A closer look at Yellowstone National Park

An earlier post I wrote about the road to Yellowstone, I shared the stop at the Crazy Horse Memorial.  Here I have selected a portion of the hot springs, geysers and a waterfall that captured my photographic eyes at Yellowstone. 

The colors are amazing.  I did enhance the waterfall to bring out the colors.  The other images were so vibrant and colorful, I could hardly believe my eyes. 

With tons of people in these parks, it’s also a wonder, I can capture these images without many of them near me. 

When I did stop to carefully compose a photograph with my tripod, I attracted other photographers and people with their phone cameras who positioned their cameras above me, next to me and around me. Ha.

One photographer and I laughed, yet we didn’t share a common language. He followed me around and he stopped whenever I stopped to set up my tripod as he captured his photo alongside me.

“With photography, there doesn’t have to be a similar language to enjoy the beauty of what comes out of the camera and the craft of the creations.” ML

“Geysers are hot springs that intermittently spout a column of hot water and steam into the air. This action is caused by the water in deep conduits beneath a geyserapproaching or reaching the boiling point. At 300 metres (about 1,000 feet) below the surface, the boiling point of water increases to approximately 230 °C (450 °F) because of the increased pressure of the overlying water. As bubbles of steam or dissolved gas begin to form, rise, and expand, hot water spills from the geyser’s vent, lowering the pressure on the water column below. ” Quoted from:


Yellowstone is amazing place to visit, even with barren forests from past fires.

Waiting for Old Faithful to erupt or waiting for Bison to cross your path, it is all worth seeing. It’s a park my mom visited before my time and the visit I longed for remains a special memory in my heart.



Waterfall on hike


Colorful hot spring


Hot spring along a lake

Earth tones of Yellowstone


Skeleton remains from fires past


A look into the hot spring

Natures's majesty

Reflections into crystal clear hot spring

Hot Springs at Yellowstone

Waiting to be photographed


Bison at Old Faithful


The most iconic site of all the Geyers


Excelsior Geyser


Excelsior Geyser Crater


Closer look at the scenic Geyser


Fascinating wonders


Hot Springs of steam


Nature’s scenic wonders 

Posted in landscapes, National Parks, nature, Photographic art, photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LA LA LA Land…

My recent trip in July to Los Angeles for a conference was going to be just another hotel stay, see the same four walls, drink the same coffee and connecting with people from my conference tribe.

I made a different choice this time, I saved one day to be a tourist in the LA area. The small tour bus I got on carried about 9 people and planned to stop at 5 places before calling it a day on the hectic highway. Each location we were allowed to get out, walk around for 45-60 minutes.

This yellow stretch cab 🚕 was not the one I rode in.

I spent 90% of that time photographing all I could between the crowds and in the crowds.

Can you see the HOLLYWOOD sign to the far upper right of the photo ? Our guided tour bus driver said if we walked up the hill we could get a closer look. Not really. You can barely see it unless I mentioned it. He didn’t want to stop at Rodeo Drive since we spent a lot of time driving. I don’t think he wanted to go. Our second option was to see this sign. We wanted to see the sign only to be disappointed with the view. We would only “window” shop at Rodeo, but it would be cool 😎.

A modern star ⭐️ seen everywhere you walk, I was lucky to capture one without people standing all over it. Plenty of artist selling unique paintings and other items like CD’s that they put in your hand as you walk by, and expect you to buy it. I kept my hands on my camera.

One of the old fashioned star squares found closer to the inside of the theatre area.

The Famous Mann’s Chinese Theatre where the walk of stars⭐️ are located. The area has gotten a ton of new Star names along with a makeover of a more attractive landscape and stores nearby. It’s changed for the better in the twenty years since I’ve been there.

I became the unofficial “photographer” for taking other family/ couple photographs. Hummmm, how did they know? Maybe that bigger camera around my neck was the clue. One couple from my bus thanked me for the photos.

Colorful decorated palms on Venice Beach.

Artists selling to whoever walked by them.

A small token bracelet I bought from a persistent seller at a good price. I was just looking from a distance after that so my time wasn’t misused on shopping rather than photographing.

An expensive residence for sure! Would love to photo some real estate here.

A strange looking palm tree on my Santa Monica walk.

Overlooking Santa Monica Beach. A bit hazy at this time of day, you can see the pier in the distance.

My favorite walk was the one in Santa Monica, very pretty, lovely pier and beach. Expensive homes on the hill. Sadly the poor live all along the grassy hill with “what appears to be their suitcases containing their entire belongings.

Lucky for me I drafted this post with the photos because I recently lost my smartphone and some photos that did not make it on iCloud.  That will make another interesting blog. I’m going to have to “bite the bullet”, so to speak and buy a newer model once they are released soon. Ouch.

About my business venture….I am working on documenting my project plans for a workshop to help women become more self-knowledgeable, self-confident and speaking their inner voice using photographs as one of the two mediums to accomplish this task.

Stay tuned…I plan to be back more often.

Posted in landscapes, nature, objects, outside, parks, Photographic art, photography, summer, travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

A guest blogger offers to highlight my business venture

Judy is a successful entrepreneur who has a tremendous amount to share about time management tips and tricks to getting things done in less time.

She graciously offered to work with me and my new product launch. More about that product soon…..Here we are at a conference in Los Angeles:

She’s so happy and successful to boot. While she offered to be my guest here, I certainly learned a lot from her words of Advice.

Me: Did you enjoy taking the photos? Why? ( I assigned a task for Judy to take a photo or more and submit to me along with a few questions):

Judy: I was distracted with the event so took only one photo. I don’t know if I would describe it as “enjoy” because this is my first one and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t NOT enjoy it. I felt curiosity and interested about how this exercise would unfold.
Me: What inspired you to take this particular photo below?
Photo by Judy Dang – 2019
Judy: I reflected on what several people during the weekend had suggested to me: “you need to speak up more” so I was using that as my guide. So as I was watching the presenters, I noticed the two steps leading to the stage. This inspired me to look at the stripes on the steps and my pants.
Me: What does this photo say about you?
Judy: That I’m ready and willing to “take the stage” in my life. This photo marks this moment that I’m stepping up to my potential, stepping out of my shell, and stepping way from being passive as an audience member.
Me: Did you have fun and enjoy taking a photo in a new perspective?
Judy: Yes. I liked that I was the one to take this photo and not someone else taking a photo of me. That symbolizes that I have control over how I “compose” my life. I only took one photo. That is an interesting observation. I think I have a bit of fear of making mistakes. Because if I take a bunch and they all suck, then that’s a ton of evidence that I take bad photos. Very funny to write this out and get it out of my head; shows how silly those limiting beliefs can be.
Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself in relation to photography. 
Judy: Never taken a class. Had several film cameras throughout the years. I occasionally take photos with my phone now but not many. When I go camping I enjoy taking close up photos of leaves, spider webs, tree bark. I like unusual patterns and take lots of those in nature. I don’t take photos of landscapes because I figure if I wanted a photo of the Grand Canyon, I’d buy a postcard; leave it to the professionals. Here’s a slide show of a trip I took with my friend Gwen and my husband Andrew. 
Best wishes with your blog and business. Look forward to seeing your business grow. 

Me: Thank you Judy for your willingness to be my first guest blogger. You are amazing. Your timeless management tricks can teach me techniques to improve my processes going forward.

Note: To learn more about Judy’s amazing business:

Judy Dang


Thank you!!

Posted in photography | 1 Comment

What comes my way…

Lately, over the past couple of months, I have crossed paths with the wind, the rain, the hail, the snow, the sunshine, the night owls and nature’s musical dawn awakening.

Spring brought a flood of water standing in the neighbors yard when the drain clogged.

Rain kept coming and going as I photographed images in between the raindrops.

Rain brought the hail which was larger than life, causing damage to roofs, house siding, cars and whatever it came in contact with.

Kayaking by the rivers edge shows evidence of erosion caused by flooded waters along the Illinois River.

Of course living in the Midwest, I have witnessed how much nature does not keep a calendar on the weather patterns. We saw snow fall in the typical Spring months this year on April 27th.

And… of course after the rain, the rainbow…..

Nature’s musical dawn awakening came from the singing birds of feathers and other prey from the skies above or on the ground. The mosquitos were quiet 🤫 and did the most damage. “Wake up,” they must have been thinking.

You can see evidence of the snow from up in the air at the end of April 2019.

Plenty of unexpected weather around the globe has wreaked havoc, destroyed homes and caused casualties.

Here in my area, when you hear a tornado siren warning or emergency alert to take cover, please do so.



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Gotta Get Away

Change of scenery brings change of thoughts, ideas and visions for my future year of entrepreneurship. The wheels are still turning around in my head with awesome details. When my thoughts start, then a circle forms– essentially there is no beginning or end, just a new twist to something evolving.

Now I’m relaxing from doing household chores or working on too many projects. This week my focus is on brainstorming a new business idea, one that will enrich the lives of others and give them a hand.

I’m excited to be developing details for a program to help transform the overall physical and mental mindset for someone using visual arts.

See you on the other side…..

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Hurry up and Wait

Waiting…it can have its benefits, but like most people, it’s sometimes difficult to wait for something you truly want.  I see this, especially with the younger generation.  Perhaps their lack of time management and understanding what’s involved or lack of experience become the road blocks.

As I grew up, I often had to wait for something and often, that waiting just became a waste of time since we were not raised in a family with immediate access to the latest and greatest styles of clothes, toys, games or electronics.  This was simply something I had to accept. Wait… forget it, or find a way to get it myself.


When I began working straight out of high school, I earned enough money to live on my own and eventually go to college.  Here, the waiting for a degree became ever so paramount the closer I got.  I was promoted in my work several times and somehow that brought me more responsibilities and more money but came with a price tag far beyond the dollar figure. I wanted my degree,  I wanted a new career, I wanted to do many things, but this wait kept interfering with me.

Today, after many years of hard work, persistence, and patience, that waiting game brought me two college degrees, a house, a family and more tasks than I can complete in a single day.


“Hurry up and wait” I often heard my Dad say to me on more than one occasion. Sometimes the wisdom of the older generation actually had merit to it.  While being young and waiting for things or situations, I realized that I had to take action in order to make things happen for me.  While my college degree could not be rushed, I went to summer school in my graduate degree and traveled internationally to speed up my wait.

While my priorities may have shifted to my children and family duties, I still have a desire to make things happen and waiting isn’t going to bring me closer to that goal. I have to be patient and understand that life happens, but if I don’t take action and push myself when I have to, then all I will be doing is waiting for that next train taking me to a job downtown like it used to several years ago.

Today my “Wait” is now in my background and “take action” is in the foreground.



Posted in children, Hurry up and Wait, outside, photographic messages, photography, Reflections, Trees, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in children, outside, parks, Photographic art, photography, sculpture, summer, texture | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in nature, outside, parks, Photographic art, photography, sculpture, texture, Trees | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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