Rewards of West Fork Trail

Sedona’s West Fork Trail is described in the guide books as iconic with towering cliffs and 13 stream crossings as you follow Oak Creek for 6.4 miles round trip. The elevation change is moderate (245 ft.), so I considered it doable with camera equipment on my back.

It took us 3.5 hours to reach the end point, as I stopped for photos so often, but the exertion was well worth it. You know you have reached the end when you can’t go further without getting wet, and in November it’s too cold for that!

A mirror-like reflection was the reward at the end point of the West Fork Trail. Sunny conditions were perfect for the hike, as rain can create dangerous flash floods, and snow would make the hike too slippery.

The cave like erosion you can see along the left side of the creek reminded me of “the subway” in Zion National Park created by the Virgin River. I had to explain myself to my husband after exclaiming, “there is the subway!”

I find myself fascinated by the power of moving water that erodes rock over time. Are you?

New York’s New Icon

New York City has so many major tourist attractions, that a new iconic work of art and architecture can open without the whole world knowing about it. I’m talking about the Vessel in Hudson Yards, the new Eiffel Tower or Saint Louis Arch of the 21st century. It’s a unique structure: a circular copper staircase that you can ascend and admire the changing views and geometry of its structure from different angles.

The Vessel’s location in Hudson Yards is especially fascinating to me, since my daughter Erin, the structural engineer, worked on its foundation, which is a super strong platform over the train tracks adjacent to Penn Station. Imagine a platform that can simultaneously hold a skyscraper and a park! Long before I visited the site, I was amazed by the engineering behind this development.

While construction on many buildings in Hudson Yards is ongoing, the Vessel opened earlier in 2019 along with an adjacent mall anchored by the only Neiman Marcus in New York City. Numerous high-end shops and restaurants are open in the Mall, adding to the enjoyment of an outing to the Vessel.

You can buy entrance tickets to the Vessel online ahead of time that will give you admission any time on a particular date. If you wander over to Hudson Yards (convenient via subway), you can buy a same day ticket that grants admission for a particular hour, to prevent overcrowding.

I loved the Vessel, and will share several photos from my walk inside it. The Vessel is handicapped accessible with a cleverly designed elevator. Go ahead and put it on your bucket list!

Vivid Sainte-Chapelle

After the iconic Eiffel Tower, ¬†Sainte-Chapelle with its amazing stained glass windows is my favorite place to visit in Paris. The height and vivid color of the windows create a stunning effect. As you look at them, you wonder how they stand, as the stone supports are quite tall and thin and the walls appear to be “all window.” The chapel’s architecture and windows date to the early 13th century. It’s hard to image the construction taking place 800 years ago.¬†

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Admire the stained glass of Saint-Chapelle in this wide angle photograph taken with the Sony a7rII.

This royal chapel, commissioned by Louis IX on Ile de la Cite in Paris, is located near Notre Dame Cathedral. If you buy the Musee Pass to pay admission to numerous museums and monuments for a 3-5 days, this beautiful church is included. I recommend going on a sunny day!

Grand Tetons from the Mormon Barn

It was another dark and frosty morning before dawn, when I found myself trudging down a dirt road with my camera backpack on my back and tripod in my gloved hand. At least two dozen photographers had already arrived at this iconic location, and many were in no mood to share their space.

Finding a spot along the edge of a creek, I waited for the rising sun to color those wispy clouds pink. What I like most about the final image is the warmth of the barn, the grass and the foliage in contrast to the cool blue and grey in the sky and the mountains.

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Sunrise at the Mormon barn in Grand Teton National Park, a pleasing blend of warm and cool tones.

Iconic Big Sur

Some days you are just plain lucky, and the Pacific coast fog takes a day off. The day we drove south of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea was a special sunny day. As we looked south toward the bridge, we could see for miles along the rocky Pacific coast.

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How lucky can you be to drive Big Sur on the California coast on a sunny September afternoon?

Stay tuned to this blog to see more photographs of the beautiful California coast from my recent trip. I will share lots of ideas to help you plan your next trip.