The third and final day that I drove the trolley last year.
I didn’t have to drive it at all this year…so far…
Every once in a while I get to ride along instead of driving, it gets me shots I wouldn’t otherwise.
I remember the saying that “if you have a camera, you’re a photographer.” Well nearly everyone’s a photographer here. A lot can be said about people who spend their life experiencing it through a screen.
It’s happened before, though it’s a pretty rare occurrence! I just took these shots wile driving through on my day off.
The last time I was able to take advantage of this wonderful weather was more than three years ago.
In all my tours I’ve never had so many pictures taken by passengers. Every single one of them wanted so many taken at the same spot and all were very particular about how they looked. Now evidently these days men have a reputation of being poor photographers, probably because they get too exhausted by demanding subjects. Then again with my coworker Cougar and myself they found a couple guys willing to fawn over them like schoolboys and jump through whatever hoop they wanted.
Talking to passengers more recently, I guess that places like Garden of the Gods are getting notoriety thanks to lots of posts on Instagram, TikTok, and who knows whatever else, I really don’t want to get caught up in it all. I don’t know how all these phone pics they/we took turned out but honestly the whole experience was eye-opening; they were much more concerned with how they looked in pictures than what the pictures were of, I think. Is this the modern woman? After the fact, I find the whole thing shallow and depressing.
This is a Kodak single-use camera that someone abandoned/lost back in 2017. I totally forgot I had it for a long time but eventually had the thing developed and here are the results. “Disposable” (actually recyclable) single-use cameras are becoming a thing of the past it seems. When I moved to Colorado in 2009 and in the first few years of driving Jeep tours I could still find them at grocery stores and gift shops, but it’s been a few years since I noticed any. I suppose that cameras on phones have become so ubiquitous that they really aren’t needed, and why this couple wouldn’t have had another way to take pictures I’ll never know.
I find the photos to be pretty standard. There are the telltale signs that they’ve never seen a landscape like the Rocky Mountains and want a reminder; I was like that myself when I first came here in 2003, but you get over it. I’m not sure where they were before Garden of the Gods but I know exactly where they stood while they were in Colorado Springs, because it’s where every other tourist stands. They all stand so patiently one at a time waiting their turn to pretend like they’re the sole discoverers of a pristine landscape when the reality is that this 2-square-mile park gets 7 million visitors a year. It’s a conceit that I’m guilty of following in my own images that are for me, but I’m busy trying to tear it down in my photo project.
And I find these images to be as throwaway as the camera on which they were made: there is nothing really insightful to be found here, just the same insta-feed fodder that every other person spits out. Kenneth Wajda’s words come to mind. Except that I remember coming to Garden of the Gods (and Colorado) for the first time and I remember how I felt, and I’m sure these people are feeling the same thing. But I also have no doubt that these images exist in other people’s feeds and camera rolls with little variation. That said, they deserve to be seen, and although I’ve been a bit critical what I’m trying to say is that these images are nothing special without the addition of the people who made them.
Honestly I’m not a fan of driving it myself, got a few different reasons behind it, from the number of shorter tours per day to the kind of clientele you get (and the corresponding tips). But I’ll take it every once in a while if someone else needs a break from it for a week. It provides excellent fodder for Gawkers As Spectacle.
Also fun to watch my different expressions throughout the sequence.
I think its name my be called Leaning Buddha or something like that. I can be seen from the road quite well and there are almost always a lot of people on it. I decided to make a pilgrimage there myself for the first time, in my first couple weeks back this Summer, and wasn’t disappointed: there was a sizeable crowd nearly the entire time.
I’ve been back a few times since, leading hiking tours; it makes a good spot to let tourists snap some pics, there aren’t too many other rocks on which regular tourists are allowed to scramble.
I spend so much time on the road but wanted to get some shots from inside with a bunch of tourists. Most of this was just a regular Thursday in the Summer, I missed out on getting 4th of July because it rained a lot of the afternoon. I’ve been back a few times now but the crowds haven’t been there.