Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in Estes Park

This is Dennis and my first Christmas together as husband and wife, and we'll spend it at home in Estes Park. It snowed on Tuesday, so I thought we would have a white Christmas. Silly me. I forgot to figure in the sun. A lot of the snow has melted under its solar power, but there is still some higher up into the mountains.

Even so, I did manage to get some photos of Estes with the pretty white stuff all around. I like this shot of our backyard. . .

These are our Christmas trees. . .
They're right outside our French doors.We didn't put up a tree in our apartment. How could it compete with these trees anyway? 

We had lunch at Poppy's on Wednesday, so while I was there I snapped a picture of Barlow Plaza. Pretty, isn't it?

The river is mostly frozen over. . .

Riverwalk is still pretty though -- even in December on a cloudy day. . .

Dennis proposed to me last Christmas in Columbus, Ohio, where I was living at the time. I came to Estes in January, and we picked out our rings at the Fall River Jewelry and Antique shop. Bob, a gemologist, and Carol, a silversmith, are the owners. They're a wonderful couple, and their shop is one of my favorites. . . .

We attended the Estes Park Community Christmas Eve Service tonight. It was a beautiful service celebrating our Lord's birth. Jesus coming to earth to redeem us is what Christmas is really about. As our speaker tonight said, "It's the greatest story ever lived".

 "For to us a child is born, 
   to us a son is given, 
   and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called 
   Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
   Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas. May God bless and keep you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's a Wild Life

I've got another cold (the second one in six weeks), which sort of kills creative thinking. I started today's blog three times before deciding just to post some of my favorite wildlife pictures. There's a story in each one.

One day in August I snapped some photos of an open area just north of the park in Estes. I had written a devotional based on Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a light on my path", and wanted a photo of a path with light shining upon it. After I got home and downloaded the photos to my mac, I noticed in one of the shots an elk cow lying in the grass. Can you see her head on the right?
The photo was taken from quite a distance above the meadow, and I had no idea she was down there. Completely unexpected. God delighted me with this surprise. I just love it when He does that.

I've mentioned before that Dennis and I like to drive up into Rocky Mountain National Park for our morning devotionals. The photo I snapped of this buck inspired my Mountain Manna Devotionals, and is the banner photo on that site.

While on an afternoon drive near MacGregor ranch in September, we caught a glimpse of this coyote hunting in the field. Dennis whistled at him and he looked up long enough for me to get this shot. I love the way he blends in with the grass. God does camouflage really well.

On another September day, while Dennis painted the stream in Endo Valley RMNP, I discovered this Hoary Comma (Polygonia gracilis) butterfly along the bank. It was a joy to photograph.

I find birds particularly challenging to photograph. They are either so deeply hidden in the trees that you can't locate them, or they're in the shade, hopping around faster than you can click. This Stellar Jay evaded me for some time before I finally snapped him at lift off.

Of course, I always enjoy photographing our stately elk. Sometimes I'm fortunate enough to find them in my own backyard. Literally. Sitting at my desk writing a couple of weeks ago, I looked up to see a herd coming up the hill behind our apartment. 

The bull watched me from under a nearby tree before following the cows up the hill. Not one for taking chances, I photographed the elk from the safety of our apartment. I did open the french door, though.

The deer like to come through our backyard, too. They're more skittish than the elk, though. I looked up from my writing to see this young'un peeking through our french doors. I grabbed my camera and snapped a shot before he took off. I think he (or she) is pretty cute.

It's such a pleasure to photograph God's creation and share the results here.

"God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good." 
Genesis 1:25