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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Goings on…

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It’s been a month since my last post and figured it time to update folks on what’s been going on!

First, we saw our first signs of green here!

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I celebrated my 38th birthday over sushi, cupcakes and a wonderful evening at the cafe/bookstore with my lovely husband…

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The next day we went down to Denver to go to the zoo where we almost melted with the 90 degree weather (it was still snowing up at our house the week before, so we were NOT used to the heat!)

And then we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary at the end of the month where we were greeted with more snow on a quick weekend trip to Breckenridge (this snow-loving bird was frankly OVER it!)

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Since Breckenridge is only a little over an hour away, we typically go for day trips, but decided to go for a couple days so we could spend some time enjoying the restaurants and still bring our pups with us.

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Bum news is that I threw my back out on the first morning there trying to wrangle an escapee pug back into our hotel room and well…our trip kind of went bust.  However, sitting was comfortable so we did driving tours of the area since I couldn’t walk much (or even stand upright!) and were able to see more of the mountain area surrounding the quaint main street of this ski town.

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Our anniversary dinner was replaced by room service where I could be in the comfort of PJs and our hotel room and the next day we left early and took the scenic drive back home, taking Loveland Pass and passing a still-operating ski resort (yes, this was June 1st!).

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Aside from that, we’ve been focused on house projects again, including having 21 tons of rock delivered to our house; after a year of flip-flopping on whether or not to list our house for sale, we finally decided to give it a go and can no longer use our “mountain landscaping” excuse if we are to create curb appeal!

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Unfortunately, I’ve been on hold with these projects all week while I wait for my back to heal (I can stand now thanks to a little help from the chiropractor!).

I haven’t painted in weeks and this is what my art table looks like since I last created…crowded!  I have TONS of ideas and themes I want to explore, I just have been so busy with my supplies shop during the day (it’s gone seriously gang-buster lately and while I’m grateful to have steady business/income, it’s definitely cramped my creative time) and then house projects in the evening, well…it just has to be put on hold for a little bit longer.

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Though I haven’t created anything new in a while, I do have some material that I created a little while ago that I haven’t shared, so here’s a peek into some of this new material using real vintage ephemera (not photocopies).

Silhouettes

Shore beckons

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Can you tell I’m getting a bit homesick for the ocean?

We also had some bad news with one of our pups, Peanut, who had surgery this week to remove a suspicious mass on her leg.  It’s being sent to a lab to determine if it’s malignant or benign so we’re hoping for the best.  If you’ve been a follower of this blog, you know that we had to put our oldest pup down in January, so we’re really hoping and praying that all is well with our sweet girl.  Appreciate you sending out good vibes for her as well!

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Thanks all…hope you’re having a good start to the month!

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Don’t forget to make time for some fun!

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But meantime, I’ve enjoyed playing with some of my old photos, textures and quotes…which are kind of like mini workouts to painting marathons.

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I’m going through that introspective phase that typically happens 2 or 3 times a year for me (I swear, I’m not trying to play the dramatic artist card here!)…

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Trying to figure where I want to focus my energy and where I want to let things go…

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What people I want to focus on and what people I need to let go…

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And trying to stay away from FB, blogs and the internet save for what’s necessary for my work because it’s hard not to compare yourself to others (especially those that are very successful and not feel bad about where you are).

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So meantime, I’m sorting through my feelings through digital art (even mounted this guy on a 12×12 piece of wood).  But I can hear the decoupage calling…

It won’t be long.

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While most people spend their Christmas among crazy chaos and lots of people, we go the opposite route.  Part of it is that it’s not feasible to go back home again to CT, we both have VERY small families and my parents go to Florida while my sister stays in CT and celebrates with her husband’s side of the family.  So it’s just us and the pups.  Staying at home sometimes makes me a little sad and so this year with David off from work, we decided to go away for Christmas.  It was also a make-up trip from our 10 year wedding anniversary in May (a trip that we kept having to reschedule) so it had been a full year and a half since David and I vacationed and very much needed.

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DSC_0641We chose to go to a familiar, quiet place where we know our dogs are welcome and we could cozy up near a fireplace: the Estes Park YMCA at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Every year we go we are amazed at how big this complex is getting; it’s not your typical camp – it’s a booming conference center with hundreds of cabins and lodging rooms and has a skating rink, sled runs, horse stables, indoor swimming and tons of activities.  But even with all the options, we chose to hold up in our cabin and celebrate the holidays quietly…playing rounds of Monopoly, Words with Friends and Uno…reading books aloud to each other…challenging our brains with puzzle books and taking lots of frigid walks with our pups (some days the windchill was below zero!).

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We spent some time in town as well on the charming main street visiting little shops, stopping at our favorite independent coffee shop and grabbing some local food.  And of course there is Rocky Mountain National Park (though most of it is closed, the couple miles that you can go in are still beautiful).  Good all around.  Very low key, very relaxing (when our anxious pups weren’t misbehaving), very much our style.

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And while I often wish I had this big gregarious family to go home to for the holidays, complete with cousins, aunts, uncles, lots of siblings and nieces and nephews and all the nostalgic visions that the holiday movies portray, the reality is that neither of us have that, so we have to make our own holiday tradition.  So tranquil holidays come in as a great second choice.

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Whether yours were crazy or calm, hope your holidays were enjoyable. ♥

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First, a disclaimer…we’ve had a pretty bad season for fall folliage this year.  The leaves seemed to have changed colors in one week, then 3 days of storms knocked most of the leaves down and the ones remaining are yellowish-brown.  Quite disappointing.  And every year we take a trip in the fall to enjoy the foliage but all that has happened in the past month meant that we had to postpone our trip for later in the year, so we’re not able to see what it looks like deep in the mountain range.

However, I still have my favorite photos from previous years that I’ll share here over the next couple of weeks.  Those of you who’ve been here a while might recall these, but for the newer readers, hope you enjoy!

Certainly not the variety of colors of New England, but not half bad either…hope you have beautiful scenery around you!

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Tomorrow I head back home to CO after spending the last week and a half with my family.  Though I had a fabulous visit, lots of fun day trips, hours of laughter and some of the best sleep and food I’ve had in months, I’m looking forward to getting back to David, the dogs and my ol’ routine.

Because I love to take photos and because we visited some of my favorite places in New England, I wanted to share with you a few more more snapshots of what I love about this area in the late summer…

Fresh picked peaches at Roger's Orchard, CT

Fresh picked peaches at Roger’s Orchard, CT

The sound of crashing waves…

Happy salt air sunflowers, RI

A trip to my favorite, kitchy food store, Stew Leonard’s – (if a carnival and a grocery store had a baby, this would be it…so much fun and lots of laughter and good food enjoyed!)

Seaside shops, RI

Lots of water, lots of boats

Branches loaded with almost-ripe apples, CT

Hot air balloon festival in my hometown

I’ve eaten more fresh lobster and clams this last week than I have in the last year +

Late afternoons (when everyone is leaving) is my favorite time at the beach! At the border of MA/NH

Apple cider donuts…soooo good!

Sweet cruisers are the best mode of transportation in sleepy seaside towns (though scooters are pretty great too!)

More boats in the Newport harbor, RI

I had a great time and now I’m ready to go back.  Happy twice. ;)

p.s. please know that I do not have any ads on my page – WordPress sometimes adds them at their discretion and to completely prevent them, I’d have to pay close to $100 a year.  And because I don’t have ad revenue on this page, I don’t make any money from it, so it’s not in my budget to “prevent” them either, but this is not me putting up ads.  They usually show up at the end of a post (and it seems most often when people view on Google Chrome), so please just skip them.  Thanks for understanding!!

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As a kid growing up in CT who spent most weekends from April to October camping on the Rhode Island shore, I fell in love with a little known gem off the eastern coast known as Block Island.  As the smallest state’s smallest municipality (in terms of population), this island 13 miles off the Rhode Island shore is a much, much smaller cousin of the well-known destination off the coast of Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard.  But what it lacks in size and activity, it makes up in tranquility and charm.

Via ferry service, I’ve made this trip many times before, though the last time was about 10 years ago and very brief as David was extremely motion sick and we got back on the boat only a few short hours after arriving.  This time my sister, younger niece and I made the trek via high-speed ferry (which looks like a catamaran on crack!) and arrived in just over an hour and feeling great.

My niece Sarah had never been to the island and determined to see every last bit (the island is only 3 miles by 7 miles), we opted to rent scooters instead of bikes (and being a hot, humid day, we were thankful to have made this choice by day’s end).

We had so much fun zipping around the island, pulling over every 5 minutes to grab photos of the beautiful beaches…

Capture seaside buildings…

And even a couple lighthouses…

Did I mention scooters are the way to go?  ;)

I’ve decided that I’m going to get a scooter some day…maybe not while we live in the mountains, but some day…mark my words!!

We enjoyed our lunch at this spot and had a hard time leaving with the view; our food for the day was typical seaside fare on the East Coast: clams, clam chowder, scallops and peel-n-eat shrimp (okay, so maybe those last two aren’t from around here, but it’s still fresher than what I can get in Colorado!), gelato and fudge. *Insert happy sigh here*

And 12 hours later, with sunburned skin, salty lips and barely open eyes from the day full of sun and sea air, we sang to the island in a slow, sad, nostalgic tone as the ferry pulled away from the dock.

Goodbye…farewell…to you I bid adieu…and you…and you…and you and you and you…Goodbyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Block Island.  I ♥ you.

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It’s been nearly a month since our nieces spent the week with us and though a bit after the fact, I wanted to share some photos of our trip to Mt. Evans, a popular spot in Colorado.

Although Mt. Evans is only 15 miles away from us as the crow flies, it takes almost two hours to drive to the entrance at the base of the mountain and another hour to get to the summit as we’re talking mountain passes here and the roads zig zag back and forth (not to mention that when you get close to the summit, you’re looking at frightening drop-offs, thin roads with 2-way traffic and no guard rails, so it’s slow going).

The day started off rough, we left late around 10 am and around 11 we pulled off to give the dogs a break and everyone a stretch and Sierra, our older, Cushings-disease, arthritis and hip dysplasia pup jumped out of the car before we could grab her (we always lift her in/out of our SUV); long story short, we had to turn around and make it back down to the nearest town and go to the emergency vet.  We returned back home deflated and concerned about our pup who, turns out, tore her ACL when jumping down.  David stayed home to keep an eye on Sierra and our oldest niece didn’t want to make the long drive back up now that it was almost 2pm and it would mean a very long day.  Our youngest niece, however, was insistent that we go back up, even with inclement weather predicted.  So her and I jumped back in the car and made our way back out.

The first major point of interest on the way up to the summit is an area loaded with bristlecone pine which are said to be the oldest living things on Earth.  The ones on Mt. Evans are an estimated 1,700 years old!  It started to pour and hail here, but Sarah, in the poncho above, made the best of it!

These bristlecone kind of look like large scale bonsai trees, right?

Summit Lake, at the base of the summit, is another great place to stop.  You’ve never seen clearer water!  The altitude at this point is 12,830 feet and there are a couple of hiking trails in the area that lead to breathtaking views.

Sarah was in awe of the view and a fun travel partner, especially being a teenager; she was game for anything!

Nearing the summit we saw about a dozen or so mountain goat…

The sun came out!  (actually, the weather was pretty manic – a rotation of rain, hail and sunshine every 15 minutes or so all day long).

Once we got to the parking lot at the very end of the road, we trekked up the rocky trail to get to the tippy-top…

And we made it (14,258′ above sea level).  It was quite chilly up top (in the high 40′s) so I threw on David’s hoodie for good measure!

This is the view from the summit of the road below.  Steep!  It was sunny at the top, but clouds surrounded nearby.  As we started to descend, it got stormy again…

But the beauty of the commingling of rain and sun is a rainbow…or two!

We didn’t get home until 8pm or so, but it was still a fun adventure.  This is the closest “fourteener” to Denver, so if ever you’re in the area, do check out Mt. Evans!

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Oh my, I’ve been gone for a while.  My nieces are in town from CT and I’ve been so wrapped up in their visit (and preparing for it prior) that I’ve been preoccupied.  I was SO excited to have them up and it’s been a great week.  They’re heading home tomorrow (boo) and I have lots of photos to share from our adventures, but wanted to start with photos from the zoo.

I’ve been in Colorado for the past 7 years and haven’t been to the Denver Zoo.  It’s a highly regarded landmark here but I had never been because it’s a good hour away, but mostly, I have always felt a little guilty visiting zoos in the past.

I worry about the state of the animals, being cooped up, out of their elements.  But my oldest niece, a veterinary science student, really wanted to check it out (and I admit, I was very curious as well).

The zoo was fantastic, the grounds gorgeous, the displays beautiful and I really enjoyed reading different placards about the various animals rescued from peril.  In many regards the zoo was helping these animals live and it helped to alleviate previous guilt I had.

It was a scorching hot day and there was TONS of walking to be had, but it was so worth it.

I hope you don’t mind indulging me while I share some of my favorite photos from the day.

My niece LOVES big cats; as a little girl, she decorated her room with photos of lions, cheetahs and tigers.  We spent a good amount of time visiting with the big cats today and even circled back a second time before leaving the zoo.

I was in awe of the beautiful flamingos and the gorgeous colors and textures of their feathers…clearly, by the amount of photos I took!

I was most excited to see the elephants; I have such a soft spot for them, I have lots of elephant art decorating our house and I think they are one of the most majestic, beautiful animals out there.


So many different exhibits and beautiful animals…

I also LOVE donkeys and took great joy visiting with these “wild asses” :)

And who doesn’t love monkeys?

Even had some flowers to capture.  Was thankful to have a telephoto zoom lens on this day (a lens I don’t often use).

It was a great day and a great end to our wonderful week.  If ever you get a chance to visit the Denver Zoo, I highly recommend it!

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Pups!  I guess if I was a mom, it would be my kids, but my furbabies are the next best thing.

Last month for my birthday David got me a new camera lens.  It wasn’t a special, unique lens but rather your everyday use wide angle lens.  My last one became unsteady when I clumsily tripped over my tripod 2 years ago and it came crashing down from a good height.  It never worked the same after that, but it was operable.  But when I took my trip to New Mexico last fall with my sister, I unfortunately took yet another trip (yes, I’m clumsy, but luckily this happened on the trip back home) and I lost the grip on my camera.  It fell to the ground smacking lens first just as I was able to catch the strap and pull it up.  The good news was the body of my camera was fine; the bad news was my lens (and my polarizing filter lens) was toast.

So I spent the last 7 months using my point and shoot, which works really great for a small camera but it’s just not the same as my DSLR (I have a telephoto lens which works for wildlife far away and a macro lens for super close-ups but neither work for everyday shots/range).  I was surprised to see that a lot of multi-purpose wide angle lenses were soooo expensive.  Like $500-$1000 expensive and certainly not something I would just go out and buy.  Heartbreak.

But luckily David found an awesome one for under $500 (Sigma 17-70mm, f/2.8-4 lens) that fit my Nikon, which he gifted to me for my birthday and I just love it!  So what did I do for a week non-stop?  Photograph the dogs of course!

Now Peanut is most often my best model…Zoe just moves too much and rarely will look at me when I have the camera in hand and Sierra acts annoyed when I try to photograph her.  But Peanut is so compliant…she acts as though she enjoys being in front of the camera.

She’s an easy subject alright.  It also helps that she’s in a perpetual sleepy state ;)

I was so camera happy that I started to photograph the neighbor’s dog!

I need help!

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I’m a sucker for old farm trucks and spotted this on a family friend’s property; I sometimes forget how lush and green New England can be!

Okay, I’m doing my posts in reverse, but this is something I half wrote in Connecticut during my recent trip to visit family and I just finished editing the photos to accompany this post.

Every time I return to New England and I get out of my own head, schedule, daily routine…I am reminded of simple pleasures (many of which I took for granted when I lived there; funny how you sometimes have to leave a place to recognize its virtues).

While there I took absolute joy in things like:

A picnic on a beautiful day…

My sis, older niece and I at Lyman Orchard’s pond

Watching a high school sport from the sidelines and cheering for the home team…

That’s my younger niece getting ready to sprint off 2nd base

Witnessing the younger generation in my family reach milestones…

My younger niece again, this time all prettied up with her handsome date for the prom

Enjoying an iced coffee (from Dunkin Donuts which we don’t have in Colorado!) and deep conversations (as well as silly ones) with my sister…

My sis and I…she’s going through a major transition right now, so there were lots of tears and laughter shared…we had a great time together

Spending time with my older niece who is going away to college in Boston this summer…

Rolling around in the soft, lush grass with my “nephew” Buddy…

And trying to squeeze myself into my younger niece’s very busy social calendar…

Visiting my favorite orchard and country store…

“Would you like to try one of our fabulous marmalades?”

And driving along favorite routes…

Near Roger’s Orchards

Then finding a new farm/homestead/nursey/gift shop (and now favorite place to revisit each time I go back)…

Karabin Farms

Watching little families grow…

And many other things for which I didn’t capture photos of, like:

  • Seeing the sugar shack operation of family friends who make their own maple syrup (and then going home with a couple pints stowed in my suitcase, yum!)
  • Sharing the bed with my sister again, something we haven’t done in decades and like a grown up sleepover
  • My mom’s cooking and special treats like her famous chocolate pie
  • Nightly card games and lots of laughter with the family
  • Hearing crickets at night (we just don’t have them at our high altitude)
  • Doing simple tasks, like going to the grocery store, helping my sister run errands, escorting my niece to all her pre-prom activities, playing “hair-do” with my other niece…all because of the time spent together, the experience, the laughter and the chats that come with those activities

Oh, how the simplest things in life can bring such joy…

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