A day at Pawnee Buttes ~

Last week a friend and I drove out to Pawnee Buttes, in the Pawnee National Grassland. This is on the prairie in northeast Colorado, not far south of Wyoming and Nebraska. It was a warm but lovely day. The grassland is beautiful: lots of miles on dirt roads; beautiful undulating hills; and the isolated buttes themselves. The only downside is the sheer number of oil and gas facilities out here, along with the accompanying truck traffic. In a time when it’s imperative that we phase out fossil fuels, I was discouraged to see the amount of fracking and other fossil-fuel extraction on this, one of our national treasures.

Fog, frozen, fleeting ~

Trees along I-25

Frozen fog coating trees along I-25

Frozen fog on the plains

A view to the northeast

We’ve had freezing fog the past couple of nights. Here’s what it looked like on the trees and plains bordering the interstate north of Fort Collins, not too far south of the Wyoming border. The sky wasn’t really sunny, and all of the colors were muted. Interstate exits are infrequent on I-25 between north Fort Collins and Cheyenne, and the one that would have worked looked to be blocked by an accident, so I finally pulled off onto the shoulder and shot through the side windows and windshield. Don’t like to do that for photographs, but this was too beautiful to pass up.

Frozen fog

Heading north on I-25

Clouds to the west ~

These were taken yesterday evening in Longmont. The iPhone is not good at handling sunset light. The photo with the tree is pretty true in terms of color, and I was able to color-correct the image at bottom right reasonably well. For the other two I gave up and decided to just enjoy that inky blue.

Geese, reflected ~

Canada geese

Canada geese reflected in the lagoon, North Lake Park, Loveland

There were thousands of Canada geese hanging out this week at Loveland’s North Lake Park, where the ice was thin and getting thinner fast thanks to balmy temperatures (it’s been in the fifties much of the week). The image above is a small portion cropped out of one of the photographs I took there. Wish I’d had a tripod and a longer lens to do this justice.

Animal favorites ~

Taking Watch, by Parker Macdonald

Taking Watch, by Parker Macdonald, Benson Sculpture Garden

I went to Benson Sculpture Garden to walk.

Really, I did. It didn’t even occur to me to take my Olympus along. The only reason I had my cell phone with me was that I was expecting a call from the vet. But I couldn’t seem to get very far down the path without pulling out my phone and taking photographs.

Benson Sculpture Garden is a very popular place for people to exercise, and in particular to walk their dogs. How they manage this, I don’t understand. I tried it once, not too long after moving to Loveland, and discovered that there is no “walking” my little dogs, Ginger and Punkin, at Benson; there is only hanging onto them, barely. The scent of other dogs is so strong that it acts upon them as an irresistible elixir, causing them to pull and tug and drag and stand rooted on spot after spot. My wrists and hands ached so badly by the time we finished our circuit that I’ve never taken them back. On Friday I watched in amazement as other people walked their dogs quite calmly along the curving paths and past the dozens of sculptures. Are my dogs really the worst? It would seem so, which makes me the worst dog owner.

Anyway, dogs aside, above and below are some of my animal favorites from the sculptures. It was the wrong time of day for the best view of the octopus, so I have a shot with a house prominently in the background. And I could have used a shallow depth of field for the cougar, but: iPhone.

 

The octopus lends itself to delicious closeups, some of which I’m including here to justify making this post. Hope you enjoy them.

 

 

The real deal ~

Aspens

Aspens

Took this photo this afternoon at Benson Sculpture Garden. It looks more like a pencil sketch, an effect that’s especially pronounced in the crop below. I assume this is just from pixelation and color noise in the iPhone image—maybe someone else can tell me more. I color-corrected and sharpened slightly.

Aspens cropped

Aspens cropped