Summer Vacation – Dinotopia

I wrote about the first half of our summer vacation – the eclipseapocalypse – in my last post. A total solar eclipse is a tough act to follow, so the obvious choice was to go looking for dinosaurs. First stop: Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. (In the wider photo a fairly distinct three-toed footprint can be seen about a meter in front of Suzie’s feet.)

After many hours of driving across Wyoming, including a stop at Devil’s Tower, we arrived in Belle Fourche, South Dakota to go digging for fossils.

This dig site is in the Hell Creek formation, which is a geologic formation that dates back to the end of the Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago. It’s lousy with fossils, including turtles and alligators, fish, and dinosaurs like Triceratops, hadrosaurs, raptors, and even the most recognizable dinosaur of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. We spent two days digging with paleontologist Walter Stein, and excavated a bunch of neat fossils. I’ll eventually photograph some of our coolest finds and share them here.

The actual digging is super hard hard, and it turns out all us amateurs strike pretty much the same pose while we’re digging:

After two long days at the dig site we were totally beat. Walter, however, has been doing this for years, so he knows all too well that inefficient work can take a toll on the body. Here, he demonstrates the proper relaxed posture for cleaning a fossil.

If a couple days of backbreaking work in the hot sun of South Dakota looks fun (and I can say without hesitation that it is), I recommend checking out Walter’s paleontology tourism company PaleoAdventures for yourself.

Summer Vacation – Eclipseapocalypse

This summer Brittany and I, along with two good friends, traveled to Idaho, Wyoming, and South Dakota to visit Yellowstone, see the total solar eclipse, catch up with an old friend, and dig up some dinosaur bones. These are some images from the first half of that trip, with more to come from the second half eventually.

After flying into Idaho Falls, we did a whirlwind tour of Yellowstone, investigating all kinds of geothermal features, and narrowly avoiding being eaten by a bear.

Then we returned to Idaho, making our way to Driggs, to meet up with Greg, a San Luis Obispo expat. The property that Greg lives on is dead-center on the line of totality for the 2017 eclipse.

But Greg had other things in mind of the eclipse – he took us north, to a special spot he’d staked out well in advance.

In the photos above and below, you can see why Greg picked this spot – we were treated to a breathtaking view of the total solar eclipse over the western vista of the Teton range. The image below was the best I could manage, guessing the correct exposure on the Hassy SWC, but you can see a gorgeous version of roughly same perspective on Ben Horton’s Instagram.

Vacation – Tuolumne Meadows

Earlier this summer Brittany and I spent a long weekend in Tuolumne Meadows and on the east side of the Sierra. It was Brittany’s first time there.

We found a really awesome campsite in Inyo National Forest, south of Mono Lake.

Mono Lake is so salty that the water feels viscous and slippery.

It also doesn’t taste as good as you might think.

Tenaya Lake, in Tuolumne Meadows, is much more pleasant to take a dip in (if much, much colder).

These images were made with my Hasselblad SWC, which has quickly become my favorite carry-around camera.

Gabe – Arroyo Grande

Gabe is a friend from SLO-Op, our local bouldering gym. He’s moving out of town after finishing his degree in biomedical engineering at Cal Poly SLO. He has a wonderful face (and a deep, sonorous voice that I wish I could share), and I wanted to take his picture before he left.

I’ve worked alongside Gabe setting routes for the bouldering gym for several years (a group of volunteer route setters removes, cleans, and re-sets the holds on the wall every month). He’s a great route setter and has always been dedicated to the gym’s community. Earlier this year, at our annual bouldering competition, Gabe set the route that was chosen as the favorite by the competitors. The prize for this victory is nothing more and nothing less than the pride of being the top dog among the talented and committed route setting crew. However, that pride does come with a token, and it’s a pretty sweet hunk of bling.

Alec & Artoo – Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Mechanical Engineering

I photographed Alec Bialek’s ongoing five-year project – a screen-accurate R2-D2 replica – last year, when it was still a work in progress. Over the past several months Alec has been finishing up the build, including the lower portion of Artoo’s cylindrical body, the feet, and a gorgeous weathering job that dates this Artoo to the final act of The Empire Strikes Back (having recently taken a dip in the Dagobah swamps). Alec wanted some images that document the culmination of his work, before Artoo gets packed up and shipped off to Sweden, where Alec will be working with supercar maker Koenigsegg (I know, I can’t pronounce it either).

I think he did a pretty good job; don’t you agree?

Film processed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab.