Showing posts from 2018

Western Slope Winter - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Western Slope Winter" Colored Pencil It seems like there’s always more snow on the other side of the Great Divide especially in the bottom of the Blue River Valley. During January deep drifts occur in the long shadows of giant peaks. Bad weather usually wreaks havoc at night but often breaks just before daylight. A clear sky in the morning means transparent light with a sun glare that stings the eyes and a frigid temperature that burns the skin. In this snowscape, a jagged range exhibits sharp features while thin clouds whisk across a pale sky. The forest’s edge is a conglomeration of strange shapes creating a wind break separating the white slopes from the arctic plain. The sparkling hues are a phenomenon that can only be seen in the mountains the morning after a storm. The pointillistic image is like a mirage broken by bits of pure color that, from a distance, fuse in the viewer’s eyes. Even in winter, the foreground of brush, twigs and branches is described w

Sprague Lake - An Unforgiving Environment

Sprague Lake In 1874 Abner Sprague was the first person to homestead in Moraine Park, one of Colorado’s most scenic valleys. Further up in Glacier Basin he established a lodge that outfitted guests for hiking, hunting and fishing. The resort sat on the banks of Boulder Brook and just downstream Abner dammed the creek, creating a lovely lake brimming with big trout. Today, all traces of human encroachment have been reclaimed but the reservoir, beaver and moose still remain. This time of year Sprague Lake’s shiny green water is about half frozen and the fallen timber is partially submerged in cold slush. The hazy light is filtered by moisture produced by a high country snow squall. Still set deep in an emerald forest below powder blue skies, the reservoir is surrounded by a crunchy, snow-packed trail trimmed with boardwalks and bridges. On this day a biting wind sprays pellets of ice against your face making the big mountain views virtually invisible. Situated at an elevatio

DePoorter Lake - A Beautiful Landscape

DePoorter Lake During Wild West times, Julesburg was a dangerous place to live as it was a stomping ground for outlaws, gunslingers and Cheyenne Indians. Nearby Fort Sedgwick was an important military base protecting the Overland Trail and Colorado’s only Pony Express Home Station. Today, the once notoriously rowdy town is known for it’s colorful history, clean living and peaceful atmosphere. One of the more tranquil locations is an icy jewel set between the city and the South Platte River. DePoorter Lake is a lonely oasis concealed in Colorado’s forsaken, eastern plains. Dug out of the open prairie in 1988 when fill dirt was needed for a construction project, the picturesque pond was transformed into a fishery and stocked with sunfish, catfish, bluegill and rainbow trout. The charming lake is bordered on the east by a coniferous windbreak that impedes the countryside’s brutal chinook. Fringing the cobalt reservoir, bare cottonwood trees are twisted into painfully distorted

Chapel on the Rock - An Indestructible Shrine

Chapel on the Rock "Upon this rock I'll build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." ~ Matthew 16:18 On a pitch black night in 1916, Monsignor Joseph Bosetti was lured deep into the Rocky Mountains by the fiery afterglow of a falling star. Bosetti was unable to locate the meteor’s impact but he did find divine inspiration. Bosetti stumbled upon a dramatic rock formation that filled his spirit with visions of grandeur. He became obsessed with building a remote church balanced right on top of those rugged crags. Of course money or a lack thereof was an issue so without any funding, the construction project was delayed for twenty years. Bosetti’s dream came true after Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Malo donated land and architect Jacques Benedict finalized the design. The chapel was built from native stone that was hauled in from the surrounding area by mule-drawn carts. This natural material allows the structure to blend perfectly into the environ

Animal Portraits - A Day at the Denver Zoo

Picturesque Polar Bear While taking animal pictures down in the city during the early fall, it was a delightful day at the Denver Zoo. In the cool weather and clear light the animals appeared active and contented, inspiring our creativity. Sometimes it’s difficult to look at creatures confined to cages but during our five hour trek in the open air park, we were able to observe some exotic species that we’d never be able to see in the wild. While strolling in such a controlled setting, it was the perfect place to practice shooting with a digital camera. Rather than just click, the challenge was to compose interesting portraits that captured the mood and personality of the engaging subjects. Just like the spotted hyena, many of the creatures were content to bask lazily in the warm sunshine. A Dall sheep ram seemed happy while holding the high ground just above a cud-chewing, reticulated giraffe. A banded mongoose was an innocent observer of the goings on around him while a n

Gore Range - The Shining Mountains

Gore Mountain Range If one studies a map of central Colorado, you’ll discover an assortment of topographic features that share a common nomenclature. The different landmarks are called Gore Wilderness Area, Gore Creek, Gore Canyon, Gore Pass and the spectacular Gore Mountain Range. I’ve always thought that was a cool title for a chain of craggy peaks because it evokes rugged imagery that makes me think of a shaggy buffalo bull or a pair of rutting elk. Losing yourself in those remote mountains has a therapeutic value that can restore your health but if you learn the true story behind the naming of that range - it will make you sick. During the first half of the 19th century, the northern plains were an isolated region inhabited by Native Americans but encroached upon by a few white mountain men and fur traders. And then in 1854, in a tragic preview of things to come, a wealthy European began tramping across what is now Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas, wreaking absol