More Scenics from the Rockies

When I went our west a few weeks ago, I promised myself and fellow photographer, Joe Zinn, that I was ready to really get “focused” on landscapes.  I even bought a new camera, tripod and some other essentials for serious landscape work.  I thought the results were well worth the effort.  My thanks to Joe who knew where to go and when to be there.  We were really in his big back yard once we headed up through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho.

Here is a batch of the landscapes we recorded as digital images in late September and early October.  Some are on my Facebook site, as well.

You can click on any of the photos to enlarge and sharpen them for better viewing.  Advance through the photos by clicking in the upper right portion an image.

Maples and aspens along the highway south of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


Colorful cover on the forest floor in Teton National Park, Wyoming.


We photographed a herd of elk in this Rocky Mountain National Park meadow one afternoon and returned the next day to capture the colors by this small creek.


Tree reflections in Jackson Lake, Teton National Park.


With smoke covering the Tetons, we had to find a different way to photograph the barns along Mormon Road in Teton National Park.


Morning light on the sandstone cliffs in Colorado National Monument at Grand Junction.


Pink morning light on a waterfall by the Snake River, Idaho.


Gazebos in a city park, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.


Curious horse in a pasture along the Snake River, Idaho.


Dr. James Johnson of College Station, Texas composing another of his great landscapes on a hillside by Jackson Lake in Teton National Park.


Smoky sunrise over an old farm stead on Mormon Road in Teton National Park.


Watching the sun set behind the Tetons and Jackson Lake, Teton National Park, Wyoming.


Crescent moon setting on the Tetons at the Oxbow, Teton National Park, Wyoming.


I still have more landscapes from the Rockies for next week’s newsletter, so stay tuned.  Meanwhile, I’ve been photographing hawks, caracaras, piping plovers and warblers, so there will be plenty of photography to share in the coming weeks.


More Photos from the Rockies

Last week, you saw several landscape shots in this newsletter from my recent trip through the Rocky Mountains.  This week’s edition is dedicated to wildlife, specifically big game.  You may not believe this, but I went almost three weeks without making a bird photo.

In the Tetons of Wyoming, we  saw and photographed several bison and moose  (you just can’t believe how big a moose is until you get within 30 feet of one like I did).  From Wyoming, we drove south to Rocky Mountain National Park where we encountered lots of tourists and elk.  All of it was great fun, magnified by our finding the animals in habitat  rich with fall colors.  Our timing was as good as it gets because the big game animals were in full rut and the colors were peaking with the mating season, September 20 and October 1.

I photographed the moose with a 100-400 mm Canon lens that decided to break just about the time we headed south to work on the elk.  Because of it’s Image Stabalization and zoom capabilities, it is a perfect lens for working large animals at fairly close range.  Nevertheless, I was pretty successful with the 300 mm and 500 mm lenses.

Remember, you can click on a photo to make it larger and sharper for viewing.  Then advance to the next shot by clicking in the upper, right portion of the photo.

Shiras moose bull pausing in the shadows of a big willow tree at the edge of a river bottom.


Cow moose browsing near a rail fence in a forest of cottonwoods, Wyoming.


Large bull moose on the trail of a cow in estrus.


The end of the scent trail for a breeding bull moose.


Even during their mid-day siesta, bull moose never stop checking the air currents for scent of a breedable cow.


Cow moose and fall colors reflected in a river oxbow, Teton National Park.


This bull American Bison was part of a herd which stopped traffic to graze the roadside in Teton National Park.


Bison cow and calf grazing in a smoky haze during September's wildfire outbreak around the Tetons.
Large bull elk bugling.


Dominant bull warning other bulls to stay clear of his harem.


During the breeding season, bulls spend much of their time keeping the herd gathered and chasing other bulls.


One of my dream shots...a large bull elk coming right at the camera while bugling. His eyes say it all, "don't come any closer to my cows."


During the rut, big bull elk are always "pushing", even when they pause for a mouthfull of grass.


A family gathered to watch mule deer browsing near their camp in Rocky Mountain National Park.


Next week, I will have more western landscapes for you as this trip to the Rockies winds down.  It will make you want to head west for the autumn.


3 Weeks in the Rockies

After three weeks in the Rockies shooting mostly landscapes, it is good to be home and catching up on emails, photo edits, and sleep.  On September 13, I left home, overnighted at Caprock Canyons State Park in the Texas panhandle and then drove to Monte Vista, Colorado the next day.  From there, Joe Zinn and I made our way through Colorado by way of Rocky Mountain National Park and on to the Teton National Park at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

After leading a three day landscape workshop, we headed west into Idaho, then south and back to Estes Park, Colorado for three more days of elk photography before heading home again.   I was up at 5:30 AM and in bed about 11:00 PM each day.  We camped some and lived the nature photographers’ life listening to bugling elk and coyotes at night and looking for the perfect scene and the big bulls each day.  We even shot a little bull…

So, here are some of the captures from that journey.  I hope you see a little different take on some of the iconic landscapes.  Of course, the persistent smoke from western wildfires helped alter our view of the Tetons, too.  The mountains were mostly obscured during each day of our shoot.

Remember, you can click on a photo to make it larger and sharper.  Click in the upper right zone of a photo to advance to the next photo.

First light on Caprock Canyons State Park near Quitaque, Texas

Eroded edge of the caprock, Caprock Canyons State Park from a rocky ledge at sunrise


Abandoned adobe on the west side of the Sangre de Christo range, Co. at sunset.


Asters blooming in the high sagebrush country near Monte Vista, Colorado.


Tumbleweed and old corral gate in front of the Sangre de Christo range, Monte Vista, Colorado.
Shed elk antler below the Rocky Mountains, Colorado.


Autumn ferns and aspens in north Colorado.


Back-lighted fern in aspens, north Colorado


Pink cloud and sandstone canyons at Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa, Colorado.


Sweeping cloud and marsh, Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, Monte Vista, Colorado.


I will have many more landscapes and lots of wildlife for the next few newsletters, so keep watching.  All the above shots were done with the Canon 5D Mark II, 16-35 mm and 24-104 mm lenses on a Feisol carbon-fiber tripod and Feisol cf ball head.  Of course, all shots were done with polarizing filter and, for some, I use a two stop split neutral density filter.

Thanks for checking in,