Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

PictureAmandasCamelotWeeklyPhotoChallengeStateofMind

This week’s photo challenge is to choose a picture that represents our “state of mind”. What you see outwardly is not often reflected in what is going on inside, therefore, I thought this picture was a prime example of my state of mind. What is it you ask? How can I explain this? Ok. The shadow depicting wings from the man (in relation to myself) represents my goals and dreams that I’m currently working on. No one can see that unless I either tell them or they get to know me. My mind is always planning as I’m looking at the bigger picture. But on the outside I’m just another person you walk by or stand beside in the elevator. Everyone has different sizes of wings (goals), some are prime and ready for take off…others have just returned and they have teathered wings to show it so they need rest. Everyone is traveling on their own journeys in life. I don’t know if that made absolutely any sense.

This picture that I took was taken at The Fine Arts Museum here in Colorado Springs. This piece is by the Cuban artists Ron and Una Brasch. Their “Spreading Its Wings” artwork is only here until March 20th, so if you live here in Colorado Springs, make sure to stop by and check this out in person!

Stormy skies on a mountain

These pictures were taken Sunday June 28, 2015 at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. We had gone to an area to watch the cars race by, but it was interrupted by stormy clouds coming over the mountain. We were not at the very top, but it was high enough to see all the trees below and feel high enough to be close to “America’s Mountain” at 14,000 feet above sea level. Anyways, so as people were packing up to go home, we hung around instead and hoped for the best not to be hit by lightening. I saw an opportunity for some photos as I saw people walk back and forth on a hill. Here are some shots I took.

PikesPeakPic1BlackAndWhiteJune2015Highlighted2

This man made a make shift cover for where he was sitting. The poles appeared to be regular branches he might have found on the ground. It looked pretty cool.

PikesPeakPic5BlackAndWhiteJune2015HighlightedMH

I like this photo a lot and the mood it represents. It almost looks otherworldly because the clouds can also look like far away canyons in a different world or a big ocean with huge waves.

PikesPeakPic4BlackAndWhiteJune2015HighlightedJ

This guy kept staring down at me as I snapped pictures. I later realized I was using my flash on my camera, so it was dead giveaway of what I was doing. I thought I was being sneaky, but I was caught red handed. I wasn’t taking his photo because of him, but because he was a subject matter in my photo I was trying to convey, he just happened to walk by.

PikesPeakPic2BlackAndWhiteJune2015Highlighted

Just people walking about. This was fun, I have to do this type of photography again.

More on the storm on the mountain. I’ve never experienced a bonafide mountain storm in Colorado and I’m sure it won’t be my last! Being a total newbie to how unpredictable and volatile storms can be up in a mountain, I was a little ill prepared. I should have worn a hat and a waterproof jacket with a hoodie. We forgot the main lunch sandwiches in the car and ended up only eating the snacks we brought along with the water. As we headed for cover, it started to pour rain and the winds picked up. At one point, I looked up at the sky and could have sworn I saw a tornado form. I saw some clouds start to swirl in a circle and I almost started to run for my life. To the hot chocolate stand, of course. Then hail started and we ran even faster to the main starting point of the event. We found a tent and stood under it with 30 people or so as we watched the rain come down. In front of us were the cars under their covers as they were lined up to take their turns to race up the mountains. We were all cold and shivering. My hair was soaked and I was hungry. Despite that, I was still having fun because this was new to me. I love everything about Colorado, but I’m not crazy about the hail storms since moving here, but it’s ok. I just have to carry my umbrella more often when I know it will hail storm and then I won’t feel the marble like pelting from it. More on this later as I edit my photos and video.

Blogger’s Note: I’m working on some pictures and a video of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this past Sunday that we went to. It was my first time seeing cars, trucks and motorcycles race and I had a lot of fun!

Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun

This past Saturday was spent at the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun up in the Cheyenne Mountains. Originally, we were supposed to go elsewhere much higher, but we missed our train! I’ve wanted to come here for a long time anyways, so it wasn’t a major disappointment. Will Rogers Shrine was quite delightful and very peaceful. If there ever was a place that I’ve ever been to that made me feel like a princess overlooking my kingdom down below, it’s this place. I can only imagine a fantastic and beautiful wedding photograph up in the balcony. It does look like a castle, no? The day was windy yet sunny, but the lens flares were all over the places. Sorry about that.

In order to get up to this beautiful place, you must pay the zoo entrance fee and get specific instructions by someone by the gate to drive up there. The ride is about 10 minutes long and the road snakes up the mountain. From below, you wonder how you could possibly get up there without rock climbing, but once you drive, you realize that the roads have several hairpin turns with dizzying views below of how high you actually are from the zoo. Once you arrive, there is a nice parking area where you can also have a picnic at. The shady walkway leading up the shrine is gorgeous and to hear nature all around you is just so relaxing.

You may notice in the video I was zooming in the lakes a lot, that is only because it was my first time up there and I didn’t realize how many small lakes there were in Colorado Springs. You might have thought I never saw a lake before in my life, but I just got carried away-as usual. I’m always interested in discovering lakes were we can picnic and relax by, so this gave me an idea of where the lakes were. Most of them were on golf courses and hotel areas.

There are several security cameras all around and a nice older man who will answer any questions you may have regarding the shrine. Inside the shrine, there are floors with rooms that have pictures of Will Rogers. It is believed that some of his remains are buried there. I missed the chapel, but I’ll take a picture of that next time I go up there. It’s only a few miles away from where I live anyways so coming back is just a short car ride down the highway.

WordPressBlogTheShrine2015pic1

WordPressBlogTheShrine2015pic2

WordPressBlogTheShrine2015pic3

WordPressBlogTheShrine2015pic4

WordPressBlogTheShrine2015pic5

One more thing I wanted to add about the music. The two songs I used were put in my video for specific reasons. The first song is called “Romantic Love” and I thought I’d add it because it’s one of the most romantic songs I’ve ever heard and this place, the shrine, is pretty romantic. I wasn’t on a date with anyone, but I can imagine how special it would have been if I was on one up here, hence the song. The second song is more about the mood of the place and how special it is. I take a long time choosing the right songs for each of my videos because I want to reflect in the video what I’m also feeling about where I’m at.

Hope you like the video! Just showing interesting places of my new home. Have a great day everyone!

Blogger’s Note: You can find more information here: Information of Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun

Will Roger’s Shrine of the Sun from JavaGirl on Vimeo.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

To be honest, I was too lazy to go back and find a picture that represented me for this weekly challenge. Instead, I decided on two pictures I took this past Sunday when we went to a dog park.


ChurchWindowPicWordPressJavaGirlsLifeBlog

I love taking pictures of doors, patios and especially windows. This window was on a church that we passed on our way to the dog park. Luckily, the traffic light was long enough for me to whip out my camera and snap this window. How does this picture represent myself aka express myself? Well, for starters, I am like this specific window. Beyond the exterior, I am a simple girl. I am precise, artistic, simply elegant, delicate yet very strong (wrought iron strong if you will). I’m open, yet private, but just enough for you to take a peek at what I’m all about.

DogParkWordPressJavaGirlsLifeBlog

This next picture was taken at the dog park considered one of the “Top 10 Best Dog Parks in the USA”! How can you not love the mountains in the background and the rolling hills of trails to walk on? By the way, the dog park is called Bear Creek Dog Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was truly enjoyable. There are creeks and many trails to explore which isn’t found in a typical dog park.

How does the last picture reflect me? I am one full of love and care. I tend to burst out in laughter, love, kindness, compassion or any type of energy that spread out and grasps anything in its way. I want to bring light to darkness. If anything, you’ll always feel pure, but gentle warmth from me.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

zoo2015pic2WORDPRESS

Yesterday we went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to explore a bit. While there, we saw the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun up further in the mountain looking grand and serene as it towered above us. We were already about 8,000 feet above sea level at the zoo as it was, but I had to zoom in quite a bit to get this shot and had a bit of fun editing it afterwards as you can tell. After taking the picture, I just stood there and looked at it for a few moments. Another day I will go up there and take more pictures of it, but all I could do was just look at it from afar. But there it stood as if it was just overlooking the Colorado Springs town below with a sense of serenity. The Shrine is beckoning.

Carrying only a lantern through a cave!

caveofthewindsbigentrancesignwordpress

Feeling a sense of adventure once again, we went to check out Cave of the Winds this past Sunday. We did not know what to expect, except that one of the tours we bought was the Lantern Tour. The Lantern Tour is a tour through the cave holding only a metal bucket with a candle inside it for less than two hours in complete darkness. We were told it would be rugged terrain and to wear comfortable shoes. Little did I know that it was also a complete workout by walking up steep steps, bending down in 4 feet tall tunnels, squeezing through smaller tunnel walls and having our hearts literally pop out of our chests from being scared by the tour guide.

caveofthewindssignwordpress

The ride up was a little hairy and I had a few white knuckle moments when driving to the cave. There are no barriers from the drop off cliffs, so my heart was pumping a little extra hard. After parking our car and proceeding to walk down to the main area to buy tickets in the gift store, we saw this sign. Bears? Rattlesnakes? Up here? Bears?? Where would I run too? I began to see myself being chased down the hill by a big brown bear. Until I saw this…

caveofthewindsbearwordpress

Luckily, it was the only bear I saw outside. Hence, we moved along to the safety of our destination.
caveofthewindsladderwordpress

Once the tour began with a group of 10 or so, we were brought into a big area where there were lights lighting up the cave and ceiling. Our tour guide provided some information about the room and what to expect from the near 2 hour tour. Before we knew it, we were all walking in a fast pace up very steep stairs, gingerly walking down dirt trails and bending down for a few yards in a 4 foot tunnel. The first few minutes of walking were lit by lights and there were strategic lights lighting our way. However, soon we were all given a metal bucket and a candle to proceed into the dark cave. From here on, we were told, there was only one way out from where we were going and to stay close because the cave is enormous and it’s easy to get lost. We even were trained in “code words” to say to each other such as “bend down”, “steps” “duck”. This way of code talking came in handy as we were all walking in a single row since the pathways were incredibly small. It was all so Lord of the Ring! Anyways, our little lanterns were the only lights we would be seeing for the rest of the tour and it would be lighting our pathway (except of the occasional flashlight from the tour guide to point out things).

The said ladder above was pointed out to us as where a man was “pushed” to his death. He was one of the owner’s friends. He later died in the hospital, but the man claimed there was something in the cave that allegedly pushed him off the ladder and said the cave was haunted by something. Something or some things that did not want people exploring or working in the cave.

caveofthewindsbusinesscardswordpress

Wait, are those business cards inside this cave? Why? Legend has it that if you leave your business card in there, it will bring you good luck. I think. Don’t quote me on that. Yes, I did leave my business card in there. It is now forever inside that cave and if you know my first and last name, good luck finding it. It’s pretty easy to find if I go in there with you, but you’ll be there quite some time looking for it. I then realized, oops. I don’t work at my old job anymore from my business card. Back in the day, during the early tours, people would leave their business cards under the State initials written on the walls of the cave. This would help people to find potential business or employers under that particular State. That area of the cave was just immersed in complete darkness. At one point, were told to blow our candles out to experience complete darkness. I imagined what it would have been like to be a miner in this cave and not finding my way out. That is a very scary thought!

caveofthewindsfeetwordpress

Here I am trying to squeeze through a small tunnel and taking it for the team to lead the group to our next trail. Just kidding. It’s not me. Just a demonstration of how tiny the tunnels actually were when the cave was discovered.

caveofthewindsthingswordpress

These tools were found in the cave to show us what the miners used back then.

caveofthewindceilingwordpress

It was around this time that my camera died, but not before I took this picture. We were told we would be able to see the ghost of the owner of the cave up in that hole.

caveofthewindslaterntoursignwordpress

If you go to Cave of the Winds, I highly recommend this particular tour “The Lantern Tour” because it is more rugged and adventurous than the other two tours. I won’t spoil what you will see or hear during the tour, but I guarantee you’ll have a fun and informative time. If you happen to come visit us in Colorado Springs, I’ll be more than happy to take this tour with you!

Sunday in Manitou Springs, Colorado

My son and I took a stroll through Manitou Springs today and I thought I’d share it with you. Today was our third day in Colorado and we were anxious to explore a little since we had previously passed through this town a few months ago.

DSC01708

I absolutely love dreamy little corners of the world where you can just sit and have a cup of tea and appreciate life. I must come back when it’s much warmer.

DSC01709

Dreamy little place to shop.

DSC01710

I used the window as a frame for the background which was quite fascinating.

DSC01673

Bear alert!

DSC01688

Adventure Boy, my 13 year old love of my life.

DSC01689

I was getting odd looks as I was taking this picture. Why would someone take a picture of this? Because I saw something beautiful blowing in the wind and I wanted to capture it! Hence, I bring you this…

DSC01690

Beauty in ordinary things. I see it everyday. I want to see it everyday. I must.

DSC01696

Pretty.

DSC01695

Canals are great! I felt like I was in Europe for a few minutes.

DSC01705

Seeing a glimpse of life in plants peeking behind windows just made me stop and take this picture. Instead of curtains, this made the whole picture so beautiful.

DSC01698

Came across a wall with this painting on it. Who was he?

DSC01700

I was initially admiring this gorgeous bird house until….

DSC01701

I saw the bird house had an adorable resident already living in it.

Manitou Springs is a quirky little town, but I captured just tidbits of it all. To visit it, would take all afternoon because there is so much to see there. Below is a short video I shot today and I hope you like it.

Manitou Springs December2014 from JavaGirl on Vimeo.