First Eaglet of the Season and Video

Decided to drop in yesterday and check on the eagle’s nest at Eleven Mile Canyon hoping to capture some video of the recently hatched little ones. I saw Mama eagle in the nest as I passed on my way into the canyon, and satisfied that there were still thriving offspring I continued on in hoping to get pictures of osprey and great blue heron.

Beaver in Eleven Mile Canyon

Unfortunately there were no osprey in their favorite stretch of river but as I cruised upstream I spotted an unusual object in the water. It looked like a big rock but I had never seen a rock like that in that location so I pulled the truck to a stop and readied the camera. I was surprised when I zoomed in to discover a giant beaver just sitting in the river, apparently hoping for food to float down the river into his waiting mouth.

Beaver in Eleven Mile Canyon

I snapped off a couple pictures while honing in on the best exposure settings, so I was prepared when he began to swim slowly downstream. I was able to capture a few nice images of his sleek form in the water before he was too far away.

I continued upstream and was soon at the big bend where I spotted a great blue heron fishing in the shallow calm water. I was only able to capture one image of him standing still before he took flight as I was fiddling with my camera settings.

Great Blue Heron

Those were my only opportunities for wildlife images along the river so on my way back downstream the second time I decided to stop and capture some motion blur images of the rushing water on a section of river that I had been considering for that purpose. The weather was beautiful in Cripple Creek when I left home but as usual the canyon was brutally cold. By the time I was done fiddling with the tripod I was near hypothermia and decided to cut the project short. I managed to capture a couple of technically correct images but none that satisfied my artistic desire. Perhaps next time.

Whitewater in Eleven Mile Canyon

Next stop was the nest on my way out of the canyon. I attached the camera to the tripod to try to get some steady video footage while looking through the binoculars for the eaglets poking their heads above the nest. While I was commenting that I couldn’t see the little ones, a tiny head appeared over the rim of the nest and I was fortunate to capture a cameo of one eaglet. There may be more to follow but one is all I could verify on this day.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the pictures and video of the first eaglet of the season to appear above the nest!

Eagle and Eaglet

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Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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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.

Whitewater and a 10 Stop ND Filter

Borrowed a 10 stop ND filter from a buddy for the weekend to shoot the whitewater of the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon again. Set out early in hopes of finding a bounty of wildlife in the canyon before all the people arrived, but came up empty with that effort 😦 The plan was to drive all the way to the end of the canyon in search of wildlife and then try out the ND on the way back down.

Eleven Mile Canyon and the South Platte River

On the way up the canyon I scouted out a few good spots where I thought an ND would work well and hit each one along the return trip. I will say this, using a 10 stop requires a lot of concentration! Fortunately I downloaded a neat little app for my phone the night before called simply “Exposure Calculator”.  To use it I just set my camera to A mode at f8 and ISO 100 to get an exposure reading  and plugged that info into the app as the  base exposure. Then for the new exposure I plugged in the same data and selected 10 as the ND factor and wala, the app gives me my new shutter speed 🙂

I forgot my cable release so in order to successfully execute a long exposure I set my drive mode to two second timer, camera to maunal exposure mode and lens to manual focus at the same focal length and focus as the shot prior to installing the 10 stop. I also switched over to live view mode to lock up the mirror and then took the shots. Playback showed that I indeed got the correct exposure and I could see that the water was smoothed out as expected 🙂

Satisfied that I had captured the scene,  I returned the camera to all the normal modes and continued down the river. Then of course I

Eleven Mile Canyon

repeated this entire process at each location, getting both motion blur and regular images of each spot. Very time consuming and the big dog didn’t appreciate all the standing around the tripod one bit 😦 Don’t think I would have the patience to do this all the time like I see some photographers on YouTube doing. But I do really like these two images and may actually get myself a 10 stop someday!

Of course these images and more are available on my website for purchase as wall art on glossy metal and acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional framing and matting.  Tons of cool gift, household and tech items are also available with a picture, including, apparel, coffee mugs, phone battery chargers, phone cases,  blankets and more! Just click the link to visit the site!