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  1. 6 likes
  2. I've had a family of magpies nesting in a pine tree continuously ever since I moved here 23 years ago. I guess that as I am familiar and classed as not a threat to them as a result they never swoop on me during nesting season, something Australian magpies are notorious for. Today the reason for recent weeks having much traffic to and from the nest made what apparently must have been a less-than-graceful descent to ground given the dishevelled state of its wing feathers, but the chick has survived the day despite being earthbound (apparently normal for magpie chicks until they learn to fly after a few days): all the while under the watchful eyes of the parents alternating watch shifts in the oak tree:
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  5. Olympus E-M1 and 12-40/2.8 PRO. Processing in Lightroom CC Classic.
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  6. On my recent trip to the Mekong Delta, I would get on deck before sunrise... total darkness Hoping to get a sunrise (didn't happen - too cloudy) and shoot the night fisherman (who use nets) I blundered into shooting blind Aiming at an indistinguishably black blob, I would half press the shutter and wait until the AF locked onto the subject then press The camera found what I couldn't see and the auto ISO displayed a brightened frame on the lcd... too cool... Then I kept experimenting and as civil twilight appeared the subjects were more visible.... D750, 70-200 VR1 Rags
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  7. A typical example of a beautifully renovated and partly newly constructed street in Delft. The white house on the far right was built in the years 1536-1543. The text on the house "Voorheen Melkinrichting De Landbouw" indicates there used to be a dairy in this house. As a side-note, my wife and I live in a house built in 1932 that until 1967 was a butchery. In the old parts of the cities - in the pre-supermarkets era - the corner buildings used to be shops, our house is one of these. In the image in the link below (courtesy Archief Eemland) our house is on the right, with the sign Slagerij (butchery) http://www.archiefeemland.nl/collectie/fotos/detail/449fcc64-dc46-11df-a9e7-7590f0316edd/media/8132c339-178f-41d1-60e3-29922789b523
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  8. Australian Engineering at its Best When you are finished Barbecuing, and the ice has melted, just pull the handle down & the fire goes out. Is this a great country, or what!!!!
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  9. 31 October Here the month of October closes with a bit of cooking
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  10. A nun enters a cab and the VERY handsome cab driver won't stop staring at her. She asks him why he is staring... He replies: "I have a question to ask you but I don't want to offend you." She answers, "My son, you cannot offend me. When you're as old as I am and have been a Nun as long as I have, you get a chance to see and hear just about everything. I'm sure that there's nothing you could say or ask that I would find offensive." "Well, I've always had a fantasy to have a Nun kiss me." She responds, "Well, let's see what we can do about that: #1, you have to be single and #2, you must be Catholic." The cab driver is very excited and says, "Yes, I'm single and Catholic! "OK," the nun says. "Pull into the next alley." The nun fulfills his fantasy with a kiss that would make a hooker blush. But when they get back on the road, the cab driver starts crying. "My dear child," said the Nun, why are you crying?" "Forgive me but I've sinned. I lied and I must tell you, I'm married and I'm Jewish." The Nun says, "That's OK. My name is Kevin and I'm going to a Halloween party."
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  12. Having (finally!) received a replacement hot filter for my Sigma sdQ-H, I set about experimenting with the newest arrivals of thegrowing collection of old Eastern Bloc lenses I'm accumulating. While I really admire my Fuji lenses to the point of awe, I have had this niggling reservation that the character some lenses would add to an image back when I started in the photography game seems to have been steadily bred out of lens designs, to the point that lack of aberrations, flare and "faults" have been relentlessly pursued by manufacturers looking to achieve absolute sharpness, contrast and a complete lack of any optical flaws. Having recently fielded my first negative response from a septuagenarian portrait sitter as to her "wrinkles" that the Fuji 90mm f/2 rendered with clinical efficiency in spite of the softest lighting setup I could come up with, I recalled that this sort of complaint was simply unheard of in the '70's and '80's when portraiture was a big part of my business. I recently also acquired a pristine example of a Pentacon Six medium format Carl Zeiss Jena 2,8/120 Biometar (which has almost legendary status as a portrait lens), I tried a quick experiment using a floral cluster on an old Kwanzan Flowering Cherry Tree in my garden as a handy portrait substitute. As a result I welcome a truly versatile lens back into my bag, one that in the space of three stops changes in nature from a classic soft focus lens to a sharp, high resolution optic. Both were processed in SPP with the exact same settings with no additional sharpening. f/2.8 f/8 To look at the results at full size you'd think that the first shot at f/2.8 and the second at f/8 were taken with completely different lenses, which possibly confirms my suspicion that modern lenses have lost some of their character and consequent functionality in the pursuit of optical perfection. It appears that Leica have thought the same, having just released an exact revival of the Thambar-M 2,2/90 lens they made in 1935 for an eye-watering US$6,495. My Zeiss Biometar 2,8/120, while not quite as extreme at the soft end, cost me US$199 (including postage from Germany) on eBay.... Unfortunately for the Fuji 90mm lens, this Biometar will now be my go-to lens of choice for portraiture, despite it being strictly manual operation in all aspects.
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  13. Taken a couple of weeks ago here in downtown Toronto, while my wife and one of our grand-children were wolfing down their ice creams. I noticed a mother and daughter sitting on a bench in front of a church across the street, and liking the composition grabbed this shot. Nikon D3 Tamron SP 35~105 2.8 AIS manual focus 1/80th /5.6 /ISO 200
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  14. November 1 a modest start of the 11th month of the year 14 degrees centigrade today still some roses flowering Df, 75-150mm f/3.5 @150/3.5
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  16. Joined a small group on a converted barge to go down the Mekong River from Cambodia thru the Mekong Delta to Saigon ... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13... I couldn't see this subject... but the camera did 14 15... I couldn't see this subject... but the camera did 16 Rags
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  18. Spent an hour with the Pentacon Six and 12 exposures of Tri-X Pro a couple of days ago. These two taken with the Carl Zeiss Jena 4/50 Flektogon lens. Inner wall of the mid-19th Century Kangaroo Point fort and gun emplacements in Hobart. Defensive ditch wall leading to pillbox defences (So nice to actually be able to use f/22 without the image turning into mush digital-style)
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  19. This was taken the other day across the street from the St. Michael's Hospital here in Toronto. I was waiting for my wife to return from shopping when I spotted a man across the street standing inside an entrance bay having a cigarette. He was obviously a patient, and despite being hooked up to an IV line, he braved the cold to indulge his habit. Sensing the irony of the situation, I grabbed this shot. Nikon D3 Tamron SP 35~105 2.8 AIS manual focus 2.8 @ 1/160th/ ISO 1,000
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  20. Two images shot (handheld, shutter speed 1/8sec) with a Samyang fisheye lens of the new Delft railway station. The ceiling is a reference to the world-famous Delfts Blauw pottery. With some imagination it's visible in these images. 1. 2.
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  21. I had a chat with this friendly old man who since 1965 runs a barber shop in Delft/Holland. Afterwards he let me shoot his portrait. Olympus E-M10II + Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 @ f3.2
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  22. No way the Sigma is going anywhere. The IR filter is now replaced, and it's back to fulfilling its function in being dedicated to producing B&W shots using adapted Soviet and East German lenses from the '70's and '80's - exactly what I bought it for. I also have a bag full of Fuji X cameras, lenses and accessories to handle "usual" stuff; the Sigma was purely a sensible way to get ultimate B&W resolution on a pixel for pixel basis, without the usual Bayer or X-Trans need to interpolate four pixels into one and then removing the colour information for B&W, and without breaking the bank. So far the camera, adapters, filters and ten lenses has cost me around US$3,000. Less than just a Nikon D850 body on its own, in other words. The Sigma Foveon's top (nominally blue) layer is actually panchromatic so it renders proper tones in B&W straight off the cuff without the need to combine the lower two layers (nominally green and red) and then desaturate. The only digital alternative at present is the Leica Monochrom, the body alone of which costs over six times as much at current sale prices (never mind the lenses), and is incapable of producing a colour result at all as it is basically just a Bayer sensor blank without colour filter array installed. The Sigma is still capable of producing full colour, as well with an infrared filter on the lens and the camera's IR cut filter removed it becomes a fully converted monochrome IR camera (it loses little or no exposure sensitivity, in other words, and the viewfinder works properly in displaying the exposure correctly). The IR-cut filter is a simple clip-in job - mine broke though 100% user error when it was out of the camera for a clean of an inadvertent, clumsy fingerprint - and I found out the hard way just how thin and brittle that filter glass is, and how much pressure not to apply when cleaning. All this for under $1200 for the 24MP APS-H version (or under $900 for the 19MP APS-C version). By offering that pixel-for-pixel resolution, the boffins that do these sorts of calculations attribute the resolution of these cameras to be 39MP for the APS-C, and 51MP for the APS-H when compared to results from similar Bayer sensors. Given the results I'm seeing from my APS-H camera, I'll not argue with that calculation. The printed B&W results easily match or better the printed results from the best of my 5x4" negs from years past. Sure it has its drawbacks (low ISO only, slow to operate, gets hot in operation, and has no flip screen), but that's when the Fuji takes over. The picture above will easily print 20x30" without any upsampling. The detail rendered by the Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f/4 Flektogon medium format lens is superb as well, despite the less-than-desireable equipment setup without that IR cut filter. One last side effect is that these old lenses have enabled me to start using film again - the three medium format lenses fit straight onto a $150 Pentacon Six camera I bought, and the 35mm Russian lenses screw straight onto a Praktica body I picked up for $20. Mixing it up with film and digital, a photo of the various bodies and a few lenses currently employed: and the Sigma with IR-cut removed and IR85 filter on lens when used properly:
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  23. There is nothing in this country that cannot be turned into a barbie (que, not doll). In some cultures tattoos mark the right of passage from boyhood to manhood, others it's through circumcision, and in yet others it's proving an ability to hunt by killing one's first deer. In Australia a boy passes into manhood by being able to build a barbie single-handed using whatever is at hand, light a fire, burn the wood down to coals just at the right temperature, and then cooking a perfect steak along with a half dozen sausages which are just past soft in the inside and burnt to stripes of charcoal on the outside all at the same time. The cistern drinks cooler is a well known method for smaller gatherings, for larger gatherings an ice-filled bathtub is more usually practised. In adult life the melted cistern water is seldom used to extinguish the fire, for after a dozen cans of beer each, the adult males will attend to the extinguishing of the fire in a more natural way.
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  24. i thought it might look good in black and white. i like it do you Grahame
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  25. Must sell, renovator's delight, wiring needs attention, shag-pile wool carpet in hallway, uninterrupted views. Price negotiable, contact owner.
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  26. From a walk around Little Venice, London. X-T2 + 23mm 1.4 @ 1/100 f5.6 ISO 250 please click up.
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  27. My temperature tolerance has also changed. I just cannot seem to handle hot weather anymore. I just found a conversion equation for Fahrenheit to Celcius. It has not been colder than -52 C since I have lived here. But I confess, the cold is tough to handle, too. I try to photograph auroras. And there is no good solution to keeping your feet warm besides bunny boots. I hate wearing them, but there is just no comparison between these and the second best solution. For hands, I may actually go to gloves with battery heating circuits. I have some heated inserts for my gloves. One style uses lighter fluid (catalytic heaters,) and the other is rechargeable electric. They each have pluses and minuses. And they work well on your palm, but still do not heat fingers.
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  28. Today I visited an exposition on Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld in my hometown Amersfoort (Holland). The exposition is in a building designed by Rietveld himself. I shot this series - in a very clean style - as a kind of hommage to his distinctive interior design and architecture. All images Olympus E-M10II + Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
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  29. Scheveningen/Holland Olympus E-M10II + Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 / Nik Silver Efex
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  30. That's with the 50mm lens attached, of course. At 50mm and f/4.5 it's not the biggest hunk of glass in the medium format word, but it's no lightweight at 810gms. The CZJ 4/50 weighs in at 680gm, so 130gm lighter and a third of a stop faster. The Pentacon Six with its waist level finder is unexpectedly light when you first pick it up without a lens attached. Back in the 1980's the RB67 was my main wedding camera (as with many photographers) and no doubt had a lot to do with the very static and posed shots common in that era. Use on a tripod was mandatory, and with a Metz 60CT1 attached and its separate lead acid battery slung from the tripod as well as a shoulder bag containing an extra camera body, two more lenses and extra film magazines the whole lot was a real handful when moving around (the belt pouch was for the exposed films). Someone took a photo of me photographing a Jewish wedding in early 1984 which shows it off - really heavy and awkward and all not helped by the subject also carrying a lot more weight himself than he should have been! :
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  33. October 24 gloomy day, lite rain, windy.. Df, Voigtländer 58mm f/1.4
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  35. My point wasn't so much that modern lenses are boring or dull - far from it, I wouldn't have a bag full of Fujinon lenses had I thought that to be the case. I was more pointing to the fact that modern lenses are perfect in a way that using imprefections to advantage is no longer an option except in special purpose lenses, like the various (and expensive) soft-focus lenses available. Things like nano-coatings, aspherical elements and internal anti-reflection coatings have dealt with such things as flare, ghosting, distortion and edge sharpness to the point that these things, once routinely employed in taking photographs, are increasingly difficult, if not impossible to reproduce in the taking. Obviously back in the day when there was no other option, such flaws were generally a complete pain in the butt, but on the odd occasion where they could be invoked to add interest, atmosphere or a point of focus in a photograph they were indespensible. The mere existence of software specifically designed to reproduce these effects on PP these days attests to that being the case, but having gone through an induction into photography in the early '70's where pre-T* silver lens Hasselblads reigned supreme in the fashion and advertising photographic world, and when high-end product photography often had to be done in a single large format shot setup using equally single-coated or even uncoated lenses whose designs came from the first half of the 20th Century, utilising lens flaws (or avoiding those flaws) was often part of the creative process. This option has largely been removed in modern lenses, with software taking over the role, but I still think there is no substitute for the real thing. Just as software has been trying, and failing, to mimic the look of B&W film from digital sensors, the plethora of digital effects available in post process largely fails when compared to both the ease of application and ability to compose the final shot at the time using a flaw-ridden lens. My initial example of an older lady objecting to the way my truly excellent Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens rendered the detail of her wrinkles (despite me pulling as many lighting tricks in the studio as I could to keep things as soft as possible) is a case in point, the only cure short of putting a "soft focus" filter on the lens (hated those things, both then and now) being to use software to digitally mess up the lens's resolution. Had I had the CZJ 2,8/120 Biometar at the time, this could all have been avoided in the taking. For the odd occasion I need that facility, spending multi-thousands on some top-end specialist lens like the new/old Leica 2,2/90 makes no sense to me. $200 spent on an old CZJ, on the other hand, is entirely justifiable. Here is a shot that is exactly what I'm talking about - taken in 1973 during my final year at university using a Hasselblad 500C/M and 50mm f/4 pre-T* silver Distagon lens. I was able to compose the shot (including the flare, ghosting and whatever else might be present) in the viewfinder at the time, and it ended up being the first shot I ever had published on a magazine cover. I doubt any modern lens would normally make it past initial prototype stages if it reacted to oblique direct sunlight like this:
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  36. A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. The little girl said, 'When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah'. The teacher asked, 'What if Jonah went to hell?' The little girl replied, 'Then you ask him'. A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. The girl replied, 'I'm drawing God.' The teacher paused and said, 'But no one knows what God looks like.' Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, 'They will in a minute.' A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to 'honour' thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, 'Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?' >From the back, one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, 'Thou shall not kill.' One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, 'Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?' Her mother replied, 'Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.' The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, 'Mummy, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?' I love this one! The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture. 'Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.' A small voice at the back of the room rang out, 'And there's the teacher, she's dead.' A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, 'Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face.' 'Yes,' the class said. 'Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run into my feet?' A little fellow shouted, 'Cause your feet ain't empty.' I LIKE THE NEXT ONE IN PARTICULAR The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: 'Take only ONE . God is watching.' Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A child had written a note, 'Take all you want. God is watching the apples..' Rags
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  37. Here are a few more photographs from my recent solo hikes in the Eldorado Nature Preserve. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
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  39. Dave enjoying the morning sunshine until I poked a Fujinon 23mm 1.4 in his face! Heavy Crop
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  40. A series of images shot in Delft during the blue hour. Shutter speeds as low as 1/8, thanks to Olympus IBIS (in-body stabilisation) no tripod needed. Olympus E-M10II + Olympus 25mm f1.8 1. 2. 3.
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  41. An overcast day for my solo hike in the Nature Preserve, but still warm enough for tee shirt and shorts. I took only the 23mm f/1.4 lens as a way of seeing things with fresh perspective. It was a challenge to carry an extra 2-1/2 pounds and be on my own, especially on the steep, rocky, and treacherous parts of the trail. But there is a certain exhilaration in being adventurous and taking risks. What a blessing to be amongst the trees, boulders, rock cliffs, amazing vistas, and some persisting autumn colors. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.
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  42. Me too, believe me - however all I had was a broken Sigma sdQ-H fitted with a CZJ 4/50 Flektogon and literally five seconds to take the shot (before the ex-politician in him took over and the smiling for the publicity appearance started) - I only took two shots, and the second was blurred on account of the slow shutter speed and hand-held operation, and his teeth were starting to show in the genesis of a grin. In that short space of time I did take a step back but with the ground sloping away the wall then obscured his elbow and some of his forearm. When I say "broken camera", the viewfinder image of the camera without its hot filter looked like this, as did the uncorrected raw file: If ever I doubted the literal meaning of "the best camera is the one you have with you" it was then; however at least I did have that camera, so yes, I guess it was the best in the figurative meaning of the phrase. It was no mean feat to extract the posted image from this raw file, either... The Foveon Quattro sensor is a much maligned thing on the Internet, but that is largely Sigma's own fault for having just about the most lousy default presets imaginable. Pushed to never intended limits of actual use, the Sigma Photo Pro sliders can indeed be made to extract some wondrous results from the raw files, even though the resultant settings of the control sliders in the software may look disastrous in relation to what other software would do with such extreme settings. The whole shot was pure chance, firstly him hailing me as I was walking down the opposite side of the street carrying the camera the same day I broke the filter just to see if I could get any images from it in that condition. I didn't even recognise him at first, as the last time I saw him he was "The Honorable MP for Lyons" and attired and clean shaven as such. He then asked me to come down for a cup of tea as I hadn't even seen his block of land, and I certainly didn't have any idea of the living conditions. The final piece of luck was that he was wearing the T-shirt of the Greens party from a couple of elections previous under his jacket, and given that was a further two elections ago, its mere existence was a probability factor of 1,000,000:1 against and rising. All of which meant that there was no way I wasn't going to take a photo, never mind the camera woes.
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  44. Thermal wear and paddling jackets for our kayaking trip today, after a five-week hiatus due to inclement weather, but my oh my, what an incredible place! The stillness, solitude, and deep connections with Nature are awe-inspiring. We were set upon by ferocious winds near the end of the return journey. It severely tested our skills and endurance, and although it was touch-and-go, we made it back safely. And since the Tetilla Peak boat ramp is closed for the season, putting in at the main boat ramp added two miles to the round trip. It was a delight to view the fall colors of the cottonwoods, aspens, willows, tamarisk, grasses, and shrubs, and the light on the rock cliffs was wonderful. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
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  46. Still not looking good here. I think the advice I have taken from various parties on making FZ a "general photography" forum instead of a specialist one hasn't worked out at all. Can't say I am surprised.
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  47. Because, for us, it's not just about the result, it's about the process. That's why, for us, all this twaddle about telephone photos is just twaddle.
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  49. The Cave Creek trail starts at the Panchuela Campground in the Santa Fe National Forest at an elevation of 8350 feet. It crosses a bridge over Panchuela Creek, which had lots of swift-running water due to late season monsoon rains, and climbs uphill until entering the Pecos Wilderness. 1. 2. 3. It goes through wonderful forests of large blue spruce, Douglas and white fir, and aspens, with some expansive views of densely forested mountain slopes. There are a number of areas of moss and lichen-covered rocks and other vegetation. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. The trail crosses Panchuela Creek after about two miles, on fallen logs, and continues along Cave Creek., which is named after limestone caves, located about a mile after the crossing. It is a magical spot, with tall trees, jays and other birds, and one branch of the creek goes into the caves and runs underground for about 1/3 mile. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. The weather was quite chilly when we set out, requiring thermal tops and long pants, but the effort expended kept us warm. By the time we reached the caves, we broke out tee shirts. 14. 15. It was a magnificent experience to be amidst the tall trees, and we had the entire forest to ourselves until the return part of the hike, and then we only saw two other people. The nature energies were amazing all the way, but especially at the caves and along the creeks.
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