31 March 2010

Crescent City Mermaid Fine Art Prints, Canvas & Framed Wall Art at Imagekind.com

Crescent City Mermaid Fine Art Prints, Canvas & Framed Wall Art at Imagekind.com

Pardon me. I'm just playing around trying to figure some stuff out. Boy this networking stuff is a maze.

27 March 2010

Monument Valley Arizona/Utah

As far as photography goes this is a tough time of year here in the Rockies. The splendors of winter have faded and left a certain barren landscape whilst we await the wonders of the new life spring will bring.

So, I'm going back to last winter at this time when I was shooting in Monument Valley which straddles Arizona and Utah. I don't think there is a more colorful desert anywhere. No matter in what direction you look there is some kaleidoscopic something to see and to shoot.

The sky and the clouds are truly incredible. The sandstone desert is capped by the most intense blue and the clouds are pure, well purity. They are big, boisterous and beautiful. I'm quite partial to the clouds in Montana's Big Sky but there can be no doubt those in the Monument Valley give them a run for the money.

Monument Valley by Kinsey Barnard
Monument Valley by Kinsey Barnard

There's something else I like a lot about Monument Valley. It's still some what primitive. The valley belongs to the sovereign nation of the Navajo and it is their intention to keep it primitive for as long as they can. I believe that will be indefinitely. If you come with the right kind of vehicle you can travel the desert to your hearts content. Koty and I put in I don't know how many miles just going up and down the dirt roads.You can see for miles and miles and miles .....

As mentioned many times, patterns in nature fascinate me no end and there is no shortage of that kind of thing to see in Monument Valley. As they say, you can't make this stuff up! If you are into this sort of thing the sandstone designs will knock your socks off. Mother Nature just keeps coming up with extraordinary designs. One commenter thought the image below looked like sharks teeth. I think she's right.

Monument Valley by Kinsey Barnard
Monument Valley Designs by Kinsey Barnard

The main event is the Tribal Park where you will find the biggest, baddest monuments. This area is quite crowded. You can take guided or self guided trips around the loop road. I recommend you take one of the park jitneys unless you have a car you're not too concerned about. Most of the road is just fine but the first quarter mile down into the park or so is a real goat track.

As for accommodations go there are really only two choices. You can go upscale at the relatively new The View hotel which is within the tribal park and sits on a bluff overlooking the valley. Even if you don't stay here you should stop in for "The View".

The other option is Gouldings Lodge. Before The View it was the only accommodation in Monument Valley. It played host to John Wayne and John Huston and is steeped in the history of the valley.

Stagecoach by Kinsey Barnard
Stagecoach by Kinsey Barnard

The Lodge is a little frayed around the edges but I think it's part of the charm. The view from here isn't too shabby either. You'll have the opportunity to see some awesome sunsets from your balcony. Even if you don't stay here you might want to stop in to check out the museum.

Whether you are interested in photography or not I can pretty much guarantee you you will have an eye popping time in Monument Valley. It's truly a natural wonder.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography


20 March 2010

Koocanusa Lake of Many Faces - Montana

This week we took a trip over to Lake Koocanusa. Actually, it is not a lake but a man made reservoir. Libby dam, built in 1972, blocks the free flow of the Kootenai River forming a narrow lake that runs 90 miles, 42 miles of which are in British Columbia.

The reservoir was a joint project with Canada and that is how it got it's name. The water flowing into the lake is from the Canadian Kootenay River and flows out to the American Kootenai River. So, you get Koo for the Kootenay(ai), Can for Canada and USA; Koocanusa. Ok, I just learned something. The name actually came from a local woman who won a contest for coming up with it.


There are many outdoor recreation opportunities at the Koocanusa. There are a number of campgrounds, some improved some primitive, and fishing is pretty good. Most local people go for the kocanee salmon. You can find a listing of campsites and boat launches here. You see what you might catch here here. Because of it's relatively isolated location almost any time of the year you'll have to lake nearly to yourself.


The reason I call the Koocanusa the lake of many faces is because depending on the day and time you go it always looks different. The water can look like the tropics or it can be dark and brooding. If you are a photographer this affords endless opportunities to try and capture something special. It was exactly at this time OF year that I got my one really special photograph HEAVENLY EYE.


This is the time of year when the lake is drained down to allow for the spring runoff from the Canadian Rockies. The low water exposes some interesting landscapes.



If you go to the tiny berg of Rexford (pop. 149) you can find an RV Park boat access and hiking opportunities. There is a really nice little trail that follows along the bluff overlooking the lake. For a really good workout you can walk for miles on the sandy shore but you have to come at low tide so to speak.

Speaking of sand I took this photo of the sand and no, the sand isn't really blue I used a filter to give that effect. I'm a little daffy over the patterns in nature. To my eye there are just plain pretty.

Blue Sand by Kinsey Barnard
Blue Sand by Kinsey Barnard

So, there you have it, Lake Koocanusa. If you looking to get away from the madding crowd you can certainly do it here.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography


13 March 2010


I'd imagine pretty much everyone is familiar with Mesa Verde and it’s fabulous Anasazi ruins. But, there is a lesser-known place where you can view excellent ruins with far fewer people around to distract you from the siren calls of the ancients. It’s called Canyons of the Ancients. On the day I hiked the canyon I ran into one other person in a five hour period. My hike was in the middle of April not peak tourist season. But, even at peak I’d bet it would be far less crowded than Mesa Verde.

Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard
Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard

Canyons of the Ancients only fairly recently received National Monument status, Clinton approved the designation in 2000. The area contains a huge number of archeological sites, approximately 6,000 have been found.

Anasazi stands for “The Ancient Ones” and are also referred to as Ancestral Puebloans. Archaeologists estimate the Anasazi people lived in these canyons as early at 7500 B.C. By the 13th century the Anasazi had disappeared from the area. Nobody knows why they left or where they went. It remains a highly debated mystery.

Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard
Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard

I actually stumbled on this wonderful place by accident. My habit is to just take off and turn down any road that looks interesting or less traveled. I'm constantly trying to find nuggets that haven't been photographed to death. In any even it was a lucky day that I found this place.

It was a beautiful spring day with just the right mix of bright blue sky and puffy white clouds providing the perfect backdrop to the rich red rocks and sand. The twisted pinion pine made for some interesting and lovely settings.

Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard
Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard

I didn't capture any photos of the ruins that I thought were anything special. Although the ruins are endlessly interesting to see they don't inspire me, artistically, as much as the natural landscape. If you want to see some ruin images a Google search will provide you with thousands.

Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard
Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard

Scroll back to the first image. This is the spot where Koty and I sat to ponder this land and all it's mysteries. The wind was blowing at just the right velocity to create a sound that seemed almost like the ghost whispers of the Ancients. Because there were no other people or distractions I was able to let my imagination run wild and it was almost like being one with the Anasazi.

In my opinion Canyons of the Ancients is one place you do not want to miss if you are in the area.

Before you go visit the BLM Information Center. No need to fly by the seat of your pants like I do.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

10 March 2010


Turkey Tail Fungus by Kinsey Barnard
Turkey Tail Fungus by Kinsey Barnard

Turkey Tail Fungus. What can I say? It's yet another example of Mother Nature's artistry in the mundane. But wait, it may be a fungus but it's not so mundane. Turkey Tail mushrooms are one of the most researched and respected of the medicinal mushrooms. They are also one of the most common in the northern forests of world, from Europe to China and Japan, from Siberia to the US and Canada.

From the photograph I think it's pretty clear how this fungus got it's name. Turkey Tail is a common fungus which grows on the sides of logs or trees. Colors can range from brown, white, tan, orange, red, or purple. Sometimes you can find a fungus that displays all these colors. The "blooms" grow from May to December. I found this specimen in July. Turkey Tails can last several years.

"Turkey tail mushroom, like other medicinal mushrooms, has long been esteemed in traditional Chinese medicine. This natural mushroom is believed to have healing elements to strengthen the body against illness and disease. Here's how this alternative medicine works".

Generally you will find turkey tail growing on old stumps and logs. This particular fungus was found in Beaverhead - Deer Lodge National Forest National Forest in Montana.

Koty and I spent several days hiking in Beaverhead-Deer Lodge and it was great.

05 March 2010

Kootenay River and the Rocky Mountain Sheep Project B.C.

Deer and Big Horn Sheep - Images by Kinsey Barnard

Its looking more and more like spring is already here and winter isn’t coming back. I was at my desk this morning when I heard “Yaak, yaak yaak!” I looked out the window and there on the pond was a mallard! Seems a little early for him but there you have it.

I made my first 2010 foray into British Columbia on Wednesday. First stop Kikomun Provincial Park. I thought maybe I could sneak in even though it doesn’t officially open until May 1 but the gate was locked.

I headed for Kikomun Bridge and the Kootenay River. As an aside, in the U.S. the river’s name is spelled Kootenai. At this location the river was still mostly frozen over but in other places it’s completely open and flowing free.

Kootenay River Ice Image

I learned something this week about Canada. We all know it is a sparsely populated country. But, for some reason it had never registered how sparsely. The entire country has fewer than 34 million souls. That’s less than California, which has around 37 million. And Canada is a very big country ranking number four in land mass in the world. Because this is so I can just stop right on the bridge and fool around as much as I want and not be in anyone's way.

What I observed from the bridge was a bald eagle and his eagless sitting on the ice. It looked like they had just finished a fish breakfast. You also get a fabulous view of the Canadian Rockies from this location. Unfortunately, a smoky veil hung over them, as it is now open burn season.

Bald Eagle and eagless Image

Next I wanted to check out the Rocky Mountain Sheep Project and the Bull River. On the way I thought I saw something interesting down the bank on the shore of the Kootenay. I unloaded Koty and we searched for a way down the bluff. I did find something interesting and this is what I found, a Kootenay Illusion.

Kootenay Illusion

Kootenay Illusion will go into my limited edition collection.

Koty found something interesting too, the little rotter! We had had to cross a railroad track to get to the river. A poor elk had fallen prey to a cowcatcher and was rotting on the tracks. Before I knew it Koty had one shoulder down in it. That’s my boy!

Koty Explores Kootenay Ice

The Rocky Mountain Sheep Project is a great place to hike and catch a glimpse of wildlife, most likely Mountain Sheep. The Project is right on the Bull River. In the spring after the water settles down from the runoff this river is the most beautiful glacial colors you’ve ever seen.

Bull River Image

We hiked in the Project for a couple of hours and never saw anything but a couple of black tail deer. It will be different in the spring. The whole sheep herd will come to the meadow and it’s quite a beautiful sight.

From the trails you can get great views of the west side of the Kootenay Rockies. The snow pack looks a little light for this time of year, not surprising considering the mildness of the winter.

Kootenay Rockies Image

Back at the ranch I was greeted by about 25 mule deer in various states of repose around the house. After speaking with the welcoming committee it was time to kick back and watch the sun set.

Dancing Deer Sunset

©Kinsey Barnard