Sunday Stills: Living in Shades of #Gray

Gray Tree in Fog

The end of January in the dead of winter is, well, just that…dead. Here in the Central Valley where Sacramento is situated between the snowy Sierra Nevada Mountain range to the East and the Coast range to the West, gray seems to be the predominant color.

Most everything is colored in shades of gray and white. I could take a photo and wouldn’t have to edit it to black and white! Even this flower is gray!

white and gray flower

Descent into Foggy Light

After enjoying almost three weeks of southwest desert colors, we were immediately greeted with the inevitable gray fingers of low fog as we entered the Central Valley from the Tehachapi Pass.

Gray Fog Descends
Fog Descends into the Central Valley
Gray Tree in Fog
Foggy Fingers, even the tree is gray

Light from the Past and Some Color Infused into Gray Days

Just because I was on a bit of a break from Sunday Stills while Hugh graciously co-hosted, doesn’t mean that I don’t have a few photos to share for “round” and “old” (although I have been feeling round and old lately 😊).

Both photographs are from our day trip into Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.

These petroglyphs span over 1,500 years.

Ancient Anasazi Petroglyphs
Ancient Petroglyphs tell amazing stories

Originally occupied by the Basket Maker people and Anasazi Pueblo farmers from around 300 BC to 1150 AD, the Valley of Fire rock formations offered protection from the weather as well as a primitive form of lodging.

https://blog.maverickhelicopter.com/the-history-of-petroglyphs-at-the-valley-of-fire/

These formations were exposed where older rocks of Cambrian age (about 500 million years old) were pushed sideways on a thrust fault over younger rocks (Jurassic, about 160 million years old) of the Aztec Sandstone. The sandstone was originally laid down in a colossal, long-lived sandy desert much like today’s Sahara.

https://www.thoughtco.com/valley-of-fire-state-park-nevada-4123246

Of course, hubby and I had to pose in the rounded rocks near the visitor’s center.

Fun at the Valley of Fire State Park
Round and Old?

I can’t live for very long in a gray world. I was blessed to be able to travel south for our winter road trip to enjoy the vibrant colors of the Arizona and Nevada deserts. What can you do with gray? Here are some examples to help you!

Maybe a gray sunset?

Gray sunset

It was so wonderful seeing so many visitors to last week’s Sunday Stills post after my absence! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with for this week’s challenge, gray. You have all week to link your post to this one. Remember, I share your posts when I can!

For February’s themes, please visit my Sunday Stills page.

This post was also inspired in part by Becky B’s January Lights Photo Challenge which ends this Friday!

Enjoy your week and I hope you have sunny skies peeking through the gray!

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Sunday Stills: The Light in #Yin-Yang

Winter Yin-Yang

I am pleased to be back to hosting the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge and appreciate everyone who took part in Hugh’s themes over the last two weeks!

We are back with what I thought was a difficult theme: Yin-Yang.

So difficult, I had to google it for definitions and hunt up some example images! I have had this on my theme list for over two years and I’m happy to finally use it.

yin yang symbol

“The yin, the dark swirl, is associated with shadows, femininity, and the trough of a wave; the yang, the light swirl, represents brightness, passion and growth.”

Above is the symbol commonly associated with Yin-Yang. Image from Pixabay.

In ancient Chinese philosophy, yin-yang is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

Dog brothers Aero and Gideon happened to flop down into this position after a busy day running on the beach. Gideon, the blonde one, is 6 months older than Aero, but belongs to my daughter and now lives with her in San Diego. Both dogs have the same parents, believe it or not.

Blonde and brown dog yin and yang
A Long Day on the Beach

Yin-Yang is also the balance between two opposites. Gideon is mellow and sweet, while Aero is a guardian personality, whose sharp, staccato warning bark can curl your hair.

Blonde and Brown dogs
Brothers Gideon & Aero

But they love each other and I know they miss being together.

While visiting the Grand Canyon earlier this month, I swept my lens over the South Rim. I thought this photo had a yin-yang quality to it showing the lights and darks in nature.

Grand Canyon View
Long Lens View


My Lumix FZ300 has a 600-zoom travel lens and I captured what appears to be twins posing above a rocky outcrop over the canyon. Upon closer inspection, they wore opposite colors. Hint: these girls can barely be seen in the upper left quadrant of the above image. Love that zoom!

Tourists at Grand Canyon
Tourist Twins

I shared these images a couple of years ago and thought they each have that yin-yang feeling.

Winter Yin-Yang
Winter Yin-Yang Reflection
Flowers twinned
Yellow Gray Duality

The images in this post are inspired in part by BeckyB’s January Light Squares Challenge.

Special shout-out to three bloggers who posted for Sunday Stills in December and those who joined Hugh in January. Life is Great, Locating Frankenstein’s Brain, and Just Muddling Through Life. Hope to see you all again!

I am excited to see how creative you will be with Yin-Yang this week! Don’t forget you can post anytime during the week.

Sources: The Hidden Meaning of Yin-Yang and Wikipedia

Camera graphic

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Wordless Wednesday: Afternoon De-Light

Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire

I’m sharing three photos for Becky B’s January Squares Challenge today for Wordless Wednesday.

The theme for these images is “Afternoon Delight” taken while on our winter road trip.

Before dinner on Christmas Eve, we walked along the Sail Bay side of Pacific Beach in San Diego. The light was amazing!

Afternoon Light on Pacific Beach's Sail Bay
Afternoon Light on Pacific Beach’s Sail Bay

After our cold and snowy tour of the Grand Canyon, the afternoon light glowed on the snow-covered areas of Highway 17 on our drive back to Phoenix.

snowy forest
Afternoon Light along Hwy 17 from Grand Canyon

I finally got to see the Elephant Rock in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.

Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire
Elephant Rock in Valley of Fire

When you stand among the red rocks and sand, everything glows!

Don’t forget to join me here this Sunday for the Sunday Stills photo challenge where we explore the theme yin-yang!

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Winter Road Trip Preview: Walking in the Desert Light

South Rim of the Grand Canyon in snow

Join me today as I share a preview of my winter road trip and where some of my walks took me. With a camera and phone in hand, I took loads of photos on my daily walks. I managed to walk over 10,000 steps a day as recorded by my Fitbit. I needed to with all the good food I ate!

We spent 18 days traveling to Southern California, Northern Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Christmas in San Diego

After an eleven-hour drive to San Diego where we would spend our first week of the trip, we enjoyed time with my daughter and her boyfriend. They graciously let us park our trailer in their driveway and hook up to electricity. We loved having our own sleeping space in our trailer and it made a temporary escape space once the whole family arrived at her house for Christmas day.

We spent Christmas Eve at my stepdaughter’s new apartment in Pacific Beach. Even the kite surfers were out enjoying a cold but sunny afternoon as we walked along Sail Bay.

Kite Surfer Pacific Beach
Kite Surfer in Sail Bay, Pacific Beach

Arizona Walks

We traveled on to North Phoenix, Arizona where we met up with Ingrid and her husband at the Pioneer RV Park. This time we stayed six nights and enjoyed a lot more of what Phoenix has to offer. Ah, those sunny winter days! Later in the week, Ingrid and I visited the Desert Botanical Garden and walked the gorgeous trails.

Cactus Light in Botanical Garden
Cactus Backlight in Botanical Garden

“Wild Rising” was the theme with more than 1000 sculptures adorning the park.

Desert Botanical Gardens
Walking through the Botanical Gardens

A Check Off the Ole’ Bucket List

While staying in North Phoenix, early Monday, December 28, we drove three hours one way to … drum roll please…the Grand Canyon!

Yes, I shed a tear as I walked the short distance to the magnificent sight of the canyon! The light from the snow provided amazing contrasts to the warm red and orange rocks. This was one of my first images!

South Rim of the Grand Canyon in snow
South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Unlike last year’s US government shutdown of national parks, the park was alive and well with a few brave tourists bundled up for the cold, wintery conditions. Even our dogs got their walk in on the South Rim trail.

Winter in South Rim of Grand Canyon
Cold Winter’s Day in South Rim of Grand Canyon

On our drive back to North Phoenix, there was snow on the ground, but thankfully no ice on the roads.

If you are new to my blog, you can read more about our crazy 2019 Winter Road Trip.

For the rest of January, I will share more of my photos from the road trip.

That just about does it for this post, which is inspired in part by Jo’s Monday Walk, Cee’s New On the Hunt for Joy Challenge and Becky B’s January Squares Photo Challenge.

A hearty shout-out and thanks to Hugh for hosting Sunday Stills while I took my break.

Sunday Stills resumes right here next week! I hope to see you back with your creative ideas and images.

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