Time of Transition

Raptors at Eleven Mile Canyon

Now is truly the time of transition in the Colorado Rockies. After months of looking at smoke and barren rocks for mountains there is a beautiful mantle of snow on the high peaks, the mountain air clear and crisp. The transitioning seasons is most obvious in the animal kingdom, they know the change is coming and they are doing their best to prepare for the onslaught of the bitter Rocky Mountain winter and  have mostly disappeared from the landscape. Perhaps during the daylight hours they are preparing their dens for the long cold nights, for whatever reason I have had little luck capturing any images the last few weeks.

Coyote on the Hunt

The bears are out stuffing themselves with as many calories as they can find, the bucks are almost at full rack for the coming rut and the coyotes and wolves are putting on their winter coats. The elk have completed their rut and have moved on, far from the high meadow where I like to hike. I looked for the osprey over the weekend but they too seem to have moved on, beginning their months long 4,000 mile journey to South America. The eagles are still in their summer pattern and will probably remain that way until the still water all freezes over. There are still some red-tail hawks hanging around, Colorado may be temperate enough to make it unnecessary for them to fly south. I suppose they would fly further south if the snow became too deep for them to hunt, however the intense Colorado sun usually dispatches the snow in short order, even in the dead of winter.

Coyote on the Hunt

They wolves and coyotes are putting on their thick winter coats which seem impervious to the cold. However these animals are rarely seen, mere phantoms in the snow, seen only early in the morning or at dusk… if you are lucky. Luckily for me, this was one of those times. There is a particularly well populated marsh on one of my favorite trails and when I came to it there was a big beautiful coyote rodent hunting there. He eyed me warily as I moved into position for a shot and began to move away toward the far side of the valley. My first shot of him as he stared at me was the best, but I was able to capture a few images as he continued to hunt as he retreated toward the back side of the meadow.

I departed before he reached the other side of his hunting grounds so that he wouldn’t have to miss the morning meal. He watched curiously as I slipped away before going back to his coyote business.

Coyote on the Hunt

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Coming to Life

Raptors at Eleven Mile CanyonEleven Mile Canyon is coming back to life! I had an awesome visit to the canyon this morning… almost no campers and fishermen, a hint of the familiar bone chilling cold and and a return of the bald eagles to the banks of the South Platte River. I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the baldie but I had a couple of good opportunities with the red-tail and the osprey. It seems that a big red-tailed hawk has claimed the territory between the foot bridge and the bend, but I’m sure he will relent once the eagles return when the lakes are frozen over.

I was able to spot both the osprey and the red-tail in good position for a shot and they both cooperated by flying down from the high branches right towards me 🙂 The only problem was that the branches in the background have made for quite the ugly background, which I have done my best with Photoshop to mitigate.

Hope you enjoy today’s pictures, and looking forward to many more as the ice takes over my world!

 

Raptors at Eleven Mile Canyon

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

First Snow on the Sangre de Cristo

First Snow on the Sangres

The weather report showed a completely average morning today… sun shining, a little chilly… but generally a nice autumn mountain morning. It was a struggle to psyche myself up to take my camera out in such an average morning… but I did it. As usual on the ride to the trailhead I took a glance  toward the Sangre de Cristo range expecting to see the same smoke obscured view that we’ve been seeing all summer. Much to my surprise the magnificent range has received a blanket of new snow and the air was as crisp and clear over the Arkansas Valley as it ever has been!

First Snow on the Sangres

I drove a little faster knowing I was going to be treated to a stunning mountain vista at the top of the ridge. And indeed it was, I stopped for a good half hour to make sure the camera had gathered it all in 🙂 I also took a quick jaunt through the woods hoping for an elk herd on the other side, but I guess all the great beasts were all hiding from the wind in the tranquil valley below.

First Snow on the Sangres and Mine Country

Quick trip up Victor Pass to view Pikes Peak wasn’t as interesting… there was little snow on the massive peak and no clouds to create an interesting picture. However the view from there in the other direction was something to behold… the old historic mines against the fresh snow of the Sangre de Cristo was incredible. And I have to say I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anyone capture this particular view of the  area!

Confident that I had enough imagery to make a good story for today, I decided upon the Phantom Canyon Coffee Shop for a nice cup of coffee and an apple fritter. This may well be my favorite coffee shop, and a place I’ll be spending some time out of the cold this winter! The atmosphere is great, the coffee even better and the barista friendly and helpful. If you can get to Victor Colorado, I recommend you stop in!

First Snow on the SangresAs always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Bull Moose and a New Gallery

Big day yesterday… finally got some pictures of a bull moose! Kevin and I left at sunrise for Jefferson Lake where we have been trying all summer to capture moose images. In fact we’ve been trying without success to find moose for a couple of years now. This summer we finally saw a few moose cows, one in Jefferson Lake and a couple in Rocky Mountain National Park. But no big beautiful bull moose with those magnificent antlers.

Autumn in the San Isabel National Forest

We wanted to get to the park as soon as possible so there were no side tours at all on the trip there… no waterfalls, no hawks, no foggy landscapes, just the direct route to the park. We spotted the big cow moose and her calf fairly early in the morning, but not in the beautifully lit beaver ponds as we had hoped. She made such a brief appearance near the base of the pine covered mountain that we didn’t have time to even snap off a single image. We made a note of which direction she was going and set up near another beaver pond that we hoped was on her route, but she never showed.

The leaves in the park were beautiful so I couldn’t resist capturing a couple of shots while we waited and as it turns out they are a couple of my all time favorites! Pretty happy about that I have to say 🙂

Bull Moose on the Blue River

Eventually we decided to head on into Fairplay for some lunch but after one pass through the town we were aimed at Breckenridge so we just kept going, hoping for some great scenery to photograph on Hoosier Pass and a nice place to have lunch in the larger town. As we traveled along the Blue River nearing Breckenridge we noticed a large traffic jam in the road near a clearing in the river valley. In Colorado whenever you see a traffic jam in the middle of nowhere, there is sure to be some awesome looking animal at the center of it!

Bull Moose on the Blue River

Turns out, it was our bull moose… He was out in the valley feeding on the tender reeds growing along the river banks. He was barely visible through the reeds but bunches of people were trying to get pictures with their phones from the top of the steep embankment. We were able to get a couple of unsatisfactory images but without going down the embankment to get on the other side of the trees there wasn’t much hope of a good capture. I looked the situation over and said to Kevin, “You know we are going down there…”! I heard the “Yup!” and we were scrambling down the embankment to get a closer look.

Herd of Elk Cows

Eventually we got into a good position and were able to watch the majestic beast for a few minutes as he munched on the reeds. At first I feared he was never going to turn around for a head on shot, but eventually he turned sideways to get at a bush and looked in our direction a couple of times so we could get a nice shot.

After lunch we returned to the lake for a couple more passes by the beaver ponds to no avail. We never saw the big cow moose or any other wildlife in the park the rest of the day, save for a couple of red-tail hawks. We did however have some luck just outside the recreation area, spotting a herd of pronghorns and a small herd of elk cows on their way to the high country in a hurry! If you look really carefully off to the right in the image, I accidentally picked up a stray pronghorn watching the elk run by!

All in all it was a pretty great day and I hope you enjoy a few of the images that I have gotten processed thus far! Oh, and before I forget… I have created a new gallery on my website just for moose! I don’t have a whole bunch of moose images yet, but I certainly plan to!

 

Pronghorn Antelope

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Hanging with the Bucks

I was up well before sunrise hoping to see the deer pass through the beautiful meadows of the high country before going off to rest in the shade of the dense pine forest. As I made my way up the mountain I could see their ghostly figures moving toward the summit in the predawn light, small herds of bucks and does making their way separately. I knew if I could quietly get into position without causing them to run I would get a chance to photograph them just as the sun was clearing the ridge to the east.

Mule Deer Bucks in the Rockies

And I was not disappointed… It wasn’t long before the first regal buck made his way into the clearing, a majestic figure against the morning sky. It wasn’t long before the handsome beasts were aware of me sitting on my rock, staring at me for a few seconds as they sized me up… threat or not? I was glad to see they were going to tolerate my presence as they went back to grazing on the high mountain grass. As the sun began to rise in the sky the crisp mountain morning began to become uncomfortably warm and the deer retreated to a pine shaded oasis on the summit to lie down for an early morning nap. I have no idea how long their night was or how long of a journey it was for them to reach the mountaintop but they were definitely ready for a break. I have to say I was a bit surprised that they were comfortable enough with me that they could just lay down and rest a few feet from me!

Autumn Colors in Colorado

I decided to leave them in peace so I arose and walked directly away from the group. It cost me an extra half mile around the mountainside to avoid startling them but I was hoping that I would be able to return in a couple of hours to find them once again grazing and doing deer stuff.

I traveled on over to the gold mines of Goldfield hoping to capture some beautiful autumn color around the mines and on Pikes Peak, and perhaps some early morning wildlife in the open prairie there. Didn’t see any wildlife but the leaves were beautiful this morning although I can see they are past the prime now. It won’t be long before this mountainside is covered by a mantle of white, in fact I am already hearing rumors of snow rolling in next week. That’s ok with me… I think these mountains are happier with a fresh blanket of snow.

Mule Deer Bucks in the Rockies

Eventually I was ready to return to Victor for some coffee but unfortunately my usual hangout wasn’t quite prepared with the morning nourishment so I decided to try out a new place, the Phantom Canyon Coffee shop. This place has just recently opened and they don’t have a full blown website yet, but I can see it is going to be a great addition to the new Victor. The help is friendly and the atmosphere hip and inviting… and the coffee tasty and hot 🙂 I say new Victor because the old Victor nearly became a ghost town a few years ago. Now there is new blood moving to town and the town is reconstituting itself as a quaint mountain art and eats mecca, drawing people from cities up and down the front range wanting to check out the new places and historic attachment to the 1800’s gold mining boom.

Mule Deer Bucks in the Rockies

After becoming sufficiently caffeinated I returned to the mountain to check on the little band of bucks. Sure enough they were done with their morning respite and were back to feeding on the dry mountain grass. I slowly maneuvered back into position as we once again went through the ritual of suspicion followed by grudging acceptance. This time I found a good seat on top of some mine tailings where I sat and watched for at least an hour before they meandered over the ridge and out of sight. I had acquired enough images for one day and decided not to disturb them any further.

I finished out the day with a visit to the Victor Gold Camp Artist’s Coop where I have some of my work displayed… Turned out to be a fortuitous visit… One of the customers was interested in my framed elk picture from our visit to Rocky Mountain National Park earlier this fall, and as I was there to tell the story of the image I made the sale 🙂 Now I’m going to have to find another awesome frame so I can get another one done!

Now, home in front of the computer I can see it was a very successful morning. I will be uploading quite a few from today, starting with just a few that I was able to produce today. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

 

Mule Deer Bucks in the Rockies

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Deer in the Gold

Mule Deer in the Rocky Mountian Autumn

It was a beautiful morning for a hike… a crisp, clear mountain autumn morning. The leaves are in peak color on the south face of Pikes Peak, the wildlife are starting to come out from their refuge from the summer heat deep in the shade of the dense pine forest and the air is finally clearing of the terrible smoke from the summer’s fires.

Saw a couple of doe mule deer grazing and enjoying the pleasant morning and a lot of golden leaves to

Autumn on Pikes Peak and Mine Country

photograph. On my return down the mountainside I looked back and spotted a lone deer shining in the sun in the golden canopy. I captured a number of images of the deer, including some zooms with my 400mm lens, but the one of the deer in the distance with just 100mm of magnification is my favorite!

I’ve  been eyeing one of the gold mines for a picture but the leaves on that side of the mountain have yet to change color. It was also a great morning to stop and have some biscuits and gravy at my favorite place, the Gold Camp Bakery. I was tempted to add a cinnamon roll to that but I decided to save the calories for another day 😦

Some days I get pictures that are nice to look at, but not really up to snuff to put on my website for sale as prints… but today a got a few that I’m putting up! I hope you enjoy them 🙂

Mule Deer in the Rocky Mountian Autumn

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Hawks, Hunting and Gold

I fully expected to go out to another flat tire this morning so I was pretty happy to discover that the tire had held air overnight. Ran back in the house, grabbed my camera and headed for the Victor / Cripple Creek gold mining district where the leaves are changing around the old historic gold mines of a past era.

Gold Mine in Autumn

The leaves up on Victor and Tenderfoot Passes are in peak color, but a few  feet lower down in Victor there is still quite a bit of green so I was not expecting any photography there until later in the season. However there was a view of one of the mines with some gold in the background so I stopped to capture an image. I had to shoot with the long lens and crop pretty tight to get the leaves in the image, hopefully on another day I’ll have a wider field to work with. I also need to get back out in the morning and find the names of these mines for the metadata!

Red-tailed Hawk Hunting

I worked my way north up Victor Pass hoping for some more cool images when I spotted a red-tailed hawk hunting in the prairie dog town. I followed him around a bit until I finally saw him take a dive and snatch up a rodent, I assume a prairie dog. I would think the little creatures would be more mindful of the “death from the sky”, but maybe the young ones aren’t too smart yet. The great bird must have killed the rodent instantly because I never saw it so much as wiggle once he was in the grasp of the razor sharp talons of the powerful raptor.

Red-tailed Hawk Hunting

The hawk carried his prey high into the sky and then headed out across the open field, perhaps to bring to a young one or to a more private place to enjoy his breakfast. I was ready for some breakfast myself by this time so I headed back down the hill when I spotted a good view of this mine (below), the Vindicator I believe… with some golden leaves in the background. I stopped and readjusted my camera for a still shot of the mine and snapped a few pictures.

Unfortunately there was a large crowd at the Gold Camp Bakery so I decided to just go home for breakfast. Not a fan of the large crowds of leaf lookers up here in the mountains at this time of year.

 

Gold Mine in Autumn

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Autumn, My Favorite Time of Year

Gold in Mine Country

I absolutely love this time of year… the clear fresh mountain air, the brisk mornings, the active wildlife and the beautiful colors as aspen trees turn to gold. Sort of a utopia for nature photographers! As soon as it was light this morning I headed out into prime leaf country. Victor, Colorado is one of the finest places for aspen leaf looking in the state. There is an awesome view of the south face of Pikes Peak from Victor Pass covered with aspen trees and I wanted to capture it before we lost the moisture in the air leftover from yesterday’s rains.

Gold in Mine Country

And today it was magnificent probably within a couple of days of peak color. I set the camera to manual with a 320th of a second and an aperture of F8 for good depth of field, and checked a couple of exposures before making my way around to all the best vantage points. It was early morning with the sun nearly at my back so I knew there would be no need for a polarizer. Eventually I knew I had captured the scene so it was off to the Gold Camp Bakery for some biscuits and gravy 🙂 There were quite a few leaf seeking customers there today so my order took a bit longer, but I never get tired of looking out the window at historic Victor while I contemplate my the rest of the day.

Mule Deer in the Rockies

I decided to take a short jaunt down the hill to see if the deer might be stirring on such a beautiful morning, and I was not disappointed! I found a herd of four beautiful bucks, which I assume is probably the Three Amigos + One. Don’t know why but each fall the three inseparable friends pick up a fourth prior to the rut season, which is soon to come. Once they get interested in the ladies you won’t see them together until later in the winter.

Mule Deer in the Rockies

Eventually the two herds meandered into the trees and I headed back up the mountain to see what the brighter light may have done for my autumn scene. Indeed it was a bit different so I retraced my earlier steps to recapture all the best angles in the more intense light.

Satisfied that I had sufficiently captured the scene I was ready to call it a day. There was still hope that I might see a few more deer or perhaps even some elk but it was not to be. They don’t like to stay out in the bright sunshine and retreat to the dark depths of the pine forest to while away the days hidden in the shadows.

My one last stop was to check on my pieces at the Victor Gold Camp Artist’s Coop and hopefully chat with a few of the potential customers trickling through. If you get up to Victor this season be sure to stop in and check on the mountain art! It’s well worth the effort 🙂 I have a few pieces scattered around the place and a notebook of prints on a table right in front of the cash register. Be sure to pick up one of my picture business cards!

 

 

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.