Great Looking Wildlife

Mule Deer After the Snow

Had a pretty good couple of days photographing wildlife. We had a good snow the other day so I had to go out in it of course. I usually have pretty good luck finding deer to take pictures of and this time was no different! Found this beautiful buck foraging for food in the snow. He spotted me and looked me over for a little bit and then went back to eating so I guess I wasn’t bothering him too much.

The star of the day was this little mountain chickadee though. He was bouncing around on the branches in front of me  so it was fairly difficult to get a shot of him sitting still but I did get a couple!

Also had pretty good luck at Eleven Mile Canyon, saw one eagle and this little herd of mule deer who graciously posed for me while I took all the combinations of images I could think of!

 

Bald Eagle in 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!

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

Fun Day With the Eagles

bald eagle in flight

It was a perfect morning to spend with the eagles. There was a bit of cloud cover to help with that bright winter sun and it wasn’t too cold! We found Speckles near the end of the canyon where he obliged us with a few photos before heading back downstream where we found him a couple other times.

There was also a handsome red-tailed hawk perched on a treetop at near the dam. Red-tails in treetops can have an awful lot of patience though, so we decided not to wait for him to fly. He was still there on the return trip So the decision appeared to have been a sound one.

_MG_3272As we passed all the likely spots for an eagle on our final trip back down the canyon it appeared our day might be over… but just as we were about to give up we spotted one of the majestic birds in a tree near the cliffs north of the picnic area. We parked and carefully exited the car with cameras at the ready. I dialed in a 1600th of a second at f/8 and -2/3 exposure compensation to account for the bright white head. The ISO value came in at a very usable value of 800. We moved toward the resting eagle when suddenly he took flight and headed back upstream.

He flew right past the beautiful cliffs on the west side of the canyon while I tracked him and fired off bursts of three or four shots so as not to fill the buffer up too quickly. The result.. one of my best eagle shots in a long time!

 

 

Red-Tailed Hawk

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.

Checking on the Eagles

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

I had a free day so I decided to check in on the eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon. My last few visits there have been less than stellar so I wasn’t too optimistic, but cold and snow the night before had me thinking this day might be different. I was in the canyon just after sunrise plowing through three inches of new snow, feeling thankful for new snow tires on the back of my truck! Lol, this visit was a first though, I got so tired and sleepy between the tunnels that I had to find a pullout and take a nap 😦 On the other hand it was very quiet that early and the canyon is a great place to take a nap! I’ll have to keep that in mind 🙂

I made it all the way to the end without seeing a thing and made the turnaround. I would make the turnaround one more time without success and then finally spotted the eagle called Speckles in a tree high on the ridge to the west. He was too far for a good picture but of course I had to at least give it a try. It was so cold in the canyon at that time I decided to just move on and hope for a better sighting of a different eagle.

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

I usually give up after two passes through the canyon but decided this day to take a chance and make three. Finally after 10:00 a.m. Speckles was finally getting busy and I found him in a tree down by the water. I couldn’t get a good angle on him from the truck so I grabbed the monopod and hiked down the river a bit in hopes of better light and a better view. I captured a couple of nice shots of him on the branch before blowing my best chance of the day for in-flight pictures. He flew right at me and almost right over my head but I couldn’t wrangle the monopod into position in time and missed the whole event 😦

Bald Eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon

Later on I got a couple more opportunities for in-flight pictures and finally around noon managed to get a picture that made the day feel worth while. I’ll have to get back there soon if there is going to be that kind of action! It won’t be long and our nesting pair will be laying eggs and spending a lot of time at the nest. Remember though, this year the area down by the river in front of the nest is off limits for the reproduction period from January through June.

Keep my book, called “Seasons of the Raptor” about the Eleven Mile Canyon and other Colorado raptors in mind if you are looking for a gift for an outdoorsman or for some light reading in your spare time! The book is also available as an ebook and can be read for free from your Kindle Unlimited account!

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.

Roadblocks and Breakthroughs

Well it’s been a busy 2022 already, one of my resolutions… well maybe my only resolution was to actually do something with all the thousands of images I’ve captured over the last few years. Maybe more than a few years, I got my first digital camera in 2002 and I’ve been blazing away ever since!  My original plan was digital stock photography but the returns on that medium are now so low that it is barely worth doing.

Red-tailed Hawk

So I decided to try my hand at book writing starting with an ebook on Kindle thinking that the file I created with the free software would easily translate into a paperback book. That turned out not to be the case though so I thought I was going to be limited to the ebook route.  But I really want to be able to create a paperback so I didn’t give up. It occurred to me that Adobe has a good utility for doing just that called InDesign. What the heck, I thought… so I downloaded a seven day trial version to see if I could learn yet a new software package. Fortunately It is enough similar to Photoshop that I was able to pick up the essentials in a day and I’m about halfway through re-creating the ebook I had written on the raptors into the Adobe software. Besides, I figured if I was going to be serious about this there’s no way to avoid using serious professional software anyway.

But after sitting in front of the computer for a couple of days I’m still going to have to get out with the animals for a few hours, maybe tomorrow!

 

 

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.

Better Day With Eagles

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

Definitely a better day with the eagles today. The weather has been a little colder and we’ve even had a little snow. I arrived at Eleven Mile Canyon a little later than usual, the sun had been up for about an hour by the time I arrived so I didn’t know what to expect. Lately the eagles have been all done in the canyon an hour or two after sunrise.

Just as I got to the bend I spotted a beautiful bald eagle on a branch right across the river in perfect light! I stopped and adjusted the camera for a portrait in early light. Since I had the door frame to steady the lens on I decided to try a 400th of a second with F8 and a -2/3 exposure compensation (EC) which in that light brought my ISO down to a usable 1250. The wind was blowing hard though and I could see that his feathers were fluttering so I figured I’d better get a few shots with a faster shutter speed, I thought a 1250th of a second should do the trick. Then I prepared for flight. Shutter priority with a 1600th of a second and F8, my widest aperture with this lens and teleconverter combination. 

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

Eventually he took flight but I only had a few feet of space to get in a shot before he went behind the choke cherry bushes. But I got a couple of nice captures 🙂 I continued driving upstream and spotted a second baldie. This one was in a terrible position for a shot though, backlit and high in a tree with the bright blue sky behind him. I changed my EC to +1 and snapped a few before he took flight. Much to my surprise though the great raptor turned around and headed straight back at me! My settings were perfect for a bird in flight with the blue sky as a backdrop so I know I nailed some of them!

Eventually my day was over and I was on my way back downstream when I spotted yet another one high in the trees on top of the ridge. I didn’t think anything would come of this situation but by then this eagle was a bit jumpy. He took flight a few times with the early morning sun shining upon him and a couple times he flew right at me. I didn’t nail them all but I nailed a bunch of good frames!

I found today encouraging, more eagles, better compositions and more cold weather on the way. I think by next month the eagles will have settled into the canyon for a good winter of raptor photography! Don’t forget to check out my new Kindle book about last year’s raptor photography! Tons of great picture and the story of some of our favorite local birds!

 

 

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

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! Also be sure to check out my short stories on Kindle in my new series called Photo Adventures!

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

One Year With the Raptors

Bald Eagles in Eleven Mile Canyon

I just published another Kindle book called “Seasons of the Raptor” about my first big year of raptor photography. Prior to 2020 my wildlife photography always concentrated on the large American mammals, including bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, deer, etc. That was of course before I became acquainted with the eagles nest at Eleven Mile Canyon. Since then I’ve upgraded my equipment to be able to actually shoot a clear photograph of birds and actively gone looking for them! I’ve had to upgrade my software to support images shot in low light and difficult conditions and perfect my skills on fast moving small subjects!

The year included  watching the bald eagles hatch three new eaglets, the osprey pair raise two new young ones, some great times with the blue heron, tons of red-tailed hawks, rough-legged hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, a couple Swainson’s, the peregrine falcons at the mouth of Eleven Mile and probably a bunch I already don’t even remember!

Anyway, the book is my best one yet, around 50 pages of my best raptor pictures including the story behind the images. I reveal my strategy and camera settings, how I approached the feathered critters, where and when to find them plus links to supporting video on my YouTube channel!

So if you are on Amazon or a Kindle fan I hope you will consider giving it a look!

Also notice that I have added a link to all my Kindle books on the main menu!

Windows 11 and Kindle Publishing

As we approach the new year the weather is clear and cold up in the mountains. Not very good for photography but pretty good for tackling year end administrative details and sitting in front of the old LCD monitor. Yesterday’s big event was the upgrade to Windows 11. In my younger days as a computer geek I would have been all over the new developments but these days I was content to just wait for the announcement. In fact my desktop is now probably three or four years old so I wasn’t sure it was even going to be eligible for the upgrade.

But as it turns out, the other day when I booted up, Windows informed me that I was eligible for a free upgrade, a note which I gave the old “later” response thinking I might not even bother to do it. But after looking into it a bit and discovering that there were actually going to be performance improvements to the multi-tasking software plus some intriguing aesthetic enhancements, I decided to see if my computer really could perform the upgrade.

I checked over the requirements and it seemed that my little Dell actually met the requirements (of course after I had installed 32gb of memory and a 1tb aux disk) so I shut down all my tasks, even though it says you don’t have to, and fired up the download and walked away. A couple hours later the download was complete and the installation started automatically. That too went off without a hitch and I am now running on Windows 11. I have to say I am pleased so far, it seems to be a bit snappier and I like the look and feel. In fact an issue with my graphics card driver seems to have been repaired. One time I was messing with the colors and contrast on my monitor and something got completely jacked up, turning my whites pink along with various other problems. I had to switch my theme to dark mode to avoid the hideous colors on the task bar and backgrounds. There seemed to be no other way around it but now it all looks fine again. All my applications seem to be working well, including my Adobe products and Open Office which are really the most important things I use.  Today I will find out if the printer driver was affected.

Series Cover for Photo Adventures

I’m also proud to announce significant progress in my newfound book writing career, I have completed the first three short stories in my Photo Adventures series on Kindle! To accomplish this you need at least three stories to complete the three cover artwork displayed for a series. Kindle uses the covers of your first three stories to create a three cover collage. I decided for consistency’s sake I would stick to the theme of wildlife adventures and now that they are complete I have a pleasing three animal cover 🙂 Now I am fiddling around with some new ideas for a more substantial writing including a recounting of the year my wife passed from cancer and a new phase of life began called “Beauty for Ashes”. I don’t know if I will actually be able to deliver on that idea though, time will tell if I can actually get through the first chapter. If I can write the first chapter I may actually come through with that idea.

Today my big task is going to be trying to acquire a new season pass for Eleven Mile Canyon and Manitou Lake and maybe even a Colorado state parks pass, but I’m thinking I should probably have a new windshield installed on my truck first. Seems a shame to put shiny new stickers on a cracked up old windshield 😦 But then again, it also seems a shame to have to put a shiny new windshield on a 25 year old truck… I keep thinking that there is going to be a Nissan Frontier 4×4 in my future but I seem to keep finding camera equipment taking priority over a new(er) vehicle. Which brings to mind the old saying for parents, “Teach your kids photography, that way they will never be able to afford drugs.” 🙂

 

 

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! Also be sure to check out my short stories on Kindle in my new series called Photo Adventures!

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

My First Book

Pair of Doe mule deer in the snow

OK, so it’s just a Kindle Book, but it’s a start 🙂 I’ve long wanted to publish a book but obvious barriers such as printing and marketing costs have always made the process prohibitive.  So the other day I was poking around and discovered the Kindle Ebook process and thought, heck… why not give it a try?  I didn’t want to do a very big work only to discover some insurmountable problem so I decided to start a series of short stories of interesting moments in my experience with taking photographs in the field. So I quick wrote up the story of how I captured one of my favorite images of these three deer during a blizzard called “The Blizzard and the Camera“.

Pair of Doe mule deer in the snow

I had a few problems getting started including the fact that my cover page failed to upload. I shouldn’t have published until I was all ready but I did have one issue that I wouldn’t have know until already published. The work was supposed to take up to 72 hours to review but perhaps since it is so short it was already live in just a couple hours! The major problem I am having is that I was trying to credit my photo buddy Kevin for taking my profile picture and I wound up making him a co-author… actually the photographer for the book instead of just the contributor of the profile picture 😦

Well anyway, after it went live the software allowed me to go back in and delete the co-author status but apparently I’m going to have to wait for a data base update for the reference to be removed from the main page in Kindle. Oh well,  the work is still there and I’m the author!

I have quite a few more ideas for short stories to add to my series, called Photo Adventures so be sure to stay tuned! The work is listed for $2.99 which was the minimum but for you Kindle Unlimited subscribers I think it can be read for free.

 

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! Also be sure to check out my short stories on Kindle in my new series called Photo Adventures!

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.

The First Eagle

Deer in the CanyonSaw my first eagle in Eleven Mile Canyon since last spring I think. The rumor around the mountains is that the yearly migration of the baldies has begun so I was hoping I would see a few around the canyon. I slowly drove up the canyon scanning the dead trees along the banks of the beautiful South Platte River, hoping to spot the intense white heads shining through the trees when I spotted a pair of mule deer walking along the east bank. I stopped behind a big bush hoping to get a shot of the pair crossing the river but unfortunately they were already on the side they wanted to be on and soon began the treacherous ascent of the steep and rocky canyon wall. Fortunately for me they passed through a clearing high on the rocks where I could get a shot of them, one at a time though…

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

Soon they disappeared over the ridge and I turned my focus back to searching for the bald eagles. Then just as I was nearing “the bend” I spotted the familiar sight. One lone baldy on a branch looking down fiercely at the river below. I stopped the truck a ways back from his location and aimed my long lens out the window, using the window frame for support. At this time there wasn’t a lot of light and at a 1600th of a second I noted that my ISO was coming in at a questionable 6400 value. I wanted to be sure to get a clear image of the great raptor on the branch so I dialed back my shutter speed to a 320th of a second for a few shots before switching back to watching for a take off with a higher shutter speed.

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

Much to my surprise the eagle was content to remain on the  branch so I fired up the truck and moved ahead another 20 yards or so for a closer view. By now it was  getting a bit lighter but I still went back and forth between high and low shutter speeds as I captured a few more stills while waiting for the inevitable flight. Eventually the great bird evacuated his load and began fiddling with his feathers, a sure sign that a takeoff was imminent! By now the sun had cleared the ridge and light streamed up the valley right onto the bright white head. I snapped a shot to make sure that my exposure compensation was in range and discovered that the -1 value was now completely blowing out the white head.  After a bit of experimentation I settled on -2 for the big event.

Bald Eagle Looking For Fish

This time I was lucky, baldy gave me some warning before taking off… he rustled his wing and stood up a bit higher on the branch, telling me that flight was imminent. I was already prepared with zone focus mode activated, giving me nine focus points in the center of the frame with which to track the flight trajectory. As he took flight I snapped off a few frames before clamping down on the back focus button, and after having lived this scenario a few hundred times my thumb seemed to know the exact moment to activate the focus tracking system, giving me one of the most sharply focused series of flight images I have ever managed to capture!

Unfortunately on this day the eagle had decided to perch on what is probably the ugliest tree in the entire canyon so this series isn’t even close to my favorite ones from last winter, but it was still good to see my old friends again. I was able to use the new Photoshop selection and masking tools to somewhat subdue the ugly background. The new masking tools in Camera Raw made a surprisingly accurate selection which after inverting enabled me to desaturate and darken the tangled branches.

I hope you enjoy the images, please be sure to check out out Eleven Mile Canyon Facebook Group where we keep track of all the amazing activity in this amazing 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.