Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Archive for August, 2010

Old Sturbridge Village – Children’s Week

posted: August 13th, 2010 | by:Bert

Flute-3©Bert Gildart: Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts is always an attraction but this week the draw for Janie and me has been particularly compelling. Family children have been attending a camp in which teachers have been sharing skills needed to farm in a village set between 1790 and 1840.

Back dropped by horse drawn carriages, covered bridges, cobblers, blacksmiths and a host of other period attractions, we watched as children demonstrated a few things they’d learned during the week-long summer camp.

Two of Janie’s grandchildren, Cassie and Griff, danced yesterday, and so did two of their cousins, Dominic and Cordelia. All had learned their lessons well, but the ambiance helped with the enthusiasm.

First, the two girls were both dressed in bonnets and long dresses. The young men were dressed in dark pants laced in the rear for a continued fit. They wore suspenders and straw hats.

As well, a man who looked as though he had just stepped out of one of the log cabins provided the music. He was dressed in a derby hat and he played a flute, and as he played, the children performed three different dances, all taken from a far-off age.


Meanwhile all other village life went on as it would during a normal day from the early 1800s, something I later learned with Piper, another of Janie’s grandchildren who did not want to leave after the dancing was over. Neither did I so the two of us wandered the village for about an hour as her parents took care of other business. Looking like a little princess, Piper opened several doors of conversation.

Griff, Dominick, Cordellia, Cassie-3Dominic&Griff-1Children-1Cassie&Cordillia-1

Click to See Larger Image. L to R: Griff, Dominic, Cordelia, Cassie; Griff, Dominic; Children visiting Old Strubridge; Cordelia and Cassie.

The blacksmith took a liking to her and selected her from the audience to help him with his work. Piper pulled the bellows that intensified the flames. He gave her a hammer and asked her to help him create a hook.  He explained techniques and then advised us not to try and take the device aboard a plane, “if you are flying.” I asked him if I might take pictures and he said OK, as long as I’d take one “with Piper.”

Moving on, we stopped to see the cobbler, and he explained how he made shoes and where the leather came from.


Because we only had an hour, we were unable to see all of Old Sturbridge, which contains 59 historic buildings all set on 200 acres. Nor were we able to ride the old stagecoach, but we did “meet” a number of the farm animals, which included a demonstration of the way in which farmers once handled oxen.

Pipper-1Sturbridge, Dominick-2Cobbler-3Oxen-1

Click to See Larger Image. L to R: Piper and blacksmith; Dominic — right out of a 1790 setting; Cobbler; oxen demonstration.


Because there is so much to see, we’ll be returning. In fact, on previous visits to Sturbridge, Massachusetts we’ve taken in the old village each time, a place we never tire of seeing. Yesterday with the children, of course, was special.



*Chicken Alaska

4th ed. Autographed by the Authors

Hiking Shenandoah National Park

Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.

$18.95 + Autographed Copy

Big Sky Country is beautiful

Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State

Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.

$16.95 + Autographed Copy

What makes Glacier, Glacier?

Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent

Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons

$16.95 + Autographed Copy

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Photographing Backyard Bugs

posted: August 2nd, 2010 | by:Bert


Kelsey with leaf bug, which she located from its "chirping" sound.

©Bert Gildart: “It sounded like a bird chirping,” said Kelsey, one of my wife’s grandchildren and a person whom I always enjoy seeing. “It fell out of a tree right beside me and that’s how I found it.

“I could hardly see it.”

Appropriately, the insect Kelsey was referring to is called a leaf bug and the more we examined it the more interesting it became.

As you can see from the photo, they blend almost perfectly with their surroundings, and in fact, from some angles can’t be distinguished from the real leaves around them. Biologically, they are also interesting for if an individual loose one of its limbs, next time it  molts it will  have a new one.

Because of these various characteristics, and because they are harmless to people, some keep leaf bugs as pets.


Though the leaf bug was a new creature to Kelsey (and to me as well) not so the praying mantis (look, it’s praying!), which is spelled with an “a” even though it preys on insects. Kelsey knew exactly where to find the model for my photographs. She also knew it was a desirable creature to have around.


Amazing how creatures evolve with features that serve to protect them from predation, in this case "protective camouflage.


People who garden organically encourage the presence of praying mantis because they help reduce undesirable insects from building up.  Each year they consume large numbers of insects. Likewise other creatures prey on the mantis, most commonly the bat. The mantis, however, has developed a technique for foiling bats.


According to an on-line encyclopedia, mantises, when flying at night, are able to detect bats through echolocation. When their built in radar warns them of an approaching bat, they will stop flying horizontally and begin a descending spiral toward the safety of the ground, often preceded by an aerial loop or spin.

Preying Mantis-1

Praying mantis, spelled with an "a" for reasons that seem obvious.


Though the several insects included here can be difficult to photograph the task is simplified with high-powered electronic flash units, which enhance depth of field. (See strobes). Still, you’ve got to have someone with an interest in the outdoors and Kelsey (and the Connelly family in general) certainly do have that. Right now it’s bugs, and Janie and I are learning much more about this fascinating world – and the stories that can be told about them through photography.




*Chicken Alaska and Mike Busby’s Pedro Dredge




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