Is It Autumn in the Northwest?

No, we’re still enjoying Spring. But, the Bellevue Botanical Garden has these nice Japanese maples with reddish foliage: a laceleaf (Acer palmatum ‘Garnet’, above) and tree (Acer palmatum ‘Burgundy Lace’, below).


Barking up the Tree: Textures of the Royal Botanic Garden (Melbourne, VIC)

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is one of the finest in the world, an easy walk across the Princes Bridge from Federation Square. This being nearly the third week into autumn, most all the flower blossoms were spent. Still, there was much to admire here. As you would imagine, there were many native trees of Australia on the grounds. What struck me were their wondrous bark patterns.

Spectacular Lyttelton Harbour

Lyttelton Harbour was created when the extinct Lyttelton volcanic crater eroded and flooded over millions of years. It is a spectacular body of water dramatically seen from the top of the Christchurch gondola attraction.


Breathtaking Beauty Down Under: New Zealand

One of the most stunning places in the world to visit is New Zealand, a land of towering mountains, spectacular glaciers, turquoise lakes and volcanoes, a testament to the restlessness and creativity of immense geologic forces. It was for good reason that Peter Jackson filmed his entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, and now the Hobbit, there in his own country, which needs very little CGI to showcase its spectacular beauty and double as Middle Earth. If you’ve been following my blog, you’d know that my daughter and her family live there, in Christchurch. In one month, my wife and I will be visiting once again, to flip over the season (winter to summer)—and again mutter about the British Empire for driving on the wrong side of the road. For the first time ever, we will also be visiting Australia, more specifically, Melbourne, Phillip Island and the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

The image above was taken by my daughter in Mt Cook National Park, nestled in the spine of mountains, running north-south in the middle of New Zealand, called the Southern Alps for reasons not hard to figure out. (A larger image is available here.)

Grand Teton Reverie

I’ve already posted remarkable collision photographs taken by Jim Brandt, who happens to be the husband of my wife’s cousin. Last month, he and his wife visited Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Any camera hound knows that these places offer infinite photographic possibilities. Among Jim’s photographs, I selected one that for me captures the essence and majesty of the Teton range. Even if the mountains have been photographed zillions of times, this particular image is remarkable because of the dramatic interplay between the rising sun and exquisite cloud formations with the meandering Snake River providing an interesting contrast to the jagged peaks. Jim remarked to me once that he loves clouds. I can certainly see his point.

grand tetons