Monthly Archives: May 2015

Memorial Day – Remembrance

Memorial Gardens, Erie, PA

Memorial Gardens, Erie, PA

05.22.2015

Memorial Day is a special day. Please thank a veteran. Also, thank their family for their sacrifice while their loved one was / is away serving. Monday is not just a day off work, cooking on the grill, and relaxing. You get to do all those things because someone served and fought.

Also, since this is MY blog I’m going to say something. I was at an event this past week where they started the proceedings by singing the National Anthem. I was surrounded by elite businessmen and women. I was so very disappointed as I looked around to see very few people with their hand over their heart. When did that become the norm rather than the exception??? People, our nation is not perfect. All of us have different views and beliefs. But if you’re here enjoying our freedoms you darn well better have respect for our Flag and our National Anthem.

Enjoy your freedoms!

~ melissa michelle

Yellowstone National Park – bison & hawk photos

Up close & personal

Up close & personal

Bison calf

Bison calf

Hawk

Hawk

05.21.2015

Here are more photos from Yellowstone. The bison were on the road so that’s why it’s such a close up photo. Of course we stayed in the truck!

I thought the calf was cute. In an earlier photo I took the calf was nursing but the photo did not come out well at all.

The hawk was kind of cool to capture. I photographed it taking off from that branch but those two photos didn’t come out clear at all. I still need to practice!

But I’m still excited I got the photos that did turn out well! I have been so blessed to be able to travel and see all the cool things I’ve been able to photographed.

~ melissa michelle

Yellowstone National Park – Bighorn sheep

Bighorn sheep

Bighorn sheep huddling together

Bighorn sheep ready to cross the road

Bighorn sheep ready to cross the road

05.18.2015

Upon entering Yellowstone, Bighorn sheep were the first animals we got to see! There were five or six of them together on the far side of the guard rail. The sun had just come up so there are a few shadows at play in the photos. I tired to minimize this as much as possible.

After they posed for photos, they hopped over the rail and trotted on their way. What a great find in the park and the adventure was just beginning.

Stay tuned for more photos from the park!

~ melissa michelle

Yellowstone National Park – Coyote photos

Coyote in mid-jump after prey

Coyote in mid-jump after prey

Coyote mid-jump, second attempt to pounce on prey

Coyote mid-jump, second attempt to pounce on prey

Coyote realizing it got away

Coyote realizing it got away

05.18.2015

I spent last week traveling to the mid-west and was able to spend a day at Yellowstone, arriving at the east entrance around 6am when the animals were pretty active and in view. It felt like we had the place to ourselves since there was very little traffic until the afternoon.

The photos of the coyote are my favorite from the day. I photographed other animals that I’ll post in the coming days.

I shot these photos from the backseat of the truck, passenger side, shooting across the driver’s side with a borrowed lens (thank you so much Linda!). All day I was hoping to spot an animal before anyone else in the truck. I spotted this coyote first (so proud of myself). We soon saw that something on the ground had caught his attention. So I kept the lens focused on him, waiting for some action. As you can see, I got action!

I could not decide which one I enjoyed the most. Feel free to leave a comment to let me know which one you enjoy.

Folks, if you ever get a chance to see a National Park or to travel through this beautiful country, take the time to do it! Thank you Teddy Roosevelt for the foresight to preserve this land as the first national park.

~ melissa michelle

General Samuel Cooper

John S, member The Civil War Heritage Foundation, Inc. portraying General Samuel Cooper, CSA, AG/AI

John S, member The Civil War Heritage Foundation, Inc. portraying General Samuel Cooper, CSA, AG/AI

05.06.2015

If you are a frequent visitor to my blog you know I do not photograph people. However, while visiting Gettysburg, PA last weekend, I got to meet John S. a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation, Inc. who portrays General Samuel Cooper, CSA, AG/AI.

It was such a treat to spend a few minutes talking with him about his role. He truly is a walking history book. Much to my delight he allowed me to photograph him and post the photo here. I took two and this is the one he liked slightly better.

If you ever get the chance to visit Gettysburg, you won’t be disappointed. I certainly need to brush up on my history in this area. A lot of men died protecting the union, fighting to keep the United States united.

On a separate note, I apologize for not posting yet this week. I love that the weather is nicer and I can travel more and be outside; however, it means I’m not inside on the laptop and uploading my photos as often as I would like or should. It’s okay though, I’m taking advantage of every single day I get to be here.

While walking my dog after work, I was talking to a neighbor describing my latest trip and upcoming adventures. She said I was fortunate to get to do so much. I told her I was blessed to be able to travel and live in the moment. I’m so content with my life right now.

I will be visiting a National Park again very soon so stay tuned.

And remember to live life to the fullest. You know never when it will be your last day.

~ melissa michelle

Catoctin Mountain & Cunningham Falls State Parks

Cunningham Falls

Cunningham Falls

Closer view of the falls

Closer view of the falls

05.02.2015

Today I headed out to two state parks in Maryland (right next to each other). I had never been to either one before and only discovered they were there while on the way to Gettysburg, PA. What a great find! I did some hiking and then some photography.

I met a lady there with her Girl Scouts who was originally from Meadville, PA which is only about 30 miles from Erie. Again, small world!

It was so nice to get some fresh air, be out in nature, and to see this wonderful sight. This is the tallest waterfall in Maryland at about 75 feet tall.

I was most displeased that during the time I was at the falls that people were ignoring the rules and climbing all over the rocks and along the falls. I could not capture the falls all in one shot without getting some idiot in the photo. Although I am not a “purest” in the truest form, I do however believe that nature should be left to do her thing and we are not to mess it up. It is a privilege to be able to see beautiful places in nature and yet sometimes it’s not enough for people, they have to climb all over her and disrupt the natural flow of things.

About a month ago a man drowned at Ohiopyle State Park all because he stepped over a protective railing to have a photo of himself taken. That was the last photo ever of him. Very sad.

Please respect nature and all that she gives to us.

Okay, off my soap box. I hope you enjoyed the photos. I enjoyed taking them.

~ melissa michelle

Humbled at Gettysburg

A battle line fence

A battle line fence

General Warren dedication

General Warren statue

Pennsylvania Monument at Gettysburg

Pennsylvania Monument at Gettysburg

Cannon at the National Cemetery

Cannon at the National Cemetery

05.01.2015

Friday I had the great pleasure of visiting Gettysburg National Military Park. If you have never been there I recommend spending a few hours if not a few days looking over things. Thanks to my great friends Dan, Rita, and Jen for being patient while I tried for perfect photos. Of course I took more photos than what are posted here; these are just a few of my favorites.

I got to meet a Confederate Soldier, well you know, an actor. He took a few minutes to talk with us and let me photograph him. As soon as I get permission from him, I’ll post his photo. While talking with him I discovered he used to live in Erie and he worked at the same company I used to work for from which he just recently retired. It truly is a small world!

I think what moved me the most was seeing the cemetery with all the “unknown” graves. There were so many. Each fought and died to preserve this great union, and yet, we didn’t even know their names. But they believed in the cause and paid the ultimate price.

I think sometimes we become desensitized to the great price paid to defend freedom. I read a quote somewhere that said our flag waves not by the wind but by the breath of every fallen soldier.

I say thank you for your sacrifice to the fallen and to those who have served and are currently serving. I am in awe of your dedication and love for our country. You do indeed provide the blanket of freedom under which I sleep each night.

Thank you!

~ melissa michelle

Kindness

Brig Niagara

Brig Niagara

04.30.2015

I was at the Blasco Library in Erie, PA on the second floor and spotted people working to get the Brig ready for sale this season. She’s a beautiful sight to gaze upon in port or out on the water. I was fascinated with the guy walking on the ropes by the mast in the photo above. Can you spot him? Don’t look down!

In the same building as the library is a very small café area where an older lady works. She’s wonderful. She loves conversation and will always ask about my day, fully expecting to hear the details, while sincerely listening. It is refreshing to have someone ask how I’m doing and then wait for the answer!

Sometimes that’s all people need, someone to listen to them or simply ask how they are doing and genuinely care about the response.

~ melissa michelle