Up Close and Personal with Giraffes

One of the cool things about going to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs is the giraffes. There’s a walkway that allows you to get to know the giraffes up close. If you have a few extra dollars, you can even buy some giraffe snacks and hand feed them. It’s a rather unique, and somewhat slimey, experience. I love being able to see the animals that close and it’s also a great opportunity to take some photos at a rare perspective – macro.

DSC_0044

Getting so much detail really makes the angular geometry of their coloring pop, not to mention being able to capture the texture of their coat.

One word of caution is that the giraffes are pretty bold about approaching humans in the hope of snacks.  If you’re not careful, say you’re distracted by trying to pose so your husband can take a picture, you might get quite a startle when one sneaks up on you and swings his head in close to see if you’ve got any goodies.

IMG_0745

This is one of my husband’s all time favorite pictures of me ;)

Check out the other “angular” photos for this week’s daily post photo challenge.

Posted in Animals, Colorado, Colorado Springs, Photo Challenge Fridays, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Perfect Day Off

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sparkling or Still.”

Depending on when my day off happens, my ideal plan varies a bit, but it generally involves making something.  One of my favorite ideal days is as follows:

Sleep in and lounge around in bed until hunger, boredom, or my dog makes me get up.  Make something special for breakfast, like home made waffles with a fruit topping or a sweet dutch baby.  Then, retreat to my work room and spend hours and hours making things (usually beads) with polymer clay, or making jewelry while watching epic amounts of television.  I can easily spend a whole day watching a TV series while making stuff, and be blissfully happy.  At some point during that day, my husband and I would take Sherman for a walk and get some fresh air.

Sherman

Variations of my perfect day involve going somewhere interesting with my husband and my camera and taking a few hundred photos, or cooking and baking up a storm, or having my gal pals over for snacks and gossip.

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Car Details

A year ago, I never would have imagined that I’d be so excited about a car details photo prompt, but that was before I went to the Street Rod Show where I had a blast taking heaps of car photos.  Street Rods are great for detail shots.  Here are some of my favorite street rod details:

Fun with bokeh.

14539693335_00d57ecbb8_o

A detail of a car showing a detail of another car.  Very meta.

14530169732_0d258bec14_o

Nice color pop.

14538204964_5ca966e473_o

Last, but not least, awesome greyhound hood ornament.

14559826463_1852acb2eb_o

Posted in Colorado, Events, Photo Challenge, Photography, Pueblo | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Photo Walk in Old Colorado City

On Sunday, my friend Jenny and I went to Old Colorado City and roamed around with our cameras.  The sky was overcast in the morning, and it made for some interesting lighting.  Since it’s November, there are Christmas lights popping up around town and the overcast sky worked really well to get a couple of shots of strings of lights.

Old Colorado City 2014-11-08 087

 

Some of the details along the street were nice subjects to get snaps of.

 

Old Colorado City 2014-11-08 020 Old Colorado City 2014-11-08 028

And, we also found a lovely shop with all kinds of pottery and sculptures.  I could probably have spent a whole morning just taking photos there.  They had a ton of cool and quirky items.

Old Colorado City 2014-11-08 039 Old Colorado City 2014-11-08 032 Old Colorado City 2014-11-08 068 Old Colorado City 2014-11-08 051Then, we topped our field trip off with a stop at La Baguette for lunch.  My very favorite there is the linguine.  It’s a very simple dish, but seasoned beautifully and served with one of their delicious rolls on the side.  If you’re ever in Old Colorado City, I absolutely encourage you to stop at La Baguette.  You won’t regret it.

 

Posted in Colorado, Colorado Springs, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Minimal Motif: Wrought Iron

I love this week’s Daily Post prompt – Minimalist – because so many of my favorite photos are the simple shots.  The first is one that I took years ago during my trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico.  A dark wrought iron gate against a brightly painted wall.  The strong shapes & color made this one of my favorites from that trip.

Picture 248

This past weekend, during my walk around Mantou Springs, it really made me smile when I was able to repeat the motif with another shot of wrought iron against a bright color.

15695928502_64fc69cc4d_o

Though the pictures are separated by a number of years, a couple thousand miles, and an international border, they are more alike than different, and I really enjoy the harmony.

Here are a few of the other entries that made me smile:

http://shutterslang.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/137/

http://christinapictures.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/dromvila-dreamrest/

http://teepee12.com/2014/11/07/a-gift-to-be-simple/

http://imayagination.com/2014/11/07/a-door-nothing-more/

http://lostinamazing.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/lonely-and-broken-minimalist/

http://61musings.com/2014/11/07/these-boots-arent-made-for-walking/

http://ilargia64.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/my-city/

http://sixpixx.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/the-daily-post-minimalist/

Posted in Colorado Springs, Photo Challenge, Photo Challenge Fridays, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bark or Leaves

This week, for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, the prompt is all about foliage.  She says she’s interested in all kinds of colors, so I thought I’d do a two-fer.  Here are two of my favorite leaves. 14507646656_d10d1d2207_o(1)

Picture 554

Posted in Colorado, Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Rainbows of Manitou Springs

This past weekend, we spent an afternoon in Manitou Springs.  Since my camera accompanied us for the adventure, we spent a lot of time with my husband waiting patiently while I took dozens of photos.

Every time I go to a place with my camera, I feel like a different thing, or collection of thing, catches my eye.  One theme of this trip was vibrant colors.

Did you know that non-duck rubber duckies are a thing in Manitou?  They are, and they’re delightful.  The tricera-duck is my favorite of this batch.

15692408591_3b9f35011e_o

The glassblowers shop is always a good photo spot.

15509527680_212b0da14c_o

Vibrant ceramics.

15509522820_ae5b7ea606_o

An assortment of shirts in the afternoon sunshine.

15074974193_6ff7b51d63_o

Not only was I enthralled by this wind catcher, but the wind actually quieted down enough to get some in-focus shots of it.  Lucky!

15509516460_48cafa055e_o

Posted in Colorado, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Climb Down the Castle

As soon as I saw that this week’s Daily Post photo challenge was “descent” I knew exactly which picture to use.  Here’s the view from the walkway about half way up to the top of Bishop’s Castle in Colorado.  It’s not a good spot for anyone with a fear of heights, to be sure.  Fun for depth of field experimentation, though.

14507510576_c0d41b4066_o

Posted in Colorado, Photo Challenge, Photo Challenge Fridays, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

October Art Bead Scene Challenge

This month’s Art Bead Scene Challenge is full of colors I love – the reds and browns – as well as colors I’d never imagine putting with them – the blue and magenta.  The palette was totally outside of my comfort zone, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

Oct. abs

 

As much as I thought this would be a great opportunity for mokume gane, I also know that I’d happily do mokume gane for pretty much every challenge ever, (boy, do I love that technique).  Instead, I decided to go with a technique I rarely use – stripes.

Of course, I didn’t want to do just simple stripes, so I jazzed things up a bit by dragging a tool through the layers to create a chevron effect.  The pendant on the left was the first one I made with this batch of clay.  Then, I compressed my block of layered clay to create smaller layers.  Compressing the layers made some of the colors blend together a bit, but like the result better.

15468858828_b40017e87b_o

 

Even though this palette is outside of my comfort zone, I have to say it’s growing on me.

Posted in Art Bead Scene, Hand made, Jewelry, Polymer Clay | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Striped Halloween Shortbread Cookies

In honor of Halloween, I decided to do some holiday baking this weekend.  Multi-colored shortbread cookies really lend themselves to holiday baking because they pack a visual punch, are easier to make than they look, and are a flexible base for lots of different flavors.

I started with this recipe from Food Network.  For the chocolate dough, I made it just as it is in the recipe, but I added food coloring to the vanilla dough.  Additionally, I wanted to make things a little more interesting than just chocolate & vanilla, so (after pondering a couple of different flavor options, including cinnamon & fall spices), I added the zest of one giant navel orange.

Here are the doughs after chilling in the fridge.  I was careful to add my food coloring little by little & with more yellow than red, and it paid off with a very nice orange hue.

image

The next step is the most complicated, and it requires rolling out each dough, then stacking and trimming.  Here’s where my love of polymer paid off, because this is basically the same thing as making a striped polymer clay cane.

The dough/cane went back into the fridge to really firm up so it was easier to slice (another part that’s just like polymer!).  The bits of orange peel caused a few drag marks, but they were just a minor imperfection.

image

They baked beautifully and I got a few dozen lovely striped cookies.

image

With some of the odds & ends, I made spirals.  Here are the presentable ones (the un-presentable ones still tasted fine, though, I promise).

image

While the orange flavor worked alright, I’m not totally in love with it.  Next time, I’ll go for something else.  I think some cinnamon & other spices would do nicely, or mint, or espresso powder.

My favorite thing with this kind of recipe is that it really lends itself to variation.  With a little bit of variation in the flavors/food coloring, you can make these cookies to suit whatever you like.  I made a similar recipe last year, and it also turned out well, so if you prefer mint over chocolate, I recommend you click over to that one.

Posted in Baking, Events, Food, Hand made, Recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment