Road Trip Stop to Crazy Horse

“Never Forget Your Dreams”  – Korczak Ziolkowski

Heading out West for a road trip to Yellowstone was more than the 40+ hour round trip adventure as stated on google maps.  With all the rest stops and additional sights to see, it was more like 50+ hours of rubber meets the road and camera finds a cure.  That cure would be found in clicking the camera taking images of historical sights and breathtaking landscapes that released the creativity inside of me. (All photographs on this web site are  (c) Photos by Martina, unless stated otherwise.)

Major road trip stop one:

Reaching the Black Hills of South Dakota seemed like forever, yet the destination to see Crazy Horse was like a dream come true.  The granite sculpture in the background is the world’s largest working sculpture in progress.  Blasting of the rocks can sometimes be seen by visitors. The white carving is a model that the sculptor, Korczak used to help map out the stone carving. This memorial is open all year long.


The quote below the statue says ” My lands are where my dead lie buried.” – Crazy Horse 1877


A closer look at the Crazy Horse carving


A traditional Indian dance

Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear actually chose the main sculptor who also worked on Mt. Rushmore, only 17 miles away, to carve the Crazy Horse Memorial. Lakota wanted to show that the red man had great heroes too.  In order to pay tribute to the Native Americans whose legacy was important to the world, the Chief discovered and selected Korczak to help him. The sculptor dedicated 36 years working on the mountain rock memorial. His children are still a big part of organizing the Foundation. Interesting fact is that the sculptor, Mr. Korczak Ziolkowski, lived on the East coast in Hartford, Connecticut where he built a 13 foot model of what was to be the Crazy Horse Memorial. He never accepted Goverment funding.


More information on Crazy horse can be found at: Crazy Horse of South Dakota

This message was found on a postcard, as I quote:

  • When the course of history has been told
  • Let these truths here carved be known:
  • Conscience dictates civilizations live
  • And duty ours to place before the world,
  • A chronicle which will long endure.
  • For like things under us and beyond
  • Inevitably we must pass into oblivion.
  • This land of refuge to the stranger
  • Was ours for countless eons before:
  • Civilizations majestic and mighty.
  • Our gifts were many which we shared
  • And gratitute for them was known.
  • But later, givien my oppressed ones
  • Were murder, rape and sanguine war.
  • Looking east from whence invaders came,
  • Greedy usurpers of our heritage.
  • For us the past is in our hearts,
  • The future never to be fulfilled.
  • To you I give this granite epic
  • For your descendants to always know –
  • “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”


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ART in the Park – Part II (Troll Hunt)

I’ve literally been all around the world this summer, mostly driving in a car and I finally have time to slow down and write a post. I realize our wonderful social media allows us to post while on the go, but for me, I often like to forget about such tasks and leave them on vacation while I am on vacation.

Starting with my giant friends in the park, called the “Troll Hunt” there have been a few new discoveries since my last post from the Morton Arboretum.  Artist Thomas Dambo created these sculptures from recycled wood while building them in the park.

I found out that his art is also featured in a Colorado park too, which is not displayed here.   It took three or four hours to walk around the Morton Arboretum to find three new structures with additions made to the others I saw earlier. I thought saving the environment a bit while exercising would be beneficial in more ways than one.  Yes and no, my feet were hurting, temperatures were high and the structures were not easy to find.  Even with the maps we were given, others got lost too.  Add two more young kids and time stands still sometimes.

Along our journey, just as we were about to sit on a bench that looked like it was waiting for us, a person shouted out “can my mother sit on the bench, she is tired and needs to rest, we walked so far and got lost.”

“Well of course, have a seat.”  My boy scouts actually carried portable chairs so they were set, and I just let the sweat drip off me in the shade.

Finally, we conquered one of our destinations, so the journey was the fun part, including the bee sting my son got on his toe along the trail. I know the whole park could hear his scream.  People passed on by, one asked if we were ok, not one person offered us a ride back to the visitor center, in fact they traveled in their cars in the other direction to avoid us limping along another few miles.

So here we have “SNEAKY SOCKS ALEXA: capturing the kids in the park:


Then we finally meet “JOE THE GUARDIAN” on the hill overlooking the busy street down below. I was standing by his (left), my right foot to show the scale.


An up close image shows more details of the wood hammered and sanded to perfect the sculpture of Joe’s face. He was the favorite sculpture and hardest to get to.


Our long walk back we finally find “FURRY EMA” and I had made use of the tripod I was carrying to capture our photos without being captured by EMA.


These guys were not so lucky and got stuck in her trap:


Finally after the bee stung and the hopping back, we make it to the parking lot to find “ROCKY BARDUR” smashing a car.


Oh the journey was fun, but I would take a car next time, not realizing the distance we walked.  I do ride an electric car after all, so as not to pollute the trees.  If only people driving SUV’s would not take my fuel-efficient spots, thank you. Enjoy the journey walking to the visitor center like most of us, it’s a stone’s throw away.

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Sneak Peek of ART in the Park…

If you have read some of my past posts over a year ago, many of them reference to the Morton Arboretum where nature meets man. Joy Morton, A man of Salt and trees, yes Morton as in the salt company had spent his later years preserving this beautiful property in Lisle for all to enjoy the trees from around the world.

We have seen the making of a Childrens garden to occupy the younger ones. We attended special events along with the famous Illumination in December which have become favorable rituals. There is always something to learn, see and do here. Today was an extra special day at the Arboretum.

Recently a Danish artist has been creating his special exhibit which officially opens on June 22. The giant structures of trolls carved by a Thomas Dambo have been slowly crafted at seven locations throughout the park.

Last week I captured a few structures on film as I tried out my new camera. The pictures were not part of the marketing print out which sometimes are so you know what to expect when you locate one. This time the locations were only given. It was a mysterious hunt to locate them only to open the eyes with a wow factor. All reclaimed wood put together, finely crafted on site bit by bit.

Morton Arboretum likes to do things in grand style.

Enjoy searching for the rest of the giant sculptures of hand crafted art. I’ll be back to find the ones I missed.

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Historic Ice Age Trail (Part 2)

A few posts ago, I wrote about the Historic Ice Age Trail I walked on in Wisconsin. Apparently after that post, there were a few discoveries I decided to share.

While the start of the journey seemed so barren, there was evidence of man and mammals along the beaten path.

After following the yellow brick road (yellow trail) we find a yellow empty cartridge.

We had maps and our colors indicating which direction we were headed. Yellow was it for this day.

Kids are curious and have a good eye for spotting things close to the ground. I thought this was a beaten path for humans, not a shooting range.

The parking fee was not hand collected, towns lack funds to pay for employees to be there. They left this box for trusting souls to pay their fare. We went to find a gas station to get change and pay our fee for a walk in the woods on this overcast day.

The sky dark and mysterious, the sun bright and brilliant shielded by crossing clouds.

Overall it was great weather for walking and finding a new adventure. You never know what you will find when you talk a step and walk outside your comfort zone. The last photo shows the beautiful white birches my son captured so nicely along the water’s edge. The time was in March before the Spring heat and budding green foliage here in Wisconsin began to bloom.

Happy Trails!!

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Timing is Everything

Good or bad, we can all relate to an incident in which timing meant something special or something miserable for us.

In my case, this past week several timing issues came up. Mostly miserable for my oversight.  First one was the dropping of my camera 📷 onto the concrete, not once but twice, two days apart. My bread and butter was now butter. While my camera is still top of its class after five years, it took a beating and keeps on ticking. It worked after the first bounce. Ouch! The second bounce cracked the rear LCD, bent the hot shoe and took off the hardware around the eyepiece. Double ouch!


Believe it or not the camera still works. I had ordered new tripod mounts a week ago since I knew they were wearing out. Apparently, when I tried to take my camera off the tripod to carry it, I pressed the quick release lever and the camera being heavy, slipped out of my hands. I was back to holding my flash using remote triggering for real estate photography.

Now would be the right time to buy that backup camera, the upgrade model I’ve been waiting for.

Timing is everything. I had huge Home set to photograph next Tuesday. I had to have a working camera in case my camera failed. I scrolled the internet searching for a new camera, might as well upgrade before another drop happens and be ready for work. My camera is out of a warranty for Drops. I need a camera while I send mine out for repair.

Without sharing all the details, let’s just say it wasn’t easy to find what I was looking for in my next camera and get delivered in two days, but I was successful.

Today, timing was everything at home. My kids graduated up another grade.

Timing was twofold professionally, I signed and received my new camera today while at the same time my huge scheduled real estate photo shoot was cancelled. What? I did receive my tripod camera mounts a few days too late too. Thankfully the local camera shop secured a new version of a tripod mount on very tightly, two drops too late. They were out of stock of the Nikon I was looking for.

Now, after searching trying not to get ripped off, at last I have the new camera to master and get ready for my own vacation to see creatively.

Photography means light, and it’s the timing among others things that can make all the difference.

Perhaps I will capture an award winning photo in the Scandinavian Counties to make all my bad timings feel like good timings.

Happy Shooting.

P.S. learn from my mistake, don’t hold up an expensive camera on a tripod with cheap or worn out connectors. Buy new pieces at the first sign of wearing, don’t wait – carry spares. Also buy the best tripod you can afford. This will capture your pictures, not a fancy high priced camera.


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Pictures & Words

While a picture doesn’t speak, it can say “a thousand words” with or without written words. Here I included a “borrowed” photograph from an email marketer with written words that can lift anyone’s spirits. It actually made a positive impact on my day.

If something isn’t working for you, maybe it’s the environment you are in or the people who surround you. Not everyone has similar gifts and it makes us unique and special. People of different mindsets may be open minded or shut you out. Listen to your heart and know what you are worth. If you’re like me, you love to learn and grow in your craft constantly. While one negative comment should not devalue you, it can push you to new heights. We are not perfect and listening to our environment could be telling us the answers we have been waiting to hear. Good or bad, both can help you improve. You may need to change your perspective or try to “see” what another person sees in you. Without decreasing your worth, you may need to change somewhat or change your environment. Your worth as a person is worth listening to what may come your way. You are worth it. We become better as a result.

Now for the picture without words that can speak to you in any way you perceive it. Actually words can also be perceived the same way. Each of us brings our own perspectives. Visual or written, each of us takes away our unique thoughts.

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Eye see

Do you see what I see?

From the natural wild into to the friendly waters behind glass walls at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Perhaps this creature’s instincts keep it still so as to blend into the environment and wait for the prey to come it’s way, or human arms to easily release food.

Zoos and aquariums are educational, yet sometimes I wonder if we should take away the animals, reptiles and mammals natural instincts of hunting, running and living the character nature intended. When species are almost extinct, man has to interfere and try to protect them. In from the wild, into a safe haven.

Aren’t humans the ones who created environments that leads to their extinction? Houses build on every green patch causing wolves, coyotes, raccoons, possums and deer in your backyard. ( At least here in the mid-west they become common place).

Are the hunters who kill for the price of ivory from innocent animals part of the problem. While mans actions of destruction cannot totally be regulated, monitored or controlled, this makes zoos and aquariums a protected space for animals and sea creatures, even if their natural instincts are subsided. The environment is in constant flux and climate change affects all living things.

The question of whether zoos were positive or negative was a paper my kids had to write about in school, my feelings are mixed and more research needs to be done to fully understand. I do recall an animal leaped out and attacked a child at a zoo. There’s no way of knowing what that animal was thinking as it was kept in captivity for visitors to view.

Photos taken at the 5th grade School field trip in Chicago.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Have a wonderful Mother’s day wherever you are. Without Mother’s we would not be who we are and where we are today!

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