I think I'll expound on my take as to why the healthcare system is in terminal shape. I guarantee you it will be a different take than "conventional" pap you read. Won’t you be glad when winter is over and I can get back out on the trail with my camera?

If you’d like to look at some photography you can pop over to either one of my websites “Kinsey Barnard’s Fine Art of Photography" or "Kinsey Barnard’s Outdoor Photography" and poke around.

©Kinsey Barnard

You can also follow my photography FACEBOOK

20 December 2010


OK, so perhaps “I Survived” is a little melodramatic. All I did was make it in to town and back. But, please hear me out. There is more to it than you might imagine.

You see, when you live in the middle of nowhere Montana life is very different from your typical urban lifestyle. In fact it may even be hard for you to imagine anyone in the U.S. still lives the way I do. Here is the low down or high up whichever you prefer.

I literally live in a National Forest. The way to my place is via an un-maintained Forest Service road. It is also a single track. That means someone has to pull over if you meet him or her coming in the opposite direction. My elevation is close to 4,000 ft. so there is a nasty downhill section in the form of a very tight S curve, a.k.a. “the Luge”. None of this is any big deal except during winter which, of course, lasts nearly half the year.

Initially things are pretty OK as fresh snow has a tendency to be a little sticky and you can get some traction. But, holy mother of Methuselah! Once the traffic, it doesn’t take much, packs down the snow and we get a thaw and freeze those “curves” turn into a luge. You know luge? Those ice tracks that one man sleds rocket ninety miles an hour down. People are always asking if I’m afraid of the grizzlies, mountain lions and such. I can honestly say no. But ice? The stuff terrifies me. I’m pretty sure this is partly due to my being a control freak. One can lose control on the ice so very easily and once it happens all you can do is hold on and hope for the best.

This winter, and it’s not even officially winter yet, has turned out to be no exception. Well, except for the fact that we have had more snow earlier than in any of the past nine winters that I have spent here. (See:" Montana Winter at the Sanctuary") We have been in the midst of a huge thaw and everything has turned to ice.

There are people who live south of me; some must traverse “the Luge” everyday. I have tried to get some support for a sanding fund but to no avail. For some reason people around here think it makes economic sense to risk crashing your car as opposed to pitching in $50 a year to sand. Let me assure you at least half a dozen cars have some mishap every winter. I can’t think of any kind of damage you could do to your car that would be less than $50. Oh, well….

My solution? Stay home. I could easily stay here all winter but there are a couple of problems. First, I have no mail delivery. UPS and FedEx stop coming as soon as the snow flies. The gals down at the post office get a little testy when the box doesn’t get cleaned out after what seems to them a reasonable time. If I haven’t cleaned it out they just keep mashing mail into the box until I need blasting caps to get anything out. I have done everything I know to reduce the amount of mail I receive but the junk just keeps on coming. If you don’t already know about it here’s a great place to get unwanted catalogs to stop coming “Catalog Choice”

Second, there is no trash service up here. One must haul garbage down to the valley dump. I don’t make a lot of trash but I still need to make a dump run about once a month. Some people might find this a pain but I actually like this system because I’m in “control” and can also haul ranch refuse to the dump and it doesn’t cost a farthing extra.

So, whether I like it or not sooner or later I must screw up my courage and address “the Luge”. Today was the day. I loaded up the trash and Koty Bear in his crate. I drive a heavy SUV with four-wheel drive and studded tires. So, I’ve got the proper equipment. I keep my driveway properly plowed. Because I do plow with great regularity, any kind of thaw, I’m right back to the road surface. I love my driveway. It’s a winter driving dream. The problem is, it’s only about an eighth of a mile worth of happy motoring!

Once outside the gate it’s a virtual ice rink. I can’t even walk on the road. When Koty and I go out for a hike I wear these Katoola Crampons. They are absolutely the best for walking on ice. I wish I could put them on the truck! I’d never worry about “the Luge” again.

So, away we went, at the speed of a turtle. Even on the flat I slide around in the ruts and I’m OK with that. But then I come to the lip of “the Luge” and peer over the edge into ice hell. It’s at this point that I put the truck in first, engaged the 4x4 and put my foot on the brake. The foot on the brake defies conventional wisdom but I’ve made a wonderful life for myself by defying convention. I’ve found that if you start out with your foot already on the brake thereby reducing your speed to nearly nil it works very well. I end up going so slowly that when I do start to slide I only go a few terrifying feet. If you stomp on the brake after the fact well, I’m afraid, you’re screwed. Over the edge we went. We slid a little in the turns and each time I prayed we would stop. The really annoying thing: once you’ve traversed “the Luge” you are practically at the county road which is maintained like my driveway.

Once in town I ran my errands. All the while Koty is in his crate in the back whining for a walk. If you’ve ever seen the ad for Beggin Strips where the dog goes racing around the house saying “Beggin” Beggin” “Beggin” that’s the way Koty feels about hiking. He wouldn’t eat a Beggin Strip on a bet. Hike is his favorite four-letter word. So instead he runs around screaming “Hiking” “Hiking” “Hiking”. His enthusiasm for exercise may be why people guess his age at around three when he’s actually eleven. No one ever thinks I’m younger than I am. I hardly think that’s fair. I get as much exercise as he does. I suppose his secret is having all that fur to cover up the wrinkles.

I started out thinking to take the walk to Rexford but a check of the trail revealed it was too icy and I did not have my Katoolas. So we settled for the Riverwalk. It’s short but sweet walk. (See: "Eureka Riverwalk". It was pretty dreary on the river walk so we also wondered around the historical village. Some of the old buildings are decked out with Christmas wreaths and look very inviting.

I don’t like to hang around town for too long because “the Luge” doesn’t get any better later in the day. I truly dread ever meeting anyone coming down. I never have but the odds are getting dicey. At the bottom of the hill I switch on the four-wheel drive, shift into first and put my foot on the accelerator. The trick for getting up “the Luge” is to go just fast enough that you don’t spin out in the curves but fast enough that you don’t start sliding back down the hill. You can see why meeting someone coming down would be a bit of a problem? I must have been a little off my game because I did do some slipping and sliding in the curves but we made it to the top and home again.

Once home, I open the back of the truck to let Koty Bear dismount and there right where I put it is the trash which I apparently have hauled to town and home again. Everyone needs well-traveled trash. I look at Koty at and wonder why, with the trash right there beside him, he didn’t bother to mention it. Koty looks back at me with an expression that says “Not my problem. Now let me out of here”.

So, now perhaps you can see why I say “I Survived”. Life in the wild is a constant struggle for survival in one way or another and I wouldn’t want to live any other way!

Below are a couple of photos I took at the historical village. I especially found the “Safety First” sign appropriate for this article. And, last but not least a photo of the road leading to "the Luge". I hope you will excuse me if I didn’t stop on “the Luge” to photograph it? ;)





Follow my art and adventures on FACEBOOK

©Kinsey Barnard

14 December 2010

OK, So I'm the Ditziest Person I Know! Probably you too!

Earlier today I posted to my Facebook thingy that if I couldn't laugh at myself I wouldn't laugh so much.

Well, here's a classic.If you need to make your day by thinking someone is a real moron. This one's for you! :)

A while back I bought some Foster Farms frozen grilled chicken at Costco. So you know I go a lot. Well, the stuff was just awful. I love to make a salad with chicken breast but I can no longer find the Jenny-O that I liked so much. Costco used to carry it but they don't anymore and what they replaced it with is simply drek.

I soon discovered the Foster Farms stuff was not fit for consumption. I tried to figure out how I could use it. Being of Scottish descent, giving it the toss was out of the question.

I like to think of myself as the creative sort so I purchased a box of Chicken Helper Mexican Cheesy Chicken Enchilada. I figured it might just do the trick to cover up the really horrid chicken.

So, I'm reading the box and it says "High altitude (3,500 to 6,500ft)" and increase water and cooking time by fifteen minutes. I look at this and say "Oh, my gawd! I live at nearly 4,000 ft! I'm high altitude!".

OK, so now here's the great part. I have lived here for 8 years! And, just figured it out! I nearly laughed until I cried!

In my defense. I don't eat a lot of prepared foods and I don't bake. But, I do eat a lot of pasta. I just thought the yoyos didn't know what they were talking about when they called for ten minutes cooking time when it really took 13 minutes to get a very nice al dente.

So, any of you out there that are feeling bad about yourself just remember I'm here and slower than molasses! :)

PS: If you are looking for a quick way to disguise awful (but edible) meat these Helper things are very effective! Koty was kind of disappointed.

You can also follow my photography and adventures on FACEBOOK

©Kinsey Barnard

11 December 2010

Mule Deer, Koty Bear & Doe Eyes

Well, goody goody gum drops! We are finally starting to have a respite from the snow and a bit of a thaw. This will be my ninth winter up on this mountain and this is the harshest fall since I moved here. My father used to say that when winter started early the overall winter kinda petered out. We'll see how well that works.

Koty Bear loves winter the more snow and cold the better. He literally whines to be let out when we go subzero. Below is a photo of him dashing through the snow.

Koty Bear Loping Through The Snow

For winter sports Koty and the mule deer like to play a bluff-charge game. Koty, being true to his nature is unreliable off lead so he must always be either on a leash or in an enclosure. He has a tether that allows him to go in and out of the house, go out on the lawn to take care of business and lounge on the deck. When the mule deer return for the winter they soon take up where they left off. The deer know just how close they can get to Koty without him being able to reach them. The deer will approach to just within Koty's reach and dare him to come after them. Koty will try and fake them out by hanging back hoping to draw them into his range. It's really quite the cat and mouse game and a lot of fun to watch.

Koty Bear And Mule Deer Playmates

I have been spending a lot of time with my deer. They are a wonderful diversion. I can sit out in the snow and watch them by the hour. And, of course, I cannot resist taking a few photos. I just love the mule deer. They are so gentle and serene, not at all like the whitetail. They are a life lesson for me. They also have very cute butts.

Mule Deer Behind

You will notice the black tip on her tail. Although, everyone around here calls them mule deer or mulies they are also referred to as blacktail deer.

There is one old doe that has been coming to keep me company for several years now. I call her "Doe Eyes". This doe has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen on a mulie or any dear. For the most part mulie eyes are solid brown and although big and beautiful there is not a lot of texture to them. But, Doe Eyes is in a league of her own.

Doe Eyes

Her eyes are very large and instead of being a solid brown they are more like a horse's eyes that have variation and texture. They are just stunning.

Doe Eyes

There is something elses very unusual about her eyes. They are set quite a bit more forward than is common. I don't know if you know or not but you can tell if an animal is a predator or a prey animal by the set of the eyes. Predators like mountain lions, and wolves have eyes set up front whilst prey animals like deer and elk have eyes set on the sides given them greater peripheral vision. Also note where your own eyes are located.

I'm hoping before this winter is done that I can get a closeup up just of her eye so that you can see how truly beautiful they are.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

06 December 2010

Buy the F'ing Dip!

This is one of the funniest and truthful videos I have seen about the markets. Please be advised that there is liberal use of the F-word so please do not watch if that offends you.

05 December 2010


Not a lot new to report. Still shoveling and plowing altough the forecast is currently showing a little respite from the snow and some sunny days ahead. Sun is at a premium in this part of the country in winter. It's funny when I lived in Druango I got bored with all the sunny cloudless days. Here I really look forward to them in the winter.

It has been warmer, in the high twenties and thirties. High enough to start the snow to melting. My fascination this week was as a result of that melting. Icicles have formed along the roof line creating, at least for me, the most extraordinaly nature sculptures. Below are some of my favorites.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

28 November 2010

Montana Winter at the Sanctuary

Animals are such agreeable friends they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ~ George Eliot (Mary Evans) 1819

It isn't even December yet and this winter is already turning into a lollapalooza! This will be my ninth winter here in Montana and there has been nothing like this so early in the season. I am quite literally up to my butt in snow. My new occupation is snow removal. I have been shoveling, blowing and plowing sometimes twice a day. One thing about it, I get plenty of aerobic exercise.

For a while there we were in the single digits. Some folks down in the valley were at eighteen below. It was so cold ice was growing on the windows on the inside. Six weeks ago twenty-eighth degrees was bone chilling. Now we have moved back up into the high twenties and low thirties and it feels like spring. It really is extraordinary how quickly the human body adapts to its environment. My blood must be moving through my veins like sludge, thank goodness.

I haven’t been out much other than to do my snow removal chores. Living alone I have very strict, self-imposed rules and one of them is I don’t go trudging in the forest when it gets below 20. The reason is; should I have a mishap and not be able to get back to the house I would be a crispy critter pretty darn quick and no one would be worse for the wear.

Yesterday, seeing as how it was nearly thirty I decided to take the old camera out and slog around the ranch. My mule deer herd has return, which is always heart warming. Of course I have Koty for company but having the mulies here is kind of like having family with whom the share the hardships of winter. Each year the mule deer come from the high country to winter where it is easier to forage for food and in the spring they leave again for the high country. It’s always like a homecoming when they return. For some reason mule deer are far more serene than their cousins the whitetail which are here spring to fall.

The mule deer are fairly unperturbed by my presence. Despite their having very big ears they must be tone deaf because I usually sing to them as I wander by and they just stand and look at me as though I’m nuts. Hmmm, they might be on to something? Yesterday I was singing, “The Wicked Witch”. I have no idea why. I just like the lyrics. “Hi ho the merry oh. Sing it high sing it low” just seems perfect for wandering in the woods.

I know this property like the back of my hand but even I might be able to get lost out there now. The roads and paths have been nearly obliterated by the deep snow. The trees are so laden with snow a few have just given up and fallen down. Others have become solid white cones of snow.

My photo taking wasn’t too terribly successful, as I didn’t take my tripod along. It was snowing and lower shutter speeds were needed. But, I was having enough trouble staying upright without it. I landed on my butt or face dawn more than once on my little junket. I was soaked by the time I got back to the house.

But, the slogging was worth the effort. It is so beautiful in the forest in the snow. The silence is deafening and the pristine purity of the fresh fallen snow is sublime. I am often asked why I stay here in the winter. The fact is there is simply nowhere I would rather be. Winter has a beauty that is too wonderful to miss. And, yet, by spring I will be glad to be done with it. I think seasons really do give balance to one’s life.

As you might imagine there wasn’t a lot of color out there but I did stumble upon one spot of color where a tattered orange leaf fallen from a cottonwood tree hung on the snow-covered bough of a fir. I thought it made a nice contrasting image.

Below are just some random photos from my fall about.

Winter Snow

Fallen Tree

Gazebo in the Snow

Mule Deer in the Snow

Winter Tea Party

©Kinsey Barnard Photogaphy

24 November 2010

Internet Scams A Photographer's Story

It is a never-ending source of fascination to me the human drive to create. We humans have created some pretty awesome stuff in our brief history on this planet. What I find even more fascinating is that for every wonderful thing we have created there are those who can’t wait to find a way to use it for nefarious purposes. The Internet was created and Internet scams soon followed.

As an outdoor photographer living way outdoors in northwest Montana I am pretty dependent on the Internet to help me generate sales. The nearest town of any size is Kalispell and it’s seventy-five miles away. In winter it’s one hundred and seventy-five. The nearest city is Seattle and, well, that’s in another galaxy. Don’t feel sorry for me though. I’d eat squirrel stew if I had to in order to be able to live here.

Even though I quite literally live in the Kootenai National Forest I do have Internet service. Not only that this summer the electric co-op installed fiber optic cable (See: Fiber Optics-Rural Utilities). I’m still in disbelief.

About a month ago I was contacted, via e-mail, regarding the purchase of one of my fine art prints. There is just no way to market on the Internet without putting contact information out there for anyone to use. The e-mail said the person, a Mr. Taylor somewhere in Asia, was interested in purchasing my limited edition “Golden-eye On Walden Pond”. That particular image sells for $400.00. I replied saying payment could be made through Pay Pal. Taylor replied a cashier’s check would be sent and my address was required. I thought the whole thing seemed a little fishy but I decided to play along and provided a Post Office Box.

I didn’t hear anything more for a couple of weeks and had pretty much forgotten about it. Then I got an e-mail that said the check was in the mail. I thought “fine”. Then another week passed and I got a message saying the check would soon arrive but there had been a mistake. The check was being sent to me by an “associate” here in the states that had accidentally made the check out in the total amount of a debt, which was greater than the price of the print. No amount was given.

Now my eyebrows are making a very wide arch. But, I’ve done business in Asia and sometimes transactions are conducted in convoluted ways. Finally, the check arrives. It was all I could do not to laugh. Keep in mind I have a background in banking so I may have a little extra knowledge. Here is a copy of the actual check.

What was wrong with the check? Let me name the ways. First, the envelope in which the check arrived had no return address or postmark. Who in their right mind would send a cashier’s check without a return address? Next, the check was made out in the amount of $2,940. Keeping in mind the cost of the print was $400 plus shipping and handling this Taylor person wanted me to send him the print and $2,500! Next there was the check itself. The payee, that would be me, and the amount were handwritten. Cashier’s checks are always typed, unlike money orders. The check had no date. But best of all, the check had been placed inside a blank piece of paper upon which was the ink from the check itself! Talk about hot off the press!

It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would fall for this scam but I am certain people do or they wouldn’t be going on. Most everyone knows that you don’t ship or exchange goods before the check has cleared your bank so I don’t know how this was supposed to work. But, it never hurts to be reminded.

My story is pretty comical but I’m sure there are many that are not funny at all. So, the moral of this story be very careful when doing business on the Internet. It's a jungle out there. Most of us have a good sense of honesty and fair play. And, sadly, that’s exactly what these scamsters were banking on.


©Kinsey Barnard

22 November 2010

Early Winter, Best Wood Stove & Favorite Jasper Photos

Well, I have always heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I believe I have a well paved road. I said in my last post that I would have my Jasper National Park gallery finished in a couple of days. That was wishful thinking. I'm not even half way finished!

Winter has arrived a little early and I haven't been able to resist going out and slogging around in the foot plus of snow we already have on the ground. This will be my ninth winter here in northwest Montana and this is the most snow we've had this early in that time. I've been plowing and shoveling everyday for a week! I'm thinking this is going to be quite the winter in terms of snow fall. But, it's mighty beautiful!

The temps have been down in the teens but Koty and I stay nice and toasty burning all those blow down trees we've worked so hard to clean up. If you are ever in the market for a wood stove I highly recommend the Country Wood Stoves .  I wasn't aware until I got the link that Lennox has bought out Country. Hopefully that won't make any difference.

I heat my entire house all winter with just the wood stove. That's made more impressive when you know that we've been known to get to thirty below. I don't think you'll find a more efficient. Take it from someone who uses it for more than just a lovely room decoration. They are very nice looking too.

So back to Jasper. I love Jasper. Banff and Lake Louise are gorgeous but I really like Jasper. It's further up the road toward Edmonton but it's worth the drive. Because it's a little further afield there don't seem to be as many people around but lots of wild life and trails to hike until you can't go on.

So without further ado here are a few of my favorites so far.

You can see all the images uploaded so far at the Jasper National Park Gallery

Don't forget about the holiday sale going on. Just enter the coupon code KOTY BEAR CARES 2010 for a 15% discount on your purchase.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

19 November 2010

Quantitative Easing "QE" Explained.

I realize this is once again off the subject of photography. But, I think everyone needs to watch and listen to this video if you are in any doubt as to what exactly Quantitative Easing is and what it means to our country and future lifestyle.

As many of you know I am a former investment banker and not entirely out to lunch when it comes to economics and finance. We are in some serious trouble people. As hard and awful as it may be to believe, this economic downturn is far from over. Unless I miss my guess we haven't even seen the worst of it. I know it's no fun to look at truth when the truth is ugly but there is no other way to prepare yourself. They say the truth will set you free. It will also knock you flat if you try to deny it either by will or ignorance. Please watch this video. It explains QE in layman's terms.

Meanwhile, here at the ranch it's snowing and in the twenties. They say that we will get into negative territory by Monday. I am toiling away on a new gallery of Jasper National Park. Many of the images have never been made public before. I hope to get it finished in the next few days. Here's one of my favorites so far.

Don't forget the holiday sale going on at my Outdoor Photography site. Just enter this code: KOTY BEAR CARES 2010 in the coupon code box for a full 15% discount.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

15 November 2010

Holiday Sale!

Well, it’s that time of year again when sugarplums dance in our heads, hard to believe. Here at the ranch we’ve already got snow on the ground and the temps are getting down there. According to the Weather Channel we will be dipping into the teens this week. Two weeks more to run on the hunting season and then we’ll be back to peace and serenity.

I wrote a couple of articles back about PHOTOSHELTER turns out that another very nice thing that site allows me to do is have a sale. I thought for my first effort I would have a holiday sale especially for my blog readers.

I know many of you many of you enjoy looking at my photography. I know because I can track this kind of information on GOOGLE ANALYTICS and it’s very gratifying to see.

Here’s a chance to own your favorites at 15% off the regular price! In addition to prints and prints on canvas you can also purchase note cards and mouse pads of all my images including limited editions. The note cards and mouse pads make great stocking stuffers and office party gifts!

I’ll walk you through the purchase process in case you haven’t tried it yet. Go to my Outdoor Photography Site. Choose an image and click on it to enlarge, this is one of my personal favorites . Click on the green buy button. The prints pricing page comes up by default. If you are interested in the note cards or mouse pads click on the “Products” tab. Once you have added your choices to your shopping cart proceed to check out. When you get to the “Review & Submit” page a pink banner will tell you to scroll to the bottom so you can fill in the code box. Simply type in “KOTY BEAR CARES 2010” and 15% will automatically be deducted from your purchase.

The sale starts today and will run through December 15th.

If you have any problems or need any help please contact me. You will find a “Contact” button at the top of every page.

Go to Kinsey Barnard's Outdoor Photography  and use the code bellow.

The code is:  KOTY BEAR CARES 2010

Happy Holidays from Koty!

Speaking of my little darling here is a little slideshow of some of his images for your enjoyment.

Lakota Sunrise-Siberian Husky - Images by Kinsey Barnard

©Kinsey Barnard

11 November 2010

Guns and Gold

This morning I'm doing something a little different. One of my subscribers e-mailed me the video that you see below. It's a very good little primer on why one would want to own gold and what a financial and economic pickle this once great country has gotten itself into. It saddens me greatly.

When I was a kid back in the sixties and seventies I was fortunate that I was able to travel abroad. In those days everywhere you went people begged for dollars. American dollars were as good as gold. Not anymore. Today people are more likely to spit on them. Once upon a time we were a can do, self reliant bunch But, today our entitlement and something for nothing attitudes have bankrupted us and the rest of the world knows it.

The conversation is a little like listening to a couple of droids but I recommend you watch this video.

A number of people have had difficulty subscribing to this blog. I have a private subscribers list that I send notification out to each time I post to the blog. If you would like to be added to this list please contact me.

©Kinsey Barnard

09 November 2010

Bannack State Park - Montana

Montana is known as the “Treasure State” and surely one of its treasures is Bannack State Park near Dillon. Bannack was Montana's first territorial capital and the site of the territory's first major gold strike in 1862.

During its heyday, Bannack was terrorized by renegade Sheriff Henry Plummer, whose desperadoes murdered 102 individuals and robbed countless others. Plummer was quite a guy and for it he ended up on the wrong end of a rope. What I found interesting about old Henry is that he came first to California from Maine in 1852 by way of a ship. In those days to avoid the hardship of months bouncing across the plains in a Conestoga and running the risk of getting your ears pierced by an arrow, those who could afford it, took a ship to the isthmus of Panama. Once unloaded at the isthmus passengers rode burro over to the Pacific side and caught a ship north. It just so happens that the Barnard clan did precisely the same thing at the same time. I am left wondering if they might have had a Henry Plummer as a traveling companion?

Bannack's law-abiding citizenry rebelled against those atrocities, however. Formation of the "Vigilantes" spelled an end to Plummer's forays. Twenty-eight of his murderous gang, including Plummer himself, was hanged. Some on a gallows previously built by the outlaw sheriff.

The "Toughest Town in the West" then faded as new strikes lured its one-time population of over 3,000 away. Today a quiet ghost town 25 miles southwest of Dillon, Bannack slumbers alongside Grasshopper Creek, once the source of millions of dollars in precious dust.

Bannack was placed under the protection of Montana’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks in 1954 and is now in the state park system. There are some fifty to sixty old buildings you can wander through and around. What I think makes it so special is that it is part of the parks system and not privately owned. Nevada City, not far to the east is privately owned and it has kind of a theme park, carnival feel to it. I’m not criticizing Nevada City the assets can’t be preserved without funding. It’s just that at Bannack you really get to feel the ghosts of this slice of Montana history.

If you like crowds and historical hoopla you should visit during Bannack Days which is held the third weekend in July. There’s food, music and costuming that I’m sure many of you would enjoy. Being the loner that I am I prefer to wandering the town when no one is around. With an active imagination such as I have I can hear the piano playing and bawdy laughter coming out of Skinner’s Saloon. I can hear the clop of horse’s hooves as wagons and riders come into town. For the little girl who’s idol growing up was Annie Oakley Bannack is a thrilling ride in a time machine.

Bannack State Park is located in the southwestern area of Montana aka Gold Country in the Montana Travel Planner. Take I-15 south of Dillon to exit #59 (Highway 278 exit.) Drive west on Highway 278 for 18 miles. Turn south onto the Bannack Road and travel four miles. Park entrance road will be on the left hand side.

Below is a slideshow of some of the images that I have captured at Bannack. You can click on any image to see a larger view. Enjoy the show.

Bannack State Park & Ghost Town - Images by Kinsey Barnard

Sell Art Online

©Kinsey Barnard

03 November 2010

Photo Shelter Review-Landscape Slideshow

I have been toiling away uploading photos to my new home at Photoshelter.

I wish I had stumbled on this out fit years ago. It is by far and away the most professional photography site I have found. Their strategy is all about promoting the photographer and not themselves. The tools that they provide are exceptional and the opportunities for learning about internet marketing through videos and webinars are never ending. You can actually pick up the phone and talk to a live and very helpful human being. Honestly, I cannot say enough positive things about the site or the people. If you're a serious photographer I highly recommend you check out Photoshelter

The process of moving over to Photoshelter is a daunting one to say the least. I thought you might enjoy a slideshow of the photos I have loaded so far into my Mountain & Forest Landscape gallery. There's pretty nice stuff in there if I do say so myself. At the very least it may provide a few relaxing moments.

Mountain & Forest Landscapes - Images by Kinsey Barnard

You can find the actual gallery here 

A number of people have had difficulty subscribing to this blog. I have a private subscribers list that I send notification out to each time I post to the blog. If you would like to be added to this list please e-mail me at kinsey_barnard@yahoo.com

©Kinsey Barnard

01 November 2010

Clayton Lake Flathead National Forest Montana

I was just saying the other day in my article on Jardine, Montana how Koty and I spend not so much time in US national parks because of the dog rules. How we spend more time photographing outside of them than in. And, how this is really a blessing in disguise because we end up exploring and photographing places that not so many people get to see.

Clayton Lake is another one of those places right next to a national park, in this instance Glacier that has every bit the beauty as its neighbor. Clayton located in The Flathead National Forest  and is considered part of the Jewell Basin complex.

To get to the trailhead from Hungry Horse and Hwy 2 you’ll travel south along the Westside road of Hungry Horse Reservoir passing over Hungry Horse Dam to the end of the pavement (16 miles) and continue until reaching the Wheeler Creek road (FS #1633). Turn right and drive to the trailhead. The trail is rated as moderate but it’s not all that long so I rate it as easy. It’s only 2.3 miles to the lake.

Like most lake trails there is a bit of a grade but no steep drop offs and about half way up the view east toward the Great Bear Great Bear Wilderness is nothing short of spectacular. In the distance the Flathead Range rises up in your face. You can’t help but be awestruck by the incredible beauty of this panoramic view.

As you can probably tell from the photos Koty and I made our pilgrimage in the fall and I can’t image a better time of year. The fall colors were bursting out all over. Although we didn’t see any bears be forewarned the trail is loaded with bear berries and they didn’t get that name for nothing.

Speaking of bears I have some thoughts on that subject, what a surprise. I always carry a .375 revolver but my first line of defense is bear spray. They always say don’t hike alone. Well I’d do darned little hiking if I didn’t. The trick is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep an eye out for fresh sign like scat. Be especially alert going around corners and hiking through thickets. Most problems occur when bears are surprised. They also say don’t hike with your dog because it my go off, encounter a bear and bring it back to you. I don’t ever go hiking without Koty but he is always on a leash. If you hike with your dog I recommend you do the same when hiking in bear country.

Considering the short distance of the trail I don’t think you can beat the beauty effort ratio. The lake is not particularly large but mountains surround it and for my money it is awesomely beautiful. There is a trail that goes around the lake but we didn’t make it because it gets pretty thick and bush whacking isn’t one of my favorite things to do. I did get some pretty fine images of the lake.

Clayton Lake in the fall is a definite candidate for your “to do” list. In the fall, in addition to experiencing the awesome colors you will most likely have the whole place to yourself as we did. I’d categorize it as a definite picnic place.

And, of course, last but not least the gorgeous Lakota Sunrise at Clayton Lake.

©Kinsey Barnard

29 October 2010

You Are What You Think You Are

Today it's raining and darned wet so I'm thinking I'll do the "waxing philosophical" thing. Yes, we have no photos today!

Many years ago I read that “you are what you think you are”. For some reason that idea really resonated with me and became a very integral part of my life philosophy. What got me to thinking about this were two separate incidences that happened just his week.

The first was when my neighbor came over to give me a hand with a downed tree that was too big for me to handle alone, the base was over two feet in diameter. When you cut a tree on the ground you generally have to cut through a distance and then roll the log so that you can finish the cut without getting your chain in the dirt. If you do hit the ground you have an instant dull chain and that’s no fun. Anyway, there is no way that I can roll a log of that size by myself.

Since there isn’t much market for logs these days and all the local mills have shut down I use my timber to warm myself. Every year I split five to ten cords of wood by hand with an eight-pound maul. My neighbor uses a wood splitter has been for the past ten years. We are both in our sixties.

After we had bucked up the log he spent the next half hour telling me how I need to get a splitter because I was going to cause no end of trouble for my body if I kept on doing it by hand. He went on and on ad nauseum. I tried to explain that if one uses the maul properly there is very little wear and tear on the body. All you have to do is let go and let the tool do the work. I also pointed out that I was pretty well in tune with my body and believe it will let me know when the time comes that chopping wood is no longer wise for me.  And, most importantly, I LOVE to chop wood. I find it almost a meditation being outdoors in my beautiful forest caring for nature and myself. When I come in from chopping wood I am tired and at the same time exhilarated. I fully expect to be chopping wood for many years to come.  See "What Chopping Wood Has Taught Me About Life"

The next incident took place in Costco. I was standing in the checkout line when a gal came up and pitched me to join some executive club because I would get more cash back each year and my annual spending justified paying the sixty dollar fee. I was somewhat amazed I spent so much for just Koty and myself. But, the truth is I still eat like a truck driver (no offense to truck drivers that’s just an expression I used to here when I was a kid). Koty eats like a bird. Hmmm, I wonder if splitting all that wood has anything to do with my being able to eat what I want without getting fat? And, don’t go thinking I have some special metabolism. Each winter I put on five to seven pounds without batting an eye and each spring I have to curtail my epic appetite and take it back off.

I kind of hemmed and hawed so the gal says, “Oh, but you can use it to buy hearing aids.” I’m thinking hearing aids? I tell her I don’t need hearing aids. Without missing a beat she says, “Oh, well, you can really earn a lot of dollars on your prescription drugs!” I tell her I don’t use any prescription drugs. That stops her for a minute and then she says, “Perhaps you need new tires?”  I thought that at least was a practical idea. She thrust an application form in my hand and told me to think it over. The only thing I was left thinking over was how sad it is people see a little gray hair and a few wrinkles and think you’ve got one foot in the casket and the other on a banana peel!

The point of all this is to tell you that people are forever projecting themselves and their paradigm on you and you’d better pay attention. The neighbor who thought I shouldn’t split wood just didn’t want me, a woman, out there splitting wood when he wasn’t up to it, or up for it, anymore. The Costco clerk just took a look at the gray hair and assumed I must be taking loads of prescription drugs and losing my hearing.

I’m a laissez faire kind of gal.  I believe everyone has the right to live their life as they please as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others to do the same. However, I am always leery of well meaning people who try and convince you to be less instead of more.

I truly believe you are what you think you are. And what I think I am is an extremely vital sixty two year old woman. I believe I am and will continue to be healthy and fit. I have no expectation that I will fall prey to some terrible wasting disease. I fully expect to simply drop dead when the time is right. I have no idea when that time will come so I endeavor to live each day to the fullest.

My advice to you regardless of your age, do not let other people, including advertisers and marketers, define who you are. Spend as little time as possible with people who try and make you less instead of more. Your mind is a powerful thing. Be careful how you use it and what you allow into it. You are what you think you are and always will be. Imagine the best you that you can be and be that.

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."  Henry David Thoreau

©Kinsey Barnard


28 October 2010

Wolf Sighting

Here in northwest Montana we are in that place between fall and winter when just about anything can happen weather wise. Here at the ranch we have a little snow on the ground and the temperatures have dipped below freezing.

Yesterday afternoon Koty and I took a walk in the woods. It was a little on the cool side but that's the way we like it. It's Montana hunting season so we try to pick our time. Early morning and late afternoon are obviously out. Lunch time can be a little tricky because a lot of guys come out to try their luck. So we try and pick a time between two and four. I was born and raised a hunter and was pretty darned good at it. These days I have no heart for killing.  I prefer to shoot with a camera and I now root for the game.  :)

During hunting season we always dress in our orange vests lest we become targets ourselves. I meant to get a photo of Lakota in his but I forgot. I'll have to remedy that.

Our wildlife sighting for the day was a gray wolf. As usual, he saw us before we saw him and was off into the woods like a gray ghost. Such moments are what make my day. It is always nice to capture a good image but just to see these wild creatres is good enough for me. Of course Koty, once he caught on, was quite excited himself but he is always on a leash when we are out. Koty is a Siberian Husky but these wolves are at least twice as big as he. Koty looks a lot like a wolf but he'd be no match for the real deal.

It turned out to be a glorious afternoon and we didn't see a single hunter. I call this a betwixed and between time because there is a little bit of fall and a little bit of winter in the landscape, an entirely lovely time.

"Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it" ...... Henry David Thoreau


©Kinsey Barnard

25 October 2010

Abstract Art in River Boulders

As I wander the vast western outdoors I have discovered whole worlds existing in places I once never thought to look. In nature there are literally layers of life, whole galaxies existing right under our noses if we just but look.

I have an on going love affair with water. I always seem to find interesting things to photograph when I am in the proximity of water. I suppose this is because water draws all living things in their quest for survival.

What I have discovered scrambling over boulders in rivers and creeks is that the boulders themselves have worlds etched in their skins. Centuries of water from above and below have chiseled fine designs that can only be seen by a magnified look.

Below are a few images I have taken of the surfaces of boulders. I think they are quite beautiful in an abstract kind of way.

Nature plies Her artistry just about anywhere we care to cast our gaze. It's just that sometimes we don't realize what we are seeing until it is captured by a camera. More examples can be seen at DESIGNS AND PATTERNS IN NATURE

Observing nature holds never ending fascination for this viewer.

22 October 2010

Arches National Park, Utah

“Arches National Park contains the world's largest concentration of natural stone arches. This National Park is a red, arid desert, punctuated with oddly eroded sandstone forms such as fins, pinnacles, spires, balanced rocks, and arches. The 73,000-acre region has over 2,000 of these "miracles of nature."   Utah.com

As I’ve mentioned, frequently, US national parks are not my favorite. Not because they aren’t beautiful and incredibly photogenic but because my dog Lakota isn’t able to hike with me. Lakota is my best and most devoted friend and I refuse to put other priorities ahead of him.

Many of the most famous photo op locations are down trails where Lakota isn’t allowed. I don’t mind really because there are plenty of landscapes and other interesting things close to the roads to photograph so I focus (pardon the pun) on those.  Some might consider this a handicap but frankly, some really interesting stuff gets overlooked because it doesn’t have a name or found on a tour map. And, let’s be honest, the famous stuff has been photographed ad nauseum. Oddly enough, this situation has proved to be a blessing in disguise.

What follow a few of my favorite photos of Arches National Park in Utah.


You can see the entire gallery at my website:  ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

©Kinsey Barnard Outdoor Photograpy

21 October 2010

Raggedy Ann Scarecrow

One of the things I truly get a kick out of whilst photographing on the road are the many creative things I see literally on the road. People in rural areas seem to be particularly creative. Maybe when you don't have so many distractions, as city folk do, ones mind provides its own entertainment?

I think this Raggedy Ann (I just made that up) Scarecrow is just adorable. It looks like a Raggedy Ann doll to me. But, someone told me they thought it was scary.  Which only goes to show we all see things very differently. I think that's the reason we have so many misunderstandings in life. One person clearly sees one thing and another sees it entirely differently. Then each acts on his own perception and all heck breaks loose.

To me this is real Americana.

18 October 2010

Jardine, Montana - Ghost Town

This fall we headed down to Gardiner which is situated at the north entrance to Yellowstone. We got snowed out last year so I decided we would give it a go again this year. We waited until after Labor Day thinking the crowds would have thinned some. That may have been the case years ago but not anymore. Now there are so many Baby Boomers thinking to do the same thing the place was packed. We were lucky to get a slot for Clementine at the RV park.

Koty and I are manic hikers wherever we go. When we go to national parks we are constantly looking for someplace to hike outside the park because Koty is not welcome.  We are quite fond of Canadian parks. Canada welcomes dogs on a leash.

One of the first things we do when we get somewhere is look for hiking nearby but outside the park. Fortunately, Yellowstone is surrounded by national forest. I spied a dead end road that went up the mountain behind above the RV park. The map showed a town called Jardine.

It's a dirt and gravel road about six miles in but well worth the drive. On the drive in we came across this little landscape I thought was quite picturesque.

I don't know exactly was this is or what it was used for  but I'm guessing it might have been some kind of pump house.

We kept on until we got to Jardine. I didn't realize it when we started out that Jardine is a listed ghost town in Montana.  Although, there are quite a few very live inhabitants. It looks like some folks who work down in Gardiner live up here away from the tourist hub bub.

Jardine Gold Mine

The mine is fenced off so you can't really get close to it. The above photo was the best I could do.

Jardine Mine Office

The old mine office seemed to still be used but it was closed and no one was around.

But, we were looking for hiking not ghost towns so we went to the end of the road and hit the jackpot. We found the Eagle Creek trailhead which is a popular outfitter entry into the Gallatin National Forest. If you head up Eagle Creek Trail you'll see a bridge .......

Eagle Creek Bridge

If you cross that bridge and turn right you'll find a bunch of old buildings you can explore and check out.

I really like exploring out buildings that are not part of a park where you can just poke around on your own.

Now, I did say we came here for the hiking but there was an impediment to my going very far. I had sprained my ankle back in Bozeman and I was just gimping along. First we started up the Eagle Creek trail but it got so muddy we had to turn back cuz I wasn't about to slog through mud on a bad foot. There is another trail on the other side of the bridge that heads into the mountains and was just fine. It too clearly gets a lot of horse and mule traffic. Actually, I like trails that packers use because they are nice and packed.

We also discovered a gated compound that looked like it was mostly inhabited by Native Americans. I thought this tent, with the skull gracing the entry, was kind of interesting. I have no idea what it is used for. Maybe some one lives in it. A pack of dogs came running at us as we approached. I took this photo and we skedaddled.

The point of this story is that if you find yourself in Gardiner, Montana and would like to do something a little off the beaten path I would recommend a trip up to Jardine. It's a great place to to hike, explore and experience little Montana history.

Be sure and check out The Liberated Photographer.com

©Kinsey Barnard