Nature Photographers Online Magazine
Nature Photographers Online Magazine

Feature Photo...

Garden of the Gods

Text and Photography Copyright Jim Greenwood
All rights reserved.

Camera:    Canon EOS Elan
Lens:        Canon 20/2.8 USM
Flash:       None used
Support:    Hand held
Film:         Kodak Royal Gold 100
Exposure:  Unrecorded
Filter(s):     Circular polarizer

Garden of the Gods is a small, but extremely beautiful and very well known city park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is situated on the western edge of town in an idyllic setting at the base of famous Pikes Peak and the Colorado Front Range. The park is a treasure trove for landscape photographers. Throughout its approximately two square mile area, there are seemingly unlimited opportunities for excellent photography, at all times of the year and under wide ranging lighting and weather conditions. The most notable and observable features of the park are the incredible sandstone and conglomerate rock formations within its borders, some towering to heights of over three hundred feet. They are the cornerstone of the park’s popularity in general and are impossible for any landscape photographer to resist. The picturesque formations have been both the subject of, and the backdrop for, some of my best photography. During the four years that I lived in Colorado Springs, I spent countless enjoyable hours hiking and taking pictures in the park, as well as working as a volunteer at the park’s visitors center.

In addition to the appeal of Garden of the Gods to me as a photographer, I also found the park’s fascinating geology particularly interesting. The park has a rich and complex geologic history, extending back some 320 million years or so, beginning with the formation of a mountain range referred to today as the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. The erosion of those mountains provided the raw material for the park’s most impressive rock formations. Subsequently, beginning about 80 million year ago, the uplifting and creation of Pikes Peak, and the deformation of the overlaying layers of sedimentary rock, part of the formation of the Rocky Mountains we know today, set the stage for erosion to once again work its magic. Eventually the beautiful rock formations that can be seen today in Garden of the Gods were revealed.

But there is much more to Garden of the Gods than outstanding scenery and interesting geology. The park’s ecology, wildlife, as well as both its prehistoric and recent human activity are all subjects of interest and study. Testament to the park’s popularity, it is one of the most frequented tourist destinations in all of Colorado, receiving more than two million visitors per year.

For the serious photographer, as I indicated above, the park is a gold mine. This particular image is one of my favorites. It was taken on a small ridge where there are a number of excellent vantage points for two of the park’s largest rock formations, North and South Gateway Rocks. The standard complement of equipment and accessories may or may not be useful or needed, depending on conditions. In general, good photography is relatively easy at Garden of the Gods. Great photography of course takes effort.

I invite you to visit my Garden of the Gods Gallery, a personal Web site featuring an extensive collection of my best photography from the park, in-depth articles about the park’s geology and the soapweed yucca, and other interesting information about the park scattered throughout the site.


[Front Page] [Reader's Forum] [Letters] [Links] [Features] [Reviews] [Photo Tips] [Photo Itineraries] [Personal Galleries] [Gift Shoppe]

All content copyright 2000, Nature Photographers Online Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved.