For the first time in my long life, I had the chance to view hot flowing lava, when I flew over Mauna Loa during the 2022 eruption. Mauna Loa, on the big island of Hawaii, is the largest active volcano in the world, and it had not erupted for 38 years prior to December 2022. Upon hearing that this eruption and our vacation would overlap, I was first worried that our non-refundable trip was doomed. After checking with a friend who lives on Hawaii Island, we kept our original plans and arrived on December 3. Fortunately, we enjoyed clear skies over the west coast Kona region, and some unique sightings of the lava flow. I even got my friend Dennis, who lives on Hawaii, out on his first helicopter adventure.
What to Expect in Yellowstone
I had never been to Yellowstone National Park before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. We were going to see the thermal zone — geysers including Old Faithful and some boiling mud. I had seen geysers and boiling mud before in New Zealand and Iceland, so I was prepared to be “underwhelmed.” I was wrong. We were in for feelings of excitement and lots of “wow” moments.
Our day began at “West Thumb,” a thermal zone and large lake with boiling mud and geysers. I was captivated. As the geysers steamed and bubbled, I composed my photos of the simple yet other-worldly beauty.
Lavender in July
The Provence region of France can be blistering hot in July, and you might think that you were a month or two late to enjoy seeing rows of lavender growing in the fields. You’re not! You might be a month late to see fields of sunflowers in Provence as well as Tuscany (in Italy), but you are right on time for the lavender.
When my daughter Courtney and I took our road trip through Provence, driving in our “putt-putt” between Avignon, Gordes, Les Baux, St. Remy, L’Isle sur Sorgue and Roussillon we discovered this lavender field at the Abbey de Senanque. The abbey’s location is just at the foot of the hill near Gordes. I shot this photo, but you may have seen a similar shot on many book covers.
While the weather is hot and dry in July, you will hardly notice it. The delicious cuisine, the colorful farmers markets, the pottery shops and the local wine (Chateauneuf du Pape), provide ample distraction. Oh yes, there is the scenery and landscape photography too, to capture and hold your attention.