Wednesday, November 22, 2006

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

No, its not a Butterball, its a  wild 'merriam' turkey.  Its not as plump or juicy as its pale, domestic cousin, but what it lacks in girth it more than makes up for in looks.  Wild turkeys roost high up in trees and while they don't fly any more than they have to, preferring to run instead, they are actually very graceful fliers. 

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Knowing that a blizzard was on the way but not sure how it would affect the ponds, I took a last minute trip down to the Cattail Marsh before winter converged over the Foothills yesterday afternoon.  I was surprised by how peaceful it was there.  The blackbirds flitted lazily among the cat tails and bull rushes, soaking up the warmth of the setting sun's rays.  I don't doubt that they too knew of the approaching winter storm that was moving our way.  I shall miss my little feathered friends once Old Man Winter moves in for the season.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

ROUND ROBIN PHOTO CHALLENGE: Very Scary

For this photo challenge I chose a favorite 'accidental' picture of mine.  I took this picture two summers ago while experimenting with long exposures.  My son Art was about to set off some fireworks and I was testing the settings before hand so that I could get his silhouette against the flare.  Unfortunately Art is very bashful in front of the camera and when he became aware of me standing behind him, he moved out of range.  I didn't get the shot I wanted, but this ghostly image more than made up for it.

You can find other scary images here:

The Round Robin Photo Challenges: Round Robin Challenge: "Very Scary"

Monday, September 18, 2006

A BED OF SUNFLOWERS

This tree probably toppled sometime last year, and I know I must have passed it dozens of times as it lay there in the dry grasses without giving it much thought.  After all the rain this fall the meadows are in full bloom and I couldn't help but to be drawn to the fallen tree as it lay there cradled gently by the sunflowers.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

ROUND ROBIN PHOTO CHALLENGE: Nostalgia

For some reason when ever I think of 'nostalgia' I think of music.  I may picture in my mind an image of an item, but just as clear is a tune of a long gone era, usually associateted with the subject of my mind's eye.  For that reason I chose to focus on music for my nostalgic post.  Do you remember the old 33 LP's or the 45's?  Or what about the 1/8 inch thick 78's!

My love for music began with a piano.  While I never progressed further than a two finger rendition of 'Chopsticks', the piano is still one of my favorite instruments.

ROUND ROBIN: NOSTALGIA

Friday, September 1, 2006

A PAINTING, by Dorn

If I could paint, this is what I would paint, and I would hang it on the wall above my couch.  But I can't paint so I pretend and I hang my 'paintings' on my blog instead.

Every picture I take has a story that goes with it.  While this picture itself appears serene and peaceful,don't be fooled by the tranquility it depicts. What is going on behind the camera is the exact opposite.

I had just attended the funeral of a friend and needed some quiet time.  I thought a walk by my favorite ponds would ease my mind from the pain.  What I encountered was a whole different type of agony.

Mosquitoes!  A whole squadron of kamikaze, blood thirsty, life sucking critters with me on the menu!  At first they flew along side me like escorts, then they were in buzzing in my ears, peeking up my nose and harassing me with their fly-bys.  Before long they were sucker deep in my flesh, sucking more blood from my body than I ever knew I had.  I probably lost a pound or two from blood loss alone.  How I held the camera still long enough to take this picture, I'll never know. 

But yeah, if I could paint, this is the picture I would paint.  And I would hang it on the wall above my couch.

Monday, August 28, 2006

TESTING, TESTING, 1, 2, 3.....

Its been a while since I've been able to work with my camera.  In the meantime I have been doing a lot of reading on how to take better pictures.  My first accomplishment, moving out of the center of the frame.    While it is necessary for some shots, so much potential is lost if the subject is always smack dab in the center.(thanks plittle).

This colorful, furry little creature is the larvae of the 'milkweed tussock' moth.  I have seen hundreds of its younger, smaller and less hairy siblings during my visits to the milkweed field but this was the first time I'd ever seen the larvae in this stage.  Ironically it will morph into a rather dull, mono-color brown moth.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ROUND ROBIN CHALLENGE: Transportation

I did not get to go out today in search for inspiration for this week's challenge since my paparrazi husband decided that his need for MY camera out weighed mine and he took off with it.  That left me with the easy task of finding my favorite 'transportation' pictures in my library of 100,000's of shots.  I have always been fascinated with hot air balloons and it has been a long time dream of mine to one day ascend into the clouds in one.  While I have never actually been in one, the hot air balloon is by far my favorite vehicle of transportation.

This may not be the best picture... in fact its a poor example of contrast, color and lighting, but truth be known it is my favorite balloon picture.  Just looking at it transports me back to the moment in time when I took it.  I remember that I was happy that morning, with my son home on leave before departing for the first half of his tour in Iraq.  I can almost feel the peacefulness and contentment I felt that morning as the balloon floated with seemingly weightlessness high above the mountains in the crisp morning air.  One day I hope to know the feeling of looking down on those mountains with the same peaceful contentment.  For now I must be content with this picture and the memories it invokes.

ROUND ROBIN PHOTO CHALLENGE:  TRANSPORTATION

Monday, July 31, 2006

BIRD WHISPERER

Yesterday Art was treated to a little interaction with some playful birds who have chosen our cul de sac as their nightly hunting grounds.  At first the birds, whom I've not been able to identify yet, were chasing insects in the evening sky, but they quickly changed their target when Art climbed up on the truck. There were approximately 10 birds doing fly bys, coming very close, but never in a threatening manner.  This picture is actually a compilation of 4 shots taken a few seconds apart.  Close up shots of the birds were out of the question, they were just too fast for me.

Monday, July 24, 2006

TESTING VIDEO EMBED

WONDERFUL WORLD by Louis Armstrong & Kenny G

Just testing out a new trick I learned over at Pixel Pusher Embedding YouTube Video In Your AOL Journal.  If you just get this text along with an empty screen, don't worry, it just means I'm not smart enough to use this technology yet.  If you do get the video screen, double click to start.  Click again and it will take you directly to YouTube.

Tip:  if you try to embed videos into your beta journal, do all the text editing before adding the video.

Friday, July 14, 2006

YEAH, YEAH, I KNOW....

Its been a while since I've posted anything.  We've finally gotten some much needed rain which limited my photographic opportunities so I busied myself with other things I've been neglecting, like fine tuning my skills of procrastination.  The rain has let up and I should have some time to get out with the Nikon soon, but in the mean time here's another little musical slideshow featuring some of my favorite recent pictures you might have seen posted here, set to the wonderful sounds of Louie Armstrong and Kenny G.


Sights and sounds of My Life (WONDERFUL WORLD)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

ROUND ROBIN PHOTO CHALLENGE: Flower Power

Cyber-chromatic Quilt:  Wild Flowers




I inherited my love for flowers from my parents.  Unfortunately I did not inherit their green thumbs and must be content with enjoying flowers in other peoples gardens.  These wild flowers were photographed with in the past few weeks during my many journeys to nearby ponds and meadows.  I would however like to point out that the beautiful dandelion at the end of my collect is one of my rare successes from my own garden.

FLOWER POWER: Round Robin Photo Challenge

Thursday, June 22, 2006

KIT CARSON (testing)


Riding Into The Sunset

I was just poking around in my AOL YGP albums and I came across this old favorite of mine of the Kit Carson statue on Fort Carson.  It was one of the first pictures taken with my Nikon shortly after I got it early last year.  Originally I posted the picture in black and white, but reposted it in color (no, that is not the natural color of the sunset, I increased the contrast and red tones for effect).  I also deleted the telephone poles and power lines to give an unobstructed view of the mountains in the distance.

Actually the real purpose behind the reposting of this picture was to test out the method of posting pictures directly from a YGP album, and it works great!  It comes at the perfect time too, I've almost used up all of my FTP space.

Friday, June 16, 2006

MY FIRST BEAR PICTURE

A large black bear was spotted in a tree not far from a training area and I was invited to take some pictures of it before it was shooed back to safer grounds.  The healthy bear rose at our approach but stood her ground on the bough of a huge shade tree.  It was soon discovered that she had a cub concealed in the branches higher up.  The decision was made by the wildlife officers to leave the bears alone and let them make their own way back to the safety of the nearby tree line. 

My husband returned to check on the bears later in the day and found them still lounging in the shade of the great branches.  The cub even poked its head out for a quick introduction before settling back down for a nap next to Mama.  You can see his pictures at: BEAR COUNTRY

A super dooper big 'THANKS!' to the guys who gave me this golden opportunity... (not sure I'm allowed to give names, but you guys know who you are.... THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!)

FOUNTAIN, Colorado

I have photographed these lamp poles on many different occasions over the past two years but never seemed to get the right combination of wind, lighting, weather, composition and angle until this day.  Fountain, Colorado was voted as an All American City in 2000 and the city proudly carries on its welcoming hometown appeal to this day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ROUND ROBIN PHOTO CHALLENGE: Emotions

This past year has been very emotional for my family with my eldest son being deployed to Iraq.  Last month he was able to relax at home with us, away from the ugliness that is war.  Needless to say it was very difficult to put him back on to a plane to rejoin his 'brothers'.  This picture was taken at the airport shortly before he boarded the first of many planes that would take him once again in to harms way.  I don't know what father and son said to each other, I was trying hard to keep control of my own emotions.  Ironically I have managed to hold back the tears... until this very moment. 

I am so proud of my son and his commitment to his country, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I am scared to death for him.

The Round Robin Photo Challenges: Round Robin Challenge: Emotions

SORTIE

Like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's movie 'The Birds', this red-winged black bird flew circles over my head, occasionally swooping in lower while its mate and neighbors gathered in the nearby trees and reeds, chirping maniacally in my direction.  Although I suspected the cause of the bird's agitation, it wasn't until I was almost upon it that I noticed the intricately woven nest cleverly concealed in a thick stand of reeds.  I backed away so as not to disturb any little ones that might be in the nest, and continued on my hike around the pond, but the birds did not forgive and forget easily.  They followed me from tree to tree, scolding loudly until I finally climbed into my truck and drove away.

Monday, June 12, 2006

WILD FLOWER SAMPLER

If I did my homework right, these petite little blossoms are mountain blue bells.  Never mind that my reference book was found in the tourist section at the local department store.

These delicate flowers ironically belong to the prickly pear cactus.  I have tried to avoid cactus at all cost since my unfortunate mishap last summer... but could not resist these beautiful blooms.  (read my cactus story here: CAN YOU SAY 'KLUTZ'? )

Cholla cactus is another thorn in my side... literally, but their flowers are beautiful as well.   Initially I approached the plant to get a picture of the flower, but at closer inspection I discovered that the center of the blossom was crawling with beetles.  I counted at least 20 insects of probably about 6 different species.  Too cool!  Creep, but cool!

WESTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAIL, Part II

Up until a couple of weeks ago I had never heard of, let alone seen a Western Tiger Swallowtail.  Now they flutter about every where I go.  I wanted to post this shot close enough to my other swallowtail to make a comparison.  The butterfly I found today at the pond had more distinct patterns and much more brilliant color.  I'm thinking it might be a male.  Neither of the butterflies showed concern by my presence, unlike their skittish Monarch cousins.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

YAHOO!


Western Tiger Swallowtail

Finally, my diligence paid off... or my stubbornness... which ever, but what ever it was, I finally got my butterfly picture.  Even the breeze cooperated just long enough for me to get a focused shot.  This may never happen again, so I am so grateful for the opportunity.  I am content.

Now... for that elusive lightning photo...

Thursday, June 1, 2006

STORMY, and a delightful discovery


Storm To The West

Just the other night I was cursing the storm that grounded my son's flight and cost him a whole day of the short time remaining of his leave from the war in Iraq.  Last night, with him back home again, I found the time to enjoy the beauty of nature in its full glory.  Storms can be beautiful to witness under the right circumstances.  I had no where better to be, and could view the storm from a safe distance.  A hole in the clouds relected a brilliant sunset and reassured the residents that there were blue skies close at hand.


Storm To The East

I have been trying to capture a good shot of lightning for a year now but the majority of the times I am prevented by the rain.  Last night I was fortunate to have the opportunity to witness the storm from a distance before the clouds opened up above me.  Unfortunately I have reflexes as quick as sludge.  I only caught this bolt because my husband was able to tell me when to click the shutter.  I used a lower shutter speed and aperture setting to lighten the exposure and catch some of the fore ground.  When I loaded the pictures on the computer later I discovered, much to my delight, the reason behind the absence of my pelicans.  They had moved from the Pelican Pond and were now taking up residence at the Reservoir.  (that's them just above the right side of the sandbar). 

As for my storm photography, well, I still need a LOT of work on getting my settings and exposures right.  But I wasn't disappointed with last night's shoot for the storm had led me to my old friends.  Finally, summer had truly arrived for me.  The pelicans, the birds of summer, had returned.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

ROUND ROBIN PHOTO CHALLENGE: Reflections


Pelican Pond

Every year, right about this time, a flock of pelicans fly in to the pond down the way, which the locals refer to as 'Pelican Pond'  to herald the arrival of summer.  They have not make their appearance this year as of yet.  There is a surreal feeling in the air as I feel I cannot begin to appreciate the season until I have seen the pelicans.  The water of the pond is almost always a dark, murky brown, but on this day it was lit up brightly to reflect the rich colors of the marsh surrounding it.  The pond so far this year has remained murky and uninviting, as if it too awaits a sign that summer has arrived.


Cousins In The Creek

I love the many facets of light and this simple silhouette, lit up by the summer sun reflecting off the ripples of Fountain Creek remains one of my favorites.

Round Robin Challenge: Reflections (for 5/24/06)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

DUSK

Today was the first time in several days that I have been able to take my camera out and about.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the chaos that is my life and I forget how beautiful and peaceful this same life can be for me, all it takes is a step back and open eyes.

There is something so intelligent about the piercing stare of an owl, even a baby one.  These two little guys (who really aren't that little at all!) snapped their beaks loudly a couple of times but quickly calmed down when they realized that I wasn't coming any closer (I used my zoom lens for this shot).  Although I couldn't see them, I have no doubt the parents were watching me the whole time, ready to attack at the slightest sign of a threat.

A storm loomed over head and the Canada geese were unusually quiet this evening as they paddled slowly across the still water.  I love this time of night, when the world is just beginning to wind down and relax after a busy day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

MAY FLURRIES

I woke this morning to the calming beauty of falling snow.  I stood outside and closed my eyes, call me nuts, but I swear I could hear the snow falling. And the smell... its different from rain, its fresh and cool, and it stirs the memory of other scents like a crackling fire in the hearth and fresh pine needles, but by itself, it is the fragrance of clean air and mountain breezes.  Its the soft aroma of fluffy white clouds.  At the age of 45 I still get excited by fresh fallen snow.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

NIGHT VISION

Last summer my kids and I adopted a Canada goose couple who had nested on a little island near the end of the waterway at the Cattail Marsh.  Sadly the nest was raided, probably by raccoons, and the geese mourned for a couple of days before abandoning the nest.  Much to our delight they returned to the nest again this spring and successfully hatched a clutch of 6.  These goslings are 9 days old.  Believe it or not they were swimming before they were even a full 24 hours old.  While the parents brought the babies right over to us for bread crumbs, they kept the other geese at bay.

This picture was never intended.  My night vision is not the greatest and I used the flash to see if there were any animals near the creek.  The light didn't reveal any creatures hiding in the dark, but the resulting picture is almost hypnotic.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

NATURAL PATIENCE

I became acquainted with this young Great Blue Heron last summer.  I am almost 100% sure its the same one because while all of the other herons will take flight as soon as I come into view, this one will move to the shore, and then upon realizing that I am not a threat, it will resume its search for fish.  Its patience is evident here in this extended exposure shot.  I slowed the shutter down to soften the surface of the water but was able to keep the heron pretty much in focus because it was standing perfectly still while waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim by.

Patience is a virtue, and the key to survival.  This heron caught and swallowed 3 fish while I watched from the dam.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

NEW TO MY FAVORITES LIST


'Spring Blossoms'  (I took extra care to get this shot focused only to load it onto the computer and smooth the edges with the 'digital noise remover'.  I like the resulting softer lines better than the original sharply focused image.)

I read a lot of journals in the course of the day, but my favorites are the ones that require no reading, just looking.  They are the Photo-Blogs.  Over the past two years I have come across and enjoy dozens of online albums by some super talented photographers, but I am always on the look out for new talent.  Some of these newest favorites of mine are actually old aquaintences such as my husband and my sister.  Others I came across by accident.  Either way, they are full of talent and inspiration and it would be selfish of me not to bring them to the attention of others who might not already know and appreciate their works.

PAPARRAZI BY PROXY:  My husband Steve (more commonly known as 'Dickidoo') has always had a good eye for photography and I finally got tired of his constant suggestions that I should shoot this or do that, and I handed him my camera with the suggestion that he take the picture his own darn self.  He did, and he did it well.  And now I have to fight to be able to use my own camera (I don't share well).  However, I am always eager to see what he has captured during his outings and am rarely disappointed.  While I am the actual author of the journal, all of the pictures are the works of my husband.

Retrospect USA: Meet my older sister 'Redbird'.  She began her passion for photography several years ago with a 35mm SLR camera and recently evolved into the world of digital photography.  I love how she uses color and angles.  During a visit over the summer, she and I took our cameras out to a favorite scenic location of both of ours, the Garden of the Gods, and I was amazed by how differently we both captured the same subjects.

Anywhere Is....:  This is a brand-spankin'-new find for me, and I instantly fell in love with the earthy talent of Shutterbug.  When I first clicked on this link I was completely in awe, and the feeling remains with each new entry. 

Photo Trek:  Radar calls himself a 'hobbyist photographer', but do not mistake that for being amateur.  There is nothing amateurish about this guy.  His pictures are fabulous!  Don't limit yourself to his journal, check out the links to his galleries.  You won't be disappointed.

Involuntary Motion:  I have mentioned this journal before for its written words but would be amiss to neglect mentioning the breathtaking photography found within the entries.  His pictures reflect the simple yet beautiful lifestyle he has chosen to live.

Enjoy!

Friday, April 14, 2006

APRIL'S FULL MOON

I missed the opportunity to capture the moon while it was a dark orange in the early evening sky due to the fact that I was on the road and my camera was at home.  When I finally returned home, the moon was hiding behind a neighbor's trees.  I'm sure that if I had the know-how to get the settings right, this could have been a really nice shot.  For now I am happy with the mystical quality of the picture.  As a child I had always been intrigued by the moon.  As an adult I am still mesmerized by it.  I don't think I will ever tire of its many faces.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

GONE FISHING

Its spring, the ponds have all thawed out and the anglers are on the shorelines every chance they get.   A lone fisherman sat across the water, enjoying the sweet melodies of the songbirds as they flitted about in the nearby trees and reeds.  Occasionally he would move to reel in his line and cast it out again, but for the most part he just sat there and enjoyed the day. 

Me:  Hi, how're you doing?

Him:  Good, you?

Me:  I'm doing great, thanks. 

Him:  Where's all the fish?  Been here since 11 o'clock this morning, only caught 2 fish all day.

Me:  Maybe there were only 2 fish out there and you caught them all.

Him:  They said they stocked the lake... but there aren't no fish out there.  They lied!  There aren't no fish out there at all.

When I left the pond a while later, he was still sitting there, his stringer with the two fish lay in the water below his feet.  He hadn't had a bite since I'd been there, but you'd never tell by the look of contentment on his face. 

He had reached the point in his life when it was no longer about the fish, it was all about the fishing.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

GOOSE SONG

I spent the afternoon with this Canada goose.  Despite its appearance, the goose was actually quite docile around me, making only soft grunts while begging for crumbs from my sourdough roll.  It was obviously the dominant gander (?) on the pond for the other geese kept their distance and those who ventured too close in the hopes of scooping up some crumbs were quickly chased away with a flap of wings and a warning honk.

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