The Three Amigos Emerge and a New Video

Mule Deer Bucks

I finally dared to pass through the dark forest to reach the higher peaks above the treeline on the other side. It was a beautiful morning, warm with no wind, I had nothing else pressing to do and I just went for it. I was hoping to see the dusky grouse that the mountain is apparently named for but I had no such luck. Don’t think I spotted a grouse up there last year either. In fact, I didn’t see anything up there except the grass and the old mines.But on my way down I spotted a deer on top of the ridge looking down at me so I snapped a picture which revealed a buck with fuzz covered antlers . Then another deer appeared so I stopped and attached the 1.4x teleconverter for a little better view. Finally a third buck appeared and I realized I was being treated to a view of my favorite deer trio, “The Three Amigos” as I call them. These three bucks have been roaming the countryside on my favorite mountain for several years now and I was delighted to see them still safe and together.

I wasn’t going to shoot a video but seeing them inspired me to flip the switch on my camera to video mode and shoot a few seconds of footage 🙂 I hope you enjoy the video as much as I do! Unfortunately I didn’t get a good still image of all three together because by the time I got done with the filming they weren’t standing together anymore, but I did get a good shot of two of them looking down from the mountain with great curiosity!

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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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!

Definitely a Wild Day

I have to say… today turned out way better than I thought! First I couldn’t even figure out what to do with my day, so I just sat in my chair with my coffee until the sun was already way too high in the sky. I had some things I wanted to do but I knew there would be way too many people in the mountains on this holiday weekend. So I found myself giving up on doing anything when I finally decided to just take a little hike and check in on the art gallery in Victor.

Fox at Play

A last minute tip from a buddy revealed the location of a fox family in my area, so I went there first and spotted a couple of what appeared to be the two adult foxes still out enjoying the sunshine. I’ll have to try to get there earlier one of these days to see if I can catch the pups before they duck back down into the den for the day. I didn’t stay long, but I did shoot a couple of different angles to try to get the best light, and managed to get a couple captures that I like including this one which is my favorite of the day.

Then it was onward to my hiking trail near Victor

Mule Deer Doe

where I spotted a few deer, a couple of does and a buck. Fortunately they didn’t bolt when they saw me, just calmly wandered through a sunny patch before heading over the ridge into the dense forest.

I went without success this evening to try to view the fox family again, but I was fortunate to witness a red-tailed hawk flyby within easy camera range. He flew past the wrong way first, giving me a chance to check my settings, a 2000th of a second at f/8 with auto ISO with +1.3 exposure compensation turned out to be the right mix! Out of almost 200 exposures, this one (below) turned out to be my favorite. The wings weren’t in the bright sunlight but I captured the catch lights in his eyes perfectly! This one will definitely find it’s way onto my wall somewhere!

Red-tailed Hawk Soaring Overhead

 

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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!

Bluebird of Happiness

After a week of miserable weather including three and a half feet of snow, on this morning the temperature was warm and the sky was blue. The deer and the birds all seemed happy and I got my first glimpse of the “Three Amigos” for the first time in months! Looks like they are starting to get a new set of antlers and doing well! I also caught a glimpse of our red-tailed hawk pair dancing in the sky, unfortunately far beyond the power of my 400mm of focal length.

As I made my way up the steep hill to the summit of Grouse Mountain I could hear song birds singing and I hoped I would get a chance to photograph a some. A pair of mountain bluebirds frolicked together in the grass and eventually landed on a downed tree near me. I put the camera on the monopod and followed the happy pair as they chased each other around the log pile.

On the way back down I stopped to film my very first Instagram Reels. Looks like I have a few things to learn about the process but I’m excited to give it a try. As it turns out, I get the most response from my pictures there and I’m approved for monetization, something that will never happen with my Youtube channel.

Anyway, I have this nice gallery of images from today, hope you enjoy them!

 

If you enjoy the content and would like to make a donation to the cause, please click the button above and select an amount!

Also 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!

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!

Happy Easter From Mine Country

Herd of Does

Happy Easter 2022… I probably should have gone to Easter service at church, but somehow a gathering of people don’t seem to bring me closer to God. I knew my trail would be peaceful today so that is where I went to celebrate my Easter holiday.

I was greeted by this little band of doe mule deer, also apparently enjoying this beautiful quiet morning. I stopped my hike for a half hour or so to take a few pictures and let them pass. They were wanting to go around the fence and I didn’t want to scare them into running straight at it where they would be forced to jump.

Historic Mine Ruins

Eventually they slowly passed, enjoying a bit of mountain grass along they way and I went on in to Victor to see if anything was open for breakfast. Well nothing was open but I again spotted this cool old abandoned structure on the mountainside that I’ve been trying to photograph for some time this year. As I drove through town I caught a glimpse of it that I hadn’t seen before and got to thinking with a long enough lens I might be able to get the capture.

Elk Herd on a Beautiful Rocky Mountain Evening

So I parked my truck and put on the 100-400L and took a walk through town. I couldn’t get the pine trees out of the lower left corner, but the view of the old house was pretty good… if I was patient enough to wait for the wind gusts to stop, the south wind was blowing the flags over my scene most of the time making it impossible to shoot. Finally I got a few seconds of calm and took the shot, 1/1250th of a second at f/5.6 and ISO 320.

I was able to coax a bit more contrast out of the image by converting to monochrome with the Photoshop channel mixer and am fairly pleased with the results. Once summer comes and those branches get leaves on them this image will be impossible until next winter.

I’m happy to report that my books are getting a bit of attention and even today someone read over 50 pages on their Kindle account!

Quite a Day and a Roll of Film

Bitter cold greeted me two days from the official arrival of the Vernal Equinox, otherwise known as spring. One thing is for sure though, spring cannot be counted on in Colorado. So a day of photography that began with an ice scraper and frozen fingers could only get better from there, and a green chili breakfast burrito at the Mountain Burger in Florissant Colorado didn’t hurt 🙂

Frozen South Platte River Valley

Eleven Mile Canyon was also frozen, something I was anticipating and had planned for by bringing my old Canon AE-1 film camera with it’s six remaining frames of black and white film. Bald eagle photography hasn’t been great there lately due to the imminent spring hatch of new eaglets but I figured I could at least get a few shots of the frozen river valley following our spring snowstorm. The frost covered trees and frozen chokecherry bushes along the banks of the South Platte were as beautiful as they were frigid.

Mule Deer in the Brush

As Kevin and I cruised up the river there were no raptors to be seen. It’s about time for the osprey to return so we carefully watched the treetops on the ridge for their appearance, but it seems we will have to wait a bit longer. The literature says they can arrive anytime after the middle of the month and last year I didn’t see them until the end of March and the beginning of April. There were no eagles, but at the bend we spotted a small herd of mule deer so we pulled a little ahead and out of sight so we could sneak back and get a shot of them feeding down by the river. I only captured one clear image of one of the does before they wandered into the dense reeds along the river bank but it felt good to get out and do a bit of shooting, something I haven’t had much luck with lately!

Winter Elk

A few more miles down the road revealed another herd of animals, this time some rarely seen elk making their way down to the river bed. We thought they might be trying to get to the water but it soon became apparent that the reeds along the banks were their target, probably for their breakfast. From the distance we were at it was difficult to get a clear shot of them but I snapped a few anyway just to have a record of the unusual scene. I’m amazed at the awareness of elk, we were probably a hundred yards away on the other side of the river and yet these amazing animals were immediately aware of the vehicle stopping and windows opening.

Horned Lark at Eleven Mile

It didn’t appear that there would be any eagles visiting the canyon this day so we decided to move on to the big reservoir in Eleven Mile State Park where we had good prospects of photographing the herd of pronghorn antelope. A curious flock of small birds followed the truck as we proceeded along the road through the park. I wanted to get a bit ahead of these interesting little feathered visitors but they wouldn’t allow it. Each time the truck got close to catching up with them they moved further ahead. Finally I stopped to see if maybe they would come back within camera range. Sure enough, when the truck stopped they stopped and I was able to shoot out the window. I wasn’t confident that I’d get a usable image of the tiny birds but I hoped I would at least get a good enough picture for Merlin to identify.

Winter PronghornAnd as it turns out, my Merlin app identified the flock as horned lark, a lifetime first sighting for me! This particular specimen appears to be the less brightly colored female of the species.

Soon we spotted the main subject of this visit, a small herd of pronghorn antelope making their way through the snow. Unfortunately there was nowhere to hide and the furtive creatures spotted us right away and began to move further away. It’s difficult to get a compelling image of an animal that is moving away and showing you it’s hindquarters, but luckily they stopped few times to look back to see if we were following them. Our long lenses and 1.4x teleconverters came in handy to get good shots of the swift little ungulates.

American Bison in the Snow

By this time the sun was high in the sky and the lighting situation on the bright snow was nearly impossible. But a lone bison walking through the snow with the mountains of the Pike National Forest in the background was too tempting to avoid. I dialed in a stop and a half of exposure compensation to account for the dark animal on the bright white snow and did the best I could. With a bit of Photoshop help I was able to bring out some detail in the animal, probably creating my favorite image of the day mostly just because it was a buffalo. They are such amazing majestic creatures it would be hard not to like a picture of them!

To top off an amazing day, I was successful in shooting the remaining frames of my black and white film so I hope to make a trip down to the city to submit the roll for processing. Mike’s Camera still develops film on site, a rare thing these days so I plan to take it there. Since I use Ilford HP5 black and white film, it will be possible to develop it there with their C41 processing system. Apparently some black and white films need to be sent to the main lab in Boulder, still a reasonable turnaround time compared to some places that take weeks to get your film done these days!

I will be placing many more images from today on my website and my Instagram account so please feel free to follow my progress on both of these platforms!

Frozen South Platte River

 

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!

Bald Eagles and the Spring Thaw

The ice continues to clear on the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon. Just a few weeks ago we were commenting on how much of the river was frozen solid and now most of the river is open and running fast. Mama eagle is still sitting on eggs at the canyon entrance and hopefully we’ll have eaglets to watch in a couple weeks!

Herd of Mule Deer

Unfortunately I didn’t see any eagles in the usual locations despite cruising up and down the canyon three times. I was fortunate however to spot a nice herd of mule deer does and a few American dippers. Eventually I gave up and was on my way out of the canyon for the final time when I spotted one of our nesting pair watching over the river about a half mile in, at the wide point in the clearing just before the whitewater just south of the old dam structure.

American Dippers in the South Platte

I sat and watched him or over an hour while I took pictures of his antics and waited for him to fly. I also shot some video but somehow managed to delete it 😦 I thought I had learned not to format the memory chip until after I was sure I had what I needed from it and had backed it up, but apparently that is not the case 😦

Eventually, when my arms and hands were exhausted from holding up the camera and long lens, the eagle finally decided to fly. And of course by then my hands were so cramped that I failed to hold down the back AF button and failed to keep a focus lock on the great raptor as he flew right at me in a perfect photo op. Shots I did get as the bird launched from the tree were good, but the background of tangled branches was quite hideous and there is nothing I can do to make it look better.

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

I did get one with the sky as the background but unfortunately there are no catch lights in the eyes, ruining the image as far as I’m concerned. Without seeing the fierce life in the eyes of the winged predator the image is a failure.

Today snow is falling furiously and I won’t be getting out on the roads for another attempt. Anyway, we have discovered that eagles don’t like bad weather and will most likely be riding out the storm in the shelter of their nests.

The good news is that our beloved osprey could be arriving any day now! The literature says that they can be expected anywhere from the middle to the end of the month. Last spring the first of our pair arrived on March 31st with his partner arriving the next day. Of course it’s possible that they arrived together and I just didn’t see them both. I’ve never gotten a firm answer on whether or not they travel together or just meet at their chosen breeding location.

Sorry about the video, but I hope you enjoy the few pictures I was able to capture!

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

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!

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

Snowshoes and the Three Amigos

Snowy Sangre

It was a perfect morning for an outing… 20 degrees with deep snow from the last few days of snowstorms. At the trailhead it was obvious that snowshoes were going to be required for today’s trek so I dug them out of the back of the truck and examined them to see how a year of neglect had treated them. Fortunately they were in great shape, one of the buckles was loose so I had to readjust it and refit  the straps.

Three Bucks in Deep Snow

It was a long tough slog to the top of the ridge but the climb through the deep snow in the shade of Hell Hill was the worst of it so I pressed on. The Sangre de Cristo Range was beautiful from the overlook, the golden light of the morning sun was still giving them a bit of color so I had to stop to add a few images to my collection of about a million pictures of the magnificent range. I was hoping to see the elk herd on the summit resting by the edge of the forest but there wasn’t one track in the snow. The elk must have found some far away corner of the woods to shelter from the snow. There were no tracks of any kind, not even a deer on the summit but as I was on my way back down I spotted motion out of the corner of my eye.

I dropped my trekking pole and quick lifted the big 400mm lens to my eye to see what was moving through the woods. I quickly ascertained that it was a buck… followed soon by another and another. It was the Three Amigos looking very strong. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them!

 

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!

Great Looking Wildlife

Mule Deer After the Snow

Had a pretty good couple of days photographing wildlife. We had a good snow the other day so I had to go out in it of course. I usually have pretty good luck finding deer to take pictures of and this time was no different! Found this beautiful buck foraging for food in the snow. He spotted me and looked me over for a little bit and then went back to eating so I guess I wasn’t bothering him too much.

The star of the day was this little mountain chickadee though. He was bouncing around on the branches in front of me  so it was fairly difficult to get a shot of him sitting still but I did get a couple!

Also had pretty good luck at Eleven Mile Canyon, saw one eagle and this little herd of mule deer who graciously posed for me while I took all the combinations of images I could think of!

 

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

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!

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee