DIANA'S BLOG




Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona

A rare event occurs only two days a year in March and September where the shadow of the West Mitten butte falls perfectly onto the East Mitten butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona. I was lucky enough to be in Monument Valley for the March event. I had planned to stop and photograph the full moon rising above the buttes but I ran into fellow photographer Matt Jarvis in Monument Valley and he told me he had driven seven hours just to photograph the shadow on the West Mitten butte. So I set up next to him and waited for the big event. It started to cloud over just as the sun was setting and we both thought we might be disappointed. However, for about two minutes the sun broke through and the shadow appeared on the West Mitten butte. It was something to see! Here are some photographs from those short minutes of action.


Shot I took while waiting for the shadow to appear. Then all of a sudden the sun created an amazing shadow on the butte.

Then the full moon started to rise and I was able to get the shots I came to Monument Valley to get.


Full moon rising over monuments in Monument Valley

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Another Great Visit to Moab, Utah

I drove from Kearney, Nebraska to Moab, Utah because I wanted to photograph the Milky Way in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I stayed five days and got very lucky!


The Milky Way over Balanced Rock sandstone rock formation with the bright star Sirius on the right at Arches National Park, Moab, Utah


The Milky Way over the Windows section of Arches National Park, Moab, Utah


Blue hour over the plateau in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah


Sunrise over the Colorado River at Dead Horse Point, Dead Horse State Park, Utah


Wilson Arch at sunset, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah


Morning in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah


Sandstone Sunrise. Morning breaks over the narrow canyons and towering red cliffs known as the Firey Furnace section of Arches National Park near Moab, Utah


Balanced Rock at sunset with snow on the La Sal Mountains, Arches National Park near Moab, Utah


Moon lighting up the Fifth Avenue section of Arches National Park at night, Moab, Utah

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Endangered Whooping Cranes on the Platte River, Nebraska

I saw my first endangered Whooping Crane several years ago on the Platte River in Nebraska when I was out photographing the migrating Sandhill Cranes as I do every March. It was pretty easy to spot because its white feathers stood out against the much grayer color of the the Sandhill Cranes. It was also much taller (about five feet tall) than the already tall Sandhill Cranes (three and a half to four feet tall). In fact, the Whooping Crane is the tallest bird in North America. I was able to record some video of the Whooping Crane at that time and very happy to have seen it in the wild. I’m not sure if the Whooping Cranes are doing better on the whole but for the past three years now I have seen several on the Platte River and in the cornfields during the Sandhill Crane migration in Nebraska. I have seen single cranes and no pairs. Numbers vary but there are approximately 531 Whooping Cranes in the wild and 757 in the entire world.

Although funding has been cut for research leading to the Whooping crane reintroduction to the wild and Hurricane Harvey had a deadly impact on Whooping Crane habitat, the cranes seem to be holding their own for now. I am pleased to say that I have seen several since I have been in Nebraska this March for the Sandhill Crane migration. Here are a few shots I was able to take.


Whooping crane (Grus americana) in flight above the Platte River, Nebraska


Whooping crane (Grus americana) having an altercation with a Sandhill Crane in a cornfield near the Platte River, Nebraska


An endangered Whooping Crane in a field with Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska


An endangered Whooping crane (Grus americana) in flight with a Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) above the Platte River in Nebraska


An endangered Whooping crane (Grus americana) in a field with Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) near the Platte River in Nebraska


An endangered Whooping crane (Grus americana) taking flight in a field with Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis) near the Platte River in Nebraska


An endangered Whooping crane (Grus americana) in flight near the Platte River in Nebraska

Hopefully there will be many more Whooping Cranes photos to come.

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