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.

Rocky Mountain Moose

Back from our first of two annual moose photography trips in Northern Colorado. Here’s a short gallery to wet your whistle.

I’m off again next week for our second trip. Another moose extravaganza in the wilderness of the Never Summer Mountains.

Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose in the Wild
Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose in the Wild
Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose in the Wild – Bull Moose Munching Lake Grass
Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose in the Wild
Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose in the Wild
Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose in the Wild
Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose in the Wild

New Tricks For An Old Dog

Shiras bull moose in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

I’ve been semi-sequestered in my office lately, learning and relearning how to write with a consistent style. This new job at Fstoppers has tweaked my thinking. With my first article submitted and approved for publication, the editor’s notes have reminded me that I’m going to have to polish my style a bit. Nothing egregious mind you, but I’m reminded that my college English courses were taken some 30+ years ago and the things I learned and have embedded in my writing are not really current by today’s standards. The linguistics of a Kentucky boy aren’t quite up to par. I keep reminding myself though, it’s the flow of the story that matters most to me. The technicalities can be learned, but learning to write with interest and flow, perhaps that’s something a little more difficult to learn. Learn I will. We never stop learning.

Ah, the laments of an amateur. It’s a question of new tricks for an old dog.

Happy Moose Monday by the way.

I’ve Changed The Look of the Blog

Bull Moose Shedding Velvet

If you haven’t already noticed I’ve changed the look of the blog.

I’ve been playing with different themes on WordPress and though the old theme was quite visual, I didn’t like some of the options and it always felt a little too crowded on the screen.

The theme I’m “testing” now, is a little less cluttered I think, so I’ll stick with it for a while.  With a couple of years worth of water under the bridge, I’m still trying to find a better blogging software than WordPress. Google doesn’t like it too much, it’s hard to find my work with a google search and I suspect that’s because I haven’t ponied up cash for all the search engine add-ons.  When I was using a regular web page editor, I could get anything I wanted on a page one google search result.

On the other side of that coin, I don’t really worry too much about what Google wants. Google wants to make money, that’s about it.

All that aside, it is Moose Monday.

Enjoy.

Moose Monday

Colorado Rocky Mountains – Shiras Moose in the Wild

Happy Moose Monday.

I’m looking forward to a fun summer of moose photography.

Here’s a nice shot of a bull, taken in 2016.  Never before published.

I have some cool stuff in the works and once all my Moose are lined up, I’ll fill everyone in.

Life is good here in Colorado.

May The Moose Be With You

Bull Moose Feeding on Lake Grass

Winter’s last gasps are upon us.  My back is improving to the point where I can contemplate actually doing things that don’t involve a television remote control. Life is renewing itself.

I’ve been reading the photography websites (nothing better to do while laid up) and the subject of Adobe Creative Cloud keeps popping up.

Seems like Adobe is testing a new subscription plan for their Lightroom/Photoshop service.  Currently priced at $10 per month, they are testing raising the price to $20 per month. They are also “testing” a $10 per month plan that removes Photoshop from the package. The new offerings up the online storage to 1 terabyte. You can read more about the Adobe Creative Cloud plan changes here.

I don’t know about everyone else but I don’t need 1 terabyte of online storage. I have at least 30 terabytes of storage here in the office.  I’m skeptical about the “testing” explanation. It looks to me more like another change of service designed to squeeze more money out of their customers. It’s not really offering anything new in the software department, it’s just a 100% price increase in their existing offering.

Last year Adobe offered me a free one year subscription to the Creative Cloud plan that included Lightroom and Photoshop, their $10 a month plan. My free run expires in the next month or so. By that time I’ll have to pay for the previous year retroactively if I continue.

I have the cure. I’m reverting back to my stand-alone copies of Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Lightroom 6.14.  This gets me back to 2015 functionality with Adobe Raw editing, which is fine at the moment as I have no cameras in my kit newer than that. All I’ll loose is a dehaze tool and some minor changes to Photoshop. Since I’m running DXO Photo Lab for noise reduction, the ability to put a dehaze function on an image will not be lost, I’ll just do it in DXO Photolab instead, which is what I was doing prior to switching to Creative Cloud.  It was nice to get a free test of their latest versions of the software, but it’s not worth paying $240 a year to have, when I have 99% of that functionality for $0. I honestly think Adobe wants to drive their long term customers away.  With the improvements in alternative photo editing solutions, it’s only a matter of time before they shoot both their feet, and hands with the pistol of greed.  Minor updates take years to occur and price hikes seem to be more frequent.  Paying more for less is not part of my business plan.

Enough griping about Adobe.

The back is well enough that I can make a day trip to Wyoming on the 4th of May to photograph the “Big Boy” and #844 Union Pacific Steam Locomotives on their way to Ogden, Utah from Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The train is going to be moving through about 20 miles from my cabin in Red Feathers, so it’s a good time to get up there and open the cabin for the year as well.

May is also the month I begin looking for moose, so the moose photography season is officially underway.

May the moose be with you.

 

And That Was The Mistake

Bull Moose Shedding Velvet - Colorado
Bull Moose Shedding Velvet – Colorado

Moose Monday!

It has become a tradition to post a moose photograph each Monday. No problem. By my calculation have about a half million moose photos.

I’m still nursing a severely strained back and just when I think I’ve made some progress, it reminds me that it’s not over with.  I’m on phase three of the recovery, which started yesterday (Easter Sunday.)

Moose Monday, I’m finding, is a bit improved from where I was the night before when I went to bed. The fifty thousand dollar question is will it be well enough to make the drive to Kentucky on Thursday? That’s a lot of driving, four long days on the road behind the wheel round-trip. I’ll make the call on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, back at the computer, I’m going through a older catalog of moose photos from 2013. It’s interesting to look at the older shots, it helps keep a perspective on the photography. What was I doing then? What were my good shots? What where my mistakes? What’s different about how I work now?  Like anyone else I suppose, I can make mistakes. Always good to not repeat them.

I found an inadvertent mistake, omission, brain fart, call it what you like, in my thinking back in 2013 vs today. My interest in moose was peaking back in 2004 and has progressed up until now. By 2012 I had figured out where and how to photograph moose and get consistently good results. One of the “holy grail” moose shots I originally put on my shoot list was the moose shedding velvet shot.  I got my first taste of that scene in 2012. Saw the whole thing from beginning to end, multiple moose, nice morning sunlight,in close proximity.

What more could a wildlife photographer ask for? I was happy. I’ve enjoyed knowing I checked that box off many years ago. I put them in a catalog and then forgot about doing it again.

And that was the mistake.

 

 

Wrapping up 2018

Cow Moose With Calf – Red Feather Lakes, CO

With 2018 coming to an end, I suppose it’s okay to reflect on my life this past year.

2018 has been a different year for me professionally and on a personal level, in so much that my wife experienced her first year of retirement from her job as an Engineer with Lockheed and I have retired from taking on active photography clients for jobs and workshops.  We’ve entered full-tilt retirement.

Oh, my business still exists, mostly in the form of private photography for art and stock photography. Gone are the days of soliciting business as a photographer. It’s no longer a necessity for my personal growth. As a matter of fact, personal growth has already been achieved throughout my life. 2018 was the year I learned to live life with and for my wife and me. I’ve served my country, I’ve been to college,  I’ve had my corporate career, I’ve been a successful photography business owner, my kids are alive and well. My grand-kids are growing up. My best friends are still my best friends.

I have found a new groove with my photography though. More time doing the type of work I enjoy the most. Wildlife, nature and landscape work. I’ve lost the desire to travel the world, I’ve seen a lot of it already and the memories are grand but the new memories are going to be based more on my corner of the solar system. Home here in Littleton is the earth and my place in Red Feathers is the moon. The beauty of this simplicity is that I can orbit either at will and without the stress of having to deal with the distractions of working for somebody else. Simplification and clarity.

Not that there aren’t lessons to still be learned. I think learning never stops, unless you give up on the idea. But what is left to learn seems to me to be more involved with learning to grow old gracefully and peacefully. Removing the stress and mental barriers has found a home in my heart. What comes will come, what is gone is gone.

My year in photography has been a good year by means of photographic output. I’ve found a good niche in Stock Photography, my profits are up 200 percent from 2017. I’m enjoying doing work that I know will continue to provide me with additional income for the rest of my life and to those who survive me. That’s a good thing.

The phone doesn’t ring much these days and when it does ring, it is more likely to be someone wanting me to give them money for something I never once thought about prior to the call.

I’ve forgone the concept of travel photography, been there done that.

I don’t do camera clubs. Been there, done that.

No more weddings to shoot. Been there, done that.

No more corporate events. Been there, done that.

No more property photo projects. Been there, done that.

No more volunteer work. Been there, done that.

No more teaching photography. Been there, done that.

No more angry, ugly, hateful, hurtful people injecting themselves into my life on a daily basis. Been there, done that.

Nope, I think I’ll spend more time in 2019 doing what I’ve found to be enjoyable.

Writing more. I love to write if you haven’t noticed.

Spending time with my family and with my friends.

Spending time at my cabin in the mountains.

Spending time photographing the wild critters and the natural beauty that surrounds me.

I’m a Colorado photographer now. Oh, there will still be road trips to different places but my heart and my soul is in the Rocky Mountains and the life I have here.

My wife and I will finish out this life and endeavor to persevere the remaining obstacles. I think that’s referred to as “going with the flow.”

In the meantime, I’ll still be taking photos and sharing them.

As children we are often asked what we want to be when we grow up.

My ideas have changed over the years. I’ve found the end goal.

Be happy.

Fame and fortune can wait until my next life.

 

 

 

The Shiras Moose of Colorado

 

With Summer coming to an end, so goes another season of Moose Photography in Colorado.

My moose photography season lasts from June through the end of August when the hunting season begins. I’m not interested in contending with hunters and subjecting myself to misplaced projectiles, thus I don’t normally spend much time photographing moose after the Labor Day holiday.

To use the hunting vernacular, I’ve harvested over 8,500 in focus photographs of moose this season. That’s a solid effort. The old photographers saying goes, “If you get one good photograph a day, it’s a good day.” I don’t even have a count of “good” photographs from this summer, but I’m certain it averages out to better than one good shot a day. I’ll take it.

A lot of wildlife photographers pay big bucks to go to the Tetons or Alaska for their moose photos. I typically use a half tank of gasoline per day in the pickup truck to get my fix. Economies of scale here. My dollar per moose expense ratio is pretty good and considering the income I derive from these photos, moose images ultimately pay for themselves, year after year. I can’t shake the mentality of keeping the economics of photography in line with income derived from photography. That’s the businessman in me taking charge, but it’s not really about business, it’s about my anal retentiveness, personal desires and justification for spending far more time exercising my passion for getting photographs of these and other subjects.

I’ve developed a distinct photography cycle, alternating between subjects on a seasonal basis. These subjects are based on subject opportunity and popularity of my results. I’m already planning, with great anticipation I would add, for my next photographic subject. Autumn Photography.

Along with the change of season, this year I am changing my business model too. I’ll no longer be offering paid workshops and tours for moose. Not to say I’ll stop photographing moose, it has more to do with my losing interest in the workshop environment. I’ll instead organize club and private shoots with my friends and colleagues around the country. It’s much less stressful. I’ve never liked the competitiveness of professional workshop hosting. I know a number of photographers who have to do this to make a living. I’ve decided that in the future, I’m going to concentrate on enjoying it for myself and sharing that enjoyment with like minded friends, new and old.

As my rubber raft of retirement drifts further from the shore, I’m finding more that I need that proverbial Chicken Soup for the Soul.

All this bloviating aside, here are a few of my most recent moose photographs from 2018. It’s been a fun summer and now it’s time to move on. Not to say that you won’t be seeing more moose photos from me as the days go by, as I have thousands of images I have not even looked at. When I find a good one, you’ll see it.

That’s what my photography is about. Showing you what I’ve seen and what I’ve experienced. For those who can’t get out in nature to explore this amazing experience first hand, I’ll show you and tell you what it’s like so you can daydream and enjoy the world beyond every-day life and all the distraction it generates.

When I’m taking photos, there are no Conservatives or Liberals. There’s just me, the mountains and the reality of life as I see it from my view of the road.

I hope you enjoy my view of the road. I sure do.

Colorado Moose Colorado Moose Colorado Moose Colorado Moose Colorado Moose Colorado Moose

The Best Moose is the One You Have With You

Moose Near A Pond
Shiras Moose of the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Now that I’ve returned from a successful and probably final moose photography outing in Northern Colorado this year, I’m sifting through and editing some 3,500 or so fresh images of these amazing creatures.

As with any photographic subject, one can find a number of different attitudes and views among friends and acquaintances.

One reoccurring attitude I experience in the field is the desire to photograph mainly large bulls with big antlers and that younger less developed bulls, cows and calves are looked upon as less desired subjects.

I don’t share that view of the road when photographing wildlife. My intention is to capture images of all the animals I encounter in their environment and their state of development. All moose are cool to me. I’m not going to shoot the big bulls and hang their heads on my wall. I want photographs that depict the diversity of the species and the reality of their existence.

The reality for me is…

The best moose is the one you have with you.