Friday, September 23, 2016

Rocky Mountain Rainbows

In early September I was privileged to go on a photo tour with my brother. He works in Estes Park, Colorado for a company that does photo Jeep tours out of Estes Park. We met the clients, a young couple at the tour office at about five thirty in the morning. We were on the road before a quarter to six. As we drove along my brother pointed out various points of interest and gave a running narrative of facts about founding of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park and the various wildlife found there. He was really good at it! Just after entering the north entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park we stopped and watched two bull elk sparring in the meadow. There was barely enough light to photograph them but was a wonderful sight to see. Further on we saw four coyotes playing together way out in the meadow too far away to photograph as well as some wild turkeys. We turned off onto Fall River Road and began the slow climb up to Trail Ridge Road. I was really glad to have the front seat when it started to sprinkle. Luckily the tour company provides heavy blankets for the people in the back of the Jeep. On the way up we were treated several times to rainbows ahead of us. We took a stop at the visitors center up on the top of Trail Ridge Road. It was gusty and cold and we didn't spot any Pikas or Marmots out. They were smart and stayed underground. We did however see another glorious rainbow with the rockies as a backdrop! On the way down we spotted some cow elk beside the road and one moose and a bear far off in the distance. It was a great morning and I really enjoyed getting to watch my brother at work. God's love and blessings upon yours, chris Most images were created with a Canon 7D mkII and a damaged Tamron 150-600mm lens. One rainbow image was taken with a Canon 10-22mm lens. #TeamCanon

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Back to the Pikas and Throwing in a Dog as Well

One day with the Pikas was not enough. My broher Eric and I headed up to rocky Mountain Park the following morning as well. It was a beautiful day with soft morning light. We both came home with some nice Pika images. Later that morning we took his Labrador, Sadie, to the Estes Park dog park. Wow, can Sadie run. Eric only managed to hit me twice with the ball when he was throwing the ball for his dog! I think he did it on purpose. God's blessings upon your day, chrisAll the Pika images were taken with a Canon 7D mkII and a Tamron 150-600 with a broken front lens element anda loose mount from dropping it on the concrete. The dog park images were done with a Canon 7D mkII and a 8mm Rokinon manual lens.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Favorite Place

Growing up in Colorado one of my favorite places to go was Rocky Mountain National Park. We would go up there skiing at Hidden Valley Ski area (now long gone) fishing and hiking. In the fall we would drive up in the evenings to listen to the elk bugle and watch the elk rut. Early the fourth day of my trip to Colorado found me up before the sunrise driving up Milner Pass to catch the sunrise at Rainbow Curve on Trail Ridge Road. The wind was just howling when I got there! It was a beautiful sunrise but the fog closed in as I got to the top of the pass at over 12,000 ft. Man it's tough for a flat lander like me to move around at that elevation. But it was worth it to hear the elk bugling mysteriously in the fog. I drove by the Marmot Sentinel at Rock Cut. There is almost always a Marmot there whenever I go by there! I parked my car and sat out on the rocks and waited for the Pikas to appear. They are the cutest little mammal to photograph. It is so much fun to watch them come and go gathering up plants for their hay piles to make it through the winter. I will gladly photograph them any day over elk or deer. Eventually the cold and the altitude got to me and I had to go back down. Even with a winter jacket, gloves and a wool hat! On the way out of the park I ran into a bear jam where there were a momma and two cubs gorging themselves on chokecherries for the upcoming winter. I also photographed a bull elk taking a bit of a snooze. The weather wasn't great but I was blessed and delighted by what I got to see and photograph. God's love and blessings to all, chris All images were created with my Canon 7DmkII and my damaged Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD. The lens did a fantastic job for having a cracked lens element and a loose mount from falling out of my backpack onto the concrete.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hitting the Parks

Day three of my photo adventure to Colorado found me visiting my good friend Dan in Centennial, Colorado. We both love hiking and have had many adventures together over the years. I was looking forward to photographing some Wood Ducks. We headed over to Sterne Park which is pretty close to where he lives. Usually this is a fantastic place to photograph Wood Ducks. All we found were a lot of immature birds and they were all on shore in the grass. Instead of ducks I photographed a bridge! Oh well. Next stop was Ketring Park which is nearby. There I found a very cooperative hen Mallard sleeping on a rock. She was sleeping until I plopped down on the shore nearby. Then she opened her eyes to keep a close watch on me to make sure I wasn't up to something evil. We also ended up rescuing another Mallard that was tangled up in fishing line. C'mon people clean up your excess line when you are fishing. After Ketring we drove over to Chatfield State Park where we spotted a canine beast running through a field beside the road. Then we went for a long enjoyable walk along the Platte River. What a great morning. God bless, chris all images were created with my Canon 7D mkII and my Tamron 150-600mm lens. Pretty impressive for having a cracked front lens element and a loose mount!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Disaster, "The Big Show" and Downtown

On day two of my big adventure first I hit RMA refuge early in the morning and then I went to the Rockies Dodgers game at beautiful Coors Field. While walking from the parking lot to the stadium I heard a loud thunk and then a clattering noise behind me. I turned around to see what the strange noise was. I stared dumbfounded at my telephoto lens lying there on the concrete. I'm always very careful at securing my lenses. What could have possibly happened? A quick check of my day pack showed me that the zipper had broken allowing the lens to fall from my back pack to the concrete. I put the lens on my camera and shot a few images. Everything seemed to be okay until I went to clean the front element of the lens and discovered that it was cracked all around the edges and there were pieces of broken glass clinging to the inside. Surprisingly with it being a high quality lens I was able to photograph with it for the rest of my trip. Watching the the game was great. I met my brother Eric there and he bought us tickets about half way back in the shade just off of third base. The shade was perfect because it was a warm day in the mid seventies. I took a few breaks from watching the game to photograph it with my broken lens and was very happy with the results. For lunch I had a Chili Verde Burtito and it was only eight bucks. A great price for any ball park and it was made fresh right in front of me and was delicious. Best thing of all was the Rockies beat the Dodgers 7-0. The Dodgers got payback that night coming back to beat the Rockies 10-8. After the game rather than drive on the craziness of I-25 I drove all the way down Broadway to experience all the architecture of Denver.What a great game and a great day. I'm shipping the lens off for repairs this week. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Friday, September 16, 2016

Big City Wildlife

As many of you already know I'm a sucker for Pikas, squirrels and Marmots. The first night of my trip to Colorado I stayed at a cheap motel in Denver, Colorado. When I pulled into the motel parking lot and was unloading my photo gear a squirrel bounded across the parking lot. It climbed up a small tree beside my car. I was surprised to find that the tree was an apple tree of all things. The squirrel grabbed an apple and climbed a ways up the tree. I grabbed my camera and tried to find an angle I could photograph the squirrel from. I ended up being so close that my camera wouldn't focus that close so I had to back up.I made several images but this one was my favorite. After taking a few images I plucked an apple and I have to agree with the squirrels choice of dinner. The apple was sweet and delicious. God's love and blessings upon your day, chris

Thursday, September 15, 2016

In the Shadow of the City

My favorite place to visit whenever I visit the Denver Colorado area is Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Area. Many locals just refer to it as RMA. It is very convenient if you are flying into Denver as it is very close to the airport. The first thing I did when I flew in was to pick up my little rent a car and drive straight to the refuge. I spent two wonderful mornings photographing there. Photographing, Bison,Raccoons, Prairie Dogs, one of my favorites and some Mule Deer as well as some flowers and scenics. If you stop by the visitor center they have some amazing displays set up showing the history of the arsenal from days of farming through its days as a chemical munitions storage and disposal unit and how it is being transformed back to nature. It truly is a hidden gem of the Denver area. God's love and blessings to all, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D mkII and a Tamron 150-600mm lens at a variety of settings.