The 9/11 Memorial Site: A Photo Essay

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to pay honor to the 9/11 victims by visiting the Memorial site at the World Trade Center. Despite not knowing any of the victims or families, the tragedy still gives me a feeling of deep sorrow, as I’m sure it does for most of us. After all, we were all affected by this in one way or another. I’ve also been captivated by the stories of heroism during and after the tragedy.

Following are some images from the 9/11 Memorial, taken mostly at the South Pool area. I debated the appropriateness of this post. But, for those who haven’t yet made the homage, I hope it conveys a little bit of a sense of what it’s like to be there.

The new World Trade Center

The new World Trade Center, rising up from the ashes.

The Memorial South Pool

An international crowd pays homage.

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The Memorial South Pool

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9/11 Memorial

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9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

To learn more about the 9/11 Memorial visit: http://www.911memorial.org

A Side Trip to Marble, Colorado

What is the connection between the Lincoln Memorial and a small town embedded in the Colorado Rocky Mountains? Marble. Parts of the historic monument were sculpted out of said stone from the Colorado Yule Marble Company located in Marble, Colorado, an outpost at 7,950 feet (2424 meters), 40 miles south of Glenwood Springs.

The 25 acre site of the former processing mill is now a National Historic Landmark and makes for an interesting side trip from the more well trodden areas in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Colorado Yule Marble Company was founded in 1905 and its Yule marble was considered to be of the highest quality in its class. Although access to the actual quarry is prohibited, visitors are welcome to walk around and explore the ruins (at their own risk), and check out the large blocks of marble.

While this excursion would not be a priority for the first time visitor to the area, my husband, Ashton, and I found it to be a pleasant day trip. We have visited this part of Colorado many times and have enjoyed much that it has to offer including hiking, biking, river rafting, general exploring, the spectacular views, skiing, shopping, and dining. So, while visiting family in Carbondale last year, we heard about Marble and decided to go for a scenic drive.

We headed South on highway 133, West of Mt. Sopris (12,965 feet / 3,953 meters) and the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness area, part of the Elk Mountain Range. Photography opportunities abound and it took us a while to reach the junction with state road 3, up to our destination, in the heart of the mountains. The roads parallel the Crystal River all the way to Marble, and Beaver Lake. This excursion was more about the journey than the destination.

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View of Mt. Sopris from Highway 133 with the Crystal River in the foreground.

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These rocks were polished by past glaciers which covered many of Colorado’s mountain ranges.

Fun with rocks!

Photography fun with glacier river rocks!

Looking East from Highway 133, at the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness area.

Looking East from Highway 133, at the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness area.

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Time to catch our breath in Marble!

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If you forget to pack a picnic, there’s always some “Slow Grovin BBQ”.

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Town of Marble population: 131 as of the 2010 Census.

The paved road ends at Beaver Lake. Beyond, it's four wheel drive and the 'ghost town' of Crystal.

The paved road ends at Beaver Lake. Beyond, it’s four wheel drive and the ‘ghost town’ of Crystal.

We didn’t take any sort of tour but merely walked around on our own. A small leaflet was available at the ‘entrance’ by the loading area. So, we were left to guess which was the avalanche wall, the different ‘fire walls’, the mill, the ice rink, etc….So, following are some random images from the site.

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Under this sign there was a bin with small pieces of marble that one could take for a souvenir.

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Marble blocks like these were scattered throughout the area.

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My husband, gamely posing to give some perspective!

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Time Warp!

Time Warp!

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Along state road 3, on our return to Carbondale:

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Our unusual side trip to Marble proved to be an enjoyable learning experience. Who would have thought that parts of the Lincoln Memorial came from a remote, seemingly inaccessible region of the Colorado Rockies?

If you enjoyed my photography, please check out my website at: Bela Geo Images

Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Phil did not see a shadow today so, according to Groundhog Day folklore, we are in for an early Spring. But before you celebrate, you may want to take into consideration the fact that the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox is on March 20th at 11:02 UTC, so inevitably, there will be six more weeks of winter. And, at a high of 30 degrees Fahrenheit today, here in southeastern Pennsylvania, the thought of colorful Spring blossoms seemed quite distant.

So, instead of pining for a different season, I am embracing and celebrating the one I am living in at the moment. Although less colorful, Winter also brings a myriad of amazing natural displays. A creek runs through our local state park, which I find endlessly fascinating, especially during winter where one can observe daily changes with the water slowly freezing and unfreezing.

These following images are from the last couple of weeks.

Snow!

It’s snowing!

Snow!

Snow!

Frozen Waterfall

An almost frozen waterfall!

Frozen

Frozen Waterfall

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Shooting ice

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I love the ice covered leaves and grass!

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Why is the creek water so green today? It’s amazing how it changes from day to day.

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An Invigorating Walk

There’s something invigorating, and apparently blog inspiring, about walking around nature in the bitter cold, in the dead of winter. Well, perhaps ‘bitter’ is overstating it since it’s all relative. What seems frigid to me—someone who lived in the tropics and sub-tropics for 20 years—might feel balmy to a Canadian living in the Arctic tundra of Nunavut.

According to my weather sources, it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.7° Celsius) here yesterday in Media, Pennsylvania (Northeast USA), but it ‘felt’ like 8℉ (-13.3°C) with the wind chill factor.  We are experiencing an Arctic front, so it is similarly cold today. It also snowed Monday evening, which left a pretty white tapestry on the ground, much more attractive than yellowing grass, but not quite enough to require shovels.

So, on my way home from running errands, I decided to go check out our neighboring park. The following photos were taken with my iPhone 4S and required me to take my glove off and expose my right hand to the cold. It was the kind of day where your hand goes all tingly and numb after a couple of minutes!

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The meteorologists are forecasting snow on Friday for the Northeast (USA), so I am looking forward to shooting some winter scenes this weekend!

Finding Solace in the Snow

There’s something very therapeutic about walking through a park after a fresh snowfall. Even though I’m a photographer in love with color, I also find the more subtle hues and textures of winter very intriguing. I love finding interesting patterns formed by the ice and snow.

The Holidays can be a joyous but also difficult time of the year for many reasons. It was, therefore, with great excitement, that I donned my winter garb yesterday, and went exploring with my camera, tripod, and husband (i.e. photo assistant)! We went to one of our favorite places nearby: Ridley Creek State Park.

Ridley Creek State Park in the Snow

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For more of my Winter images, check out my website at: http://www.belageoimages.photoshelter.com

Playing with Fire

Yesterday was the kind of day where you just want to kick back and relax around the fireplace. It snowed; and not just flurries either. Mother nature has teased us a few times with flurries, but this was our first ‘real’ snowfall of the season, here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, where we actually had a couple of inches that ‘stuck’ to the ground.

While mesmerized by the fire, a thought struck me: for a while I had wanted to try capturing some creative fire photos. So, out came the camera and the tripod, and following are a few of the, well, rather…strange results!

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Meteor Shower Blooper

What the heck was I doing out in the middle of the night, around 3:00 am (EST) this morning, in 30* F temperatures, at our local park? Why, trying to shoot the #Geminid #MeteorShower, of course. Let’s just say, it was a good learning experience!

I live in the Philly suburbs where there is a lot of light pollution. I thought I’d go to our local park, where it was darker, but realized I probably needed police permission to do that. So, my husband, Ashton, and I did a re-con stop there last night, and I actually started to see the meteors. Soon, as I had anticipated, a police officer stopped by, to check what we were up to. He was probably surprised when I told him that I was hoping he’d stop by! We spoke a bit, he had seen one of the meteors already, and called in, and I got official police permission to be at the park. Even though I live in a very safe area I was also relieved to hear they would be patrolling the park, since I would be going back alone. Soon, another car full of meteor spectators showed up! It may have turned out to be a busier night for the police, than they had anticipated!

I went back home and organized my gear in my Tamrac backpack: Nikon D90, 18-70mm lens, remote cord, extra cards, extra battery. In addition, I always carry ‘safety’ gear, especially in the winter (like an emergency space blanket–don’t laugh)! Then, I waited for a couple of hours and prepared myself. It was 30 *F outside so I bundled up & looked like the Michelin woman. I made myself some hot tea, as I knew I would be out there for a while. I also brought a headlamp, my reading glasses (without which I would be lost), and cell phone (which goes without saying).

I drove to the park and realized I was going to be the only one crazy enough to be out there! I set up my tripod, camera, remote, started testing, and…nothing! Nada! Zilch! My camera was…frozen! I kept getting an error message which I did not understand, because I had not brought my manual with me. Maybe it was just cold. I was cold. My breath was visible and the tips of my fingers were getting numb. I started to think this was crazy! What to do? I basically re-booted. I changed the battery, the memory card, warmed it up, and asked the camera to be nice to me, tried again, and it worked! I had all of my settings on manual, including the focus which I switched to infinity, and I basically left it on f/8, ISO 400, and tried various times using the bulb function with the remote cord.

While, I saw various amazing meteors, capturing them was a different story. I’ve photographed the night sky before, but have not attempted to photograph a meteor shower. I now realize the challenges posed trying to photograph a high speed object, moving across the sky, possibly coming from any direction. In addition, I still had the problem of too much light pollution, which I could do nothing about.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Get out there and photograph the night sky more often, so that I am more familiar with the settings I will need to use, and the night sky itself.

2. It was the correct thing to do, to get permission from the police, before going to the park. They did indeed, check on me twice while I was there.

3. Do more research about the meteor shower before going out to shoot it.

4. Go to Colorado when there’s a meteor shower on the way!

5. I need a second camera!!

So, I’m glad I did go out there and attempt to shoot the meteor shower. Even though, I was unsuccessful, it was a good practice run for next year!

Not a Meteor!

Not a Meteor! It’s a plane! The only thing I managed to capture!