Al's Photography Blog

Al's Photography Blog
Pikes Peak As Seen From Our House

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Stop

Happy New Year to everybody. Here's a recent shot taken while walking the dog around the neighborhood. For more worldwide skies, visit Skywatch Friday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sesame Canyon

Off High Drive on the Western edge of Colorado Springs is a trail that goes up Sesame Canyon, and I hiked it last summer. It's not a common trail and not an easy one to find without detailed directions, but it's a nice, isolated hike.

You start by parking near at the High Drive exit and walking up High Drive for about half a mile. The first couple of shots are taken from High Drive.

Then you veer off to the left and find a good trail.
 There's one steep section of rocks.
 There were some flowers but nothing too impressive.
 As you climb higher some nice views appear.
And finally, at the top the trail meets up with the heavily used Captain Jack's multi-use trail.
It's a trail I'll be using again when I want to get away from the crowds.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Snow and Blue Skies

A little snow and very cold air made for a beautiful scene this morning. Here's the blue sky looking through a pine tree in our yard.
 And here's some of the snow before I cleared it.

A very merry Christmas to everyone. For more skies around the world visit Skywatch Friday.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Here's a large, active spider from the summer, outside a house next to a lamp.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Santa Fe Trail

Nothing spectacular for today's Skywatch Friday, just a blue Colorado sky from the Santa Fe Trail, a popular hiking and biking trail just north of Colorado Springs.
For more skies around the world, visit Skywatch Friday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chicago - Walk in Millenium Park

After the Field Museum, we walked back to the hotel through cloudy skies and bursts of rain. We saw this large fountain near Lake Michigan.
Then we walked through Millenium Park. It includes some great outdoor art, such as the Crown Fountain, with water cascading down the sides of two large obelisks which include changing images.
This is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, an outdoor theater.
The Cloud Gate provides a varied view of the skyline reflecting off its curved surfaces.
You can go underneath it for amazing reflections.
And here's a view of the Sears Tower through the horrible weather.
In nice weather, this looks like it would be an amazing area to hang out in. I can imagine its popularity in the summer, especially because it's so close to downtown.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Snowy Garden of the Gods Sunrise

We've had a very cold and snowy spell, as it went down to -17 F (-27 C) on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning I took my camera down to Garden of the Gods (a city park) before work to get some pictures at dawn, and here they are. The first one shows the rocks just before sunrise. These rocks are sandstone, and they are huge - the one in the first two pictures is 300 feet (90 meters) high.
The white spot is the Moon.
There were still some tendrils of mist.
And finally the color of the rock jumps out once the sun hits it, with a Colorado blue sky behind it.
For more worldwide Skywatch shots, visit Skywatch Friday.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Outdoors Socks

Our Socks loves to come hiking with me, and here are a couple of places where we went this summer. First, in the Garden of the Gods, looking a little tired on a hot day.
And here he is on Monument Rock. An upcoming blog post will have more from this local hike.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Icy Dawn

We're having one of our really cold spells, so I thought I'd put up a cold picture (it was -2 degrees F when I left for work this morning, or -19 C for most of the world). This was taken in the front yard a couple of weeks ago, just before dawn, after some snow and freezing fog had lifted.
Our winters are actually not bad here. We get an occasional cold snap, and some snow (actually about 100 inches or 250 centimeters of snow at our house in a typical winter). But we also get lots of sunshine, and that sun is warm even in the depth of winter because of our altitude (7,500 feet, or over 2km above sea level).

For more skies around the world, visit Skywatch Friday.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chicago - Field Museum

The Field Museum is a famous museum of natural history in Chicago, and a must-see for anyone interested in such things. It includes many dinosaur skeletons, including Sue, an impressive T-Rex skeleton found in the main hall.
In addition to Sue are numerous dinosaur skeletons of various shapes and sizes.

It also includes numerous preserved animals.
We also saw the Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit, with hieroglyphics and mummies, and more.

These photos barely scratch the surface of this museum, and it's a great way to spend a day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Stormy Skies

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Here's another picture from a summer storm, in fact the same storm which spawned the lightning that hit the tree across the road.
For more photos of interesting skies around the world, visit Skywatch Friday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Close-Up Experiments

This summer I got a set of inexpensive close-up filters; basically they are small lenses that attach to the front of a lens and allow it to focus closer. I'd love to have a real macro lens but it's not in the budget right now, so these will have to do for now. Here are a couple of pictures I've taken while experimenting with these filters. There's an aspen leaf, a dried flower, and a pine tree.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Thundercloud at Sunset

Back in the summer, I caught this thunderhead just before sunset. It was much bigger than it appears here, this is captured at 12mm (18mm in film equivalent). We get a lot of afternoon thunderstorms here in the May through September timeframe. If you like lightning photos I've got a couple here and here, and a distant thunderstorm with lightning here, all from before when I joined Skywatch Friday.
For more photographs of this kind, visit Skywatch Friday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

DC - Udvar-Hazy Center

Finally, here is the last of my blog posts from our Washington DC vacation this summer. These are from the final afternoon, when we visited the Udvar-Hazy Center, near Dulles Airport. It's a large extension of the Air and Space Museum, housing many amazing historical aircraft.

This is the Enola Gay. It's very sobering to realize the plane's part in history.

Here's an older plane, I don't remember which one.
Here are a couple of shots of an Air France Concorde.

A close-up of its engine and landing gear.
A fighter, as seen in the movie Transformers II.

Here's the Space Shuttle Enterprise. It never went to space, but did perform some test flights and landings.

And finally, from a simulated control tower, there are some great views of the airport and planes landing. It was a cloudy, rainy day when we were there, and the planes appeared out of the clouds just before they touched down.
I can't recommend this museum highly enough for anybody interested in the history of aircraft.
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