The Great Sunflower Hunt of 2019

The Great Sunflower Hunt of 2019 started wayyy before there were actual sunflowers to photograph. Numerous drives on dirt roads to find a good spot (mountains in the background, facing west for good sunset pictures and close enough to the airport to get a shot of a British Airways Plane as it lands). Weeks of driving around, watching Facebook and Instagram posts, sending family and friends out to hunt and we couldn’t find a sunflower field anywhere! We were beginning to think that we were completely out of luck. Almost too late in the season we found several LARGE fields that I know I had driven past at least a half dozen times 🤦‍♀️ what the heck?!?! Were they camouflaged?

This sunflower saga did not have a happy ending. Ya know those annoying little sticky burrs that show up at the end of summer… the ones that I spend hours picking out of my tennis shoes?

True story if they get stuck in the side of a tire they will cause a flat. Yep, there we were literally in the middle of NO WHERE with a slow leak!!! The only thing in sight was a creepy looking barn and farmhouse.

The minute the tire pressure light of doom came on we decided that being a part of the sequel to THE CHAINSAW MASSACRE was NOT for us! We quickly called Tami’s son. Why? Well at least someone would know where to find our bodies. Tami stayed on the line with Tom while I desperately tried to get my GPS to work. We sort of knew where we were, so no thanks to Google Maps (and my inability to read a map 🤦‍♀️), we managed to find our way to the cell phone lot by the airport. Never have I been so happy to see people and a gas station! We put air in the tire and headed toward home. Tom met us about half way and began to follow us just in case.

After much discussion Tami and I decided that if we kept the tire warm by driving fast and not stopping the tire would stay fuller. I’m not sure what “facts” if any were used in coming to this conclusion or if this was simply wishful thinking. (I probably should do some research after all sunflower season is only 6 months away).

About half way home that dreaded light of doom returned. Our solution was to drive faster. There would be no slowing down or stopping! Poor Tom, he had no hope of keeping up with us, we made it home a good 10 minutes before him even though at one point he was right behind us.

Sunflowers and Sunset
Sunflowers… Sunset… Mountains… No Plane 🤦‍♀️

Full Moon Madness…

“I’m telling ya… the sky map says the moon IS. RIGHT. THERE!!!”

More than once Tami and I have headed out to take pictures of the full moon and it usually does not go as planned. Just to be honest it isn’t just this plan, it’s most plans, can you say… “story of my life”!?!

The first time we headed out to take pictures of a full moon was during the Super Blood Moon Eclipse of 2015. Seriously, who decided to call it the super blood moon?!?! We were spooked before it even started getting dark! We ended up on a hill, eerily all alone, in the dark, in a very sketchy part of town.

We downloaded Google’s Sky Map to my phone and then we got to do Google’s version of the “hokey pokey”. To calibrate the app you tip your phone forward and then you tip your phone back and then you swing your phone to the left and then you swing your phone to the right. Forward, back, left, right. Forward, back, left, right. Repeat 896 times.

We then discovered that the sky map, like all maps, is IMPOSSIBLE to read 🤷‍♀️. Was the moon going to rise over there to the left? Or perhaps over there to the right? Are we even here on the right night? And then after all of that.

THIS! THIS was the sadness that I captured!

Very quickly it got cold. Who remembered a jacket? NOT me! The leaves were blowing in the wind making creepy noises and because eclipses are kind of spooky, we freaked out.

A year or so later we decided to try it again. This time we had a better plan and it really felt like a good plan. We decided to go to The Rocky Mountain Arsenal and use the old windmill as a prop.

Time to recalibrate Google’s Sky Map. Tip the phone forward, tip the phone back, swing to the left, swing to the right. Repeat 896,000 times and… I still can’t read a map! The moon was NO. WHERE. CLOSE to the windmill. It was in fact rising above what is probably a radioactive holding pond.

THIS! THIS sadness was what I got!

Then it got really, really dark and it was cold. Who remembered to bring a jacket? Once again, NOT me! When a pack of coyotes started yipping, certain we were going to end up as coyote food, we panicked and sorta walked (ran) back to the car.

Try number three involved an even better plan, a fool proof plan! We would go to Denver International Airport and use the “circus tents” as props. Lots of people (safety in numbers), fairly certain there are no coyotes, and the tents are HUGE (there is no way the moon won’t be near at least one of them!).

We got there way too early but managed to find some photogenic Christmas decorations with a seriously gorgeous Colorado sunset.

Colorado in the winter gets dark really fast so seconds after taking this picture we had to dash across the terminal to the east parking deck. Cameras ready, phone out doing the Google Sky Map “hokey pokey”, we waited, and we waited, and we waited.

NO MOON! Where is it? It is obvious I still can’t read a map! 🤦‍♀️ Good news though, I remembered a jacket.

We became just a couple of crazy ladies in a parking lot, waving a phone around, looking for the moon. We wandered toward the terminal and away from it. We wandered a little bit to the left and then a little bit to the right. We began to wander aimlessly and the entire time I’m waving my phone around no longer even looking at the map. Then there it was! Somehow we’d almost managed to miss it because we weren’t far enough north? Or maybe it was South?

This was what I managed to get.

By no means perfect but I’ll take it as a win.

Old Fashioned Cattle Drive…

Early one freezing cold morning in January, Tami and I jumped on light rail and headed downtown for the National Western Stock Show Parade. The train dropped us off right at Union Station which was the staging area for the parade. We got there way to early, there were no animals and not a single cowboy in sight! Why are we ALWAYS 3 hours early or a million hours late?

With freezing fingers, toes and noses we had to find a place to warm up. Panera to the rescue with their blazing fireplace, hot coffee and cinnamon rolls. Then, when we were able to feel our fingers and toes again we spent an hour or so hunting for the perfect spot to take pictures.

The vision in our heads was to get pictures of the animals and the parade with the entrance to Union Station in the background. How far away from Union Station should we be? Should we set up camp on the left or right side of 17th? We finally found and staked out what we thought would be the perfect spot.

We guarded THAT spot! We threw elbows to keep THAT spot!

It was amazing! Longhorn Steers led the way right down the middle of 17th Street straight through the heart of Downtown Denver.

It ended up being a beautiful sunny day. We took tons of pictures – of people, horses, cows, wagons, and RANDOM buildings. Just RANDOM buildings… NOT. A. SINGLE. PICTURE. with Union Station in the background! 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️