The plan this morning was to sleep in late, have a leisurely pot of coffee with the puppies and then go out with Big Dog to do some shutter speed versus f-stop testing with my #Canon equipment to determine how to get the sharpest image possible. Always trying to get that perfect razor sharp Ansel Adams appearance from my prints 🙂
But you know what they say, “The best laid plans… “, I was up at 05:00 checking the cloud cover report on my phone. Partly cloudy it said, and I was wondering if I might get another shot at yesterday’s beautiful sunrise? So, one cup of coffee and the Big Dog and I were headed down the trail in the dark. The first thing I noticed was that the moon had not yet set. For the longest time the moon has already been hiding behind the mountains long before I felt like being out and about. In the meantime the sun was just starting to lighten the horizon to the east, just enough to add some pink to the clouds in the west which was creating a pretty cool scene! I wasn’t sure I was going to get a good sunrise so I just stopped to capture the sure bet, the scene that was before me at the moment.
The sunrise never did develop and there was a pretty heavy layer of clouds and haze from the wind and dust hiding Sangre de Cristo range to the west, so the magnificence of yesterday did not present itself today. But it was an amazing experience to be the only person in the woods as the magical mood created by the moon set slowly evolved. This silent time alone with my Creator is my favorite thing as it seems like He is unveiling a work of art for He and I alone.
As the sun began to get stronger I also noticed that the alpenglow enhanced pink peaks of the snow capped Sangre de Cristo Range were visible through the mystical haze of a beautiful Rocky Mountain Spring morning.
I didn’t get what I was hoping for this morning, but I did get something new for my portfolio :) These pictures and more from the morning are for sale on my website as wall art and gift items as usual, along with quite a few new images that I have been collecting this spring. Commercial users can purchase image usage rights through the stock portal on my website as well. If you liked this article and want to be sure to be notified the next time I publish, please be sure to click the follow button at the bottom of the article so that you can receive an email notification every time there is something new!
I was going to just sleep in this morning but as fate would have it, I was awake at 5:00 a.m. thinking about the mountains. So a quick cup of coffee and I was off into the pre-dawn darkness with the Big Dog in tow. Actually I should say Son Boy was off with me in tow 😦 Fortunately today I remembered to put him on two leashes, one to stand on while I steady my shot and the other to keep him from going on a half day romp in the wilderness!
Sangre de Cristo Storm Clouds
Well anyway it was a chilly morning so I remembered the hoodie under my jacket, which turned out to be a life saver because the wind was blowing about a hundred miles per hour on top of the mountain and it was COLD! We arrived just at sunrise and the majesty of the scene was jaw dropping. Storm clouds had begun to fill the Arkansas River Valley, blowing through and billowing at a pretty good rate of speed! I was hoping that I would capture the motion of the clouds without them just looking blurry. As the scene unfolded I noticed that I might be able to see through the valley a bit better if I moved a few yards to the north. Easier said than done though, after sitting on one knee for 15 minutes in the bone chilling cold I wasn’t sure I was even going to be able to get up! Fortunately for me Big Dog is always ready and good for a boost up. A simple “lets go” and Son Boy has the heavy duty 4wd engaged and moving 🙂
The new location was good so we shot from that position for a while until I noticed that there were a couple of utility poles interfering with the view towards the right. So off we went to a third position for another fifteen minutes or so as the clouds began to build and swirl around even more. Finally I was an absolute ice cube with frozen hands that were getting too stiff and numb to even feel the camera controls. On my way out I noticed a couple more good views, so I had to gut out a few more shots in the cold and wind. Finally I was just too cold to continue and we began the long trek home. I have to say, it has been a while since I have been that chilled to the bone! Took me a couple of hours and a pot of coffee before the shivering stopped!
Anyway, I hope you find the pictures interesting and worth a peek on my website. Just click the pictures and a large preview will appear along with the many different wall art designs and cool household and gift items!
Today is the spring equinox and as it turns out, my fourth anniversary with WordPress who’s software greeted me with a nice electronic congratulations 🙂 Can’t say I even remember signing up, but four years ago today was exactly nine days before Tricia went into surgery to try to save her spine from the tentacles of the cancer she was so bravely battling. Unfortunately although they called the surgery a success, she never walked again. I don’t even remember blogging the first year of my membership here. Every day consisted of pushing her wheel chair about a mile down to the coffee shop and back. The coffee shop had the only chair on the planet, as far as I know, that she could be comfortable sitting in. The sun would stream into the windows there and that warmth and comfort was about all there was to look forward to. By the next spring she was gone and I was starting life anew… Thinking back that first year alone in the campground was crazy! I’m sure I had plenty to blog about then, perhaps I should go back and read some of my entries 🙂 I remember every weekend through the spring and summer I spent hauling the remnants of our lives together off to an auction house in Denver.
Sangre de Cristo range on the first day of spring
Today didn’t feel much like spring though, yesterday the windchill was -1 and today the real feel was 10 accompanied by a couple of inches of blowing and stinging snow. That didn’t stop me and Big Dog from making the trek down to the mountain, it was cold but with a couple of inches of fresh snow and some beautiful sunshine it was a splendid day 🙂 The alpenglow was some of the most pronounced that I’ve seen yet, but I shot that yesterday and felt like sleeping in a little today. By the time we got there the view to the west was obscured a bit from blowing snow and haze in the air from the spring snowstorm, but the view of the Sangre de Cristo range was stunning anyway. Although not award winners, the pictures from today are pretty and a good record of the first day of spring for 2018!
Fresh snow on the foothills of Pikes Peak
Was hoping to see some deer out early this morning but no luck with that. I wasn’t paying much attention on the return trail and missed the turnoff which produced a view of the Pikes Peak foothills and some blowing snow off to the east that I haven’t noticed before. Some wispy clouds in the morning sun added to the scene which kind of made the day 🙂 However, plans to get out on my mountain bike were definitely dampened by the wind and snow, maybe next week!
I hope that this spring brings hope and joy to everyone, especially my readers and that all your plans for the warmer weather come to fruition! I know many are struggling with all kinds of issues and it is my fervent prayer that with the onset of the warm sunshine peace and prosperity will seek out and find each and every one of you 🙂
Not such a successful couple of days shooting, if you want to count keepers. Yesterday there was a beautiful sunrise lighting the Sangre de Cristo mountain range and I was able to get a few shots of it before the light changed… Unfortunately none of them turned out. It was a difficult situation with the a nearby landscape in front of the more distant mountains. I assumed that the horizon was far enough away for the lens to focus on infinity, making both the foreground and the mountains both sharply in focus, but I was wrong. Usually that works, but in this case there was just too much distance between the two landscapes and the foreground details were simply too close. The foreground would have disappeared nicely into silhouette and the distant mountains would have been sharp, if I had chosen more accurately. I should have tried both, but apparently I thought I had nailed it. Oh well, live and learn, with emphasis on learning!
Sunrise and Fog on the Sangre
On the other hand maybe any photo batch that has one keeper could be considered a success. I was luckier this morning, I made the same mistake but in this case the distant mountains were shrouded in clouds and fog and the lack of sharpness there didn’t adversely affect the image 🙂 So, lesson learned and one keeper to show for it.
The day has devolved into a cloudy windy snowy day, perfect for staying inside snuggled up on the couch buried in puppies. As always, this image and more are available for purchase from my image gallery both as wall art and commercial stock. Hope you will stop in and have a look! New images include beautiful lighting on the south face of Pikes Peak, some mountain landscapes of the Sangre and some shots of elk and deer to round it out!
Almost did it today… just about left my camera at home. It was so gloomy looking this morning that I looked out and almost decided to leave it at home. But, that nagging feeling to bring it along on my training hike today would not let me go so I threw it in the old Dodge just in case. As I was driving towards the trail head I was glad I did because the fog and new snow were making for an interesting looking day.
Elk herd in the snow
I’ve hiked up that mountain dozens of times without ever seeing wildlife so that was one more reason to leave the camera behind, but today as I crested the summit I thought I spotted the telltale ears hidden in the woods off to the south. So I stopped and got out the Canon 70–200 to see if I was things or if there really was an elk in the clearing. Indeed there was, in fact there was an entire herd of them hiding in the shadows of the fog and dark pines of the Pike National Forest. They were a good bit away though which makes a sharp capture a challenge so I knelt down and steadied my camera with my elbow and knee and snapped a couple just to make sure I got something out of the sighting! Then I quietly moved to a better vantage point without the trees obscuring the white elk and acquired a couple more before the beasts noticed me and retreated out of view further into the dense forest.
Pikes Peak on a Colorado winter day
Big Dog and I got in a good training hike and headed around Victor to see what I might see on the other side. Pikes Peak is always putting on a good show from there and today didn’t disappoint. There were some low hanging clouds and fog enveloping the magnificent peak so I stopped to get a few angles on that scene. The fog makes a sharp capture a bit of a challenge, but I hope people will understand when they view the images that I have made for sale on my website, including the two that I have included in this article.
Well, the moral of the story today is a note to myself, never ever leave the camera at home when I am going for a hike. The mountains are always amazing, even on a dreary cloudy Colorado winter morning 🙂
One of the rules of landscape photography is that you shoot right before sunrise or right after sunset or don’t even bother, the lighting won’t be interesting enough to make a decent image. However that rule, along with many others does not apply in the mountains. The mountains alone decide when they want to be photographed, climbed or just plain left alone.
Storm clouds on the Sangre De Cristo
Today was just such a day as sunrise was met with several inches of fresh snow and a layer of dense fog covering the entire area. I was thinking of an early hike with the camera but decided otherwise when I saw the conditions. Some biscuits and gravy at Bronco Billy’s seemed like a much better idea 🙂 However when I came out from breakfast everything was changed… The sun was trying to come out and I could make out some interesting cloud formations in the direction of the Sangre De Cristos so me and Big Dog headed for the trailhead.
The view from the trail summit was amazing, the clearest view I have seen of the mountains yet this winter! And to add to the scene, the storm clouds from the night before were still lingering, floating lazily just below the tops of the magnificent mountain range.
Fresh snow on the Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range of Colorado
So for about an hour I had a window of opportunity to get some of the coolest shots of the season… not at sunrise or sunset, but on mountain timing. On my way home I noticed that the window was closing fast, the Arkansas Valley was rapidly filling with clouds and the mountain range was becoming invisible once again. By the time I got home it was snowing in earnest and the mountains were but a fond memory. I thank the Almighty for the window of opportunity and for making me available to witness it in full glory.
I love Super Sunday, the day gives me a great opportunity to have the mountains to myself 🙂 As the years have gone by I find myself caring less and less about professional sports, and the antics of the overpaid children this year have pretty much plummeted my interest to zero. So this year instead of watching the game today I intend to spend my day outdoors in the company of the mountains and the wildlife.
Misty Sangre De Cristo Mountains
So far the day has been a great one… a beautiful quiet hike to the top of the Little Grouse Mountain Trail and a nice stroll at the base of beautiful Pikes Peak. Interesting the difference in the two views though! If you look towards the southwest there was nothing but clouds and mist and the appearance of a very gloomy and wintry day. However, the view to the north was entirely different… a lovely sun drenched morning on the 14,115 foot summit of magnificent Pikes Peak!
Summit of Pikes Peak in Winter
I’m thinking though, all the clouds and mist may make for an interesting sunset and me and big dog will be heading back out again into the hills south of Cripple Creek to take a gander. I will be bringing my tripod along this time as I’m thinking last time I shot the sunset I didn’t have it and consequently was not able to get the depth of field that I should have. This time I think I’ll set the camera on Aperture Priority with a lens opening of about f11. That might slow my shutter speed down to a second or slower, so I may have to use the remote shutter release as well. But then again, who knows, it might be an ugly sunset and I might not get anything at all!
Rugged Summit of Pikes Peak Colorado in Winter
As always, these images are available for purchase on my website as wall art and gift items. Please click on the links to the left or if you are on a smart phone click the menu button and choose your favorite subject! In addition to prints I have FB pages devoted to wildlife advocacy and another page devoted to mountain sports!