Majestic Morning

Winter returned last night and I awoke to 15 degrees and 3 inches of new snow. I was tired and it took a few cups of java to get my eyes to open, but fortunately moment arrived at about the same moment that light began to spill over the mountains to the east. I really didn’t want to go out today but I knew that my author copies from Amazon of my Wildilfe Photography Book would be at the post office and the kitties were complaining incessantly about their food variety so out the door into the cold I went.

I decided to first drive out to the overlook and have a look at the aftermath of the storm on the mountains. As I wound my way out of town I caught a glimpse of the Sangre de Cristo Range in the distance and they were putting on quite a show in the storm clouds and fresh snow of last night’s weather. Of course I was ready with my digital camera and even my old Canon A-1 with most of a roll of Ilford B&W film. After all these years living in the mountains I know every overlook and every parking spot along the scenic byway and today I was going to stop at every one of them!

I also knew the view from the mining district over in Goldfield might be pretty cool today so I went over there too. I hope you enjoy a few of the pictures, I thought it was just magnificent this morning!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

And don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon!

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!

Happy Easter From Mine Country

Herd of Does

Happy Easter 2022… I probably should have gone to Easter service at church, but somehow a gathering of people don’t seem to bring me closer to God. I knew my trail would be peaceful today so that is where I went to celebrate my Easter holiday.

I was greeted by this little band of doe mule deer, also apparently enjoying this beautiful quiet morning. I stopped my hike for a half hour or so to take a few pictures and let them pass. They were wanting to go around the fence and I didn’t want to scare them into running straight at it where they would be forced to jump.

Historic Mine Ruins

Eventually they slowly passed, enjoying a bit of mountain grass along they way and I went on in to Victor to see if anything was open for breakfast. Well nothing was open but I again spotted this cool old abandoned structure on the mountainside that I’ve been trying to photograph for some time this year. As I drove through town I caught a glimpse of it that I hadn’t seen before and got to thinking with a long enough lens I might be able to get the capture.

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

So I parked my truck and put on the 100-400L and took a walk through town. I couldn’t get the pine trees out of the lower left corner, but the view of the old house was pretty good… if I was patient enough to wait for the wind gusts to stop, the south wind was blowing the flags over my scene most of the time making it impossible to shoot. Finally I got a few seconds of calm and took the shot, 1/1250th of a second at f/5.6 and ISO 320.

I was able to coax a bit more contrast out of the image by converting to monochrome with the Photoshop channel mixer and am fairly pleased with the results. Once summer comes and those branches get leaves on them this image will be impossible until next winter.

I’m happy to report that my books are getting a bit of attention and even today someone read over 50 pages on their Kindle account!

Interesting Perspective

So I went for a hike through the mines at Goldfield Colorado yesterday, taking only my antique Canon A-1 film camera with me. I had a few exposures remaining on my roll of Ilford Hp5 ISO 400 monochrome film and was hoping to expend them on the old mines. I think I had about 12 pictures to take but by the time I had reached the turnaround point on the trail I still had 4 remaining.

Snowy Mines

The last part of the trail doesn’t really pass many highlights so I was wondering how I was going to use up four exposures. That quandary got me to thinking of my digital camera where four exposures would be nothing. Lol, there have been times when I accidentally pressed the shutter button and banged off eight frames of the ground, or my shoe, or the floor mat in Kevin’s car. It’s nothing on a bird photography outing in Eleven Mile to shoot 600 frames with 500 of them almost exactly alike.

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

So then I got to thinking how therapeutic it was to be just walking along looking for a real and distinct image with no real pressure to actually find one. I was just thoroughly enjoying the process of manual photography. I enjoyed loading the film by hand and cranking it into place. I enjoyed turning the lens to the aperture I wanted and setting the shutter speed dial to my desired value. I enjoy the satisfying slap of the mirror as the camera bangs it out of the way to expose the film.

And today I will enjoy going to the lab to turn in the film for developing and for the opportunity to browse the camera store looking for some little gizmo I might need. And I always enjoy chatting with the lab people about the whole process of shooting film, a skill nearly lost on today’s photographers.

I’m going to have a good day 🙂

Don’t forget to check out my new book, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” now out in print on both Amazon / Kindle and Lulu Publishing!

Clearing My Head

Sometimes you just have to get outside and clear your head. Woke up way too early this morning and turned on the news so it wouldn’t be so dang quiet in the house.  I sat drinking my coffee trying to think of something productive to do this morning, other than to just get my morning exercise. But my mind was blank which I think that is a natural byproduct of watching the news. I swear every time I listen to a politician speak I get dumber. The more you listen to their drivel, the dumber you get until eventually you are as mentally incapacitated as the morons we elect to run the country 😦

The District

Well eventually I managed extricate myself from the TV, grab the camera and struggle out the door before my brain became incapable of managing autonomic functions. I swear, the second I shut off the news I gained a few IQ points and by the time I got to the trailhead ideas were beginning to pour back into my head. In a few days I’ll have to run down to the city to pick up my roll of black and white film and CD, and now I have a new Canon A-1 film camera to try out. So I was thinking it would be nice if I could drop off another roll of film at the same time and save a trip to the city.

As I drove past mine country I was reminded of a project I have always wanted to do, and that is to shoot the old mines of the Cripple Creek / Victor mining district in black and white. Well I thought, what better than to recreate the look of the old days by shooting the mines in black and white film! I need to think of photo projects I can do around home anyway, who can afford $5 a gallon for gas to go anywhere 😦 My goal is to get out early and do that project tomorrow… we’ll see if I can get moving!

Bald Eagle Nest

Had to take the little pup up to Lake George so I decided he needed a trip up the canyon to see if the osprey have made it back from their tropical vacation. Didn’t see any osprey yet, but through the long lens it appeared as though mama eagle was feeding some youngsters, at least two. So… it won’t be long and we will have some eaglets to watch! My hope is that the osprey will return and build a nest so we can watch some osprey chicks grow up as well!

If you enjoy my work and want to contribute to the cause, the donate button below is one way to help! The other is to purchase prints and gifts from my website and read my books on Amazon and Kindle!

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! And don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon!

Between Storms

Fresh powder is the best but it’s also great to go snowshoeing after a few days of melting and freezing. It’s a blast to effortlessly walk along the surface of the deep snow like it isn’t even there. Of course when you do fall through it’s not so much fun to get out but today was a great day on the snow just the same. We had a couple really nice days after the last cold snap and tonight another winter storm is already rolling in over the Sangre de Cristo Range which makes for a stunning photo op!

Between Storms on the Sangre

I was awake at sunrise and I could tell by my first glance through the front window that the Sangre were going to be putting on a real show this morning. It was tough to turn off the coffee pot and head out into the cold but it was well worth it! The individual peaks were stunning enough but the beauty of all of them together in a panorama are hard to even find words to describe!

Between Storms on the Sangre

It was cold and windy on the summit so I was glad that I had my camera settings for a panorama already programmed into the C1 custom button. It takes a minute to get all the settings ready from auto ISO to complete manual. To do a pano requires manual exposure mode and a static ISO to make sure that each frame matches the previous one. So now all I have to do is dial in C1 and adjust the shutter speed to get the exposure correct and then I’m ready for the entire series. One other trick I use is a blank frame before and after the series so that I know exactly which ones to include once I get into Photoshop.

There is a good chance it will be snowing hard in the morning so I’ll probably just stay inside.  When I lived near the wildlife refuge up in Parker, snowstorms were the best time to get out. The deer would let me just wander right into their herd but now the range is so big I never see any animals in the storms.

Between Storms on the Sangre

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! And don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon!

The Snow is Getting Deep

Deep snow on the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado

I was surprised when I arrived at the trailhead this morning to find nothing but pristine unbroken snow for me to plow through with my snowshoes. It didn’t take long to discover why I was the first in a while to attempt the steep climb. Most people hiking in the area don’t use snowshoes or cross country skis and today the snow was far too deep for hiking boots. It looked like a few deer had been walking around on the mountain but for the most part it appears that any sensible creatures have abandoned the local peaks for more hospitable territory.

Deep snow on the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado

All signs indicate the elk herd has returned to the mountain as there were a lot of elk sized hoof prints leading from the grassy south side of the mountain where all the snow has blow away, around the mountain and into the forest. Hopefully I’ll get there early enough one day to see them and get pictures. I’ve seen them from a distance but haven’t been able to get any pictures since last fall when they departed the high ground for their winter shelter below.

The trip up the mountainside was tough but the trip back down the other side was even tougher! The snow was a good foot and a half deep on the backside of the mountain and at one point I managed to slip off the packed trail beneath the new snow, landing me face down in a deep drift… camera first. Eventually I struggled back to my feet where I was able to brush the snow off the camera and lens before any moisture was able to make it’s way past the weather seals to the inner workings. Now that I’m back home the camera is drying out with the batteries out and doors open just to make sure that there won’t be any moisture damage.

I was captivated by the ripples in the wind blown drifts so I tried a couple of shots to see if I could capture the texture. I think a wide angle from a very low perspective would have done a better job of capturing the scene, but unfortunately I didn’t have one along with me. Perhaps next time I’ll take my 24-105mm lens along instead of the long lens. Of course that will be the time I  see the elk herd! I don’t think I want to carry my whole pack, it was hard enough to keep my balance in the deep snow and to extricate myself from the depths after the fall!

Well anyway, I eventually made it to the bottom of the mountain and around to the south side where the snow isn’t as deep and other hikers have packed a trail. I have plans of snowshoeing the trail to the higher peaks this season, but for now my legs were really happy to be back at the truck! Next week we are due to add significantly to the snow pack, perhaps I’ll try that then!

 

Deep snow on the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado

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! And don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon!

Storm clouds following a big Colorado winter snowstorm.

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.

Snow Storm and Mule Deer

Bucks on a Winter Morning

That slow moving snowstorm we’ve been watching finally arrived and I had the good fortune to be out in it when it hit! The day started out like any other day, dry with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees at sunrise. At the trailhead I debated what headgear to wear and the increasing wind made the decision for me… I was  going to need both a hat and a hood for protection from the wind. My hike was completed in driving snow so I ended up being happy with my choice!

Bucks on a Winter Morning

I soon encountered a couple of mule deer bucks that I didn’t recognize and apparently they didn’t recognize me either. I usually don’t have any trouble getting the deer to pose for me but these strangers weren’t about to stick around for long. Fortunately archery season is over with so maybe the deer will soon begin gathering in the parks again. Anyway, these two fellows kept moving further away into the deep grass so it was difficult but I eventually managed to get a couple of nice shots. Unfortunately it was still very early so I was dealing with high ISO values but Topaz DeNoise did a pretty good job with any resulting noise.

Snow on the Sangre

I wasn’t expecting to see the Sangre de Cristo range at all due to the approaching storm but as I cleared the ridge I was happy to see a bit of morning light shining on those mountains under the cloud cover. So I stopped for some still shots and decided that it was also high time I shoot some video footage! I don’t think I have shot a video since the Rocky Mountain National Park trip last fall! The unusually warm weather has been great for general living but the drought conditions have not been conducive to wildlife photography at all 😦

Snow on the Sangre

Well anyway I shot the video and snapped some stills and by the time I was wrapping that up at the summit I noticed snowflakes beginning to fly. For some reason I failed to bring along my Ruggard Rain Shield for the camera so I figured I’d better get started on my return trip. By the time I was half way back down the mountain, to my delight the snow began flying in earnest 🙂 Fortunately it was so cold that the frozen flakes were mostly just bouncing off the camera so I wasn’t too worried about getting the camera wet.

Free Range Cattle in a Snowstorm

I stopped to shoot a few pictures of the snowflakes filling the valley below and the poor free range cattle were caught out in the clearing so I snapped a few of them as well. When I got back to the trailhead there were still a few across the road eating the long grass in the ditch but the boss cow soon began calling them back to the main herd and I was glad to see they safely hustled back across the road and behind the fence with the rest. The speed limit is only 35 on the winding mountain road but people mostly ignore it and reach speeds of 50 and 60 miles an hour, even though there are always animals on the road.

Unfortunately the snow didn’t last for long but the inevitable extreme cold wasted no time moving in. As of this morning the temperature has dropped to seven degrees and I’m debating on whether I even want to go back out. Of course by 9:00 it’s already supposed to be back in the 20’s so I should probably just cowboy up and get dressed!

 

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.

Trying the New Lightroom Masking

As always, as I poured my morning coffee I glanced down the valley toward the Sangre de Cristo Range to see what kind of a day I would encounter. The range was cloud capped and amazing looking in the alpenglow as the sun rose in the east. The cold front is taking forever to arrive but I could see the clouds on the mountains might be of interest on this day, along with my two other goals which were a sensor cleaning and a bit of time in front of the desktop trying to figure out the new ACR and Lightroom masking tools.

Storms on the Sangre

After yesterday’s photo session over the Sangre it became apparent that my sensor was very dirty. Dozens of dust spots became painfully obvious as I dragged the dehaze slider to the right in my attempt to create some detail in the early morning layer of haze. The auto dust shaking feature of my 90D failed to dislodge the dust so I went for my cleaning kit. I have learned to start with the least invasive treatment first so I got out the jet blower and set the camera to manual clean which locks up the mirror to provide access to the sensor. I turned the camera upside down and squeezed the tool a few times hoping the puffs of air would be sufficient to unseat the offending dust particles. Fortunately this time the blower was enough, I would not need the cleaning solution and pads… something that always makes me nervous!

Storms on the Sangre

I was tired today so there would be no hiking on Hell Hill, but I did stop at the overlook to snap a few shots of the clouds building on the magnificent mountain range. As long as I was this close to Victor it also seemed like a fine day for a visit at the Gold Camp Bakery for some biscuits and gravy 🙂 By the time I was making my return trip clouds had completely enveloped the peaks so I just headed for home to get on the computer.

I have been struggling with the new masking tools for a while, even after watching several videos on their usage. I usually don’t make much mention in my blog posts of Photoshop techniques, there are plenty of people with far more expertise than I have in making detailed videos on how to use all the features of this astounding software package. However this is one of those times when a simple sentence can be more valuable than a hundred twenty minute videos.

The issue I was having was with making more than one mask on an image. No matter what I tried, including the new intersect feature, adding a second mask appeared to override the original mask. Finally yesterday the light bulb turned on and I understood what was going on, I was thinking in two dimensions instead of three. So here’s how it works… think of each new mask as a new layer. On the above images the sky and mountains were too light and the foreground was too dark. So step one, click the new masking icon in Camera Raw which shows up as a wheel just under the spot removal tool. This opens the new tool palette that includes all the old tools plus the amazing new sky and subject selection tools.

I wanted to use the linear gradient tool to gradually darken down the sky and mountains so I clicked the linear gradient button and pulled the tool down from the top until I was satisfied with the mask coverage. From there you can make any number of adjustments to the masked area and I decided upon a little highlight reduction, an increase in blacks and a slight increase in the color  temperature.

Then I wanted to work on the dark forest in the lower left of the image so I clicked “new mask” and then luminance range. I then just clicked on the dark area and luckily the forest was successfully masked. I was then able to adjust the exposure up a bit and increase that color temperature separately from the sky adjustment in the other mask. The adjustments I had made to the sky and mountains in the lower layer remained just as I had previously set them. If you need to make minor adjustments to the masks you can just click the mask and do an add or subtract at which time you can select brush or any number of other options to brush in more masking or brush out a spot that may have overshot your intentions in places.

Now all you have to do is hit the open button and the completely adjusted image becomes available in full Photoshop. I used the new masking tools in Camera Raw, but the interface in Lightroom is almost identical. Weeks of struggle are at an end with that simple understanding of multiple layers of masking. One of these days now I will dig into the intersect concept and report on that in another blog. Anyway, I hope you find this helpful and I’ll get back to you when this cold front finally arrives and the snow begins to fly!

 

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.

The Gathering Storm

Gathering Storm on the Sangre de Cristo

I got out early this morning with the hope of finding some wildlife to photograph on my mountainside. There was a strange and unwelcome warm breeze at the trailhead, odd for this time of year for sure. We have been in the throes of a drought for quite a while now and I have not been having any luck finding animals. I don’t know if they are just scattered all over the mountains or if they have had to migrate to  the big reservoirs like Scagway and Eleven Mile to get water. There is some small hope for a significant snowfall later this week but from the blue sky this morning you wouldn’t be able to tell.

Gathering Storm on the Sangre de Cristo

I was going to walk my usual mile and a half circle but decided to climb the next ridge to see if there might be some wildlife on the other side of the trees. Unfortunately there was nothing, not even the chirp of a winter bird to attract my interest. However by the time I arrived at the next summit I could already feel a change in the weather. A high thin layer of clouds had moved in and the breeze was starting to get a more wintry bite to it. The sun was shining underneath the cloud cover, casting an beautiful glow in the Sangre de Cristo Range to the south. There continues to be a mist that has been taking the sharpness out of the scene but I thought I’d try a couple of captures anyway.

These images aren’t anything to jump up and down about, but I hope you enjoy them just the same. Hopefully in a day or two there will be a new layer of fresh snow and perhaps the animals will begin to gather together for their winter pattern so that I can finally get some pictures!

 

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.