Bighorn Morning

The Bighorn rut season is in full swing in Waterton Canyon and yesterday seemed like the perfect morning to get some pictures.We arrived fairly early and made the mountain bike ride up to the Marsten Dam where we usually find animals, but no sheep were to be seen. Not to worry though, often the sheep don’t make it down the mountainside until afternoon so we decided to take a short break to hydrate. After a  little bit other visitors told us the ewes were coming down the mountain at about the 1.25 mile point, so we mounted up and headed back downstream.

Whitetail Deer

There were a couple of young rams challenging each other but the big time head butting that we had hoped for did not seem to be materializing… Of course the rams were out in full force the day before, the story of my life 😦 So we hung around and photographed the ews and the young rams for a bit, but it wasn’t long before they were heading right back up the mountainside for their afternoon naps.

So there’s the dilemma, do you hang around for a few hours hoping they come back down, or do you move on and try another subject? Well we decided to leave and try the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, which turned out to be a good choice as I captured some of the nicest whitetail deer images ever! At one point one of the bucks started running right at us, which was a great chance to try out the focusing system on my Canon R7. My 90D is a great camera, but is terrible when it comes to tracking a rapidly approaching animal or bird. I’m happy to report the the R7 handled the situation with flying colors and I really like this image! In fact I have uploaded it to the Artist Choice library on my website!

I wanted to get a nice capture of the buffalo too, but they were either walking away from us, lying down in bad light or too far away, so the buffalo were a big fail. We saw a big hawk, but he flew off while we were trying to get into position. The prairie dogs were out in force so we captured a few images of them, but the coyote that we were hoping for must have already gotten a full belly before we arrived!

 

 

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
 
 
 
 

Giving the Canon R7 a Workout

Finally got a chance to really let the R7 shine. A trip to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal yielded some great photo ops with an osprey fishing, snowy egrets in flight, some cute little killdeers along the shore and a double-crested cormorant. For this exercise I left the focus system in animal tracking mode with animal eye focus turned on. I narrowed the focus area to a large middle zone with all surrounding helper points activated. The R7 had a very easy time of tracking the birds with the smooth blue water behind them and I found the camera a complete joy to use on this day.

Cold and Snowy on Mount Evans

Our trip to Mount Evans was a bust, sad to say… although we were lucky to even make the summit with the weather going on. People were still going up as the heavy rain and most likely impending snow were moving in, and I would not have wanted to be heading up after 2:00 or so. We didn’t see any goats or sheep, which was a great disappointment for what will probably be our only chance at the summit this season. I was able to capture a few nice shots of the weather though, using the RF18-150 STM kit lens with the new lens hood and circular polarizer I purchased for it on Amazon 🙂 I found the lens a joy to use and have no complaints about sharpness or Chromatic Aberration.

Red-tailed hawk in flight

Rain and hail also spoiled a visit to Georgetown and Guanella Pass. We saw a few forlorn and very wet bighorn ewes hiking along the road but the rain was so heavy that we really didn’t feel like getting out to shoot. Jefferson Lake on the other side of the pass was beautiful, but no moose showed themselves and there were no pronghorns to photograph along Tarryall Road. We saw a couple of hawks near Lake George but they were too far away and flew the wrong way when they did take flight. Here is where my R7 struggled the most, with a distant bird flying into a backdrop of trees. It really wasn’t able to find the bird and track it. Not sure how to handle that situation, I guess I will have to narrow the focus system down to one point and hope I can get it locked on the distant raptors.

On the other hand the bird was too far away to photograph anyway, so I probably could resolve that issue by not bothering to take the picture in the first place. Oh, and by the way… I used DXO Pure Raw to process the raw images and decided to license the full production copy for my workflow!

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite pictures, hope you enjoy!

 

 

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!

A Big Day

It was truly a big day, starting early on Tuesday morning with a long drive up to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Area. Kevin and I had high hopes of getting some great pictures of the burgeoning snowy egret and blue heron populations. As we drove past the central lakes we spotted a good number of egrets wading along the shoreline so we stopped to capture a few images. Shortly thereafter an osprey surprised us with a fly over and a splash down. Fortunately for us it took the intrepid raptor a few tries before we finally captured him splashing down and flying away with a fish so big he had to carry it in both talons! It wasn’t until I was home on the computer that I discovered one of the birds we thought was the osprey flying over was actually a rare capture of a Black Crowned Night Heron.  We also were privileged to get some nice shots of the snowy egrets and double crested cormorants in action.

Soon the sun was getting high in the sky and the heat of the day convinced us to move on to Waterton Canyon for a bike ride in hopes that the bears would be coming down to the river for a swim. My first bike ride of the year was not an easy one, I definitely need to get in shape! We rode all the way to the caretaker’s house without seeing anything to shoot before stopping at the old dam structure for a look. Once I had shed my pack I noticed Kevin taking pictures of the water and I soon discovered that a hapless rattlesnake had somehow fallen into the river and was trying to get out by climbing the tall cement walls of the dam.  He would try for a while and then drift back in the gentle current before trying anew. A crowd soon gathered, including a couple of the park rangers and we feared that if he didn’t change strategy he would eventually drown. Luckily he began moving across the the dam toward our side of the bank and was eventually swept away by the current which carried the poisonous viper to safety.

My hat was not so lucky though, blown into the river by a strong gust where I helplessly watched it drift downstream. We spotted it a quarter of a mile downriver and rode a bit ahead to a spot I hoped to climb the bank and recover it from the shallow water. But while we were waiting for the hat we got word that there were bears spotted in the water downstream, which of course took priority over my hat, now presumed drowned.

Sure enough there were a couple of young bears frolicking along the opposite bank where we were able to capture a few images before the beautiful beasts scrambled up the steep embankment out of sight.

 

 

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!

The Joy of Printing

Yesterday’s awesome photographic and video adventure in the Colorado Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Area is made even more awesome today by the ability to make a few prints with my new Canon iX6820 printer. Something about preparing a bunch of images that myself and others are only going to look at on a smart phone somehow feels

Snowy Egret

incomplete. Of course my photography experience began in the film era, a time when you would take your film to a lab for processing and the first view you would have of your work would be the 4×6 inch prints that came back with your developed film. So to me the process seems only half done until I experience the joy of carefully crafting the image for output to an actual print on beautiful professional luster or glossy paper.

I captured over 600 images yesterday of the abundant wildlife found in the refuge, which  through my editing process was narrowed down to about 50 of my favorites. Of those, these three were my favorite and today I am enjoying a little printing after which I will place the 4×6 proof images into my little album that I frequently leaf through to look at all my favorites and decide which will be enlarged and framed at a later time. I don’t always get around to enlarging every one of them, but just having the 4×6 to look at makes the task feel complete 🙂

Bull Snake

On this outing we spotted snowy egret, double-crested cormorant, whitetail deer, a blue grosbeak, American bison and to top it off, a beautiful yellow and black bull snake taking in some sun on the wooden trail steps. The three images in this post were my favorites but it will take me a few days to process all the raw images that I will be using on my website and uploading to stock agencies.

Who knows… I may experience the “joy of printing” on a few more of these images before I move on to my next photoshoot!

Bucks Does and Fawns

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! I should mention at this time that this blog post is not sponsored by Canon or any other firm. All equipment used in the making of the blog and video have been purchased by me on my own volition.

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.

Barr Lake Photo Adventure

Late December through February every year a growing population of American Bald Eagles gather in Barr Lake State Park Colorado to winter and search for mates. Kevin and I have been talking about making the journey up there for a couple of years now and finally we decided it was time to get it done!

Buck and His Doe in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

We started the day at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal though as there have been rumors of eagles gathering there as well. We didn’t see any eagles but there was a nice herd of mule and whitetail deer grazing on the dry winter grass surrounding the lake that cooperated with us for a few pictures. We also saw some kind of woodpecker banging out a meal high in the massive cottonwood trees along the lake. Unfortunately I was not able to get a picture of that little fellow so you will just have to imagine!

Northern Harrier

Eventually we pressed on to Barr Lake while sighting a red-tail hawk along the way. We got a few of him on a power pole, but beyond credit for the sighting of a raptor I’m not too thrilled with power pole images.  Once inside the park we spotted a northern harrier that we had seen back in the fall that appeared willing to cooperate with a few captures. I managed to get a couple of him soaring high in the beautiful blue Colorado sky, but no dramatic closeups.

Eagle Population at Barr Lake

It was a 1.3 mile trek around he south side of the lake where the state of Colorado has constructed a  beautiful gazebo for watching the eagles which were gathered along the far south and west side of the lake… unfortunately about 1,000 yards away. I had my 400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter taking me out to 560mm of focal length, but even that was not enough to bring in very much detail. However it was quite a beautiful scene with the snow capped Colorado Rockies in the background. We saw a nesting pair in a huge cottonwood tree along with a few more mature and juvenile eagles standing on the shoreline of the scenic reservoir.

Geese at Barr Lake

The eagles were far outnumbered by a huge flock of  Canada Geese that looked like a cloud when they all took flight! I got a few still captures of the amazing scene but when I went to try to get video footage the silly waterfowl refused to cooperate 😦 Eventually we decided to spend the golden hour of sunset back at the Arsenal with the deer.

In addition to the usual pictures I include in my posts, this time there is a YouTube video to go along with my submission. I was able to capture a few minutes of footage of these amazing birds which you can view on my channel here!

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!

Deer in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

Week in June

Pair of Mule Deer

Quite a week it has been, three awesome photo adventures with photography buddy Kevin, eagles at Eleven Mile Canyon, a Wilson’s Warbler on a great hike to Anne-Marie Falls on Pikes Peak and a long desired photo trip to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Reserve near Denver Colorado 🙂

Last Saturday we had planned to make the hike to the pond on the Twin Rocks Trail in the Fossil Beds National Monument. Unfortunately not long after I arrived it had started to sprinkle and by the time Kevin got there we were in a full fledged rain storm with more to come throughout the day. The rain let up for a few minutes but we decided that we really didn’t want to get caught in a rain storm several miles back into the mountains.

Eventually we decided to go to Eleven Mile Canyon instead where we could quickly

Mother Bald Eagle with Her Eaglet

retreat to the shelter of the vehicle in the event of a rainstorm. It was raining when we got there so we just drove all the way to the end of the canyon making a mental not of all the good spots along the way.  I shot quite a few of the roaring river on the way back out but unfortunately I’m not really too thrilled with any of those images. The eagle at mouth of the canyon was however another matter! She and her eaglet were putting on quite a show 🙂 I had photographed the eagle and her youngster last winter, but the little one isn’t very little anymore! The little guy is almost full grown now and getting very close to flight. I was privileged to witness the eaglet spreading his young wings in the wind while gaining a few inches of altitude above the nest with mama eagle looking on intently.

Wilson's Warbler

Sunday was supposed to  be a much more hospitable morning so we decided to hike back out to Anne-Marie Falls on Pikes Peak in search of the little yellow Wilson’s Warbler. After arriving  we didn’t see any action so we took up a good vantage point and just waited. Eventually the diminutive bird began to circle in closer and closer and we were able to capture quite a few poses before he grew bored with the game and departed into the dense forest.

The day for our planned journey to the Arsenal arrived with an unexpected winter storm. I was tempted to bail, but the storm was supposed to give way by mid morning to a sunny pleasant day so I decided to chance the drive over the pass. It had been pretty warm all week and the snow was just melting on the roads at 3:00 a.m. when I arose so I really didn’t think there was  going to be a problem.

I was wrong… I didn’t encounter any snow on the roads on the way up the pass but by

American Bison and Denver Skyline

the time I got to Divide it was a total whiteout and the snow was piling up on the road. There was so much snow that I couldn’t even tell what lane I was in 😦 Eventually as we descended out of the mountains the snow gave way to rain and we were out of danger. However when we got to the arsenal it was still raining pretty hard so for he first hour we were having to shoot out the window and many pictures were ruined by the  lack of a good shooting angle 😦 Eventually the weather did clear and we got some wonderful images of buffalo, deer, pelicans, a blue heron and a few other kinds of small birds including the elusive swallows that have been taunting us for the last few days.

Female Redwing Black Bird

Today of course finds me at the computer monitor trying to deal with the couple thousand images that have been piling up on my computer these days! As always these images and more will be available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets ready for hanging, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool gift and tech items are also available including t-shirts, coffee mugs, battery chargers, phone cases, blankets and pillows and much more!

Canada Geese and Goslings