Pure Joy

That’s about all I can say about my morning of photography. The title came to me when I was filming a little vesper sparrow singing his heart out on the summit of Grouse Mountain. Click the link to the video here if you would like to experience two minutes of joy :)There was also a little house wren at the parking lot singing an equally beautiful song but I was so busy shooting stills that I forgot to film it. I was glad when I encountered the little sparrow that gave me a chance to record the joyous song 🙂

To round out my joyful morning I also encountered a pair of fox kits playing hard at sunrise. I was lucky that one of them managed to run right toward me during his play session and I got some of the best fox captures ever! Then a red-tailed hawk left his perch high on a power pole to also fly right at me and an elk cow stopped to pose for me. Finally a herd of mule deer wandered past in the warm light of the morning sun and I felt that I had earned a nice cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll at the Gold Camp Bakery 🙂

 

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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!

Definitely a Wild Day

I have to say… today turned out way better than I thought! First I couldn’t even figure out what to do with my day, so I just sat in my chair with my coffee until the sun was already way too high in the sky. I had some things I wanted to do but I knew there would be way too many people in the mountains on this holiday weekend. So I found myself giving up on doing anything when I finally decided to just take a little hike and check in on the art gallery in Victor.

Fox at Play

A last minute tip from a buddy revealed the location of a fox family in my area, so I went there first and spotted a couple of what appeared to be the two adult foxes still out enjoying the sunshine. I’ll have to try to get there earlier one of these days to see if I can catch the pups before they duck back down into the den for the day. I didn’t stay long, but I did shoot a couple of different angles to try to get the best light, and managed to get a couple captures that I like including this one which is my favorite of the day.

Then it was onward to my hiking trail near Victor

Mule Deer Doe

where I spotted a few deer, a couple of does and a buck. Fortunately they didn’t bolt when they saw me, just calmly wandered through a sunny patch before heading over the ridge into the dense forest.

I went without success this evening to try to view the fox family again, but I was fortunate to witness a red-tailed hawk flyby within easy camera range. He flew past the wrong way first, giving me a chance to check my settings, a 2000th of a second at f/8 with auto ISO with +1.3 exposure compensation turned out to be the right mix! Out of almost 200 exposures, this one (below) turned out to be my favorite. The wings weren’t in the bright sunlight but I captured the catch lights in his eyes perfectly! This one will definitely find it’s way onto my wall somewhere!

Red-tailed Hawk Soaring Overhead

 

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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!

Bluebird of Happiness

After a week of miserable weather including three and a half feet of snow, on this morning the temperature was warm and the sky was blue. The deer and the birds all seemed happy and I got my first glimpse of the “Three Amigos” for the first time in months! Looks like they are starting to get a new set of antlers and doing well! I also caught a glimpse of our red-tailed hawk pair dancing in the sky, unfortunately far beyond the power of my 400mm of focal length.

As I made my way up the steep hill to the summit of Grouse Mountain I could hear song birds singing and I hoped I would get a chance to photograph a some. A pair of mountain bluebirds frolicked together in the grass and eventually landed on a downed tree near me. I put the camera on the monopod and followed the happy pair as they chased each other around the log pile.

On the way back down I stopped to film my very first Instagram Reels. Looks like I have a few things to learn about the process but I’m excited to give it a try. As it turns out, I get the most response from my pictures there and I’m approved for monetization, something that will never happen with my Youtube channel.

Anyway, I have this nice gallery of images from today, hope you enjoy them!

 

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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!

Quite an Assortment

I’ve seen quite an assortment of critters at the Canyon lately! My latest trip was pretty much centered on the bald eagles, and a cute little family of Canada geese… there isn’t anything much cuter than the little yellow goslings following behind their mother! However recently I’ve seen cormorants, a white faced ibis, great blue heron, eagles, red-tailed hawks, beaver, deer, American dippers, robins, and a ton of little sparrows that are hard to identify without referring to Merlin, my bird ID app from Corning University. Anyway, I just wanted to put them all in one place in this cute little gallery 🙂 Also be sure to view the video of our rapidly growing eaglet!

 

 

And don’t forget to check out my books and calendars on Lulu Press and Amazon!

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!

Awesome Video of the Bald Eagles

Check this cool video with closeups of bald eagles, and other raptors in Eleven Mile Canyon. Also some cute goslings and a red-tailed hawk! Just click this link to watch the video on my YouTube channel ! Watch as mother eagle heads out to hunt for food and the still capture of her bringing home the bacon!

Bald Eagle

Finally Eagle Catches Fish

Red-winged Blackbirds

I’ve been trying for years to capture an image of a bald eagle actually catching a fish and yesterday it finally happened 🙂 A morning at Manitou Lake worked out and an early arrival time was scheduled. Unfortunately the gate wasn’t open yet so entering the park required a bit of a hike from a nearby unofficial parking lot but the morning was still young when we arrived at a likely vantage point for some good photography. Picture taking was off to a good start with some awesome captures of a female red-winged black bird, busily gathering cattail fuzz for her nest followed by the arrival of a few great blue herons.

Bald Eagle at Manitou Lake

Soon it was time for the arrival of the osprey that have been coming to the lake at the same time every day on their morning fishing trip. Unfortunately the osprey seem to have changed their schedule and have decided not to oblige us. It was beginning to look like another photo bust at the lake when suddenly a bald eagle flew in and circled the lake. Soon our National Bird was making a dive at the water, a bit far for a good capture but I readied my camera anyway. A 1600th of a second shutter time, f/8 and auto ISO seemed like good settings for an eagle gliding in for a catch.

Suddenly there was a splash and the mighty raptor was on it’s way with a good sized trout. I kept my lens trained on the approaching predator with my thumb on the back button focus, and kept shooting away. The bird was so small in the frame that it wasn’t really possible at the time to discern whether I was successful, but I was elated that I had actually witnessed the event!

Garden of the Gods

Then it was on to Woodland Park and Colorado Springs for supplies and to shoot the remaining frames of black and white film with my Canon A-1 film camera. I turned off at Manitou Springs to take the back way through Garden of the Gods in hopes of a worthy subject for my six frames of Ilford B&W film. Plus they are building a round about at the west entrance and I wanted to see if it was possible yet to get past the mess on 30th Street. Well, it is not, you can go across to the visitor center but it still isn’t possible to go north. Fontenaro Street to the south is the best route to Colorado Springs proper from the Garden. Before leaving however, I stopped for a few captures of the new leaves of springtime at the visitor center with my A-1 film camera and also a few with my 24-105 wide angle on the 90D using a polarizer.

Here are a few more images from the lake which can be counted on to provide a variety of bird species and color, hope you enjoy them!

 

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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!

If you enjoy the content and would like to contribute to the cause, please click the donation button and choose an amount!

New Species in the Canyon

Yesterday was the day for my weekly visit to Eleven Mile Canyon. Unfortunately with gas prices the way they are I’ve had to limit my visits to the canyon to once a week. They day began with an apocalyptic looking cloud of dust enshrouding the entire landscape,  the result of tremendous winds we’ve been experiencing this spring. The wind from the night before had never subsided and was still buffeting my truck as I traveled down Teller County Road 1 to the canyon.

Bald Eagle Nest

I was unable to see eaglets in the nest at the entrance, probably due to the wind. I could see the mother eagle was fighting to stay on her perch on the edge of the nest as powerful gusts threatened to unseat her. I imagine the young ones instinctively know to keep their heads down in such conditions.

I watch carefully for osprey in the lower mile or two, as that is they formerly chose for their nest. However there were none to be seen on this day. There was also nothing at the bend, no eagles and not even the often seen blue heron that seems to have made that part of the canyon home for the summer season. However not too far past the bend we spotted a blue heron, then another… and another. All together there appear to be at least four of the great birds nesting somewhere near that relatively calm section of the South Platte River, good information for future visits!

Double-Crested Cormorant

Just beyond there another bird flew in and took up a position high on the giant rocks lining the river. A quick look through the binoculars identified the visitor as a double-crested cormorant, a first for the canyon! We snapped a few pictures of the handsome shore bird and continued on. Our experience with that particular bird at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal led us to believe that he might be comfortable standing on the rocks for a considerable amount of time… more than we had the patience for to be sure.

White-Faced Ibis

Another mile upstream another large bird revealed himself, a species I had never seen before… a large heron looking shore bird with the beak of an oversized sandpiper and unusual red and greenish markings. This one would have to wait for identification until I could get home and feed the image into Merlin, my bird ID application. Eventually I would learn that this was a white-faced ibis… another canyon first! Further investigation indicates that this species as well as the cormorant are expanding their range as climate change warms the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains.

Eventually the osprey flew over, but my equipment let me down on this encounter and I was not able to acquire focus lock as the great hawk circled overhead. Hopefully it won’t be long before the much anticipated Canon R7 mirrorless upgrade to the 90D is available and focus issues will be a thing of the past! I understand the new animal eye focus is quite incredible!

High winds often made audio impossible for the video I was shooting, but I still managed to get a few seconds of footage of the new visitors to the canyon, I hope you enjoy the short video on my channel!

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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!

First Eaglet of the Season and Video

Decided to drop in yesterday and check on the eagle’s nest at Eleven Mile Canyon hoping to capture some video of the recently hatched little ones. I saw Mama eagle in the nest as I passed on my way into the canyon, and satisfied that there were still thriving offspring I continued on in hoping to get pictures of osprey and great blue heron.

Beaver in Eleven Mile Canyon

Unfortunately there were no osprey in their favorite stretch of river but as I cruised upstream I spotted an unusual object in the water. It looked like a big rock but I had never seen a rock like that in that location so I pulled the truck to a stop and readied the camera. I was surprised when I zoomed in to discover a giant beaver just sitting in the river, apparently hoping for food to float down the river into his waiting mouth.

Beaver in Eleven Mile Canyon

I snapped off a couple pictures while honing in on the best exposure settings, so I was prepared when he began to swim slowly downstream. I was able to capture a few nice images of his sleek form in the water before he was too far away.

I continued upstream and was soon at the big bend where I spotted a great blue heron fishing in the shallow calm water. I was only able to capture one image of him standing still before he took flight as I was fiddling with my camera settings.

Great Blue Heron

Those were my only opportunities for wildlife images along the river so on my way back downstream the second time I decided to stop and capture some motion blur images of the rushing water on a section of river that I had been considering for that purpose. The weather was beautiful in Cripple Creek when I left home but as usual the canyon was brutally cold. By the time I was done fiddling with the tripod I was near hypothermia and decided to cut the project short. I managed to capture a couple of technically correct images but none that satisfied my artistic desire. Perhaps next time.

Whitewater in Eleven Mile Canyon

Next stop was the nest on my way out of the canyon. I attached the camera to the tripod to try to get some steady video footage while looking through the binoculars for the eaglets poking their heads above the nest. While I was commenting that I couldn’t see the little ones, a tiny head appeared over the rim of the nest and I was fortunate to capture a cameo of one eaglet. There may be more to follow but one is all I could verify on this day.

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the pictures and video of the first eaglet of the season to appear above the nest!

Eagle and Eaglet

And of course if you enjoy the content and want to contribute to the cause, please feel free to click the donate button!

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!

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!

Elk, Osprey, Blue Heron, Beaver & Eagles – What a Day!

Elk in the Pike National Forest

I knew it was going to be a good day when a small herd of elk cows crossed the road and ran out into golden light of a Rocky Mountain sunrise on my trip up to Eleven Mile Canyon! Traffic was stopped in both directions to allow for the passage so I grabbed the trusty Canon 90D and snapped a few pictures of the animals, happy to be safely on the other side of the highway. At the time only half the herd had crossed, but the other half didn’t appear interested taking the risk so I continued on my journey.

Soon I was at the entrance to the canyon and on my way past the high cliffs of the opening, looking intently for osprey and peregrine. Neither were at their expected location and I took note of the rushing water as a photo op for motion blur photography in case my wildlife endeavor in the canyon came up empty on this day.

Osprey in Eleven Mile Canyon

But it wasn’t long before I spotted my intended target, a beautiful white osprey perched high above the canyon on a dead tree branch. He was quite a distance away though, too far for my 400mm and 1.4x teleconverter. Fortunately I had recently borrowed Kevin’s 2x converter so I attached it and dragged out the tripod with my solid Vanguard ball head.The only reliable way to use the 2x is to switch the lens to manual and use focus peaking with live view. With that method it is possible to zoom in to 10x on the camera and turn the focus ring until the red color outlines any part of the subject that is in focus.

I watched the osprey for a long time, hoping he would take flight and I would get the coveted wing span in a flight image, but he seemed quite intent on remaining on the branch. His behavior was very much like a male osprey overlooking the valley for threats to a nest, not looking down at the river for fish, but scanning the valley up and down, carefully watching for intruders. This makes me think that maybe the new nest may be in that section of river, but I was not able to see the new structure, not even with my 10x binoculars. The male osprey upon seeing a threat will take flight and vigorously defend his territory and I have yet to see a bird willing to risk the ire of an osprey with his wicked talons extended.

Great Blue Heron

Eventually I got too cold in the canyon wind to continue at that location so I got back in the truck and cruised upstream hoping to see eagles, deer in the river, or blue heron. I was soon rewarded with a blue heron standing upon a rock in the sun on the opposite bank of the river. He was safe and comfortable in his location and allowed me to walk out onto a sandbar on the river and sit down on a nice soft island for a long session of photography.

While I photographed and filmed the heron I noticed a disturbance in the water on the opposite bank, closer inspection revealed a beaver swimming back and forth with a meal he had found deep in the river channel. Now I had to split my time between heron and the busy

Beaver in the South Platte

beaver, filming and shooting stills of them both. It was then that I noticed my camera wasn’t behaving properly. Usually when I’m filming with the 90D, the live view focus system will locate a subject and then track it. This time a single stationary focus point was lit up and failing miserably at keeping the subject in focus. If the focus point wavered at all off the subject the animal would go out of focus until the point returned over the subject.

I wasn’t able to resolve the problem until later at home in front of the computer and the detailed PDF 90D manual. It turns out that somehow while messing around with settings lately I had managed to take the camera out of tracking mode and select single point mode. I can’t imagine how I did, that but happily the problem has been corrected and the camera is once again tracking subjects in video mode 🙂

Eventually I decided the heron was not about to leave his comfortable sunny position on the rocks, and the beaver had sufficiently gorged himself on the succulent river grass he had located under the blue water of the South Platte and had continued on upstream. It was very cold down by the icy water and once again as I neared hypothermia, I gave in to the promise of heat and comfort in the truck and continued on upstream.

Bald Eagle on a Nest

There was nothing to see upstream and I noticed on my return trip that the blue heron had not moved from his original position. This time I passed him by and continued on downstream in hopes of seeing the osprey again. Upon failing to locate the osprey, my attention turned to the eagles nest where mother eagle was watching over her young. Once again I retrieved the tripod and the 2x in hopes of video footage including an eaglet or two.

I can tell from the behavior of the mama eagle that there are definitely eaglets in the nest, not just eggs. She is sitting much higher and spends a bit of time tending to something deep in the nest. It will be a few weeks yet before little heads began to appear above the rim of the nest!

I was lucky that the focusing problem didn’t destroy all my footage and am happy to present this Youtube video of my day, hope you enjoy it!

If you enjoy the content and would like to contribute to the cause, please feel free to click the donate button and leave a small gift!

 

 

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!