Chickadee Between Storms

Mountain ChickadeeBeautiful morning today, sun shining, calm winds and a few stormy looking clouds on the Sangre de Cristo. We are between cold fronts and it appeared everyone was out taking advantage of the nice weather, including this little mountain chickadee. Actually there were a whole flock of them jumping from pine cone to pine cone foraging  for the pine nuts I assume. I just happened to catch this little fellow in the air 🙂

Finally got my Canon R7 set the way I want it… I think. The last two things were the hardest, perhaps that’s why I saved them for last. One was the EVF display information which I was having a lot of trouble with. I finally figured it out though, the trick is once you select all the things you might want available on the screen you have to go into a second setting called “Toggle” and edit the three displays that appear as you cycle through the info button three times. Now I can have a minimal display, a display with the histogram and a third display that includes the electronic level. I’ll probably just leave it at setting two, I kind of like having the histogram available while I’m looking through the view finder. Then of course I had to propagate those settings throughout all three custom functions. I have one custom function for bird photography, one for mammals and landscapes and the third I hardly ever use, but it is set up for long exposure photography.

The last thing was to configure the second memory card. The manual does a terrible job of explaining this, all it says if you click “Separate”, you can configure each card slot. No mention of an entirely different menu that allows you to assign a separate image quality to each card. One setting is in the camera settings menu, the other is in the shooting settings menu. Anyway, now I can have the raw files going to one card and high quality jpg files going to the other card. That way in case of a card failure, I’ll still have the images.

Well anyway, I hope you enjoy the few images I was able to capture this morning!

 

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
 
 
 
 
 
 

Winter Wonderland

Colorado Winter WonderlandIt was a true winter wonderland in mine country yesterday! I almost didn’t go because it was only about 5 degrees and when I first looked outside there was nothing but fog to see. Later however when I looked again there was a brand new white coat on everything as far as the eye could see! So I grabbed my camera and my Breakthrough brand polarizer and hit the road! Even though it had cleared up some, there was still a bit of haze in the air and I knew the polarizer would help add some drama back in to the photographs.

At first I just wanted to get some shots of the beautiful aspen trees but as I got further down the road it became apparent that it was going to be a good day to shoot the historic mine head frames as well! I knew though, that even though it was still really cold, once the wind and sun became stronger the magic would soon be gone.  After about an hour and a half the snow was already disappearing off the trees so I was glad I worked fast 🙂

In any case, I hope you enjoy the pictures!

 

 

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
 
 
 
 
Advertisements

Snow on the Way

One look out the window and down the valley and it’s obvious that more snow is on the way! The first place it shows up is over the Sangre de Cristo Range where storm clouds spilling over the mountains is simply stunningly beautiful! Sometimes that’s as far as the clouds go though, the clouds stall out over the mountains and all we see is sunshine on the other side of the Arkansas River Valley. Not today though, a few steps down my trail and and I was acutely aware of what’s to come… Cloudy, cold and wind blowing about a hundred miles an hour 😦 So I just hiked to the overlook to capture a few images of the amazing scene and just scrambled back to the truck to escape the gale!

At the overlook the wind was blowing so hard I could hardly hold the camera still… even putting it on the monopod wasn’t much help but I persevered anyway. The wind was blowing my eyes closed so it was difficult to even maintain a composition but I managed to grab a few captures before retreating to the warmth of my vehicle. Anyway, hope you enjoy the pictures!

 

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
 
 
 

Autumn in the District

So far it’s been a tough fall season in the high country Cripple Creek and Victor mining district for foliage pictures… the leaves are all changing at different times. The south face of Pikes Peak has already peaked and high winds have blown the best leaves off the trees. At the lower elevations some of the leaves are already bright orange while others are still green and some have just turned brown and withered.

Victor Colorado Autumn

But my efforts last week didn’t go completely unrewarded … I captured a few that I don’t already have in my portfolio that I would like to share 🙂 Unfortunately I accidentally left my polarizer behind along with my 24-105L lens, which was what the polarizer was attached to 😦 A couple would be nice pictures were ruined by the ubiquitous power lines that stretch across the landscape everywhere one looks up here, a shame for sure but I don’t know what could be done about it. I suppose hours of photoshopping could save a couple of them but I don’t have that kind of patience anymore.

Victor Colorado Autumn

Anyway, the day started with this pre-sunrise shot of a young doe mule deer, my favorite of the entire batch! My best mine picture was ruined by carelessness… I hand held the camera and forgot to check the shutter speed, resulting in too much motion blur to recover the image. Luckily I managed to make up for that loss with this capture of an old homestead set against golden aspen leaves, an image which I’ve been trying for years to capture in peak autumn! It’s kind of difficult to see, but there is also a very cool weather phenomenon going on in the background. Fog has filled the entire Arkansas River Valley while the beautiful Sangre de Cristo range juts high above the fog and haze!

That shot also looks great in winter so when the snow comes I’ll grab that one too 🙂 Please enjoy the gallery below and keep in mind that you can click each one to see a bigger version!

 

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
 

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!

Beautiful Mountain Spring Morning

It’s been an amazing couple of mornings in the mountains… before the wind kicks in of course! Yesterday the Sangre de Cristo Range was putting on a great show in the crystal clear mountain air and today at Manitou Lake it was chilly in the wind but the red-winged blackbirds were there to take my mind off the cold 🙂

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!

Between Storms

Fresh powder is the best but it’s also great to go snowshoeing after a few days of melting and freezing. It’s a blast to effortlessly walk along the surface of the deep snow like it isn’t even there. Of course when you do fall through it’s not so much fun to get out but today was a great day on the snow just the same. We had a couple really nice days after the last cold snap and tonight another winter storm is already rolling in over the Sangre de Cristo Range which makes for a stunning photo op!

Between Storms on the Sangre

I was awake at sunrise and I could tell by my first glance through the front window that the Sangre were going to be putting on a real show this morning. It was tough to turn off the coffee pot and head out into the cold but it was well worth it! The individual peaks were stunning enough but the beauty of all of them together in a panorama are hard to even find words to describe!

Between Storms on the Sangre

It was cold and windy on the summit so I was glad that I had my camera settings for a panorama already programmed into the C1 custom button. It takes a minute to get all the settings ready from auto ISO to complete manual. To do a pano requires manual exposure mode and a static ISO to make sure that each frame matches the previous one. So now all I have to do is dial in C1 and adjust the shutter speed to get the exposure correct and then I’m ready for the entire series. One other trick I use is a blank frame before and after the series so that I know exactly which ones to include once I get into Photoshop.

There is a good chance it will be snowing hard in the morning so I’ll probably just stay inside.  When I lived near the wildlife refuge up in Parker, snowstorms were the best time to get out. The deer would let me just wander right into their herd but now the range is so big I never see any animals in the storms.

Between Storms on the Sangre

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!

Deer Mountain Morning

Sunny HerdQuite a morning on the mountain today! I was initially quite disappointed to find two cars at the trailhead but the perps were still in the parking lot so I had hope that my wildlife would not be all driven away before I could get to the summit. The two women started up the trail and took the left fork which was  good for me since I go to the right directly up the mountain to where the wildlife usually await.

As I gathered my camera and monopod I heard a great ruckus ahead. Turns out the two women went charging right into the middle of the free range cattle on the trail, separating the herd and causing a lot of distress. The boss cow in front was calling frantically to the others as the women drove them directly at the fence. One young straggler was frantically calling out ahead to the others now divided by the women. I waited a bit for the little one to pass and then continued along the right fork. As I ascended the mountain I could hear the mama cow continuing to bellow for the young one. I should say, free range cattle aren’t like regular farm cattle. They aren’t as used to people and view strangers as a threat. If you approach them they will run.

Sunny HerdAs I crested the summit I spotted a doe mule deer peering over the mountain grass at me so I stopped and mounted the camera on the monopod and took a couple of shots. Another doe came into view and I slowly moved to the west for a less obstructed view with just the beautiful mountainside in the background. Soon a third joined the pair and I was able to get a few nice captures of the trio before some guy in a truck roared up the dirt road frightening them all away.

Sunny HerdI veered to the west where I knew the little herd had gone, hoping to catch them with the Sangre de Cristo range in the background. I knew I had gotten one angle with the mountains but was hoping for a much better one. It was not to be, the furtive creatures had already vanished into the dense pine forest. I continued my hike on around the mountain and back into the valley below

As I neared the end of the loop I could still the the sound of distressed cattle. When they came into view the problem was obvious, the women had herded the young cow onto the wrong side of the fence and into a V shaped area where two fences merged. The little guy was trapped. There was a way out behind him about 20 yards where one of the fences ended but the little one had forgotten how he got into this predicament. I decided to go around and get on his side of the fence in hopes of herding him back up the hill and around the other fence. I don’t know why those stupid fences are still there, Large parts of it are down and not holding the cattle in at all. As I approached the youngster I could see right away my plan was going to fail. If I  got too close the little one was going to try to jump the fence and likely injure himself.

Sunny Herd

There was a gate a few feet behind him which was locked with a paddle lock and another gate a couple more feet behind that. I’m telling you the whole system is a mess. It was all fine until they decided they had to make a developed and now mostly unmaintained park out of this place with a road where one should not be. Well fortunately the second gate was only locked with a chain so I opened it and went back to the trail where the calf was stuck, with the mama cow yelling at me the whole time. I went right up to him on the other side the fence and yelled “ha’ a couple of times and the calf backed away from me toward the gate. A couple more “ha’s” and the young fellow was on the right side of the fence. The big cow called out to him again and he was trotting down the hill to join the herd which was soon on it’s way down into the valley where they like to spend the day by the watering hole and snow. And then of course I went back to close and latch the gate.

But my day wasn’t over! As I headed down the highway on my way to town I was confronted with a big buck and his doe, standing motionless right in the middle of the highway. I could hear traffic coming from the other way so I stopped to herd them across the highway and over the short guard rail so they could get to the forest where they were obviously better off.

I think I definitely earned my biscuits and gravy today!

 

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.

Snow Storm and Mule Deer

Bucks on a Winter Morning

That slow moving snowstorm we’ve been watching finally arrived and I had the good fortune to be out in it when it hit! The day started out like any other day, dry with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees at sunrise. At the trailhead I debated what headgear to wear and the increasing wind made the decision for me… I was  going to need both a hat and a hood for protection from the wind. My hike was completed in driving snow so I ended up being happy with my choice!

Bucks on a Winter Morning

I soon encountered a couple of mule deer bucks that I didn’t recognize and apparently they didn’t recognize me either. I usually don’t have any trouble getting the deer to pose for me but these strangers weren’t about to stick around for long. Fortunately archery season is over with so maybe the deer will soon begin gathering in the parks again. Anyway, these two fellows kept moving further away into the deep grass so it was difficult but I eventually managed to get a couple of nice shots. Unfortunately it was still very early so I was dealing with high ISO values but Topaz DeNoise did a pretty good job with any resulting noise.

Snow on the Sangre

I wasn’t expecting to see the Sangre de Cristo range at all due to the approaching storm but as I cleared the ridge I was happy to see a bit of morning light shining on those mountains under the cloud cover. So I stopped for some still shots and decided that it was also high time I shoot some video footage! I don’t think I have shot a video since the Rocky Mountain National Park trip last fall! The unusually warm weather has been great for general living but the drought conditions have not been conducive to wildlife photography at all 😦

Snow on the Sangre

Well anyway I shot the video and snapped some stills and by the time I was wrapping that up at the summit I noticed snowflakes beginning to fly. For some reason I failed to bring along my Ruggard Rain Shield for the camera so I figured I’d better get started on my return trip. By the time I was half way back down the mountain, to my delight the snow began flying in earnest 🙂 Fortunately it was so cold that the frozen flakes were mostly just bouncing off the camera so I wasn’t too worried about getting the camera wet.

Free Range Cattle in a Snowstorm

I stopped to shoot a few pictures of the snowflakes filling the valley below and the poor free range cattle were caught out in the clearing so I snapped a few of them as well. When I got back to the trailhead there were still a few across the road eating the long grass in the ditch but the boss cow soon began calling them back to the main herd and I was glad to see they safely hustled back across the road and behind the fence with the rest. The speed limit is only 35 on the winding mountain road but people mostly ignore it and reach speeds of 50 and 60 miles an hour, even though there are always animals on the road.

Unfortunately the snow didn’t last for long but the inevitable extreme cold wasted no time moving in. As of this morning the temperature has dropped to seven degrees and I’m debating on whether I even want to go back out. Of course by 9:00 it’s already supposed to be back in the 20’s so I should probably just cowboy up and get dressed!

 

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.