Peak Worship – Ute Valley Park – Colorado Springs, CO

Peak Worship

On a remote cliff band in Ute Valley City Park life struggles against the elements and rocky soil. I love photographing trees as I feel they have so much personality that is created by their environment. In this picture, I envision the tree taking in the sunset in awe of the “purple mountain majesty” that is Pikes Peak.

Ute Valley Park is a popular city park and a favorite recreation spot for locals in Colorado Springs. The land was originally donated in 1969 to be protected and kept open to the public. At 330 acres it isn’t the largest park in the city but in the peaceful central valley you feel a world away from the city. In 2015 an agreement was reached purchase 200 additional acres from HP snatching it out of the hands of awaiting developers. The resulting 530 acre park will make it one of the larger parks in the City and keep the open spaces for the public to enjoy for years to come.

 

Ashcroft Fall

Ghost Town Fall

Ghost Town Fall

This image was taken in the ghost town of Ashcroft just outside Aspen CO in September 2012.

From http://www.heritageaspen.org/ac.html

In the spring of 1880, prospectors Charles B. Culver and W. F. Coxhead left the boomtown of Leadville to search for silver deposits in the Castle Creek Valley. After vigorously promoting their findings back in Leadville, Coxhead returned to find 23 more prospectors had joined “Crazy Culver” in the camp they named Castle Forks City.
They formed a Miner’s Protective Association, built a court house, and laid out the streets in only two weeks. Each of the Association’s 97 members paid $5—or one day’s work and $1—to draw for building lots. By 1883, the camp, now called Ashcroft, was a town with a population of perhaps 2,000 with two newspapers, a school, sawmills, a small smelter, and 20 saloons—bigger than Aspen and closer to the railroad in Crested Butte.
As quickly as it boomed, Ashcroft went bust. The mines, which initially produced an amazing 14,000 ounces of silver to the ton, were just shallow deposits. Promised rail links to Crested Butte never materialized. Major strikes in Aspen, already the county seat, lured away investors and workers.
By 1885 there were just 100 summer residents and $5.60 in the town’s coffers. Only a handful of aging, single men made Ashcroft their home by the turn of the century. They all owned mining claims, but spent their time hunting, fishing, reading and drinking in Dan McArthur’s bar. They told stories in exchange for drinks and served as an informal employment service, matching sporadic work at the remaining mines above Ashcroft with an unstable work force.
Every four years they elected municipal officers from among themselves. “Judge” Jack Leahy—who died in 1939—was the last of the original citizens. He cultivated a reputation as a scholar and legal expert and wrote long, melodramatic poetry. Historian Jon Coleman calls these men “prospectors with dismal prospects, boosters with nothing to promote, and town fathers with no children.”
In the 1930s there was a new flurry of interest in Ashcroft, this time by international sportsman Ted Ryan and his partner Billy Fiske, captain of America’s gold medal Olympic bobsled team. They built the Highland-Bavarian Lodge (north of Ashcroft on Castle Creek Road) and planned a European-style ski resort in Ashcroft with an aerial tramway up Mount Hayden.
World War II put an end to their plans. Fiske died in combat and Ryan leased Ashcroft to the army for $1 a year. The 10th Mountain Division, America’s soldiers on skis, used Ashcroft for mountaineering training in the summer of 1942. After the war, ski area development moved to Aspen, and Ryan later deeded the site to the United States Forest Service.
In 1948, Stuart Mace, a veteran of W.W.II and commander of a canine division, brought his family and dog sled operation to Ashcroft. Mace and his Toklat huskies were featured in the popular 1950s TV series Sgt. Preston of the Yukon. The ghost town was fitted with false fronts to create a Canadian set.
Given use of five acres in exchange for caretaking on behalf of the Highland-Bavarian’s remaining holdings, Mace devoted the rest of his life to protecting the area from development and restoring the ecology. In 1974, he was joined in that effort by the Aspen Historical Society. Under the direction of Ramona Markalunas, Ashcroft became a National Register Historic Site, and the Aspen Historical Society received the first U.S.F.S. permit ever granted to a historical society to preserve and interpret a ghost town.

Air Force Graduation

These shost were taken 5/25/2011 at the commencement of the Air Force Graduation.  It’s a series of shots that I feel capture the Air Force fly over show pretty well.  These are the days it’s really fun to live in Colorado Springs.

Looming Storm

Storms on the high desert landscapes of Colorado come in fast and furious. These storm clouds were photographed just outside Southpark, Colorado on a cool fall evening in 2010. The body and color of the clouds create a palpable sensation as they envelope the landscape.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of ordering a print, please contact me for details. All photographs are limited to 500 reproductions.

Notes: These are low resolution images and I apologize for the watermark signature on my photographs as I feel it detracts from enjoying the image. However, with the ease of image piracy on-line they are necessary evils. You may also want to read my color post as images can be very different from what you see on the monitor.

Settlers’ Camp

This image was taken outside of Buena Vista, CO off Highway 285.  Barren cottonwood trees, a frozen stream, and snow blowing off the crusted Collegiate peaks create the perfect backdrop for this dilapidated barn and stone wall.  This photograph allows your imagination to wander to the hardships endured by the settlers that worked so hard (sometimes in vain) to tame the rocky mountain west.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of ordering a print, please contact me for details. All photographs are limited to 500 reproductions.

Notes: These are low resolution images and I apologize for the watermark signature on my photographs as I feel it detracts from enjoying the image. However, with the ease of image piracy on-line they are necessary evils. You may also want to read my color post as images can be very different from what you see on the monitor. 

Yosemite Valley

 Yosemite National Park in the western Sierra Nevada mountains of California, carved out by the Merced River and periodic help from different ice ages. The valley is about 8 miles (13 km) long and up to a mile deep, surrounded by high granite summits such as Half Dome and El Capitan, and densely forested with pines. A multitude of streams including Tenaya, Illilouette and Bridalveil Creeks join in the valley, and flow out of the valley’s mouth as the Merced River, which eventually flows to the Pacific Ocean. The valley is renowned for its natural beauty, and is widely regarded as the centerpiece of Yosemite National Park, attracting visitors from around the world.

What I love about this image is first and foremost the awe inspiring beauty of the valley.  It’s one of the most dramatic overlooks you will ever see.  I also love the detail in the rock faces, the contrasting light in the pines below that just go to show you how much light affects color. 

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of ordering a print, please contact me for details. All photographs are limited to 500 reproductions.

Notes: These are low resolution images and I apologize for the watermark signature on my photographs as I feel it detracts from enjoying the image. However, with the ease of image piracy on-line they are necessary evils.

El Capitan

El Capitan is a 3000 ft high cliff of solid granite and a legend among rock climbers. The formation was named “El Capitan” by the Mariposa Battalion when it explored the valley in 1851. El Capitán (“the captain”, “the chief”) was taken to be a loose Spanish translation of the local Native American name for the cliff, variously transcribed as “To-to-kon oo-lah” or “To-tock-ah-noo-lah”.

Photography of the Yosemite valley in general (and certainly El Cap) was made iconic by legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams who spent much of his life in this valley.

This was the image that I donated last year to the MDA as one of the prizes and is another favorite of mine (surprise surprise).  I love the shadow detail of this image as well as the imposing perspective.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of ordering a print, please contact me for details. All photographs are limited to 500 reproductions.

Notes: These are low resolution images and I apologize for the watermark signature on my photographs as I feel it detracts from enjoying the image. However, with the ease of image piracy on-line they are necessary evils.