My First Roll of Film

Fortune Club in Victor Colorado

Well, not my first roll of film… but my first with my Canon AE-1 that I picked up a few weeks ago… and my first in probably two decades. Just got the pictures and CD back today which was pretty fun. For some reason Walgreen’s lab doesn’t return you the negatives which I failed to notice when I submitted the film there. If I decide to do any more film I’ll find a place with better service.

The CD contained images of 3072 x 2048, so basically 6 mega pixels. The color balance on the scans was quite far off, though the glossy prints seem to look fine. There was a small battle with the 50mm lens after it fell off my desk onto the carpeted floor. At first glance the lens looked fine but I managed to bend the aperture lever on the back so I for a few frames the aperture wasn’t working. Nothing a channel lock pliers in my truck couldn’t fix. All working fine again 🙂

Eleven Mile Reservoir

Nailing an exposure is a trick though after all these years of being spoiled by the LCD screen on the back of the digital camera! Perhaps if I am going to do more film shooting I’ll have to put my old light meter back in my pack! Shooting in manual with a meter should nail every exposure every time!

Well anyway, it was a blast loading and shooting film on an old antique camera. Don’t think I would want to do it very often, but it could be a fun change of pace once in a while. Plus I love that old camera… it was a marvel of engineering in it’s time, every control functions so smoothly, it’s a dream to use! Like I said in another post… if I was shooting film for what I do now I estimate I would be burning through $1500 a month in film and processing! That’s not even feasible!

 

 

 

 

 

Rocky Mountains on a Summer Day

Hunting the Hawks

Red-tailed Hawk in FlightOr hawks hunting… Could go either way! I was out early this morning hoping to photograph some red-tailed hawks but this was beyond expectations! As I rounded the curve outside of Victor I spotted a red-tail hunting in a grassy wetland area so I quietly pulled closer hoping to get a shot… Much to my surprise though, it wasn’t one hawk, there were at least four of them circling and diving down to the grass, for some kind of rodent I assume! I wasn’t quick enough to catch any of them on the ground but it wasn’t long and a couple of them were perched in the nearby trees where I could get close.

I set my camera to shutter priority mode (Tv) on a 2000th of a second. As usual I left the ISO on auto to ensure enough light for the capture and then dialed in +2 on the exposure compensation to account for the bright Colorado sky.

The intrepid raptors eyeballed me for a few minutes and then took flight for a better view. There was a breeze on this morning so the great birds were having no trouble staying afloat right above me. One managed to remain almost stationary right above me as he looked down assessing my presence. I was able to snap off about a hundred images before they drifted ever higher into the blue Colorado sky.

 

 

Red-tailed Hawk in FlightAs 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.

A Week in the Park

Finally getting recovered from a long but memorable week in Rocky Mountain National Park. We were on the road by 5:00 a.m. intending to enter the west side of the park by 9:00, as per our timed entry ticket.

Trail Ridge Road

It was a beautiful drive over Trail Ridge until we neared the summit where the view was completely obscured by dense fog. No pictures until over the top and on the way down. We didn’t spend a lot of time looking at the towering peaks, the elk rut was the holy grail of the trip.

A line greeted us at the park entry so we pulled in ready for a wait. But soon a ranger greeted us and we showed him our ticket and my America the Beautiful pass, which was good for a wave past all the lines straight to the front and around the kiosks 🙂 I love my season pass !!!

Trail Ridge Road

We were the filled with anticipation as we neared the meadows of the east side, especially Moraine Park where we expected the usual massive herds to be awaiting us. But what’s this, a kiosk at the entry to the meadows. The kiosk was expected at Bear Lake Road where an extra access ticket would be required to enter the heavily trafficked popular area of the east side, but not before our favorite meadow 😦

Apparently only one ticket per day is allowed so I was unable to add the Bear Lake Access and unable to cancel the current reservation. I felt like Chevy Chase at the gate to Walley World in the first Vacation movie 😦 We learned though that we could enter the Bear Lake Corridor before 5:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. Well, although difficult it appeared that we would be able to see the elk after all.

Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

We ultimately decided to head over to Estes Lake to secure a camp site at the KOA. Nice place with luxurious restrooms, never seen anything like it! Private climate controlled rooms as nice as your bathroom at home, each complete with your own shower… amazing!!!

4:00 a.m. was the wake-up time to make it to Moraine Park by 5:00 where we would wait in the cold until sunrise at 6:30, a scene to be repeated four straight days.

Unfortunately the huge herds of elk never materialized. I don’t know if many never returned after last year’s devastating fires or if the conflagration had altered their routine. In any case we saw a few elk each morning and evening while searching in vain for the Sprague Lake moose before leaving the Corridor.

_MG_7377We whiled the afternoons away by traversing Trail Ridge and crossing over to Poudre Lake to search for the elusive moose. There was an old broken down cow convalescing there but she was in no mood for accommodating the hoard of photographers eager to capture her likeness. She was content to relax in the tall grass, out of the view of our prying lenses.

One afternoon we lucked out and spotted a cow feeding in some unmarked beaver ponds near a picnic area. She watched us watch her for about an hour before wandering off. Others told us there was also a calf so we returned a couple of hours later after lunch but both animals had disappeared by then.

Each day began the same, at 0400 as we became more and more weary from the short cold nights as we slowly added to our collection of wildlife images. The third morning was our most successful as we found ourselves in the midst of a frenzied herd of cows and four bulls.

I was able to capture some awesome video of the crazy scene, the likes of which I’d never seen. Normally a bull will fight to the death to keep intruders out, but this herd had four bulls apparently working together to manage one herd. Once again I wonder, did the terrible fire result in some kind of unknown survival technique we were previously unaware of? There is also a complete video of my adventure in the park including the exciting drive up Fall River Road, a couple of waterfalls and of course all the wildlife!

Our week in the park is regrettably over with, I always feel a twinge of sadness when I have to leave this photographer’s paradise. Now that I’m retired though I really should make the effort to get there more often. A winter trip has long been on my to do list, perhaps this will be the year!

 

 

Red-tailed Hawk in Flight

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.

Rocky Mountain National Park 2021

Limited success on our first day in the park… We decided to go in the west side this year and finally reached the entrance at about 9:30 a.m. It was a bit discouraging to see all the fire damage but signs of recovery are already visible!

Not too far in we came across the tail end of a huge herd of elk on their way into the high country and got a couple of nice pictures before they vanished. At Poudre Lake we saw a lone cow moose resting in the tall grass, too far away for pictures. As we rose high onto Trail Ridge the fog thickened to the point where we could barely see. However not too far past the visitor center it cleared up and I got some beautiful mountain pictures

High hopes for a great day in Moraine Park were dashed when we discovered that it is impossible to upgrade your entry pass to include the Bear Lake section which is where all the good stuff is. So all we could do was wait until 6:00 p.m. for general entry to open. We drove around to the locations we could and saw a couple of lone bull elk and one sleeping bull moose.

Layton we discovered that the elk in Moraine Park were waion the inaccessible side, too far away for pictures. Luckily there was one straggler near the road on the way to the campground and he posed for some pictures.

We are hoping for a better day today, we found that if we get in before 5:00 a.m. we can go right to Moraine Park without a pass. We might also try Sprague Lake if we don’t have any luck at the Meadows.

Where Were You on 9/11

I don’t know where you were on that fateful day but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at work as a software engineer writing satellite communications code for the aerospace industry. The day had started like any other day, a cup of coffee at my desk, yesterday’s emails to review, a few notes to guide the day’s programming efforts in a makeshift stack on my table.

At about 9:00 a.m. the first email came in, a passenger jet had struck the Twin Towers. I didn’t think too much of it, I assumed there had been some sort of catastrophic malfunction onboard resulting in a terrible accident. I could hear the keystrokes of my co-workers as they continued their work, no one said anything. Twenty minutes later another email arrived, a second airliner had struck the second tower. I was instantly aware that New York was the victim of a terrorist attack but I assumed that would be the end of it and that the military would be on the case quickly sorting out the culprits and the response. I kept working and so did my co-workers, but I could hear the indistinct conversations starting up in our four man cubicles. I picked up my land line and called my wife, I said “turn on the TV”. She said, “What, why?”… I said, “I can’t…”, I couldn’t think of any words, “Just turn it on”.

Soon more emails began to arrive, air traffic was being grounded and more planes in the air were not responding to air traffic control communications. It slowly settled in on our group that something huge could be in progress… I logged into the direct channel to see if anything was being said on the daily briefings but there was nothing. A half hour later reports arrived that the Pentagon had been hit and everyone knew we were at war. By this time it had become impossible to work and my co-workers and I began to make our way to the break room where where we could see out the only windows in the building and also where we knew that CNN would be broadcasting on the monitors, back when CNN actually reported news.

By the time the first tower fell the entire facility was in the break room watching in horror, as the events of the day unfolded. As F-16s began to scramble from Buckley AFB we became aware that the base and perhaps even our own facility could be a target, soon the announcement came over the loudspeaker that any employee who wished to go home was welcome to leave but no one did. For hours we all remained glued to the news monitors while F16’s screamed overhead. No one spoke and many tears were being dried as initial estimates of up to 30,000 dead began to be discussed. Fortunately for some reason there weren’t as many people in the towers as there are sometimes and the estimates were rapidly revised down to under 10,000. Eventually employees began to trickle back out of the break room and back to our workstations where we began to fight the war in the only way we knew how, with our minds and our computers.

Today as I watch the 20 year anniversary of those attacks on the news our nation is divided like it never has been before. Our leaders have subjected our nation to an ignominious defeat at the hands of the very enemy who attacked us then. Hundreds of Americans are trapped behind enemy lines, subject to the barbarous impulses of the savages that we have held at bay for two decades. Our foolish leaders have lost sight of who our real enemies are, once again erecting razor wire around the capital to defend against a non-existent enemy that they have conjured up in their fearful cowardly deluded depraved minds.

I can’t think of any better quote to sum up the lesson we need to learn on this day, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”. Don’t let our leaders accomplish in our minds what our enemies could not achieve on the battlefield.

The Joy of Shooting Film

The goal today was to finish my roll of film that I have been shooting through my new / vintage film camera that I found at a  thrift store, a Canon AE-1. I was going to run into town with the camera and shoot a couple of  random pictures to round out my 36 exposures, but I decided upon a trip out to the canyon instead. The bulk of the tourists leave after the holiday weekend so I was kind of hoping the wildlife had settled down and reappeared along the banks of the beautiful South Platte River.

Great Blue Heron

Things have definitely settled down in the canyon, only a hand full of campers remain and it looked like they were packing up. There are always fishermen, even in the dead of winter but there weren’t the giant trucks roaring up and down the dirt road stirring up huge clouds of dust.

Didn’t see much on the drive up the canyon, but I wanted to stop somewhere and make a video so I kept an eye out for a good place to do that. Having spotted a nice private spot along the banks of the river I gathered up my gear and walked down to the river. Much to my surprise as I was getting ready I spotted a great blue heron fishing only about 30 yards from me! I quick snapped a few images, but I managed to scare him away trying to adjust my pants and missed the coveted flight image 😦

Eventually I completed my little talk about the Canon AE-1 film camera that I found at the thrift shop a few weeks ago and took a few shots with it. At first the experience seemed a bit hollow, I’m used to shooting digital and looking at the screen after each series. But I soon fell into the groove and began to enjoy the experience. In film photography you have to slow down and really think about what you are doing. Careful consideration of your shutter speed and aperture are required, you have to make every shot count. With my Canon 90D digital I can burn up 36 exposures in three seconds followed by a quick check of the results and another three second burst. Frequently I find myself shooting six or seven hundred captures in a day along the river, while today I had to make my last six film frames count.

Red-tailed Hawk

So I whiled away my time looking at the river imagining the picture I wanted to capture, how much motion in the water do I want to see, how much depth of field am I going to need… Which lens is going to give me the coverage that I want, what to leave in, what to leave out. Finally I am ready and click, there it is. Did it  turn out, I don’t know… I’ll find out in two weeks! But there is something about the click, the sound of the antique shutter, the slap of the mirror, the sound of the film advance lever. Somehow I feel like a real photographer, not just the operator of a highly advance machine.

However I know I won’t be going back to shooting film exclusively… One day I calculated what my expenses would be if I were to be conducting my stock photo business with film, the film and developing cost alone would be running me about $1500 per month and that doesn’t even include the cost of high res scans that would be required for the uploads.

However I did enjoy the experience enough to pick up another roll of 35mm film at the store where I dropped off the film. Although I may have jumped the gun on that purchase, the camera seems to work fine, but it is 40 years old and I’m not even sure it is going to work, and I won’t know for two weeks!

On pins and needles 🙂

 

 

 

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.

A Dream Come True

 

 

Well I’ve finally done it, I am going to display some of my printed images in a gallery. It’s just a small artist’s co-op in the tiny mountain town of Victor Colorado, but it has long been a dream of mine to try to sell prints in a gallery! So if you happen to get up my way be sure to stop in at 100 South 2nd Street and check it out! I have to say though, I’m really excited about this, the little town of Victor almost made it into ghost town status a few years ago, but with the influx of people from other states, the little town has undergone a bit of a revival. Cripple Creek is expanding with the construction of two new five star hotels in an attempt to become a major destination and Victor is sure to reap some of the benefits of this effort.

Moose at Jefferson Lake Colorado

So far I just have a few framed pictures and some 11×14’s in sleeves displayed there but I plan on growing my presence fast!

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.

 

 

Finally Used my ND 16 Filter

Finally got a chance to test out my ND 16 filter! On our road trip to Jefferson Lake we noticed a nice little waterfall at Tarryall Reservoir that I’ve never even heard of before. We stopped for a bit to see if we could get a good view of it for pictures but we were focused on moose and didn’t want to spend the time to get out a tripod and a make a long exposure so we quickly scouted out the location and hit the road.

What is an ND 16 filter you ask? It’s a color neutral density filter that comes in varying degrees of darkness, the 16 in this case translates to four stops of light. So on a scene that might normally call for a 200th of a second shutter speed at F8 can be shot with a two second shutter speed at the same aperture. This of course means that anything in the image that is moving is going to be blurry in the final image. In this case the water is moving and will show as a smooth flow down the mountain. I shot the below image without the ND filter as we were scouting out the scene and as you can see the water appears rough and frozen in place by the fast shutter speed. The bottom image shows smooth flowing water using a slow shutter speed facilitated by the ND filter.

Waterfall

You have to be very careful when buying an ND filter to make sure you are getting the light stops that you think you are, some filters use a filter factor naming system, while others just use the optical density system. To be sure of your filter you may need to consult this chart created by B&H Photo as a guide. For instance, while the ND16 is four stops on the filter factor scale, your ten stop filter may be labeled with an ND 3.0 rating on the optical density scale. I happen to have a nine stop filter called ND2.7. Very confusing, I know… But don’t feel bad, I spent almost $100 on an ND4 filter thinking I was getting a four stop filter, but only wound up with a nearly useless half a stop of light modification 😦

Well anyway, our day of moose and hawk photography was complete and we were on our way home when we stopped for long exposures of  the waterfall. Unfortunately we encountered a rather formidable fence as we made our way down the hillside to our intended shooting location and were forced to Plan B which as of yet did not exist  :{ It appeared that if we switched to long lenses we might get a view from the hillside on the opposite side of the valley, so back to the car it was. We loaded up our stuff and drove around the mountain to the other side where we got all our gear back out, switched to the 100-400 F4-F5.6 lenses and fitted them with a four stop filter.

Waterfall at TarryallA short climb up the hillside yielded a pretty good view, so I set up the heavy tripod and attached the camera.  I could hear the sound of thunder echoing across the valley and a quick look at the approaching clouds revealed that I was not going to have long to pull off this shot. I put my camera in Live View, selected a two second exposure and watched the screen as I dialed in a suitable aperture, which turned out to be F10 at ISO 100.

By the time the first sprinkles were hitting my face I was satisfied that I had the shot… Packed up my gear and headed for the vehicle and it was a good thing we didn’t get too far as within a few seconds we were in a deluge of water and hail that was almost severe enough to require pulling off the road! But we were able to keep going slowly and eventually drove out of the foul weather and into the beautiful light of evening.

Well anyway, I hope you find the article helpful and the image enjoyable! If you find the content useful please consider following my blog and / or supporting my work with a donation or a tip by clicking the buttons at the beginning and end of the article 🙂

 

 

 

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.

Cloud Nine

I have definitely been on Cloud Nine since yesterday’s road trip to Jefferson Lake. I just recently learned of the place when I got a hot tip from one of the rangers that there were often moose feeding around this lake. On our way back from Mount Evans last week Kevin and I decided to swing by there and check it out. We didn’t see any moose that day but a return trip was assured when we saw all the awesome moose habitat!

Storm on Lost Creek Wilderness

So plans were made and by sunrise we were off on a road trip to see moose. We’ve been hoping for a few years now to finally get some pictures of moose, all the while hearing stories and seeing the pictures from everyone else who seemed to be having much better luck 😦

As the sun rose over the mountains of the Lost Creek Wilderness to the east it was obvious that it was going to be an amazing day! Temperatures were nice and cool, a bit of fog lingered in the valley… and a lot of red-tailed hawks were watching down upon us from above. We finally arrived at our destination not too long after sunrise. A few trips through the park and a bit of hiking on the Colorado Trail yielded nothing in the way of large mammal photography. I must admit, by this time I was a bit discouraged.

Moose at Jefferson Lake Colorado

We decided at this time to take a break and head down to Como where we also heard there was moose habitat, again… to no avail. By this time it seemed lunch was the best idea so we went on in to Fairplay where we found a place that was serving pizza by the slice.

As ominous rain clouds began to build towards the north we decided upon at least one more pass through the park, even if it was raining. As we neared the first pull out we spotted a huge black animal shaking the aspen trees. Finally, a moose to photograph!

We pulled in close and quietly exited the car in hopes of a clear capture through the heavy vegetation. I carefully moved around to the side while trying not to disturb the huge moose cow from her meal of aspen leaves. She glanced at me a couple of times but didn’t appear to be very worried about our presence. She was going to allow us to snap a few photographs!

Soon I noticed another animal off to the side, and then another. Two moose calves were resting on the ground not too far from their mother. As we snapped a few images of the calves they slowly began to stir, finally getting up to join their mother in the feeding.

Every once in a while the mother would let out a great huff and the younger ones would occasionally make a  grunting sound so I shot a few seconds of video so you all could share in the experience! It’s not much… but it’s something. Hopefully I’ll be seeing more of these magnificent creatures soon and I’ll capture some more video footage for you to see. By this time the little family was very close to our vehicle so we decided to give them some time and space and moved on to look for a bull moose in the beautiful pond area ahead.

We made a couple of passes by the beaver ponds without seeing any more of the giant mammals, so we decided to return and check on the trio. We found them right where we left them… feeding on the aspen leaves beside the road. Only this time they were moving a bit and came out of the dense forest to pose for a few unobstructed photographs. Mother moose turned to look at us a couple of times, seeming to warn us that she was watching and would not tolerate any kind of threat to her little ones… Not that they are that little anymore, baby moose appear to be about the size of some full grown farm livestock!

I have to say though, I am still on Cloud Nine from the experience. I can  barely put into words what it is like to lock eyes with such an amazing creature. It is an amazing experience to stare into those huge soulful brown eyes and for just a few short seconds feel the bond between animal and man. Every time I experience such a thing I come away incredulous that someone could pull the trigger and kill one of these great beasts. The need to kill these animals is beyond my comprehension, perhaps if hunters could see into their eyes the way I do, the killing would stop.

Finally the trio ambled off into the dense forest to the north and we lost sight of them. The day was not over yet though, there were still the red-tail hawks to photograph along Tarryall Road, a waterfall to capture with the motion blur effect, and as it turned out a herd of pronghorn antelope too! The day ended at the waterfall as the storm finally caught up to us with a deluge of water and hail that drove us back to the car and on our way home.

Well anyway, what a fantastic day of photography it was! Once again I hope you enjoy the little video I made to document the sighting, along with a few photographs that I was able to capture!

 

 

 

 

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.

Waterfall at Tarryall