Damsel in Distress

I’ve been spending a LOT of time playing with images and apps lately. There are so many options it’s almost overwhelming. I’ve decided to try and limit myself to working with just a few so I can focus on the process more and not worry so much about what ‘else’ I might could do with the image. It’s just like picking out wallpaper (to use an outdated example)– too many patterns and books of patterns to choose from and you never decide on anything for fear you’ll like something better in the next pattern book. It’s a vicious cycle.
So, after experimenting with a texture app called Grunge HD, I came up with this version of an image I made while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park last Fall. I liked the image as it was shot but am really drawn to the distressed and rustic feel it now has. I call it Mountain Plaid.

Life is Like a Mountain

A Guide to Reaching Life’s Summits:

This bit of wisdom was found on Zen Habits: a guest post by Scott Dinsmore

Pack light. Every unnecessary piece of gear complicates things and detracts from the experience. Aside from the bare necessities, things do not make life better. They often cause more stress and keep you from what’s most important. The lighter your pack the better. Life is too short to be burdened with excessive possessions, emotional baggage or regrets. Positive thoughts, relationships and experiences weigh nothing at all. Pile them on and leave the rest behind. They’ll lift you to the top.

Take one step at a time. Any major accomplishment can be broken down into a series of single steps. If your summit is too intimidating, break it into smaller steps. Focus on those one by one. Eventually one step will be the one that puts you on top.

Don’t go at it alone. When climbing, a partner is a must. For safety, support, camaraderie, motivation and simply to share the journey. You’d be silly (and putting yourself in great danger) to go up alone. Life is meant to be experienced with others. It makes the valleys shallower and the peaks higher. Relationships magnify experiences and help you do things that prove impossible alone. Don’t leave home without your support team.

Listen to the experts. While we all ought to experience our own paths, it’s foolish not to learn from and observe the guidance of experts. Choose your life models wisely and keep them close by on your journey.

Slow down. As Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia says, “It’s about how you got there. Not what you’ve accomplished.” Despite what colleagues and competitors may tell you, there is no rush. Rushing on the mountain risks slipping, not acclimating to thinning air, exhaustion and possibly death. In life the biggest risk is that you miss the wonders of everyday experiences in your pursuit to the top. The top is secondary to the process.

Look back and take in the view. There’s never any guarantee that you’ll get to the top, but you always have the ability to stop, take in a deep breath, smile and enjoy the view-whether it’s miles of wilderness or two feet of fog. It’s all wonderful. Every moment of life is a new view to appreciate.

Save some energy for the trip down. Things will inevitably take longer than expected. Don’t be discouraged. Budget your capital, energy and drive appropriately. Rarely is anything in life an all out sprint. Treat it like a marathon. You may need your reserves when you least expect it.

Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory. These are Ed Viesturs’ famous words; the first U.S. man to summit all 14 peaks above 8,000 meters with no bottled oxygen. The summit will be there tomorrow and likely so will yours. If more planning, a stronger team or more support is required, then save the summit for a time when the payout is safer and more probable. If you are outmatched, know when to turn back, only to return stronger and more savvy tomorrow. Stay objective and don’t let short-term excitement get in the way of long-term fulfillment.

Failure is a part of the process. Be ok with not reaching the summit every time. Falling short is inevitable. You will never learn more than from your failures…at anything. Embrace them.

A daunting summit is nothing more than a challenge. A challenge is simply an opportunity in disguise. You won’t summit every one you come across, but you will become a better person with each attempt.

There will always be another mountain. You are not meant to conquer them all. Past summits are simply preparing you for the next. With the right strategy, you’ll put the top within reach. When your summit arrives, you will be ready.

*For the complete article – where the author reflects on a recent climb of Mt. Shasta – go to Zen Habits and search ‘How to Summit life’s everyday mountains by Scott Dinsmore.

*That’s me – with my hand touching the summit marker of Long’s Peak, Colorado just after reaching the top at 12:40pm on August 22, 2007; 14,259′.  That’s FOURTEEN THOUSAND, two hundred and fifty-nine feet. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and one of the best!


Colorful Colorado

Some places are so colorful you can capture them in black and white and still get the point across!

This was a ‘jump out of the car and grab the shot quickly’ photo (as it was windy and quite chilly!) taken alongside the Big Thompson River in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado.  I captured it with my converted camera (so its actually infrared) but you get the idea.

I only had to wait a short time before the fisherman wandered into the lower area of the frame I wanted him in…thankfully!

He was in just the right spot and so was the setting sun!

A New Landscape

What is a wind farm?

A wind farm, or wind power plant, is a cluster of wind turbines used to produce electric power. A large wind farm usually has from 24 individual turbines up to more than 100 scattered over hundreds of square miles. Wind farms are modular, adding more turbines as electricity demand increases. Wind farms are often located on existing cattle or agricultural acreage making efficient use of the land.  The widespread use of wind farms is a cornerstone of the Pickens Plan, a blueprint for energy independence advocated by T. Boone Pickens the prominent Texas oilman.  Wind farms are one of the best examples of the successful implementation of renewable energy, along with utility scale thermal solar, biomass, geothermal and hydroelectric power.wind power generated on a wind farm with numerous wind turbines

What’s the best location for a wind farm?

The most important aspect to consider when siting a wind farm is wind speed. Wind farm owners carefully plan where to locate their turbines. Developers look for average wind speed to be at least 10 mph. The best location would have a steady flow of calm wind all year with only a small chance of sudden powerful bursts of wind. Colored maps of available wind power throughout the United States can be consulted to find the most auspicious areas for wind farms. One can clearly see color density classes (representing wind speeds) on the maps. Wind speed generally increases with altitude and in open areas where there are no windbreaks (trees, buildings, mountains). The best sites for wind farms are the tops of smooth, rounded hills, shorelines, open plains, and mountain gaps that produce wind funneling.

What are the different types of wind farms?

There are three basic types of wind farms — onshore, nearshore and offshore. Onshore wind farms are in mountainous areas where wind funneling increases wind speeds and electricity production. Other onshore wind farms could be sited in the great open plains in the middle of the United States, including states such as Texas, Iowa, Minnesota and Oklahoma.

Nearshore wind farms are located on land within three miles of a shoreline or on water within seven miles of land. These are beneficial sites for wind farm installation because convection produced wind — the land and sea heat up differently and the resulting convection produces wind.

Offshore wind farms are more than seven miles from land. Offshore wind farms benefit from smooth deep water and the high average wind speeds found over open water.

What are some interesting facts about wind farm production?

In 2006, wind turbines in the United States generated a total of 26.6 billion kWh per year of electricity, enough to serve more than 2.4 million households. This is enough electric power to run a city larger than Los Angeles, but it is only 0.4 percent of our nation’s total electricity production. Wind generated electricity has been growing rapidly in recent years — in 2006, electricity generated from wind was 2 ½ times more than wind generation in 2002.

More than 28 states generate wind-powered electricity. Texas, California, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Iowa produce the most wind-powered electricity.

Many utilities offer green pricing programs for their customers. These allow customers to pay more for electricity that comes from renewable sources.

Most wind power plants are located in the U.S. and Europe where government programs have spurred wind power development. Germany is the leading country in wind power development; the U.S. is second followed by Spain and India. Denmark ranks number six in the world but generates 20 percent of its electricity from wind.

What is the potential for wind power generated electricity in the United States?

The potential for wind power generated electricity in the United States is vast. Using today’s advanced technology, there is potentially enough wind power flowing across the country to supply all of our electricity needs. One third of the nation’s electricity could come from North Dakota. 46 of the 50 states have adequate winds for commercial power production sites. However, at this point only 1 percent of the nation’s electricity is supplied by wind power. This country’s vast potential can be tapped with the help of government incentives and a shift in energy policy priorities toward long-term support for alternative energy development.

wind farm information found on dasolar.com

top image taken on the road between Kansas and Colorado – manipulated in Photoshop.

Have you met Roswell?

Meet my friend Roswell. 

Roswell showed up on my doorstep unannounced one day.  We’d met previously (in Maine) and for whatever reason, he missed me.  He hitched a ride on the first UPS truck headed south.  I was just about to leave on an extended road trip  – I couldn’t just leave him there.

So here we are on our way to Colorado.

Its a long way to Colorado.

We had to make several stops.

He doesn’t say much.

Here he is communing with nature.

And here he is stretching his legs…