Wednesday, August 31, 2005


With the gas prices being what they are I can no longer take little impromptu photo excursions.  This morning I was down on the other side of the highway to drop my son off at work so I stopped off at the Nature Center.  I had just gotten down to the trail when I saw a whitetail deer.  I took my sandles off and walked barefoot on the trail so I could get closer.  The deer saw me with my bright yellow and blue Corona ball cap, but didn't seemed alarmed and continued to graze.

I was able to get even closer by walking barefoot in the trees.  In just a matter of a few minutes I was surrounded by a small group of 4 does and 5 fawns.  Curiosity brought them momentarily closer then they would return to their grazing.

It was such a special moment for me, there in the woods with the deer.  I felt accepted, I felt like I belonged there, that I was as much a part of the forest as the trees and birds were.  For a moment in time this morning I was a child of nature the way humans once were at the beginning of time.

Except that I was clicking away on my big ole camera!  (I think those deer probably recognized the sound from my past visits.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I took this picture just seconds before I took my fall on Sunday.  Fortunately this cholla is not the cactus that I fell onto.  This picture is smaller than lifesized and those spines are vicious!  Even the dead and dried plants pose a threat because the whole branch will break off and stick you.  It is difficult to remove as the spines all grow in different directions and while pulling one out you will inadvertently push another one in.  Not to mention there is no safe spineless place to grasp the cactus for painless removal.  Yes, this is experience speaking.

This prickly pear cactus is similar to the one I fell on.  The large spines were painful and drew blood, but the hairlike spines that grow at their base were probably the worst.  Many broke off just under my skin and are still embedded in my face. My foot improves daily.  I have a bruise on my torso from when I fell onto my camera, I laugh every time I see it.

Best of all though, my lense appears to be okay now.  I guess it just had a little dust embedded in it, but a good brushing has it focusing now without any problem.  So, with my body and my camera all healed, I'm ready to set off again on another adventure... hopefully a painless one this time.

Monday, August 29, 2005


An immature golden eagle greeted us silently from above.  When it gets older it will lose the white on its wings and tail and become a rich brown.  I was pleased with this picture because it is not often that eagles fly low enough to get a decent picture of them without a high powered zoom. 

This cliff swallow nest cluster hung on the side of a cliff like ancient ruins.  Similar communities could be found all along the face of the canyon but I didn't see a single swallow.

We surprised a little group of deer grazing along the roadside and this fawn was separated from its mother when the herd scattered.  We stopped the truck and after a brief moment the fawn decided that it was safe to cross infront of us and it bounded over to its anxious mother.

By the time I came across this moment my face was stinging and my foot was throbbing.  But I could almost hear the Choir of Angels as the sun's rays reached up towards the heavens and I couldn't resist taking one more picture.

DOWNRANGE, Fort Carson and the accident

This looks like a view of rural Smalltown USA.  Its actually taken on the military training grounds on Fort Carson.

All of the other roadrunners I have seen here are shy and take off before I can even lift my camera.  This guy actually came towards me and allowed me to follow him from a distance.  Roadrunners are actually quite large, this one's body was about the size of a duck's, with very long legs.

Have you ever seen a pink moth like this?  I have not, never ever in my entire life!  I thought it was a pink petal when I first approached.

I have some sad news, I have damaged my camera's 70mm lens.  While hiking through the brush I tripped over a tree root and fell forward.  I tried to protect the camera but landed on it and knocked it out of focus.  The camera wasn't the only thing I landed on... I fell face first into some cactus!  And it gets worse, on the way home to tend to my wounds, we spotted some turkey so I jumped out and started chasing them.  I avoided the cactus, but not the barbed wire.  But I did come home with some pretty neat pictures.  I'll get some more posted... once the pain wears off!

Read the whole story on my Dust Bunny journal: CAN YOU SAY 'KLUTZ'?

Friday, August 26, 2005


I posted this picture back in July on my other journal, but it is one of my favorites so tonight when I was rummaging around in my files, I pulled it up and re-worked it.  My niece Miki is probably the brightest little girl I know and she is also the most beautiful.  Sometimes during the summer while she was vacationing with me I would forget that she was just 5.  I miss my little Miki.  But she left me a little momento... Just below the coat hooks on the foyer wall, scrawled in bright crayon are the letters 'miki'.  My kids have volunteered to clean it off, but I declined their offer.  I'll let her clean it when she returns... maybe.  And then maybe I'll just leave it there to remind me of the summer with her.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


As a child I used to love kicking wild mushrooms over.  As a parent I wouldn't let my children go near them because I just knew that they were poisonous and growing out of a pile of pooh!  Now, as a photographer I search for these fancy fungi... and get very irritated when I find that they have been kicked over by some little bratty child.

The study of mushrooms is called mycology.  I had every intention of looking up the names of these mushrooms, but after browsing for a few minutes in the many mycology sites I was completely utterly confused and have already reconsidered my pursuit in the field of mycology. 

And so, with my limited mycological identification skills, I present three different kinds of mushrooms that I encountered along the trail at Cattail Marsh.  They are, from top to bottom 1)Gigantic Pretty White Mushroom  2) Pretty Brown and White Mushroom  and 3)  Orange Ringed Mushroom. 

Okay, these aren't the scientific names... infact, they aren't even the proper names, but they work for me! In the future I think I'll stick to eating them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I found a cool site that has helped me to identify some of the beautiful flowers I've been fortunate to photograph.  I'm still a novice so if you feel I have mis-identified a flower, please let me know so I can make the changes.


Canada Thistle (?)

Spider Wort

Thelypodium laxiflorum

Southwest Colorado Wildflowers


These past few months have been a learning experience for me as I watched the wildlife area shake off the browns of winter and put on a fresh coat of spring.  The rains have been generous although we still have a long way to build up the reservoirs.  This is a view of the creek running along the bank by the beaver dam from April 22.  The lodge is located at the base of the bare tree on the top right side of the bank. 

This is the creek taken today from the same spot only I zoomed in a little closer.  The lodge is the pile of sticks at the top of the waterway on the right hand side.  Its hard to believe it is the same place, with only 4 months apart.

This shot of the fencepost was taken in the beginning of June.  The beautiful yellow flowers that once draped over it had already dried and fallen off.

A new vine has taken over the post and is in full glorious bloom.  Interesting also is the change in my photographs, I think my compositions are getting a little better with time.

Monday, August 22, 2005


After dropping my daughter off at school this morning I took a little detour and visited the trail down the way.  I was delighted to see the prairie ablaze with color.  These evening primroses still have dew on their petals.

An interesting thing about the desert paintbrush is that the orange part is not the flower.  The blossom is actually the green stemlike piece protruding from with the orange sheath.

I tried to find the proper name for this flower, other than 'pretty yellow thing' as I have called them in the past.  My amature flower identification skills pointed me to the 'arnica', which may not be right, but it looks better than 'yellow thing'.

Liatris spicata (thanks Pookie!)
This beauty will have to remain nameless for the time being unless anyone out there knows the name of it.  I searched for an hour on numberous websites but was unable to identify it.

As I walked among the cactus and yucca this morning I found myself shaking my head in amazement that I once actually thought of Colorado at this time of year to be barren and unattractive!  It just goes to prove how much beauty there is around us if we would only get out and open our eyes.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

INDY 225, Pikes Peak International Raceway

My husband received some complimentary  tickets for the Indy 225 at the Pikes Peak International Raceway park so we spent the day watching racecars go around and around and around.  The total laps for all 3 races was 475 laps or 475 miles.  Not only did the cars drive fast, but the pit crews were so coordinated and precise that they could change all 4 tires and refuel the cars in just a few seconds.  Not minutes, but seconds!

Dan Wheldon finished in first place.  Tony Kanaan in the 7-11 car at the top placed third.  These guys were moving at speeds of over 170 mph!  Unfortunately my camera only takes pictures at a speed of 50 mph so I didn't get too many shots of the cars in motion, and most that I did get were of the tailend of the racecar as it sped past.

During the intermission between the Indy race and the Nascar race a couple of parachuters from the racetrack dropped in.  This gigantic American flag was caught as it decended to the infield and held up by some of the workers while Lee Greenwood's 'God Bless the USA' played in the background.  It was a very touching and patriotic tribute to the many Military service members at home and abroad.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Well, I have my broadband back up and running but I'm still on the kids computer and only have PaintShop Pro8 trial edition to work with. I didn't notice this particular edge on my ver. 9 so I've been playing around with it.  This by the way is my daughter Becca with her violin.  No, she doesn't normally bring it with her when we go fishing but I talked her into it for a couple of pictures.

Another reluctant model.  I chased this poor moth all over the field until it finally realized that it may as well stop and feed because I wasn't going to leave it in peace until I got a shot.


I love that old stump and take a picture of it every time I go to the reservoir.  The tree in the marshy field caught my eye as the sun peered through its branches.  Yes, the sky really was that blue today, just before the rain clouds moved in.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


This sunflower field was growing wild along Peyton Highway, just south east of Fountain, Colorado.  Thats Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain in the background. I'm working on a different computer, with a different graphics program so I apologize if the pictures take too long to load or are fuzzy.  I'm really not sure what I'm posting because the resolution on this computer is fuzzy no matter what.  Hopefully I will have my computer back soon.

Everywhere I look there are baby rabbits.  This tiny cottontail showed no fear and allowed me to get within a few feet before it hopped off to a nearby yucca plant.  The child in me still wants to pick up these adorable wild creatures that I have been fortunate to cross paths with, but they belong free in the wilderness and I resist... except for the baby frogs and the tiny garder snake...

I have no idea what species of butterfly or moth this is, but it was gracious enough to stay long enough for me to take this picture.  I wish I could get better close-up pictures, this would have been the perfect opportunity with the richness of colors in the background.   Perhaps in time I will get a good macro.  Of course by that time I'll be whining for a new zoom.  There's really no satisfying me!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


My computer situation has gone from bad to worse.  I am now working off of my husband's laptop, which is too tiny and delicate for my clumbsy fingers.  I hate technology!  No I don't, not really, because without it I wouldn't be able to have so much fun with my camera and computer (when it works!)  I spotted this coyote as it ran across the street by the shooting range where it's kit was waiting.  There was a male and a second kit as well but this was as close as they would let me get.  (I thought these were a type of fox but my husband identified them as a young family of coyotes, possibly looking extra scrawny because of the season)

I startled a doe from the thicket next to the pond where my kids were fishing so I took a peek to see where she had run off to.  I had to stop almost as soon as I stepped into the meadow for about 50 yards away I spotted two little pointed ears sticking out from the thistle.  The fawn instinctively froze in place and didn't even wiggle an ear, I almost didn't see it, but it was watching me the whole time.  When I took one step too close and invaded its safety zone, it jumped up and in the direction the doe had gone, but stopped a little ways out and watched me watching it.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

ELK HERD, Fort Carson Colorado

Fort Carson has always had elk roaming the down-range area of the Army base, but recent drought conditions had forced the herds to relocate in search of better water supplies.  The break in the drought is slowly seeing a return in the numbers of elk.  This herd of about 40 joined up with another herd shortly after this picture was taken to form a herd of about 100 animals.  It was a beautiful sight after their absence the past couple of years.

Even more promising was the number of calves that were with the herds.  Almost every adult female had at least one calf by her side.

I feel I should mention that as a hunter, I shall be hunting elk this fall.   That I should choose to kill an animal to feed my family does not depreciate my love for nature.   If anything it has made me more aware and appreciative of the wilderness around me.

Friday, August 12, 2005


With the end of summer approaching, the spring babies are becoming more visual.  I watched the parents of these barn swallows on many occasions as they built and rebuilt their mud nest in the pavillion at the Marsh.  Their persistence finally paid off and they were able to hatch this adorable little family.


This little guy is a downy woodpecker.  He showed no sign of alarm as I moved in closer for this picture, but I imagine in time that will change.  The same cannot be said for this family of geese and in fact they actually came to me quite happily when I called to them.  I have photographed them many times over the summer but I suspect it was more the quest for food than recognition that brought them to me.


The last time I saw any squirrels at the Marsh, they were together as a family.  Today this little one was by itself, probably after it's mother abandoned it to fend for itself.  The little cottontail was also alone although there were a couple larger rabbits hiding in the bushes way off to the side. 

It seems almost unfair that humans must support their babies for an average of 18 years...

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I came across this whitetail doe and 3 fawns at Cattail Marsh today.  Unfortunately they were on the other side of the pond, which was just a little too far to get a clear shot with my zoom.  I tried enlarging the picture and then sharpening it but the picture became real spotty with the 'digital noise'.  The shot was too precious to give up on though so I tried to remove the noise and increase the saturation.  The end result was kind of washed out but there was a certain water-color appeal that I actually liked. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


The Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a unique formation hidden away off the beaten path in Calhan.  The park was only recently aquired by El Paso County.  The mines had been abused for decades and the trash and graffiti had to be cleaned up before the park could be opened to the public.

Gulleys are cut into the clay and sandstone from years of wear from the elements.  Archeological finds of ancient pottery, tools and other artifacts seem to enforce the belief that the mines were once frequented by Native American tribes.  The colored clay is thought to have been used for pottery and paint.


The colors and formations, called 'hoodoos' stand out starkly against the landscape.  The natural sculptures are ever changing with each rainfall as they have been for hundreds and thousands of years.

I was entranced by this particular formation, which looked like a sandcastle one would expect to find on a beach by the ocean. 

I apologize if these pictures do not load correctly.  I am currently using my dial-up connection and am not sure of the quality of the pictures' resolution.  Hopefully I will be able to get my broadband running again because I'm really hating my current connection.  Aghhhhhh!