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User / RobertCross1 (off and on)
Robert Cross / 1,575 items

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Blue skies, white clouds, green trees, and all that gray granite color the dramatic landscape along Yosemite's aptly named Panorama Trail.

Normally, I'd be out west by this time of the year. But the pandemic has forestalled that for now. In the meantime, I'll have to revisit previous trips virtually, living vicariously through my archives. Thanks very much for stopping by. I hope all is well with you and yours in this difficult time.

Tags:   A7rii Alpha CA California E-mount FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Half Dome ILCE-7RM2 Mariposa Panorama Trail Sierra Nevada Sierras Sony Tenaya Canyon Yosemite Yosemite National Park Yosemite Valley blue sky clouds flowers forest full frame granite hike hiking landscape mirrorless mountains trail trees valley wildflowers

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The Hood River Bridge, crossing the mighty Columbia River, connecting the towns of Bingen and White Salmon, Washington, with my hometown of Hood River, Oregon. Built in 1924, located 169 miles upriver from the Columbia's mouth, at a spot where the river averages about one mile wide, the bridge rises up from 20 piers which are used to support its total length of 4,418 ft (1,347 m). When closed, the vertical waterway clearance is 67 ft (20m). This increases to 148 ft (45 m) when the bridge is open at a river level of 75', which typically happens once or twice a month. At the back right of the image, rising up over the orchards and forests of the Hood River Valley, is Mount Hood, a potentially active volcano, which at 11,249 ft (3,429 m)  is the tallest mountain in Oregon.

Thanks very much for stopping by. I hope all is well with you and yours, wherever in the world you might be.

Tags:   12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 M.Zuiko Cascade Range Cascades E-M5 Hood River Hood River Bridge Mount Hood Mt Hood OM-D OR Olympus Oregon Pacific northwest WA Washington blue sky bridge clouds glacier landscape mirrorless mountain river snow trees volcano water

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One of my favorite birds in the Boston area: the humble blue jay. Growing up on the west coast, we just had steller's jays and scrub jays – both great birds, but neither nearly as colorful as this species. This is a still from 4k video shot with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 mkiii and the M.Zuiko 75-300mm lens.

Tags:   75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 M.Zuiko Boston Cyanocitta Cyanocitta cristata E-M5 mk III Franklin Park MA MFT Massachusetts Micro Four Thirds New England OM-D Olympus bird blue jay leaves mirrorless tree video still

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Wildflowers and patches of green gradually coming back to retake the landscape devastated from the massive eruptions of Mt. St. Helens in the early 1980s. The largest of these, on May 18, 1980, was "the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in US history. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanche, triggered by an earthquake of magnitude 5.1, caused a lateral eruption that reduced the elevation of the mountain's summit from 9,677 ft (2,950 m) to 8,363 ft (2,549 m), leaving a 1 mile (1.6 km) wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles (2.9 km3) in volume. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for the eruption's aftermath to be scientifically studied." [Wikipedia]

Thanks very much for stopping by, and for your continued kind comments and favorites – they are greatly appreciated.

Tags:   12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 M.Zuiko Cascade Range Cascades E-M5 Gifford Pinchot National Forest Loowit Mt St Helens Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument OM-D Olympus Pacific northwest Skamania WA Washington blue sky clouds flowers landscape logs mirrorless mountain snow volcanic volcano wildflowers Johnston Ridge

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'On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an Independence Day celebration and asked, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" Douglass was a powerful orator, often traveling six months out of the year to give lectures on abolition. His speech was delivered at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. It was a scathing speech in which Douglass stated, "This Fourth of July is yours, not mine, You may rejoice, I must mourn."

In his speech, Douglass acknowledged the Founding Fathers of America, the architects of the Declaration of Independence, for their commitment to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness":

“Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too, great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory….

Douglass states that the nation's founders are great men for their ideals for freedom, but in doing so he brings awareness to the hypocrisy of their ideals with the existence of slavery on American soil. Douglass continues to interrogate the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, to enslaved African Americans experiencing grave inequality and injustice:

"…Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?"

"...Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the 'lame man leap as an hart.'

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn...".'

And this remarkable orator, intellectual, and abolitionist went further, to indicate that the great work of bettering this country would not require simple kind words and platitudes, but rather hard work and likely bitter conflict, with what I find to be some of the most poignant words ever written by one of our greatest Americans:

"For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake."

So please join with me in celebrating the remarkable achievements that we commemorate on this day, while also recognizing the work left to be done, and the people who have so often been left out, in part or in full, from the liberties and achievements so celebrated.

Happy July Fourth, everyone!

Tags:   40-150mm f/4-5.6 M.Zuiko Batsford Cotswold Falconry Centre Cotswolds E-M5 England Europe Frederick Douglass Gloucestershire Independence Day July 4th OM-D Olympus UK USA bald eagle bird blue sky clouds


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