Dan Pollack Photography: Blog https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog en-us All images (C) Dan Pollack Photography. All rights reserved. dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:55:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:55:00 GMT https://www.danpollackphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u243697787-o393445021-50.jpg Dan Pollack Photography: Blog https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog 79 120 Short Trips - Short on Time But Well Worth the Effort https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2015/10/short-trips---short-on-time-but-well-worth-the-effort Sheryl and I found ourselves wanting to take a lengthy, nature-seeking trip, but could only afford a week this fall. With a couple of other future trips in the plans, we decided to head out to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We've driven right through them on I-90 on several previous trips, but never made a point of stopping. Within those few short days, we visited Spearfish Canyon, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore and Badlands National Park - all within close proximity to each other. We had amazing wildlife viewing opportunities (a family of Mountain Goats, close encounters with dozens of Big Horn Sheep, plus Pronghorn, Bison, Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, thousands of migrating Broadwing Hawks) and amazing sunrise and sunset opportunities nearly every day.

Although the total time was short, we felt that we were away and able to return home energized and inspired.

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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Badlands National Park Black Hills Mt. Rushmore South Dakota Spearfish Canyon https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2015/10/short-trips---short-on-time-but-well-worth-the-effort Fri, 16 Oct 2015 17:29:59 GMT
The 90-Minute Photographer - Part II https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2014/7/the-90-minute-photographer---part-ii Finding small pockets of time to enjoy photography is becoming a specialty! In this second post about "mini-vacations", I take another look at packing in a ton of opportunity into a seemingly impossible short period of time.

I am fortunate to work a block and a half from one of North America's premiere Japanese gardens - the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois. A quick after-work 90 minute trip with a colleague became another outing that a great deal can be found near where we live or in this case, work.

It's amazing what 90 minutes of Zen does for one's outlook...

 

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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Anderson Japanese Gardens Bridge Damselfly Ebony Jewelwing Gardens Illinois Rockford Turtle Waterfall https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2014/7/the-90-minute-photographer---part-ii Fri, 18 Jul 2014 19:27:42 GMT
Explore your own backyard! https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2014/5/explore-your-own-backyard Embarrassing as it is, after 20 years in our home, we recently learned of a little forested glen in our neighborhood at the edge of our neighbor's backyard. We never knew this place existed since we don't make a habit out of hiking our neighbors' yards... However, this glen is a common area in the subdivision, with no marker at the one entrance and a relatively obscure marker at the opposite end. So, while we travel miles to see a little slice of nature, we now have a hidden forest within feet of our front door. Check out more photos here.

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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Blue Bridge Forest Illinois Kane County Path Purple Wildflowers https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2014/5/explore-your-own-backyard Sun, 11 May 2014 15:06:29 GMT
Nature's Magic Trick https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/11/natures-magic  

Every now and then, nature does something that's inexplicable. In the case of the moving rocks at the Racetrack playa in Death Valley National Park, rocks at the southeastern section of the dried lake bed leave tracks, some stretching for a quarter mile. At first, this would seem to be made by humans because - of course - rocks don't move by themselves. But when standing on the rock-hard lake bed, the surface is almost impenetrable. So, how do the rocks make their tracks? Nobody knows...for sure. The most likely cause is a sequence of events that is something akin to the revealing of a magic trick.

First, the stones naturally tumble off the mountains that surround the lake bed. Although Death Valley is the driest spot in North America, the Racetrack does receive a small amount of rain in the winter months. The lake bed fills with a shallow layer of water which them freezes, trapping the rocks in a large, thin sheet of ice. As temperatures warm in early spring, winds are thought to move the ice sheets with the rocks still frozen in place. The rocks make contact with the now softened lake bed, creating scars or "tracks" in the lake bed. Once dry, the lake bed rehardens, capturing the scars for years to come. The effect is other worldly - sometimes making the rocks appear as though they are racing and sometimes crossing each other's paths.

Moving Rocks, The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, CAMoving Rocks, The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, CAAmong the most spectacular sites on the planet are the "moving rocks" on the remote Racetrack Playa at Death Valley National Park, California. Several theories exist about how the tracks are made by the rocks. Although never witnessed or recorded, scientists believe that the stone-like lake bed fills with a thin layer of water from early winter rains that freezes over winter, trapping rocks that fall onto the playa from the nearby mountains. As the ice begins to melt, thin sheets are blown by the region's strong winds, dragging the boulders, weighing up to 80 pounds each across the now muddy surface. As the lake dries, the tracks that remain make the rocks appear as though they race each other.

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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Death Valley National Park Moving Rocks Playa Racetrack https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/11/natures-magic Sat, 30 Nov 2013 23:37:57 GMT
The 90-Minute Photographer https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/11/the-90-minute-photographer I wish I could say that I spend 3 days in the same spot waiting for that “exact right moment”. The reality I find more typical is a 2-week vacation jam-packed with many places to visit. Although I’m photographing that entire time, I rarely have the luxury of many days in a single spot.

Case in point…I had planned an autumn day in mid-October out photographing. But this was a year where the fall colors were 3 weeks late. Instead, I had time for a 90-minute outing at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. Driving in very long lines through the beautiful settings, I bolted from my vehicle to take what amounted to snapshots. I refused to miss the rich autumn colors that had made me miss my day out in the woods.

Ultimately, the experience was rewarding because I found numerous visually inspiring scenes in that short time and was reminded that how we see the world is more important than how much time we have to see it.

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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Autumn Color Fall Illinois Lisle Morton Arboretum Trees https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/11/the-90-minute-photographer Thu, 07 Nov 2013 00:59:22 GMT
Enough! https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/7/enough I rarely get on an environmental soapbox, but....

I just returned from a very short trip down to Lexington, Kentucky. It's been nearly 30 years since I had been to Cumberland Falls, the largest waterfall in the U.S. south of Niagara and east of the Rocky Mountains. The last time I visited, the landscape was nearly pristine.

Now, as you can see in the photo, the base of these beautiful falls is littered with thousands of plastic bottlers and other garbage. State funding cuts have made it impossible to keep the area free of waste, and it feels like a return to the 1970's when we trashed the beautiful places around us.

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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Corbin Cumberland Falls Cumberland Falls State Park Kentucky Litter trash https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/7/enough Tue, 30 Jul 2013 04:28:40 GMT
Wolf and Elk, Lamar Valley https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/6/wolf-and-elk-lamar-valley Prior to arriving in Yellowstone, Sheryl and I had the shared goal of seeing a wolf in the wild even if it was from a quarter-mile away.  Just to see this animal in its natural habitat would be rewarding.  While driving east through the Lamar Valley, we came up over a small hill and had to brake strongly as a female elk ran at full speed across the road, toward the Lamar River. A couple seconds later, a beautiful, black 2-year old female wolf of the Lamar Canyon pack sprinted after the elk. What unfolded before us was more than an hour long confrontation between this lone wolf and the elk.

While we expected an unfair fight, the elk proved to be a formidable fighter, and quite skilled at fending off the wolf’s attempted attacks. 20 minutes into their strategic positioning, both animals took a 20 second break, as if the first round bell had sounded. After a second round of back-and-forth, the wolf had had enough and left the river, retreating to the northwest.  With its injured right leg, the elk pursued the wolf for a couple hundred yards – at which point, the wolf turned and chased the elk again back toward the river. Halfway into this new chase, the elk planted both front legs and kicked the wolf with both hind legs. Another round in the water … and a final retreat in opposite directions by both animals.

With the birthing season in full bloom, bear and wolf activity increases dramatically in the valley with the abundance of young and vulnerable prey.

To witness this interaction was a gift - and an experience we’ve not stopped talking about…

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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Battle Elk Fight Lamar Canyon Pack Lamar Valley Predator Prey Wolf Wyoming Yellowstone National Park https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/6/wolf-and-elk-lamar-valley Wed, 05 Jun 2013 03:58:38 GMT
Just when you think you know nature... https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/5/just-when-you-think-you-know-nature With a dozen others, we were watching with a grizzly bear in the Lamar Valley, closing in on a sandhill crane. Instinctively, we all wanted to warn the crane that the bear was approaching... When the bear caught up, we watched with amazement as the grizzly and crane walked through the marshy grounds side-by-side!


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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Bears Birds Grizzly Bear Lamar Valley Mammals Wyoming Yellowstone Naitonal Park https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/5/just-when-you-think-you-know-nature Wed, 29 May 2013 19:00:33 GMT
Spring is here! https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/3/spring-is-here This image was taken about 5 miles from the Villa Rosa in Tuscany Italy while on a photo tour of the region. Heading back to our villa after a day of shooting, we passed this bank of beautiful trees and pursuaded our driver to pull over at this unscheduled stop. Every photo from the series has this same combination of enchanting twisted limbs and bright green spring foliage. Always worth stopping to enjoy a scene that catches your eye...

Tuscan Tree in Spring, Italy

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dan@danpollackphotography.com (Dan Pollack Photography) Green Italy Spring Trees Tuscany https://www.danpollackphotography.com/blog/2013/3/spring-is-here Mon, 18 Mar 2013 14:34:20 GMT