The state of Montana is just under 600 miles from where the sun rises to where the sun sets. From end to end and top to bottom there is about 150,000 square miles of mountains, planes, badlands, Rivers and lakes with just a few people in between. A person does not really appreciate the size of Montana until you take a trip to eastern Montana. Heading East from Grass Range you are hours from the nearest gas station and farm houses are far and few between. Until you reach the Yellowstone River valley the roads are narrow over rolling hills and there are horizons that never end. A trip down the Yellowstone Valley can take you back in time. Nowhere is this truer than just outside of Glendive in Makoshika State Park. This place is amazing! I started my day out by driving the roads and scouting the trails in the park. The goal that day was to catch a memorable sunset and unforgettable full moon rise. I made my rounds on all of the roads and trails in the park before I stopped for a nap. I have always wanted to take a nap on the hood of my truck overlooking the badlands with just the sound of the wind and the eagles that were circling in the sky (it was a real picturesque moment). This ended up being the best 45 min of sleep I have had in quite some time. I woke up fully rested and ready to eat lunch and walk the trails. I met my family down at one of the camp grounds and ate a quick lunch. While we were down there we found a rattle snake den just under the campground. If you look closely at the picture you can see a skin that was shed and hung up on the rocks. Long story short I ended up climbing out on a hill that seems to be in the middle by its self. I set my camera tripod up on what looks to me to be a fossil of a leg bone of some kind. I could see the socket on one side and the darker marrow where it was broken (How cool is that!!?) So now that I have found the perfect spot all that is left is to hang out and wait for the sun to set. I used an app on my phone to calculate the location of the full moon rise on the horizon. I ended up getting block by a wall of clouds that had settled in after the sun went down, none the less the wait was worth it. The fires that were burning on the western side of the state made the sun a deep read while maintaining a blue sky in the east making the photos stunning. If you are ever looking for a trip back in time head to the Yellowstone valley and stop by Makoshika. Don’t be scared to venture off of the trail so see what fossils you can find.
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Due to my busy schedule this summer it has been a while sense I have made any post to my blog. This summer has been a roller coaster of events and adventures. Over the next eight posts I am going to cover my summer where I left off in July to current time. When I was not working or traveling I was on the bike hitting the trail. The Rivers Edge Trail has over 45 miles of trail and I covered every mile (Check out http://thetrail.org/). With a record fire season in Montana the colors were fantastic to photograph. There was always a stunning sunset, or a once in a life time sunrise to capture. One memorable trip I took was the trip out to Ryan dam from the Rainbow dam overlooks and this trail is aggressive at best. Following the river banks of the Missouri heading North East the trail takes you up and down the fingers that reach from the prairie into the water that sit about 50′ to a 100’ above the water. Mid way between Rainbow dam and Ryan dam sits Cochrane dam. You can’t drive to it due the fact the road is private so the only way to see it is to take the trail. In the 35 years I have lived in Great Falls I had never seen the Cochrane dam. The dam a modest structure that sticks out of the water with just one power plant. Just above the dam are the remnants of infrastructure that was once used to carry irrigation water out to the grassland. It is now used by guys like me that are resting at the midpoint between Great Falls and Ryan dam. To the north side of the river the old Rainbow dam power plant building has been replaced by the smaller building in the background. Just the week before I took my trip down the trail a grass fire surrounded this facility stripping all of the vegetation away. Now fall has come and gone, winter is here and the bikes are put away. Over the months to come I will be out and about capturing a Missouri winter and planning my shots for next summer.
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While it is nice enough to ride my bike I am out and about nightly and every night I pick a new place to go. It might be downtown, or on some part of the Rivers Edge Trail. Usually I hit the trail because of the ever changing scenery.
Last week I got ambitious and took the trail up to the top of Warden Park. There is quite the elevation change in a short distance for a bike. It ended up being great exerciser on top of the Images I was able to get were excellent. As a photographer I am always looking for the “Image” and I am never let down on any given night I get out and hit the Rivers Edge Trail. I would say that over all the Rivers Edge Trail is the single best feature of Great Falls but also the best kept secret.
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This last week I was out in Tacoma for my monthly visit. As usual it was a pleasure to visit and I found myself in new territory. This time I was able to get out and see the Point Defiance Park and head down the Puget Sound cost line back to Lakewood where I was staying. With the sun roof back and the windows down and a light breeze flowing through the car I was able to find true inter peace that is seldom reached.
As I was driving through, at the fort in the middle they were having a car show with cars out of the 30’s and 40’s era. the down side for me was that the trees were so thick that the light was too low to get good shots. as I went through the park I hit all of the overlooks onto the sound. I was able to catch the boats sailing up and down and some great shots of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that sands tall where Galloping Gertie once stood. I was amazed by the amount of walk paths and the fact that they have a zoo in the middle of the park. Next time I go I would like to venture through there when I have a little more daylight.
From the park I went down to another park called Titlo Park. The park part it’s self it under construction however there is some kind of boating club tucked back on the water side. You have to park and walk a ways back; however it is well worth it. I was able to get out on the beach and get some great shots not to mention the one of the bridge with the sun setting behind the trees. Over all that was a great way to finish the day!
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After my week in Coeur d’ Alene, next on the summer schedule was my cousin and his beautiful brides wedding. They planned over a year for the perfect wedding and I would say they got “got r done”. They planned a western style wedding with all of the finishing touches right down to the pine cone bouquet and pistol salute during the kiss. The setting was outside of Helena at the “little red school house”. This school house was the first school house in the Helena valley that was built in 1888. Not having been there I was curious as to why they would have picked this location. They could have not pick a better location for a western style with the mountains in the background and the trees to provide just the right amount of shade for the large crowd that had come to witness the event.
The reception was held at the fairgrounds. When we got there to set up, it was amazing the level of organization and thought that went into this event. Everybody had their card of instructions and when the vehicles showed up the contents were unloaded and put in place. It had the layout of a well-run construction project :-). At the bachelor party weeks before my cousin was telling me about the brisket and food they had started to prepare. Well I am here to report that the food was amazing! The truth be told that there are two kinds of weddings. The first are the stressful ones that no one including the wedding party has any fun at. Then there are those that are a day of magic. It is not often we get together as a family anymore but I think it was my aunt Gen who summed it up best… “It was just like the good old day with all of us together!”
After my week in Coeur d’Alene I decided that it was time to scratch one off of my “Bucket List”. I have wanted to take the Thompson Falls cut across to Missoula from Sandpoint Idaho for years now. Without regret I made the trip :-). Sandpoint is just a quick jaunt north of Coeur d’ Alene that is a trip all in its self. We spent a few hours in Sandpoint hanging out at the beach and eating breakfast at the Beach House Lounge. Breakfast was great! After a few minutes on the beach it was time to get on the road. We stopped along the way several times to take in the scenery and enjoy the small towns along the way. If you are ever in that area I highly suggest you make the turn because the Thompson Falls cut across is amazing to say the least. My next trip back from that side of the rocks will take me through Libby and Glacier National Park.
I am running a little behind on my blogs for the month… The up side is that over the last three weeks I have rounded up plenty of blog material. Over the 4th of July I spent the week in the beautiful town of Coeur d’ Alene. I try to make it there at least twice a year and every time coming home gets harder and harder. I enjoy the scenery, the people, and the general ambiance.
I have covered a good deal of the globe and Coeur d‘ Alene is one of the few places I have been that I have felt instantly at home. The experiences are always memorable. One Memory that I don’t think I will forget any time soon was the afternoon I came back after swimming on the south side of Tubs hill. I had just realized that I left my wallet back at the house and didn’t have the $3 I would need to pay for parking by the resort. I was just commenting to my wife that I didn’t have any cash on me and what happened next just left me in bewilderment. As I was pondering how i was going to get the cash a younger gentleman overheard our conversation and approached me with “Excuse me SIR”… I then turned and he asked me if I needed cash for parking and in his hand is $3. Completely dumbfounded I asked him to repeat himself with an “Excuse me”? (Now understand that this does not happen where I am from) I reluctantly took the money with a cautious “Thank You”. To this day I can’t believe that a bystander over heard my conversation with my wife and stepped in to help. After sharing my story with my brother and sister who live over there, apparently this kind of thing happens all of the time.
We spent the morning of the 4th at the parade. The “Small town feel” of patriotism at that parade was emotional to say the least. As I came in with my family folks moved to the side with a smile to allow for my kids to squeeze in with their kids. The parade comprised of the local schools, fire departments, soldiers and just about everything you would see at a small town parade. That night we found a great spot next to the resort to watch fireworks. The colors were brilliant reflecting off of the lake, and the sounds reverberated off of the surrounding mountains. I consider this to be a “Perfect” 4th of July celebration.
The last night i was there we took a walk as a family down along the lake while the sunset over the Tubs hill. Not a breath of wind and nothing but the sounds of the lake next to the trail. Unlike other adventures, I never get home sick when I am in Coeur d‘ Alene because I already feel at home.
I don’t know about for you but July has been NUTS! I have had one weekend to relax and hit the Rivers Edge Trail. This is commonly something I do 3 to 4 times a week and every Saturday and Sunday in the mornings. The weekend before last was my one weekend of the month to do this. The Rivers Edge Trail takes you all the way to Ryan Dam east of Great Falls. It is a little bit of a “jaunt” to say the least but well worth it (keep an eye for upcoming blogs). The Great thing about the trail is the constant changing scenery. A few weeks ago I was on the trail one evening and I see they are building a Sun Dial just off of the 10th street bridge. The timing was perfect for a great image. I rode by once and got to the Black Eagle Dam before I realized that the sunset that was evolving was lining up right behind it, so I raced back to grab the picture. Luckily the gentleman that was working on it was still welding away. Another night I was out and about on the west side of the river and was able to catch the sun bouncing off of the BNSF train yard shop building. I have found that Great photos are made by being at the right place at the right time. I find myself pretty lucky to be able to go out on the trail any night of the week or any weekend and catch images that stand out.
These trips always go so fast with so much to pack into a short amount of time. When we arrive at SeaTac the race is on. It is off of the plane, onto Tacoma, and rush to the first meeting within a half hour. It is great to meet with the project management staff and catch up on a months’ worth of progress. The day is spent in meetings, site walks, and working on any issues that may be going. After a Dinner at the RAM bar and grill it is hard not to go back to the hotel and crash for the night. This last week I was out there I resisted the temptation and headed out to Steliacoom to grab a few shots. To my surprise when I arrived there was a Jazz band playing in the park that sits on the hill side above the sound. The intensity of the music was awesome to say the least. The music filled the town and the bay below with the sounds of Jazz. Just as the sun is setting the ferries from Anderson Island come back and forth making their final run for the night with the sun setting behind the Cascades. I sat there until the sun set and took it all in; what a great night!
The next morning we were up with the sun and grabbed breakfast at Denny’s in Lakewood WA. The goal was to be on McChord before the job site opened. At 5:30am we rolled out by the end of the tarmac where there is a museum with planes posed ready for flight. Behind the planes mount Rainier stands tall and proud with the sun rising behind it. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to visit the places I visit and even more lucky having the gift to capture them in an image to share. Needless to say that once the day started the peace and tranquility of the morning was over and the race was back on. I arrived back in Great Falls that Afternoon in disbelief of the amazing things I was able to see and the Images I hoped I had captured.
It was a great ride this morning… Not a breath of wind and temps perfect for recreation. I took the Rivers Edge Trail to Giant Springs and back through downtown. I am still working through my photos I got this morning but wanted to get a few out. On my way down the trail I stopped by the City of Great Falls Skate Park. I have wanted to stop and grab photos of the structures and maybe a few action shots however by the time I get done working the park is a little too busy to stop. This morning was the perfect opportunity. After scoping the area there was a guy with his two boys just finished cleaning the entire park. I was not too sure what was going on so I continued to take photos while keeping to myself. As usual it didn’t take to long for someone to start asking questions about what it is I am taking photos of. After talking to the dad and his two boys I was completely blown away. He brings his boys down on Saturday for the same reason I chose to stop this morning. They clean the entire park from the ill-mannered folks from the previous days so they can enjoy the park the way it was meant to be enjoyed. His older boy (17yrs) Proceeds to explain to me that it is a privilege to have the park to use. Good people and a great dad getting his boys off to a good start. As sad as it is to see people take advantage of our parks and recreation structures the true silver lining is to know that there are people that are taking care of it.
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Last weekend was the bachelor party of bachelor parties. The original location for the party was going to be Helena. We had planned to float the Missouri river for the day. After the float trip we planned to get into your typical bachelor party adventure on the party bus that evening. As plans often times do they changed. It was decided by the bachelor party committee that we would have it at Lolo Hot springs. I had never been to Lolo Hot Springs however I have always heard how beautiful it was. As it turns out Lolo Hot springs is in the center of everywhere for bachelor parties. By the time we arrived in Lolo that Friday one of the members of the party had lost his pants along the way and was down to his chonies. He was intoxicated enough that he politely asked bystander for a pair of shorts to borrow… and the adventure had begun. The first adventure to be undertaken was the 30min drive back into Missoula. A bachelor party wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a strip joint and this one was no exception. We started the establishment on the west side of Missoula out by the truck stop. The “environment” was “okay” but not appealing to our group. From there we took the party to the Fox Club downtown. Let me tell you things were looking up! The “environment” was just right for having a good time. After an S&M beating for the soon to be groom by two beautiful women and more liquor then the human body is supposed to take we headed back to Lolo. I would also like to add that during this little adventure we had two Designated Drivers to get us around; they drank pop and water all night. It was cool how easy it was to find someone in the group willing to stay sober all night to take care of his buddies…. On with the adventure! In Lolo there is a nice little bar and grill that serves not too bad of a breakfast and dinner. After a night like that we are going to need some breakfast!
The Mountains around Lolo and on the Idaho border are amazing to say the least. We found hours of entertainment back in the sticks. Starting with panning for gold, we found ourselves back a few miles behind the resort. I can’t tell you the thrill of seeing flakes in the bottom of your pan. Needless to say that between the three of us with pans in our hand we came a long way from making wages. After lunch and target practice we decided to head over the pass into Idaho. The Locsha river drainage is something to put on your “Bucket List” for sure. There are amazing vistas, warm mountain springs, raging rapids and trails that don’t stop. We ended up going on the Warm springs Creek Trail to the Jerry Johns Hot Springs. Honestly they were more of a mud puddle however for the price of a small walk there are not to many other places in the lower 48 that you can see people openly walking around stark-naked. Just to add culture to your life makes it worth the walk :-). Over all it was an awesome weekend with a great group of guys.
When I am not on my bike I throw the dog in the back of the truck and chase the sun. the last few nights I have been lucky. just out of Great Falls there are some great photo opportunities. From the Ulm Pishkun to the Eden Road. Photos of Square Butte, pictures of Great Falls from the Pishkun, to Belt Creek as it winds through the canyon out of the Little Belts to the Missouri. As I am wrapping this blog up I am getting ready for a trip to the Bitterroot Valley. I am looking forward to hanging out in the Bitterroot and capturing Western Montana. In the meantime I am capturing Central Montana for you!
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After a long day at the office or on the job site there is nothing better than coming home and hopping on my bike. Just a few short block from my house and I am on the Rivers Edge Trail. This trail runs the entire distance of the Missouri River within the Great Falls city limits and beyond. I am amazed by the different scenery that I see every time I go out and I try to make it out at least every other day. On those days I am never without new breathtaking images to capture. I recently took off on a Saturday afternoon down the east side of the river to Giant Springs (watch for upcoming blogs) and back across the West side. I try to get lucky enough to catch days where there is no wind and the Missouri and Sun Rivers are smooth as Glass. This is something that rarely happens due to the constant wind that blows in the Great Falls area. In the summer time Great Falls has such a unique landscape and feel and the best place to capture this is on the Rivers Edge Trail. On the north end of the trail there are statues of Lewis and Clark with Sacajawea. From a distance these actually look like real people standing on the hill side looking over the River. On the West side of the River there are great views of the downtown area being reflected on the Glass smooth river. This makes for an awesome way to start and/or Finish a day.
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There are some iconic images of Great Falls that anyone who has lived in Great Falls says home. Just adjacent to the historic downtown area and center of the history of great falls is the Milwaukee depot. Built in 1915 as a train station by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad who went bankrupt in the mid 60’s. Sense then this building has been transformed into a beautiful office building and is still a landmark that says “Home”. The Stack from the Old Great Falls Select Beer that was founded in 1933 and then closed in 1968 can be seen for Miles. Being a “west side” kid as long as I can remember that building has been in my memories. The 3D sign is another Great Falls Icon. I recently posted this photo on my Facebook page and I had huge response from fellow classmates that moved away. It is the sign of a restaurant that is actually in Black Eagle overlooking the Missouri River. The new images for generations to come are currently being constructed. The Rivers Edge Trail and the Westbank Park area of Great Falls is in the process of transformation. In the last few years The Staybridge Suites has opened with more business close behind. It is great to see the development of the river front. Great Falls recently made the list of America’s “greatest riverfront towns” by Budget Travel magazine and its website, budgettravel.com. As time allows I will continue to capture the Images of Great Falls and post them for your enjoyment.
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CPM (Critical Path Management) scheduling is one of my talents that keep me on the move. On a monthly basis I head over to McChord AFB to discuss construction scheduling and invoicing with the CORPS of Engineers. I am not going to bore you with these details, so let’s get on to the cool stuff! After a long afternoon of meetings and negotiations I had the pleasure of boating on the sound there in Tracy WA with the Project superintendent and his family. We got out on the water I was surprised how Glass smooth the water was. On top of the smooth water Mount Rainier was clear with the exception of the light cloud cover at the top that added to the ambiance. I ended up with about 300 images that night however I selected a few of my favorites to share with you. Montana has a beauty that is second to none but I do have to admit I was taken aback by the beauty of the Tacoma area and Mount Rainier. I am looking forward to future trips to the Tacoma area.
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Summer time in Great Falls means it is time for the Farmers Market! The Farmers market is held in downtown Great Falls south of the Civic Center. In this area they squeeze in dozens of vendors and hundreds of potential costumers. If you are in the area you can smell the BBQ pork for blocks (I make sure I never miss out :-). This weekend’s event was a real treat with the live Jazz band Fizzy Watuh. The music seems to bring a great atmosphere that gave that small town festival Feeling. If you didn’t know better you would be looking around for the small carnival rides. In its place there are small pony rides that add to the “Small town” feeling. Walking around and taking in the scenery and the great music really brings out the essence of downtown. After my morning bike ride this was a great way to start out the weekend. While I was down there I grabbed some shots for your enjoyment.
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Just south of Great Falls there is a road that runs parallel to the Little Belts with the Highwood Mountains at your back. This road weaves back and forth across the Smith River with several places to park and fish. After a stressful day I can throw my Golden Retriever in the back of the truck, hop in and head out on Eden Road. From this road I can access the back side of small towns such as Cascade, Ulm, Stocket, Monarch and a good percentage of Central Montana. In the spring the storms blow over the mountains giving the Photographer endless landscape masterpieces. In the mornings the sun rises over the Little Belt Mountains giving once in a life time sunrises every single day. In the evenings the sun sets on the Rockies closing the day leaving you at piece with yourself with a feeling of how lucky you are to live in the Bigsky Country.
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After work I can’t think of a better way to burn off some stress than hitting the Rivers Edge Trail on the bikes. I can burn down a few residential blocks and hop on the trail without crossing any major streets. From there I can reach the entire length of the Missouri that passes through Great Falls with one street crossing. This crossing is located just north of the Milwaukee Depot adjacent to the skate park. There is Just one note on this crossing that I wanted to share. It can be a dangerous crossing due to the signage provided. For the trail traffic there is a stop sign provided that tells the pedestrians and bikers that they need to stop and wait until it is safe to cross. The vehicular traffic is also provided a sign that says there is a pedestrian crossing ahead. However there is no communication on who has the right away. The danger comes when a vehicle stops giving up his or her right away leading the trail traffic into a false sense of security. The vehicular traffic traveling the opposite direction may not be paying attention or willing to give up their right away. If you have a longer train there may be some miscommunication on whether or not it is safe to cross. I watched this last week almost turn into a tragic accident. Myself I let the courteous drivers that stop to allow me cross keep their “right away”. It is only until it is clear that I attempt to cross (OK! On with the rest of my blog). This is about the third of fourth time I have blogged about the Rivers Edge Trail and I can Promise it won’t be my last. Every time I am on the trail the scenic view is different than the day before.
After a typical Memorial Day in Montana not all was lost. It was a great weekend at the cabin in spite of the 6” of snow that fell from Friday to Sunday. Our original plan was to take the four-wheelers up over the pass in to Hughesville and west on the Stanford road up into Villars Creek. Instead we spent the weekend relaxing inside and hanging out around the fire. Between hanging out around the fire and a few hikes I was able to get a few cool photographs.
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In the Painting “Charles M. Russell and His Friends” the Square Butte just out of Cascade Montana is the back drop for this awesome painting. The reading I have done about Charlie Russell and his prints I found that this formation was one of his favorite backdrops. I have photographed this formation from every angle and have thousands of images of it and yet it never gets old. The area around the butte seems to be a portal back in time. The first area I hit is the road that heads north from Ulm Montana towards Pishkun State Park (First People’s State Park). After a stressful day I can take about a 20min drive and be out on roads that few travel. I have a few pull outs that I hit along the way that I can park my truck and sit. While I am waiting for the sun to set or the clouds to fall into the right location I watch the deer and antelope graze and listen to the breeze blow through the cab of my truck. After about an hour of therapy I am back to neutral and ready for another day. My second favorite place to photograph Square Butte is from “Afar” for sure. Out above the Smith River on Swede bench off of the Pleasant View Road I catch the perfect view of Crown Butte and Square Butte together. In addition there are some old abandoned buildings that fit perfectly into most Images. Like Charlie Russell Square Butte catches my eye and when I am traveling and far away from home, the Butte is what I see when I think about home.
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The trip to the Gravity Bar that is at the top of the Guinness Brewery on St. James Street in Dublin was quite the adventure. Our adventure started in “the states” (European reference to the United States) at 6am on Thursday MST. After a few long flights and layovers we arrived in Dublin at 6am on Friday Dublin time (11pm previous day back home). After clearing customs and picking up the rental car we hit Dublin streets at 8am right in the middle of morning rush hour traffic. The up side for me was that I was not the “Elected Driver”. In retrospect I am very impressed with my good friend that was able to get into the wrong side of the car and drive down the wrong side of the street during rush hour traffic (right side for Europe wrong side for US). Of course the hotel rooms are not ready…. We now have time to kill! After parking the car we hit the streets of Dublin on foot. There is now 5 miles of Dublin between us and our “Perfect Pint”. Along the way we caught breakfast in a small pub, checked out the Temple Bar district, did a little shopping and got to experience the streets of Dublin firsthand. It was on this walk that I realized I was in a different country. A young man walking down the street pointed out how much us “Yanks” stood out. It was all in good humor now that I look back at it, however at the time caught me off guard. When we got to the brewery it was cool to walk through the museum and work our way through to the top. I loved the water feature inside and thought the signed lease at the beginning was interesting. Upstairs there was a room that a video loop was playing and from there was the stairs to the Gravity Bar. Over the months I have been acquiring the taste for the Dark Porter. When we handed over our tickets and received our “Perfect Pint”, I cannot begin to describe how smooth and creamy that pint was. The room was packed with people from around the world. I heard some French, German, Spanish, and other dialects I could not recognize. I truly enjoyed myself at the brewery but just like other places we visited it was the journey that was the destination.
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On Saturday afternoon my 4 year old daughter and I hung out at the Pishkun out in Ulm Montana. Two thousand years before Lewis and Clark this was used as a buffalo jump. The Indians would run the buffalo off of the side of the bluff. Below they would process the meat, bones and hides for the tribe. The buffalo are long gone and all that is left is the tribute to their way of life. A person can either walk from the visitors center or take the 5 min drive around to the top. When we visit the park we drive straight to the top and when we get to the top there is a “Prairie Dog Town” that is off to the side of the road (big hit with my daughter). At the end of the road is the parking area and trail head for the jumps. I truly enjoy standing at the edge of the jumps and hearing nothing but the wind. From this vantage point I can see for miles. Some of my favorite photographs have been taken from the edge of these cliffs. All the Pictures in this album were taken from the Pishkun. From the Pishkun you can see 4 mountain ranges. The highwoods, Little Belts, Big Belts, and the Rockies all can been seen and photographed. I think that the Pishkun’s (First Peoples) State park is one of Montana’s best kept secrets. I quit going there years ago to learn the history of the Pishkun and now I visit the Pishkun to reflect and catch a breath.
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Today I was reflecting back (day dreaming :-)) on my recent trip to Ireland. That trip was one of those trips that when I am day dreaming every now and then I will reflect back on. The town of Blarney and the castle property specifically was truly a magical experience. Everything from the weather to the castle, blarney house, the lake to Lunch was memorable. The weather could not have been more perfect. It was about 65F with just a breath of wind and the billowy clouds just seem to float across from one horizon to the other (perfect for Pictures). It is a little bit of a hike to the castle but when you come in the gate the direction to go is obvious. The castle stands proud above everything around for miles. When I was standing at the base of the castle I was lucky enough to catch the sun peeking through a window at the top (this turned out to be an amazing photograph). Looking at the rays of light peeking through the window they remind me of the Celtic cross. Inside the castle it is a maze of rooms and stair cases to get to the top where the famous Blarney Stone is located. Looking down from the top you can see where the three floors below used to be. When looking around the country side from the top you can see for miles. One of the best features is the Blarney house. The Blarney House is a beautiful Scottish Baronial style mansion that was built in 1874. As you take the walk to the lake that is in the front yard of the Blarney House you are taken back in time. There are horse pastures, off buildings and ruins scattered about the property. As I stood at the base of the castle and walked the estate I felt a true connection to history. These are buildings that were conquered by kingdoms and taken back by another. We are looking at going back some day sooner than later. Ireland is still on my “Bucket list”.
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After a walk the other night on the trail above the Black Eagle Dam I scrolled through my 20k plus picture library and it was obvious that I have a great deal of pictures that have been taken from the Rivers Edge Trail. It is incredible the beautiful scenery and photo opportunities that are available on the trail. I think it would be safe to say that I have been on every foot of the miles of trail that can be traveled. On top of the scenery that can be seen and the abundant wildlife there is a ton of history. As I looked thru my photos I found a little of both. I found pictures of the Montana sunrise, and amazing sunsets. Also not to mention Pictures of the Grizzly bear statue at the place that Lewis and Clark were chased by a bear and the statues that were placed on the bluff across the river of Lewis and Clark. I would love to get into the history of the Rivers edge Trail but I don’t think I could say it as well as it is said on the website for the trail (http://thetrail.org).
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