Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cedar Valley

I know I've said this over and over, but I really love where we live. Midge (our dog) and I and sometimes one of the boys will go out exploring the hills behind our house. The only thing I miss living right up against the west mountains are the sunsets. Luckily, we have a big wide open valley to the east, so if the cloud conditions look like the making of a good sunset, we will go exploring the valley so we can watch the sunset. Unfortunately, default camera settings don't capture good sunsets. One night we had a beautiful sunset and found an old foundation and trees near by. Of course, I forgot the camera so I didn't get any pictures. I went back the next evening and caught another nice sunset, not as vibrant as the night before, but nice none-the-less. My photographer sister got some awesome smokey sunsets So I'd try my luck fiddling with the camera settings.

This first picture is the default camera settings. Doesn't really do justice to anything.

Then I started playing with the f-stop and shutter speeds. These two pictures are the ones I like the best. Of course, I didn't have a tripod, so for the longer exposures, the picture is a little blurry if you zoom in close.

This evening was very overcast and had rained hard earlier, so we went to high ground again. This is looking east over Cedar Valley. Our house is just over the saddle in the middle of the picture.

Of course, our valley isn't all sunsets and views. Midge and I have stumbled across two tarantulas:

I've heard lots of tales of rattle snakes in the area as well. Luckily I haven't run across one of those yet. I hope that if I do, I will notice it from so far away that I have to use the zoom on my camera to get a decent picture of it. A long time ago, there was a lot of mining activity in these hills as well, so every once in a while we run across a CERCLA site warning of dangerous levels of arsenic, lead and mercury:
Maybe it's the chemist in me, but all these signs do is make me curious. No, I haven't given into temptation, and I doubt I ever will, but I'd like to see the tailings piles and understand what is being done to restore the area. (Does anyone know some one who works on one of these sites?)


Crystal said...

Leave it to you Chad! I'm going along - "Oh, pretty picture, pretty picture, pretty picture...what a nice place to live" and then without much warning...BAM! A tarantula?! You're going to have to do some serious convincing to get me to even visit you now!!! Really I only thought those spiders lived in cages - as some strange boy's pet - not in the real world! It is still pretty there though. When I do come to visit I'll make sure I have a dog with me too so he can check out the ground while I keep my eyes up (where there aren't creepy crawly things!). Sorry for the long comment :)

Dutch John Guymon said...


In all your years of scout camp didn't you make a "Snake" staff? I am sure that is not what they are called but that is how I would use mine - scaring off the snakes but the noisy things added to it. That or use it as a weapon!! :)

Amy N. said...

SWEET pics Chad-except I think I could have done without that spider now how will I get Greg to come to your house again?! Can't wait to see all the pictures from your latest trip!