In July, we spent a rainy weekend camping near this lovely ghost town. The weather was wet but we managed to stay dry, even without a campfire.
It has been a busy end to the summer. A few weeks ago we had visitors. (YAY, we love visitors!) My husband’s parents brought our niece and nephew for a long weekend visit. The kids had a great time, as always, and the adults enjoyed catching up. During their visit we travelled to Florissant, Colorado to take in the wonder that is the Fossil Beds.
Before reaching the monument we stopped by the Hornbek Homestead to explore Florissant history. We then headed over to the monument and enjoyed a picnic lunch before exploring the grounds. Our first stop was a “lab” where a Park Ranger was carefully removing layers of shale in search of fossils. No fossils were discovered while we were there but it was interesting to see the process. It was a great time to ask questions.
I thought the most amazing sights at the monument were the giant fossilized remains of redwood trees. Yes, redwoods in Colorado! Who would have thought this dry climate was once warm and moist like California? The stumps of these trees were petrified after being covered with mud and ash from a nearby volcano that is now extinct. They are scattered around the area, some more decomposed than others and some held together with metal bands. One stump even had two saw blades stuck in it from people trying to cut it into smaller chunks to get rid of it! It was an amazing sight. I was in awe.
If you’re ever in the area, make sure to take a day trip to Florissant.
(Now I just have to live up to them. Ahhhh!)
Thank you once again to Jenn and Brandon Derrick for letting me take a few shots at your reception. I’m not sure if I would have followed this same path had you not indulged me. And, a big thank you to my wonderful sister-in-law, Stacy. The editing help was fantastic. She was also the person who recommended moo.com. Thanks again. I loved their mini-cards! They are half the size of a regular business card but twice the fun! I had to order them. I’m looking forward to when I have more photo options to put on them! (Which may be sooner rather than later. Stay tuned!)
The packaging was fun, too. I have my own cute little box for my business cards. Yay! is right!
Drum roll, please…
Yep, you read that right, the junkyard.
Last weekend I went on my second outing with a photography Meetup group. This time my photography friend, Jennifer, joined me. Saturday morning we headed to the junkyard. We met some fellow photographers and trolled the junkyard looking for interesting photo ops. We had a great time even though it was H. O. T. that day. There were so many things to see. Old cars, restored cars, parts and just plain ol’ junk. What fun with a camera! I think the heat burned us out a little early so I’m looking forward to when we can go back. I’m sure there will be new things to photograph as well as things I missed the first time.
Here are some of my favorite shots from the outing. I am saving a few for next Friday when I’ll be posting a Friday Quick Pic. It will be a close-up or macro shot. Will you be able to tell what it is? It should be fun to see what your mind’s eye sees! I will post the “what is it” picture on the following Monday.
Have a great weekend!
I recently joined a local photography meetup group in order to rub elbows and learn from other photographers. It was easy to join the online group. Much more nerve racking to actually go out on a meetup. But, I did it! In the words of direct sales guru, Julie Ann Jones, I put on my big girl panties and did what I needed to do. In the end, it was very rewarding!
Saturday I joined a group of photographers on a trip to Mount Evans, west of Denver in the Arapaho National Forest, to photograph flora and fauna. I was a mess. A nervous wreck. It started when I woke up at 5:36 AM and I was supposed to meet the group at 6:00! I think my subconscience kept me from waking up after reading an email right before bed that the group would wait for stragglers until 6:20. Or, it could have been the few drinks and late night at a friend’s house. Plausible. Anyway, I was running late. Thankfully we were meeting at Starbucks. Coffee could wait.
I left the house just before 6:00 only to go to the wrong place. Where is this Starbucks? I was confused. It’s supposed to be right here! Uggg, I have the wrong street! It’s on Briargate Parkway, not Briargate Boulevard. DOH! Luckily, I was only a few miles away with ten minutes to go! I sped to the correct location, quickly introduced myself to a few fellow photographers, and with two minutes to spare I bolted into Starbucks to get my caffeine jolt. Whew, I made it. It took a while for my nerves to subside but I made it. I could relax now.
I drove and another photographer rode with me. It was great to have someone to chat with and get to know. She is also a relatively new photographer so we talked about what we need to work on and some of our favorite captures thus far. We were having a great trip until the butt kicking. Before reaching Denver I realized that I forgot to take my allergy meds! Well, my eyes reminded me. For most of my first pictures I could barely see. My eyes were watering so much that I’m sure people thought I was crying. Taking my sun glasses off to take a photo was torture. My eyes would be raw and bloodshot for the next 48 hours. It was worth the pain. Needless to say there is now a stock of Zyrtec in my purse. Check. Lesson learned.
We drove within a few hundred feet of the summit to a parking lot which was at 14,130 feet. I then “climbed” the rest of the way to the summit. It was like the Wal-Mart of fourteeners. So many people!
Now that I have my first meetup under my belt, I can’t wait for the next one! I am signed up for a lighting workshop, one to learn where the picturesque fall foliage will be, and several others that I am interested in. Oh, what fun learning can be!
Although I didn’t expect much from this meetup other than some great pictures and meeting some new people, this trip turned into more. A lesson in Katy. I became more comfortable crouching down to get a shot while others were walking by. I usually get nervous, blush, and maybe even give up because of my shyness and move on. However, with so many people roaming around if I wanted to take any pictures, I would need to be uncomfortable.
While taking the shot above I was crouching down just inches from the plant when a group walked by. I sat up and a girl said “Oh, what a cool picture.” As they continued walking I heard another person say “I was wondering if she was okay?” I responded “Okay, yes, I’m just a little crazy,” and they chuckled. How wonderful it was to continue with the fly’s photo shoot instead of blushing and moving on. And, to make someone laugh. My favorite.
Tuesday, June 26th, the day I wrote my last blog post, was a horrible day for Colorado Springs. Around 4:00 that afternoon the Waldo Canyon fire spread in a fury that no one could predict. The fire jumped two canyons and caught 65 mph winds at the top of the ridges. It barreled down the mountain side uncontrollably. I heard that the fire was moving at a pace of one mile every five minutes. I don’t know if that is true, but it moved very quickly. So far, 346 homes are confirmed destroyed. The most homes lost in the Colorado’s history. I have not heard of injuries but I did hear that few people may be missing.
Tuesday was heartbreaking. I drove to a few spots where I could get a few photos of the fire. Both of the places I went to were crowded. People were somber, talking in low whispers. I’m sure others were as thankful as I was that my home was not in the path of the fire. My heart goes out to the families that will be starting over. Posessions can be replaced. Life can not. Memories will live on and new ones will be made. Colorado Springs will recover.
My thanks go out to the over 1,100 brave men and women that are battling this fire.
The last two days we have had lighter winds and some cloud cover which helps keep the temperature down. They have made some headway against this fire. It is now 15% contained.
The photo below was taken from the Cottonwood Creek path just behind my house. I walked down a few houses. The lights on the left are at the softball fields at Cottonwood Creek Park. This was about 4:30 pm when the fire started down the mountain. The black smoke worsened, covered our house, and filled the north side of town. It was very eerie.
This photo was taken from the parking lot of a church at E. Woodmen and Lexington just before 10 pm. I believe this is the Mountain Shadows neighborhood on fire.
After the church parking lot I drove to the East Library on Union.
The smell of smoke is overwhelming and my heart is heavy today. I thought about writing this while enjoying my morning coffee out on the deck but the smoke kept me inside. Often I raise my nose to the sky to smell the sweet aroma of Juniper trees, wildflowers, and sandbar willows. Colorado smells so good. Fresh. Sweet. Like a favorite perfume. Today that delightful scent has been extinguished.
The fire in Waldo Canyon near Colorado Springs started on Saturday. It is now the top priority in the nation. It has been so sad to watch the forest burn from my back deck. Last night we ate dinner on the deck and watched flames come over the ridge and start down the mountain and saw the glow of a fire that started in a new area. Later, as we crawled into our nice comfortable beds my thoughts were with the thousands of people that have been evacuated from their homes. Thankfully, as of this writing, only one small structure had been lost. (Unlike the fires near Fort Collins and Estes Park which have consumed hundreds of homes.) I found a report that a shed at a nearby summer camp had been lost. This so happens to be the camp where my nephew is supposed to spend the first week in July.
Our nephew and his family arrived for a hockey tournament the day the fire started. The plan was to stay for the tournament, play in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area, then drop him off at camp. Many of the tourist areas that we would love to show off to our visitors have been closed. So, we sit. And watch. And pray.
I had a dream last night that my husband, Mike, and I looked out our bedroom window to see a house on fire one street over and a mountain on fire in another direction. I was a mess. Thankfully it was just a dream. We are a safe distance from the fire. Not threatened by the flames. Our hearts go out to those who cannot return home. With just 5% containment, there is no saying when they will be able to return. And when they are able to return, will they have lost everything?
Over the last few days talk of arson has sprung up. Officials are asking residents if they were in the canyon and noticed anything suspicious on Saturday. It is hard to imagine someone starting a fire on purpose, though I know it is reality.
Pikes Peak is on the far left. The smoke you see on the left is the south side of the fire. It has burned all the way up that ridge and started on the next.