Several years ago Ann Marie and I spent a three day weekend on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. These days Chincoteague might not be as popular as Hogwarts, but kids have been reading about a pony named Misty of Chincoteague since 1947. I was one of those kids.
The term “Chincoteague Pony” is actually a bit misleading. The ponies live on Assateague Island, an island in the states of Virginia and Maryland. There are two herds of ponies, one living on the Maryland side of the island and one living on the Virginia side.
Also, Chincoteague ponies are more horse-like than pony-like. Legend says that the ponies are descended from Spanish horses that swam ashore from shipwrecked Spanish ships. The small size is probably due to the poor diet of the animals, which live on plants of the salt marsh covering much of the island.
Horse or pony, the feral equines of Assateague Island are quite beautiful. Every July, the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department holds a Pony Penning Day. Healthy, older foals are auctioned to raise money for the fire department, and to keep the herds at a healthy level. Not all the horses purchased during the auction leave the island. Some bidders donate the money to the fire department and allow the horse to be released back into the herd.
Lisbon is a beautiful city and the people of the city enjoy the many outdoor spaces scattered throughout Lisbon. Rossio Square has been one of the major squares and gathering places in Lisbon for centuries.
This photo of Rossio Square was taken from the Santa Justa Lift just before sunset. I used a graduated filter to color the otherwise grey clouds a bit. I like the way the touch of color in the sky ties in so well with the red roofs of the buildings.
The Cathedral of Lisbon has been a major part of the city since the 12th century. It has undergone many changes over the centuries and was seriously damaged in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. After the earthquake and accompanying fires, the Cathedral underwent a major reconstruction. What you see today was the result of this reconstruction.
I took this photo from atop the Santa Justa Lift. I love the colors of the buildings around the Cathedral and the way the Cathedral stands watch over the city.
I loved our time in Lisbon and, if we’re ever able to move to Portugal, I look forward to spending many days exploring this great city.
Sometimes it’s just a good thing to drag out the beach chair and sit quietly while the day fades into night.
This old gristmill was built in the 1820s to service a community of miners and prospectors. It survived the American Civil War and was extensively rebuilt in the 1880s. It’s in remarkably great shape for a structure of this kind. Sixes Mill is on private property, but you can easily pull off the road to take a photo.
Aveiro has been called the Venice of Portugal because of its canals and the colorful moliceiro boats that carry tourists along the canals.
Moliceiros are long open boats that were originally used to collect seaweed. The brightly colored boats are right at home on Aveiro’s canals, and fit nicely in a city where Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings are everywhere.
It was raining on our first day in Aveiro, but that didn’t keep us from exploring the city. One thing the inclement weather did do was cut down on the number of people wandering along the canals, so we pretty much had the area to ourselves.
All the moliceiros were docked when we walked by, but the next day the weather was much nicer so they were back to carrying tourists up and down the canals.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is aptly named. There are over 1,000 glaciers in the park, the most famous of them being the 7 tidewater glaciers. Johns Hopkins Glacier is one of the few tidewater glaciers that are actually advancing.
Johns Hopkins Glacier gets its start on the east slopes of Lituya Mountain. Lituya Mountain was the site of two of the largest landslides in history. In 1958 an earthquake kicked off a landslide that dropped an estimated 40 million cubic yards of rock into Lituya Bay. The resulting tsunami measured nearly 1,700 feet high and was the largest tsunami ever recorded.
In 2012 another landslide, measuring 5.5 miles long and .5 miles wide, fell on Johns Hopkins Glacier, and was possibly the largest recorded landslide in North America.
I like the way the glacier seems to form a series of steps or terraces leading back from the bay. The weather, as usual in Glacier Bay, was overcast, so the colors are quite muted. You do get a bit of the unique blue hue of the glacier ice in the center of the glacier.
The scale of the photo is a bit misleading. It looks like we were quite close, but we were actual a few miles away. Glacier Bay is a beautiful, wild place.
I love the colors of this photo of Porto, taken from across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia. Porto is a beautiful, bustling city. We enjoyed our few days in the city and we can’t wait until we can visit again.
The Fortress of Saint Michael the Archangel serves as the dividing line between the two personalities of Nazaré, Portugal. To the south, where this photo was taken from, sits Nazaré. It’s a bustling town with a beautiful beach, and a popular destination for vacationers. During the summer the beach is crowded with sun worshipers.
To the north of the fort is Praia do Norte, a beach with a remote, wild feel and home to some of the world’s biggest waves. The reason for the difference between Nazaré beach and North beach is a huge underwater canyon just north of the promontory where the fort stands guard. The canyon acts as a funnel for the currents and focuses their energy to create waves that approach 100 feet in height.
The fort was built in the sixteenth century as defense against the pirates who preyed on the coastal villages. It has been rebuilt and renovated several times over the centuries and a lighthouse was added in 1903. Today the fort houses a surfing museum and is a great place to watch the world class surfing happening on Praia do Norte.
The interior of Alaska is stunningly beautiful. This is a photo of the Toklat River in Denali National Park. The Toklat is a braided river, which is created by an excess of sediment. Over time the river fills with sediment, in this case from glaciers, and the sediment creates little islands or bars that the river must work its way around.
I really like the monochromatic feel of the photograph, with grays of the mountains, the sky and the river and just a touch of green from the trees.