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January 16, 2017
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My New Limited Edition Print Is In The Gallery

Hi Everyone,

The Monolith, my new Limited Edition print, is now in the New State Motor Building Gallery in Jerome (across the street from Grapes Restaurant and down the stairs).

I took this image at the Grand Canyon with an approaching snow storm in the background. I then converted it to a sepia toned image and added a border that makes it look like an old Polaroid print. I really like this image as it takes me back to my first love in photography, the Black and White image.

This print is a Limited Edition of 10 prints and 3 Artist’s Proofs. It measures 20″ by 30″, is printed on canvas and mounted on Gaterboard. .

Head on over to the gallery and see it in person.

You can also see it on my site here http://www.jeffcolburn.com/photographs/limited-editions/

Have Fun,
Jeff

Me with my new print, The Monolith.

Me with my new print, The Monolith.

 

My new print, The Monolith, hanging in the gallery.

My new print, The Monolith, hanging in the gallery.

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January 11, 2017
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New Limited Edition Print – The Monolith

Hi Everyone,

I just released my latest Limited Edition print called The Monolith. It shows a monolithic rock at the Grand Canyon, with an approaching snowstorm in the background. And I transformed this image to look like an old sepia toned Polaroid photograph.

This beautiful image is a commercially printed 20 x 30 inch giclee on canvas that’s mounted on Gatorboard.

Check it out at http://www.jeffcolburn.com/photographs/limited-editions/

Have Fun,
Jeff

The Monolith at the Grand Canyon

The Monolith at the Grand Canyon

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December 13, 2016
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Comments Off on Have A Happy, And Slightly Twisted, Holiday Season

Have A Happy, And Slightly Twisted, Holiday Season

Following are some of my favorite Holiday music videos and commercials. You’ll find the entire spectrum from traditional to shall we say, unique. I hope you enjoy them.

There are some great commercials released at Christmas time. Check these out.

Who doesn’t like Mr. Bean? Take a look at Mr. Bean conducts Christmas Orchestra

Let the people you care about know that you’re thinking of them, like in Man On The Moon.

Here’s a great example of making the best of a bad situation, Come Together.

Lindsey Sterling, an amazing hip-hop violinist with some great moves. Listen to her perform Celtic Carol, What Child Is This and Silent Night.

Next is Pentatonix, an acappella group whose voices blend beautifully. List to their versions of Carol Of The Bells and That’s Christmas To Me.

I’ve always been a big fan of Jewel’s music and poetry, and was fortunate enough to see her in concert once. Listen to her amazing voice as she sings Ave Maria.

There’s always someone who thinks Christmas us just a bunch of Bah Humbug. This video is for you. I hope you enjoy Carol of the Old Ones.

My favorite irreverent Christmas song is The 12 Pains Of Christmas. Have a listen.

Karen Carpenter was an amazing singer, and left us all far too soon. Listen to Merry Christmas Darling by The Carpenters.

I’ve always liked Gloria Estefan’s voice and music. I was even a member of the Press when she dedicated her statue to the Wax Museum in Buena Park, California. I have some great pictures of that event too.

Christmas is more than presents and parties. It’s about reaching out to those in need, righting the wrongs in the world and putting the Christmas Spirit in all we do, all year long. In this video you’ll see wrongs that need to be righted, and successes that have been achieved. We can all do something, big or small, to help others. Go out and help others. Listen to Silent Night by Gloria Estefan.

Many years ago there was a great Christmas special called “A Claymation Christmas.” It shows the amazing things that can be done with this form of animation. I hope you enjoy these videos, and remember, it’s all done with clay. Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer and Joy To The World.

Is it really Christmas without hearing Madonna sing Santa Baby?

Have a Great Holiday Season! Party on!!!

Have Fun,
Jeff

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December 6, 2016
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Comments Off on Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

Recently, my wife, Linda-Ann and I took a hike into the Grand Canyon. It was my first time, and my wife’s second time, going below the rim. Linda-Ann hiked 6 miles (9.7 km) down the Bright Angel Trail 30 years ago. Over the years, we have walked the entire thirteen miles (21 km) of the Rim Trail, and some sections we have covered several times.

But it was time for me to take the next step at the Grand Canyon, and do my best not to fall in. While “Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon” by Michael Ghiglieri and Thomas Myers is an excellent book, I strongly suggest not reading it before heading down a trail in the canyon.

The day was cool, with a slight breeze, and perfect for hiking. We started down the South Kaibab Trail with an ultimate goal of reaching Cedar Ridge, which is 1.5 miles (3.1 km) from the trailhead, and a 1,120 foot (341 m) drop in elevation.

On the way down to our first goal, Ook Aah Point, we made several stops to eat, drink and for me to take photographs. We also stopped on a wide section of the trail as a mule train of tourists passed us going up the trail.

On our stop for lunch, we had to hug the canyon wall as two mule trains headed up from Phantom Ranch, which is at the bottom of the canyon. One train had tourists who had ridden down earlier, and the other brought up trash, mail and other items.

Mules on the way up from Phantom Ranch. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

Mules on the way up from Phantom Ranch. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

While these mule trains are fun to watch, they can cause two problems. The first is that the mules like to take your lunch, so keep it close to you and away from them. The second problem will be discussed later.

Me at Ooh Aah Point. Half way into our hike.

Me at Ooh Aah Point. Half way into our hike. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

From Ooh Aah Point, we headed down to Cedar Ridge. While there’s no water there, they do have toilets. A nice convenience after hiking for just over 2.5 hours.

After descending a short distance we came to a half mile (.8 km) of steps built into the trail. These are wooden frames filled with dirt, and hollowed out in the middle from countless mules going up and down the trail. Normally, the steps would make the hiking easier, but this is where the second problem with the mule trains rears its ugly head.

One tiny section of steps with mule urine. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

One tiny section of steps with mule urine. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

As the mules trod up the trail, they urinate. When one does, they all do. This results in pools of urine collecting in the dirt hollows of the steps. So now, instead of walking on the steps you have to balance on the wood and rocks on the side of the steps. It makes for some difficult hiking. What really saved us were the walking sticks Linda-Ann had purchased for us a few Christmas’ ago. Unfortunately, the walking sticks do nothing to block the wonderful perfume of mule urine.

Me at Cedar Ridge, really needing a break and lunch. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

Me at Cedar Ridge, really needing a break and lunch. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

Cedar Ridge is a nice, open area with expansive views. There are places to sit in the shade and relax so you can prepare to continue down the trail or return to the top. It’s very discouraging to look waaay back up to where you came from, and realize you have to climb back up.

Being in the canyon and looking up at the top is a completely different experience than being at the top and looking down. When you’re in the canyon, there are many places where you can see where you started your journey. Seeing how far down you’ve come in altitude, and how far you traveled on a trail, is pretty impressive. For me, looking up at the top of the canyon is much more awe inspiring than looking down into it. This was the first time in my life when I could see the entire trail I had covered, and it was an amazing experience.

Here I am setting up my tripod. The arrow at the top right shows where we started our hike, and where we need to return to. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

Here I am setting up my tripod. The arrow at the top right shows where we started our hike, and where we need to return to. Photo by Linda-Ann Stewart.

One of the great views at Cedar Ridge.

One of the great views at Cedar Ridge.

After a rest, some food and water and lots of picture taking, we headed back up. One nice thing is that almost all of the urine had dried up, so we could actually walk on the steps. This made the return trip much easier.

On our trek, we encountered several people who didn’t have enough water, and were having problems with the altitude. Altitude sickness can affect you in various ways, including lightheadedness, headache, shortness of breath, fatigue and nausea.

When hiking the Grand Canyon, or anywhere, I suggest that you:

  • Bring twice as much water as you think you will need.
  • Have the proper boots.
  • Bring food.
  • Protect yourself from the sun with a hat and sun screen.
  • Be sure you’re in good enough shape for the terrain, altitude and heat or cold.

The Grand Canyon is a great place to hike, and has trails for every skill level. But if you can, go down into the canyon, even a little ways. It’s an experience you will never forget.

Have Fun,
Jeff

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November 16, 2016
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Comments Off on An Open Letter To The Country

An Open Letter To The Country

With the election of Donald Trump to the position of President of the United States, many people are in a panic. Fear and predictions of a horrible future are everywhere.

But in reality, we don’t know what will happen until it happens. Will Trump do all the things that he said he will do during his campaign? Doubtful. Has any president ever done all the things they promised or threatened to do? No. Only time will tell what he will try to do, and what the other branches of government, and the people, will allow him to do.

I am seeing some people post on social networks that “we will survive.” But there is no guarantee of this. Every great country and nation eventually collapses. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Incans, Aztecs and all the others eventually collapsed. In more recent times, the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.) collapsed. So the collapse of the U.S. is a certainty, but is this that time? No one knows.

As a sidebar, the United States brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union through an arms race. We spent more, and they felt like they needed to spend more to keep up with us. Eventually, the arms race bankrupted them. Good for us as we destroyed an enemy without a war. The problem is that after we won, we kept fighting. We didn’t reduce our military spending, and Trump wants to increase it.

Currently, the United States spends about $600,000,000,000 a year on the military, which is more than the next 7 highest spending countries combined. That’s about 54% of the United States budget. If we aren’t careful, we will suffer the same consequences as the U.S.S.R. We will fall prey to our own trap. But I digress.

Many people say Trump was elected because of lost jobs in steel and other manufacturing, and his promise to bring back these lost jobs. This may be true, but people need to realize that it’s not the government’s job to supply people with jobs. It’s each person’s responsibility to acquire a set of job skills that companies want. In times of change that often means learning new job skills, and/or moving to where jobs can be found.

In my 60 plus years on Earth, I’ve had job fields disappear, requiring me to retrain myself and move to earn a living. Most people don’t like to do this, but that’s just the way life is. There was a time in my life that lasted about fifteen years, where I was changing careers every two to three years. I used to make a great living designing and troubleshooting Excel spreadsheets for companies. But over the course of several years it went from a handful of people knowing how to do this, to every company having several people who could do it. I went from being so busy that I turned down several jobs a week, to going months with no work. Over the course of several months, I retrained myself with new computer and marketing skills, and was soon working for a nice company.

The reality is that the U.S. is no longer a major manufacturing country, and it never will be again. Those who have lost jobs in this sector due to mechanization (robots) and outsourcing to other countries must realize that these jobs are gone forever. Policy changes may bring a few back, but the steel and other manufacturing jobs are gone forever, and these workers need to retrain themselves and move to better job markets. No politician will ever admit to this in public, because it would be career suicide, but it’s the truth.

The reason these jobs are gone forever is that the pay and benefits in the U.S. is so much higher than most other countries. I heard an interview on NPR (National Public Radio) of a man who owns a sock company in the United States. Yes, the things you put on your feet. He said that socks are mostly made by machine, and that he pays the same for the machines and yarn to make socks as any other company in the world.

So his socks cost the same as those made overseas, until people get involved. The toes of the sock must be stitched by a person using a sewing machine. At that point, his socks become much more expensive than socks made anywhere else. When workers in the US are paid three or more times more per hour than workers overseas, and have medical insurance, disability insurance, retirement plans and more, there’s no way to compete financially with countries overseas.

The responsibility of the government is to provide a stable environment (no wars, recessions or out of control inflation) and a working infrastructure (roads, bridges, waterways, air traffic control) so that people and businesses can operation easily, efficiently and with relative stability.

It’s also responsible for providing a safe working and living environment with rules, regulations and penalties for breaking them. That’s why organizations like OSHA and the EPA exist. They keep workers and families safe. Companies complain about having rules, but we’ve all seen how reckless companies get when they have free rein to do whatever they want. Polluted air, water and land, with people getting sick or dying are the consequences of few or no regulations.

People determine the rest by their own wants and needs. Businesses then open up and provide goods and services to meet those needs. You want a cell phone? Companies open up to provide them. If you want a great cell phone for under $500, companies need to find the least expensive way to provide that product and still make a decent profit. I won’t go into the greed factor that many companies have, such as the recent EpiPen price increase where a company sold $1.00 worth of epinephrine in a delivery device for $600. That’s a topic for a different time.

The world changes and you must change along with it. The old saying “Adapt or die” is true. When the world changes and you lose your job, it’s your responsibility to find a way to become valuable to a company or industry. Yes, it’s hard work, and no one really wants to do it. But if you want to survive in a rapidly changing world, you don’t have a choice.

Will Trump destroy America? It’s possible, but unlikely. He certainly has the power to do it, but no one really knows what he will do until he tries. The people (really the Electoral College) put him in office, so the America he creates is our own doing. But it’s also our responsibility to donate to watchdog organizations (ACLU, NAACP, Planned Parenthood, SPLC, etc.) and to volunteer or work for them so that we know what Trump, and all of our politicians, are doing. Shining a light on their activities will keep them honest and citizens informed.

Pull on your big boy or big girl pants and take charge of your life, keep an eye on those in power and create a wonderful life for yourself. Learn from what you did that failed, and remember what you did to achieve success.

Have Fun,
Jeff

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November 2, 2016
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Comments Off on Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Kachina Trail

Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Kachina Trail

If you’re looking for a great hike, you need to try the Kachina Trail near Snowbowl in Flagstaff. It winds along the base of the peaks, takes you through thick forests and to open meadows.

Aspens on the Kachina Trail

Aspens on the Kachina Trail

My wife and I went on this trail a few weeks ago when the Aspens were filled with yellow leaves. A strong wind had started blowing that morning, so many of the exposed trees in the area had lost some, or all, of their leaves. But on the Kachina trail, most of the Aspens were sheltered by the evergreens, so they still had their leaves, and their glorious colors. As you hike through the pine forest, you will see areas of color next to the trail, or high overhead. In fact, these are some of the tallest Aspen that I’ve seen anywhere.

Due to a late arrival, my wife and I hiked only about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of the five miles (8 km) of this popular trail. But we’re looking forward to enjoying the entire trail soon. It’s not a difficult hike, at least for the area we traveled, but there are places where you have to watch out for roots and rocks in the path.

On this trail, you’ll spend a lot of time in a pine and Douglas fir forest, dotted with giant Ponderosa pine, ferns and many patches of Aspens. But there are also several meadows with expansive views, some canyons and a basalt ridge.

Being a popular trail, it can be crowded. But as with all trails, the further you go, the thinner the crowds. Even at the beginning of the trail, most of the time we had it to ourselves.

Aspens on the Kachina Trail

Aspens on the Kachina Trail

If the idea of a 10 mile (16 km) round trip hike seems daunting, bring two cars; park one at the end of the trail, then drive back to the beginning of the trail. Use the second car to drive back to the beginning of the trail when you’re done.

Hike safe, and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Have Fun,
Jeff

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October 12, 2016
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Comments Off on Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Lenox Crater Hike

Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Lenox Crater Hike

A couple weeks ago, my wife and I made a trek to one of our favorite places, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (https://www.nps.gov/sucr/index.htm). It’s a cinder cone near Flagstaff, and part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field. In the past, northern Arizona had a lot of volcanic activity, and Sunset Crater last erupted 900 years ago.

Sunset Crater

Sunset Crater.

This area is a great place to photograph fall colors. There aren’t a lot of Aspens, but photographing the ones that are there, against black basalt and cinder, really makes the colors pop.

Aspen in cinder field

Aspen in cinder field.

On this trip, we wanted to go on a newly created trail to the peak of Lenox Crater (https://www.nps.gov/sucr/planyourvisit/lenox-trail.htm). This approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) trail is pretty steep going up to the summit, and combined with the altitude of about 7,000 feet (2,134 m), can be taxing. Pace yourself, take breaks when needed and drink plenty of water.

On the hike, my wife and I saw wild flowers next to the trail, fallen trees, trees with scars from lightning strikes, and some amazing views. I enjoyed looking at the fallen trees root balls, wondering what hidden treasures their demise had revealed. While treasure was missing, the shapes in these root balls were amazing. One tree, that fell some time ago, was especially fascinating The wood of the root ball had been bleached and weathered by the sun, rain and snow. Jagged edges, gentle curves and hypnotizing swirls entranced me. I could have photographed this wonder for hours.

Flower next to trail

Flower next to trail.

 

Tree after lightning strike

Tree after lightning strike.

 

Root ball

Root ball.

 

Root ball

Root ball.

At the top, there really isn’t a crater, as the falling ash from the Sunset Crater eruption filled it in, but the views are vast and breathtaking. There’s also an information plaque there that helps you identify the surrounding mountains that you can see from here.

One advantage of the steep trail is that it keeps the crowds down. We were there on a Free National Park Day, with two to three times as many people as usual and only encountered two groups of two people on the trail. Try out Lenox Crater trail for great views and peace and quiet.

Have Fun,
Jeff

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September 18, 2016
by admin
Comments Off on Fall Colors Across The Country

Fall Colors Across The Country

Fall colors have arrived in many places, and are spreading across the country. Reds, yellows, oranges and other colors are popping up everywhere, so grab your camera and take some great photographs of Mother Nature’s big show.

To help you get the most out of your shooting, I’ve updated my annual list of links about Fall colors and where to find them. Since I live in Arizona, I’ve put together a special section for my state.

Changing colors

Oak leaf in Williams, Arizona

As you go to these sites, you will often find many links to other sites. You could easily spend an entire day following link after link, or just go to the main pages I have listed here.

I hope you get some fantastic photographs this year. Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your images of changing colors. I’m sure everyone would love to see them.

Have Fun,
Jeff

Arizona

Finding Fall Color in Arizona – An About.com site with lots of links to information about changing colors in Arizona.

Fall Colors on the Coconino – This Coconino National Forest site explains why leaves change colors, what trees produce what colors, and hikes to see this wonder of nature.

Fall Colors – Current Forest Information – You can find up-to-date changing color information here.

Changing Colors

Aspens near Flagstaff, Arizona

The Rest Of The Country

Current Fall Foliage – The Weather Channel has a map of the U.S. showing where the leaves are changing colors by region.

Fall Color Report – Wisconsin – Detailed information on color changes, and when the colors will peak.

Fall Color Report – Minnesota – Detailed information on where the leaves are changing color in Minnesota.

Fall Colors – The Great Smokey Mountains – A National Park Service site with detailed information about leaves changing color in the Great Smokey Mountains, as well as hikes and drives to take.

Fall Color Webcams – Webcams across the country.

Leef Peepers – Links and phone numbers for fall foliage information for New England, Midwest, Rockies, West and South.

Natural History Wanderings – A long list of links from across the country that track changing colors.

State by State Guide to Fall Foliage – An About.com site with information on changing colors in many states.

Travel Notes – A list of links from various states.

There’s a National Fall Color Hotline too, 1-800-354-4595. Call this number and choose the area of the country you’re interested in and get information on leaf color, scenic drives, peak times for the colors and other fall activities.

Changing colors

Aspen leaves on fallen log at Snowbowl, Arizona

Canada

Natural History Wanderings – A list of several sites that track changing colors.

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September 6, 2016
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Comments Off on Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Walnut Canyon National Monument

Jeff’s Arizona Adventures – Walnut Canyon National Monument

My wife, Linda-Ann, and I have been visiting Walnut Canyon for decades, and we never tire of its beauty and calmness.

Walnut Canyon is a wide canyon of rock, petrified sand dunes and pine forest with a peninsula of rock sticking out into the canyon for a short distance. The sides of the canyon are dotted with Native American rock dwellings, and they line the walls of the peninsula. You walk along a path that circles the peninsula, where you can not only see, and enter, these dwellings, but see the dwellings in the surrounding canyon walls.

Sinagua dwelling on the cliff face. And you think you have a rough commute every day?

Sinagua dwelling on the cliff face (bottom right). And you think you have a rough commute every day?

The last couple of times that we’ve visited was during the monsoon season, and experienced a thunder storm. When the rain starts we find shelter in the old ruins, and listen to the rain drops falling on the pine forest, and thunder echoing in the canyon. It’s a magical experience.

Sinagua structures are all around the canyon walls, but they are all at the same level.

Sinagua structures are all around the canyon walls, but they are all at the same level.

Walnut Canyon (https://www.nps.gov/waca/index.htm) has been visited by various peoples for thousands of years. The Sinagua were the first permanent residents, and they lived in the area from about 600 A.D. to 1400 A.D.

Walking around the cliff dwellings, it’s fascinating to see tiny rooms, many of which are smaller than my bathroom, and realize that an entire family lived there. Looking out from these dwellings, and seeing cliff dwellings on the other side of the canyon, is a step back in time. I’m seeing the same thing the Sinagua saw when they lived in these dwellings 900 years ago.

Closeup of some structures.

Closeup of some structures.

One interesting thing about our visits here is that each time we hear Native American flute music for a few minutes. It’s like Carlos Nakai is hiding around some corner, playing his heart out. The sound of that flute floating around the canyon, and getting inside of your body, is very ethereal.

After walking through the office, and visiting the attached gift shop and museum, you walk down a flight of stairs and go outside to the overlook. There’s also an open elevator that mobility challenged people can use to access the overlook.

Inside one room, looking at other rooms.

Inside one room, looking at other rooms.

Now, the fun starts. You will walk down stairs, a lot of stairs, to get to the walkway that wraps around the stone peninsula, where you can see, and enter Sinagua cliff dwellings. As you take these stairs down, remember that when you’re done, you have to take them back up, all 185 feet (56 meters) worth. You can take breaks on landings, so don’t worry.

If stairs aren’t your thing, you can still have wonderful views from the overlook. You can also enjoy a paved, and mostly level, trail that starts near the door to the office, wanders along the cliff and overlooks the canyon and ruins. Picnic tables are located along the trail, so you can eat your lunch in the forest.

Structure on the far canyon wall, as seen from inside a structure on the peninsula.

Structure on the far canyon wall, as seen from inside a structure on the peninsula.

Walnut Canyon is where we go to travel back in time, and to find peace and quiet in a busy world. Grab a picnic lunch and head on over. You’re sure to enjoy the visit.

Have Fun,
Jeff

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July 14, 2016
by admin
Comments Off on Lightning Storm

Lightning Storm

Last week a storm came through that was amazingly active. The lightning flashes were nonstop. It was like a strobe was going off, and it went on for hours. The only problem is that all of the lightning was inside the clouds. So they would light up, but I couldn’t see any lightning bolts.

As the storm moved off, the back edge went by, and I could finally see some bolts. Here are two shots I made as the storm drifted away.

Have Fun,
Jeff

Lightning with car headlights

 

Lightning0203

Lightning with car headlights.

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