Morning Surprise

Cooper's Hawk

So the plan today was to drive to the upper parking lot at the trailhead and beat the ‘shroomer to the upper meadows to see if I might find the elk herd before they retreat to the coolness of the dense forest. And of course maybe get pictures of the dusky grouse flock before her dog had a chance to scare them into the forest. There were no grouse but as I neared the edge of the forest I heard a strange call that required investigation. I eventually spotted the bird in a tree calling down to me. I had seen these before but always thought they were some kind of meadowlark or something. Not a tiny bird but not a big one either, bigger than a robin though. Anyway, I snapped a few pictures until the bird took off, and I continued on through the forest to look for elk.

Mule Deer Fawn

Alas, there were no elk on the summit but there were a few cute mule deer, including a doe with her curious fawn in tow. They stopped briefly to check me out and kept on walking. With my long lens I was able to photograph from a distance beyond their danger zone.

Upon arriving at my desktop I loaded up the interesting new bird and discovered it to be a Cooper’s Hawk. The All About Birds site provided by Cornell Labs identified the raptor for me including a few interesting facts about their lifestyle. They are a forest dwelling bird that feeds on other birds and migrate in the winter along with osprey to South America. According to ABCBirds.org , “Like so many other species, Cooper’s Hawks are harmed by habitat loss, which may limit suitable breeding habitat. Collisions with glass windows, turbines, and poorly lit communications towers also account for many deaths.” Just one more reason that I’m against the wholesale adoption of all those stupid windmills that don’t supply enough power to justify their damage to the landscape.

That the hawks eat other birds could explain the apparent shortage of song birds on my mountain this season! Well anyway, there is at least one nesting pair living in the dark forest, and maybe more. Now I can’t wait to get back up there for some more captures!

 

 

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

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Coyote on the Hunt

Breaking A Long Dry Spell

Pretty good morning out in the woods today, got some nice shots of birds and even a buck mule deer on the run. I can usually take a few landscape photos if I don’t see wildlife, but we’ve had such haze and smoke this summer that the distant mountains are barely visible. I’ve been to Eleven Mile Canyon a couple of times with no success and finally decided to just shoot whatever I happen to find on my local hikes.

Well today I got to shoot a magpie in flight, the male mate of the western tanager I saw yesterday, a Clark’s nutcracker and even the previously mentioned buck with fuzzy antlers well along to full growth later in the summer. Anyway, I hope you enjoy today’s batch of images 🙂

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies”!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

The Three Amigos Emerge and a New Video

Mule Deer Bucks

I finally dared to pass through the dark forest to reach the higher peaks above the treeline on the other side. It was a beautiful morning, warm with no wind, I had nothing else pressing to do and I just went for it. I was hoping to see the dusky grouse that the mountain is apparently named for but I had no such luck. Don’t think I spotted a grouse up there last year either. In fact, I didn’t see anything up there except the grass and the old mines.But on my way down I spotted a deer on top of the ridge looking down at me so I snapped a picture which revealed a buck with fuzz covered antlers . Then another deer appeared so I stopped and attached the 1.4x teleconverter for a little better view. Finally a third buck appeared and I realized I was being treated to a view of my favorite deer trio, “The Three Amigos” as I call them. These three bucks have been roaming the countryside on my favorite mountain for several years now and I was delighted to see them still safe and together.

I wasn’t going to shoot a video but seeing them inspired me to flip the switch on my camera to video mode and shoot a few seconds of footage 🙂 I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do! Unfortunately I didn’t get a good still image of all three together because by the time I got done with the filming they weren’t standing together anymore, but I did get a good shot of two of them looking down from the mountain with great curiosity!

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Wildlife Photography in the Colorado Rockies”!

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

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Definitely a Wild Day

I have to say… today turned out way better than I thought! First I couldn’t even figure out what to do with my day, so I just sat in my chair with my coffee until the sun was already way too high in the sky. I had some things I wanted to do but I knew there would be way too many people in the mountains on this holiday weekend. So I found myself giving up on doing anything when I finally decided to just take a little hike and check in on the art gallery in Victor.

Fox at Play

A last minute tip from a buddy revealed the location of a fox family in my area, so I went there first and spotted a couple of what appeared to be the two adult foxes still out enjoying the sunshine. I’ll have to try to get there earlier one of these days to see if I can catch the pups before they duck back down into the den for the day. I didn’t stay long, but I did shoot a couple of different angles to try to get the best light, and managed to get a couple captures that I like including this one which is my favorite of the day.

Then it was onward to my hiking trail near Victor

Mule Deer Doe

where I spotted a few deer, a couple of does and a buck. Fortunately they didn’t bolt when they saw me, just calmly wandered through a sunny patch before heading over the ridge into the dense forest.

I went without success this evening to try to view the fox family again, but I was fortunate to witness a red-tailed hawk flyby within easy camera range. He flew past the wrong way first, giving me a chance to check my settings, a 2000th of a second at f/8 with auto ISO with +1.3 exposure compensation turned out to be the right mix! Out of almost 200 exposures, this one (below) turned out to be my favorite. The wings weren’t in the bright sunlight but I captured the catch lights in his eyes perfectly! This one will definitely find it’s way onto my wall somewhere!

Red-tailed Hawk Soaring Overhead

 

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Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

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!

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!

Quite a Day and a Roll of Film

Bitter cold greeted me two days from the official arrival of the Vernal Equinox, otherwise known as spring. One thing is for sure though, spring cannot be counted on in Colorado. So a day of photography that began with an ice scraper and frozen fingers could only get better from there, and a green chili breakfast burrito at the Mountain Burger in Florissant Colorado didn’t hurt 🙂

Frozen South Platte River Valley

Eleven Mile Canyon was also frozen, something I was anticipating and had planned for by bringing my old Canon AE-1 film camera with it’s six remaining frames of black and white film. Bald eagle photography hasn’t been great there lately due to the imminent spring hatch of new eaglets but I figured I could at least get a few shots of the frozen river valley following our spring snowstorm. The frost covered trees and frozen chokecherry bushes along the banks of the South Platte were as beautiful as they were frigid.

Mule Deer in the Brush

As Kevin and I cruised up the river there were no raptors to be seen. It’s about time for the osprey to return so we carefully watched the treetops on the ridge for their appearance, but it seems we will have to wait a bit longer. The literature says they can arrive anytime after the middle of the month and last year I didn’t see them until the end of March and the beginning of April. There were no eagles, but at the bend we spotted a small herd of mule deer so we pulled a little ahead and out of sight so we could sneak back and get a shot of them feeding down by the river. I only captured one clear image of one of the does before they wandered into the dense reeds along the river bank but it felt good to get out and do a bit of shooting, something I haven’t had much luck with lately!

Winter Elk

A few more miles down the road revealed another herd of animals, this time some rarely seen elk making their way down to the river bed. We thought they might be trying to get to the water but it soon became apparent that the reeds along the banks were their target, probably for their breakfast. From the distance we were at it was difficult to get a clear shot of them but I snapped a few anyway just to have a record of the unusual scene. I’m amazed at the awareness of elk, we were probably a hundred yards away on the other side of the river and yet these amazing animals were immediately aware of the vehicle stopping and windows opening.

Horned Lark at Eleven Mile

It didn’t appear that there would be any eagles visiting the canyon this day so we decided to move on to the big reservoir in Eleven Mile State Park where we had good prospects of photographing the herd of pronghorn antelope. A curious flock of small birds followed the truck as we proceeded along the road through the park. I wanted to get a bit ahead of these interesting little feathered visitors but they wouldn’t allow it. Each time the truck got close to catching up with them they moved further ahead. Finally I stopped to see if maybe they would come back within camera range. Sure enough, when the truck stopped they stopped and I was able to shoot out the window. I wasn’t confident that I’d get a usable image of the tiny birds but I hoped I would at least get a good enough picture for Merlin to identify.

Winter PronghornAnd as it turns out, my Merlin app identified the flock as horned lark, a lifetime first sighting for me! This particular specimen appears to be the less brightly colored female of the species.

Soon we spotted the main subject of this visit, a small herd of pronghorn antelope making their way through the snow. Unfortunately there was nowhere to hide and the furtive creatures spotted us right away and began to move further away. It’s difficult to get a compelling image of an animal that is moving away and showing you it’s hindquarters, but luckily they stopped few times to look back to see if we were following them. Our long lenses and 1.4x teleconverters came in handy to get good shots of the swift little ungulates.

American Bison in the Snow

By this time the sun was high in the sky and the lighting situation on the bright snow was nearly impossible. But a lone bison walking through the snow with the mountains of the Pike National Forest in the background was too tempting to avoid. I dialed in a stop and a half of exposure compensation to account for the dark animal on the bright white snow and did the best I could. With a bit of Photoshop help I was able to bring out some detail in the animal, probably creating my favorite image of the day mostly just because it was a buffalo. They are such amazing majestic creatures it would be hard not to like a picture of them!

To top off an amazing day, I was successful in shooting the remaining frames of my black and white film so I hope to make a trip down to the city to submit the roll for processing. Mike’s Camera still develops film on site, a rare thing these days so I plan to take it there. Since I use Ilford HP5 black and white film, it will be possible to develop it there with their C41 processing system. Apparently some black and white films need to be sent to the main lab in Boulder, still a reasonable turnaround time compared to some places that take weeks to get your film done these days!

I will be placing many more images from today on my website and my Instagram account so please feel free to follow my progress on both of these platforms!

Frozen South Platte River

 

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!

Snowshoes and the Three Amigos

Snowy Sangre

It was a perfect morning for an outing… 20 degrees with deep snow from the last few days of snowstorms. At the trailhead it was obvious that snowshoes were going to be required for today’s trek so I dug them out of the back of the truck and examined them to see how a year of neglect had treated them. Fortunately they were in great shape, one of the buckles was loose so I had to readjust it and refit  the straps.

Three Bucks in Deep Snow

It was a long tough slog to the top of the ridge but the climb through the deep snow in the shade of Hell Hill was the worst of it so I pressed on. The Sangre de Cristo Range was beautiful from the overlook, the golden light of the morning sun was still giving them a bit of color so I had to stop to add a few images to my collection of about a million pictures of the magnificent range. I was hoping to see the elk herd on the summit resting by the edge of the forest but there wasn’t one track in the snow. The elk must have found some far away corner of the woods to shelter from the snow. There were no tracks of any kind, not even a deer on the summit but as I was on my way back down I spotted motion out of the corner of my eye.

I dropped my trekking pole and quick lifted the big 400mm lens to my eye to see what was moving through the woods. I quickly ascertained that it was a buck… followed soon by another and another. It was the Three Amigos looking very strong. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them!

 

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!

Deer Mountain Morning

Sunny HerdQuite a morning on the mountain today! I was initially quite disappointed to find two cars at the trailhead but the perps were still in the parking lot so I had hope that my wildlife would not be all driven away before I could get to the summit. The two women started up the trail and took the left fork which was  good for me since I go to the right directly up the mountain to where the wildlife usually await.

As I gathered my camera and monopod I heard a great ruckus ahead. Turns out the two women went charging right into the middle of the free range cattle on the trail, separating the herd and causing a lot of distress. The boss cow in front was calling frantically to the others as the women drove them directly at the fence. One young straggler was frantically calling out ahead to the others now divided by the women. I waited a bit for the little one to pass and then continued along the right fork. As I ascended the mountain I could hear the mama cow continuing to bellow for the young one. I should say, free range cattle aren’t like regular farm cattle. They aren’t as used to people and view strangers as a threat. If you approach them they will run.

Sunny HerdAs I crested the summit I spotted a doe mule deer peering over the mountain grass at me so I stopped and mounted the camera on the monopod and took a couple of shots. Another doe came into view and I slowly moved to the west for a less obstructed view with just the beautiful mountainside in the background. Soon a third joined the pair and I was able to get a few nice captures of the trio before some guy in a truck roared up the dirt road frightening them all away.

Sunny HerdI veered to the west where I knew the little herd had gone, hoping to catch them with the Sangre de Cristo range in the background. I knew I had gotten one angle with the mountains but was hoping for a much better one. It was not to be, the furtive creatures had already vanished into the dense pine forest. I continued my hike on around the mountain and back into the valley below

As I neared the end of the loop I could still the the sound of distressed cattle. When they came into view the problem was obvious, the women had herded the young cow onto the wrong side of the fence and into a V shaped area where two fences merged. The little guy was trapped. There was a way out behind him about 20 yards where one of the fences ended but the little one had forgotten how he got into this predicament. I decided to go around and get on his side of the fence in hopes of herding him back up the hill and around the other fence. I don’t know why those stupid fences are still there, Large parts of it are down and not holding the cattle in at all. As I approached the youngster I could see right away my plan was going to fail. If I  got too close the little one was going to try to jump the fence and likely injure himself.

Sunny Herd

There was a gate a few feet behind him which was locked with a paddle lock and another gate a couple more feet behind that. I’m telling you the whole system is a mess. It was all fine until they decided they had to make a developed and now mostly unmaintained park out of this place with a road where one should not be. Well fortunately the second gate was only locked with a chain so I opened it and went back to the trail where the calf was stuck, with the mama cow yelling at me the whole time. I went right up to him on the other side the fence and yelled “ha’ a couple of times and the calf backed away from me toward the gate. A couple more “ha’s” and the young fellow was on the right side of the fence. The big cow called out to him again and he was trotting down the hill to join the herd which was soon on it’s way down into the valley where they like to spend the day by the watering hole and snow. And then of course I went back to close and latch the gate.

But my day wasn’t over! As I headed down the highway on my way to town I was confronted with a big buck and his doe, standing motionless right in the middle of the highway. I could hear traffic coming from the other way so I stopped to herd them across the highway and over the short guard rail so they could get to the forest where they were obviously better off.

I think I definitely earned my biscuits and gravy today!

 

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.

Mule Deer in the Fog


Fog in the Mining District

Finally a big change in the weather, had to transition to my early winter weather gear! I knew it was going to be a great day as I drove to the trailhead and saw heavy fog rolling into the low valleys 🙂 On the hike to the top of the ridge the fog was drifting past the barren aspen trees, well worth a stop for some landscape pictures! By the time I got to the top of the ridge the valley was completely obscured by fog so I just kept going, over the summit and down the other side of the mountain.

Part way down the mountain I could see a four footed figure trotting through the fog but at first I thought it was just one of the free range cows. It seemed to be going a bit fast for one of the cows though, they never get to running very fast. A quick look through my long lens revealed a lone doe mule deer. The does are almost never alone so I attached my camera to the monopod and started looking around for more. Sure enough, I spotted the rest of the herd feeding at the base of a big pine tree. I figured they wouldn’t stay long, especially since they had already spotted me, even though I was a good 75 yards away.

Misty Mountain Deer Herd

They slowly moved down the valley to the south, eventually getting into position with the beautiful foggy valley behind them. I stood there in the cold for about 15 minutes as they made their way over the top of the ridge. I was fortunate to capture at least a couple really nice images 🙂

I always go over to Goldfield when it’s foggy, hoping to get that perfect image of the ghostly historic mines in a heavy layer of fog. today was a good day as I got a couple of the better ones I have ever captured! All this success was cause for celebration so I made sure I stopped at the Gold Camp Bakery for some biscuits and gravy 🙂

 

Fog in the Mining District

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.

Magnificent Mountain Sunset

Sangre Mountain Sunset

I wasn’t aware of the spectacular sunset the night before until the golden glow was streaming through the curtains. By then there was no time to get my camera ready and get to a good overlook. As I was wrapping up the day’s activities yesterday I noticed that the cloud situation was very similar to the conditions the day before so I decided I would get out ahead of it and try to get some nice sunset images.

I was at the overlook to the Sangre de Cristo Range about 15 minutes before sunset, giving me time to fiddle with my camera. I eventually settled on manual mode with a 320th of a second and F7.1 for an aperture at ISO 200. From that point I figured I could just fiddle with the ISO as the sun descended behind the distant mountains.

Sangre Mountain Sunset

Soon the sun was low enough to start shooting and as luck would have it the sun at this time of year was right in the middle of the rugged range to the southwest. I roamed up and down the overlook looking for the best angles on the range below. There is a nice valley with some old mining operations still present while another angle has a mountain in the foreground. At times it was best to incorporate the valley while other times shooting beside the mountain looked better.

Unfortunately this sunset didn’t reach the glory of the previous night, but I was still enjoying the activity. Finally I decided to get back in the truck and drive to another spot but on the way I noticed the sky lit up behind the mine structure behind me. So I dialed in my exposure on that scene and while I was shooting a couple of mule deer wandered onto my scene. And I have to say that was the most delightful shooting of the entire afternoon.

I hope you enjoy the pictures 🙂

 

Sunset Deer

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.