The Eagles are Back and Another First

Bald Eagle CanyonWell after what seems like forever, I was finally able to return to Eleven Mile Canyon to check on the eagles. First I had to get my brakes fixed, then it was tie rods and ball joints, then it was a week of RSV and today I finally made it out!  I was first greeted by one of our nesting pair at the nest, a very good sign! I haven’t seen them since they left the nest in the spring after the young one took flight! Then I saw the other one up in the canyon a few times and managed to get a couple good shots of him. I tried to get some video but the settings on my camera were all messed up and I didn’t want to miss the still shot of the flight so I abandoned the idea. He was a bit jumpy today so I knew I didn’t have much time!

A little dark-eyed junco paid me a visit so I got a shot of him, and then I saw some ducks that looked a bit unusual. Turns out they are called the American Wigeon.

 

 

 

Storm Warning

Also don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon including my latest, “Storm Warning” and this year’s wildlife calendar “Colorado Wildlife 2023“! As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website 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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Autumn in the District

So far it’s been a tough fall season in the high country Cripple Creek and Victor mining district for foliage pictures… the leaves are all changing at different times. The south face of Pikes Peak has already peaked and high winds have blown the best leaves off the trees. At the lower elevations some of the leaves are already bright orange while others are still green and some have just turned brown and withered.

Victor Colorado Autumn

But my efforts last week didn’t go completely unrewarded … I captured a few that I don’t already have in my portfolio that I would like to share 🙂 Unfortunately I accidentally left my polarizer behind along with my 24-105L lens, which was what the polarizer was attached to 😦 A couple would be nice pictures were ruined by the ubiquitous power lines that stretch across the landscape everywhere one looks up here, a shame for sure but I don’t know what could be done about it. I suppose hours of photoshopping could save a couple of them but I don’t have that kind of patience anymore.

Victor Colorado Autumn

Anyway, the day started with this pre-sunrise shot of a young doe mule deer, my favorite of the entire batch! My best mine picture was ruined by carelessness… I hand held the camera and forgot to check the shutter speed, resulting in too much motion blur to recover the image. Luckily I managed to make up for that loss with this capture of an old homestead set against golden aspen leaves, an image which I’ve been trying for years to capture in peak autumn! It’s kind of difficult to see, but there is also a very cool weather phenomenon going on in the background. Fog has filled the entire Arkansas River Valley while the beautiful Sangre de Cristo range juts high above the fog and haze!

That shot also looks great in winter so when the snow comes I’ll grab that one too 🙂 Please enjoy the gallery below and keep in mind that you can click each one to see a bigger version!

 

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!

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 

Happy Autumnal Equinox

Misty Mine Country

The sun has officially crossed the equator on it’s annual journey to the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere. The first day of autumn in the Colorado high country has greeted us with fog, rain and a morning of stunning beauty. The fog rolled in last night so I made sure to be up early before the sun would have a chance to burn off the fog in the Arkansas Valley, one of my favorite subjects to photograph! I caught glimpses of what I was about to see as I drove through town and around the first bend in the highway on my way to Victor, a sea of fog completely filling the low spots.

Small Herd of Mule Deer

As I proceeded toward my intended overlook I spotted a small herd of mule deer making their way through the deep mountain grass on their way to cover in the pine forest above, and as luck would have it I was also near a spot to pull the truck off the road. The deer weren’t too worried about my presence but they were also not about to take a break from their journey into the woods either! I quickly snapped off a few shots with my 100-400mm lens and then they were gone… out of sight.

I made several stops along the way wherever I could see the amazing weather phenomenon unfolding in the valley below and ended up with quite a few nice ones… if I do say so myself! I wasn’t sure how far up the pass the fog would reach so I decided to check on the mines and the south face of Pikes Peak at the summit of Victor Pass. The mines weren’t much to see today, the sky is dark and there really wasn’t any interesting fog there and I already have much better shots of the mines than anything I would have gotten today.

The Peak is showing signs of fall though, a good patch of aspen are already turning to gold! A few more days and they will be at peak gold. Hopefully I’ll get some really nice ones before my annual trip to Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut!

Anyway, have a happy Autumnal Equinox!

 

 

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!

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 
 

The Trees are Silent

A week ago I saw an estimate that over one billion birds were in Colorado on the way to their winter shelters. The trees on top of my mountain were filled with bird song and I could see thousands of them of every variety, blue, yellow, gray and probably many others that my eye wasn’t fast enough to notice.

Mountain Bluebird

But yesterday the trees were silent. There were a few hardy winter birds preparing for the harsh Rocky Mountain Winter and a few mountain bluebirds hiding in the thick mountain grass. But for the most part the trees and the hills were quiet.

It won’t be long now and the leaves will be changing and snowflakes starting to fall on the peaks of the high country. I’m always sad to see summer go but in all honesty summer is the most difficult time for my photography. The mountains are constantly hidden by smoke and the animals are scattered over thousands of acres of wilderness. In the winter they gather in large numbers to the lower meadows and clearings where I can find and photograph them more easily. The deep Colorado snow extinguishes the fires and the bitter cold air can’t hold moisture like the heavy air of summer. The distant mountains are crystal clear and the sky is often filled with dramatic storm clouds drifting over the peaks. Winter is when I capture my best imagery.

But for today, it is the bluebirds that made themselves available to my lens. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

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!

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!

Coyote on the Hunt
 
 

Outsmarted Again

So I’ve been tracking this red-tailed hawk for days, and for days he has avoided a successful capture of his image. Today was no different… as I pulled my truck into the trailhead parking lot I spotted the familiar fellow perched on a perfect power pole for a picture. His favorite pole is in a place where I can’t get close to him without climbing down in a hole and shooting straight up. If I climb the hill on the other side, the early morning light is shining on the opposite side and I’m only going to get a silhouette.

Red-tail Hawk

Today he was on a higher pole in a place where the trail approaches high from the southeast where he was in good light, and even better conditions if he took flight in his usual direction. He waited patiently while I climbed the hill and sat down in an advantageous position to prepare for the image. I pre-focused my 400mm lens with the 1.4x teleconverter attached and perfected the exposure. I sat and watched for a few minutes while snapping a couple of stills until he began to fluff his feathers in preparation for flight. I was totally ready when he took flight, exactly in the opposite direction, away from the light and directly behind a mass of power lines. foiled again 😦

I completed my hike over the summit without seeing any more birds close enough to photograph and headed on into Victor to check on the art gallery and then over to the Gold Camp Bakery for coffee and a muffin and a sandwich for lunch later on. A quick pass through Goldfield yielded nothing so I decided to give it up and head for home. But as I neared the trailhead parking again I once again spotted my nemesis in an even more advantageous position!

Red-tail Hawk

So I pulled in, attached the 2x teleconverter for an even closer view, and made my way slowly toward the formidable raptor. I assumed he would allow me to get a bit closer before taking flight so I didn’t pre-focus or get my exposure parameters ready. I looked up and spotted the great bird looking right at me when suddenly he took flight and dove straight at me in perfect light. My decision to use the 2x proved unfortunate as my frame was so small and focus so far out that I was unable to get him in the frame. I quickly adjusted my focal length so as to get him in the frame, but by then he was circling overhead mocking me 😦 He made several passes over me to take a good look but overhead captures are never going to equal a head on pass at close range.

In reality… the bird gave me every chance to get the picture this time and I blew it. Oh well… tomorrow is another day!

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!

Coyote on the Hunt

Giving the Canon R7 a Workout

Finally got a chance to really let the R7 shine. A trip to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal yielded some great photo ops with an osprey fishing, snowy egrets in flight, some cute little killdeers along the shore and a double-crested cormorant. For this exercise I left the focus system in animal tracking mode with animal eye focus turned on. I narrowed the focus area to a large middle zone with all surrounding helper points activated. The R7 had a very easy time of tracking the birds with the smooth blue water behind them and I found the camera a complete joy to use on this day.

Cold and Snowy on Mount Evans

Our trip to Mount Evans was a bust, sad to say… although we were lucky to even make the summit with the weather going on. People were still going up as the heavy rain and most likely impending snow were moving in, and I would not have wanted to be heading up after 2:00 or so. We didn’t see any goats or sheep, which was a great disappointment for what will probably be our only chance at the summit this season. I was able to capture a few nice shots of the weather though, using the RF18-150 STM kit lens with the new lens hood and circular polarizer I purchased for it on Amazon 🙂 I found the lens a joy to use and have no complaints about sharpness or Chromatic Aberration.

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Rain and hail also spoiled a visit to Georgetown and Guanella Pass. We saw a few forlorn and very wet bighorn ewes hiking along the road but the rain was so heavy that we really didn’t feel like getting out to shoot. Jefferson Lake on the other side of the pass was beautiful, but no moose showed themselves and there were no pronghorns to photograph along Tarryall Road. We saw a couple of hawks near Lake George but they were too far away and flew the wrong way when they did take flight. Here is where my R7 struggled the most, with a distant bird flying into a backdrop of trees. It really wasn’t able to find the bird and track it. Not sure how to handle that situation, I guess I will have to narrow the focus system down to one point and hope I can get it locked on the distant raptors.

On the other hand the bird was too far away to photograph anyway, so I probably could resolve that issue by not bothering to take the picture in the first place. Oh, and by the way… I used DXO Pure Raw to process the raw images and decided to license the full production copy for my workflow!

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite pictures, hope you enjoy!

 

 

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!

Canon R7 and New Birds

I’ve been busy lately!!!! Setting up a new camera and shooting some new bird species! So I have upgraded to the Canon R7 from my old 90D and I’m loving it! The manual for this camera is 1000 pages long though so it has taken me a bit of time to get it all set up the way I like it! We went to Manitou Lake and Eleven Mile Canyon yesterday in hopes of getting some high ISO images to test the camera’s low light capability, plus I wanted to try out DXO Pure Raw on some noise.  In the process I captured some new  birds, according to Merlin anyway… Saw some red-breasted merganser ducks, a green-tailed towhee, and a flock of broad winged hawks!

It was great having the amazing animal eye focus on the R7 helping me with the in flight pictures… The old 90D focus system actually came from the ancient Canon 80D and it was a difficult beast to control. The focus points were so far apart that the camera would often lose tracking and just go completely out of focus. The R7 with it’s newer mirrorless technology uses a completely different focusing system that enables the entire screen for thousands of focus points. There is no losing the subject with that system! Unfortunately there wasn’t much action at the lake, just a few birds perched in the reeds, no osprey, herons or pelicans flying around.

Oh, and I like DXO Pure Raw but will stick with Topaz for it’s amazing flexibility and convenient workflow. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the 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!

Another New Bird!

I’m always amazed at the variety of birds I find on my simple mountain. Grouse Mountain is nothing special, it’s not high, not particularly scenic, and no more rugged than any other place. I often see sparrows and song birds and the occasional red-tailed hawk. And just when I think I’m about to get another picture of an ordinary sparrow or song bird I find out how little I know. The other day I thought I was just taking a picture of another goldfinch when I discovered that I had actually seen a female western tanager. Never even heard of the cute little bird, but here she is!

Seasons of the Raptor (second edition)

Seasons of the Raptor

I am pleased to announce that I have released the second edition of my first book, “Seasons of the Raptor“. It includes a new chapter complete with exciting images of the return of our beloved osprey pair to Eleven Mile Canyon, following the destruction of their nest in a violent spring storm the previous year. Also included is the return of the bald eagles to their nest at the entrance of the canyon along with their beautiful new eaglet who is now growing rapidly and working hard at learning to fly!

The book can be purchased from my printer / distributor at Lulu .com, along with a number of other publications I have created! For those of you who prefer Kindle, the book is available on Amazon in ebook format!

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!

Osprey in Eleven Mile

Pure Joy

That’s about all I can say about my morning of photography. The title came to me when I was filming a little vesper sparrow singing his heart out on the summit of Grouse Mountain. Click the link to the video here if you would like to experience two minutes of joy :)There was also a little house wren at the parking lot singing an equally beautiful song but I was so busy shooting stills that I forgot to film it. I was glad when I encountered the little sparrow that gave me a chance to record the joyous song 🙂

To round out my joyful morning I also encountered a pair of fox kits playing hard at sunrise. I was lucky that one of them managed to run right toward me during his play session and I got some of the best fox captures ever! Then a red-tailed hawk left his perch high on a power pole to also fly right at me and an elk cow stopped to pose for me. Finally a herd of mule deer wandered past in the warm light of the morning sun and I felt that I had earned a nice cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll at the Gold Camp Bakery 🙂

 

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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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