The Ice is Slowly Melting

Melting Ice On The North Fork Of The South Platte River

Yesterday’s endeavor was successful, I completed the updates to the hard drive configurations in my office computer. Whoopee!

I’m sure you’ve all been sitting on the edge of your chairs and holding your breath in anticipation of this earth shaking news. Myself, I’ve been sitting on the edge of my chair and holding my breath in anticipation of being done with it.

My 8 terabyte NAS hard drive arrived early yesterday morning. It was interesting to watch the Amazon delivery tracking status. This is the first time I’ve seen the Amazon tracking app in action, showing me exactly on the map where my shipment was on delivery day. When I first started tracking the delivery, the van was about 10 miles away to the south with me being the 4th stop on the route. The map symbol updated about every 10 seconds as the delivery made its way towards my house. It drove right by on the nearest main street, into my subdivision, around the streets to the west a few blocks over and finally made it to my culdesac, stopping first two houses around to my right and finally in front if my house. It’s pretty cool, and it’s quite timely with the updated tracking status. I was at the front door waiting for the driver to deliver the hard drive before she could get out of the delivery van.

Installing the new drive went painlessly. I’ve trimmed the internal hard drives down to a single 8 terabyte drive and a single 4 terabyte drive, plus a 1 terabyte SSD for the boot/system drive. That puts the internal storage at 13 terabytes. After some file copying and consolidation, which took up the bulk of the day, I have about 4 terabytes of free hard drive for future use and I’ve managed to remove 4 internal drives for use as file backup drives. The trick here is to have enough backup drive space that equals or exceeds the amount of free space on the internal computer disks. I’ve accomplished that as well. I have 10 terabytes of empty back-up hard drive sitting on my desk now with a 2 and 3 terabyte drive loaded in the docking station and the rest waiting for me to reformat them and get them ready for use. Plus, everything on my computer is completely backed up.

The ice is slowly melting.

 

May The Rut Be With You

Wild Bighorn Sheep in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

I haven’t taken a photo in over a month, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not working on them.

This time of year is Bighorn Sheep Rut season. Any other year and I’d be out in the snow looking for new shots, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to spend a lot of energy on them this year. Main reason being that I have thousands of unedited images from previous years and I’m sorta holed up at home now taking care of my convalescing wife. Top that with the fact that where I normally go for bighorn is under a lot of disruption from road maintenance at the moment , well, it’s just not sounding very interesting to me right now.

Today’s photo is a previously unedited photo from 2014, which was a pretty good year for photos. I’m mining through the old catalogs for more additions to the stock photography portfolio and this photograph is one of the recent additions.

Speaking of stock photography, I’m having a good year with sales. I did the calculations yesterday and so far I’ve sold 6,447 images in 2019. Not bad, not bad. I’m not getting rich on them, but it is a steady and reliable income, and the bighorn shots do sell frequently. That’s why I’m mining more from the old catalogs.

Got my cameras out and changed the internal clock time on them. You did remember to do your time changes didn’t you? I knew you did.

This recent blast of January weather in October/November has really put a crimp on things around here though. Fortunately the snow blower is working fine, even if my back isn’t.

Since I’ll be hanging around the house for the next few weeks at the very least, I’ll be sharing some of the “old gold” I find in my catalogs as I mine for more stock photos.

In the meantime, stay happy and stay healthy. The year is winding down and I’m looking forward to wrapping it up and getting on with next year.

We Don’t Need No Stink’n Wind Farm

Calhan Paint Mines
The Calhan Paint Mines. Unique and Colorful Ancient Geological Site in Colorado.

We are in the midst of a winter snowstorm here in the suburbs of Denver at the moment, which gives me the opportunity to spend a day in the office listening to music and editing photos. My winter routine is underway.

I’ve been working through a catalog of images taken at the Calhan Paint Mines, an interesting photographic location about 20 miles east of Colorado Springs.

For a few years some time back, I was hosting private photo tours of the Paint Mines. These days I don’t go there much, mainly because man has encroached on the location by turning the surrounding landscape into a wind farm. You’d be hard pressed to get a decent night photo there now, but in the day, it was a spectacular place to do night photography.

Wind Farm at Calhan Paint Mines
Wind Turbines at the Calhan Paint Mines

I thought I’d share some of my photos, taken before the wind farm became the primary feature of the surrounding landscape. Maybe some day, 50 years from now, they’ll tear down those ugly wind turbines and restore this ancient and unique landscape to what it should be.

Calhan Paint Mines

Calhan Paint Mines

Calhan Paint Mines

My Rodents Are Out Of Order

Marmots are common in the Rocky Mountains and are very sociable animals. They are related to squirrels.

In lieu of the fact that I’m not out taking photos this week, I’ve decided to go through some of my neglected image catalogs.

Case in point. Rodents.

Not the most glamorous subject in the photographic world, rodent photos still sell on the stock agencies though I’m not sure why.

My best guess is they are needed to fill out some type of web or print article on the subject, and as such I try to keep a good supply of nice, clear photographic depictions of the critters available for that purpose.

While going through my catalogs, I noticed that my rodent photos were not exactly organized the same way I organize most of my other photos on the hard drive. Neglect pure and simple.

Today, I’m wading through a sea of rodent photos and have been concentrating on getting my portfolio of Marmot shots straightened out.

Here’s one of them. He is now a well organized rodent.

After Action Report for Autumn in the San Juans

Mt. Sneffels at Sunset

I experienced another great trip to the San Juan Mountains for autumn photography this year.

For the second year in a row, the skies were clear and blue. A challenge, photographically speaking. One learns to shoot small and keep the overwhelming bright blue to a minimum, but still, it makes for interesting photography once the compositions are found.

My trip almost ended shortly before it started. While driving along the highway near Cimarron, Co, a group of deer jumped in front of my vehicle while doing 50 miles per hour. Deer scattering and darting around in traffic with no warning as they were obscured behind an oncoming semi-truck until they leaped into my lane. I managed to get to the side of the road quickly, but unfortunately one deer slid under my front left wheel as I was coming to a stop. I’m sad to report that my front tire crushed one of the deer’s front legs above the ankle. She hopped off into the sage brush, but I knew she wouldn’t survive long with that injury. As for me and my vehicle, all I suffered was minor damage to the faring on the front left of the SUV and a broken heart knowing that there was nothing I could have done to have prevented it. The incident still weighs heavy in my heart and makes me cry to think about it.

Having made it through that incident, I tried to focus (no pun intended) on the upcoming task of a week long photography trip with Jon Steele.

Jon was hosting a workshop out of Ridgway this year. My original intention was to photograph the mountains around Crested Butte this year, but one of Jon’s clients backed out at the last minute and we worked out a deal where I would work with his photography group.

It was sorta fun not being “in charge” for a change and I informed Jon on many occasions to consider me just another client. Still, I think it worked as a win-win for everyone, even though I’m not teaching and hosting workshop/tours any longer, my experience and knowledge of the area seemed to be of use to Jon and his group.

There had been a lot of noise on the internet and in the news about autumn color change being delayed by at least two weeks, due mostly to a much warmer than normal August and September this year. That wasn’t really the case, at least not in the Ridgway area, as color change seemed to be about normal if not delayed by a half week or so from normal.  In fact, color patterns this year felt more normal than the past couple of years, so I have no complaints.

We worked mostly on the North side of the San Juan range and along the Million Dollar Highway where color was peaking right on schedule. We also had one day in Silverton to photograph two trains of the Durango and Silverton NGRR.

Based on previous trips to the area, I was hoping to get at least two dozen usable stock photos for the portfolio. That effort was a success as I haven’t finished editing all the images from the trip and already have at least 26 photographs on the stock agencies.

It was a dusty week. Jon had rented a Chevy Suburban for the workshop and in all honesty, it wasn’t very well sealed from the deluge of dust and dirt churned up on the forest roads. I’ve never seen so much dirt in my camera bag. It took me several days to get the gear and camera sensors cleaned upon my return.

We found a great bar & grill near the hotel called the “Full Tilt Saloon” for several of our meals. One of the big challenges in the San Juans during autumn photography trips is finding restaurants open later than 8 pm. Full Tilt’s chili was excellent, the burgers were tasty and the beer was cold. Plus they were serving food until 10pm. What more could a fellow ask for when trying to cut a day’s dust?

The weather was warm and clear the entire week, until our final day on Friday when we woke up to cloudy skies and fresh snow on the peaks. If only it had occurred a day or two sooner. We did manage a dramatic morning shoot on our last day.

The six hour return trip to Denver that afternoon was a beautiful if not tiring drive back along the Collegiate range through South Park.

Within 30 minutes of arriving home, I was sound asleep in my king size bed with both dogs curled up against me.

2019 is in the books.

The Aspen Tree

No photographic collection of autumn landscape photography from Colorado is complete without a selection of Aspen, and for good reason. The Aspen is the tree that defines the autumn landscape of Colorado.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a collection of Aspen tree photographs I’ve taken over the past 15 years.

Golden Leaves of Aspen Trees in a Mountain Forest. Colorado Autumn Scenic Beauty

Shifting Gears

Autumn in Colorado – The Crystal River With Chair Mountain as a Backdrop

After a marathon of moose photography this past August, I’m taking a few weeks off from photography. I’ve been editing a large number of moose images from the summer, uploading stock photos, and doing much needed office work. The thought of photography isn’t all that enticing at the moment. Not to worry though, I’m in the planning stages for my Autumn photography trip the first week of October.

I have to deal with the question of where to go every year. Colorado has numerous locations for great fall foliage, but the two main areas that keep bubbling up are Crested Butte and/or The San Juan Mountains.

Crested Butte has a lot of beauty; however, the actual choices are limited by location and what time one wants to go there. The east side of Kebler Pass normally comes into color before the west side of the pass, and the dining situation is not that great. Most of the restaurants in Crested Butte are part-time at best and the general attitude of the locals is slack at best.

So I’ve decided to make this year’s trip to the San Juan Mountains. I know the San Juans like the back of my hand. Been there many times and the photographic variety is far better than Crested Butte.

First things first though. I’ve put my Ford Explorer in the shop for some much needed maintenance. 9 years of bad road has taken a toll on the front suspension so it is time to drop some money on getting it back in good working order.

In the meantime, I’m back in the office and working on things that have gone ignored for most of the summer. I’m looking forward to the heat wave breaking and some cooler, even wetter weather. I think we had about 20 days of 90+ degree weather and .35 inches of rain in August and September is starting off where August left off with record heat and dry conditions.

It’s time to shift gears from wildlife to landscape photography. As much as I like moose and other wildlife, it’s Autumn photography that I most look forward to each year.

Back To Civilization

Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose Cow Browsing in a Lake

Finally getting my legs back after two full weeks of moose photography in Northern Colorado.  So, if you aren’t tired of seeing moose photos, I have a few more to share.

I’m noticing some trends in Northern Colorado. Moose have a habit of frequenting an area and then moving on to a new area. The past several years have shown this movement pattern. There were several years from 2015-2017 where the moose were not frequenting a particular lake but these past two summers have been more active. I’m wondering how long this photographic bonanza will continue. Probably until the lake grass gets eaten or some climate anomaly changes things.

When I got back in to town my computer decided to protest and booger up when I first booted it up. Normal though, Windows PC’s tend to act up from time to time but I’ve got it all figured out now.

Some 8,000 more moose photos added to the catalog have also clogged up my rapidly filling hard drives. I have about 10% of my internal 11 terabytes of disk storage left. Time to look at upgrading the hard drives. Those Nikon D810 files are large and it doesn’t take long to fill a disk.

Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose Bull Posing for the Camera

Next up, the San Juan Mountains.  Autumn photography is about a month off but I’m already feeling the shift in the air. If you are in the San Juan Mountains the first week of October, you may bump into me trying to add to my bank account with fresh foliage photos of the mountains in southwest Colorado.

Colorado Rocky Mountains – Young Shiras Bull Moose in the Forest of Northern Colorado

Stay safe, stay happy and enjoy the moose photos.

Scenic Saturday and Other Things

Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado

With all this moose business taking center stage this time of year, I’m still planning other adventures. Such as my upcoming trip to the San Juan Mountains for the first week of October for Autumn photography.

I do an annual trip, somewhere, and this year it was between Crested Butte and the San Juans. I get better sales from the photos out of the San Juans and to be honest, it’s a better target rich environment down there.

So, here’s today’s “Scenic Saturday” photo. On the Dallas Divide in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

Enjoy your weekend and stay tuned for more moose photos as my second week in Northern Colorado begins on Sunday, August 11.