Sunday, June 28, 2020

Summer Light and Shadows - A Somber Vignette

Summer light and shadows

During this season, when the weather is warmer and the days are longer, the foothills landscape is defined by distinctive summer light and shadows. Evenings are particularly special because beams from the setting sun pilfer through cloud congregations, resulting in a rather dramatic effect.

At dusk, the mountains turn blue and the trees in the meadow, before casting long shadows across the undulating field, are traced by a luminance that glows. Delicate wildflowers become translucent when their obscure niche is struck by the fading radiance.

Sunsets at the lake are magnificent because now water, which reflects the glorious scenery, has been added into the equation, expanding your viewing pleasure. The peaceful ambiance becomes even more soothing when the rain settles in and, rather than induce melancholy, the muted atmosphere germinates solutions to perplexing problems.

The blossom garden is bursting with optimism as the wind-blown flowers dance joyfully across the preserve of fresh greenery. The gorgeous grounds are a cheerful place to linger because ebullient portraits can be composed from out of the darkness of a somber vignette.

The weather is warmer

Fading radiance

Distinctive light and shadows

Delicate wildflowers

Forest dawn

Evenings are special

Beams pilfer through clouds

A dramatic effect

Bursting with optimism

An obscure niche

Dancing joyfully

An ebullient portrait

Blossom garden

Blue mountains

Peaceful ambiance

Gorgeous grounds

A cheerful place

Glorious scenery

Traced by luminance

Viewing pleasure

Soothing rain

Muted atmosphere

Induced melancholy

A somber vignette

Fresh wildflowers


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Roxborough State Park - Garden of Providence

Roxborough State Park

Situated at a geological flash point where the prairie meets the mountains, Roxborough State Park is a study in contrast between shapes, textures and colors. Sharing space in this rare environment, smooth, angular, red rocks shoot skyward from out of a bed of broken, nebulous, green scrub-brush.

The spectacular esplanade is positioned below the Front Range on a narrow plateau overlooking the South Platte River wetlands. A long string of jagged peaks recedes into the distance and fuses with a solid plate of brilliant, blue sky.

During the summer, sweltering heat is stifled by a taut breeze that gusts through a labyrinth of dense woodland, open meadows and vermillion spires. The isolated Eden is unpopulated by human presence and it is mostly deserted except for a plethora of butterflies, a few deer and a pair of hawks circling overhead.

The highlight of the preserve is a deep chasm named Fountain Valley where the inspiring views from an overlook are expansive. Once inside the slender gorge, sandstone towers surround the hiker, cutting off any connection with the outside world.

Long, blue shadows define the rocks’ surreal shapes in the low, morning light. Down in the lower end of the canyon, near the historic Henry Persse Ranch, an incredible formation is called Washington Rock because it looks exactly like George Washington’s profile!

Willow Creek is a diminutive gulch that drains this natural city of crimson crags and leads the visitor back down to a tamed grassland. Similar landscapes along the corridor are known as Garden of the Gods and Garden of Angels but after my experience in this Garden of Providence, I’ve discovered it to be just as divine.

Prairie meets the mountains

A study in contrasts

An isolated Eden

A rare environment

A long string of jagged peaks

A spectacular esplanade

Sandstone towers

Crimson crags

Washington Rock

Fountain Valley

A narrow plateau

Surreal shapes

Labyrinth of dense woodland

Garden of Providence

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The French Quarter - Heart-wrenching Beauty

The French Quarter

The French Quarter in New Orleans is chaotic, dirty, dark, decadent, debased, lurid, raucous, salacious, shocking, unrestrained and wild, and I love it. The old market is a potent potpourri of people, sights, sounds and smells that overload your senses in a way you’ve never experienced before.

A modest family man, I resist the temptation to partake in the public depravity proceeding all around me. Instead, I melt into the dank alleyway and take photographs of the eclectic architecture and outrageous activities.

The rowdy neighborhood is overcrowded with excited revelers who have apparently overcome their natural inhibitions. Visitors hang over the wrought iron railings while impromptu parades march through the streets, impeding the progress of any automobiles crazy enough to enter the fray.

The din of this extravagant absurdity is drowned out by the live music that explodes from every orifice in the locale. The exuberant mixture of melodies is a simmering stew celebrating the diversity of different cultures.

This historic district of debauchery is steeped in superstition where the practice of necromancy is an esteemed vocation. It makes sense because the bizarre behavior exhibited by tourists in this City of Sin can only be explained by the mastery of witchcraft.

If you look closely, there are scenes of heart-wrenching beauty like the horse-drawn carriage clopping over textured streets below buildings of defiant dignity. Colorful flowers burst forth from every nook and cranny, and lush gardens of tropical foliage are topped by exotic palm trees.

Tall structures rise above narrow corridors obstructing my view of the sky creating claustrophobic anxiety for someone used to wide-open spaces. The funky feel is exacerbated by the garish colors and eye-popping signage adorning every store front.

Fifteen years after Katrina ravaged the gulf coast, scars from that horrendous storm can still be seen. Ever since Andrew Jackson saved the settlement from British occupation, the city of New Orleans has suffered several catastrophes but the resilient citizens have always found a way to recover and rebuild.

Spanned by a sparkling, silver bridge, the muddy Mississip is home to pelicans, seagulls and cargo ships of all shapes and sizes. Life on the bayou couldn’t be more foreign to me as I’m accustomed to the thin air and deep snow characteristic of the Rocky Mountains.

With the summer season suddenly unfolding, my hopeful itinerary is penciled in to go west. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back to the Mississippi River Delta but if I don’t, I will always have unforgettable memories of the time I did spend in the Big Easy.

Narrow corridors

The old market

A potent potpurri

Necromancy is esteemed

Historic district

Extravagant absurdity

Exuberant mixture

Eclectic architecture

Horse-drawn carriage

Andrew Jackson is a hero

Entering the fray

A funky feel

Cargo ships

Sparkling, silver bridge

Memories of the Big Easy