Altun Ha – Mayan Ruins in Belize

Belize City, Belize.

I never thought I would get to see a real Mayan Ruin, but that was on our itinerary for our visit to Belize on the last cruise we took before the pandemic became a worldwide concern. The site was only discovered by archeologists in the early 1960s, and excavations started in 1964. A pretty thorough description of the site’s history can be found on Wikipedia here. The opening image is a side view of the construction of the Temple of the Sun God. It is also known as the Temple of the Masonry Altars. The height of the temple is 52 feet (16 m) and is the largest construction on the 3 sq mi (8 sq km) site. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 31 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

It was Spring 2020 in the White Tank Mountains. Even on our hikes, we were social distancing, single file, group photos taken in the line we’d formed as we hiked down the trail instead of gathering around a single person to grab a “group selfie.” The cactus flowers were plentiful, the day warm and sunny and I had plenty of opportunity to capture those rarely seen flowering cactus. One family of cacti, the Cholla has several varieties. The two that I’ve found most hard to distinguish are the Staghorn and the Buckhorn. For this post, I ended up looking for a definitive source to describe the difference here. The short synopsis of the difference is that they “are sometimes hard to distinguish.” They have similar blossoms, but the most obvious distinction is in the fruit. Well there you go. I’ve never seen a fruit on either variety. Continue reading

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Delicate Colors

This week, Ann-Christine asks us to share photos featuring delicate colors. She includes several examples of floral delicacies and a very nice delicate sky as an opening photo to her challenge. You can check out her examples here. Her opening photo immediately reminded me of a pastel sky that I’ve shared recently in another challenge response. Forgive me for resharing, but that Phoenix sunset is a prime example of how sunset skies can be delicate. Continue reading

Cayman Crystal Caves – From Pirate Hideout to Tourist Attraction

Grand Cayman Island.

About thirty years ago, a young man from Denmark moved to Grand Cayman and followed in his father’s footsteps. Christian Sorensen spent time searching the island for suitable caves to build a tourist attraction in the same manner as his father, Ole Sorensen, who was already successful in the development of Harrison’s Caves in Barbados. Unlike some of the cave attractions in the Caribbean that are complete with pirate “skeletons” and fake treasures, you won’t find any of that in Crystal Caves. From those early explorations, it took Christian Sorensen twenty years to purchase and develop the property into what it is today. Continue reading

In Flanders Fields… Memorial Day 2020

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at Point Loma, San Diego, California.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Cellpic Sunday – 24 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

In March of this year, the desert was awash with spring flowers near our home in Buckeye. There was no shortage of opportunity to capture the bright yellow brittlebush plants that are plentiful in the Sonoran Desert. On one of our Saturday hikes, I was still learning about the new Samsung S20U phone that replaced my personal S6 and the “work” phone that was provided to me from Civil Air Patrol (CAP). That phone, a Samsung S7, captured many images that I shared here because of my 4-year tenure as North Dakota Wing Commander in CAP. As of April 4, I would rotate out of that job and the S7 would be retired as I no longer need a CAP-provided cell phone. I decided that I would upgrade the S6 when my term expired, and as it turned out, the S20 series was shipping around March 5. I pre-ordered to get the advantage of some perks offered by Samsung and I must admit I was impressed with the hype surrounding the 3-camera system in the S20. After I’ve become really accustomed to the phone and its ability as a camera, I will share a mini review. In the meantime, expect more Cellpic Sunday images to feature the S20U.

About the Photo: Hiking the Petroglyph Trail off the Lost Creek Trailhead, I captured this stand of brittlebush growing out of a collection of rocks. It was only my second day using the camera and it was in automatic mode. The metering system set the camera to f/1.8, 1/1800 sec. ISO-16. As usual, I processed it in Adobe Lightroom and Luminar Flex. The image is best viewed enlarged. Select the image to enlarge it (if your browser supports the function.)

John Steiner


Weekly Photo Challenge – Pastimes

Scottsdale, Arizona.

This week, the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is being hosted by Sue (Mac’s Girl) from her blogging site, The Nature of Things. She writes, “With so much time being spent at home, many of us have been looking for new pastimes or taking up old ones in order stay occupied or even sane…. It could be something that you are trying for the first time or a hobby or interest that you have enjoyed for many years. Feel free to dig into the archives or take a picture to illustrate a current pastime.” You can read her entire challenge post here. I could have focused on some of the pastimes that have occupied my time over the years, but instead have decided to focus on a hobby that has always interested me, but I’ve never taken the time or had the space to get started. Continue reading