It’s Not Just Red Rocks

While the Garden of the Gods exists primarily for the red rock formations that it features, there are other things that the visitor might visit the area for … such as flowers in the summer, the vast array of wildlife, and the outdoor activities that one might partake in, while in the midst of the beauty that surrounds and defines the park.

Wildflowers are something that I have always been fascinated with, though I rarely shoot.  Of course, as I was waiting for Tom to get ready for his mountain bike ride (remember this was Tom’s mountain bike adventure trip), I had to indulge.DSC_5754 DSC_5756 After shooting several of the wildflower collections, I heard Tom talking.  I found that he had made a new friend … a beautiful magpie that apparently wasn’t buying anything of what Tom was offering.  LOLDSC_5680 Off Tom went on his mountain bike ride, so I hiked around looking for more photo ops.  Didn’t take long before I saw this couple going by on their horses right next to me.  Hey, I want to do that!DSC_5681 Such a beautiful place to go for a morning ride, wouldn’t you agree?DSC_5707 Of course, the clouds were so cooperative this morning and fit in nicely in my landscape compositions.DSC_5716 DSC_5725 Of course, I had to shoot my favorite flower … the columbine … so very beautiful.DSC_5753 DSC_5756-2 OK, so it wasn’t just flowers.  There were great opportunities to shoot some wildlife as well.DSC_5739 We had the sweetest interaction with this bunny rabbit too.  It was feeding on the vegetation off the trails, but stopped and ran up the improvised trail.  Right in front of us it stopped, stared at us, then ….DSC_5657

….. immediately drop down onto its belly as it continued to stare at us.  We laughed so hard, as I had never seen a bunny do anything like that.  Usually, they run away as quickly as they can.

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Next Up:  One word … BOURBON!

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

Sunrise … Sunset … At “The Garden”

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Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is always a favorite destination of ours when we visit Colorado.  There’s something beautiful about how the light plays on the red rock formations, especially when surrounded also by the green vegetation.

So, come with us as we explore the area … starting of course with an early morning sunrise.  Rather than viewing the sunrise from the park itself, we choose a higher elevation, so that we can look down upon the magic as it happens.  🙂  Looking down at Gray Rock, South Gateway Rock, and North Gateway Rock, as the sun lights them up.

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The same for the Glen Eyrie formations to the north.DSC_5517 Always a favorite is the Kissing Camel formation within North Gateway Rock.  See it?  It’s on the top, about 1/3 of the way from the left.  🙂DSC_5520

As the sun begins to rise, as you can see we’re in an overlook parking area, but there is a community of homes hehind us.  How wonderful would it be to be able to peer over your fence and witness this sunrise every day!DSC_5556 DSC_5574

The best way to see the park is VERY EARLY in the morning.  You can almost have it to yourself … before the herds of tourists arrive and climb all over Balanced Rock here doing silly stuff like Tom is illustrating here.  LOL.  OK, it was difficult to get Tom to pose like this for me, not to mention to hold up that big old boulder, so don’t tell him that I put this shot in this post …  😉

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The park was donated to the city of Colorado Springs with the condition that it always remain free of charge for all to enjoy.  DSC_5596 One of our favorite views in the park is this one, which frames perfectly the image of Pikes Peak in the distance … yes, the same 14,000+ feet mountain from my most recent post.  Of course, it’s still a distance away.DSC_5605 They call this formation the Siamese Twins, which is obviously how it got its name, and you can see that window I used for framing.  Again, if you don’t get there early, you will never get an image without lots of people in it.DSC_5607

This place is full of textures to highlight in an image … the rough surface of the rocks, the trees, the puffy white clouds … so beautiful!DSC_5610

Midday is difficult to shoot the area, so we left but returned later in the day.  This image is of the Garden area and it’s a favorite of mine.  I just love the colors and the way that the light casts shadows on the landscape.

DSC_5351 We decided to hike around a bit and found it to be a bit crowded, but as you can see, you could easily find areas where you could compose and find that you’re alone in that process.

DSC_5388 I always find paths and stairs to be so inviting … makes you wonder where it goes … what’s around the corner.DSC_5397DSC_5398 Though the area is famous for the red rock formations, there are also several white rocks which intrigue the visitor as well and the light dances and shines nicely upon them.DSC_5417 Probably my favorite image from this years visit is the one below.   I mean, look at those clouds in the backdrop of the rising red rock formation.  This perspective, believe it or not, was courtesy of several visitors who were in the area, so I got low to block them from my shot.  Love the way it turned out.  DSC_5437 Being that it was summer, the wildflowers were out as well.DSC_5445 Though we wanted to stay for full on sunset, an intense storm decided it would come join the party, so we left and went back into town.  Good thing too, as it was a big one.DSC_5480

Next up:  More from Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods

© 2015  Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography

Experience Heaven on Earth – Garden of the Gods

Tom and I were able to get away in April, so we decided that we wanted to return to Colorado, southeastern Utah, and northeastern Arizona.  The first order of business once we landed in Denver was a quick escape to Colorado Springs.  Of course, a favorite place of mine when there is the Garden of the Gods.

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For those of you might be unfamiliar with it, think rock formations … red rocks, white rocks, rocks that take the shape of camels kissing, etc.  Also, Garden of the Gods is well known in Colorado for its rock climbing opportunities.

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On this particular visit, we arrived in the late afternoon.  I was armed with my landscape gear, since that was my purpose of being there.  We set off on one of the trails that weaves through the park and almost immediately we run into a rather large group of mule deer.

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I’m not sure who was more alarmed by whom …. the deer seeing us or us seeing the deer (probably the latter).  Yes, nothing like taken wildlife shots with a 24-70mm landscape lens! After making the best of the situation, I was able to get some landscape shots as well.  There’s something so special about the light, the rocks with their colors and textures, and the varied landscapes within “the garden”.

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The next morning we got up early to be able to get the sunrise, but we didn’t quite make it there on time.  Nonetheless, the scenery was beautiful.

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We were greeted by several birds who were calling nearby and then dodging in and out of view to check us out further.

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We then made our way back and set off on a walk again, but this time from the northern end of the park.  Again, we ran into a family of mule deer, but these were much more at ease with our presence.

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In addition we saw numerous bunny rabbits hopping around off of the trails … so cute.  No coyotes this year, like we had seen on numerous occasions the last time we visited.  But we did see many more birds, like the swallows, western scrub jays, and prairie falcons.

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On of the bird sightings that left me a bit surprised was the Canadian Goose, for they would come calling overhead quite loud and eventually land on the tiptop of some of the rock formations within the park.  For some reason, I found this unusual … probably because I usually see them on the ground or in the water, not flying, and landing high.

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Everywhere you ventured was another breath-taking shot.  If I lived in this area, I think I would wake up every morning and visit there to take in all of the beautiful landscape and occasional wildlife.  I find it so wonderful that this park belongs to the City of Colorado Springs on land that was donated to the city for preservation of its unique features, with the promise that it never implement a charge to the public.  I know that Tom & I sure appreciate that.

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