Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

"When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween."

 I've been too busy of late to post much but I did want to wish everyone a very Happy Halloween!

Hopefully I'll be able to catch up soon and post some photos of the recent blizzard that dumped 45" of snow on us. We're still digging out. . . We normally get about a foot of snow here on Halloween but nearly four feet? That was quite the Halloween trick.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Light and Shadow on The Sawtooth

Mountain Light #1

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves" ~ John Muir

"Light and Shadow on the Sawtooth"
 (click on photo for a larger view)

Late afternoon shadows move across the
face of The Sawtooth. Guanella Pass, Colorado

Before the creeping crud hit our household this fall I was able to make a trip to nearby Guanella Pass to do some shooting. I may not have captured the spectacular foliage shots I was looking for but it was a perfect fall day and I can almost always find something worth aiming my camera toward. The light and shadow on the side of this mountain is a perfect example.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Aspen Leaf on Glass

Autumn Splendor #2

While fall Aspens are normally bright yellow, they can on occasion be a brilliant orange or red, which makes the trees bearing such leaves truly stand out in the crowd.

Aspen Leaf on Glass
(click on photo for a larger view)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bull Elk

A Walk on the Wild Side #1

I had to stop for a beautiful bull elk and his girls as they crossed the road in front of me last night. Being the perfect gentleman, he let them cross first (he probably wanted to see whether or not it was safe for him) then, when they were all safely on the other side, he ran full speed to catch up with them tossing his head and kicking up his heels like a playful horse. I imagine he wanted to make sure he didn't lose any of his harem. It is rutting season, after all, when males compete for females (isn't that all the time, though?). You don't often see them running like that; he was magnificent.

It was too dark to get a shot last night but I have this photo of a young bull taken from my deck early one summer morning:

"Morning Walk"
(click on photo for a larger view)

Young Bull Elk on a Morning Walk

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mesa Verde and The Ancient Ones

The National Parks #2

"Cliff Palace"
(click on photo for a larger view)

The Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park

I feel a strong affinity with Native cultures and ancient peoples and there is pure magic in the lands where they lived and worked, laughed and cried, hunted, cooked, tended children and created art, for so many thousands of years. To walk through their homes, sit quietly in their places of worship, gaze upon their rock paintings, and hike their trails, fosters a deep sense of connection to these people, to the earth, to time itself. . .

One such magical place is  Mesa Verde National Park. The ancient homes of a vanished people are located there as well as at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and other sites throughout the Southwest. These cliff dwellings, nestled deep into the canyon walls, far below the mesa tops, are hidden from view and difficult to get to.

About 1,400 years ago, from 550 A.D. to 1300 A.D., ancestral Puebloans (sometimes known as Anasazi, or "Ancient Ones") inhabited the area's mesas. However, it wasn't until the last 100 years or so of this occupation that they constructed elaborate structures below the mesa tops. And, toward the late 1200s, they disappeared from the place altogether.

What happened to them? What forced them to build their homes into the side of steep cliffs to begin with? These are mysteries that archeologists have yet to solve. But you can still learn a great deal about the culture of these people at Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon and other archaeological sites in the Southwest.

I found this video on YouTube and thought it was interesting and fairly well done:

Related posts:

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Aspen Gold

Autumn Splendor # 1

Autumn is by far my favorite time of year and unfortunately, due to illnesses running through our household this year, I missed it. And it missed me. Even here on the mountain, which is normally glorious, there was a dismal show of color. I imagine the foot of snow we received earlier in the season had something to do with the aspens simply going from green to brown.

But, thanks to the magic of photography, I have more than memories to go by.

Aspen Gold
(click on photo for a larger view)

Aspens from a previous fall near my home in Conifer, Colorado.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The National Parks -- America's Best Idea Indeed

The National Parks #1

Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan have done it again with another magnificent documentary series titled, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," airing this week on PBS. And what a wonderful idea this was for a documentary. The film is all at once beautiful and informative, moving and inspiring. I was uplifted by the incredible scenery and the unfaltering commitment of  those who fought to preserve our public lands and brought to tears by those seeking to destroy them (the flooding of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite comes to mind).  I could go on and on about the series but I'll defer to those who can express themselves much better than I.

Purchase the DVD and book.

As a nature lover and a landscape photographer I owe a debt of gratitude to our National Parks and all our public lands. They have sustained me through good times and bad and have done much to feed my soul. Many thanks to Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan for creating such a beautiful and meaningful film about our most precious national treasures.

Part 2: National Parks Photos #1

Like millions of my fellow Americans, I, too, have found true inspiration in our National Parks and Monuments.

"Sunset Geyser"
(click on photo for a larger view)

Pink Cone Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
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