Art museums are everywhere, but they are not all the same. While I’ve seen versions of Donald Judd’s Untitled sculpture in more cities than I can count, the body of work at a city’s art museum can vary as much as the weather while you travel. Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum is a fantastic collection of all types of art with great rotating special exhibitions as well. Along with all of the fantastic work on display, the museum itself is a perfect blend of classic architecture and modern design that make navigation only slightly confusing (which is saying a lot for a museum.)
Great Sand Dunes National Park is a bit out of the way of anything in Colorado, but it is an impressive sight when you arrive. Out of the flat desert rise huge dunes in front of towering mountains. It is a strange combination, but the oddity is intriguing and calls for closer exploration. The hike to the top of High Dune was a long and strenuous walk of short steps sinking into soft sand which resulted in both of us spending the rest of the day trying to get tiny grains out of our eyes. What we could see between blinks and tears was beautiful colors, textures, and lines stretching out to the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
Death Valley is an incredible National Park with so much more to offer than I ever knew. The sand dunes are some of the most surreal and amazing things I’ve ever seen in the morning light. The shadows play in such strange ways that it’s hard to tell what is real. This was an amazing way to start the day before hiking in slot canyons, up mountains, and along high ridges. This is definitely a place I’d love to visit more often.
Chicago is a great city for views. No matter where you stand there’s a great view of the skyline from across the lake or from just below (or above if you go up in the Hancock Tower or Sears Tower) or down the river that runs through the city. Basically, anywhere is a good view in my opinion. From the observatory is one of my favorite views, clearly. The sunset is great, but once the lights start coming on the skyline really shows its best side. Just after sunset is my favorite time to shoot cities, and Chicago is no exception. The path around the waterfront is great for views, but it’s perfect for a sunset run or bike ride too. There’s just something about this town.
I took this shot at a slight long exposure on the side of a small trail off of a mountain road in Colorado. The best part about it was getting to spend some time with my friend outside. In the new year, take a couple seconds to appreciate the people you have and the beautiful nature that surrounds us. Happy new year!
A lot of people will be spending the day looking back over the year. What they’ve accomplished and all of the usual things. I’m looking back on this photo and the solo trip I took a couple of years ago. This day was especially peaceful and rewarding for many reasons. I woke up in the night to see moose chasing each other around the picnic table at my campsite, walked a river trail at sunrise in near silence, and then enjoyed this view for a while as a steam engine rolled by on the mountainside above. I can only hope I’ll have a day something like this one in my future again.
From atop the Divine Lorraine hotel north of the city you are afforded a fantastic view of the skyline, and when the clouds reflect the sunset perfectly it is an amazing experience to sit there and watch the city light up. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there is renovation underway at the urban exploring goldmine that is the Divine Lorraine, so it can no longer be accessed easily. But getting to see this sunset from the roof once was good enough for me.
Just north of center city Philadelphia there is an abandoned hotel called the Divine Lorraine. While almost unassuming when you drive up Broad Street, avoiding pedestrians and careless Philly drivers, when you get a chance to stop and look at it you’ll wonder how you missed it in the first place. The building itself is magnificent, though the inside has been gutted and is covered in broken glass and graffiti from years of neglect and homeless inhabitation. From the roof, the views are incredible. At sunset the old sign looks over the new city like an elder over her village.
Ringing Rocks State Park in Pennsylvania provided some unexpected treasures during a holiday visit last year. After checking out the field of rocks and hitting a few of them with a hammer (look it up) we headed down a short trail to the waterfalls. Being December, it was cold enough for it to have frozen, and the fresh light coat of snow on everything made the scene even more perfect, if very dangerous to climb on. The ice formations were so intricate and fun to explore. I think I managed to only almost fall once!
Even in cities where I don’t feel like a tourist anymore I still find myself always looking up at the buildings. Once in a while I get self-conscious about it, and then I realize that maybe I’m noticing things that others are missing. Either way, I love being downtown among the skyscrapers and feeling their immensity. Unlike New York, Chicago is a little more open so it doesn’t feel quite as cramped when you stop to look up. The Hancock Center has been a favorite building of mine since before I’d even visited for the first time. Its facade is so unique and simplistic that it stands out in my mind to this day.