Welcome to Duane Bowker's Home Page!
Duane's Flickr Photostream
(a collection of my best photos)
Recent Activities and Destinations: (reverse chronological order)
Ellen O'Brien and I had a wonderful trip to Costa Rica (March/April, 2015).
We were on a commercial Caravan bus tour with 41 other people. We'd never been
on a big tour like that and it had its advantages and disadvantages. Our
tour guide was excellent and we learned a lot about Costa Rican culture,
history, agriculture, etc. The highlights of the tour included trips to
volcanos (Poas, Arenal), beaches (at Guanacaste and Manual Antonio), rain
forests (near Fortuna and Manual Antonio), river cruises (on the Rio Tarcoles
and the Rio Frio), plus a few other miscellaneous stops along the way
(e.g., coffee plantation, butterfly gardens, bird/animal zoo/rehab center, etc).
We saw so many interesting and beautiful things, too numerous to mention.
I put together a photo album from the trip and you can
to access it. Here are just a handful of my favorite photos from the trip
(click on the thumbnails to see each photo).
Ellen and I spent about 10 days down on the Texas Gulf Coast, visiting
Galveston, Corpus Christi and a few smaller towns in between (February 2015).
We got to
spend a few days with our friends Lynn and Richard. We also were able to
spend a day with some of Ellen's cousins. Our trip included two Mardi Gras
parades in Galveston plus tours of two excellent aquariums, an indoor rain
forest, and a couple of nature preserves. We spotted several interesting
birds including Roseate Spoonbills, Whooping Cranes, Sandhill Cranes,
Black-Necked Stilts, White Ibises, an Avocet and a Tricolored Heron.
And needless to say,
the weather in Texas was a lot nicer than that in New Jersey during that
particular stretch of February. We both got mild sunburns during a day trip
over to the beach at Padre Island. A gallery of 78 photos from the trip is
Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip (click on the thumbnail to
see a larger photo).
Ellen, Sophie and I took a road trip out to Michigan (September 2014)
and decided to visit a few places we'd never been, including Pictured
Rocks National Lakeshore and the Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper
Peninsula, Mackinac Island and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National
Lakeshore. After all of that, we did get down to Ludington to spend a
couple of weeks at Aquarium Cottage on Lake Michigan. I managed to get
some nice kayaking in on the Pere Marquette River and on the upper Manistee
River (as well as a little on Lake Superior while up in the U.P.).
We stopped in Sandusky,
Ohio on the way home so that Ellen could stick her toes in Lake Erie.
Once that was done, both Ellen and I can now boast that each of us have
stuck our toes in all five of the Great Lakes. I put a
together for the trip. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the trip
(as usual, you can click on the thumbnail to view the larger photo).
I went out to Montana to take part in a Sierra Club backpacking trip through
the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness (August 2014). I got there a couple of days
early to do some solo hiking in order to acclimate to the high altitudes. I
stayed a couple of extra days at the end to visit a couple of state parks near
Billings, Montana and to check out the Montana State Fair. Click
to view a photo album I put together from the trip.
Here are thumbnails for a few of my favorites (click on each thumbnail to
see the larger image).
One of the benefits of living at the New Jersey Shore is enjoying some
of the beautiful rivers, lakes and wetlands in the area. In 2014 I went
kayaking on the Swimming River, Deal Lake, the Manasquan River, the
Metedeconk River, Shadow Lake, Parkers Creek, Barnegat Bay (Island
Beach State Park),
and Marlu Lake. I also worked with a couple of the local
watershed organizations to do horseshoe crab monitoring and a few
environmental cleanups. Ellen and I also participated in a "seining the
bay" activity. And we also took our dog Sophie out for
long hikes in some of the wonderful parks in the area, including Allaire Park
and the Edwin B. Forsythe Nature Preserve. Here are some photo collages
from some of those adventures.
Keelan, Ellen, Sophie and I took a relatively short roadtrip out to our
Lake Michigan home in Ludington (June 2014). Keelan hadn't been out there
for several years. We got to see some beautiful sunsets and some interesting
critters, including a couple of fox and a bald eagle. We did some hiking in
Ludington State Park, had some delicious fresh fried perch at Scotty's, and
a few ice creams at House of Flavors. Keelan and I visited the NFL Hall of Fame
on the trip back and then we all stopped for dinner at one of the most interesting
places we've ever eaten: Mike's Place in Kent, Ohio (complete with home-made
X-wing fighter in the front yard). Here are a few photos from the trip.
Ellen, Alchar and I spent two weeks in China traveling with Keelan and then
spent another week in Hawaii on the way home (April 2014).
In China, we flew into Hong Kong and spent four days there before
taking high-speed trains to a few destinations on the mainland. We
visited Gulangyu Island in Xiamen for three days, then spent four days
in Fuzhou (Keelan's home base), then ended up with three days up in the
mountains of Wuyishan. It was an amazing trip and we are so grateful to
Keelan for being such a knowledgeable and patient tour guide. A photo album
from the trip is available
here. Here are thumbnails of 10 of my favorite photos from the trip.
Ellen and I spent about three weeks traveling around the South Island of New
Zealand (January 2014). It was an amazing experience complete with beautiful
rainforests, mountain lakes, glaciers, fjords, fur seals, dolphins,
interesting birds that are found nowhere else in the world, and some really
Click here to view a photo album I put together from the trip. Here are
a handful of my favorites to give you a small taste.
I've been volunteering for quite a bit of Hurricane Sandy recovery work and
other related environmental cleanups here at the
Jersey Shore (November, 2012 through the present).
The lion's share of that work has been in Sea Bright, Union Beach,
Port Monmouth, Shark River Bay, Sandy Hook and Long Branch,
which were all especially hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.
One of the cleanups was covered in
an article in RedBankGreen.com and I'm a little embarrassed
by the particular quote of mine contained in the article (in my defense I was
more than a little frustrated working on such a nasty illegal dump site on
the banks of the Swimming River).
A more recent
article in the Asbury Park Press covered a Union Beach wetlands cleanup I participated
in with the Bayshore Regional Watershed Association.
Overall it's been a highly rewarding experience, mostly due to all of
the really fine people I've met in the process.
Also, at the end of most of these days you feel like you've done something important
and have made at least some small positive contribution to the universe.
That may be illusory but I choose to think it's true.
Here are a few photo collages I've put together from some of the things I've
seen while participating in the disaster recovery and cleanup efforts.