Posted by: mindycambiar | July 22, 2013

Greenland, Part 1

Narsarsuaq, Greenland! Land of blue ice, glaciers, fjords, green mountains, wildflowers of pink, yellow, white and purple…..And now it is also known to be a land of giant swarms of mosquitos, impervious to the wind and anxious to enter every nostril, ear, mouth and eye that has entered their territory!




I think I am in love with the wildness, the remoteness, the hostel full of scientists from the University of Michigan and the University of Bristol, the two women who remind me of Hope, who is 85, trekking in search of wildflowers, the two men who stay outside in a tent, make necklaces and speak Spanish, the strange ceremony we witnessed on the first night involving a man with a cardboard sword and many medals, and yes, even the extremely expensive grocery store full of frozen and canned goods, with its secret room full of wilting fresh vegetables that almost requires a password to get into.





The hike to the “parking lot” on a paved road is 3 kilometers from the hostel. Then a walk on gravel, mud and rocks to the base of the “hill” is another 4 kilometers, and at one point involves leaping from rock to rock to get across the stream, brook, river (depending on the time of year) to continue the journey. You must go 300 meters in height up a slope steep enough to have 2 inch diameter blue rope permanently attached as a helper at various points, and then down the other side another 300 meters, 4 more kilometers total, to get to the actual Kuussup Sermia Glacier. Then you must turn around and do it all over again to get back to your bed.





The rumor is that rain is coming tomorrow, with high wind and the possibility that one of our group will miss a flight to Iceland, causing a missed flight to NY, causing a missed flight to Michigan. Sometimes the trip insurance is worth the purchase price, as is the raincoat for the camera, even if it is funny looking.





At two of the dining room tables in the hostel, and in one of the bedrooms for four, glacial water is seen dripping through filters, beeping noises are heard, reminding me of a hospital room at night. The engineers and scientists talk about how they missed the first steps of a daughter, two years after missing the first steps of a son, or how one is the husband in Michigan of a wife in Illinois – both post-docs on a career path and hoping that one day they will both work in one place. The Danish language is mixed in with the American slang and the British inflections, the humans all waiting for the sun to go down for the three hours before the light comes back in full force….




Posted by: mindycambiar | June 14, 2012


Here’s a little tease ….


Have been oh so busy for the last month, getting ready to leave my house for the summer tenants, moving furniture and clothing up and down the stairs. Deciding what to pack became a joke of sorts, driving out west through 110 degree weather requires totally different attire than living on the top deck of a ferry to Alaska for 3 nights or being on a glacier for weeks. And I learned how hard it is to clean a house when your new, best (borrowed) friend is a shedding short-haired black dog!

Eventually, though, it did mostly all happen : truck packed – check, camera gear ready – check, tenant list ready for the property manager – constantly evolving, dog food purchased – um, no….

The plan? We, my daughter and I, were first going to drive like crazy to Oregon for my other daughters graduation, a week away. We went from Keene, NH to Toledo, Ohio the first day….that’s a lot of Ohio. And when I drive by myself I stop and go…if I see something to capture with my camera? I try to get it! Not so easy when you are traveling with people who don’t care about that stuff….so at some point you must reach a compromise, an agreement, that once in a while there has to be a stop for that photo op, and the rest of the time can be spent driving like maniacs!

Our second night was in Lincoln, Nebraska, which according to my friend Susan, is on the way to anywhere you are going in the USA, therefore, if you are driving anywhere you must stop! It’s a great plan, as long as you are not driving from say Maine to Florida, and sometimes I think I would stop in Lincoln during that trip too, just to see Susan and her puppies. It was a long day of driving, made better by a couple of hours respite in the morning to just hang out.

The “plan” was that we would have a little photography adventure in the Southwestern part of Wyoming, taking the “Scenic 50 Mile Wild Horse Loop” , a 23 mile long gravel road that leaves Rt 80, goes around Pilot Butte, and ends up back on Rt 80, then stop for the night in Rawlins, WY. The Wyoming Tourism Bureau has some beautiful photos and video of the wild horses and scenery in that part of the state, so I was excited.

We turned off the highway, and the elevation started rising. The dog and I both had our noses pressed to the window as we looked for wild ponies, or, in the case of the dog, chiselers (ground squirrels). We saw pile after pile of horse poop, as we drove up higher and closer to Pilot Butte…..


Then it happened….Sarah said,”Does that sound like a flat tire”? and yes, yes it did. The right rear tire was as flat as a pancake, 11.5 miles into our 23 miles of hard packed gravel road… least it was a very pretty spot to get stuck in…



Unbelievably, our cell phones worked! It always amazes me when the cell phones work in the middle of nowhere because I cant get service at my house!

And, I admit it, I was doing the Happy Dance when AAA answered the phone and said they would send someone out as soon as possible! The thought of changing the “giant” tire on an incline on a gravel road with a full truck and a mediocre jack was a little intimidating, doable, but intimidating!

The AAA fellow showed up in less that half an hour, and without much talking got right down to business. Tequila, the dog, had some fun exploring while the tire was being changed.


It wasnt until Mr. AAA, from Wild Card Towing in Green River, WY asked us for the truck keys that we heard him speak….and by the time we found the keys (almost 5 minutes later) I swear that he had a bit of a grin on his face, and I wondered how much of his business came from tourists driving on the dirt roads!  He checked out the tire, and proclaimed it a lost cause, but declared that we would make it on the full size spare to our next stop, IF WE WERE CAREFUL!!

As the lug nuts were being tightened he told us that there were only three wild horses on the Wild Horse Loop, he had seen them on the way up to rescue us. My ears perked up then! Which way???

Here are some of the shots from our drive back to Rt 80 on the last 11.5 miles of the Loop, and, by the way, we saw 4 wild horses! Many thanks go out to Wild Card Towing and AAA for helping me catch a few nice ones!











That was a blast! I could have followed them around all day, but we had to get going….After Rawlins, we stopped in Boise, a beautiful city that I now want to go back to! Then Eugene! We made it on our first leg and one flat tire!

Posted by: mindycambiar | January 14, 2011

A Snowy NH Yard….

I had so much fun this last week going to my friends’, Leona and Marshall, house. They have lived here for maybe 20 years, and have gone to the dump, yard sales and the treasure piles of neighbors in a quest to fill up their yard and garden with some eclectic and beautiful treasures. On a cold, crisp day this week, before we got the additional 2 feet of snow, I spent several hours in their yard with my camera. It was a joyful several hours, learning about the blue bottles, the frogs, the baby carriages, the old metal chairs, and, especially, the barn. Marshall has gone away this weekend for a cross country ski adventure – he is 90. Leona  is 81, and has just undergone a battle with cancer and a fusion of her ankle bones…..these two people are truly “the salt of the earth”. When, if, I ever grow up, I want to emulate them. They still protest things they don’t believe in, they still question authority, they still have a zest for life and living that I rarely see in younger people.

And then? When I was editing these photos – I had the opportunity to use new software….and I have been smiling and jumping up and down all day! What fun to show something the way it felt to me instead of the way only the camera could see it! Love it!

Hope you all do as well……

Be well in 2011!

Posted by: mindycambiar | November 4, 2010

Internal Clocks

Sunrise is that mysterious time of day when Mother Nature shows her beauty to those people who can roll out of bed, pull on some clothes, and get outside in whatever weather there is with their eyes open. I have been a night owl, not an early bird, for most of my life, so imagine my surprise at getting up so early that it was still dark, driving an hour and then watching the sun come up through the mists and mountains. It was breathtakingly beautiful – pink, orange, purple, gold, with a little nip in the air and swirling mist rising all around me. There I was, tripod and camera in hand, wandering around looking for the perfect spot to take photographs from. I must have been dazed from being up so early, I couldn’t figure out where to set up my equipment….and time was getting short. I couldn’t get the song “She’ll be coming round the mountain” out of my head. Feeling that I was getting grouchy for being so UNINSPIRED first thing in the morning, I decided to simply stop right where I was and set up the tripod. I worried a bit that I wouldn’t get any shots that pleased me, a reflection of my inability to focus on my surroundings. Then I just started clicking the shutter button. Too soon, that civil twilight period was over and the sun rose above the hills changing the look of all that was around me.

After looking at some of the shots from that morning, I knew that early morning was going to become one of my favorite times of day to shoot in nature. I just need to recalibrate my internal alarm clock!

Posted by: mindycambiar | October 15, 2010

The Bison Range

Being back at a job has given me limited opportunity to work on my photography and blogging. I finally had a few hours to look at some of the Bison Range photos from when I was in Montana in August, and decided to share some with you.

The class at Rocky Mountain School of Photography was entitled ” The Business of Nature Photography”, and was taught by Darrel Gulin, with Forrest Woodward as his assistant. It was a splendid way to spend a week, meet some new photographers, and hang out with some of last years fellow students; Shad Pipes, Steve Casey, Richard Cornelius and EFer James Thompson. It was inspiring to see the work they have all accomplished since last October! The class had three different off campus locations to photograph, sunrise at the National Bison Range is where these shots were taken. We also went to Phillipsburg for an evening shoot and to the Lee Metcalf Preserve for a misty, ethereal sunrise, which I hope to post some pictures of soon!

I was mostly hand-holding the 400 lens, and have nothing but the greatest admiration for Darrel now, after watching him heft the 800 lens as if it weighed nothing. After hearing him say that pictures of bunnies were very good sellers, we spent a little time searching in vain for the ears of a jackrabbit….but actually got close in to the little chipmunk without her or him running off!

I am off to hang photos at the Keene Fall Festival, in Jason Koerber’s Music Studio! Hopefully people will wander down there from the big Pumpkin Festival to see some art, hear some live music and visit with some live alpacas tomorrow!

Posted by: mindycambiar | August 4, 2010

Learning curves…

I have been totally in denial about how long it has been since I posted to my blog, what a surprise to discover the last one was in June…Time is flying by, and I keep learning more and more about photography and the process by which one might sell it.

Several of my matted and framed pieces, along with a few canvas wraps hung for the month of July at my very favorite coffee shop, Prime Roast, in Keene, NH. It was fabulous to walk in for a coffee and have someone say to me, “I love the Summer Grove canvas” or “Where did you find the horses in “Before the Rodeo”…it was habit forming really, it almost got to the point where I wanted to hang out in the coffee shop and listen for potential compliments more than I wanted to go shoot more photos!

Thank goodness for Abby. She sent me an email asking if I would please come to her house and take pictures of a party honoring her brother, Dick Ober, who was just named the new President of the NH Charitable Foundation. The family and I go way back, so even though I was filled with trepidation at the prospect of an outdoor (read wicked sunlight) late afternoon party (meaning candid shots mostly) I found my trusty 580ex flash and prepared myself to shoot with it come what may.

Of course, the batteries died about 10 minutes after I arrived. All the extra batteries in my bag and in the house were dead. This is why I am so happy I arrived an hour early. Nerves of rubber can be a very good thing. I went to the convenience store around the corner, purchased batteries and photographed tomatoes on a plate, and little appetizers, wine bottles set up on a table, trying to prepare for the people about to arrive. Using the external flash is something I need to do on a more regular basis…..

And arrive they did. Many congratulations go out to Dick – what a great guy for the big job he has ahead. Shooting candids turned into asking people to lean in a little, or actually pose a bit…  Here are a few of the pics from that day!

Posted by: mindycambiar | June 8, 2010

Returning to Pillsbury

Ten days later Jon and I returned to Pillsbury State Park, a follow-up visit to check on the owlets. Things were different at the park; the gate was unlocked and we had to pay to go in, which also meant that we had cut a mile or more off the walk in each direction. While Jon went in the office to pay, I started getting the 100-400 lens on the camera. I was so excited to see if the owls had gotten old enough to start learning how to fly! Jon came back out and said that no one else had told the park staff about the owls, and we may have been the only people who had seen them in person.

We walked in to Bacon Pond, passing tents and campers and people on the way. Pillsbury SP is a popular camping and fishing spot, and it fills up as soon as the gate opens after Memorial Day. The Lady Slippers were in their last wisps of bloom, the grass was much taller, and the rain we had over several days made for more mud.

At the pond, we paused at the first spot the nest could be seen from, which was too far away for any clear pictures. After a few minutes looking through the lens and the binoculars we couldn’t tell if the owlets were in the nest or not, in fact we couldn’t even get focused in on the nest. We kept walking – Jon was saying things like “watch out for the tripping snakes”, and “keep your eyes open for moose”. When we got to the clearing next to the water I set up the tripod and camera and looked through the lens……at a decimated nest with no owls in it. Oh no. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, or wasnt seeing to be more exact. After the both of us went back and forth looking through binoculars and camera, we gave a sad sigh – no owls in that not-nest.

We did see movement in the nest beyond however, and started speculating…maybe the parents had tried to give a flying lesson and only gotten to the next nest, or to the woods, but why would the first nest be destroyed, well maybe it was a fisher cat or a weasel or a raccoon. It was much more difficult to focus on the nests that were further away, but when we finally were able to see the heads poking up, it turned out that two nests had baby Blue Herons in them, no owls. We were lucky enough to see the Papa Heron feeding the babies in one of the nests, amidst great chattering.

Remainder of the Nest

Lady Slipper

Baby Herons

Papa Heron with Baby

Baby Herons

In the Woods

Windmills and Herons

Prehistoric Looking Baby Herons

Papa Heron Looking at Windmill

Last of the Lady Slippers

I guess we will never know what happened to the owlets…..and I guess 10 days was too long to stay away.

Posted by: mindycambiar | June 1, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side

Last week my friend Jon took me on a walk at Pillsbury State Park here in New Hampshire. He had gone there on the previous two Tuesdays and wanted to return again to check on the baby owls he had discovered. When he first saw them Jon wasnt sure what kind of baby birds were in the nest..he could only see downy heads peeking up over the rim, and no mom or dad around. The dead tree with the nest at the top is in the middle of Bacon Pond, surrounded by other dead trees with nesting blue herons. Being a lover of local wildlife, Jon went to a biologist friend and asked him what kind of birds “borrowed” blue heron nests to hatch their eggs in, and learned that this was a common practice of Great Horned Owls!

Jon’s second visit to the nest confirmed that the parents were taking good care of the two owlets, as they were big enough to be seen over the nest. While he was there,  Mother Owl came by with some food for the babes, but spotted Jon and flew right on by and landed in the woods…and didnt come out while he was there.

On my visit last week, Jon and I parked near the entrance gate (NH’s Parks didn’t open until yesterday) and trekked in the 2.5-3 miles to the pond. It was such a hot day, almost 92 degrees, and the black flies and mosquitos were having a feast on us until we broke down and sprayed with the deet. Jon offered to play sherpa and carried the tripod, which was great! The walk was well worth it – the owlets were still too young to fly, but so big that we could see them watching us. There was a nice breeze blowing at the edge of the water, keeping us cool enough to stay there for almost 3 hours – taking pictures and hoping that Mom would come by while we waited. For the first time I wished that I had a bigger lens – the 100 -400 at 400 was perfect for focusing on the tree, but not quite long enough for the owls if they switched positions.

Mom never did come back to the nest while we were there, darn it. But, I hope to get back there one day this week, it may be the last chance to see them again before they learn to fly!

Baby Owls 1

Baby Owls 2

Pillsbury State Park

Baby Owls 3

The Sherpa

Baby Owls 4


Posted by: mindycambiar | May 12, 2010

Holly’s Beach

On the way to New Orleans we looked at the map and saw this loop off of Interstate 10….”One of the 20 most scenic drives in the USA”. It was about 180 miles long, start to finish, and went from the Interstate down to the Gulf of Mexico Coast through several wildlife preserves and then along the oceanfront.

Well, we had some time available so we decided to park the RV at the Slidell, Louisiana RV Park, unhooked the car and drove around the loop. We had a few surprises along the way! The Cameron Wildlife Preserve was very cool – gators and birds everywhere, including walking across the dirt road in front of me. Every time I got out of the car to take a picture I looked for gators first. If I heard any noises coming from the tall grasses I jumped back in the car…Sarah was laughing at me for sure….but you know, I really don’t want to lose a part to a gator….seems really unhealthy.

When we arrived at the Ferry Crossing, which wasnt on the map, we were glad that we had the car and not the RV – although coming in from the other side were a few big trucks, so maybe we could have taken the RV on the ferry. It cost $1.00 to cross – and the man next to us in the pick-up told us that it has always been a ferry crossing, there has never been a bridge, because it would have to be built so high to let boats through that it wouldn’t be cost-effective. He also said that he wasnt so sure about our little jaunt being on the 20 most scenic drives in America, as every single house in Holly’s Beach (the next town) had been wiped out, along with 1/2 a mile of shoreline, during Katrina, Rita and Ike.He said it was now starting to be inhabited again, 4 years later, but there were still a lot of RV campers, and no stores or restaurants for miles and miles. There are still a lot of land and insurance disputes going on.

We saw strewn debris everywhere, upside down boats and cars, pilings that used to have houses on them, some new houses, and finally we came across two flags flapping in the wind, one with a picture of a shrimp, and the other with a crawfish. Hmm, we thought, maybe there IS

a restaurant…. We pulled in at Meaux’s, only to discover that they sold uncooked shrimp and crawfish only. The fellows who worked there told us that the BP oil fiasco was about to devastate the Gulf Coast fishing industry…but they would happily sell us some shrimp, crab or crawfish and we could cook it when we got home. How about the name of a good seafood place to eat? Ahh, go to the Boiling Point in Sulphur they said. Which was back on Interstate 10. And it was delicious…3 lbs of boiled, spicy crawfish, a bowl of gumbo and some “A-2-Fay” later we were ready to go back to the RV and sleep…

Posted by: mindycambiar | May 11, 2010

Texas Tease

April 26th…day of reckoning for me and Ms Zola Zimmermann. That is my Allegro Motorhome’s name. She deserves a big name, as she has a lot of personality. And, this was to be our first trip “alone” so to speak.  I had Rita and Chuck with me for the run from Morgan Hill, CA to San Antonio, TX, and they both drove as much as I did. My daughter Sarah, who just moved back to the US, planned on riding with me from Texas to NH, via Michigan, but she has yet to drive a 28′ long, bus-like, motorized vehicle pulling a Toyota Yaris… maybe sometime soon.

Now that the wedding is over and the honeymoon begun, we are on our way to Montgomery, TX, where my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Hank live. I have only met this set of relatives a few times in my life. Hank is my mom’s brother, and he and his family (four kids) moved to Texas when I was about 6 or 7, and because money was tight for all concerned, long distance travel was out of the question. It also was not practical for them to travel from the Houston area to San Antonio for the wedding, due to health limitations, so Sarah and I decided to call them as we passed by, and were very happy to accept a dinner invitation.

Getting out of San Antonio was a breeze. There was relatively no traffic when we left, rush hour was over and since we had driven around a fair bit in the car we had an idea of what direction we were heading in. According to local photographers the Blue Bonnets had been blooming for a couple of weeks; the Indian Paintbrush, Oriental Poppies and Bellybuttons (I don’t know what their real name is, this is what Chuck called ‘em) had also begun to bloom in the Hill Country from Fredericksburg to Brenham. We stopped at a few roadside picnic areas to try to capture a few memories. One of the BEST roadside sights was of an old car rusting away in a sea of wildflowers – unfortunately it was on a part of Route 10 that only had two lanes and no shoulder to pull over onto for a picture.

My confidence in my ability to keep the RV between the lines grew with every mile.  Well, that is, until we got to the loops around Houston, when we were surrounded by 18-wheelers on all sides, and there were 12 lanes of traffic. Then I spotted the toll booths….and turned whiter than I already am. Sarah said, “haven’t you driven through a toll booth before?” Sure, in the car, or even in the little Class C camper…but not in a contraption that’s 10.5 feet wide, 12 (?) feet tall,

42 feet long and weighs 27,000 pounds!  Guess what? It was fine….I stayed to the far right with the BIG BOYS and went through no problem, then of course, had to get into the far left lane to get onto the right road…

We found a KOA campground a few miles from my aunt and uncle, got escorted to our site next to Spangles and Daisy Mae, the RVing Clowns for Jesus, God Rules! They had a cute little Smart Car and puppy that Tequila barked at a lot. After dinner with Hank and Barbara we decided to stay in the area one more night, and drive out towards Brenham where BBQ, wildflowers, antiques and (surprise!) wineries could be found along the Blue Bonnet Trail. We also got invited back for dinner a second night, but had to agree to not take any pictures of aging relatives. L .  So instead here are some pictures from the eastern Texas part of our trip…

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