Tuesday

Daytrip - Las Vegas Attractions

Zip Line001Visiting company this past week provided me with the opportunity to make couple of daytrips to the Strip. If you’re looking for something to do without traveling too far, the Strip offers dozens of activities. Even though we’ve been to the attractions at Bellagio many times over the past several years, they are always changing them, making for completely new experiences. The first attraction we visited was the new exhibit, Chinese New Year – Year of the Goat, at Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Garden. We then combined this visit with the “Fabergé Revealed” exhibit currently being held at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA). After a great lunch at the “Wicked Spoon Buffet” inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino (Wicked Spoon), we then took a tour of CityCenter’s often overlooked 40 million dollar art collection, CityCenter Fine Art Collection. Finally, we drove over to the RIO for a ride on its new ZipLine located at the rooftop VooDoo Lounge,  Voodoo ZipLine. If you are looking for even more to do, don’t forget the highest Ferris wheel in the world, The Las Vegas High Roller, focal point of Linq, the $550-million dollar outdoor retail, dining and entertainment plaza across from Caesars, or the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, 15 acres filled with lush foliage imported from around the world with more than 300 birds, swans, ducks, turtles and koi, and Chilean flamingos. Venturing towards the Downtown area there are several more opportunities, including the Downtown Container Park,  the The Neon Museum, and a tour of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Depending upon how you mix and match any of these visits, and how much walking you want to do between locations, they can provide several days worth of unique entertainment. Oh, by the way, if you’re looking for a great place to relax and enjoy a couple of drinks and some great appetizers while discussing your adventures, you can’t beat the happy hour at the Stratosphere's 107 Lounge. With a 360-degree view of the city and half-priced appetizers and drinks between 4:00 to 7:00 pm, it’s hard to beat.
 

Thursday

2014 Year in Review - Landscapes/Panoramas

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My Thanks to the Henderson Heritage Parks 50+ Rec Center and my sometimes hiking partner, Harvey Smith, for making this page possible. The link below will take you to a post that contains a selection of 52 panoramas/landscapes that I captured in 2014. Though they represent only a small handful of the thousands of pictures taken, I hope you feel that many of them are worthy of this second look. Some of the locations may be easily recognizable, others not so much. As you scroll down through the images see how many locations you can recognize. 2014 Landscapes and Panoramas

Wednesday

Daytrip – Gold Butte

EP-P1090351On 01/09 Harvey Smith and I made yet another trip to the Gold Butte Region, this time to visit the ghost town of Gold Butte. On the drive down to the Gold Butte townsite, way we made stops at Whitney Pocket and at Devil’s Throat. As a result of this visit, I ended up creating the following three new pages: Whitney Pocket, Devil's Throat, and Gold Butte Townsite. You can also find links to each of these, as well as information on other Gold Butte areas, by visiting my summary page titled, Daytrip - Gold Butte Back Country Byway.

Friday

Index for Category – Artworks and Sculptures - Collections, Exhibits & Installations

This page last updated on 03/24/2018
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Because it would be difficult to show all the sculptures and artwork exhibits/installations I have visited or been witness to, I have attempted to highlight what I feel are some of the best examples of the installations that can be found city-wide. The following links for sculptures and artworks below are listed first by the artist name and then by work title


SCULPTURES:
     Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen Installation "2009 - Typewriter Eraser" at Mandarin Oriental  
     
Dale Chihuly Installation "Fiori di Como" and "Mirror Tiled Horse" at Bellagio
     Francois-Xavier Lalanne Installation "Tourterelle 1997" at Aria   
     Henry Moore Installation “Reclining Connected Forms” at Aria
 
     Isa Genzken Installation "Rose II, 2007" Outside Crystals   
     Jun Kaneko Installations "Untitled (Dango), Untitled (Triangle Dango)" at Mandarin Oriental
 
     Masatoshi Izumi Installation "Cactus Life – Living with the Earth, 2007 – 2008" at Mandarin Oriental                 Maya Lin Installation "Silver River 2009" at Aria
     
Nancy Rubin Installation "Big Edge" at City Center 
     Tim Bavington Installation "Pipe Dream Fanfare (for the common man)" at Symphony Park
     Tony Cragg Installations "Bolt, 2007, Bent of Mind, 2009, Untitled 2009" at Aria
     
WET Design Intallation "Glacia" at The Shops at Crystals
     WET Design Installation "Halo" at Crystals
     WET Design Installation "Latisse" at Aria
ARTWORKS:   
     Andy Warhol Exhibit at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
     Antony Gormley Installation "Feeling Material XXVIII, 2007" at Aria
     Eric Jiaju Lee Installation "The Moment of Yuanfen 1" at Mandarin Oriental 
     Frank Stella Installation "Damascus Gate Variation I, 1969" at Vdara Hotel 
     Jack Goldstein Installation "Untitled (Volcano)" Mandarin Oriental  
     Jeffrey Doze Green Installation "Crossroads of Humanity" at Aria Tram Stations    
     Peter Carl Fabergé Exhibit "Faberge Revealed" at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
     Peter Wegner Installation "Day for Night, Night for Day, 2009" at Vdara   
     Richard Long Installations "Circle of Chance” & "Earth" at Veer Towers
     Robert Rauschenberg Installation "Lucky Dream" at Vdara   
     Tatsuo Miyajima Installation "HOTO" at Crystals

 MISC ARTWORKS & SCULPTURES:
     CityCenter Fine Art Collection
     The Smith Center for the Performing Arts
     The Lion King Theater at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV

Thursday

CityCenter Fine Art Collection

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This page last updated on 12/27/2017
City Center Buildings
(Fig. 01)
CityCenter Fine Art Collection: CityCenter itself is a $9.2 billion dollar, 16,797,000-square-foot mixed-use, urban complex on 76 acres located on the Las Vegas Strip that was once the largest single construction site in the world. Completed in 2009, it houses Aria, a 4,004 Resort & Casino; Crystals, a 500,000 square foot retail and entertainment district; Mandarin Oriental, a 392 room hotel; Vdara, a 1,495 room hotel-condo tower; Veer Towers, two 37-story condominium towers; and The Harmon (Fig. 01). It is so big, it is impossible to capture a single show of all its building without using aerial photography. While its architecture can be considered a work of art on its own, there are dozens of art pieces located inside and around its stunning exterior. These paintings, sculptures and large-scale installations, collectively called the CityCenter Fine Art Collection, are the first major permanent art collection in Las Vegas to be included in a public space. It includes works by more than a dozen acclaimed artists and sculptors including Maya Lin, Jenny Holzer, Nancy Rubins, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Frank Stella, Henry Moore and Richard Long, among others.
                              
CC Fine Art Tour Map
(Fig. 02)
CC Fine Art Tour Map-2
(Fig. 03)
01/12/2015 Visit Notes: My friend Jim Herring and I decided to take a walking tour of the CityCenter Fine Art Collection. There are two ways to find your way around; download a PDF Walking Tour Brochure [CityCenter Fine Arts Brochure](Figs. 2 & 3) or download the CityCenter Fine Art Collection app. The brochure shows both a full tour and a shortened 45-minute tour (Fig. 3), depending upon how much time you have. There are fifteen giant works of art and about 10 smaller, lesser works scattered throughout its 67 acres, making the viewing experience, without the benefit of signs, something like wandering through a private, eclectic estate. Either way plan on doing a fair amount of walking. Unfortunately, the weather was quite raw and windy on today’s visit and we decided to cut our tour short and come back another day for more. Here are pictures and a brief description for some of the works that I photographed on today’s visit as well as some from a previous visit back in March of 2010. The works below are listed in no particular order and are numbered according to the Walking Tour Map above.
                                         
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(Fig. 04)
(#15) Nancy Rubin's - "Big Edge", 2009 - Harmon Circle at CityCenter: Perhaps one of the largest and certainly most colorful works is Nancy Rubin’s “Big Edge”(Fig. 04). She is a sculptor and artisan that is famous for her grandiose works created from salvaged and industrial consumer goods. With the creation of "Big Edge", she has created a colorful composition of numerous aluminum rowboats, canoes and other small river and ocean vessels finessed into an eye-catching, gravity-defying form the artist calls “a blooming flower.”  At 51 x 75 x 57 feet, these stainless steel and aluminum water vessels, sitting in a traffic circle behind Aria it is cantilevered over Vdara’s main drive. I feel that it is one of the most visually stunning commissions at CityCenter. The boats are connected with thousands of pounds of stainless steel wire cable that forms a web-like structure. Each of the nearly 200 canoes were precisely placed according to Rubins’ direction based on its color, shape and structural contribution to the whole. Each of the reclaimed craft are showcased in the piece exactly as originally found. The commission is located on the exterior of Vdara Hotel & Spa and is one of Rubins’ few works with a permanent home.
                                                  
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(Fig. 05)
(#2) Maya Lin’s – “Silver River” 2009, ARIA Hotel & Casino Registration Desk:  Maya is considered one of the most important artists of the 21st century. Her remarkable body of work maintains a careful balance between art and architecture, including many large-scale, site-specific installations, intimate studio artworks and architectural works and memorials.  She became famous for her design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and is well known for contemporary land sculptures and interior art installations that encourage environmental consciousness. The concept of the sculpture came from the spirit of CityCenter’s commitment to sustainability. ARIA is the world’s largest hotel to achieve a LEED Gold rating. Lin's “Silver River” sculpture (Fig. 05) was inspired by the boundaries and topography of the Colorado River as it carves the western desert landscape of the United States. It weighs 3,700 pounds, hangs from steel cables, slants horizontally and swells at two points of its winding journey - at Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Topographic steps provide a sense of volume to the body of water. In light of Nevada’s standing as “The Silver State,” Lin cast her creation in reclaimed silver. Elegant, graceful and floating before a panoramic window, it provokes contemplation. She had been quoted as saying, “I’m asking people to take a look at the natural world around them. You want to get people to think of rivers as an entire ecosystem. You want to talk about a river as a volume of water, as an object rather than a ‘flow.’ ”
                                                   
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(Fig. 06)
(#18) Doze Green – “Crossroads of Humanity”, 2009 - Bellagio and Monte Carlo Tram Station: Doze speaks in a unique creative voice from the collective consciousness-applying a symbolist approach to metaphysical concepts. His urban background and involvement in the early hip-hop/graffiti movement of NYC in the late 70’s, early 80’s, led him to transition from creating art in the streets and subways into the gallery setting. Green’s signature aesthetic combines stylized letterform and figurative abstraction. Using an art of mediums such as link, gouache, and metallic pigments with an evolved, organic cubist quality to his high-contrast fluid line work. The artist’s genealogy inspires many of the themes explored therein, influenced by ancient civilizations and indigenous cultures, including his own Afro-Caribbean roots. The totem-like human and animal figures in "Crossroads of Humanity" (Fig. 06) are conceptually based on various polytheistic deities. There divinities represent sentinel guardians of universal truths, immortal warriors warning mankind of the dangers contemporary society has manifested, looming on the horizon and threatening to destroy us.
                                        
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(Fig. 07)
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(Fig. 08)
(#6) Tony Cragg - “Bolt” 2007, “Bent of Mind” 2008, “Untitled” (Tall Column) 2008, - ARIA self-park Entry Lobby: On the northwest side of CityCenter’s Aria, near an escalator leading to the parking garage, are three polished metal sculptures that look like pooling streams suspended in midair. As a poet uses words on a page, sculptor Tony Cragg uses materials to search for new meaning, resulting in a grounded “poetry” that is at once rational and powerfully ethereal. Located within ARIA’s Self-Park Entry Lobby atrium are Cragg’s three towering columns - “Bolt” (Fig. 07), “Bent of Mind” and “Untitled” (Fig. 08) - that exemplify how the sculptor uses a material such as stainless steel to its fullest extent, pushing its boundaries while creating exceedingly graceful works of art with substantial presence. “Bolt,” a 10-foot-high stainless steel sculpture, swirls upward from its narrow base in an imaginative bolt of lightning; “Bent of Mind” gives the illusion of an elegant silhouette of a face, as do many of his other works; and “Untitled” (tall column) presents a smooth, curving dialogue. Cragg has been the recipient of numerous distinguished awards, including the Turner Prize (1988), Shakespeare Prize (2001) and Piepenbrock Prize for Sculpture (2002). His biomorphic, sculptural forms investigate the physics of materials, and spark a dialogue between man, material and the world.
                                         
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(Fig. 09)
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(Fig. 10)
(#1) Henry Moore - “Reclining Connected Forms” 1969-1974, In The Park between ARIA and Crystals: Henry Moore is one of the most celebrated sculptors of his time. Inspired by the fundamentals of the human experience - the primary theme of his life’s work - the sculpture (Figs. 09 & 10), made from Roman travertine marble, measures approximately 10 feet tall and 17 feet long by 7 feet deep, represents a baby wrapped in its mother’s embrace. The graceful outer shell of the sculpture depicts the changing shape of a pregnant figure as it protects the new life growing within. Moore’s work was traditionally inspired by the human body, organic shapes found in nature and the sculpture of ancient and exotic cultures such as Egypt, Sumeria, Africa and pre-Columbian Mexico. Surrealism, the modern European art and literary movement with a tendency toward abstract forms, also was a major influence. Moore was given his first major retrospective abroad in 1946 by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He won the International Prize for Sculpture at the Venice Biennale in 1948.
                                          
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(Fig. 11)
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(Fig. 12)
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(Fig. 13)
(#4, #10 & #11) WET – “Focus” – ARIA Portico, “Glacia” & “Halo” Inside Crystals: These are three of WET’s five water features created especially for CityCenter. WET is a company that has a long history with MGM Resorts International's more animated developments, such as the Fountains of Bellagio and The Mirage Volcano, the company was commissioned to create experiential features in a completely different manner than ever before.

Along Aria’s outer entrance circle rises Focus (Fig. 11), an expansive, 270-foot-long, 24 foot tall, curved water wall made of highly textured gray slate tiles from India that are shaped in a diamond cut. Focus emphasizes the ever-changing, choreographed patterns that effortlessly sweep across the immense length and height of the wall. The fountain is completely programmable and the engineers can control the speed and direction that the water runs. The water falls into a pool at the bottom that is only an eighth of an inch deep.The all-enveloping water flow creates an ocean-like timbre that calms the area leading to ARIA’s lobby.

At the entrance to Crystals, Glacia (Fig. 12) is a feature that includes 13 large pillars of carved ice that emerge from a pool of water. As each column rises from the control room below, it is carved into a different pattern, which means the feature will never look the same twice. The highest column rises 15 feet and the columns can be one to two feet in diameter. A chilled rod inside the column keeps the ice frozen for long periods of time and once they are melted, a new column is frozen, which can take up to 13 hours. WET can control how clear the ice is depending on how much air is blown into it, resulting in ice that is sometimes crystal clear and sometimes crackled or a frosty white. As each ice monument rises, it is carved at water level into intricate, three-dimensional patterns. Colored lighting combines with the varied ice clarities -- sometimes crystal clear, sometimes frosty white-- to produce a visual experience that never repeats itself.

Halo (Fig. 13) materializes as a series of spinning vortices of water held captive within clear cylinders that thrust up through the floor. There are 20 above-ground tubes and 30 windows underfoot that allow people to watch the water underneath. The lighting on the feature changes colors and was designed to allow people to be able to walk through and get an up-close view of the water. Sloped, as though about to fall, the swirling water appears caught in constant struggle to right itself with its inherent sense of verticality. These swirls of color serve as a main focal point of the atrium.
                                                
EFP-IMG_4435
(Fig. 14)
Robert Rauschenberg - "Lucky Dream", 1999 - Vdara’s lobby: Over the course of his career he created a wide variety of early works that anticipated the pop art movement. By 1962, his paintings were beginning to incorporate not only found objects but found images as well, transferred to canvas by means of the silkscreen process. Silk-screening allowed him to address the multiple reproducibility of images, and the consequent flattening of experience that implies. In this respect, his work is contemporaneous with that of Andy Warhol. Rauschenberg is frequently cited as an important forerunner of American Pop Art. Also a noted photographer, he utilized his own photography in these silkscreen works, taken during a lifetime of travels. His technique of juxtaposing disconnected images with distinctive character presents what the artist has self-described as working with the “gap between art and life.” On loan from Bellagio, LLC. Rauschenberg's 'Lucky Dream’ (Fig. 14) features found images such as a trophy, Asian cranes and tigers and the Sistine Chapel.

2015 Year In Review – Landscapes/Panoramas

Landscapes and Panoramas Shot During 2015: This post contains a selection of XX panoramas/landscapes that I captured over the past 12 months of hiking. Some of these locations may be easily recognizable, others not so much. As you scroll down through the images see how many locations you can recognize. Note: Placing your curser over an image will bring up a title bar indicating where the picture was taken. Also, don’t forget that you can enlarge a picture for better viewing by clicking on it. You can then use your browser's back button to return back to this page.
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Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Garden – Chinese New Year (2015)

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(Fig. 01)
Once again, visiting company was a great excuse to go down and see the newest exhibit at Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden, titled “Chinese New Year, Year of the Goat”. The Chinese calendar runs in a 12-yearly cycle, with each year in that cycle represented by a different animal. According to Chinese astrology, people share personality traits with the zodiac animal of the year of their birth. In the last 100 years, the Year of the Goat has fallen on 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 and 2003. It is the eighth sign of the Chinese zodiac; the number eight in Chinese is an auspicious one, symbolizing peace and prosperity. According to Chinese astrology, Goats are gentle, mild-mannered souls. They are shy, kind-hearted, compassionate and charming. Goats are the most creative signs, which is lucky, as business is not really their strong point. You will most likely find a Goat working as an artist, writer or craftsman. On the other end of the scale, Goats are quite the worriers. They can be pessimistic, indecisive, moody and insecure; they need to feel loved and protected. This exhibit will be on display from Jan. 9 to March 1. Be sure to visit early in the day to encounter the fewest people possible and get the best pictures.
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(Fig. 02)
Even though they do use some things over, such as the Chinese boy in (Fig. 02) above, their display is always new. The backdrop with all of the Chinese lanterns makes for an awesome display of color. The large display of Chinese Pagodas (Fig. 03) that filled the center of the room was new and provided a vibrant use of color when contrasted by the yellow and purple flowers. At the rear of the room was a large mountain topped with a half dozen goats (Fig. 01), provided the theme of the exhibit, “Year of the Goat”. A series of waterfalls flowed from its top into a lake that surrounded one side. A house was built into the base of the mountain (Fig. 04). The back corner of the room, which usually contained a painting scene made with flowers, had a large Faberge egg (Fig. 05) in honor of the "Faberge Revealed" exhibit currently being held in the Gallery of Fine Art. Opposite this on the back side of the mountain was a large incense pot (Fig. 07) with ‘smoking’ incense sticks that had been used in previous exhibits. (Fig. 06) shows the detail of the goats on the top of the mountain. The right side of the room contained a beautiful bridge covered lilly pond (Fig. 08) that was filled with coy. As usual, the overall effect of the exhibit provided a colorful, yet calm, relaxing feeling.
                            
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(Fig. 03)
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(Fig. 04)
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(Fig. 05)
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(Fig. 06)
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(Fig. 07)
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(Fig. 08)

Peter Carl Fabergé Exhibit at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

This page last updated on 03/24/2018
BGFA
(Fig. 01)
01/12/2015 Visit Notes: My friend Jim Herring and I decided to go to the “Fabergé Revealed” exhibition currently being held at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA)(Fig. 01). I have to admit that we were both amazed by the detail and craftsmanship of the artifacts on display. This showing, the fourth of six country-wide exhibitions, was organized in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The name Fabergé is synonymous with refined craftsmanship, jeweled luxury, and the last days of the doomed Russian imperial family. The Russian jeweler Karl Fabergé crafted objects for the Russian imperial family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including specially commissioned Easter eggs. Such was the confidence that the Tsar had in him after the first two orders, which gave him total freedom to create the design, but with the only condition that each should contain a surprise gift inside, as was the tradition of Easter to represent any of the royal collections. Throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the House of Fabergé produced more than 150,000 objects of art, jewels and silver articles – many of which were one of a kind. Thanks to the generosity of Lillian Thomas Pratt and other donors, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts owns one of the finest Fabergé collections in existence.
                                 
The exhibit showcases 238 rare Fabergé artifacts that are synonymous with exquisite craftsmanship, impeccable taste and the rich history of the Russian imperial family from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Displayed are a wide array of enameled picture frames and clocks, gold cigarette cases and cane tops, hard stone animals and flowers in rock crystal vases, and ruby encrusted brooches and boxes. These treasured objects tell the story of the fall of the Russian imperial family. Unfortunately eight eggs were lost after the chaos of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, in which the Communists led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew Nicholas II and then shot him along with his entire family.
                         
Signature pieces featured include the Imperial Pelican Easter Egg (1897)(Fig. 03), created to celebrate the Dowager Empress of Russia. The red-gold egg unfolds into eight oval frames graduated in size, each rimmed with pearls and inscribed with the names of the institutions that appear on the front (Fig. 02). A pelican stands in a nest atop the egg and feeds her young, symbolizing maternal care; the Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912 (Fig. 04). Workmaster Henrik Wigstrom. Egg: Lapis lazuli, gold, diamonds, 4 7/8" H x 3 9/16" dia. Picture frame: platinum, lapis lazuli, diamonds, rock crystal, watercolor on ivory, 3 3/4" H x 2 3/8"; the Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, 1903 (Fig. 05). Workmaster Mikhail Perkhin. Egg: Gold, platinum, silver gilt, diamonds, rubies, enamel, watercolor, ivory, rock crystal, 4 3/4" H x 3 1/8" dia. Statue: gilt bronze, sapphire, 1 7/8" H x 2 3/4" W.; and the Miniature Easter Egg Pendant,1899–1908 (Fig. 06). Workmaster August Holmstrom.  Agate, gold, rubies, 5/8" H x 3/4" Dia.
                             
Tickets are $17; $14 for Nevada residents and seniors 65 and older; and $12 for students, teachers and military with valid ID. Children 12 and younger are free. Audio tours are included in the price of admission. BGFA is open daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Last admissions are sold 30 minutes prior to closing. The exhibit will end on May 25, 2015.
                     
Imperial Pelican Easter Egg, 1897-2
(Fig. 02)
The eight oval frames found inside the Pelican Easter Egg, each rimmed with pearls and inscribed on the back with the names of the institutions that appear on the front.
Imperial Pelican Easter Egg, 1897
(Fig. 03)
Photo Credit: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Imperial Pelican Easter Egg, 1897. Workmaster Mikhail Perkhin. Gold, diamonds, enamel, pearls, ivory, watercolor, glass, 4" H x 2 1/8" Dia. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt. Photo:
Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912
(Fig. 04)
Photo Credit: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912. Workmaster Henrik Wigstrom. Egg: Lapis lazuli, gold, diamonds, 4 7/8" H x 3 9/16" dia. Picture frame: platinum, lapis lazuli, diamonds, rock crystal, watercolor on ivory, 3 3/4" H x 2 3/8" W. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt.
Imperial Peter The Great Easter Egg, 1903
(Fig. 05)
Photo Credit: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, 1903. Workmaster Mikhail Perkhin. Egg: Gold, platinum, silver gilt, diamonds, rubies, enamel, watercolor, ivory, rock crystal, 4 3/4" H x 3 1/8" dia. Statue: gilt bronze, sapphire, 1 7/8" H x 2 3/4" W. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt.


Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, 1899-1908
(Fig. 06)
Photo Credit: Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, 1899–1908. Workmaster August Holmstrom.  Agate, gold, rubies, 5/8" H x 3/4" Dia. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt.
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2015 - The Year In Review


Allow me start my saying thank you to all who have taken the time over this past several years for showing your appreciation of my efforts to share our hikes, either by offering your personal praise or by providing email thanks. Currently I have over 115 persons on a regular email list for postings. Total to date there have been over 197,907 page views of this site. It also pleases me to know that many of you are sharing your hiking experiences with family members and friends. Knowing this gives me a feeling that my efforts are worthwhile. My sincere thanks to all!


At the end of each year, I review all of the year's posts, selecting what I feel are the better pictures worth sharing again. For display purposes, I then group them into 11 basic categories: 01-Desert Landscapes, 02-Desert Foliage, 03-Desert Wildlife, 04-Rock Art, 05-Nevada Mines, 06-Trees & Wood Textures, 07-Desert Fossils Remamins, 08-Rocks & Formations, 09-Desert Water, 10-Mountain Landscapes, 11-People & Faces.

So this page will load faster, I have chosen to display a picture collage for each category to peak interest. To view additional pictures for any category, click on the link below the featured picture collage.  On the new page I have provided a link that will take you to the specific daytrip/hiking post showing where the picture was taken. As a result, this year-end summary is a compilation of more than 125 photos that will take you on a virtual tour of more than 40 of the hikes I have taken in 2015. I hope you enjoy.


01-Desert Landscapes: I often stand in awe of the many diverse landscapes and geological formations that can be found throughout the state of Nevada. It seems that every area I visit has its own unique characteristics that make it special. Trying to capture the essence of an area in a landscape photo can often be quite challenging, however, when successful, also quite rewarding. The pictures in this category have been gathered from locations ranging from Utah to California's Death Valley.
                           
Click here to view 13 Desert Landscape pictures and hikes ... 
01-Desert Landscapes.



02-Desert Foliage: Though it is not always easy, and not always successful, I always make an effort on each of my hikes to find some, whether it be in the form of rock formations, trees, cactus, plants or flowers to “spruce up” the photo essays that I create and post for each hike/location. In the harsh environment of the dry and arid Nevada desert, especially after a prolonged drought, it is a wonder one can even find anything growing at all, let alone things that offer such a variety of beautiful color. This being the twelfth year of a prolonged drought, I found that it was getting much harder to find many of the plants and wildflowers that I was able to capture in past years, including many cacti. This year I encountered many drought tolerant cacti that were even showing the last signs of holding on. However, when found, these flowering plants are a thing to behold. Hopefully, we will get a season of some much needed rain soon and bring the desert back to what is once was.
                         
Click here to view 15 Desert Foliage pictures and hikes ... 
02-Desert Foliage



03-Desert Wildlife: Over the course of the year, my hikes take me anywhere from the low desert and its alluvial plains to high mountain ridges and plateaus. Each of these areas provides its own unique opportunities to spot wildlife indigenous to the area. The problem is trying to capture some of them. First, there is the fact that because most of my hikes are with a group, there is often more noise than I would like. Next there is the matter of having the camera ready when an opportunity presents itself. Finally there is the subject itself. Many of these animals and insects are quite skittish when it comes to humans, and quite speedy. Over the course of the year I've spotted many forms of wildlife, such as foxes, coyotes, long-eared jackrabbits, numerous birds, etc., that are just “gone” before I even get the chance to focus on them. Then there are the typical problems of not having enough lighting, too slow of a lens, lack of a tripod, etc. all which often lead to poor photo quality. Even when I am lucky enough to get off a shot, it is often too blurry or out of focus. So, when I do get pictures, such as the those in this section, I consider myself quite lucky.
                           
Click here to view 15 Desert Wildlife pictures and hikes ... 
03-Desert Wildlife



04-Desert Rock Art: Many of the sights that I have visited are actually noted for providing the opportunity to view desert rock art, in the form of petroglyphs and pictographs, that have been left behind by native inhabitant's hundreds if not thousands of years ago. Quite often many of these ancient etchings have been worn or deteriorated due to the natural weathering and aging processes, and sometimes even defaced by persons who have no idea of their historical significance. Though most of the ancient etchings appear cryptic and quite confusing; there are also many times when they offer recognizable figures that appear to be trying to tell a story. I find them all quite fascinating. In addition to finding new sites each year, the revisiting of previous sites almost always produce new pictures of symbols that may have be missed on a previous. Because I usually have so many pictures for each of these visited sites, I have chosen only a few selected pictures to be representative for each of the sites I visited this year.
                   
Click here to view 11 Desert Rock Art pictures and hikes ... 
04-Desert Rock Art



05-Nevada’s Mines: Still today, the state of Nevada is the largest producer of gold in the country. At times over the last 150 years, it was also the largest producer of lead, zinc and silver, leaving literally hundreds of deserted and abandoned mine shafts and audits scattered all over its many mountain ranges. As many of these locations require 4WD access, I have explored most of them with my friend, Harvey Smith. Though we often find what appear to be the small diggings by individual prospectors, many of the locations we have visited were actual mining towns or processing sites that supported upwards of 2,000 people in their heyday. Over the years, many of these mines/sites produced hundreds of million of dollars worth of gold and silver. Some times these mines are fenced or “barred”, preventing entry due to unsafe conditions. For the ones that are open, and knowing the potential dangers, we always try to limit exploration to within only a few feet of their entrances. Exploring these sites and trying to understand the living conditions and hardships of the prospectors and miners that created them, can be an interesting journey into the past.
                               
Click here to view 08 pictures of Nevada Mines and hikes ... 
05-Nevada Mines

06-Trees and Wood Textures: For some reason I just love capturing the shapes, textures and patterns found in trees, bark, roots, stumps and wood. Not only do their unique textures and patterns offer interesting and visually pleasing subjects, they cause one to relieve their history by letting your mind travel back in time to their origin, which in the case of some bristlecone pines, can be more than 3,000 years old.

Click here to view 11 Trees and Wood Texture pictures and hikes ... 
06-Trees and Wood Textures


07-Desert Fossil Remains: Though the name of the group I hike with is called “the rock-hounds”, my main interest is taking landscape photographs, though it doesn't preclude me from having an interest in the geology of surrounding rock formations and from collecting an occasional rock or two. I especially get excited when I come across rocks that contain evidence of seabed fossils. It amazes that I am able to come across fossils out here in the desert, sometime at elevations that are locations as high as 10,000 feet or more. It seems that each year I seem find several rocks containing fossil specimens of shells and other evidence of the ancient seabed that once covered this entire area.
                         
Click here to view 08 pictures of Desert Fossil Remains and hikes ... 
Desert Fossil Remains

08-Desert Geologic Formations: The desert features a wide variety of rocky outcrops and bedrock that provide a puzzle maze of unique rock formations, colors and shapes that can be amazing. The desert or semi-desert regions have unique geologic features not found in more humid environments. These features are most often caused by wind and water erosion in the stark desert environment. Laypeople as myself refer informally to outcroppings of rock or interesting geological features as geological formations, even though this is not technically correct. Arches are arch-shaped landforms produced by weathering and differential erosion. Natural bridges are a naturally created arch formations resembling a bridge. Most occur in massive, horizontally bedded sandstone or limestone. Geologically, a formation is a natural body of earth, such as an outcrop or deposit with distinctive and characteristic properties. I am always looking for rock formations, created by the natural erosion, that represent recognizable shapes. I am constantly amazed at the many unique geological rock formations that I come across during my hikes. The palette of colors that the desert geology provides can be stunning.




Click here to view 09 pictures of Desert Geologic Formations and hikes ... 
Desert Geologic Formations


09-Desert Water: As I’m sure many of you are aware, we are entering our 12th year of a long-term drought, making it harder and harder to find evidence of water in the lower desert and plateau areas. This has also had a devastating effect on animal and plant life. The Las Vegas area only receives an average of 4.19 inches per year, which is 89% less than the average nationwide, and 54% less than the average in Nevada. Even though the late summer/early fall monsoons can bring up to nearly three inches of rain, because everything is so hard and dry, it quickly runs off, having very little long term effect. To give you a better idea of how severe this drought has been, the water level at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country, is the lowest it’s ever been. It is now only about 37 percent full, down 155.29 feet below full pool, and the water level is expected to keep dropping over the next month or so. One of my hiking partners jokes about the fact that, if there is water to be found on a hike, I can find it. Though some of the places we visit are known for their “natural springs”, there seems to be less and less water visible each time we visit. Many of the washes we hike that used to provide signs of water almost year-round are now dry most of the year, only showing signs of water in the early spring months or the day after a heavy rainfall.
                               
Click here to view 08 Desert Water pictures and hikes ... 
09 Desert Water


10-Mountain Views & Landscapes: Most people don’t realize that Nevada is the most mountainous state in the U.S., with over 150 (named) individual mountain ranges. Over 30 of Nevada's mountain peaks exceed 11,000 ft., with the highest point (Boundary Peak), reaching 13,140 ft. The Great Basin - a series of depressions, flats, dry lakes, marshy salt pans and sinks, all scattered between ribbons of mountain ranges - stretches across much of the state. Low mountain desert areas (formerly prehistoric lakes) are situated northeast of Carson City. The Mojave Desert spills across the California border into southern Nevada, where conditions here are dry, hot and windy, especially in summer. The desert floor areas surrounding the Las Vegas valley are bordered by dozens of volcanic, granite, and Aztec sandstone, copper-colored mountains and ranges, highlighted by Red Rock Canyon's bluffs, cliffs and petrified sandstone boulders. These many mountains and canyons provide some of the best hiking and rock climbing areas in the entire United States. For visitors that have not experienced the Red Rock National Conservation Area and the Mount Charleston Wilderness Areas, they don't know what they are missing.
                            
Click here to view 15 Mountain Views and Landscape pictures and hikes ... 
10-Mountain Views and Landscapes


11-People and Faces: Over the past few years I have concentrated on taking nature photos of plants and animals as well as landscapes. After reading an article on portrait photography, I decided to make a conscious effort to capture more pictures that included people to see if they might somehow make some of my pictures more interesting. Because I most often hike with the same people, or alone, my opportunities are still somewhat limited. Here are a few that I managed to capture that have encouraged me to continue trying.
                        


Click here to view 12 pictures of some people I have hiked with this year ... 
11-People & Faces