Opening Day

Yarrow blooms from within a Juniper Skeleton. I photographed this shot in the area just outside of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Technical Details: Canon 5D Mark II 24-105mm F IS
Opening Day, for Baseball that is. This has to be my favorite day of the year. It signals an end to what always feels like too long of a Winter. It signifies that Springs is here, and Summer will here even sooner. Each day stays lighter longer, and the Sun begins to feel warm and comforting again. Of course for every Baseball fan, hope springs eternal on this day. Every team starts off 0-0, and every team still has hope.

For Photographers, the time around Opening Day also signals a change. New opportunities will soon present themselves. Snow draped pine trees and peaks will soon begin melting. Leaves will start to bud on Aspen trees and Maples. Grasses in the Meadows will begin turning from brown to green, and sooner than later will begin to yield the first wildflowers of the year. It’s also a time to pull out the map book, do some research and start planning where our Summer photo expeditions will take us. Hope does indeed spring eternal on this day. Excitement builds not only for what the Baseball season holds, but for what new opportunities, trips, circumstances and places the budding new photography season holds. Lets go Yankees!.

Bad Weather,Great Images

Moraine Park Aspens, Rocky Mountain National Park
Moraine Park Aspens. Snow was falling at a pretty good clip when I arried in Rocky Mountain this morning. Using the heavy snow to isolate this grove, allowed me to create a unique image of an often photographed location. Canon 5D II, 70-200 F4 IS
Some of my favorite photographs have been taken during in less then ideal weather conditions. Weather can make or break creating great imagery. Often times, it is tempting to want to get out in the field when the weather is nice and predictable. While I’ll take being out in the field any day, sometimes we as photographers need to push ourselves to get out and shoot in weather and light that on the surface appears uninspiring but in fact leads to creating dynamic and unique imagery.

When the weather is less than ideal and I decide to head out into the elements I try to stay local. I often stay local for a few reasons, but one of the important reasons to photograph locally is that I have a better understanding of how the weather will affect my area. Furthermore, instead of additional travel in adverse weather, staying local allows me to focus my resources and my vision on areas that I have a greater familiarity with. This familiarity of my local geographic area as well as how local weather phenomena will affect the landscape, allows me to be more productive with field time.

So the next time your alarm clock goes off at 3:00 AM on a snowy winter morning, don’t hit the snooze button. Instead, use your knowledge and experience of your own local area to create unique imagery in less than ideal weather conditions.

Flagstaff Mountain Ponderosa's
The Ponderosa trees on Flagstaff Mountain just outside of Boulder are one of my favorite subjects to photograph. When we get upslope type condtions I will often hike up Flagstaff Mountain in order to capture the conditions. From experience I know that hoar frost and rime ice will coat often coat the trees and grasses. These conditons allow me to capture these beautiful trees and their surroundings in conditions that better represent my vision. Canon 5D II, 24-105mm F4 IS


Longs Peak and Otis Peak greet a new morning at Rocky Mountain National Park. This was my third attempt this winter to capture this scene. I had envisioned shooting a scene like this but my previous two attempts resulted in less the ideal atmospheric conditions. Canon 5D II, 24-105mm

‘Winning’. The word is simple in meaning, but often more complex to define what actually constitutes a win. It has become a popular catch phrase of late because of its frequent use by a popular celebrity. While I wont use this blog to explain the many beneficial uses of acquiring ‘tigers blood’, winning as it pertains to photography is not so easily defined.

From my point of view, I register a win each time I am lucky enough to get out into the field with my cameras and photograph. Many times, I may head out into the field and encounter circumstances such as poor weather, or poor lighting that may prevent me from actually capturing any images at all. Though I am grateful to be spending time out in the field regardless of the underlying circumstances, there are times when I may return from a shoot feeling at a loss or unsatisfied with my results. Even when all the stars align, human error may prevent a photographer from successfully capturing an image. For a photographer, using your vision to execute successful photographs can be challenging and difficult but also very rewarding when it all comes together for you in the field.

Snow and fog drift along the base of Boulder's Flatirons formation. I often photograph this area under simmilar conditons. From experience, I hiked up Flagstaff mountain. This experience, allowed me to sucessfully execute this image. Canon 5D II, 70-200mm F4 IS

Many of the photographers I greatly admire often state that capturing only a handful of images each year that portrays their vision constitutes a success. While I tend to agree with this line of thinking, I find there are some landscape photographers who are able to spend a short amount of time in the field and return with more than just a handful of portfolio worthy images. Those photographers may of course feel their efforts and results were all in vain.

Snow and Fog begin to lift away from the flanks of the Flatiron's formation. It was snowing when I first arrived at the base of Flagstaff mountain. As I hiked towards the summit, the weather began to change and I had to drop my pack quick and setup my tripod to catch this scene. I was about 2.5 miles up the mountain when this occured. It was purely by chance that I happend to be in this location when this scene unfolded. Sometimes you just get lucky. Canon 5D II, 70-200mm F4 IS

When attempting to ‘win’ at landscape photography, perspective may be the most important trait. Each time I venture off into the field, it important to value that time to hone my skills, improve my craft and hopefully capture some compelling imagery. As the old saying goes, ‘a bad day in the mountains is better than a good day at the office’.

It’s Go Time!

Boulder Flatirons New Year's Day
Sunrise over the Boulder Flatirons on New Year's Day

Borrowing a line from one of my favorite sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld, off we go into the blogging world. As much as I enjoy photography, I also enjoy writing and sharing my photography. I plan on using this blog to detail my travels and adventures as well as my often disjointed thoughts on various subjects and topics. One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 was to actively start blogging as well as to post imagery more often. As often as possible I will update my blog with new images and photographs. How frequently do I plan on updating the blog?. At this point I have made it a goal of mine to update the blog at least once a week, hopefully more. Come hell or high water I plan on sticking to that plan.

Obviously it took me a little longer than I wanted to get the blog up and rolling. Because it was a New Year’s Resolution of I’ve mine to start blogging in 2011, I figured what better way to introduce the blog than to include the first image I shot in 2011. I was suprisingly lucid on New Year’s morning and needed to get my ‘active’ dog, Jackson out of the house for some morning excercise. One of Jackson’s favorite spots is the area around Boulder’s Chautauqua Park. Conveniently, this also happens to be one of my favorite hiking spots. New Years Day started on the chilly side, around 8 degrees if I remember correctly. As we arrived at the trailhead, sunrise looked promising. Clouds billowed over the Flatirons and there was a nice clearing along the eastern horizon. Off we went into the meadow and a few mintues after setting up my camera, 2011 greeted me with this image. Not a bad way to start 2011.