Few things impress me more than innovations so significant that they inspire entire new languages. Take the weblog (better known as the blog), for example. Sure, there may be a near-equivalent term within some existing language to describe a blogger who plagiarizes content from another blogger, but it’s way more fun to coin a clever hybrid neologism—doppelblogger. Linguists call these “constructed languages,” or “conlangs” for short (wink!).
I’m so eager to show off my early progress in learning “blargon.” Get this. What I’m doing right now is metablogging about my blogophilia. If this post gets long enough, I might have a blogopotamus on my hands. And if you read this and quietly step away without leaving a comment, you're considered a blurker. The cleverness is exhilarating, isn't it? There are literally hundreds of blog terms to learn, and, as the blogosphere continues to expand, blogspeak is poised to grow exponentially. I’ll be ready.
I have yet to fully understand some of the less-clever terms, like captcha, ping, trackback, pingback, and tag cloud, but just give me some time.
So why has it taken me so long to enter the blogiverse? I’ve had a Flickr photostream for about a year now, and it’s been great for me, as it has been to millions of photographers. I have no intention of abandoning it. But it turns out that I love sliding drawer sidebars, which I couldn’t find anywhere on Flickr. I looked everywhere. I also love lightbox galleries and Flash slideshows and widgets (oh my!), along with a whole slew of other features and customizations that Flickr doesn’t yet offer.
In short, the photoblog is the perfect medium to share two of my greatest passions—photography and writing. This also gives me the chance to hopefully meet more photographers and writers who share my interests, so please let me know if you have a comment, a question, advice, or even some new blogspeak term to share.
Blame it on the Tetons
Not coincidentally, this maiden post comes just on the heels of the most satisfying photographic experience of my life so far. Teri and I visited Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons in early October, and I did my best to test her patience for photography the entire time. But she hung in there like a champ for three dawn-to-dusk days before I finally pushed her past her limits of tolerance with my OCD (obsessive camera disorder) late into day four. I’ll cover that later.
The photos in the slideshow below are some of the many from day one of the trip, October 3, 2010. You can also find the photos separately at the bottom of this post.
Our day started early in Jackson, Wyoming, and we meandered north along the majestic Tetons and blazing aspens on Highway 89, one of the most beautiful routes I've ever taken. It was a crisp, cloudless morning, with thick smears of mist rising from Flat Creek and the Snake River and settling into the nearby valleys. The plan was to get quickly through the Tetons and into Yellowstone by mid morning. We would spend more time exploring the former during our return trip south. As hard as I tried to stick to that, I physically could not stop my foot from slamming the brake pedal every half mile so I could grab my tripod and take a few shots. Glacier View drew me in like siren’s song, Teton Point called out to me, Snake River Overlook charmed me, and Oxbow Bend absolutely captivated me. I have never been so powerless. Morning soon became early afternoon, and we were still miles from Yellowstone’s south entrance.
After we stopped for a while at Willow Flats Overlook and only briefly at Jackson Lake, I really needed to get control of myself. It took everything I had to resist my nearly crippling pull-over urges, but we made it to Lewis Falls in Yellowstone by two o’clock, a miracle in retrospect. We then trudged north toward West Thumb and headed west in the direction of Old Faithful.
I’m not sure if anything could ever prepare you for the beautiful power awaiting you in the geyser basins. Old Faithful gets top billing, but it’s just one small part of a huge geothermal dreamworld. Hot springs boil with resplendent oranges and greens and blues, geysers simmer for hours before suddenly exploding water, and fumaroles exhale volcanic breath without pause. Bleached branchless pines whittled to curled points are everywhere, most still standing but some fallen, proof of the basin’s volatility.
I've seen hundreds of amazing Yellowstone Geyser Basin photographs; indeed, they're among the many reasons we made the trip. But even the very best do almost zero justice. The limitation of still photography is, of course, that it is only a visual medium. It cannot record the basin's pervasive sulfurous odor or the palpable subterranean rumbling. Everyone should experience it at least once.
Our day ended earlier than we would have liked, since we still hadn't figured out where we would stay that night. It might not be the smartest way to travel, but it allows the most flexibility. So we headed toward Yellowstone's west entrance, a route that took us along Madison River in the fading daylight. We stopped a few times to watch buffalo and elk along the river's bank before ending our day in West Yellowstone, Montana.
Stay tuned for day two.