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!

Snowshoeing the Back Country

Storm Clouds on the Sangre

It was only seven degrees Fahrenheit at first light this morning and like so many days lately, I resolved to just stay inside and drink my morning coffee… But also like every day, I looked down the valley at the Sangre de Cristo Range to see what kind of show might be playing out in the mountains. It looked amazing today so I packed up and headed out to get a front row seat.

I was glad to see that I was the first one at the trailhead, and maybe the only one… The snow is so deep now that the fair weather hikers have stopped coming, but with snowshoes the hike is easy. There has been so much melting and freezing lately that there is a hard crust on the surface and with snowshoes you can just walk right over the top of it 🙂

Storm Clouds on the Sangre

The view at the summit was amazing so I decided to try for a pano. However the clouds were so thick today that I could only get a three image panorama, not such a bad thing though. With less images I could zoom in further and give the view of the rugged mountains that much more detail!

On the way back down I enjoyed the rippling and glittering of the the fresh snow and tried for a closeup. Don’t know if I actually got what I had in mind but I still like the image 🙂

Storm Clouds on the Sangre

Storm Clouds 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!

New 2022 Colorado Mountain Calendar

I’m proud to publish my new 2022 Colorado Rocky Mountains calendar. Twelve months of Rocky Mountain splendor to grace your 2022. Get yours today, just click the link above to view and purchase the calendar. View all my publications by clicking the Lulu Press link.

Storm clouds following a big Colorado winter snowstorm.

Gathering Storm and A Pano

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

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

Gathering Storm on the Sangre de Cristo

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

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

 

 

Gathering Storm on the Sangre de Cristo

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

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

New Year New Direction

I’ve been so busy the last few weeks that I haven’t had time to sit down and assess my state of existence. The holidays are a great annoyance to me so I spent the entire two weeks avoiding everything and everyone. With all the bad news about the new Covid variant I decided I’d better get caught up with my health care details so I scheduled my first annual checkup in three years. Fortunately I passed all my blood tests and have been given a clean bill of health for the coming year. Now the first two weeks of the new year are already almost gone and my head is finally clearing enough to assess the previous year and make some plans for this year.

Snowy Hayden Pass

I finally got out this morning for a trek in the high country and a little fresh air this morning, only to discover that I’ve seriously lost the edge off my physical conditioning over the dreaded holidays. If I’m going to climb a 14er this year that situation is definitely going to have to be remedied! I did make it up Hell Hill and back down around the mountain so I’m not starting at zero but my legs are definitely feeling the burn 😦 It was very gloomy this morning which is fine with me, that means I’m going to get the mountain to myself, but it also means that picture taking is going to suffer. But happily when I got to the summit there was a patch of sun shining on Hayden Pass in the Sangres, at least I believe it to be Hayden Pass according to the nifty little peak finding device they installed there!

For years I had kicked around the idea of writing a photography book but never got past the printing and distribution obstacles. Writing a book or creating a calendar is one thing, but actually having enough of them printed up to make money with it is an entirely different matter! But then along comes self publishing and Print on Demand. Now writing a book has become feasible, one needs just to be able to write and to figure out the process, that’s partly why the holidays blew by without my notice…  I was busy learning how to write a Kindle Book and navigate my way through the process. The free ebook writing software made that pretty easy but when I got to the point of trying to turn one of my better efforts into a paperback I discovered that I was still going to need some better publishing software, so I added InDesign to my library of Adobe products that I subscribe to. The good news is that the review process on that one is complete and my first paperback book is now on sale! It’s called “Seasons of the Raptor” and it can be purchased on a Amazon.

I think it also might be a good time to take an honest look at my other photography projects including my YouTube channel, my blog, my art website and my longest running project… my stock photo business.  I put a solid year into my YouTube channel, achieving my goal of 100 videos. My honest assessment of that revenue stream is that it is never going to amount to anything. I am so far from monetizing the channel that I’m not even going to bother to try. If I find something worth filming I’ll shoot and post it but I’m certainly not going to waste large amounts of my time creating videos that nobody is going to watch. Victor on Ice is one example of a worthy project, a lot of people worked really hard on the show and my video of it made a bunch of people that I like very happy 🙂

I’ll keep writing in my blog because I just like to, but after years of effort it is obvious that it will never be a significant revenue stream. Facebook and Twitter are a complete waste of time but I still have hope for my Patreon Channel if only because I have a ton of new lighting equipment and I really enjoy working with models and creating a beautiful lighting set using flash. It’s just fun!

And finally the stock photography business is a great disappointment. When I started years ago it was possible to make some money as a stock photographer but image prices are now so beaten down by over saturation that it really isn’t worth the expense of going anywhere to acquire the images. I’ll continue to upload what I do capture on an incidental basis as I go about my life. If I happen to get some appropriate shots while I’m out running errands or hiking or something I’ll still put them up. I can still at least make enough to buy some new gear once in a while.

Well that’s about it for today, I’m going to get started on my next book… I think it is going to be “My Favorite Pictures”, “and How I Made Them”. I’ve been shooting digital for 20 years now and over that time I’ve captured quite a few that I’d like to highlight before moving on to the next 20 years! I’ll keep you all posted on my progress!

 

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

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

Magnificent Mountain Sunset

Sangre Mountain Sunset

I wasn’t aware of the spectacular sunset the night before until the golden glow was streaming through the curtains. By then there was no time to get my camera ready and get to a good overlook. As I was wrapping up the day’s activities yesterday I noticed that the cloud situation was very similar to the conditions the day before so I decided I would get out ahead of it and try to get some nice sunset images.

I was at the overlook to the Sangre de Cristo Range about 15 minutes before sunset, giving me time to fiddle with my camera. I eventually settled on manual mode with a 320th of a second and F7.1 for an aperture at ISO 200. From that point I figured I could just fiddle with the ISO as the sun descended behind the distant mountains.

Sangre Mountain Sunset

Soon the sun was low enough to start shooting and as luck would have it the sun at this time of year was right in the middle of the rugged range to the southwest. I roamed up and down the overlook looking for the best angles on the range below. There is a nice valley with some old mining operations still present while another angle has a mountain in the foreground. At times it was best to incorporate the valley while other times shooting beside the mountain looked better.

Unfortunately this sunset didn’t reach the glory of the previous night, but I was still enjoying the activity. Finally I decided to get back in the truck and drive to another spot but on the way I noticed the sky lit up behind the mine structure behind me. So I dialed in my exposure on that scene and while I was shooting a couple of mule deer wandered onto my scene. And I have to say that was the most delightful shooting of the entire afternoon.

I hope you enjoy the pictures 🙂

 

Sunset Deer

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! Also, if you would like to see a more complete record of today’s images please follow my Instagram account!

Many of my adventures have also been captured on beautiful HD video on my Youtube Channel! If you enjoy my content please subscribe to my channel, subscribers have a big impact on channel rankings!

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

Beautiful Weather

Storm on the Sangre

It was cold this morning and the wind was blowing hard, the news on TV said to anchor your trash cans unless you wanted you yard decorated with egg shells and tin cans. For a moment it was tempting to just get another cup of coffee and settle in for a morning in front of the news. However, any trouble I was having with motivation this morning vanished when I looked down the valley towards the Sangre de Cristo. What I thought was a boring clear morning turned out to be a beautiful weather day down on the Sangre de Cristo Range.

Knowing that I was going to either be photographing the mountains or a herd of deer, I knew that I wasn’t going to need the 1.4x teleconverter. But for once I kept in mind that this was also going to increase the aperture in shutter priority auto mode to F5.6. With the tele on the minimum aperture is F8, which isn’t too bad for both wildlife and landscape shooting and I have the tele on so much that I don’t really think about it much. But today when I got to the overpass I put the camera on manual with an aperture of F11 to shoot for sharp focus throughout the image. The ISO I

Storm on the Sangre

just let float because it was early and the lighting wasn’t going to support the desired ISO 100. As it turns out it was an ISO 400 morning which is perfectly acceptable and ultimately I was quite happy with the sharpness of the images.

However the color at that time of day wasn’t that interesting and a quick conversion to black and white using the channel mixer in Photoshop made for much more dramatic pictures. Once done shooting the Sangre I took a quick trip over to Victor Pass to take a look at Pikes Peak. The peak wasn’t putting on much of a show and I could hear some biscuits and gravy calling my name from the Gold Camp Bakery 🙂

I briefly entertained the idea of climbing the mountain but I haven’t been seeing any wildlife up there and I figured the wind and cold wasn’t beckoning the animals any more than it was me.

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.

Watch “Colorado Hiking   Misty Mountain Adventure” on YouTube

New video of today’s foggy adventure in the Rockies. I didn’t see the dusky grouse but I did get a new life sighting with my first ever green-tailed towhee! The mountains never disappoint!

Deer Old Friends

Herd of Curious Deer

Not sure what the reason is but for some reason I have had my mountain to myself lately. For the better part of a year every time I arrive the trail has already been cleared of wildlife by people and their dogs but now that nicer weather has arrived I have been able to see my favorite deer herd, including my favorite bucks, the “Three Amigos”. As an added bonus, since mating season is not in progress they have a few does following along with them. Their antlers are just beginning to sprout now so that I can identify them as males and I am fortunate to witness the cycle of life in the mountains anew.

The Three Amigos

As a result of our unusually cold and snowy spring, the Sangre de Cristo continue to be adorned with their magnificent winter mantle of snow. Storm clouds hanging around the area throughout the last week have also added to the beauty of the scene and I have to say the last couple of days have been spectacular!

Today I was inspired to climb to the second highest peak in the area, unfortunately all I gleaned from the extra effort was a bit more exercise… which is OK! A little extra hiking never hurt anyone!

Please don’t forget to visit my YouTube channel to watch videos of many of my adventures in the mountains, and if you wouldn’t mind I could use the thumbs up and a subscribe if you enjoy the content and want to help my channel!

Storms on the Sangre de Cristo

As always, the best of these images and hundreds more are available for purchase on my website as wall art on glossy metal or acrylic sheets, stretched canvas and traditional matting and framing. Tons of cool household and gift items are also available with any image you like including coffee mugs, t-shirts, blankets and pillows, battery chargers, phone cases, stationary and much much more! Just click on any image you like and all the choices, sizes and prices will appear! For my viewers interested in images for commercial use, please visit my image licensing portal! 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.

Sand Hill Cranes and the Dunes

Well we took a much longer road trip than usual yesterday, all the way over to the Great Sand Dunes and the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. The journey started early, with a 3:30 a.m. wake up alarm followed by a sleepy drive over the pass where I met up with Kevin in Divide. We were already heading over Poncha Pass in light snow before the sun even

Sand Hill Cranes

started to rise. One stop for fuel and a gas station cappuccino later we were at our first destination, the wildlife reserve at Monte Vista hoping to spot some sand hill cranes to photograph. We knew we were pushing the limits of the great semi annual migration and the spring flight to the Nebraska Sand Hills, but were still hopeful that we might see a few of the amazing birds lingering behind.

The morning visit yielded a few captures of a small number of the great birds wandering around the refuge but we quickly decided to move on. The plan was to try another refuge located a few miles to the east, near Alamosa called the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. It was exciting to see the Rio Grande River for the first time, and a beautiful northern harrier, but once again, the visit resulted in limited success.

Northern HarrierOnward to the Great Sand Dunes… It looked like it was going to be a cold dreary day at the dunes as heavy clouds were building over the Sangre de Cristo Range, but really it wasn’t too bad. We hiked a bit in the soft sand but the imposing dunes and the approaching winter weather convinced us that a trip to the summit of the dunes at this time of the day was not in the cards. I did get a few nice pictures of the towering piles of sand and the magnificent

Sangre de Cristo Range though, which I was pretty pumped about 🙂 One thing I learned, even though the wind wasn’t that bad, the fine sand blowing across the surface is not going to be friendly to camera equipment. Next time I’ll bring and old camera and lens with a rain cover over the gear for good measure. And no changing lenses while on the dunes! That fine sand could grind up internal DSLR parts in a hurry!

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

From there we decided another visit to the Monte Vista Refuge was in order. We were hoping some more of the birds had completed their daily travels in pursuit of food and had returned to the wetlands. A quick stop at the riverside viewing area proved the decision to be a good one. Several hundred of the gangly birds had gathered near the viewing area in a large bunch and we had a blast photographing them walking and hopping around as they foraged in the rich  grasses along the banks with a magnificent panorama provided by the snow capped San Juan’s in the background.

_MG_0983Eventually the birds began to squawk and hop around while stretching their wings so we believed that a mass take off was imminent, the very event we had been hoping to photograph. Unfortunately the entire flock didn’t take flight at once but we did get some nice pictures of a number of good sized groups leaving the wetlands for their nightly roosting locations in the fields.

At that point it was  getting late and we decided to head for home… but the photo ops were not completely over with, the view of the western slopes of the Sangre with the afternoon sun shining through storm clouds was magnificent! Some of the scenes were so fantastic that photo stops along the roadside were necessary! And that wasn’t the only excitement on the way home… the wildlife began to come out for the evening and we saw deer, buffalo and a huge herd of elk in the Platte River Valley on the high prairie between the front range and the big mountains of the continental divide.

Beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Today finds me sorting through over a thousand images as I identify the best ones for my website and a few for the YouTube video that I have just completed! I hope you enjoy the video and please don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and hit that subscribe button! My channel is finally beginning to grow with all of your help 🙂

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.

Herd of Elk