Saturday, February 25, 2006


Memories....  I visited Seven Falls in the Fall when I was stationed at Ft. Carson.  Great Place!!!  Donna
Comment from
dhga30047 - 2/25/06 9:53 AM

If you've been to Seven Falls, then surely you'll remember Starr Kempf's kinetic yard sculptures at the base of Cheyenne Canon.  A few years ago the residents of the neighborhood won a battle with the family, stating that the sculptures were in violation with the city zoning regulations, and that the tourist traffic was disrupting the neighborhood.   The larger sculptures which were found in violation of the city's height restrictions were removed but the others remain.

Starr Kempf (1917-1995) was a local artist who's display of larger than life wind activated sculptures have delighted residents and visitors of Colorado Springs for decades (myself included).


One might view the sculptures as decorating the lush grounds of his home, but I always felt that the story book home that sat in the background seemed to be more of an afterthought that decorated the grounds of the sculptures.  The giant sculptures shine brightly in the sun and move gracefully in the wind, but make not a sound.  I have always marveled at that. 

"With the steel sculpture, I can aim at the clouds.  With the human form I am too sensitive to the possibility of butchering it.  With these sculptures I am not bound by realism.  That bird isn't necessarily a bird; he is both abstract and representational.  Working in the steel I am most free."  Starr Kempf  (1987)



Seven Falls is a popular tourist attraction during the summer but traffic slows down dramatically during the winter.  When I got to the admission gate I was warned that the falls were frozen and the stairs to the the top of the falls as well as the hiking trails were closed for the season.  I decided to take a risk and drive in any way.  I am glad that I did because what greeted me was a whole new kind of beauty.  Contrary to its appearance, the falls were not entirely frozen.  Water still ran swift beneath the thick shell of ice on the surface.

At first glance I thought this was an unused road or trail but it is actually a stream that flows from the base of the falls.  Like the falls itself, only the surface is frozen.  Beneath the snow and ice runs an ice cold, crystal clear mountain stream.

My trip to the falls gave me the opportunity to practice my snow shots.  The first was washed out, the second was dark.  In my third attempt I simply switched to a night setting that automatically adjusts to the existing light, and this was the result.  I'm happy with it for now but I know the camera has so much potential if I would  just sit down and read the section in the owners manual about the different manual settings.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Photographing snow has always been a challenge for me being as I have not gotten around to investing in filters yet.  Nor have I figured out the intricacies of manual settings for lighting and all that other mumbo-jumbo that serious photographers really should know.  I took this shot of the cotton tail at a bad angle and the auto setting on my camera kept wanting to use the flash, which I decided to override and I made a bad attempt at adjusting the settings own my own.  Unfortunately the sun prevented me from getting a good preview of my shots so I just clicked away and hoped for the best.  Once the pictures were downloaded I realized my worst fears.  The pictures were 'over-exposed'.  Fortunately I was able to use my photo-fix program and got a little contrast and color back into my grumpy little cottontail.  He really should have been celebrating.  My family had actually gone rabbit hunting and I was just along for the ride.  He could easily have joined his relatives in the cooler, but not on this day.  He was nibbling on the landscaping plants in a no-hunting area.

Friday, February 17, 2006


I haven't been able to take my camera out lately due to scheduling and weather conflicts.  This opened up an opportunity for me to go back and look through my old files.  On average I snap about 100-200 shots on my excursions, but only post between 2 and 4 of the images.  That leaves dozens of images filed away to be forgotten as the next batch of pictures are uploaded.  I spent several minutes with this bullfrog at the pond but ended up using another picture for my post later that day.  Today I found I was drawn once again to his nonchalant gaze.

Porcupines used to be a common sight along the roadside in the evening, but construction eventually drove them deeper in to the woods.  This was the first sighting of the prickly critter I've had in about 4 years.  He was sleeping high in a cottonwood tree and completely ignored my attempts to rouse him so I could shot of his face so I had to settle for a shot of his Mohawk hairdo instead.

Mourning dove are no dummies.  They know when dove season is and are scarce then, but during the off season they are as thick as mosquitoes.  I used to have a pair of collared dove and mimicked their cooing to catch this dove's attention.  I'm sure I didn't make any sense at all to it but the dove sat there and tolerated me and my camera without any apparent fear.

I know, I know... don't feed the animals, but he was looking at me with hungry little squirrelly eyes and I just had to share my granola.  I love watching squirrels handle objects, their paws are more like little hands with hairy fingers.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


 Laisser le Bon Temps Rouler (Let The Good Times Roll):

My family is always looking for an excuse to party.  Our parties usually include neighbors and friends, old and new.  One of our regular gatherings is during the Super Bowl.  Unfortunately this year my oldest son Gabe was unable to attend and root for his team, the Steelers.  That didn't stop us from including him in the celebration.  This halftime photo was posted on the journal Letters To Gabe that I have been keeping for him since his enlistment in the Army in the fall of 2004, and more recently during his ongoing deployment in Iraq.  He may be far away but he is never far from our hearts and thoughts.

We miss you Gabe, be safe, hurry home so we can PARTY!

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

BEAR CREEK, January 24, 2006

The chickadee is such a friendly little bird and doesn't seem to mind the presence of humans.  This little one kept me company for about half an hour and seemed entertained by my terrible mimicing calls.  The thing about these little birds though is that they are so hyperactive that they are near impossible to photograph.  No sooner did I start to focus when he'd be off to another branch.  I never did get a good shot, most are missing tails or just a blur of feathers.

It had been my first visit to Bear Creek in almost a year, and I had never seen the resident mule deer before.  They were equally curious about me.  Unfortunately I no longer have my regular lens and have to use my zoom on everything, which is so frustrating when I find myself in close proximity to opportunities such as this but have to pan out for a longer shot just to focus.  This little yearling was almost close enough to touch at one point.  What I love is making eye contact with the animals, to see that they are seeing me, that they know I am there but its okay.  I don't try to hide because if the animals know I am there they are less likely to be startled when I make a sudden move or sound.

The mule deer herd grazed next to me for close to an hour until some hikers came down the trail with a beagle who had scented the deer from up the hill and barked all the way down.   The does ran over towards me, not the least be concerned by my presence, and waited to see what the beagle would do.  I ended up shooing the deer away before the dog could come off the trail since the owners had absolutely no regard for the park rules (No Dogs!).  I don't blame the dog, it was acting on instinct, but idiots like those hikers who blatantly disregard rules that were set up to protect the animals while at the same time allowing us to observe them in their natural habitat... well, folks like that justbug the stuffing out of me.