Vanderbilt Lawn by Dave Hileman

That massive house is seen from halfway across the front lawn. Really. Excess. Scores of rooms that no one would want to live in, damp, musty and huge. Most of it designed to impress guests as to the wealth one has. They did not even decorate but gave an allowance to the architect who brought back “stuff” from Europe. Not family heirlooms, not family photos or paintings, nothing personal, just old, expensive, “look what I have’ stuff. So sad.

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MVB by Dave Hileman

No, not most valuable biker. This was the home of our eighth president. Those are his initials, got it yet? He founded the Democrat party. Martin Van Buren was an interesting man and the tour of his home was extremely well done.

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Exhausted by Dave Hileman

So what’s one more bad pun among friends? This locomotive was just returned to the roundhouse for the night and the smoke was still rising from the cooling process. You could feel the heat radiating from six feet away. Steamtown is a must visit for those who love trains, machinery or just a neat part of history.

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Quiet Street by Dave Hileman

Don’t want a lot of crowds, try a rainy day in mid-September, at least it worked for us. A nice street scene in Harpers Ferry WV (National Historic Park). They now charge $10 to get on a bus to arrive here. Free with a “You Are Really Old” pass. Musty buildings in need of a bit of care.

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Glen by Dave Hileman

A picture of the definition, a secluded narrow valley. This shows the smallest of Mr. Rockefeller’s bridges deep in Acadia National Park. It was quite a long hike to this spot a three or four years ago. We are headed back to Acadia in a couple of weeks and look forward to finding more new spots to enjoy.

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Not Switzerland by Dave Hileman

I don’t even know if this is what Switzerland even looks like except in my mind. This is the lodge at Many Glacier in Glacier National Park. We actually stayed here, our only night not in the Rialta a few years ago traveling in the northern Rockies. It was an interesting place built years ago by the Northern Pacific Railroad to enhance their business by bring tourists to the wonders of Glacier. A distant relative, Tomar Jacob Hileman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._J._Hileman) who was well-known for his Native American photos was hired to shoot photos of Glacier to entice folks to the region.

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On The Way by Dave Hileman

Trail to Redrock Falls in Glacier National Park beyond the Many Glacier Lodge. Snow, wind and very cold temperatures forced a shortened walk to see birds with the ranger in the morning. Impressive place. 

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by Dave Hileman

The Tredegar was a large industrial complex that made most of the weapons and canons for the South during the Civil War. This is the primary visitor center now for the Richmond Battlefields comprising over 700 acres in several places and battlefields like Gaines' Mill, Malvern Hill, and Cold Harbor. This, one of the last buildings standing, is beside the James River in downtown Richmond. It is now a beautiful place with several islands and a pedestrian bridge across the rapids of the James River. You are a short drive from several neat spots in American history including the church where Patrick gave his "liberty or death" speech. 

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Power (2 photos) by Dave Hileman

On a hike to Nevada Falls at Yosemite National Park, we saw this falls in the distance from the trail. We only got a brief glimpse of the actual falls that is on the left side out of the frame but I stopped to take this shot of the spray and vapor flowing up the opposite side of the narrow valley that the heavy snow pack produced last spring. Even from this distance we could hear the roar of the falls. What a glorious place. 

 This is with my Fuji 100-400 lens

This is with my Fuji 100-400 lens

 Here it is with a short lens, about 75mm

Here it is with a short lens, about 75mm

Labor Day by Dave Hileman

This is the odd holiday. Most folks simply celebrate the end of summer with hardly a thought to why we even have Labor Day. It became an official holiday in 1894. At that time most people still worked on farms but industrialization was rapidly taking over. Steel making, mining, ship building, cotton mills, iron works, railroads, wheel wrights, and building trades were all physically intensive tasks with long hours, few benefits, fewer rights and significant dangers. The organized labor movements were crucial in improving conditions eventually for workers generally. Now their value is more remembrance than necessity with the laws enacted in the land. But if you want to remember the value of hard work and the striking benefits accrued to us today, look at these small workbenches that were the backbone of innovation and invention. This one like countless others begat - with very hard work and tenacity - the vision of the owners, here the Wright Brothers' first airplane began. Read the book by White: "Wright Brothers." It is an astonishing American story. And enjoy your BBQ.

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Creativity by Dave Hileman

I took this photo at the Teton National Park several years ago. I did not like it. The weather that day was damp and usually raining, heavy clouds. Then for a brief time there was a bit of a break and we could see the mountains for the first time and I shot this. Never liked it. So the other day, for something different, I made it look more like a painting. I like it better just not sure how much. Thinking about creativity, what is more amazing than the creation itself?

"For the LORD is the one who shaped the mountains, stirs up the winds, and reveals his thoughts to mankind. He turns the light of dawn into darkness and treads on the heights of the earth. The LORD God of Heaven’s Armies is his name!" Amos 4:13 NLT

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On Top... by Dave Hileman

...of Old Smoky, actually. This is a shot from several years ago taken from the observation platform on Clingman's Dome in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 

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Silent Witness by Dave Hileman

This is the apex of the fighting at Gaines Mill. The Watt house was abandoned by the widow who lived here hours before the battle. She never returned from Richmond. https://www.nps.gov/rich/index.htm

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New Normal (2 photos) by Dave Hileman

This is not so much to decry what we have lost, after all, Lincoln, McKinley, Garfield and Kennedy were killed and other presidents shot and wounded while in office so there is no safe and secure time in the past even if  we felt more secure. No this is about how simply taking a photo, this of the "other side" of the White House, is more difficult today in many of the parks as more places are off-limits where you could once go. This is an extreme case. The chain barrier, then service vehicles, then concrete barriers, then emergency vehicles, then double fence, walkway now only for officials and a newly multi-barbed and higher fence. Lots of "stuff" in the way.  

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Drama Desk (2 photos) by Dave Hileman

American novelist Eugene O'Neill, Nobel laureate in Literature, wrote at this desk while he lived at Tao House, his home near Danville, CA. It was here he wrote: The Iceman Cometh, Long Day's Journey into Night, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. His personal life mirrored the tragic and difficult people he wrote about. His marriages and his children did not fare too well. The daughter, Oona, he disowned because at 18 she married the 54 year-old Charlie Chaplin, actually lived longer and more fruitful life than her two siblings both of whom committed suicide. The second photo is of the living room just off the den where he wrote. The home is beautiful in a idyllic setting and a far cry from the lives lived here. It is a National Park site but rarely visited. There were 3971 visitors for 2017 the year we were there.

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Welcome Landmark by Dave Hileman

Scotts Bluff (usually with no apostrophe) in Western Nebraska was one of the primary waypoints on the Oregon and Mormon trails. Rising steeply 800 feet over the Platte River, it was an important guide and point of reference as the pioneers needed to be over the Rocky Mountains before winter, this aided them by knowing arrival here beyond a certain date they likely would not make it that year. The road up makes this sweeping curve and then through a tunnel. At the base you can walk beside ruts from the thousands of wagons that made this journey west. 

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