The One Where We Go Looking for Dinosaurs and Get Lost in Desert a Few Times

Yesterday was a day for getting lost in the desert.

Our first stop was to find Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail to see some fossils and tracks that were still in the ground. Once we got there, we somehow couldn’t find the trailhead, even though, in hindsight, it was right in front of us. So we walked down a different trail, assuming it was the one we wanted.

Spoiler: it wasn’t.

However, I did get one of my favorite photos of the day on the wrong trail. The sun was shining in just the right spot to illuminate this tree to make it pop against the red rocks.

A yellow leaf tree illuminated by the sun.

We walked a little further, and then turned around. The dino trail promised signs, and we hadn’t seen one. On our way back we met someone else who was looking for the trail, and after talking for a few minutes we split up and walked on either side of the river bank. He was the one who spotted the first sign indicating the dinosaurs, so we followed his lead.

Only, it was the end of the trail, not the beginning, which would have been fine, except he didn’t see the steps that led to the trail and he went up the mountain. And us, being us, followed his lead.

Which led to more disappointment and accidentally getting off the trail. We turned around again and were about to give up and call the trail a bust when we saw this cutie.

A chipmunk that stopped just long enough for me to take its picture.

We met the chipmunk at the end of the trail where we had started the second time, and once it left us, we looked around and saw the steps that we were supposed to take, and just like that we found the fossils.

While we were on the real trail, I overheard someone talking about there being dinosaur tracks, so when we were finished looking at the fossils, we went on a quest to find those too. They were surprisingly easier to find than the fossils.

Once our search for dinosaurs was over, we headed back to the car, and found our very own living dinosaur. Only it was much smaller and less ferocious. At least, we hope.

My husband pointed it out, and honestly, I’m not sure how he spotted the lizard, it was so little, and very well camouflaged.

A lizard we saw on the way back to the car.

After the dinosaur trail, we went to Dead Horse Point State Park, which I will turn into its own blog post and share tomorrow.

Capitol Reef National Park

Yesterday we got a late start. We slept in and ate breakfast downtown while we tried to figure out what we wanted to see. After changing our minds three times, we finally decided to take the 140 mile trip to Capitol Reef National Park.

We saw the mountains and other rock formations, on the way, along with a lot of nothing. We didn’t stop along the way, so I’m honestly surprised at how well these two photos turned out through the window.

Once we got there we stopped for a picnic lunch and then walked along the Fremont River. We stopped at the Gifford Homestead for pie and ice cream.

After our tasty treat, we stopped to see the petroglyph panel. It was a game of eye spy, and we think we saw them all. It was a neat experience, and not something that I’ve ever done before yesterday.

The petroglyphs.

The last thing we did at Capitol Reef was hike the Hickman Bridge Trail. Here are a few photos of the view.

A view from the trail.
One of the views from the trail.
Hickman Bridge

After this hike, we went back to Moab. We spent the two hour car ride from Capitol Reef National Park playing the alphabet game. We someone managed to find all the letters, even though the billboards were few and far between.

Tomorrow I’ll blog about our search for dinosaurs and how we spent the day getting lost in the desert.

Canyonlands National Park

Yesterday we woke up early again to get to Canyonlands National Park. We were almost there when the sun began to rise, so we pulled off in a viewing area parking lot and watched it.

Once I got these two photos we kept going and found an even better spot. The clouds were more agreeable yesterday, and they played well with the sun.

I was the only weirdo looking in the sky opposite the sun.

This might be a cliché photo of the sun rays behind the mountain, but this is my first time seeing the mountains and I absolutely love it.

This photo reminds me of the Teletubbies.

After sunrise we finally made it into the park. We drove the entire park and stopped a few times for hiking. We stopped at Whale Rock and climbed to the top. And then we stopped for second breakfast and saw the view.

I honestly don’t remember where exactly this was in Canyonlands. Sorry.

After we ate, we went to Grand View Point for an almost 2 mile hike. It has an elevation of 6,080 feet, and boy was I feeling it. Either that, or I’m terribly out of shape. (Probably both). For reference, Oshkosh, Wisconsin has an elevation of 791 feet.

Canyonlands National Park.

While on our hike, I saw this cute little tree, and I had to take the shot. I’m just not quite sure which image I like better. What are your thoughts?

At the end of the trail, we stopped and rested for a while, and my husband made a new friend. We didn’t feed the wildlife, even though they were looking for food.

After Canyonlands National Park, we went back to town for lunch and to hang out. Or at least, that was the original plan. While we were in the information center looking for a map, the wind picked up and storm clouds rolled in.

We headed back to Highway 128, so we could see the clouds against the red rocks and the Colorado River, but instead of driving, we found a walking trail and we took that for a little while.

We didn’t get too far, thankfully, before the rain started, so we headed back to the car. I just carried one of my cameras on our walk, so when the rain started, I had to hide my camera under my shirt to keep it dry. It’s old and doesn’t have the weatherproofing technology.

Tomorrow I’ll blog about our trip to Capital Reef National Park.

Arches National Park

Yesterday morning, we arrived at Arches National Park just before sunrise. There was zero cloud cover, so the sky wasn’t necessarily amazing, but the red rocks and mountains more than made up for it.

The sun reflecting on La Sal Mountains.

We weren’t exactly planning on photographing sunrise yesterday, but it just sort of happened. We were told to get to the national parks early to be sure we were able to see them.

Sunrise in the desert.

Sunrise in the desert might be one of my favorite things. I know I say that every time I photograph something new, but I really mean it this time.

Sunrise at Arches National Park.
The sun is reflecting on the inside of the arch perfectly.

We spent the whole morning driving, hiking, and taking photos. Unfortunately, the sky was pretty flat without a cloud in the sky, so the photos weren’t anything special, until I turned them to black and whites. When we get back home, I might start a black and white blog post series, so you’ll have to wait to see those.

We saw most of the park by early afternoon, so we went back to town and had a late lunch and a mid-afternoon coffee. Then around 4, we went back to Arches to try and find a place for sunset. We went to the North and South Windows and hung out there for the show.

We were not disappointed. Below are my four favorites. What are your thoughts?

I love the tree on the left of the arches in this photo.
I enjoy the sunburst on this photo.
The color or the clouds is my favorite part of this photo.
The sky is my favorite part of this photo too.

This was our trip to Arches National Park. Tomorrow, I’ll blog about our trip to Canyonlands National Park.

Moab, Utah Day One

After two flights and a two hour car ride, we finally arrived in Moab, UT. It was suggested that we take Scenic Highway 128, and never having been here, we took the advice. And we were so glad we did. We saw all the red rock formations and the Colorado River

Taking Highway 128 was pretty much all we did once we landed. We stopped for a quick dinner and a grocery run, and now we’re chilling out in our hotel. Check out my Facebook page for more photos and updates. I’ll blog tomorrow night when we get back from a day of hiking in Arches National Park, unless I’m too sore to move.

Door County, Wisconsin Part Two

This is part two of our weekend getaway to Door County, Wisconsin. If you missed part one, check it out here.

We woke up to a foggy morning and I somehow convinced my husband to go out for a quick photo session before breakfast. We weren’t sure how long the fog would last, and I didn’t want to miss it again. (I had to work on a foggy morning earlier in the week, and by the time I found a good spot to photograph with my phone, the fog had cleared up.) Spoiler, it was foggy all day. It made for epic, moody photos.

This was the first photo of the day.

After breakfast, we cruised up to Sister Bay, to see if the goats were on the roof of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. They were!

The goats on the roof of Al Johnsons.

We parked at the marina in Sister Bay, and on our way back from photographing the goats, we saw a sailboat.

This is my favorite photo of the two days I think.

We went further north than we normally do to Newport State Park in Ellison Bay. Neither one of us has been there before and we were both glad that we ventured that far to see it.

After Newport State Park, we picked up lunch and ate at Whitefish Dunes State Park. I’m not really sure why, but I don’t have any photos from there. We didn’t stay too long as it was getting close to the Green Bay Packer game, and we didn’t want to get stuck in traffic.

Next week, we’ll be in Moab, Utah. I plan on blogging every night, so stay tuned for that. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram for more photos of our adventures.

Door County, Wisconsin Part One

Last weekend my husband and I went to Door County, Wisconsin for a weekend getaway. This will be a two-part blog detailing what we did each day.

The first thing we did was make a quick stop at Door County Coffee and Tea. It was really busy so we didn’t stay inside for too long, but I was able to get this photo on one of their outdoor tables before we left. I’m really happy that they started decorating for fall as the gourds (?) pumpkins (?) really added to the photo.

My coffee from Door County Coffee and Tea

After that, our priority was going to Peninsula State Park. We spent the bulk of the morning and early afternoon there. We saw a few people swimming at one of the beaches, and we hiked on a trail for a little while.

The leaves were starting to change.
I love this view, but I think I have a better shot on my phone.

After lunch, we went to Cana Island. In the past, we’ve had bad luck when we tried to go. Either the water was too high, or the lighthouse wasn’t open. But That day, we were able to either wait for a tractor to take us across or we could walk. So we rolled up or pants, and walked across. Check out my TikTok to see it.

When we got across the lake, we found out that we were able to climb the lighthouse. So naturally, we did. This was the first time we got to climb it and we couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.

Stay tuned for part two of our Door County Adventure. Don’t forget to check out my Instagram for more photos of the weekend, and other photo adventures I go on.

Impromptu Weekend Getaway

My day job gave me the first weekend in October off, so my husband and I took it as a sign to get away for a mini vacation. We’re going up to Door County, Wisconsin to (hopefully) see some fall color, enjoy some famous Door County Coffee, and get some candy from the confectionaries up there. I’ll keep you posted while we’re up there.

I took this photo a few years ago in late October.

I’m looking forward to capturing the fall color with my camera, and maybe talking my husband into watching the sunrise. Along with that, is there anything you want to see? I can’t make any promises, but I’m always looking for new ideas for content. Let me know in the comments.

Sunrise Sept. 20,2021

I woke up a little bit before my alarm this morning, and I almost rolled over and went back to bed. But when I started taking my photography more seriously, a little over a year ago, I promised myself that if I made a sunrise plan, I needed to stick to it. So, I crawled out of bed and got ready to go.

I was torn between staying in Oshkosh, or going back to Fond du Lac, and the clouds were going to be promising in both areas, but I didn’t want to blog about the exact same park two weeks in a row, so I went to the park in Oshkosh that I am very familiar with.

And I’m so glad I kept my photo date with myself. I have six photos that I’m really happy with. I rarely wind up with that many from a single photo shoot, especially when I’m only out for an hour. I guess this was my reward for doing the work when I didn’t really want to.

This is the first photo I took. I like have a dark subject with a light/colorful background. The sun wasn’t up yet, but it was starting to reflect on the clouds.

The second photo has more dark than color, but I think that’s what makes the photo. I like that it is mostly black.

I love the tree hanging over the lake in this photo, and the color of the sky reflecting in the water.

I’ve recently decided that I want to take more photos of empty benches looking at the water.

These last two photos were an accident. I saw the sun rising between the clouds and I wanted a photo of the bench looking at it. And then I was doubly rewarded with the sunburst. I honestly don’t know how I did it, so I’m not sure how/if I’ll be able to recreate this again. Can anyone tell me what I did?

New Location

Earlier this month, I went to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin for a photo shoot. For some reason, I have never gone there for landscape photography, I never even really thought about going there, even though it’s not that far away from my house. Once I was done with my photo shoot, I went to another park to scope it out before I committed to a sunrise.

I found many potential compositions that I had to go back during sunrise. I hesitated last Thursday since the weather didn’t look as promising as I wanted it to. But I haven’t gone out for a long time so I went anyway. I’m so glad I did too. There was a lighthouse and it was my first time photographing a lighthouse at sunrise. It’s safe to say, I’m in love.

A lighthouse in Fond du Lac at sunrise.

I wandered the park and I have a few more that are my favorites.

A bench facing Lake Winnebago.

This bench reminds me of a quiet, peaceful life. One day, I can’t wait to have a view like this of my own. I might have to wait until retirement, but that’s ok.

Wispy clouds on the horizon.

I love the wispy clouds in this photo, and the pale yellow of the early sun.

The sky and trees reflecting on a small pond.

This last photo is my absolute favorite from the day. I love taking reflection photos, and I love the colors.

I can’t wait until autumn and winter to take more photos at this location with the changing leaves, snow on the ground, and ice on the lake.

Later this week, I’m going to look for more parks in Fond du Lac and nearby areas to see if there are some interesting views for sunset. I feel like I need more sunset locations. Anyone have any suggestions within an hour of Oshkosh, Wisconsin?

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