May 26, 2015

Western Adventure

Yes, I’ve been noticeably absent for a while. That’s how I roll in the present time. It’s been five months today that Mr. Jim departed and earned his wings. I would expect that he'd be busting his buttons with pride on how well I am doing, summoning courage and getting on with a new life.

Photography travel is a critical part of my plan to emotionally heal and find a new pathway. Last month, I completed my first solo vacation journey, and it was an short car trip away in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Now I have returned from my first solo vacation journey that was long distance – the Grand Teton National Park in western Wyoming.

Here are the highlights:
  • To keep down wear and tear on my healing foot, I used wheelchair assistance in the big airports. Delta’s staff was surprisingly courteous and helpful.
  • The tour participants were positively delightful, and I forged new friendships with fellow photographers. I laughed a lot.
  • I was happy to see the Tetons once again, after a 43-year absence, and this time I got to witness the spring season underway out there. The photography tour provided many landscape and wildlife opportunities. Among the various animals, I was thrilled to see bears, including two grizzly females, five cubs, and one black bear. The weather kept threatening to rain, but the tour guide managed to steer us to areas in the big park that were dry.
  • The days were long and my healing foot successfully endured many hours of standing and walking. It is a little bit sore since I got back, but it should calm down by the end of the week. After 13 years of use, I noticed that my hiking boots are finally starting to come apart. I'll need a new pair before traveling adventures this fall.
  • The rest of my body was extremely weary during the trip. It was definitely an endurance contest, hitting the road at 5 a.m. to catch sunrises. Lack of sleep, dehydration, and a high altitude took their toll. I noticed some faint tinges of blood in my left eye’s vision for a couple of days. So I took things easier and started belting down the water. Today, my eye doctor  declared that my eye was fine. Whew! And I am now getting needed sleep and recuperating from the rigors of traveling.
  • I took two Nikon camera bodies, my older D7100 and a new, fresh out of the box, D7200. I used them both. After shooting with a Fuji mirrorless camera last month, I was a bit slow out of the starting gate, trying to remember different menus and the location of controls. It’s my own fault for having too much equipment to remember.
  • After making room on my hard drive by transferring older photo files to external hard drives, I finished downloading my digital cards today. They are now in folders, but not reviewed and culled. The official tally? 5339 files at 164.85 GB. There were many occasions that I did 5 and 7 multiples of a scene, and each of those was taken with a different exposure. That way I can play and try some HDR and Photoshop blending techniques. I have a lot of work ahead of me!
  • Angel did very well at the kennel, and she was treated like a rock star. Angel has such a sweet and easy-going temperament, it is very easy to fall in love with her. The staff workers were showing me selfies that they took with her! After a week of “camping,” she’s undeniably glad to be back home and getting attention and cuddles again from her human mom.


  1. hooray on your body, eye and foot making it through! and even better that you enjoyed yourself! glad you are home (and with angel, too) and have tons of photos to occupy your 'rest up' time again! so very glad it all went well!

  2. That sounds like a wonderful trip and just the right timing for you! I'm so glad to hear you say you laughed a lot. I know that helped you heal too. Can't wait to see pics of your trip! Love the one you posted! Sweet hugs, Diane

  3. I am so thrilled for you Donna - you did extremely well by sound of it, that was definitely an arduous schedule! Looking forward to seeing your bear pix - I know Mr. Jim was 'with you' every mile and watching out for you. I love that you are managing and bravely moving on - there are so many wonderful photo ops just awaiting your always artistic eye my dear.
    Sending hugs - Mary

  4. Welcome back!

    So glad you enjoyed the journey and laughed - so good for the soul.


  5. Aside from the wear and tear it sounds like you had a fabulous time. That photos is gorgeous. I think I could sit and stare at a view like that all day

  6. I am SO happy to hear that you had a good trip, that your body and eye are doing well and that you enjoyed Spring in the mountains. I can't wait to see your photographs. I'm just smiling because you, dear friend, are sharing your love for the outdoors and photography once again. Mr. Jim would be SO proud of you! I know he would.

  7. This post makes me smile. I'm so happy for you, Donna - you've done well physically and emotionally, even though the going was hard. Mr. Jim would indeed be proud of you. Looking forward to seeing some of your wonderful photos.

  8. I'm so happy you had a great trip and had fun and angel was great at the kennel! Can't wait to see some of your beautiful pictures!

  9. That is a beautiful photo! The only thing that would make it better would be if you were in it! Yes, I can imagine that Jim is very pleased because, really, don't we want those we leave behind to live their best lives. Yup. So glad that a week of rest will set you to rights. You are certainly tenacious!

  10. I am so happy that you are finding joy in these photography trips!! It was such a wise step to forge ahead with your photography, something in which you are obviously gifted, something that you and Mr. Jim shared, and something that he would be thrilled to know that you are continuing!

    Awww...that Angel is such a darling!

  11. Donna, it's wonderful to know that you had a great trip to Wyoming and did so well. I can't believe it's been 5 months already. I know Jim would be very proud of you. I'll certainly look forward to your beautiful photos of your trip. The one you shared today is gorgeous. Take care of that foot and give Angel a hug. Blessings. Pam

  12. This post warmed my heart because you sound so much better! I'm glad you had a couple wonderful trips and I'm glad your sweet little Angel did so well so you don't have to worry about leaving her in the future. Looking forward to some beautiful pictures in the future! Good to hear from you Donna.

  13. Sounds like a wonderful time. And I'm sure Mr. Jim would be proud of you. Can not wait to see some of your five hundred million pictures. *wink*

  14. I know Mr. Jim would be very proud! You are doing what you both loved and that is making this journey a little easier. I'm so glad you had friends to make you laugh! Looking forward to seeing some of your photos (((Donna)))

  15. Wow...the photo you shared here is just phenomenal, Donna! I am so pleased to hear you are making these trips and enjoying yourself...AND that foot is healing nicely! Yes, it sounds like most definitely have your work cut out for you! Have a great rest of the week!

  16. So glad to hear you did well, and your foot held out, in spite of the difficult terrain. Keep well, looking forward to seeing some wonderful shots.

  17. SO glad you're safe and sound as well as Angel...Bet she missed Mom!
    Can't wait to see the photos...Got lots of work ahead of you there Girlie!
    Nothing better than laughter.....nothing.

  18. Beautiful photo! I do love that area of our country! I was there in 1968 and then not until 2002 and in 2002, I noticed that Skillet Glacier that was big and glorious in '68, is now missing it's "handle" and melting. Made me sad. Glad you had a good time and sounds like your foot is getting back in shape.

  19. what a gorgeous photo ! It is such a good thing you are able to travel again, your foot healing, andare able to make it through such difficult times forming new friends and adventures in photography. . yes...Mr jim would certainly be proud. Angel sounds delightful. It has been since 1966 since I have seen the Tetons, an experience still vivid in my memory. I am looking forward to your breath taking photos

  20. So glad to see you are back in the photography saddle again. You are so talented at it.
    Is that St Mary's Lake? What a beautiful photo, as always.
    Take care!


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