Martie (Martha) Davis MarthaDavis2@me.com (317) 373-8830

Our trip of 26 days and 4,079 miles was a wonderful experience: We were in awe of the beauty we discovered. Sometimes the wild isolation of special places provided humbling moments of deep solitude and personal contemplation.

POLLY: Last fall I knew the time had come for me to visit some of the great national parks of the west. I urged Wayne to accompany me but he declined; he especially enjoys activities here in Indianapolis. I then asked my best friend, Martie Davis (known to some as Martha), and it was no surprise that she accepted with great enthusiasm! For years Martie has been intrigued by the western parks, especially Glacier National Park. She is an avid reader and her deep knowledge of the areas we visited greatly enhanced our trip, which we have labeled Number One (Stay Tuned‼).

Our trip focused on three primary destinations: Badlands National Park in South Dakota, Yellowstone National Park (mostly) in Wyoming and Glacier National Park in Montana. Thanks to Martie’s clever navigation and planning we enjoyed visits to a number of additional National Park Service sites including the following:

  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in Iowa,
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota,
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota,
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Memorial in Montana,
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Montana,
  • Buffalo Bill Dam in Wyoming.
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

MARTIE: I am a perpetual student of photography; I typically produce a prolific output of images in order to study different imaging techniques. On this first trip to the National Parks of the west I took a significant number of photos that were completely accidental and easy to eliminate! About half of the remaining photos represented my experimental output – the work of the perpetual student! I really enjoyed exploring different image perspectives, lenses and other creative techniques that I had learned in the classroom but had never implemented. The parks we visited were ideal places that permitted this type of exploration! Polly and I reviewed the photos that eventually rose to the top selecting the best of the best to exhibit here. (aside, Polly: I know you will be stunned by some of the photos we have selected for you to enjoy. These reflect Martie’s skill as a professional photographer and a noteworthy artist!)

The Website

Martie: As we initially considered our website we believed that one of the free or cheap options for display of photos would entirely meet our needs. But, they simply didn’t work as I wanted. I was not sure where to turn next and sought advice from my friend, James George, CEO of Halogen Designs. James put me in touch with his colleague, Mamoon Rashid. Working collectively, magic happened! This has been a wonderful collaboration. These folks have designed the magnificent website that our trip truly deserves!

As we planned the content for this space we found that sometimes we wanted to share the stories behind the images. As text began to wrap around the photos it did not take long for us to realize that the website was emerging as a series of photo essays. We hope that this additional information – the back stories – will enhance your enjoyment!

Polly: Initially, our intent was to create a website to present our trip photos for our friends and family. But as we worked with the photos we enjoyed them so much we realized that we needed a place where Martie and I would be able to enjoy them, also. This decision opened up a much larger number of images that needed to be housed here. Therefore, you might find more photos here than you expected. We invite you to enjoy as many photos as you wish and to return to the website often!

Birding

POLLY: Our birding friends may be disappointed when they find no portfolio devoted to birds (although there is a Raven Album in the Fauna Portfolio). There are a number of reasons for this – the birds were hard to locate let alone see well enough to photograph. We did see a number of birds that we don’t have in Indiana. We especially enjoyed the Ravens who were our constant companions in all three of the parks we visited along with the very vocal Magpies. As well, we especially enjoyed the swallows and the waterfowl; the parks offered stellar opportunities to scope and study these wonderful birds! Life birds and others of special interest included:

  • Brewer’s Sparrow
  • Yellow-breasted Chat (MARTIE: my nemesis bird!)
  • Townsend’s Warbler
  • Northern Flicker – Red-shafted
  • Brewer’s Blackbird (many, many good looks)
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Golden Eagle
  • Varied Thrush
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Canvasback
  • Western Grebe
  • American Dipper
  • The plumage varieties of the Dark-eyed Junco

MARTIE: Remember that this was a road trip. Polly’s Acura, while a wonderful vehicle could only hold so much. I opted not to take the long lens, heavy-duty tripod and so forth needed to create good images for a Bird Photography Album. From the outset, I had decided that this would be a landscape extravaganza with flower and forest floor thrown in. As it turned out, my selection of camera gear also allowed me to concentrate on mammals – something I had never done before. I am not unhappy with the decisions I made.

Rainbow

MARTIE: Departing from Glacier had been a bitter sweet moment but we had enjoyed driving across the Short Grass Prairie and now we found ourselves traveling across the Wisconsin Dells. Throughout the trip home we had good “driving weather” with only a few brief showers. Suddenly we found ourselves heading into a “strange storm.” It was by no means dangerous: winds were gentle and the possibility of an electrical storm seemed remote. As we passed through rain and then sun and sunny skies with rain falling we were not surprised to see the rainbow that appeared on the driver’s side. We really wanted to enjoy the rainbow off the Interstate. But there were no exits for many miles and we had to travel with the flow (60 mph or a bit higher); traffic seemed rather heavy and the highway berm did not allow for a safe pull over. Polly was driving – a good thing as it allowed me to grab the camera. The speed of the car and the gentle motion of the interior posed challenges that I had never had to manage before. But I made a couple of intelligent changes to the camera settings, we rolled down the windows, I uttered a brief prayer and I fired away. Quite suddenly a second rainbow joined the first outside Polly’s window. We were enjoying these when we realized that the rainbow was passing directly over the car, terminating in plain sight out the passenger window.

POLLY: It was a poignant moment and a particularly fitting end to a wonderful trip: