Great Looking Wildlife

Mule Deer After the Snow

Had a pretty good couple of days photographing wildlife. We had a good snow the other day so I had to go out in it of course. I usually have pretty good luck finding deer to take pictures of and this time was no different! Found this beautiful buck foraging for food in the snow. He spotted me and looked me over for a little bit and then went back to eating so I guess I wasn’t bothering him too much.

The star of the day was this little mountain chickadee though. He was bouncing around on the branches in front of me  so it was fairly difficult to get a shot of him sitting still but I did get a couple!

Also had pretty good luck at Eleven Mile Canyon, saw one eagle and this little herd of mule deer who graciously posed for me while I took all the combinations of images I could think of!

 

Bald Eagle in 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!

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

Gathering Storm and A Pano

I checked my weather app while drinking my morning coffee and it said snow was on the way. In the pre-dawn darkness I couldn’t tell if anything of interest was going on down the valley but it didn’t matter, I was going hiking anyway. I fired up the truck just as the sun was clearing the ridge to the east and a short time later I saw the massive fog bank completely filling the Arkansas Valley. A few of the taller peaks in the valley protruded above the sea of white, creating an enticing scene that I expected to be photographing at the overlook.

But it was still too dark when I arrived at the overlook. I’ve been down that road before, the camera is completely confused by the fog before the sun turns it into it’s customary bright white color. I shoot raw but even with that tremendous amount of latitude the fog always seems to come out with an ugly greenish tint. So I decided to keep going on to the trailhead. I figured by the time I made it to the top of the ridge the sun would be shining a bit and the fog would be easier to photograph.

Gathering Storm on the Sangre de Cristo

My timing was perfect too, by the time I arrived the light was starting to color the western sky and the Sangre de Cristo range to the west was beautifully lit. I snapped a few images of parts of the mountains before ultimately deciding uon a panorama. After a couple of meter readings I settled on manual mode with a 320th of a second, ISO 160 and f/8 for an aperture. Of course I fiddled with the settings a bit as I examined the rear LCD, but that was the starting point.

I was also hoping for some pictures of the mines but by then the interesting light was gone and the sky and fog were just an uninteresting white. But it’s Ok, I’m really happy with the pano!

 

 

Gathering Storm on the Sangre de Cristo

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.

Fun Day With the Eagles

bald eagle in flight

It was a perfect morning to spend with the eagles. There was a bit of cloud cover to help with that bright winter sun and it wasn’t too cold! We found Speckles near the end of the canyon where he obliged us with a few photos before heading back downstream where we found him a couple other times.

There was also a handsome red-tailed hawk perched on a treetop at near the dam. Red-tails in treetops can have an awful lot of patience though, so we decided not to wait for him to fly. He was still there on the return trip So the decision appeared to have been a sound one.

_MG_3272As we passed all the likely spots for an eagle on our final trip back down the canyon it appeared our day might be over… but just as we were about to give up we spotted one of the majestic birds in a tree near the cliffs north of the picnic area. We parked and carefully exited the car with cameras at the ready. I dialed in a 1600th of a second at f/8 and -2/3 exposure compensation to account for the bright white head. The ISO value came in at a very usable value of 800. We moved toward the resting eagle when suddenly he took flight and headed back upstream.

He flew right past the beautiful cliffs on the west side of the canyon while I tracked him and fired off bursts of three or four shots so as not to fill the buffer up too quickly. The result.. one of my best eagle shots in a long time!

 

 

Red-Tailed Hawk

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.

Checking on the Eagles

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

I had a free day so I decided to check in on the eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon. My last few visits there have been less than stellar so I wasn’t too optimistic, but cold and snow the night before had me thinking this day might be different. I was in the canyon just after sunrise plowing through three inches of new snow, feeling thankful for new snow tires on the back of my truck! Lol, this visit was a first though, I got so tired and sleepy between the tunnels that I had to find a pullout and take a nap 😦 On the other hand it was very quiet that early and the canyon is a great place to take a nap! I’ll have to keep that in mind 🙂

I made it all the way to the end without seeing a thing and made the turnaround. I would make the turnaround one more time without success and then finally spotted the eagle called Speckles in a tree high on the ridge to the west. He was too far for a good picture but of course I had to at least give it a try. It was so cold in the canyon at that time I decided to just move on and hope for a better sighting of a different eagle.

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

I usually give up after two passes through the canyon but decided this day to take a chance and make three. Finally after 10:00 a.m. Speckles was finally getting busy and I found him in a tree down by the water. I couldn’t get a good angle on him from the truck so I grabbed the monopod and hiked down the river a bit in hopes of better light and a better view. I captured a couple of nice shots of him on the branch before blowing my best chance of the day for in-flight pictures. He flew right at me and almost right over my head but I couldn’t wrangle the monopod into position in time and missed the whole event 😦

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

Later on I got a couple more opportunities for in-flight pictures and finally around noon managed to get a picture that made the day feel worth while. I’ll have to get back there soon if there is going to be that kind of action! It won’t be long and our nesting pair will be laying eggs and spending a lot of time at the nest. Remember though, this year the area down by the river in front of the nest is off limits for the reproduction period from January through June.

Keep my book, called “Seasons of the Raptor” about the Eleven Mile Canyon and other Colorado raptors in mind if you are looking for a gift for an outdoorsman or for some light reading in your spare time! The book is also available as an ebook and can be read for free from your Kindle Unlimited account!

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.

New Year New Direction

I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I haven’t had time to sit down and assess my state of existence. The holidays are a great annoyance to me so I spent the entire two weeks avoiding everything and everyone. With all the bad news about the new Covid variant I decided I’d better get caught up with my health care details so I scheduled my first annual checkup in three years. Fortunately I passed all my blood tests and have been given a clean bill of health for the coming year. Now the first two weeks of the new year are already almost gone and my head is finally clearing enough to assess the previous year and make some plans for this year.

Snowy Hayden Pass

I finally got out this morning for a trek in the high country and a little fresh air this morning, only to discover that I’ve seriously lost the edge off my physical conditioning over the dreaded holidays. If I’m going to climb a 14er this year that situation is definitely going to have to be remedied! I did make it up Hell Hill and back down around the mountain so I’m not starting at zero but my legs are definitely feeling the burn 😦 It was very gloomy this morning which is fine with me, that means I’m going to get the mountain to myself, but it also means that picture taking is going to suffer. But happily when I got to the summit there was a patch of sun shining on Hayden Pass in the Sangres, at least I believe it to be Hayden Pass according to the nifty little peak finding device they installed there!

For years I had kicked around the idea of writing a photography book but never got past the printing and distribution obstacles. Writing a book or creating a calendar is one thing, but actually having enough of them printed up to make money with it is an entirely different matter! But then along comes self publishing and Print on Demand. Now writing a book has become feasible, one needs just to be able to write and to figure out the process, that’s partly why the holidays blew by without my notice…  I was busy learning how to write a Kindle Book and navigate my way through the process. The free ebook writing software made that pretty easy but when I got to the point of trying to turn one of my better efforts into a paperback I discovered that I was still going to need some better publishing software, so I added InDesign to my library of Adobe products that I subscribe to. The good news is that the review process on that one is complete and my first paperback book is now on sale! It’s called “Seasons of the Raptor” and it can be purchased on a Amazon.

I think it also might be a good time to take an honest look at my other photography projects including my YouTube channel, my blog, my art website and my longest running project… my stock photo business.  I put a solid year into my YouTube channel, achieving my goal of 100 videos. My honest assessment of that revenue stream is that it is never going to amount to anything. I am so far from monetizing the channel that I’m not even going to bother to try. If I find something worth filming I’ll shoot and post it but I’m certainly not going to waste large amounts of my time creating videos that nobody is going to watch. Victor on Ice is one example of a worthy project, a lot of people worked really hard on the show and my video of it made a bunch of people that I like very happy 🙂

I’ll keep writing in my blog because I just like to, but after years of effort it is obvious that it will never be a significant revenue stream. Facebook and Twitter are a complete waste of time but I still have hope for my Patreon Channel if only because I have a ton of new lighting equipment and I really enjoy working with models and creating a beautiful lighting set using flash. It’s just fun!

And finally the stock photography business is a great disappointment. When I started years ago it was possible to make some money as a stock photographer but image prices are now so beaten down by over saturation that it really isn’t worth the expense of going anywhere to acquire the images. I’ll continue to upload what I do capture on an incidental basis as I go about my life. If I happen to get some appropriate shots while I’m out running errands or hiking or something I’ll still put them up. I can still at least make enough to buy some new gear once in a while.

Well that’s about it for today, I’m going to get started on my next book… I think it is going to be “My Favorite Pictures”, “and How I Made Them”. I’ve been shooting digital for 20 years now and over that time I’ve captured quite a few that I’d like to highlight before moving on to the next 20 years! I’ll keep you all posted on my progress!

 

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.

Roadblocks and Breakthroughs

Well it’s been a busy 2022 already, one of my resolutions… well maybe my only resolution was to actually do something with all the thousands of images I’ve captured over the last few years. Maybe more than a few years, I got my first digital camera in 2002 and I’ve been blazing away ever since!  My original plan was digital stock photography but the returns on that medium are now so low that it is barely worth doing.

Red-tailed Hawk

So I decided to try my hand at book writing starting with an ebook on Kindle thinking that the file I created with the free software would easily translate into a paperback book. That turned out not to be the case though so I thought I was going to be limited to the ebook route.  But I really want to be able to create a paperback so I didn’t give up. It occurred to me that Adobe has a good utility for doing just that called InDesign. What the heck, I thought… so I downloaded a seven day trial version to see if I could learn yet a new software package. Fortunately It is enough similar to Photoshop that I was able to pick up the essentials in a day and I’m about halfway through re-creating the ebook I had written on the raptors into the Adobe software. Besides, I figured if I was going to be serious about this there’s no way to avoid using serious professional software anyway.

But after sitting in front of the computer for a couple of days I’m still going to have to get out with the animals for a few hours, maybe tomorrow!

 

 

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.

Better Day With Eagles

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

Definitely a better day with the eagles today. The weather has been a little colder and we’ve even had a little snow. I arrived at Eleven Mile Canyon a little later than usual, the sun had been up for about an hour by the time I arrived so I didn’t know what to expect. Lately the eagles have been all done in the canyon an hour or two after sunrise.

Just as I got to the bend I spotted a beautiful bald eagle on a branch right across the river in perfect light! I stopped and adjusted the camera for a portrait in early light. Since I had the door frame to steady the lens on I decided to try a 400th of a second with F8 and a -2/3 exposure compensation (EC) which in that light brought my ISO down to a usable 1250. The wind was blowing hard though and I could see that his feathers were fluttering so I figured I’d better get a few shots with a faster shutter speed, I thought a 1250th of a second should do the trick. Then I prepared for flight. Shutter priority with a 1600th of a second and F8, my widest aperture with this lens and teleconverter combination. 

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

Eventually he took flight but I only had a few feet of space to get in a shot before he went behind the choke cherry bushes. But I got a couple of nice captures 🙂 I continued driving upstream and spotted a second baldie. This one was in a terrible position for a shot though, backlit and high in a tree with the bright blue sky behind him. I changed my EC to +1 and snapped a few before he took flight. Much to my surprise though the great raptor turned around and headed straight back at me! My settings were perfect for a bird in flight with the blue sky as a backdrop so I know I nailed some of them!

Eventually my day was over and I was on my way back downstream when I spotted yet another one high in the trees on top of the ridge. I didn’t think anything would come of this situation but by then this eagle was a bit jumpy. He took flight a few times with the early morning sun shining upon him and a couple times he flew right at me. I didn’t nail them all but I nailed a bunch of good frames!

I found today encouraging, more eagles, better compositions and more cold weather on the way. I think by next month the eagles will have settled into the canyon for a good winter of raptor photography! Don’t forget to check out my new Kindle book about last year’s raptor photography! Tons of great picture and the story of some of our favorite local birds!

 

 

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

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! Also be sure to check out my short stories on Kindle in my new series called Photo Adventures!

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

One Year With the Raptors

Bald Eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon

I just published another Kindle book called “Seasons of the Raptor” about my first big year of raptor photography. Prior to 2020 my wildlife photography always concentrated on the large American mammals, including bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, etc. That was of course before I became acquainted with the eagles nest at Eleven Mile Canyon. Since then I’ve upgraded my equipment to be able to actually shoot a clear photograph of birds and actively gone looking for them! I’ve had to upgrade my software to support images shot in low light and difficult conditions and perfect my skills on fast moving small subjects!

The year included  watching the bald eagles hatch three new eaglets, the osprey pair raise two new young ones, some great times with the blue heron, tons of red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, a couple Swainson’s, the peregrine falcons at the mouth of Eleven Mile and probably a bunch I already don’t even remember!

Anyway, the book is my best one yet, around 50 pages of my best raptor pictures including the story behind the images. I reveal my strategy and camera settings, how I approached the feathered critters, where and when to find them plus links to supporting video on my YouTube channel!

So if you are on Amazon or a Kindle fan I hope you will consider giving it a look!

Also notice that I have added a link to all my Kindle books on the main menu!

The Victor on Ice Show

Victor on Ice

Well I got to try my hand at photographing an ice skating show in the tiny mountain town of Victor last night! My friend Olivia had been put in charge of choreographing the show so I had extra incentive to go see the first annual Victor on Ice! I had heard that there was a chain link fence around the rink so I made the mistake of not going prepared, as usual. Turns out there was a gap in the fence and I could have used my good microphone but it was left at home 😦 Also left at home were my new cold weather gloves and parka so I about froze. I don’t know what I was thinking, I guess it was fairly comfortable in the daytime and I apparently have forgotten how fast and how cold it gets up here at 10,000 feet when the sun goes down!

Anyway, the show was a blast and I seem to have done alright given my limited video skills 🙂 For the stills I put my camera on manual with a 320th of a second, F4 aperture and ISO 4000, which seems to have worked well and I have some nice images to share with whoever is interested 🙂

Windows 11 and Kindle Publishing

As we approach the new year the weather is clear and cold up in the mountains. Not very good for photography but pretty good for tackling year end administrative details and sitting in front of the old LCD monitor. Yesterday’s big event was the upgrade to Windows 11. In my younger days as a computer geek I would have been all over the new developments but these days I was content to just wait for the announcement. In fact my desktop is now probably three or four years old so I wasn’t sure it was even going to be eligible for the upgrade.

But as it turns out, the other day when I booted up, Windows informed me that I was eligible for a free upgrade, a note which I gave the old “later” response thinking I might not even bother to do it. But after looking into it a bit and discovering that there were actually going to be performance improvements to the multi-tasking software plus some intriguing aesthetic enhancements, I decided to see if my computer really could perform the upgrade.

I checked over the requirements and it seemed that my little Dell actually met the requirements (of course after I had installed 32gb of memory and a 1tb aux disk) so I shut down all my tasks, even though it says you don’t have to, and fired up the download and walked away. A couple hours later the download was complete and the installation started automatically. That too went off without a hitch and I am now running on Windows 11. I have to say I am pleased so far, it seems to be a bit snappier and I like the look and feel. In fact an issue with my graphics card driver seems to have been repaired. One time I was messing with the colors and contrast on my monitor and something got completely jacked up, turning my whites pink along with various other problems. I had to switch my theme to dark mode to avoid the hideous colors on the task bar and backgrounds. There seemed to be no other way around it but now it all looks fine again. All my applications seem to be working well, including my Adobe products and Open Office which are really the most important things I use.  Today I will find out if the printer driver was affected.

Series Cover for Photo Adventures

I’m also proud to announce significant progress in my newfound book writing career, I have completed the first three short stories in my Photo Adventures series on Kindle! To accomplish this you need at least three stories to complete the three cover artwork displayed for a series. Kindle uses the covers of your first three stories to create a three cover collage. I decided for consistency’s sake I would stick to the theme of wildlife adventures and now that they are complete I have a pleasing three animal cover 🙂 Now I am fiddling around with some new ideas for a more substantial writing including a recounting of the year my wife passed from cancer and a new phase of life began called “Beauty for Ashes”. I don’t know if I will actually be able to deliver on that idea though, time will tell if I can actually get through the first chapter. If I can write the first chapter I may actually come through with that idea.

Today my big task is going to be trying to acquire a new season pass for Eleven Mile Canyon and Manitou Lake and maybe even a Colorado state parks pass, but I’m thinking I should probably have a new windshield installed on my truck first. Seems a shame to put shiny new stickers on a cracked up old windshield 😦 But then again, it also seems a shame to have to put a shiny new windshield on a 25 year old truck… I keep thinking that there is going to be a Nissan Frontier 4×4 in my future but I seem to keep finding camera equipment taking priority over a new(er) vehicle. Which brings to mind the old saying for parents, “Teach your kids photography, that way they will never be able to afford drugs.” 🙂

 

 

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! Also be sure to check out my short stories on Kindle in my new series called Photo Adventures!

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