For this challenge Tina has asked us to demonstrate how we use editing to improve an image. This was a fun challenge that took me out of my comfort zone. Usually, I crop the photo and I’m done. For this challenge I experimented with a few other editing techniques using Photoshop Elements.
The camellias are blooming and I’ve been trying to get a perfect shot of them. To focus on the flower I cropped this original into a square and applied the Watercolor effect. The finished image below shows the details of the flower and the rain drops on the petals.
On the left is the original of a Great White Egret in the salt marsh. I wanted a close up of the Egret so I cropped it before adding the Rough Pastels effect.
This last image was taken in Denali National Park in Alaska on a cloudy, overcast day. I replaced the dull sky with a brilliant blue sky to add more color and enhance the image.
For this challenge Ann-Christine has asked us “where or what is our hideaway”. Her description of hideaway says “A Hideaway, is a place to which a person can retreat for safety, privacy, relaxation, to seek seclusion or refuge.”
When I am at home I can hideaway for a few moments by getting out in nature or by reading a book. But for me, a true hideaway is a wilderness area far away from civilization, somewhere with no robo calls, internet, or other interruptions.
Three of my favorite destinations immediately came to mind – the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in south Georgia, Denali National Park in Alaska, and Everglades National Park in Florida. Although these are three unique protected wilderness areas, what they have in common is that they are miles away from civilization and the wildlife is free to roam.
Of these three areas, the closest to my home is the Okefenokee Swamp. When we get to the end of the 17 mile road from the main highway and arrive at Stephen C. Foster State Park I feel like I am in another world. This image and the one at the top were both taken in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge near Fargo, Georgia.
To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.
There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them.
This week, our guest host Xenia of Tranature has chosen Sanctuary for our challenge. She reminds us that “Sanctuary can be found and created in a garden, a park, a field of wild flowers and by the sea …… watching wildlife, listening to birdsong …… along the forest trails and in the mountains.” She has asked us to show where we find it or how we create our calm and healing.
America’s National Parks and Wildlife Refuges are national treasures and wonderful places to find sanctuary.
Closer to home, I can find my sanctuary watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean on one of Georgia’s barrier islands (image at the top of the page), walking on the beach, or watching the birds and butterflies in my backyard butterfly garden.
Our plan for the day was to ride the bus up to the Polychrome Overlook and take a hike. When we awoke to a steady rain we decided to wait to see if it would clear up. The rain continued all day so we took a couple of short hikes around the campground instead.
My favorite place in the campground was this peaceful clearing by a stream
We took a walk out to the Teklanika River in the rain
The stream runs along the edge of the campground
Wildflowers growing in the middle of the riverbed
The rain finally let up a little later in the afternoon so we spent the rest of the day relaxing by the campfire.
Henry and Blondie enjoying the fire
Now this is the kind of view I like out our back window
Our search for wildlife continued as we boarded our bus at 9:40 am. The 120 mile round trip to Kantishna and back took us all day. Our bus driver and tour guide Wayne kept us informed about each area we went through. The weather was overcast and rainy all day.
Our first two wildlife sightings were Grizzly bears. The first was close to the road, the second farther away.
Our first wildlife sighting was a Grizzly Bear
Second Grizzly sighting of the day
Next, we saw two different herds of Caribou before stopping at the Toklat River rest area. There we saw Dall Sheep on two different mountains. The Dall Sheep look like white dots on the mountain without binoculars or a telephoto lens. The pictures aren’t too good but you can tell they are sheep.
Caribou grazing in Denali National Park
We watched this Caribou herd as they moved quickly through the field
Beautiful view from Toklat River rest area
Three Dall sheep. The two rams are butting heads
Four Dall Sheep
Close up of one of the rams.
There were Caribou grazing on top of a ridge before we stopped at the Eileson Visitor’s Center for a stroll in the rain on the Tundra Loop Trail.
Another group of Caribou up on a ridge
Eielson Visitor’s Center
Wildflower on the Tundra Trail at the Eielson Visitor’s Center
Another wildflower on the Tundra Trail
Arctic Ground Squirrel, otherwise known as suicidal ground squirrels because they run out in the road right in front of vehicles.
And then there were moose.
Our first moose sighting was this cow by a pond
A big bull moose in the bushes
The Denali Park Road ends in Kantishna where several gold mines once operated. One of the mines was owned by the Quigleys. When the couple got divorced, Fannie Quigley built a cabin and lived there alone. When the national park expanded its boundaries the several privately owned lodges located there were allowed to continue to stay open.
Fannie Quigley’s cabin at Kantishna
We were on the bus for almost 10 hours
As we began our return trip we stopped at Wonder Lake where on a clear day there is a view of Mt. McKinley. In Denali National Park the chance of seeing Mt. McKinley is only 30% and the chance of seeing a bear is 90%.
A young bull moose
Moose in a pond in Denali National Park
We stopped at Wonder Lake where on a clear day you can see Mt. McKinley
Other than stopping to watch some Dall Sheep far off on the side of a mountain we didn’t make many stops to view wildlife on the return trip.
Total wildlife count for the day: 13 Caribou, 12 Dall Sheep, 2 Grizzly Bears, several Arctic Ground Squirrels, and a Ptarmigan (the state bird of Alaska) flying low to the ground by the bus. A great day!