Blood Moon and Winter is Upon Us

Blood Moon

Just doing a little catching up… I haven’t been doing many blog posts or getting any videos done lately, I was pushing hard to get my book (Storm Warning) done by Thanksgiving in time for the holiday season! So… I did manage to get the book published in both eBook and paperback form. I’m still waiting for my author copies to arrive in he mailso I can approve it for worldwide distribution including Barnes and Noble.

I didn’t think I was going to get any pictures of the blood moon last month, but it turned out that I awoke at 4:00 a.m. and the moon was setting right in front of my front door. So I just grabbed the camera and

Fog and Snow

snapped a few shots! I’ll admit, I’m not very good at shooting the moon and stars and I don’t really have the equipment for it, but I try. This time my strategy was to use a fast shutter speed to see if I could overcome the effects of both the earth and the moon hurtling through space while rotating.

Lots of people have different theories about what the blood moon could mean, I took it as a sign that winter was approaching 🙂 It turns out I was probably more right than anyone, as winter did actually arrive shortly thereafter! In fact, we are getting snow and fog even as we speak! I went out this morning hoping to see some wildlife in the mist, but no luck. I snapped a couple shots just to have a record of the first measurable snow, but they aren’t anything to shout about. But I do hope you enjoy the scenery

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

Rocky Mountain National Park Collection

This year’s photo adventure to the Rocky Mountain National Park was extraordinary, so much so that I’ve decided to add a new collection just for the park into my website. Included in this collection are my favorite landscape images of the lakes and mountains, including Trail Ridge Road, Sprague Lake, Bear Lake, moose, elk, Moraine Park and much more. Also included are sunsets, sunrises, weather, winter, summer and autumn. Check back often as I’m still adding images as quickly as I can from this trip where almost 3000 captures were added to my vast collection of images! The Rocky Mountain National Park Collection can be viewed by click the link!

 

 

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
 

Finally Eagle Catches Fish

Red-winged Blackbirds

I’ve been trying for years to capture an image of a bald eagle actually catching a fish and yesterday it finally happened 🙂 A morning at Manitou Lake worked out and an early arrival time was scheduled. Unfortunately the gate wasn’t open yet so entering the park required a bit of a hike from a nearby unofficial parking lot but the morning was still young when we arrived at a likely vantage point for some good photography. Picture taking was off to a good start with some awesome captures of a female red-winged black bird, busily gathering cattail fuzz for her nest followed by the arrival of a few great blue herons.

Bald Eagle at Manitou Lake

Soon it was time for the arrival of the osprey that have been coming to the lake at the same time every day on their morning fishing trip. Unfortunately the osprey seem to have changed their schedule and have decided not to oblige us. It was beginning to look like another photo bust at the lake when suddenly a bald eagle flew in and circled the lake. Soon our National Bird was making a dive at the water, a bit far for a good capture but I readied my camera anyway. A 1600th of a second shutter time, f/8 and auto ISO seemed like good settings for an eagle gliding in for a catch.

Suddenly there was a splash and the mighty raptor was on it’s way with a good sized trout. I kept my lens trained on the approaching predator with my thumb on the back button focus, and kept shooting away. The bird was so small in the frame that it wasn’t really possible at the time to discern whether I was successful, but I was elated that I had actually witnessed the event!

Garden of the Gods

Then it was on to Woodland Park and Colorado Springs for supplies and to shoot the remaining frames of black and white film with my Canon A-1 film camera. I turned off at Manitou Springs to take the back way through Garden of the Gods in hopes of a worthy subject for my six frames of Ilford B&W film. Plus they are building a round about at the west entrance and I wanted to see if it was possible yet to get past the mess on 30th Street. Well, it is not, you can go across to the visitor center but it still isn’t possible to go north. Fontenaro Street to the south is the best route to Colorado Springs proper from the Garden. Before leaving however, I stopped for a few captures of the new leaves of springtime at the visitor center with my A-1 film camera and also a few with my 24-105 wide angle on the 90D using a polarizer.

Here are a few more images from the lake which can be counted on to provide a variety of bird species and color, hope you enjoy them!

 

And don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon!

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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The Snow is Getting Deep

Deep snow on the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado

I was surprised when I arrived at the trailhead this morning to find nothing but pristine unbroken snow for me to plow through with my snowshoes. It didn’t take long to discover why I was the first in a while to attempt the steep climb. Most people hiking in the area don’t use snowshoes or cross country skis and today the snow was far too deep for hiking boots. It looked like a few deer had been walking around on the mountain but for the most part it appears that any sensible creatures have abandoned the local peaks for more hospitable territory.

Deep snow on the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado

All signs indicate the elk herd has returned to the mountain as there were a lot of elk sized hoof prints leading from the grassy south side of the mountain where all the snow has blow away, around the mountain and into the forest. Hopefully I’ll get there early enough one day to see them and get pictures. I’ve seen them from a distance but haven’t been able to get any pictures since last fall when they departed the high ground for their winter shelter below.

The trip up the mountainside was tough but the trip back down the other side was even tougher! The snow was a good foot and a half deep on the backside of the mountain and at one point I managed to slip off the packed trail beneath the new snow, landing me face down in a deep drift… camera first. Eventually I struggled back to my feet where I was able to brush the snow off the camera and lens before any moisture was able to make it’s way past the weather seals to the inner workings. Now that I’m back home the camera is drying out with the batteries out and doors open just to make sure that there won’t be any moisture damage.

I was captivated by the ripples in the wind blown drifts so I tried a couple of shots to see if I could capture the texture. I think a wide angle from a very low perspective would have done a better job of capturing the scene, but unfortunately I didn’t have one along with me. Perhaps next time I’ll take my 24-105mm lens along instead of the long lens. Of course that will be the time I  see the elk herd! I don’t think I want to carry my whole pack, it was hard enough to keep my balance in the deep snow and to extricate myself from the depths after the fall!

Well anyway, I eventually made it to the bottom of the mountain and around to the south side where the snow isn’t as deep and other hikers have packed a trail. I have plans of snowshoeing the trail to the higher peaks this season, but for now my legs were really happy to be back at the truck! Next week we are due to add significantly to the snow pack, perhaps I’ll try that then!

 

Deep snow on the Sangre de Cristo Range of Colorado

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!

Storm clouds following a big Colorado winter snowstorm.

Gathering Storm and A Pano

I checked my weather app while drinking my morning coffee and it said snow was on the way. In the pre-dawn darkness I couldn’t tell if anything of interest was going on down the valley but it didn’t matter, I was going hiking anyway. I fired up the truck just as the sun was clearing the ridge to the east and a short time later I saw the massive fog bank completely filling the Arkansas Valley. A few of the taller peaks in the valley protruded above the sea of white, creating an enticing scene that I expected to be photographing at the overlook.

But it was still too dark when I arrived at the overlook. I’ve been down that road before, the camera is completely confused by the fog before the sun turns it into it’s customary bright white color. I shoot raw but even with that tremendous amount of latitude the fog always seems to come out with an ugly greenish tint. So I decided to keep going on to the trailhead. I figured by the time I made it to the top of the ridge the sun would be shining a bit and the fog would be easier to photograph.

Gathering Storm on the Sangre de Cristo

My timing was perfect too, by the time I arrived the light was starting to color the western sky and the Sangre de Cristo range to the west was beautifully lit. I snapped a few images of parts of the mountains before ultimately deciding uon a panorama. After a couple of meter readings I settled on manual mode with a 320th of a second, ISO 160 and f/8 for an aperture. Of course I fiddled with the settings a bit as I examined the rear LCD, but that was the starting point.

I was also hoping for some pictures of the mines but by then the interesting light was gone and the sky and fog were just an uninteresting white. But it’s Ok, I’m really happy with the pano!

 

 

Gathering Storm on the Sangre de Cristo

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.

Trying the New Lightroom Masking

As always, as I poured my morning coffee I glanced down the valley toward the Sangre de Cristo Range to see what kind of a day I would encounter. The range was cloud capped and amazing looking in the alpenglow as the sun rose in the east. The cold front is taking forever to arrive but I could see the clouds on the mountains might be of interest on this day, along with my two other goals which were a sensor cleaning and a bit of time in front of the desktop trying to figure out the new ACR and Lightroom masking tools.

Storms on the Sangre

After yesterday’s photo session over the Sangre it became apparent that my sensor was very dirty. Dozens of dust spots became painfully obvious as I dragged the dehaze slider to the right in my attempt to create some detail in the early morning layer of haze. The auto dust shaking feature of my 90D failed to dislodge the dust so I went for my cleaning kit. I have learned to start with the least invasive treatment first so I got out the jet blower and set the camera to manual clean which locks up the mirror to provide access to the sensor. I turned the camera upside down and squeezed the tool a few times hoping the puffs of air would be sufficient to unseat the offending dust particles. Fortunately this time the blower was enough, I would not need the cleaning solution and pads… something that always makes me nervous!

Storms on the Sangre

I was tired today so there would be no hiking on Hell Hill, but I did stop at the overlook to snap a few shots of the clouds building on the magnificent mountain range. As long as I was this close to Victor it also seemed like a fine day for a visit at the Gold Camp Bakery for some biscuits and gravy 🙂 By the time I was making my return trip clouds had completely enveloped the peaks so I just headed for home to get on the computer.

I have been struggling with the new masking tools for a while, even after watching several videos on their usage. I usually don’t make much mention in my blog posts of Photoshop techniques, there are plenty of people with far more expertise than I have in making detailed videos on how to use all the features of this astounding software package. However this is one of those times when a simple sentence can be more valuable than a hundred twenty minute videos.

The issue I was having was with making more than one mask on an image. No matter what I tried, including the new intersect feature, adding a second mask appeared to override the original mask. Finally yesterday the light bulb turned on and I understood what was going on, I was thinking in two dimensions instead of three. So here’s how it works… think of each new mask as a new layer. On the above images the sky and mountains were too light and the foreground was too dark. So step one, click the new masking icon in Camera Raw which shows up as a wheel just under the spot removal tool. This opens the new tool palette that includes all the old tools plus the amazing new sky and subject selection tools.

I wanted to use the linear gradient tool to gradually darken down the sky and mountains so I clicked the linear gradient button and pulled the tool down from the top until I was satisfied with the mask coverage. From there you can make any number of adjustments to the masked area and I decided upon a little highlight reduction, an increase in blacks and a slight increase in the color  temperature.

Then I wanted to work on the dark forest in the lower left of the image so I clicked “new mask” and then luminance range. I then just clicked on the dark area and luckily the forest was successfully masked. I was then able to adjust the exposure up a bit and increase that color temperature separately from the sky adjustment in the other mask. The adjustments I had made to the sky and mountains in the lower layer remained just as I had previously set them. If you need to make minor adjustments to the masks you can just click the mask and do an add or subtract at which time you can select brush or any number of other options to brush in more masking or brush out a spot that may have overshot your intentions in places.

Now all you have to do is hit the open button and the completely adjusted image becomes available in full Photoshop. I used the new masking tools in Camera Raw, but the interface in Lightroom is almost identical. Weeks of struggle are at an end with that simple understanding of multiple layers of masking. One of these days now I will dig into the intersect concept and report on that in another blog. Anyway, I hope you find this helpful and I’ll get back to you when this cold front finally arrives and the snow begins to fly!

 

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.

Cold Morning and a Panorama

Red-tailed Hawk in Flight

Cold, gloomy and windy… kind of like every morning these days. I was the first to reach the trailhead so I had high hopes of spotting some wildlife. I had seen a few herds of deer on my way but they were all grazing in the dark shadows of the trees, far too little light and scenery for a nice picture so I didn’t want to delay my arrival at the trailhead. As I neared the summit I heard the signature screech of the red-tailed hawk. I was in the trees so I couldn’t see him but I readied my camera for a bird in flight image just in case. A 1600th of a second shutter speed, F5.6 and the ISO on auto. Amazingly he did float into view and I was able to snap a couple of sharp images. Unfortunately I had forgotten to adjust the exposure compensation and underexposed the image about a stop. With Photoshop and Topaz DeNoise and GigaPixel however, I was able to make a good enough image for Instagram!

Snow covered Collegiate Peaks Colorado

As I cleared the forest I noticed a bit of morning light falling on the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Range and hoped that it would still be so when I reached the overlook. It was not to be, but by that time the band of light shining through the dense clouds to the east was shining on the Collegiate Peaks, far in the distance to the west. As a single image from that distance it wasn’t a real exciting view so I decided to try a panorama. I had left my tripod in the truck so all I had was my monopod to steady the camera, not the ideal situation for a panorama… but I tried it anyway.

I have Custom Function C2 set up for panorama shooting so I dialed in the settings and fired off a test shot. A little underexposed so I increased my ISO from 100 to 200 which turned out to be just about right, my histogram showed data all the way across the spectrum. So I was ready, a 320th of a second at F7.1 for this shot. I might ordinarily shoot with F11 for better depth of field but these mountains were so far away that most everything was going to be beyond infinity anyway so F7.1 was about right for the light and ISO 200.

Snow covered Collegiate Peaks Colorado

Seven horizontal images were required to span the scene so my original is something like 111 inches across! I cut that down to 60 inches for the upload to my website in order to comply with the size constraint of the server!

Well anyway, it was a pretty good morning, got some good exercise, some valuable time of solitude in nature and the screech of the red-tail is always a treat! I’m hoping for a more extensive week though, a trip up to Waterton to see the bighorn sheep may be in the cards if all goes right 🙂

 

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.

 

The Gathering Storm

Fog in the Valley

One sure sign of approaching weather is a massive fog bank filling the Arkansas River Valley at the base of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range of Colorado. I never miss a chance to photograph this beautiful weather phenomenon and this day was no different. Each morning over coffee I peer out my front window down the valley towards the Sangre range to see what kind of day is going to develop. I knew from the forecast that weather was coming in and from my limited view I could see that I had better grab my camera and hit the road!

Fog in the Valley

This particular morning was so fantastic that I had to make two passes just to take it all in. There was a great view of the action from my usual vista point along Highway 67 but I knew that I was also going to have to drive on up to Victor where at the mine entrance there would be a view from higher up. Some days I call it good at that point and go on in to the Gold Camp Bakery for coffee, but on this day another pass was going to be necessary in order to catch the panorama available from the overlook on the Cripple Creek side. Eventually I was confident that I had adequately captured the magnificent scene and that breakfast was well deserved!

The impending snowstorm never really developed though, a few flakes lazily drifting out of the alpine air was all we got for this round but I’m sure that it won’t be long and we will be experiencing a lot more winter white!

 

Fog in the Valley

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.

First Snow on the Sangre de Cristo

First Snow on the Sangres

The weather report showed a completely average morning today… sun shining, a little chilly… but generally a nice autumn mountain morning. It was a struggle to psyche myself up to take my camera out in such an average morning… but I did it. As usual on the ride to the trailhead I took a glance  toward the Sangre de Cristo range expecting to see the same smoke obscured view that we’ve been seeing all summer. Much to my surprise the magnificent range has received a blanket of new snow and the air was as crisp and clear over the Arkansas Valley as it ever has been!

First Snow on the Sangres

I drove a little faster knowing I was going to be treated to a stunning mountain vista at the top of the ridge. And indeed it was, I stopped for a good half hour to make sure the camera had gathered it all in 🙂 I also took a quick jaunt through the woods hoping for an elk herd on the other side, but I guess all the great beasts were all hiding from the wind in the tranquil valley below.

First Snow on the Sangres and Mine Country

Quick trip up Victor Pass to view Pikes Peak wasn’t as interesting… there was little snow on the massive peak and no clouds to create an interesting picture. However the view from there in the other direction was something to behold… the old historic mines against the fresh snow of the Sangre de Cristo was incredible. And I have to say I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anyone capture this particular view of the  area!

Confident that I had enough imagery to make a good story for today, I decided upon the Phantom Canyon Coffee Shop for a nice cup of coffee and an apple fritter. This may well be my favorite coffee shop, and a place I’ll be spending some time out of the cold this winter! The atmosphere is great, the coffee even better and the barista friendly and helpful. If you can get to Victor Colorado, I recommend you stop in!

First Snow on the SangresAs 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.