Autumn in the Garden

Quite a day today… Made the big circle to Eleven Mile Canyon, all the way to Garden of the Gods, Mike’s Camera to drop off a roll of film and then back home! Saw raptors, deer, fall colors… and even made a stop at REI, my happy place 🙂 Snagged a good deal on a 5 degree sleeping bag while I was there… now I’m almost ready for a winter trip to the Sand Wash Basin to see the wild horses!

Autumn Does

I was hoping to see some bald eagles in the canyon, but the only life I saw there were a few American dippers, a couple of bunnys and a little herd of doe mule deer wandering around. Fortunately I was also prepared to shoot some fall colors as the canyon was spectacular this morning, with a bit of fog to accentuate the scene 🙂 I also brought my Canon A-1 film camera along to finish off my roll of color film for drop off later in day. We’ll  get to see those in a couple weeks.

By the time I made it to Colorado Springs I was glad I had all my polarizers along, they came in handy on every lens I had with me! There is nothing better than a polarizer to bring out those fall colors and tamp down the haze and bright highlights. Unfortunately autumn in the Garden is following the pattern that we are experiencing up here in the high country, many leaves already down but some still green. And there isn’t one smidgen of snow on the east face of Pikes Peak, so it is just a giant fairly uninteresting brown rock in the background.

Anyway, please enjoy a few more images from today’s shoot, and don’t forget to click the links after the pictures to shop for my latest books and the 2023 calendar!

 

 

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
 
 

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!

Winter Storm in Black and White

Eleven Mile Canyon and the South Platte River

I don’t know why, I have always enjoyed going out in winter storms and shooting black and white pictures. The winter is winding down so when I saw the snowflakes yesterday I had to get out in it. I have a roll of Ilford HP5 black and white film in my Canon A-1 film camera and I’ve been wanting to do a video about it for some time now. Incidentally, I received an email from Mike’s Camera yesterday with a link to a batch of low resolution previews from my previous film shoot at Eleven Mile Canyon. The film and high resolution CD still need to be sent down from the main lab in Boulder, but at least I can see that the pictures turned out, something you never know with film until the film is developed 🙂 I’ll do a more extensive post on the images when I get the high resolution versions back.

Snowy Mines

So anyway, I wanted to do a video about shooting black and white film in the snow so yesterday was the day to give it a try. I’m not one of those that likes to put my camera on a tripod in the weather so I decided to just use my phone as a video camera, and I have to say it didn’t do that badly! I also shot a little footage out the window with my Canon 90D and I discovered that if you have the camera set to black and white picture style you are going to get black and white video. I didn’t intend that but in this case with the near monochrome scene anyway,. it worked out ok!

Snowy Mines

By the time I was ready to shoot my first image the snow was coming down hard, which looks pretty cool in the video… nothing makes me happier than snow falling in the mountains 🙂 My first image was captured in Goldfield where all the old historic Cripple Creek / Victor gold mines are located. I don’t necessarily trust the 50 year old meter on my A-1, especially in such harsh conditions, so I brought along my Sekonic incident meter to make sure my exposures were correct, film is too expensive to waste on bad exposures!

Snowy Mines

I continued wandering around mine country getting images in the snow for the rest of the morning, except for a few minutes I spent at the Gold Camp Bakery in Victor having a ham and cheese croissant, one of my favorite things in life 🙂

Well anyway, I didn’t get the entire roll of Ilford done yet so the only images I have were the ones I captured with the 90D, it will be interesting to see how they compare to the film when I eventually get it back!

Snowy Mines

I have always liked the old Ansel Adams prints and the selenium processing that was popular in those days. To me regular monochrome looks too brown and too warm for the snowy scenes I like to capture. It took a lot of fiddling but I eventually came up with a process using the hue and saturation tool to recreate the toned look I like so much. The top image from my Ilford shoot at the canyon is regular monochrome right from the scan at the lab and the others in this post were done using my “selenium” Photoshop process. What do you think? Feel free to leave comments!

Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel to see yesterday’s video… I’m starting to get used to Premier Pro after my YouTube video software quit working when I upgraded to Windows 11. Premier has a ton of capability if you can unlock the secret to using the features! Also I am confident that I will never reach the thresholds to monetize my YouTube channel so if you enjoy the content and would like to help out with my work watching over the Colorado wildlife and mountains, please feel free to click the donate button below!

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!

A Major Prize

My newest addition to a growing collection of nostalgic photography items is this beautiful Canon A-1 with a 75-200 lens. I found it at a thrift shop and it appears to be fully functional, complete with an exposure compensation dial, shutter and aperture priority and a working LED light meter in the viewfinder. I can’t wait to get out and try this thing! I recently completed a roll of Ilford HP5 black and white film with my old Canon AE-1, so maybe I can turn a new one in when I pick the other one up!

Canon A-1You may wonder why in this age of high tech digital why I would be messing around with film… I still remember when I acquired my first real camera. It was the Minolta X-700, a pretty formidable piece of equipment in it’s day. I remember sitting on the floor poring over the manual, learning about f stops and shutter speeds, and marveling at the little red LED information lights inside the viewfinder. A whole new world was opening up as a result of those new camera controls.

Now that wasn’t my first camera. My interest in photography began at a very young age with an old Brownie box camera. It wasn’t really mine but my parents would buy me one roll of 12 exposures per year to shoot on our summer camping trips to the mountains. To put that in perspective, I shoot that many frames in one second when I’m out doing bird photography with my Canon 90D.  When I got a little older I purchased one of those instamatic models at the drug store, the kind that would take those handy film cartridges… It had those disposable flash bars you could attach, also a pretty high tech item for the day! Of course the negatives were so small you couldn’t really make an enlargement but at the time it had never occurred to me to make an enlargement. When you are making $1.90 per hour at a grocery store things like picture enlargements aren’t really in the cards anyway.

Time marches on and I soon found myself in the Air Force. But for some reason when I was going to weather school it didn’t occur to me to get a real camera to photograph the awesome weather that would blow through Omaha, Nebraska, the home of Air Force Global Weather Central, where I worked as a weather observer and computer programmer for four years. It didn’t occur to me to take pictures of the weather and I didn’t have a camera capable of quality captures, nobody did. I guess storm chasing wasn’t a thing yet.

Pacific Ocean

When I moved out to Silicon Valley to begin a career in computer software the scenery was too much to leave undocumented, so I began the search for a better camera… Disk cameras were all the rage then, and as a computer guy a disk camera sounded like the thing to have. Unfortunately as I would discover, those stupid cameras were far from that. The tiny little negatives on those tiny little disks were barely capable of a 4×6 print. In all my travels around northern California I don’t recall ever seeing a camera store, I’m sure there must have been one somewhere but I never saw one. There were no 35mm or medium format cameras in the malls, I knew they existed but had no idea where you would find one and nobody I knew had one. Kind of like surveying equipment I thought, you knew it existed because you saw people taking surveys, but somehow surveyors were the only people who knew where to get it. I’m actually kind of amazed at how well this old print has fared over the last 40 years!

But when I got to Denver in the 80’s suddenly there were camera stores everywhere. Waxman’s Camera was big at the time and when my best friend showed up at a camping trip with a shiny Minolta X-370 I knew I had to have one. He told me about the camera store, how they would sell you the camera, show you how to use it and even provide free photography classes. I was amazed to see the all of the equipment that was available to anyone who wanted it, lighting, developing, enlarging, and I was fascinated with the whole process, loading the film, setting the apertures and shutter speeds, taking the film to the lab and hanging around talking to the technicians and other photographers about new film and developing technology. It was all a very special and rewarding experience and it was amazing to be part of it.

That aspect of photography is absent from the digital age. Everything is accomplished alone in front of a computer. The developing and the printing all done with Photoshop can be accomplished without ever having to talk to another person. I love my digital camera and the software but the equipment seems more like a computer with a lens that it does a camera. Of course there is social media but there is a remote anonymity about it that is just not the same.

Deia and the Horse

I tried my hand at a portrait business during the film era and actually did pretty well with it for quite a few years. I lived in the Parker, Colorado area which at the time was way “out in the country”. Somehow I became the guy who shot the country weddings and senior pictures and I had a great time doing it. Eventually I did upgrade to an auto focus model which I was quite fond of but the weddings burned me out and I put down the camera and didn’t pick one up until Canon introduced the first pro digital model in 2002. Of course if you want to know about that story you can read my book “Two Decades of Digital Photography“, it is available on eBook and paperback on Kindle and Amazon and is a fascinating photographic adventure in it’s own right!

I have a collection of old cameras and when I spotted an old Canon AE-1 at the Goodwill store. I grabbed it to add to the other relics displayed on a shelf for me to nostalgically enjoy. As I took it out to the truck I glanced across the street at the Walgreens… is it possible that they would have a battery for this thing, is it possible that it might actually still work after all these years? The camera was in excellent shape complete with lenses and a flash in the bag and it was obvious that whoever had it took care of it and didn’t use it much. My phone told me what kind of battery to use and how to put it in. I was pleasantly surprised when the meter needle snapped into place to display f/8 as I pointed the lens out the truck window. The film advance lever appeared to work and the shutter and mirror made a satisfying snap when I pushed the button!

Downtown Victor Colorado

So back into the store I went to buy a roll of 35mm film. There was no film there but I was eventually able to get a roll of crappy color film at Walmart so I loaded it up to test it out. The Walgreen’s had a film developing department so I dropped it off for them to send off to their lab. It took a month but I eventually got a call from them telling me that my CD and prints were ready. Amazingly, the camera worked. The film was crap but there were pictures… I am kind of intrigued by the postcard look of these prints though!

Then I began to get ideas for little projects that I could do with film, just for fun. I fished my old Sekonic incident meter out of the box of relics that I’ve been holding on to all these years and ordered some Ilford HP5 black and white film. This time I decided not to entrust my project to Walgreen’s and called around to see if there was still anyone who actually still has film developing equipment, and much to my surprise, Mike’s Camera still considers film to be an important medium and has a complete lab onsite at their Colorado Springs store! The original Waxman’s became Wolf Camera and then I believe those all became Mike’s Camera where I was a regular customer for many years. It had been so long though that upon arrival I had to set up a new account and decided to join the film discount club for $5 off of developing each roll of film.

While I was there talking to the technicians about film and processing I felt the old fire that I used to feel in the early days, the camaraderie and the appreciation for a special process. The feeling of being part of something exceptional and exclusive. So I bought some more Ilford HP5 and later picked up the Canon A1. Not sure if anyone will be interested but I plan to put out some YouTube videos about film photography. Now don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate the convenience of the digital era. I did some calculating and figure if I were trying to do what I do now with the birds and wildlife I would be burning through $1500 per month in film and processing! But I think it is going to be fun to do a few small projects with the old cameras and film. Stay tuned!