Monday, March 24, 2014

A Trip to the St. Louis Zoo

I got to make a long overdue trip to the world class St. Louis Zoo last Saturday. It was a trip worth waiting for. Even though it was chilly, and a lot of the animals were not out, I managed to get some good shots. Take a look.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I'm moving back to the Midwest. So watch for more images to come soon!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Just messing around

Trying out my new filter.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas from markbernardphotography!

May you each have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. Thank you for your visits and support in the past year!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Giant Springs-Great Falls Montana

One last post from the journey west. We made a side trip to Giant Springs on the Missouri River. Giant Springs was discovered by Lewis and Clark. According to the park ranger, the springs discharge approximately 1/6 of the total volume of the Missouri River. The water that feeds the springs comes from the Little Belt Mountains some 60 miles away. According to geologists, the water takes almost 2900 years to travel underground before reaching the springs. So the water in the spring today fell as rain or snow in the mountains in the year 887!

The water stays at a constant 54 degrees (at least during the summer!) and is home to some magnificent trout as you can see below. The springs are the headwaters of the Roe river, listed in the Guiness World Book of Records as the shortest river in the world, at 200 feet long.

A view east along the Roe River, the shortest river in the world. The Missouri River is in the background.

The confluence of the Roe (foreground) and Missouri Rivers.

There is a trout hatchery at the springs. These are some of the future denizens of the Missouri River.

The water of the springs is crystal clear!

Another fat trout hovering over the springs outflow.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Westward Ho!

The Badlands

My son and I reached the Badlands a couple of days ago. We traveled from St. Louis west across Missouri and up through Iowa to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I have never seen so much corn growing in my life! Pretty farms, well developed areas, neat tidy crops. The whole route was along the Missouri River. We felt like Lewis and Clark! I did most of the driving so there are no pictures of that portion of the route. :(

We left Sioux Falls the next day and drove west on I-90 through South Dakota. More farms, more ranches, started to see a lot more cows. Then something incredible happened. I have never seen geography change so rapidly as I have in South Dakota. The Missouri River cuts across South Dakota and I-90 cuts across the river. You are driving along looking at nice tidy corn fields and farms, and then you come to the huge Missouri River basin. It feels like you are driving off the edge of the world. The basin cuts down a mile or more into the earth, and the river is incredibly wide at this point. And on the other side of the river begin the Great Plains! It goes from green lush vegetation to brown desolate plains in about four miles.

Here's what it begins to look like:
A view of the plains looking west just across the Missouri River

The landscape was like this pretty much all the way out, getting more and more desolate as we moved into Wyoming and southern Montana. Ironically, as we passed through the Crow Indian reservation in southern Montana, which I assumed would be desolate and poverty stricken, it was the most lush part of the landscape with neat farms, cattle, and tons of horses.

Then we got to the Badlands. One of the most amazing geological wonders in North America. I see how it got the name. The area is huge. I'm sure we covered only a part of the park, since we were time constrained, but I managed to get some nice shots.

Feels like you are on the moon!

Reminds me of the Grand Canyon!

Looks like a scene from Star Wars!

Gives you a sense of the height of some of the cliffs

Little Big Horn Battlefield

This was one of the most haunting places I have ever visited. Even though there were a lot of people around, it is easy to get caught up in the drama. The headstones are set exactly where the soldiers were found as they fell. There are a lot of interpretive signs that explain the savagery of the fight.

Coming up to the hill from the valley below

Most of the soldiers bodies were too badly mutilated by the Indians to identify.

Looking southwest from the hill.

Custer's grave. His body was one of the few to be identified.

The soldiers were buried where they fell. Custer and the other officers were later disinterred and reburied. Custer was reburied at West Point.

The view looking west. The trees in the middle background are along the Little Bighorn Creek. Among the trees and just beyond on the far bank is where the Indians were encamped. Some 1500 warriors charged up the hill in the ultimate climax of the 6 hour battle that overwhelmed Custer and his men.

A memorial on top of the hill noting the names of the soldiers of the regiment.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Day in St. Louis

Took a long overdue trip to the river front yesterday to see the Arch. It's one of those things you take for granted until you move away. It was nice to see it again up close and I think I got some pretty good shots. Fortunately, the weather cooperated!

It's hard to get a shot of the Arch from the ground, without going across the river. But the angles from the ground make for some drama.

This is the newest addition to the riverfront. A statue of Lewis and Clark returning from their famous journey. This stands near the Eads bridge on the north end of the river front.

Here is a detail of the Eads bridge. According to Wikipedia:
When completed in 1874, the Eads Bridge was the longest arch bridge in the world, with an overall length of 6,442 feet (1,964 m). The ribbed steel arch spans were considered daring, as was the use of steel as a primary structural material: it was the first such use of true steel in a major bridge project.[4]
On June 14, 1874, John Robinson led a "test elephant" on a stroll across the new Eads Bridge to prove it was safe. A big crowd cheered as the elephant from a traveling circus lumbered towards Illinois. It was believed that elephants had instincts that would keep them from setting foot on unsafe structures. Two weeks later, Eads sent 14 locomotives back and forth across the bridge at one time.[7] The opening day celebration on July 4, 1874 featured a parade that stretched fifteen miles through the streets of St. Louis.[8]The Eads Bridge was also the first bridge to be built using cantilever support methods exclusively, and one of the first to make use of pneumatic caissons. The Eads Bridge caissons, still among the deepest ever sunk, were responsible for one of the first major outbreaks of "caisson disease" (also known as "the bends" ordecompression sickness).[5] Fifteen workers died, two other workers were permanently disabled, and 77 were severely afflicted.[5][6]

Here is a panorama of the riverfront from the Missouri side looking across into Illinois. The Eads bridge is on the left and the Arch grounds and riverboat docks at at the far right of the picture.

Here is a better picture of the bridge from farther up the embankment.

Here are the steps leading up from the riverbank to the Arch grounds.

Here is a panorama of the Arch grounds at the top of the steps. This is looking west. If you look closely you can see the Old Courthouse in the distance.

The Steamboat Tom Sawyer returning from a journey up river.

Another view of the Arch. Some clouds rolled in to add some drama.

Here's a view of the Arch that you seldom see, directly below.

This is the Old St. Louis Courthouse. This is where the famous Dred Scott case was decided in 1858 further inflaming the country toward Civil War. Before the war slaves were sold from the courthouse steps.

Another view of the courthouse.

Here is a view of the Arch from the courthouse grounds looking out over the river, below the arch.