Last year we visited Sanford Zoo to see their spectacular Asian Lantern Festival; in fact it was so good we went twice last year – and last night we returned, taking friends with us. Amazingly we saw almost no repeat designs from last year, with everything different but just as spectacular as our previous visit – and here of course, are lots of photos …
A number of the “lanterns” are animated (some even interact, responding to banging drums nearby!) so here’s a video compilation of some of the moving displays:
One reason for visiting Iceland in the winter was the hope to see the Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights; Margaret had an app reporting good solar activity so we were hopeful, though we something like 300 cloudy days per year in Iceland, we were gambling a little. We figured maybe we’d have to drive a long ways but with ten days to try, there was a hope at least …
Our first chance was November 26 after driving maybe 15 minutes from our hotel to get to somewhere with no street lights. But then the next night was better, and the night after that was better still – all we had to do that night was step outside from our hotel room!
So here’s a selection of the better aurora photos (all of them just using iPhone 12 handheld!):
I also took a couple videos again with iPhone 12; for this first video I used the timelapse feature over a couple minutes and was amazed just how good it came out for handheld!
On the last night from the hotel patio, the aurora brightness was so good and movement so rapid that I took a realtime video (again handheld iPhone) … while sometimes the aurora seems to be stationary but changes if you check every minute or so, in this moment the movement was changing continuously and obviously!
Some 60 miles drive from the south entrance to the north, got us immediate sighting of two Bison right at the entrance – and many more through the park! But the highlight here is a geological feature called Cannonball Concretions which are amazing and well worth the long drive up from Medora!
While we were at the concretions, a small herd of Bison came out of the long grass and passed us, across the parking lot and then the road, heading off into meadows below us! Separated from the cars we and another family stood quietly up on the hill of the concretions and watched them all go by – I video’ed the event: