Sunday, July 31, 2005


Yesterday I went to the wedding of my friends' daughter.  As the happy couple left the reception, dozens of butterflies were release to escort the new couple.  This little guy landed on a rock in a nearby pond where it happily enjoyed the coolness of the water.

This butterfly was in no hurry to fly away and stayed on the groom's sleeve until he got to the car.  The bride decided to take the butterfly with them as they enbarked on their new life together.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


The neat thing about living where I do is that I am just minutes away from some very interesting places.  We returned to Haymes Reservoir, about a 15-20 minute drive, this afternoon and spotted this mule deer doe grazing in a meadow to the side of the water.

Yet another one of my mistakes that I like better than my calculated shot.  There was way too much light on this sunflower, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked its crisp airy appearance.

Now this subject I DIDN'T like!  I call it 'creepy bug'.  It was as big as a small bird and had spikes all over its legs.  I fear strange bugs more than I fear bugs I actually know are dangerous.  This bug terrified me but it also facinated me with its rich deep colors.  It was all over the flowers like a mutant honey bee.  It didn't seem to mind my camera but I played it safe and used my zoom lens.

My goal, once again, was to capture a picture of a dragonfly.  And the dragonflies' goal, once again, was to tease and taunt me with their kamakaze fly bys.  This was the only dragonfly that landed long enough for me to take a picture.  I stealthily sneaked up on him through the reeds for this shot.  Upon closer inspection it probably couldn't fly away if it wanted to.  His wings on the right side were battered and torn.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Fox Run Regional Park is just north of Colorado Springs in the Black Forest area.  It used to be part of the Black Forest Fur Farm in the 1930's and 1940's when white-faced silver foxes were raised here for their valuable fur.

The fur farm has long since been out of business and this beautiful park now occupies part of the land.  There are several ponds and a gazebo that is often used for weddings.

Little creeks join the ponds.  It was hard photographing the babbling brooks because my daughter kept jumping into the picture to play in the water.

This pond was well stocked with large orange koi, which look like gigantic goldfish.  We also spotted a couple of turtles and other smaller fish.  I could have stayed there all day but a storm was moving in over the mountains and once again we made it back to the truck just as the clouds opened up.  With record temperatures being set across the country, we have been very fortunate to have this moisture.  There have already been 2 major wildfires in Colorado's forests, hopefully this will lower the threat.

Monday, July 25, 2005


We went to Pueblo yesterday to do some fishing, but when we got to the spot that my husband and his friends used to duck hunt at, we found the water dried up and the riverbed was completely over grown with vegetation.  Our disappointment was very short lived though because the scenery was breathtaking.

It was easy to let my mind wander back into the days of the Native Americans and pioneers who once traveled through this area long ago.  Even more awesome was the thought that I was seeing some of the same landmarks they would have seen centuries ago.

This is a corner post of the Swallow Community Cemetary.  The cemetary lies on an outcropping by the old creek bed with 3 sides looking down onto what was once a lush waterway.  Even now it is a peaceful and scenic place to Rest In Peace.

We decided to go west and try our luck at Brush Hollow.  We didn't catch any fish there either, but I was able to get a few pictures.  As I have been finding lately, my better shots are not my most interesting shots.  I took some closer shots of this Great Blue Heron, but I captured some blackbirds in this exposure which I felt added character to the tranquil scene.

Sunday, July 24, 2005



When I first stepped outside at 9:30 I couldn't even see the moon.  It wasn't until I was walking back to the patio that I spotted it peeking out from behind the neighbor's trees.  I went back in for a little while and when I returned just after 10:00 the moon had risen completely and was shining brightly.   The settings were easy to adjust because my camera saves a little file on each picture so you can duplicate the settings that worked on an earlier picture.  Unfortunately I was still having difficulty with my focusing. I hate how bad my eyes have gotten because it makes focusing my camera at night a... nightmare!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


This is another test run in preparation for the full moon tomorrow.  For some reason I couldn't get the camera to focus on the craters tonight so I tried something a little different with the settings.  I manually set the camera to f16 and bulb for one second. Before posting, I increased the blue with PaintShop Pro to get this result.

Tomorrow will bring the Full Buck Moon.  Hopefully I will have better luck at some detailed crater shots.  If not, I'm happy with this shot.  There's something comforting and protective about its illumination, like a great nightlight in the sky.  I shall rest well tonight.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

HAYMES RESERVOIR, Fort Carson Colorado

Haymes Reservoir is one of many on Fort Carson.  This is a popular fishing hole for the soldiers and their families, although run-off from the airfield has contaminated the water and restrictions are now in place.  (This used to be my favorite crawdad hole.)  Wildlife also enjoys the cool water and shade from the surrounding woods which makes it perfect for wildlife watching.

The thistles are in full bloom and invite passers-by to come closer, but watch out for the leaves, they are very prickly and will grab you if you get too close!

Unless they are bloodsucking insects, most bugs hate me.  I spent the entire afternoon trying to get close enough to photograph one of the millions of dragonflies flitting around the banks of the reservoir.  I'm not sure but I think I heard a couple of them laughing at me.  Even this butterfly teased me by stopping just long enough for me to get close and then it would flutter off to another flower a few feet away before I could focus.

This beetle on the other hand actually came after me!  It landed on my ponytail and had to be flicked off.  Once it regained its bearing, it flew back onto me.  Not knowing what kind of beetle it was and whether it meant to investigate me or sample me, I brushed it off again and quickly put some space between us.  It sure was pretty though.

This moth finally took pity on me, or maybe it just got tired of flying away from my camera and it actually landed long enough for me to get this shot.  A close-up lens would have been useless today for none of the insects let me get close enough.  I think I need.... a bigger zoom!

Monday, July 18, 2005

NIGHT MOON, another success.

Ta-da! I did it... sort of.  This is my best shot of the moon at night by far.  I used the zoom lens and my tripod.  At first I made all of the same old mistakes, relying on the automatic night-shot settings which produced the same old glowing ball.  Just as frustration was setting in... AGAIN.. I remembered some advice I received from Tc01hm, and hey, presto!  A semi-decent shot of the moon!  A few more practices and I might be able to tackle a full moon!  Thanks again Tess, I have a lot to learn but I am having so much fun along the way.


Welcome to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  I spend a lot of time at this zoo thanks to an annual family pass.  I have discovered that the animals aren't the only things of interest at this zoo, there are many facinating structures through out the grounds.

I am not entirely sure the identity of this building near the entrance of the the zoo so I just call it the caretakers cottage.  Each time I visit it is carpeted by a thicker growth of vines.


'My Big Back Yard' is a petting zoo within the zoo which allows visitors some hands on with barn yard creatures.  Goats, chickens, turkey and rabbits eagerly greet visitors to their homes.

When I first visited the zoo nearly 12 years ago, the zoo was full of wire and concrete cages and it broke my heart to see the animals pacing back and forth from within their confines.  The zoo has undergone amazing renovations but there are still remnants of the old zoo.  This cage in particular concerns me.  You can't see from this angle, but hiding behind the curtain of overgrowth is our national bird, the bald eagle.

This is one of the newer exhibits, the Asian Highlands.  It houses the Siberian tigers, a pair of leopards and a few varieties of bears.  The enclosures are open at the top and large glass windows peer into the  a natural habitat that includes running streams.

I was trying to get the side of the gift shop breezeway to frame the landscape outside when my son Art ran past.  I was finally able to get the shot I wanted, but decided that this accidently exposure was more interesting.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

DRAGONFLY.... finally!

I have finally gotten a decent picture of a dragonfly.  I found this guy at the Bonny Burns ranch in Calhan, Colorado.  I have difficulty photographing insects because of my limited lens options, but this guy was very large and I was able to focus in on him using my zoom from the edge of the pond.  He would spook and fly away but always returned, possibly to feed on the ladybug that was on the twig it perched on.


I never get tired of the Garden of the Gods.  Recently, when my sister visited, I took her and her husband.  My sister had been there before but this time she would be able to record her visit with her camera.  This was the first time for my brother-in-law.

I didn't really intend on taking more pictures because after being there as often as I have been, there are few pictures I could take that would be unique.  This day offered a different view though as storm clouds darkened the sky and gave the park an entirely new and dramatic look.

The park can be dangerous during a lightning storm and as tempting as it was to stick around to catch the light show which promised to be spectacular, we decided that it would be best if we left before the storm hit.

Later, my sister and I reviewed our shots and I really wasn't surprised to see that we had many similar pictures.  The main difference that I saw was that she took many more pictures of vegetation and flowers while I gravitated towards structures that play with light and shadows.  We spent some time assuring each other that the other was the better photographer, but truth be told, for as many similarities that we have, it is our differences that bring us to the same level. 

My sister has shared some of her pictures from Hawaii with me and has given me permission to display them, and I will once I get caught up on everything that I have neglected during my summer visitations. 

Monday, July 11, 2005


It had been almost 3 weeks since my last visit to the pond and I was eager to return once my out-of-town visitors left.  There was a lot of change in that short period of time.  The milkweed was in full bloom, and the shoreline of the pond and creeks had exploded with green.  This was what I saw while hundreds of miles away on the other side of the country, Hurrican Dennis battered the coastal states.

My daughter and I were almost immediately greeted by a young family of squirrels.  This shy little one hid behind a leaf as it watched its siblings gather the cherries we 'accidently' dropped on the ground.


The regal cattails were in their prime, having bloomed just for me.  The last time I saw them they were just fuzzy yellow stems poking out from the leaves.  Even the great blue heron seemed happy to see me and graciously posed.

This picture is hardly a 'good' picture but I wanted to post it for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I love the contrast of the silhouette of the Brewer's blackbird and its shadow against the water.  And secondly, its barely visable, but if you look real close you'll see a streak of silver in the bird's beak.  It had just caught a fish!  I never knew these birds ate fish, let alone caught them right out of the water. I probably wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

I do believe this frog is smiling at me!  It was so nice to be back at the ponds, I'd almost forgotten how beautiful it was.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Beaver Creek is an arid ranching community in southern Colorado.  Several of my friends live there and yesterday one of them hosted an open house for his business.  We took our recreational vehicles to play around with, but I spent most of my time just walking around.  This is what my friends get to look at every evening at sunset.

Hummingbirds in the desert?  I never would have believed it. This little guy and dozens of his friends frequent my friend's deck.  It obivously takes a little practice to photograph these birds and 90% of my shots were either blurry or totally devoid of the subject itself.  I do, however, have many pictures of the twilight sky.

I have no idea what kind of flower this it, other than to say that it is pretty!  It bloomed abundantly among the cactus and pinons.

This is what I have always referred to as a Black Eyed Susan, but my husband calls it a sunflower.  It was a welcomed splash of color there in the dry brush and tumbleweeds.  I am ashamed to admit when I first arrived in Colorado almost 12 years ago, in early fall, I though the dryness of the desert was ugly.  It took me 2 years to discover the hidden beauty here among the mountains.  I don't think I could be happy anywhere else now.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005



This picture of my son Art was just a test. I was trying to get a shot of his silhouette against the glow of one of the fireworks he and the older boys were setting off in the street, so I was focusing him in before they lit the firework.  I don't know what happened, maybe he moved, maybe I did, but this is how the picture came out.  Its not a great picture but it sure is cool!

Monday, July 4, 2005

Independance Day Celebration, Ft. Carson


There is obviously a trick to photographing fireworks, and I obviously haven't quite learned the tricks of the trade.  Oh well, here is my first attempt at photographing fireworks.  These fireworks were set off at Fort Carson's Iron Horse Park on Sunday, July 3rd.  As with all military installations, Independance Day is not just a celebration for the country's past, but for its ongoing mission.  A large number of troops from Carson are currently deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas of the world so the community has stepped up to help support the families of these soldiers.


In return, as a small token of appreciation, the base opens its gates to the general public for a celebration which begins early in the day and concludes with an elaborate 30 minute fireworks display.  We weren't able to attend the festivities during the day, but we parked not far from where the fireworks were being launched and enjoyed the show from the back of the trucks.