Free Range Cattle

Free Range Cattle in the Rockies

Not a fan of free range cattle. They make a mess out of public land and get our wolves killed and I think if the ranchers want to have cattle they should have their own land to put them on. But… on this day the cattle made a pretty nice picture. My bull was back but today he paid no attention to me and the big dog at all.

Also saw a nice herd of deer up on the top of the mountain and I thought this one was especially cute 🙂 Christmas is closing in fast, but up here in the mountains life goes on unchanged. The animals don’t seem to know there is holiday coming and I imagine the day will pretty much come and go without my notice as well.

Cute Mule Deer Doe

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No Bull

Lol, yup… No bull today, the surly beast has moved off the trail and on to another part of the forest. The coast was clear and we hiked to the summit and the high meadow where I always hope to see some wildlife. I don’t always see wildlife there, but today was a good day. As we crested the summit I scanned the edge of the wilderness for any animals that might be enjoying the clearing and the sun. Today there were two

Twin Bucks in the Snow

beautiful buck mule deer just standing there looking at me and the big dog trying to ascertain our intentions. I snapped a couple right away, my strategy for making sure I at least get some record of the sighting. Then we moved in behind a grove of trees hoping the big males wouldn’t notice. Turned out to be a good strategy, when I looked around a big aspen tree trunk I saw that the stags had not moved an inch. Using the tree to steady my camera I snapped a few more using various shutter and focus settings before calling it good. By the time we got back around the trees the pair of bucks had disappeared into the wilderness to the west.

We also saw a herd of elk, but they were in a terrible location right at the top of a ridge in shade with bright sunlight behind them. I took a few pictures anyway but I’m sure they didn’t turn out. I’ll take a look at them later to see if they can be salvaged with some creative cropping or something.

The Sunny Side Trail

Sunnyside Trail

Been slightly interested for some time now in a trail I hadn’t yet explored… but not really interested enough to actually follow it. Today was the same, thought about it but decided to climb to the summit instead, hoping for the occasional elk or deer sighting in the high meadow. However as we got a few yards down the trail, Big Dog and I were met by a sweet looking free range cow followed closely by another one. Big Dog is pretty curious about cows and I knew it would be an ordeal to get past them but we pressed on anyway. Until of course we encountered the bull. Now I’m pretty sure he’s a friendly bull and Big Dog really wanted to meet him but I was thinking otherwise. So we stood still a second to see if maybe Mr. Bull would like to get off the trail and let us by, but soon he was striding toward us so the big dog and I hightailed it for the trailhead gate. I’m sure he was a friendly bull but you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to find out otherwise! And as you can see, Mr. Bull followed us all the way to the gate!

Free Range Bull

So with no way past Mr. Bull on my usual trail, the decision was made to try the Sunny Side Trail. It’s an easy trail that doesn’t particularly go anywhere interesting, but there were some nice views of the Sangre and Big Grouse Mountain from a couple of the overlook points. Also I have been noticing a curious aspect of my views of the Sangre de Cristo Range lately. From a point on the way to my overlooks the mountain range looks huge, then from the overlook it doesn’t look quite as huge. So on one of my trips over to Victor I watched the mountain range carefully and I noticed that there are two parts to it. There is a section of higher mountains to the south, a notch thingy in the middle and then a smaller section of mountains to the north side of the range. Unfortunately from all my favorite overlooks the big side of the range is blocked by the mountains surrounding me. The place where I can see the big ones is a crappy view with houses and power lines, not worth trying to get a picture.

Mystical Sangre de CristoThe good news is that from the Sunny Side Trail there is an awesome view past the east side of the Big Grouse Mountain and down to the big half of the mountain range. So on this day I was finally able to finally get a decent shot of the bigger Sangre de Cristo peaks :) However I still need to get down to Westcliffe for a closer look!

Today however I’m just really tired and seem to be more tired every day. Think maybe until the New Year turns over I will spend some time at the computer screen. There is no point uploading prints at this point with Christmas so close. However once the new year begins there will be a wave of stock image buying and I can use this time to get caught up on my uploads there. It’s been a long time since I really put any effort into Alamy, my highest paying stock agency but they have recently been making a push to add some photographer friendly features that I have been really enjoying the last few weeks. For example they have created this awesome portfolio page that we can customize and use for promotion 🙂 Some of my oldest images are in this agency which is not necessarily a profitable thing, but it is kind of fun to go back and see the origins of my stock photo business!

I know everyone has already blown their budget on Christmas but just in case, these images and more are now for sale as wall art and cool gift and household items on my website! If you like these images and are a fan of mountains and wildlife, please give it a look! Also I have recently created a new gallery called “Deer in Snow” which I have made quite a bit of progress with lately.

A Gold Mine

Well I guess sometimes it pays to be a bit run down and too worn out to do anything outdoors. As a result I am sitting here at my computer screen looking over past photo shoots for pictures that I may have overlooked. As it turns out 2009 and 2010 were fairly chaotic years, my wife had been diagnosed with cancer and we were forced to massively downsize and prepare for a relocation. In addition there was some chaos in the stock photo industry as well, Getty had purchased iStock and was busy wrecking the place while at the same time software and digital camera technology were improving with the speed of light. That might account for why many of these images have never been processed and uploaded anywhere.

Pair of Winter Bucks

But I was thinking at least I would have uploaded the very best ones to Alamy but as I was looking back through my photo submissions at there I noticed one missing picture in particular… this vertical shot of these two bucks. This of course got me quite curious as to why it was missing and I discovered that basically the entire year was missing. In fact three years are missing! Well anyway, these were shot with my 10 megapixel Canon 40D, which was brand new at the time, and an amazing piece of equipment as far as I was concerned! Fortunately back up disk technology was also improving and these were all saved and tucked safely away for me to find them this week 🙂

I still vividly remember the day I shot these pictures, a beautiful morning following a Winter Buck Mule Deerweek of late winter storms. I was hiking through the woods and as I came over a little hill there were these two bucks grazing on scrub oak bark. They spotted me and much to my surprise they moved together and approached me for a closer look. Of course I hiked in those woods all the time so those particular deer were used to my presence, but I was amazed at how the scene unfolded. They moved together and walked towards me finally stopping at a safe distance and posing in this perfect pose. I could not have gotten people to cooperate like this on my best day!

Well anyway, This picture and many more are now for sale on my website, you can see all the snowy deer in my new gallery devoted specifically to deer in the snow!

Elk Mountain

Today as always, I crested the ridge with anticipation… There is always something amazing to behold up there. And today did not disappoint, a whole herd of elk just resting in the sun and the snow at the edge of the Colorado Rocky Mountain wilderness. I knew I wasn’t going to get close so it was my hope that I could get the best shot possible from the distance I found myself. I managed to get inside an abandoned mine building without the animals noticing me. From there I was able to hide and steady my long lens on the windowsill and shoot at will.

Elk Herd Resting

Some of the massive beasts were in the meadow at the top while others had not made the complete climb yet and were grazing on the deep mountain grass on the east mountainside in the sunshine. And what an amazing morning it was, the bitter cold of recent storms has resided and has been replaced with a beautiful sunny warm morning, probably in the 20’s 🙂

Since there was no way the animals were going to let me get anywhere near them and they seemed to be so enjoying the sunshine, I didn’t have the heart to disturb them. So instead of continuing along the trail and forcing them to run I decided to just turn back. On my way down I did circle the east side of the mountain to see if I could get a closer view, but to no avail. So Big Dog and I just called it a day and headed for breakfast.

Elk Herd Grazing on the Mountain

These images and more are now available for purchase on my website as wall art and cool household and gift items. Just click on the link and then click on the gallery / subject that you would like to browse. Click on the image you like to bring up product options and pricing!

A Dusting of Snow

Don’t know what it is… can’t resist going out in new snow, even if it is only a dusting! A new layer of white can completely change the photography landscape, turning an ordinary brown mountainside into a magical winter wonderland. So when I looked out my window this morning and saw the snow and the storm clouds enveloping the Sangre de Cristo mountain range,  there was no doubt where I would be today!

Storm Brewing on the Sangre de Cristo

 

How Could I Not Take the Picture

Storm Brewing on the Sangre de Cristo

I was looking over my portfolio this morning and was thinking, “I have too many pictures of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, better stop shooting them for a while.” But then I came over the ridge and saw this view! All thoughts about not photographing the Sangre vanished in an instant and I just started shooting. How could I not photograph something this magnificent! It seems another storm is moving in and the first place I get to see the evidence is over the Sangre range.  The slight hint of color from the early morning sun only added to the stunning beauty of these mountains this morning.

Also saw a trio of doe deer foraging for food on the mountainside which needed some photography! These were some of the cutest faces I’ve seen in a while. They appear to be pretty young. Fortunately they didn’t just run, stopping to pose for a few minutes before disappearing over the ridge 🙂

Trio of Deer in the Wilderness

These pictures and more are now available as wall art and cool gift items on my website so if you are inclined to give the gift of art for Christmas, please take a look!