Friday, October 24, 2014

Elk and Aspens

Day seven of my trip to Colorado and Wyoming found my brother Eric and I headed west on Highway 34 up the Big Thompson Canyon towards Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). RMNP holds a dear spot in my heart as I have spent many days in my past fishing, hiking and camping with family and close friends. One of my fondest memories is sitting in the back of a pick up truck listening to the elk bugle and watching them spar in the meadows. Eric and I found plenty of elk. In fact we found one nice bull just inside the south entrance in beautiful morning light. Shortly thereafter we watched two bulls sparring and my card filled up right at the beginning of the match. DRAT! Next we made the drive into Bear Lake where it was snowing and the wind was blowing like crazy. It made for some nice aspen images though. We made a stop at Sprague Lake where there were Brook Trout spawning in the inlet as well as an Aspen Tree that a beaver gnawed down. We drove up into Hidden Valley a favorite spot for me as that is where I learned to ski even though the ski area is now long gone. On the way out of the valley we photographed a Magpie on the side of the road. The day slipped in and out with clouds. We drove back down into Estes Park where we photographed a lot of elk in the east side of Estes near the golf course of all places! I loved my final image of the day. A cow elk looking for some peace and quiet from all the attention she was getting from two nearby bulls. Thank you Lord for this wonderful experience. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's the Squirrels Turn

I slept in this morning until eight thirty or so. I looked out the front window to check my birds feeders and there were just a few birds pecking about. They must be out of seed I thought to myself. After a leisurely breakfast I grabbed my camera and a scoopful of black sunflower seed and ambled out to the photoblind. My first objective was to find Papaya the cat and put her away but she was nowhere to be found. A Western Gray Squirrel watched my approach and he scolded me from the top of one of the bird houses for my very presence. Soon after pouring the seed into the bird feeder the birds started arriving in force one after the other. I made a few images but what I really wanted was a Douglas Tree Squirrel. The Western Gray kept its distance knowing that I was there. It would start to come in close and then bolt away to the trees for safety. I watched two Douglas Tree Squirrels out on the periphery gathering up bits of a fungi they were tearing apart. Eventually one of them bounded past the Gray Squirrel and jumped up onto the knothole feeder. I made several images of it before it gave a cry of alarm and scrambled off for the trees. What had I done to scare it off I wondered? Papaya soon made her entrance to be petted and I called it a day. God is good all the time. There are just times that we don't know why. chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens. Camera setting used- AV mode,ISO 800,F8.0 shutter speeds varied. The camera was supported with a Manfrotto 055PROBX tripod and an 055 Bogen ballhead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time for Those Chickadees

With fall come the migrating Chestnut Backed Chickadees. They are here year round but with the onset of fall the population seems to grow substantially. Today I thought I would take a break from editing my trip images and go out into the front yard and photograph the chickadees. I ended up creating more work for myself than if I had stayed inside and edited images. The birds were coming to the feeder non stop. Sometimes there was even a back up of birds waiting to use the feeder. Of course the Steller's Jays came by and wanted there share as well. I had a great time. The techniques used to capture these images are shown in my book "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography". The book is available in harbound and ebook editions from Amazon and other onlinebook sellers and it has been getting great reviews! Copy and paste this address into your browser to see it. The book is published by Rocky Nook, Inc. a publisher that specializes in photography books. God's love and blessings to all, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400l IS lens. Camera settings used were ISO 800, AV mode, f5.6 and F8.0. Shutter speed varied. The camera was supported with a Manfrotto 055PROBX tripod and an 055 Bogen ballhead.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Visiting Home

Day 6: Leaving the Denver area I traveled north on I-25 along the Front Range to my boyhood town of Loveland, Colorado. It's funny how things feel so familiar and yet are entirely different. When I left here back in the dark ages Loveland was home to about 17,000 people. Now the population has swelled to over 72,000. Visiting here brought back a lot of pleasant memories. Everywhere I turned something came to my mind. I love to visit but I know that I no longer belong here. It is similar to the German feeling of Sehnsucht. Longing for a place that can never be yet it still home.I stayed with my brother Eric and his wonderful wife Sue at her Mom's house. They are temporarily displaced while their new house is being built up in the Rockies. What a beautiful place it's going to be. It has a great view and it is easy to get to Rocky Mountain National Park from where the house is being built. Eric was awesome because he set up a blind and a bird feeder for me to use in the backyard. I really wanted to photograph a Blue Jay because I've never photographed one before. There weren't any Blue Jays in Loveland when I grew up there as a kid. But they are there now and I really wanted an image of one. Luckily for me the Jays obliged. After I finished photographing photographing Jays Eric took me out to photograph some of the local Prairie Dogs and then we headed up to North Park next to Loveland High School to photograph Canadian Geese and Fox Squirrels. I watched one squirrel insulating its nest with bark in preparation for the upcoming winter. We got home just in time to BBQ some chicken for dinner. Early Fall evenings in Colorado are spectacular. What a wonderful and fantastic day I had. Thank you Lord for the experience. God's love to all, chris

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Checking the Mail

Lenore was watching our bird feeders this morning when she told me, "Quick come take a look. There is a buck out here." I arrived just in time to see it poking its head around my mailbox set up for the birds and squirrels. I grabbed my camera just in time to photograph it nosing around the door and then sticking its head inside checking for the mail Um I mean the seed. It made for a couple of great images. Now I need to go out and repair the mailbox that has mysteriously been ripped from the post. Sigh, a photographers work is never done! God's love and blessings to all, chris

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wild for Wood Ducks

Day five of my trip to Colorado and Wyoming found me up before the cock crows and heading down the residential streets of Littleton towards Sterne Park Lake. I wanted to stake out a good spot to photograph Wood Ducks. My arrival at the lake went unnoticed by anyone because I was the only person around. I claimed my spot just across from the island and sat down in the wet grass beside the lake with my feet dangling down the bank towards the water. Why hadn't I thought to bring something along to sit on? It didn't matter now as there were woodies swimming back and forth in front of me in the gathering light. I ended up photographing Wood ducks for over two hours. It was a perfect spot with fall colors being reflected onto the surface of the lake.There were a few nice looking Mallards and some Canadian Geese floated down and landed right next to me. It was a great morning which took me hours and hours of editing time yesterday! It was well worth it. Enjoy the Wood Ducks and God bless, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400l IS lens on Manfotto 055XB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.