Al's Photography Blog

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

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sleigh Ride

Going back to Keystone one more time, here are some photos from the sleigh ride we took.
The ride goes out to an old camp with some wonderful wooden buildings. You can take an evening sleigh ride here and have dinner, but we just did the daytime ride.
But the main attraction for me was the gorgeous, unspoiled beauty.
To see more beautiful parts of the world, visit the My World Tuesday meme.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Watery Horsethief Park

One of my favorite hikes last summer was to Horsethief Park, which is on the western side of Pikes Peak (the opposite side from Colorado Springs). It's named because it's where horse thieves used to hide out in the days of the Old West. On this day, there had been some rain the previous night, making for some lovely reflections.
The trail travels up a valley near a creek, and at one point the land opens up and a beaver dam (on the left side of this photo) creates a pond.
This area is wet enough that moss survives, not a common thing in this part of Colorado.
 If you continue up by the creek, the trail splits in two. A long climb to the right heads up to the wonderful Pancake Rocks, but that's not where I headed this time. Instead I followed the shorter trail to The Falls.
As I continued, I marveled at the wonder of nature around me, including this tree branch.
The views across the valley were terrific.
Finally I reached the waterfall, more of a cascade down a slab of rock.
This is one of my favorite places to hike, and I try to head  up there a couple of times each summer. You may find more hiking photos from around the world at the Scenic Sunday meme.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Black Forest Skies

Nothing spectacular for Skywatch Friday this week, just some pleasant skies from the nearby Black Forest Regional Park where Socks and I went for a hike last weekend. As you can see, most of the snow is gone.
There were some clouds off in the distance, but it was a beautiful day.
And remember, never look into the Sun. Otherwise you might get a strange spot in your photo, and other bad things!
I'll never tire of all the incredible blue skies we get here in Colorado - I've never lived anywhere else like this. For lots of lovely skies, visit the Skywatch Friday meme.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Socks in the Park

Those of you who have followed this blog for long know that our Pomeranian Socks is an important part of our family's world. So here's a photo of him in Fox Run Park last August.
Visit the always-interesting My World Tuesday site for glimpses of other peoples' worlds.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yellowstone's White Dome Geyser

Believe it or not, I've still got dozens of Yellowstone photos to post, so here are some more! It may not be the most famous geyser in the park, but Yellowstone's White Dome Geyser is worth seeing, particularly since it typically erupts every 30 minutes or so. It's very close to Firehole Lake Drive, and is thus easily accessible.
For more scenic shots, visit the Scenic Sunday meme.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reflective Sunrise & Pastel Sunset

For Skywatch Friday this week, here are two photos from opposite times of the day and opposite sides of my house. First last Thursday's sunrise, showing the sun reflecting off the snow thrown by my snowblower in the front yard.
And here's Saturday's sunset, in natural soft colors, from our back deck.
For lots of wonderful skies, visit the Skywatch Friday meme every week.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Loveland Pass

For Valentine's Day, it seems appropriate to post about Loveland Pass. For those unfamiliar with high-altitude terrain, roads usually cross mountain ranges at the lowest possible points, which are known as passes. This is true in Colorado, where there are few east-west roads leading across the mountains, and all the passes are fairly high in elevation. Coming back from Keystone we drove across Loveland pass, elevation 11,990 feet (3,655 meters) above sea level. That means that there are mountains rising on both sides of the road at this elevation, the highest point on the road but the lowest between the mountains.
The warning about avalanche blasting is real - this road is regularly closed by avalanches, and skiers and snowboarders die here on the open terrain, most recently just a few weeks ago. The amount of snow by the side of the road illustrates the extreme weather here in the winter. In places the snow was 20 feet (6 meters) high, particularly where avalanches had crossed the road and been cleared.
Nevertheless, the road is open year-round, except when blasting is being done to cause avalanches, or when an unexpected avalanche goes across the road it will be closed until it can be cleared (usually a few hours). The snow and scenery make for a gorgeous drive.
Well down the pass on the west side sits the Arapahoe Basin Ski and Snowboard Area. More photos of that in a future post.
Obviously these mountain passes are important in an area like Colorado, so the state tries to keep them open except in the worst weather. For parts of other peoples' worlds visit the My World Tuesday meme. And have a great Valentine's Day!

If you found this interesting, I've posted in the past about Hoosier Pass which goes over the mountains, and the main east-west road through Colorado, Interstate 70, which goes under them at one point to avoid the worst terrain.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mount Herman Climb

Here are some photos from a summer climb up 9,063-foot-high (2,825 meters) Mount Herman, one of the local mountains not many miles from our house. First, a view up a rocky section of the trail.
Next, a view from the top down a dead section of forest.
Here's a view from the top over a rock.
And finally, a wildflower seen on the hike.
To see other posts from Mount Herman hikes, click on the Mount Herman tag below this post. For lots more scenic photos, visit the wonderful Scenic Sunday meme.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Summer Sunset Clouds

I didn't get any worthwhile sky photos this week, so here's one from the last day of August, of an ominous cloud just after sunset.
For cloudy and clear skies, visit Skywatch Friday today.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Breckenridge Snow Sculptures

Last weekend while we were in Keystone, nearby Breckenridge was having its snow sculpture competition. We made it there on Saturday evening and I took a few photos with my fast lens - these are all handheld shots. The textures and details in these short-lived artworks were very impressive. First up is a closeup of a section of Team Mexico's first-place winning sculpture, "Alebrije."
Here's a dungeon-like detail from a different sculpture that was lit from within.
Another sculpture was elegantly curved.
And finally, my personal favorite was the Medusa. Especially with the lighting, she was very eerie - don't look her in the eye!
For more fascinating photos from around the world, visit the My World Tuesday site!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Summit County Mountains

Here are some scenic mountain photos from our family trip to Keystone last weekend.
Did I ever mention how much I love Colorado? The Scenic Sunday meme has lots of other wonderful scenery from around the world.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sleigh Skies

We've had a dramatic weather change in the last few days. Over the weekend we were as warm as 52.5° F (11.4° C), but by Monday night we went down to -19.5° F (-28.6° C). That's a change of 72° F (40° C) in just a couple of days - more than some locations see in a year! That's what living at high altitude in the middle of a continent can be like.

Unfortunately it's hard to photograph temperature changes, so here are a couple of peaceful Skywatch photographs from our sleigh ride at Keystone on Sunday. There was lots of snow on the ground, but it was a beautiful day.
For more skies and stories, visit the Skywatch Friday meme.
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