North Park ShadowsCowdery and Walden are nestled within three distinct ranges, with the North Platte River tributaries gaining momentum.
Mt. Zirkel - Study One B&W"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs." Ansel AdamsI have found that the more pictures I take of a subject, the more I like that subject. Mt. Zirkel is no exception. I spent a few hours driving up this lonely ridge with this beautiful view. I will certainly spend a night there, soon.
Mt. Zirkel Wilderness B&WI haven't practiced with panoramas, or with "stitching" photos together yet. Stitching multiple frames together can produce the massive landscapes that seem to stretch for ever, and they make such stunning pieces to display. This was a single exposure, handheld with a longer lens. The clouds reflected enough light to foretell the coming rains. Beauty in North Park abounds.24x36 aluminum print. Comes with framed backing, ready to hang.
Not the More Barn - Study 1The little barn really did captivate me. I will probably shoot it many more times in the next few years. I titled the print "Left Behind..." as an homage to it's place in a rapidly changing ski town, with million dollar homes surrounding it and the 21st Century just a few feet away.I moved around it multiple times, and I want to share all of it's changing character with you here.
Not the More Barn - Study 3The little barn really did captivate me. I will probably shoot it many more times in the next few years. I titled the print "Left Behind..." as an homage to it's place in a rapidly changing ski town, with million dollar homes surrounding it and the 21st Century just a few feet away.I moved around it multiple times, and I want to share all of it's changing character with you here.
Why I drive with my camera in my lap...Mountain goats and mountain sheep are to very different creatures?! This particular flock has spent its summer up on the Grand Mesa, above the town of Paonia. Watching them be expertly shepherded in to their pens was an absolute thrill. It also provided me with a "have, you're a photographer, stupid?!?" moment, where I was able to think, react, imagine, and create a set of images with the camera that was in my hand. Truly enjoyable, deeply rewarding.
Grand Mesa Overlook - McClure PassI have a hard time identifying this location, not because I don't know where it is, it's just that it's connected to so many places that I have a hard time deciding which is belongs to?!This is an evening view, looking back to the east. The Aspens in the immediate foreground will be a beautiful display of red, gold and orange in a few weeks. The mountains in the distant are part of the Elks Range. Kebler Pass runs along the south edge of the peaks, and eventually takes you to Crested Butte. Tanner and I camped in this spot one night, and after the slightly treacherous track up the muddy road.
Crested Butte - SunriseArguably one of Colorado's wildflower capitals, I'd had high hopes when I arrived in Crested Butte of capturing some of the iconic images I'd been imaging. Maybe it was residue of the West Coast trip, or maybe a heightened awareness of "what" I wanted the image to be, or maybe it was spending too much time packing up my camp, but I didn't find the icons I was hoping to. My favorite camp site is just off to the left, on Slate Creek. It is a set of undeveloped sites, and most evenings I can quickly find a place among the pine trees to settle in for the night. The sun rises and sets along the shoulders of the peaks to the north, truly Colorado at it's best.
North Fork of the Elk - Waiting on WinterA weekend in Steamboat with friends meant that I could complete a set of four-seasons images, one along the Elk River, and the other in the shadow of Hahn's Peak. This meant too that I needed to do some more exploring in the area to find some different shots. I'm astounded my the Aspen groves north of Hahn's Peak and in the surrounding areas. I also love the vast sky the fills the valleys, and I know I'll find beauty in the coming winters as snow fills in these scenes too.Until then, there's the Shoulder, the place to rest while things are changing. A place to practice a long exposure in the middle of the day because the snow perfectly mutes the light.
Aspens - McClure PassStoic and magical, the other icon of Colorado's mountains, these creatures grow to be some of the worlds largest organisms. The different hues of the their white can sometimes glisten and other times mute the light. Anytime I find myself in an Aspen grove, I'm instantly transported to a simpler time and a simpler place. They are my fountain of youth.
Mystic - SunsetNorth of Steamboat there are hundreds of miles of county roads that twist and turn and climb and descend the irregular and rolling features of this landscape. Ranches dot the landscape, old and new, and the long forgotten wagon and train stops still bear witness the the sunrises and sunsets that never cease.Mystic is just one of these forgotten boroughs, tucked in the shadow of the Sleeping Giant. The abandoned fence post a reminder of that older time.
In the shadow of the GiantThe Sleeping Giant is dominant geological feature to the northwest of Steamboat Springs. It is easily recognized and equally iconic to Mt. Werner, Hanh’s Peak, and Howelsen Hill. And just like this other features is seems difficult to capture, yet the surrounding landscape, the hills, valleys and hummocks that it creates add depth and texture to the landscape. This lone tree, standing on the eastern flank of the Giant is just one such example of how a physical feature can change and effect the landscape surrounding it, just by it’s presence.
New HayThe land, the animals and the people all depend on this humble and simple grass. Looking the soil in its place, providing a simple sustenance or arranged to create lasting childhood memories, hay is a byproduct of centuries of cultivation, and symbol of summer to all those who grew up around a farming. I consider myself fortunate enough to have memories that span a lifetime with this grass. Running across massive bales, throwing it up on the back of stock trucks, cutting it out of its twine in order to feed the milking cows, I’ve been lucky enough to see it in all its’ stages.
just breathingCreating the depth in an image by focus stacking has become a favorite technique for me. Though it takes more time to create, both shooting and in editing, it does slow me down, it does allow me to breathe more, it does allow the time to linger.
in the details
Less perfect...more real. Getting up before dawn to go find a sunrise composition is my strength. I feel that I do best when I have a very specific image in mind, as I have either been to the location or have seen it enough times. Most of my trips to Crested Butte have been on a motorcycle, so I’ve usually been moving too much to try think of compositions. This pond though, is extraordinary. It begs to photographed. And though I have a few phone images, I didn’t have anything like this, until this morning. It isn’t symmetrical, and it isn’t the blown out colors of many sunrises here, but is subtle, and calm. It’s exactly what I needed.
Hateful 8 - last standThis is one part of Colorado that I have not explored thoroughly in my 30 years of living here; the San Juan Mountains. Bordered in the east by Lake City, the south by Durango, and in the north by Telluride and Ouray, this is the region of Colorado referred to as “the Alps of America!” And if holds this title well. A legendary place for skiing, backcountry expeditions’ and four-wheel trails, it is remote, rugged, and rarely to you rejuvenating.This stand of Aspen is found on the Last Dollar Road, west of Ridgway. Many great Western movies have been filmed near here, including the original True Grit, and most recently The Hateful 8.
PrecedentThis is one part of Colorado that I have not explored thoroughly in my 30 years of living here; the San Juan Mountains. Bordered in the east by Lake City, the south by Durango, and in the north by Telluride and Ouray, this is the region of Colorado referred to as “the Alps of America!” And if holds this title well. A legendary place for skiing, backcountry expeditions’ and four-wheel trails, it is remote, rugged, and rarely to you rejuvenating.I don’t know what contorted these trees, I just know that Dr. Suess saw something that the rest of us didn’t
The worst heart to break is your own...This is one part of Colorado that I have not explored thoroughly in my 30 years of living here; the San Juan Mountains. Bordered in the east by Lake City, the south by Durango, and in the north by Telluride and Ouray, this is the region of Colorado referred to as “the Alps of America!” And it holds this title well. A legendary place for skiing, backcountry expeditions’ and four-wheel trails; it is remote, rugged, and a rarity in it’s ability to rejuvenate.The Wilson Massif, which contains three distinct 14’ers: Mt. Wilson, Wilson Peak, and El Diente, has provided strange solace for me. I hiked into the basin with two close friends not long after my divorce when my heart and mind were a world of constant torment, and not many months later I met the most amazing individual who, under the shadow of the massif, helped me realize that my heart might not always stay broken.
At last it sets...One of the genuine joys I’ve come to know because of photography is the changing light. I’ve had more and more experiences when not giving up, waiting for one more change, brought even more brilliance to an already beautiful scene. This night was another one of those experiences.
Continental Divide Sunset - The CitadelSummer is on the the other side now, and changes are ahead.
Yule PassThe depth didn’t resolve here as I was hoping it would. This little couloir has probably rained small avalanches and rock slides to the bottom of the pass many hundreds of times. Peering down into it an a lesser hospitable day would certainly take all the nerves one could muster. Today, it was bliss.
Message from a friend...Reshooting one of my favorite Aspen compositions in the middle of summer. Sometimes the words are hard to hear.
American Basin - GrassesThe act of discovery is something I have always relished. This set of images would fall squarely in that category of things that were just “found.” I have only been to the American Basin one other time, but I didn’t even make it out of the lower parking area and so had very little of what to expect. I had a few compositions in find; certain features and elements that I was really hoping to capture, but the shock and surprise of the variety of compositions and the richness of the colors and the heavy volume of water still cascading off of the mountain completely caught me off guard.
Mt. Bellview over the East RiverThe sky wasn’t cooperating so I needed to be creative. A 10-stop Neutral-Density filter allowed for a longer exposure, giving movement and texture to the sky.This was a four minute exposure.
complex lightThe fires of early summer throughout the state highlighted the tensions of the West: we are a dry region and we are a beautiful region, people want to be here, but the added pressure of population and declining snowpacks will only make future situations worse.As a photographer, I can benefit for the diffuse light brought on my smoky conditions, but I’d rather not accept that benefit.
Sand Dunes SentryThe lone vigil must be either a desperate act, or a holy salvation. The grander image often eclipses you, but you nonetheless hold your ground.
Heading: NorthEven the geese seem to know it’s time. We will have our share of snow fall, and snow squalls in the next few months, but it is now early April, and the deep snow is receding and the rivers are filling, the days are longer and warmer, and another season is cycling through.I was just hoping for the beautiful sunrise, but the geese caught me off guard and flew through the frame as they were making their way across South Park, I decided to keep it that way.
South Park - InversionVERB[WITH OBJECT]1 Put upside down or in the opposite position, order, or arrangement.This last twelve months has felt like an inversion. I’ve had the opportunity to show my photography at five different locations, and traveled more in the course of one school year than I think I ever have before, which actually saying quite a lot. As a parent I’ve had to let go even more, as we should, as Andrew and Tanner are taking huge steps in their own lives, and professionally, my teaching career took off in a completely new direction, and though exhausting, it feels like there’s a lot is left to do.But, I am drained. I might take some time off from the camera, and try not to worry about it. Two years ago, I’d never have imagined what I might accomplish, and for that I am so, so grateful.
South Park SunriseOur sunrises do light up… Mt. Guyot stands as a sentinel of South Park. With Georgia Pass on its east flank, the rises steadily on its left shoulder, a sheer and straight climb. I still need to summit it, I want to know its views.
Yale in viewThe Collegiate Peaks run through the central part of the Rocky Mountains, forming the long, western boundary of the Arkansas Valley. In all, there are 12 of Colorado’s infamous 14’ers in this range, and the most easily recognized peak would be Mt. Princeton, which towers over the valley and the town of Buena Vista. But this is Yale, nestled further west than any of the other peaks, and it offers some of this best 360 degree views of any peak the range. This image, taken from just above Buena Vista seems to capture an intimacy that isn’t always present with these mountains. They are demanding to climb, and have taken many lives.
Longer RoadNot my usual editing practice, but this preset seemed to do the scene justice. Shot at 200mm to give scale, the mood is heightened by the red and amber hues.
Standing PinesI’m sure I have a better composition in this grove, I’m hoping for fog, and the rising sun to backlight it. But for not, the contrast works.
Trout Creek - Little DisturbancesTo try to convince ourselves of what is real and what isn’t we seem to need to let ourselves be emptied at some point. I don’t know why this is for me, but in some way the deprivation brings in more life.
Trout Creek - Edit 2Different colors…
Morning in the midst of it...The transition, flowers will be coming on soon. But, I’ll miss winter, the snow and it’s infinite guises, how it can mask the imperfections of the world.I have been hiking up and down this portion of Pennsylvania Mountain most of this winter. I have been in search of the night sky, on most of these trips, but I hate to waste a good sunrise or good sunset opportunity, and I’ve been graced with my fair share of each recently.
Mt. Evans - Panorama (color)
Less than perfect...I scrambled around. I’d hiked to the fire tower, than back down to my usual spots. I wasn’t patient though. I’ve experienced time, and time again, that the best sunsets are the late ones. The light always shows up. I just keep forgetting. I wish I wouldn’t, but I just do. This image is soft. The focus is off. I wanted to far ridge and the clouds sharp, but they aren’t. They are soft. But that color, that framing, I can’t give up on that. Does every image have to be sharp and perfect in order to draw us in? No, it doesn’t. There are other ideas conveyed.
Steamboat - Colorful FencesSummer in Colorado… motorcycle tours, fishing, camping, and now photography. Tanner and I took off for a week long tour of the state. I intentionally left most of the camera gear behind, for a couple of reasons. One, it’s time with my son. Sure, a photo or two will show up, but this was more about sharing time with him and giving him a deeper look at his home. Second, it’s the motorcycle, there isn’ that much room to begin with?! So, one body and one lens, the compact camera and a drone (which never did get used.) So, off to the Schoolhouse in Steamboat, then onto the central Rockies and Western Slope. A loop around the San Miguel River and the town of Gateway, add Telluride and Lizard Head Pass to the mix. Next on to Ouray and Durango via the Million Dollar Highway, and lastly the Silver Thread through Creede and Lake City ending in Crested Butte. I can say there were many, many beautiful sites, but most importantly time spent with one of the best people in my life, my son Tanner.
Where the Giant SleepsNot the first time the Sleeping Giant has been a part of a composition, but this particular night had a different splendor…
Neighbors...A little corral holds a couple of friendly neighbors. They were kind enough to join me for the sunset.
Schoolhouse - SteamboatMy friends have a beautiful place to stay. It’s going to get renovated, as used as an income property. I can’t blame them at all, but this place has afforded me some of my better images.
Steamboat - Visiting with the neighbors
Steamboat - Visiting with the neighbors
Almont TriangleI should probably post this in the Wildflower Gallery, but the ridge in the back is the divide between Crested Butte, and the rest of the world. Paradise Divide, Yule Pass, Schofield Pass, Kebler Pass, Pearl Pass and Gothic all stand to buffer the the valley from the north, west and east. It’s only by following the plains of the Taylor Fork of the Gunnison and the East River that you can access Crested Butte. It’s a unique destination, even for Colorado.
Slate River - SunsetTall grass, still water and sky, sliver of light on Yule Pass…
Mt. Wilson - B/WSummer storms are beginning to make their presence known in the high country. After a winter full of snow, the rains will further deepen the water tables throughout the West, a good thing for sure.
Mt Sneffels - Some ReflectionI've often written about how my brother Steve was the reason I moved to Colorado. July 8th is the anniversary of his passing, and this year, 2019 marks the 7th year. It doesn't get any easier, carrying the weight of the absence, but I’m better able to carry his presence, and appreciate all that he gave to me all those years ago when he said, “yeah, why don’t you take a break and stay with me for a while.” None of this, none of this at all would have appeared.
Mt. SneffelsMorning light was odd and inconsistent; I’d been hoping for the glorious explosion of color that the San Juans are known for. Instead I was treated to subtle and surreal light that slowly built, spilling over the eastern wall, and slicing through the clouds to light up the peak and valley floor.
Schofield PassThe pass is actually still inaccessible because of avalanche remnants. But, hiking along the 401 trail you can still take in all of the high alpine beauty. Big bunches of Fireweed are about to emerge, August should be an amazing month.