A single light,
A bottle of wine,
A secret room,
But not enough time.
No, they aren't alien invaders. I pretty much have to shower in repellant in order to avoid being sucked dry by these blood thirsty mosquitoes. Unfortunately Off for Outdoorsmen not only repels the mosquitoes but butterflies and dragonflies as well. Needless to say I was thrilled with my shots yesterday. By the way, that picture is about scaled to life. When they swarm like that, they really do sound like a squadron of fighter planes. Its advisable to cover your nose when passing through a swarm like this. I'm sure you can figure out why.
The only thing worse than hearing a mosquito buzzing around your head is hearing a mosquito buzzing around your head and then suddenly not hearing it anymore. That drives me nuts! When they are buzzing at least I know they are still flying. They don't buzz when they are feeding.
Ugh! Just looking at that picture makes me itchy.
This little locust nibbled happily on some berries while I crawled around trying to get a good shot of him. Usually they are shy and will hop away if I get too close, but this guy had more important things on his mind.
Yet another desert locust. This one tolerated me for a short while before backing into a hole. Unfortunately the hole was too shallow to hide in so it crawled back out and hopped away.
Here's a tip when trying to photograph dragonflies. If you spook one away, just stay put, it will probably return shorty. (thanks Sepintx) . Not only did this dragonfly return, it landed even closer. When I got the shot I needed, I moved away, and it followed me, landing just infront of me. Too cool!
I had a semi-decent picture of this Cabbage White as it tiptoed across a flower, but if you've ever seen them, they like to fold their wings up together. I snapped this picture halfheartedly as it fluttered away and was pleasantly surprised by the result. The butterfly itself is not focused, but it still made for a delicate image. (thanks madcobug for the butterfly link).
Here is another picture from my visit to Garden of the Gods. The leaves in the park are just starting to change colors but the evergreens are as green as ever. The moon was still shining brightly at 10 o'clock in the morning. It was such a beautiful morning that even the moon wanted to stick around to enjoy it a bit longer.
Did I ever post a picture of the statue of George Eber Duclo? It stands in Manitou Springs Memorial Park. George Eber Duclo, a resident of Manitou Springs, gave his life in service during the first World War. The park was dedicated to him and all of Manitou's sons and daughters who gave their lives for their country.
A little squirrel actually ran up to me and circled my feet like a little puppy begging for a treat so I shared my breakfast granola with it. I pretended to be Dr. Doolittle and carried on a one-sided conversation with the creature while I photographed the flowers near by. Passers by smiled sympathetically, I'm sure they thought I was nuts. I just smiled back and took my pictures. I was on my way home when I spotted this fountain. The morning sunlight cast the perfect reflection and I had to stop.
I wish you could smell these roses. Their delicate fragrance permeated through the autum air and hung like a silk curtain. They smelled like romance, and springtime.
I was hiking along a trail off the road by the Garden of the Gods and was surprised to see a bicycle propped against a barbed wire fence. I guess the rider continued on foot. Can't say I blame them, its a beautiful walk.
This was my first outting since just before my son left for Iraq. Initally my reason for staying home was that I needed to be near the phone in case my son was to call. Then I just had no desire to go out. This morning as I walked in the peaceful solitude of the woods I realized that I was avoiding my thoughts. At home there was always something to occupy my mind. Out here by myself my thoughts turned back to my son and the fear I feel for him. And it was therapeutic. I think I will be okay now.
My little excursion yesterday put me in sight of almost a dozen nice buck muledeer. That is never the case when I am hunting. Animals are smart, they can smell a license on a person and know if they are hunting or not.
I love photographing pronghorn antelope soley because of their eyes. They have the most beautiful eyes. My dream is to get close enough to zoom in on just the eyes. (hint hint honey, must get a bigger zoom!)
These little pine roses decorate the tips of the pinon trees up and down the canyons and hillsides. They are actually a sort of pine cone which when it opens, drops pinon or pinenuts all over the ground. The small nuts are a favorite snack for some of the wild creatures that live in the pinon groves.
Believe it or not, these pictures were taken within 5 minutes of each other. The sunrise swept across the sky in brilliant, fiery blaze of color while on the opposite horizon the full moon slowly slipped below the mountains.
I don't often get to watch a moonset so this was a treat. The night before it ruled the sky with its opal glow, surrounded by a treasure of diamond stars. Upon the arrival of the morning sun it graciously relinquished its reign and drifted silently away with the promise to return for yet another night.
I love the morning sky.
My daughter Rocky is crazy about fishing and I often use impromtu fishing excursions as an incentive for good performance at school. We went out one day last week immediately after school when she managed to stay awake during class after being caught dozing a couple of times earlier in the week. She had a wonderful time at the pond even though all she caught was an undersized blue gill.
The osprey was more successful and circled the pond several times to show off its prize before landing on a power pole where it devoured the fair sized trout. This picture was actually taken the day before my dauaghter's fishing trip. I had taken her to the pond in the hopes that she would be able to see the raptor in action but a feather was the only sign we found of it on that day.
I've started a photo/message journal on my other screenname (eek! I'm running out of ftp space here!) featuring patriotic photographs and messages of support for our troops abroad. Many of the camps are now equiped with internet access and I'd like to create a forum where the service men and women can see the amount of support their countrymen have for them on the homefront.
As many of you already know, my oldest son Gabe is deploying to Iraq at the end of September. I have been keeping a journal of letters to him since he left for basic training in October of 2004. Its scary that he hasn't even been in the Army for a year and he's already being sent to war. Needless to say I'm scared to death but he is doing what he has always wanted to do... he's serving his country just like his father and grandfathers. Gabe is one of my most loyal lurkers, he reads all of my journals although he rarely comments. It is a window to his hometown and he is always peeking in every chance he gets. I plan on continuing the entries to him during his absence because I know that if he has the chance he will be able to visit his homeland, even if its just a brief cyber-visit.
Please feel free to visit the journals and submit any photographs or messages you'd like to share with the brave men and women of the Armed Forces, the sons and daughters America.
WE SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! (photos & messages)
Brisk breezes blow down through the mountains, just passing through and yet taking the colors of summer with it as it continues down towards the distant seas. Green slowly turns to brown as the seasons gradually change.
Flowers bow their weary heads to the approaching fall. I can't help but anticipate the changing of seasons. It is not the deminishing of beauty but the metamorphing to a beauty of another kind, a different caliber. It is the orange and golds of the changing leaves, the crisp misty mornings, the luke warm sunsets, the soft velvety cool of moonlit nights. I can almost smell its approach.
This is a very busy entry and I hope it doesn't freeze anyone up, but I wanted to share it with you. The top picture is of some property owned by a friend of mine. At first glance you might not think much of it, but all of the pictures below were taken right there in that very spot.
Beaver Creek is tucked away in the mountains of southern Colorado. Its arid desert country, but there is no denying its beauty. The whole time I was there I didn't see one single beaver or beaver dam, but I was not the least bit disappointed.
The creek, fed by the runoff from the mountain lakes, is crystal clear and ice cold. I experimented with the manual settings of my camera and was able to get this soothing shot of the creek water flowing downstream.
I love seeing the moon during the day. After all these years I am still facinated by the vision of the moon. There is a lot of comfort in the notion that the same moon watches over all of us.
Just one of the many beautiful blossoms that grace the grounds of the International Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
Special thanks to [madcobug] and everyone else who helped me to identify this lovely flower. With thumbs as bad as mine, my flower identification skills are limited to colors.
Colorado Springs is home to the International Fallen Firefighters Memorial. A long wall stands behind the flag poles with all of the names of the brave men and women who gave their lives while trying to save others. The largest entry was for September 11th, 2001.
A bronze firefighter is immortalized in eternal grief for his fallen commerades. Sadly I noticed that along the granite wall were many empty slabs that will some day, all too soon, hold the names of many more firefighters.
I was not directly affected by the tragedy of September 11th but like most Americans it touched my very heart and soul. My thoughts are with the families of all who were lost as a result from the attacks that day, the crew and passengers in the airliners, the workers in the Towers and the Pentagon, the service members and all of the City, State, Federal employees and private citizens who went to their aid.
Soft and gentle is the breeze that lifts the pained and weary from the rubble, whisping away to a place as soft as flower petals upon a grassy hill. Fragrant is the wind, quiet is the night, peaceful is the sleep. I do not fear death for it cannot hurt as much as life. But life is worth the pain. I do believe this.
I know I promised no more balloons for a while, but, this opportunity floated right over my house this morning and I couldn't resist. Besides I figure 2 days is 'a while'. This one goes out to Southernmush who obviously can't get enough of hotair balloons, just like me!
Just a couple of my experiments with PaintShop. In these two pieces I used the Infrared tool. You can adjust sharpness, blur, angle and a few other things, but they mean nothing to me. I just kept clicking [OK] and this is what I got.
This is one of my favorite subjects, the proud peacock from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. He is always so happy to pose for me.
Each day I notice more and more files are missing after my reformatting. Folks, I can't stress this enough, if you haven't already done so, back up all of your photo files. If you ever have a system crash and you don't have your files saved on a disk somewhere, they are gone forever! I am so grateful for the ones that were saved, but it breaks my heart to realize the precious moments I had captured with my camera that are now forever lost. Back up your files!
I promise these will be the last balloon pictures for a little while. Check out the first balloon, it actually stopped at the redlight! I wish I had a filter because it really would have been cool if the sunlight wasn't so intense. The silouetted balloon in the second picture floated between me and the sun. Initally I was disappointed by the washed out picture but a little darkening here, a little lightening there and poof, a salvagable shot. A UV filter is definitely on the top of my shopping list. (followed closely by a macro and a super dooper 'see the dust on Mars' zoom!)
Sometimes I get so involved in my daily routine that I forget about one of the most beautiful times of the day, daybreak. Getting up to watch the parade of balloons these past few mornings has re-opened my eyes to the endless beauty of the countryside.
There were so many beautiful balloons afloat in the cool morning air, but I was waiting for the balloon that bore the Colorado state emblem. I had the perfect picture contructed in my mind, with the balloon hovering just above the Peak. Unfortunately, as it often happens with my ideas, it never happened and the balloon was unable to gain enough altitude to ascend to a level that would afford me my shot.
Pikes Peak really is spectacular in the morning. It was upon the 14,110 summit that Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write the words to America The Beautiful:
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
As a schoolgirl this was one of my favorite songs, and yet I never understood the 'purple mountains' until I moved here and saw the Rockies for the first time. Now I have seen first hand the inspiration behind her beautiful poem.