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Grand Canyon Traffic Webcam

South Entrance Traffic Webcam

While browsing National Park Webcams, I found that the NPS at Grand Canyon had established a traffic webcam to evaluate arrivals at the park via the South Entrance on Arizona Route 64. Evidently, the NPS is concerned with the increase of traffic and visitation in not only Grand Canyon, but in other parks as well.

This is the blurb explaining the purpose of the experimental webcam:

We are testing a webcam to monitor the flow of vehicles entering the park at the South Entrance Station. Check the date and time in the lower right corner to make sure the image you are seeing is current.

Like other national parks, Grand Canyon has seen a dramatic increase in visitation over the last few years. The South Rim experiences crowded conditions during busy periods throughout the year, including spring break, summer, and holiday times during the fall and winter.

This experimental traffic count makes me wonder if NPS is considering a plan to require reservations to be made prior to entrance to the park. I can tell you from personal experience that the parks where we have recently visited can be overrun with people and vehicles.

At Grand Canyon last September, many of the turnouts for canyon overlooks had no parking spaces left for either autos or RVs. The main Village area was also very congested.

Click on the image to enlarge.

UPDATE: Out of curiosity, I looked at the South Entrance Webcam this morning (Saturday). My advice is to use the East Entrance on AZ 64 via US 89 at peak traffic times.

South Entrance Webcam

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Happy Independence Day

gba.jpg

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable 4th of July. We will be barbecuing, watching fireworks and we’ll put on a DVD after that. Click on the eagle to see a larger view.

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The Camera Mode Wheel

Camera Mode WheelI have been in possession of my Canon EOS Rebel SL1 since last December. Damsel has had Canon EOS Rebels for years, but this one is my first semi-serious DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera.

Since I had little experience with DSLRs other than borrowing Damsel’s from time to time, I bought and read “Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D for Dummies.” The book helped a lot in that it pointed out all of the special features of the camera including the menus plus all of the modes available on the wheel and a few more beyond that.

In this post I will discuss what the Canon manual describes as “creative modes,” which are P, Tv, Av and M seen in the image enclosed by an arc and braces on the upper left side of the wheel in the image. I won’t go into all the other modes available other than to enumerate them. Starting with the green box “A” on the left going counter-clockwise, the fixed modes are as follows:

  • Scene Intelligent Auto
  • Flash Off
  • Creative Auto
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Close-up
  • Sports
  • and Special Scene Mode with a variety of kitschy settings available (snow, beach, fireworks, etc.)

Now for the creative modes:

P is for “Program AE,” which automatically selects aperture and shutter speed for you. If you select ISO AUTO, then this mode is more-or-less completely automatic with the exception that if you want the flash to fire, you must deploy the pop-up wink light manually. The latter is true for all of the creative modes. “P” is the mode I use the most.

Tv is for “Shutter Speed Priority.” Set the shutter speed to get the effect you desire. Long exposure time to blur motion and short exposure time to freeze it. Aperture and other settings are automatic. I have this mode set to a very fast shutter speed for normal use in case I see something moving that I wish to freeze. Switching modes is almost instantaneous while in the field.

Av is for “Aperture Priority.” Use a narrower aperture for greater depth of field. I have this set to a wide aperture to be able to capture objects with a blurred background. It’s good for portraits of people and photos of critters in the desert with attention focused on the subject and drawn away from the background.

M is for “Manual Settings.” The photographer can select both aperture and shutter speed settings. I keep this set for the occasional solar filter photography I do: very fast shutter speed and wide aperture seem to work best with the solar filter I use.

In the few months I have had this camera, I have tried to delve into the myriad functions and modes, but after this short time there is still much to be discovered. Regardless of that, I am very well pleased with the camera.

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Arizona Desert Mining Town

Desert Mining Town

After we took the dogs to the groomer yesterday, we had a couple of hours to ourselves. We decided to head over to an old mining town (and tourist trap) about 25 miles west of Wickenburg.

Unfortunately, when we got there after driving 28 miles on pavement and another 2 miles on dirt, we found that the attraction was closed for the day having been reserved for a photo shoot by some unknown enterprise. We noted a large number of California license plates on the vehicles parked there.

The cowboy that ran things told us that they didn’t have time to notify the media of the closing. He was very apologetic and assured us that if we were to come back on a normal visiting day that he would waive the admission and guided tour fee. I guess we will take him up on that sometime in the near future, before the desert heat gets too out of hand.

The place is called Robson’s Ranch & Mining Camp. We will probably take a trip out there soon.

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Another New Camera

Canon SL1As sort of a late Christmas present to myself, I acquired this Canon Rebel EOS SL1 SLR camera. I have used the little point-and-shoot cameras for years, but thought that this would be a good time to upgrade to some serious hardware.

The package I bought included a Canon 75-300mm telephoto lens in addition to the standard 18-55mm lens. One really good thing is that all the lenses are interchangeable with Damsel’s Canon EOS T2 camera.

The new camera has a lot of advanced features that I hope to learn as I transition away from point and shoot. I still will carry the pocket sized A1400 Power Shot when it is not convenient to carry the new camera since it is possible to get some good shots with the point and shoot.

I expect that I can use the new camera to supplement Damsel’s outstanding talents with her camera, perhaps as having the telephoto lens installed when she needs a long shot on one of our planned excursions into the scenic west. Having the second camera ready just may help us to document our travels just that much better.

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65th Annual Gold Rush Days Parade


Some readers may recall that I missed the 64th Annual Parade due to falling on my head early the morning of the parade. Fortunately, that did not happen this morning. Damsel and I walked to the parade route (about a quarter mile from home) and thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle.

Billed as the fourth largest parade event in Arizona, we witnessed the passage of some of the usual and some of the most unusual entries in the event. The American Legion Color Guard (local chapter) led the parade with a herd of Watusi Longhorn Cattle in trail. Popular character actor Wilford Brimley rode in the stagecoach along with the Riders in the Sky western music ensemble and several other “Grand Marshalls.”

Many of the classic cars we saw yesterday rode in the parade along with some we had not seen. There were bands, dancers, cowboy poets and a bunch of the local merchants and businesses that passed by. A couple of unusual entries were the Watusi Bull in a Cadillac and the “Poodle Posse” toward the end. We had fun and although we could see traces of snow on the foothills, there was no rain on our parade.

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Only in America

larry.jpgNo excuse for not posting anything here today. Busy with dentists, barbers and generally just retirement ‘business.’ We’ll be back with some more posts and pix real soon.

Meanwhile, somebody needs to suggest that Larry the Cable Guy do an episode of “Only in America” that includes “Boomershoot” or some other major firearms event for the redneck viewing pleasure of America.

Everyone have a real good day! See you tomorrow.

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