Jeannie J. Martin: Beauty lies beyond the surface in Rifle |

Jeannie J. Martin: Beauty lies beyond the surface in Rifle

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Four years ago, I moved to Rifle and at first glance found it to be a rather unremarkable town. As a photographer, I thought it really didn’t have much to offer as far as landscaping beauty or any interesting architecture to view. The surrounding hills were covered in sagebrush and scrub oak on light brown clay soil. The area’s main attraction was the Rifle Falls, which was a tourist’s destination and photographed many times.

My first opinion, of course, was this isn’t a very pretty place, but it turned out I was so wrong.

Since I love water, lakes, streams and rivers, I would frequent these areas near Rifle. There are many: the Colorado River that runs right through Rifle, Lion’s Pond, a small lake at the Visitor Center, Rifle Gap State Park and reservoir and Rifle Mountain Park, just a short drive from the Rifle Falls. I found out the more I frequented these places the more I saw.

Rifle Gap Reservoir has become one of the most magical and ever-changing places for me to photograph. I have gone up there so many times in all seasons and I must say, with the right light, it changes into a beautiful place to behold.

The Lion’s Pond is the greatest reflection pond for the Bookcliffs, and the mighty Colorado River is a great setting for sunrises and sunsets.

When I explore Rifle Mountain Park, the little stream that runs through it is wonderful to photograph. That’s especially so in the fall, as its brush turns to red and gold set among the dark green pine trees. I have seen birds and animals I only had heard about or seen in books. Now, with eyes wide open, I have seen wild turkeys, gorgeous pheasants, foxes and a multitude of wild birds.

I grew up in Denver, but here I have seen the baby lambs at play, the newborn calves romping in the fields and talked to the local horses. Each day is a new adventure in discovery.

I truly learned a lesson in not judging a book by its cover.

At first glance Rifle may look ordinary, but if you look beyond the first glance there are many hidden treasures.

The music is there. The beauty is there right in front of your nose.

Jeannie J. Martin is a photographer based in Rifle. See more of her work at

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