Three days of snow in May and the storm clouds have finally dispersed. A beautiful hike through the fresh snow in the back country and I’m wondering if we will finally be able to say goodbye to Old Man Winter for the season! I guess the elk were probably hoping for the same… when we cleared the ridge I saw them basking in the morning sun that we haven’t seen for days 🙂
Sometimes in the morning I stop to just thank God for the grandeur of the surroundings that He has blessed me with. These majestic mountains, the beautiful wildlife and the peacefulness of this incredible wilderness. And this morning I was doing exactly that when I noticed this rough legged hawk soaring high above me.
It is a good omen I think, a sign that the almighty was listening to my grateful prayer 🙂 It is also my prayer that through my pictures others will see His handiwork and appreciate the wonderful gift that He has given us in this amazing planet with all it’s wonders.
Today is the spring equinox and as it turns out, my fourth anniversary with WordPress who’s software greeted me with a nice electronic congratulations 🙂 Can’t say I even remember signing up, but four years ago today was exactly nine days before Tricia went into surgery to try to save her spine from the tentacles of the cancer she was so bravely battling. Unfortunately although they called the surgery a success, she never walked again. I don’t even remember blogging the first year of my membership here. Every day consisted of pushing her wheel chair about a mile down to the coffee shop and back. The coffee shop had the only chair on the planet, as far as I know, that she could be comfortable sitting in. The sun would stream into the windows there and that warmth and comfort was about all there was to look forward to. By the next spring she was gone and I was starting life anew… Thinking back that first year alone in the campground was crazy! I’m sure I had plenty to blog about then, perhaps I should go back and read some of my entries 🙂 I remember every weekend through the spring and summer I spent hauling the remnants of our lives together off to an auction house in Denver.
Sangre de Cristo range on the first day of spring
Today didn’t feel much like spring though, yesterday the windchill was -1 and today the real feel was 10 accompanied by a couple of inches of blowing and stinging snow. That didn’t stop me and Big Dog from making the trek down to the mountain, it was cold but with a couple of inches of fresh snow and some beautiful sunshine it was a splendid day 🙂 The alpenglow was some of the most pronounced that I’ve seen yet, but I shot that yesterday and felt like sleeping in a little today. By the time we got there the view to the west was obscured a bit from blowing snow and haze in the air from the spring snowstorm, but the view of the Sangre de Cristo range was stunning anyway. Although not award winners, the pictures from today are pretty and a good record of the first day of spring for 2018!
Fresh snow on the foothills of Pikes Peak
Was hoping to see some deer out early this morning but no luck with that. I wasn’t paying much attention on the return trail and missed the turnoff which produced a view of the Pikes Peak foothills and some blowing snow off to the east that I haven’t noticed before. Some wispy clouds in the morning sun added to the scene which kind of made the day 🙂 However, plans to get out on my mountain bike were definitely dampened by the wind and snow, maybe next week!
I hope that this spring brings hope and joy to everyone, especially my readers and that all your plans for the warmer weather come to fruition! I know many are struggling with all kinds of issues and it is my fervent prayer that with the onset of the warm sunshine peace and prosperity will seek out and find each and every one of you 🙂
I have to admit, today’s project seems like an exercise in futility. Without a running vehicle I see the same scenery and the same photo subjects day after day with little hope of shooting anything original or new. And even if I did the odds in this saturated marketplace that anyone will even see my work is becoming more and more remote. Last week I wrote of alpenglow, the cool celestial effect from which the Sangre de Cristo mountain range got it’s name. I don’t know, maybe everyone but me already knew about alpenglow or maybe I’m just more easily entertained than others, but the fact is virtually no one saw the article. Or maybe I am the victim of the new Facebook algorithm that picks out for people what Mark Zuckerburg thinks they should be looking at. I have noticed recently that I am only seeing the posts of a couple of people, over and over and over. Funny, I eliminated 90% of my most annoying liberal friends and now all I see are the annoying posts of my few remaining liberal friends. Not sure what that means, maybe liberals make the most posts or maybe FB thinks I am in need of reindoctrination, lol. The fact remains however, virtually no one is seeing my posts and Facebook has become a nearly irrelevant tool for marketing my work. On every post I make, I am reminded that others are “boosting” their posts by purchasing ad space. And true enough, my side space is filled with ads by other photographers that I have no interest whatsoever in making a purchase from and am quite sure that they have no interest in my work either, a waste of money for all involved.
Barren springtime Colorado aspen trees
Fortunately for me, the business models of my stock agencies are more business oriented in their search methodologies, favoring those who work hard and consistently produce new material without making judgements on the political correctness of the producer. Shooting for stock is quite a bit different than shooting for art, in fact too much artistic manipulation will only get your work rejected by the stock editors. Subjects of great beauty are of course helpful in stock photography but not necessary. Advertisers are often not looking for magnificent scenery for their ad campaigns, but are looking for a concept that matches their vision. A suitable backdrop for their vision often includes a copious amount of open space for text or imagery of the product they are marketing.
So today, the mountains looked pretty much the same as they do every morning at sunrise, amazingly beautiful and worthy of a few shots even though I don’t see any difference since the last time I photographed them. But today with the despair of the failure of my more artistic work to sell I turned my sights back to stock. I have been eyeing these aspen trees for some time and today I noticed that the sun was casting an interesting light upon them and the parched mountain grass. Knowing that sharp focus is important to stock editors, I set my camera to Av and f8 in hopes of a razor sharp image and tried to capture a vision of solitude or loneliness in the simplicity of barren late winter aspen trees. These I uploaded to my stock agencies along with some of the morning Sangre de Cristo, however only this one have I added to my own website where it will be sold as royalty free stock.
Facebook posts of my work require a lot of extra time, and my return on investment of this effort does not appear to be worthwhile so I won’t be putting in any extra effort making my images available for viewing there. Until I see some effort in fairness by Facebook I consider it to be an irrelevant tool as far as business marketing is concerned. On the upside, I have recently noticed that I have made “All Star” at LinkedIn as interest in my portfolio is growing there 🙂 Any of my readers who want to continue to see daily updates are welcome to add me as a LinkedIn contact! You are also welcome of course to subscribe to my blog by clicking the follow button and you will receive an email each time I publish a new article!
The weather changes fast in Colorado, that much is certain! A few days ago I was making my morning rounds, the gym, the grocery store, the library, etc. until I finally ran out of things to do. So I stopped at my favorite Pikes Peak viewing location to walk the doggies. When I was done I was sitting in my truck, worn out from the late night before kind of dozing and wondering what to do next. Eventually I looked up and the beautiful sunny morning I was enjoying was changing fast! The approaching storm brought days of cold and snow to the high country and I was lucky to capture it rolling in over the north face of Pikes Peak. The whole show only lasted about 15 minutes before the peak was completely obscured by fog and clouds so I was lucky to have looked when I did!
Today, only a few days later, the sun bathed the high country in beautiful springtime warmth and another day of photo opportunities. Almost missed it again though, so tired that I contemplated just calling it an early day. Fortunately the doggies were not ready to retire early and their eager faces were not possible to turn down… Loaded into the truck and off to the trail head we went. By then I was thinking the lighting was pretty nice so I decided to take a little drive after our walk to see if I could find some deer coming out for the nightly feeding. I have also been wanting to explore the Edlowe Road area, including some of the dirt road offshoots that I have been wondering about for years so this seemed like a good opportunity to do both.
The journey paid off with a few really nice pictures of small herds of mule deer and some new views of the peak. Evidence of last week’s storms and snow are all but gone, a mantle of white on the peak is all that remains. And the aspen trees are starting to show signs of renewed life in the mountains of southern Colorado with a hint of green to mark the end of another long Colorado winter.
These images and more are available for purchase on my Pixels.com website in the form of traditional framed prints, glossy metal and acrylic sheets and canvas. Gift items are also available including apparel, coffee cups, beach towels and other nifty household items.
Winters are long in the high country but I hope that this early May snowstorm will mark the end of winter 2017. Snow fell for 24 straight hours and the temperature dipped to 13 degrees on May Day Eve. Getting out the winter parka and relighting the pilot light on the furnace can be a bit dispiriting just when you are ready to get out the lawn chairs and lemonade.
However the snowy weather can also bring magnificent beauty. So on May the first, the day following the storm I arose early in the morning to take a peak out the window at what might be going on at 14,115 feet on America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak. And from what I could see it looked like I was going to hit pay dirt! There were some fluffy clouds gathering and hanging around just below the 14,000 foot level with just enough blue sky to add some color and interesting light to the scene.
So I grabbed the camera and my trusty Canon F4L 200mm zoom and loaded the doggies and camera equipment into the truck. We drove to the trail head and quickly marched up to the first clearing where there is an unobstructed view of the peak. Son Boy wasn’t too excited about stopping there for the picture taking and tried occasionally to convince me with his considerable power to do things his way and head up the trail. But I was able to hang around a while and get what I hope to be the last vestiges of the winter of 2017 as it receded from the massive monolith before me.
As I write this, on the sixth of May the first thunder of spring is rumbling through the valley and the mesmerizing sound of falling rain is providing the night’s music. The winter of 2017 and with it one of the most terrible struggles I have ever experienced in my lifetime is indeed behind me. Hopefully next winter will find my situation vastly improved, although from today’s standpoint it does not appear that it will. But I have hope for I know that it is written, “And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.“.
I have selected this image and one other as the best of the series and have made them available as stock and print exclusively on my Pixels.com website. These will not be available on any micro stock sites as I have determined not to make my best images available at the discouraging rates that images are drawing in that venue.
Thought it was going to be a pretty uneventful day… hiked up the mountainside, the peak was cloudy but not too interesting. So I decided to just make my usual rounds, the gym, the coffee shop, pick up some snacks…
But as I was between tasks I noticed that things had changed on Pikes Peak, the first signs of the impending winter storm were beginning to manifest on the 14,115 foot monster to the south. So I scurried to my favorite vantage point and set up the camera for a few shots of the developing storm clouds. But the wind on the peak was blowing so hard that the clouds kept changing. They kept changing and I kept shooting!
By the time it was over I had collected about 140 new images of the wild action on America’s Mountain… And I had filled two hours that I was wondering what I was going to do with. This one of the clouds and fog was one of my favorites for the day. It will be available as a print, an image on gift items and a stock image on Pixels.com. I hope you enjoy the view as much as I did!
The view outside now is of only heavy snow… appears it has moved in a bit early. Glad me and my critter menagerie is all safely tucked indoors. Also thankful for shelter tonight as I pray for those who must be out and about on an unsafe night…