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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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!

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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!

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Quite an Assortment

I’ve seen quite an assortment of critters at the Canyon lately! My latest trip was pretty much centered on the bald eagles, and a cute little family of Canada geese… there isn’t anything much cuter than the little yellow goslings following behind their mother! However recently I’ve seen cormorants, a white faced ibis, great blue heron, eagles, red-tailed hawks, beaver, deer, American dippers, robins, and a ton of little sparrows that are hard to identify without referring to Merlin, my bird ID app from Corning University. Anyway, I just wanted to put them all in one place in this cute little gallery 🙂 Also be sure to view the video of our rapidly growing eaglet!

 

 

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!

Awesome Video of the Bald Eagles

Check this cool video with closeups of bald eagles, and other raptors in Eleven Mile Canyon. Also some cute goslings and a red-tailed hawk! Just click this link to watch the video on my YouTube channel ! Watch as mother eagle heads out to hunt for food and the still capture of her bringing home the bacon!

Bald Eagle

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.

 

Coming to Life

Raptors at Eleven Mile CanyonEleven Mile Canyon is coming back to life! I had an awesome visit to the canyon this morning… almost no campers and fishermen, a hint of the familiar bone chilling cold and and a return of the bald eagles to the banks of the South Platte River. I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the baldie but I had a couple of good opportunities with the red-tail and the osprey. It seems that a big red-tailed hawk has claimed the territory between the foot bridge and the bend, but I’m sure he will relent once the eagles return when the lakes are frozen over.

I was able to spot both the osprey and the red-tail in good position for a shot and they both cooperated by flying down from the high branches right towards me 🙂 The only problem was that the branches in the background have made for quite the ugly background, which I have done my best with Photoshop to mitigate.

Hope you enjoy today’s pictures, and looking forward to many more as the ice takes over my world!

 

Raptors at 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!

This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.

Ospreys Staying Extra Long

Made a visit to Eleven Mile Canyon with no particular goal in mind other than to see what the upper reaches are like in autumn. I’ve spent time at the entry to the park watching the osprey nest but it has been a very long time since I have actually been all the way through in autumn.

Osprey in Eleven Mile Canyon

I was a bit early in the season for peak color along the banks of the South Platte but it was nice and cool along the river and still picturesque. As I passed the first tunnel and entered into the prime territory for hawks and eagles I spotted a huge bird in a tree right beside the road. Being a bit out of practice I pulled up way too close and by the time I got my camera ready for bird photography the handsome raptor was already on his way to the next tree.

I did catch a couple images of him as he watched me and then flew away again, but they were in shadow where as if I had gotten the first image he would have been brightly lit in the glorious light of the early morning sunshine 😦 As it was the shots I got required massive noise reduction as they required ISO 12,800 to freeze motion on the great bird as he took flight.

Osprey in Eleven Mile Canyon

As I drove upstream I soon spotted another large raptor in a dead tree along the water. Much to my surprise it was one of our osprey pair, still in the area a full month after their expected departure in late August. This fellow was very active on this morning and he entertained me for about an hour as I followed his exploits up and down the stream. Later I also saw his mate watching from high above on a tree near the top of the ridge.

Eventually the osprey and other raptors caught the warm air currents of this beautiful autumn morning and drifted ever higher and finally out of the range of my camera.

Hunting the Hawks

Red-tailed Hawk in FlightOr hawks hunting… Could go either way! I was out early this morning hoping to photograph some red-tailed hawks but this was beyond expectations! As I rounded the curve outside of Victor I spotted a red-tail hunting in a grassy wetland area so I quietly pulled closer hoping to get a shot… Much to my surprise though, it wasn’t one hawk, there were at least four of them circling and diving down to the grass, for some kind of rodent I assume! I wasn’t quick enough to catch any of them on the ground but it wasn’t long and a couple of them were perched in the nearby trees where I could get close.

I set my camera to shutter priority mode (Tv) on a 2000th of a second. As usual I left the ISO on auto to ensure enough light for the capture and then dialed in +2 on the exposure compensation to account for the bright Colorado sky.

The intrepid raptors eyeballed me for a few minutes and then took flight for a better view. There was a breeze on this morning so the great birds were having no trouble staying afloat right above me. One managed to remain almost stationary right above me as he looked down assessing my presence. I was able to snap off about a hundred images before they drifted ever higher into the blue Colorado sky.

Red-tailed Hawk in FlightAs 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 Joy of Shooting Film

The goal today was to finish my roll of film that I have been shooting through my new / vintage film camera that I found at a  thrift store, a Canon AE-1. I was going to run into town with the camera and shoot a couple of  random pictures to round out my 36 exposures, but I decided upon a trip out to the canyon instead. The bulk of the tourists leave after the holiday weekend so I was kind of hoping the wildlife had settled down and reappeared along the banks of the beautiful South Platte River.

Great Blue Heron

Things have definitely settled down in the canyon, only a hand full of campers remain and it looked like they were packing up. There are always fishermen, even in the dead of winter but there weren’t the giant trucks roaring up and down the dirt road stirring up huge clouds of dust.

Didn’t see much on the drive up the canyon, but I wanted to stop somewhere and make a video so I kept an eye out for a good place to do that. Having spotted a nice private spot along the banks of the river I gathered up my gear and walked down to the river. Much to my surprise as I was getting ready I spotted a great blue heron fishing only about 30 yards from me! I quick snapped a few images, but I managed to scare him away trying to adjust my pants and missed the coveted flight image 😦

Eventually I completed my little talk about the Canon AE-1 film camera that I found at the thrift shop a few weeks ago and took a few shots with it. At first the experience seemed a bit hollow, I’m used to shooting digital and looking at the screen after each series. But I soon fell into the groove and began to enjoy the experience. In film photography you have to slow down and really think about what you are doing. Careful consideration of your shutter speed and aperture are required, you have to make every shot count. With my Canon 90D digital I can burn up 36 exposures in three seconds followed by a quick check of the results and another three second burst. Frequently I find myself shooting six or seven hundred captures in a day along the river, while today I had to make my last six film frames count.

Red-tailed Hawk

So I whiled away my time looking at the river imagining the picture I wanted to capture, how much motion in the water do I want to see, how much depth of field am I going to need… Which lens is going to give me the coverage that I want, what to leave in, what to leave out. Finally I am ready and click, there it is. Did it  turn out, I don’t know… I’ll find out in two weeks! But there is something about the click, the sound of the antique shutter, the slap of the mirror, the sound of the film advance lever. Somehow I feel like a real photographer, not just the operator of a highly advance machine.

However I know I won’t be going back to shooting film exclusively… One day I calculated what my expenses would be if I were to be conducting my stock photo business with film, the film and developing cost alone would be running me about $1500 per month and that doesn’t even include the cost of high res scans that would be required for the uploads.

However I did enjoy the experience enough to pick up another roll of 35mm film at the store where I dropped off the film. Although I may have jumped the gun on that purchase, the camera seems to work fine, but it is 40 years old and I’m not even sure it is going to work, and I won’t know for two weeks!

On pins and needles 🙂

 

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.

Cloud Nine

I have definitely been on Cloud Nine since yesterday’s road trip to Jefferson Lake. I just recently learned of the place when I got a hot tip from one of the rangers that there were often moose feeding around this lake. On our way back from Mount Evans last week Kevin and I decided to swing by there and check it out. We didn’t see any moose that day but a return trip was assured when we saw all the awesome moose habitat!

Storm on Lost Creek Wilderness

So plans were made and by sunrise we were off on a road trip to see moose. We’ve been hoping for a few years now to finally get some pictures of moose, all the while hearing stories and seeing the pictures from everyone else who seemed to be having much better luck 😦

As the sun rose over the mountains of the Lost Creek Wilderness to the east it was obvious that it was going to be an amazing day! Temperatures were nice and cool, a bit of fog lingered in the valley… and a lot of red-tailed hawks were watching down upon us from above. We finally arrived at our destination not too long after sunrise. A few trips through the park and a bit of hiking on the Colorado Trail yielded nothing in the way of large mammal photography. I must admit, by this time I was a bit discouraged.

Moose at Jefferson Lake Colorado

We decided at this time to take a break and head down to Como where we also heard there was moose habitat, again… to no avail. By this time it seemed lunch was the best idea so we went on in to Fairplay where we found a place that was serving pizza by the slice.

As ominous rain clouds began to build towards the north we decided upon at least one more pass through the park, even if it was raining. As we neared the first pull out we spotted a huge black animal shaking the aspen trees. Finally, a moose to photograph!

We pulled in close and quietly exited the car in hopes of a clear capture through the heavy vegetation. I carefully moved around to the side while trying not to disturb the huge moose cow from her meal of aspen leaves. She glanced at me a couple of times but didn’t appear to be very worried about our presence. She was going to allow us to snap a few photographs!

Soon I noticed another animal off to the side, and then another. Two moose calves were resting on the ground not too far from their mother. As we snapped a few images of the calves they slowly began to stir, finally getting up to join their mother in the feeding.

Every once in a while the mother would let out a great huff and the younger ones would occasionally make a  grunting sound so I shot a few seconds of video so you all could share in the experience! It’s not much… but it’s something. Hopefully I’ll be seeing more of these magnificent creatures soon and I’ll capture some more video footage for you to see. By this time the little family was very close to our vehicle so we decided to give them some time and space and moved on to look for a bull moose in the beautiful pond area ahead.

We made a couple of passes by the beaver ponds without seeing any more of the giant mammals, so we decided to return and check on the trio. We found them right where we left them… feeding on the aspen leaves beside the road. Only this time they were moving a bit and came out of the dense forest to pose for a few unobstructed photographs. Mother moose turned to look at us a couple of times, seeming to warn us that she was watching and would not tolerate any kind of threat to her little ones… Not that they are that little anymore, baby moose appear to be about the size of some full grown farm livestock!

I have to say though, I am still on Cloud Nine from the experience. I can  barely put into words what it is like to lock eyes with such an amazing creature. It is an amazing experience to stare into those huge soulful brown eyes and for just a few short seconds feel the bond between animal and man. Every time I experience such a thing I come away incredulous that someone could pull the trigger and kill one of these great beasts. The need to kill these animals is beyond my comprehension, perhaps if hunters could see into their eyes the way I do, the killing would stop.

Finally the trio ambled off into the dense forest to the north and we lost sight of them. The day was not over yet though, there were still the red-tail hawks to photograph along Tarryall Road, a waterfall to capture with the motion blur effect, and as it turned out a herd of pronghorn antelope too! The day ended at the waterfall as the storm finally caught up to us with a deluge of water and hail that drove us back to the car and on our way home.

Well anyway, what a fantastic day of photography it was! Once again I hope you enjoy the little video I made to document the sighting, along with a few photographs that I was able to capture!

 

 

Pronghorn Antelope

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.

Waterfall at Tarryall