Walker Ranch Fog

Foggy conditions over Walker Ranch Open Space just west of Boulder, Colorado transform the landscape into something magical and mystical. From Walker Ranch Open Space, this view of the South Boulder Creek drainage looks foreign as fog sweeps in and out of the valley and pines. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm F4 VR ED AF
Foggy conditions over Walker Ranch Open Space just west of Boulder, Colorado transform the landscape into something magical and mystical. From Walker Ranch Open Space, this view of the South Boulder Creek drainage looks foreign as fog sweeps in and out of the valley and pines. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm F4 VR ED AF

Who doesn’t love fog? Well besides some of good friends who live in and around the bay area of San Francisco most photographers I know also love fog. Theres no question we all love dramatic sunrises and sunsets with colors exploding over the skies as mountain peaks turn a fire red. Nothing however, changes and alters a familiar landscape like a cloak of fog does. Fog can take a common unremarkable landscape and transform it into a mystical and magical location in mere seconds. Common landmarks become hidden from sight and the feel of the landscape changes by the minute as fog drifts in and out of valleys and canyons hiding or revealing only portions of mountains as it see’s fit. Photographing in fog is a bonanza for landscape photographers keen on searching for unique images of familiar locations.

The unsettled weather pattern we’ve been experiencing here in Colorado for what feels like the last two months has presented quite a few opportunities of late to photograph in the fog. Generally speaking, fog on the Front Range of Colorado and in the foothills in particular while not rare, is also not a common every week occurrence. Colorado’s quick moving weather systems often mean that storms move in and out of the Front Range with speed. The back end of these weather systems often leaves us with beautiful clear blue skies and little in the way of lingering clouds, fogs or moisture.
This past week has been an exception to that rule. One slow moving system after another has blanketed the Front Range with fog, rain and snow depending on elevation. At first blush it’s easy to want to make a back handed comment about another cloudy, rainy day but it’s also apparent that it’s a good idea to take advantage of the unsettled conditions in the field while one can.

Looking north from a ridgeline at Walker Ranch Open Space as the fog envelops the pines and transforms the landscape. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 ED AF
Looking north from a ridgeline at Walker Ranch Open Space as the fog envelops the pines and transforms the landscape. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 ED AF

I spent the past few days in the foothills just west of Boulder taking advantage of the foggy conditions. Walker Ranch Open Space on the backside of the Flatirons was just about perfect on Sunday morning. Thick fog enveloped the slopes on the backside of the Flatirons as well as the South Boulder Creek drainage making for countless opportunities to photograph the moody landscape. I could spend hours photographing in conditions like those at Walker Ranch Open Space on Sunday morning. There were literally new opportunities and compositions by the minute as I stood high on a ridgeline observing and photographing the conditions.

So while part of me was yearning for a little sunshine, the photographer in me was happy to be out in less than ideal conditions taking advantage of the conditions mother nature had in store.

Wildflowers On The Way

It's finally getting to be that time of year again. Wildflowers are once again appearing in Chautauqua Meadows below the Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado. It's always great to welcome back the golden banner to the meadow as it was when I photogrpahed the Flatirons this past Sunday. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 AF VR ED lens
It’s finally getting to be that time of year again. Wildflowers are once again appearing in Chautauqua Meadows below the Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado. It’s always great to welcome back the golden banner to the meadow as it was when I photogrpahed the Flatirons this past Sunday. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 AF VR ED lens

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring down here in Boulder now. Snow, rain and sunshine have turned the hillsides green. Along with the hillsides turning green another sure sign of spring has appeared in Chautauqua Meadows. The parade of wildflowers that blanket Chautauqua Park have begun their procession that typically lasts right up until early July.

The first wildflowers have started to bloom in earnest in Chautauqua with beautiful yellow golden banner appearing amongst the green grasses. The golden banner still has a little while to go before it will reach peak in the meadow but it’s always great to welcome these yellow blooms back. Golden Banner is typically one of the first wildflowers to appear in Chautauqua Meadow in early May but other wildflowers such as silver lupine will be making appearances as we move towards June. Here’s an image of the conditions at Chautauqua Park just below the Flatirons taken this past Sunday. Exciting times lay ahead for photographers as the change of season settles in.

Rocky Mountain National Park Trifecta

The view from Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my favorites. When you get lucky enough to have beautiful clouds, a windless morning and a break in the cloud cover to the east at sunrise, Bierstadt Lake can be an amazing location to photograph. As the condtions moderate in RMNP, scenes like this one at Bierstadt open up with each passing week. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 ED AF-S
The view from Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my favorites. When you get lucky enough to have beautiful clouds, a windless morning and a break in the cloud cover to the east at sunrise, Bierstadt Lake can be an amazing location to photograph. As the condtions moderate in RMNP, scenes like this one at Bierstadt open up with each passing week. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8 ED AF-S

The last few weeks in Rocky Mountain National Park have been a teeter totter of conditions when it comes to the weather and transition between winter and spring like conditions. Sunny warm days have been followed by blizzards, snow and ice. All in all typical spring weather for Rocky Mountain National Park. But throughout all the crazy weather that constitutes spring in Rocky Mountain National Park there are definite signs that conditions are quickly moving towards late spring and early summer.

While I love winter in Colorado, this is a welcome change for me. The transition is now palatable in the air. The snow has melted from all the meadows and parks at the lower elevations of RMNP, and the mid level locations are quickly following suit and the melting off rapidly. The rivers are starting to flow at a healthy clip and lakes like Sprague Lake, Bierstadt Lake and Dream Lake are ice free or nearly ice free. The continental divide is still covered with a healthy snowpack but photographing Rocky’s high peaks reflecting in lakes below is now possible again in many locations.

I took the opportunity this morning to get out and hike up to Bierstadt Lake this morning to take advantage of it’s recently thawed lake surface. It didn’t hurt that much of the Bierstadt Lake trailhead is now snow free with only the upper half of the trail around the lake still covered in snow. Bierstadt Lake in my opinion has one of the best viewpoints of the continental divide in all of Rocky Mountain National Park. While Taylor, Otis, Hallett, Flattop and Notchtop are still covered with a healthy snow pack early in the season it makes for a tremendous location to photograph at sunrise.

Another sure sign that summer is on it's way to Rocky Mountain National Park is the appearance of Pasque flowers. They are currently growing in abundance in the lower elevations like these I found in Upper Beaver Meadows. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 105mm F2.8 Micro AF
Another sure sign that summer is on it’s way to Rocky Mountain National Park is the appearance of Pasque flowers. They are currently growing in abundance in the lower elevations like these I found in Upper Beaver Meadows. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 105mm F2.8 Micro AF

I was fortunate enough to hit what I call the Rocky trifecta this morning when I hiked up to Bierstadt Lake. The Rocky trifecta being of course beautiful clouds over the peaks, a windless and still morning allowing for a reflection, and a cloud free horizon to the east allowing for stunning and vibrant first light on the peaks of the divide. In Rocky Mountain National Park it can be a challenge to get two out of three of the ideal conditions to work in ones favor. Anytime you nail all three you likely are going to be walking away with an image to add to your portfolio.

From hear on out, conditions should only improve. I fully expect it to snow in Rocky Mountain National Park a few more times this season, but momentum has now shifted and any snow will be mostly short lived. When Trail Ridge Road reopens for the season in a few weeks it will be officially summer season in Rocky and I for one cant wait.

Just as a reminder to those reading this. I will again be offering photo tours in Rocky Mountain National Park for the 2016 season. Feel free to visit the link at the top of the web page or email me for more information regarding photography tours and open dates in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Thawing Out With Alberta

This is what Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park looks like in April. Lots of visitors and photographers to Rocky Mountain National Park see it during the warmer months, but its a much different waterfall when it begins to thaw. You are able to get to some access points on the waterfall that you would not normally be able to do and the combination of snow, ice and water add a dynamic aspect to Alberta Falls. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 VR AF ED
This is what Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park looks like in April. Lots of visitors and photographers to Rocky Mountain National Park see it during the warmer months, but its a much different waterfall when it begins to thaw. You are able to get to some access points on the waterfall that you would not normally be able to do and the combination of snow, ice and water add a dynamic aspect to Alberta Falls. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 VR AF ED

Late April in Rocky Mountain National Park can mean quite a few things. It can mean the days are getting longer, sunrise is getting obscenely early again, the first wildflowers of the season are appearing and theres a good chance your going to have quite a few snowy days in the park. In a nutshell, spring in Rocky Mountain National Park typically consists of what feels like two steps forward towards summer, and 1 step back towards winter each week.

This tango that the weather plays this time of year can be frustrating, especially if one is champing at the bit to start hiking far into the backcountry, photographing reflections and just enjoying the short but spectacular summer season in Rocky Mountain National Park. So slowly but more steadily everyday the tides are turning and the weather is becoming more summer like.

On clear days when the magic is not happening in the skies overhead dont overlook the more subtle details of the landscape. This ice hanging off the side of Alberta Falls caught my eye. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm F4 VR ED AF
On clear days when the magic is not happening in the skies overhead dont overlook the more subtle details of the landscape. This ice hanging off the side of Alberta Falls caught my eye. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm F4 VR ED AF

On a clear morning this week I slapped on the microspikes and headed out for a hike to see just how much snow was still lingering around the higher elevations of Rocky. On my way up Glacier Gorge in the blue light of the predawn hours I stopped at Alberta Falls to survey the scene and see how the thaw and water flow were progressing.

Alberta Falls a few days after a large spring snowstorm may not look like the most photogenic location in RMNP when you first decide to take a look around. Most of Alberta Falls was covered in crusty snow and the water flow was still pretty modest. Even with that being the case there were plenty of opportunities to take advantage of what Alberta Falls had to offer a photographer. Lots of smaller scale landscapes with water and ice and the blue light from the early morning hour helped to convey the mood of a cool spring morning at Alberta Falls.

More and more opportunities for photographers are now presenting themselves each day in Rocky Mountain National Park. In between snowstorms and the big thaw out the opportunities may no be as dramatic or iconic as one would like but taking the time to look for the smaller details will result in some interesting seasonal imagery.

So This Is Spring?

So this is spring in Colorado?. Weather in Colorado during the spring months is quite unpredictable. One day may be sunny and warm and the next day a blizzard. This dynamic weather is what makes being a landscape photographer in Colorado so much fun. Sure I can wait for the lakes to thaw and wildflowers to bloom but scenes like these on Flagstaff Mountain just west of Boulder are hard to pass up. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm F4 AF ED VR
So this is spring in Colorado?. Weather in Colorado during the spring months is quite unpredictable. One day may be sunny and warm and the next day a blizzard. This dynamic weather is what makes being a landscape photographer in Colorado so much fun. Sure I can wait for the lakes to thaw and wildflowers to bloom but scenes like these on Flagstaff Mountain just west of Boulder are hard to pass up. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm F4 AF ED VR

Leaves are starting to bud on the tree’s, early season wildflowers have begun to make an appearance, the grass is turning green and the days get longer and longer. Spring is in the air here in Colorado and what better way to enjoy a mid April spring weekend with anything other than a nice big drop of fresh snow. It would not be a true Colorado spring if it was not for the warm weather head fake that the Front Range of Colorado is so well versed at performing.

As I write this, heavy wet spring snow is falling hard outside my office window and the mountains are covered with snow reminiscent of a scene straight from a Christmas movie. While meteorologists were calling for some of the areas of the foothills to receive between two and four feet of new snow, warmer temperatures seem to have kept the snow totals down in many areas. Even so, there is a significant amount of snow that has fallen over the higher elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park as well as the foothills just west of Boulder. So while my excitement grows each day as we move towards my favorite season (summer) in the Rockies, we photographers get another chance to get out in the field and enjoy this white winter landscape that now sits before us.

So when the weather gives you lemons, it’s best to make lemonade as they say. Break out the winter parka’s, snow boots and gloves and get out and make some new images. These spring storms often offer the best opportunity to photograph your favorite landscapes covered in snow.

Some of the best winter landscapes of the season often occur during the late spring months in Colorado as this image from Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder illustrates. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm F4 AF ED VR
Some of the best winter landscapes of the season often occur during the late spring months in Colorado as this image from Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder illustrates. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 70-200mm F4 AF ED VR

I spent the early part of the storm enjoying a beautiful hike up Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. I love to get on Flagstaff Mountain when its snowing. Not only is it a great hike, but Flagstaff Mountain has in my opinion some of the most beautiful sets of Ponderosa Pines in all of Colorado. Ponderosa’s and there red colored bark make for beautiful subjects when their pine bows are crusted in snow. Before you know it we will quickly resume are melt off and the snow will once again be gone. With mild weather and temperatures predicted to near 80 degrees by the end of the week, this opportunity to photograph the snow wont last long. So while many of us are looking forward towards summer, unfrozen lakes and wildflowers have fun with the weather curveball we are so often thrown here during spring. Who knows, maybe we will get a few more chances at snow before its all said and done for the season.

Winter Winds

The prevailing pattern this winter in Rocky Mountain National Park has been without questions the wind. It's been a constant companion and although at times it can make photography difficult in Rocky, there are also times it creates unique conditions. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 AF VR
The prevailing pattern this winter in Rocky Mountain National Park has been without questions the wind. It’s been a constant companion and although at times it can make photography difficult in Rocky, there are also times it creates unique conditions. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 AF VR

Wintertime in Rocky Mountain National Park is always a bit of a crap shoot for photographers. Every winter season varies greatly from the previous seasons weather. This can be both a good thing for photographers or not such a great thing. Two variables play a large part in determining how productive the winter season in Rocky Mountain National Park will be. Snowfall is one, and wind is the other. Both of these often occur at the same time and can be a boon or bust for photographers looking to capture winter scenes in Rocky.

With the winds whipping, blowing snow flies across the Rocky's landscape as the Mummy Range receives first light. Technical Details: Nikon D810, 70-200mm F4 AF VR ED
With the winds whipping, blowing snow flies across the Rocky’s landscape as the Mummy Range receives first light. Technical Details: Nikon D810, 70-200mm F4 AF VR ED

With a strong El Nino weather pattern affecting western half of the United States, the weather in Rocky this winter has been interesting and varied from the last winter season. We’ve had some good snows on the eastern side of the park but the much of the effect of the El Nino pattern seems to be having its greatest impact on the wind patterns. From my non-scientific observations, the one constant this season has been the wind and constant is the operative word.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been out in the field this season in Rocky and have not be accompanied by a stiff breeze. Of course for those of you who visit Rocky Mountain National Park often, me telling you its a windy place is nothing you don’t already know. It’s just that this season seems to be particularly more windy then the previous few winters.

While we have had lots of wind, it seems we have had less opportunities for clouds in the skies resulting in good sunrise and sunsets this season. Often high winds mean lenticular clouds will form in the sky over the tops of the mountains. For whatever reason, lenticular clouds seem to be accompanying the high winds less often than previous seasons. These lenticular cloud formations often make for great photography subjects in Rocky, even if the winds are howling.

Another winter morning sunrise from Many Parks Curve in Rocky. The blowing snow and wind made for a colorful sunrise this particular morning. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 AF VR ED
Another winter morning sunrise from Many Parks Curve in Rocky. The blowing snow and wind made for a colorful sunrise this particular morning. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 AF VR ED

When clouds have been present this season they have formed along the tops of the mountains along the continental divide. This is a common occurrence during the winter months in Rocky. When large storms from the Pacific make it to Colorado, the western side of the park gets the snow and the eastern half of Rocky gets the winds and clouds obscuring the tops of the peaks.

So far this winter season has been a challenge to photograph. Even so there are still many opportunities out there for photographers, especially if one can tolerate being blown around while trying to keep their camera steady. With springtime rapidly approaching, we should see some good size late winter, early spring snowstorms in Rocky. We may also see the what seems like daily high winds abate slightly and the pattern change to one thats a little more favorable for photographers.

This is mostly speculation on my part but based on previous El Nino seasons, I’m hopeful for some really great conditions as we move into the later half of winter. Even if the pattern remains the same gluttons for punishment can still take advantage of the windy conditions to create some interesting imagery even amongst the winds, blowing snows and cold.

Do And Redo

If you follow my work frequently than you know Flagstaff Mountain just outside of Boulder is a favorite location of mine to photograph. In about 25 minutes from my front door I can be out in the field enjoying landscapes like this one. Visiting these nearby locations over and over again allows my to react and anticipate where the best images may be based on the time of year or weather. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 ED AF VR
If you follow my work frequently than you know Flagstaff Mountain just outside of Boulder is a favorite location of mine to photograph. In about 25 minutes from my front door I can be out in the field enjoying landscapes like this one. Visiting these nearby locations over and over again allows my to react and anticipate where the best images may be based on the time of year or weather. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 ED AF VR

Photographers are constantly seeking to create new images and content. Creating new images and photographing in different locations feeds our creative spirit and helps us to grow as artists. This involves scouting, searching and traveling to new locations looking for that next image. Or does it?.

Most photographers I know love to travel to far flung locations around the globe looking to expand their portfolio and feed that ‘traveling jones’ that most of us seem to have embedded in our DNA. Iceland and Chile being the current favorites amongst landscape photographers. While I love to travel to far flung locations just as much as the next guy, I still find photographing and exploring locations close to home the most rewarding exercise.

Here is a different image of the same tree as above. I've been waiting for weather like this to photograph this tree with fog and snow moving across the Flatirons and Gregory Canyon for sometime. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 ED AF VR
Here is a different image of the same tree as above. I’ve been waiting for weather like this to photograph this tree with fog and snow moving across the Flatirons and Gregory Canyon for sometime. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 ED AF VR

If you are a frequent visitor to my site or my social media feeds you know that approximately 85% of my landscape photography takes place in either Rocky Mountain National Park or in and around Boulder, Colorado. This is done deliberately and with purpose. While these locations are very close to my home and are without question my favorite subjects to photograph, visiting the same locations and areas over and over again gives me a knowledge and understanding of my subject that I do not posses when I visit a location for the first and possibly only time.

Photographing the same locations time and time again in different seasons or carrying weather conditions and light allows me to not only capture the moment that is unfolding in front of my camera on that day, but it also allows me to anticipate and plan future visits to a given location with the expectation of a different result. Knowing these subjects well so close to my home allows me to adapt and plan based on atmospherics, weather conditions and lighting. Oftentimes we think a subject can only be photographed from one location, in one direction at one optimal time of day. I think many photographers would be surprised to see just how many different interpretations of a subject one can create when they are able to visit at different times in varying conditions.

I realize most peoples styles and motivations are different than mine and my approach may not work or interest other photographers. That being said I strongly recommend finding a local area, or one close to your home and becoming intimately familiar with it. The location may not be as exotic or sexy as some far flung location around the globe, but embarking on a journey to really get to know a local subject or location over time will have just as great a reward to your portfolio and creative process as would a trip to a location you may only visit once in your lifetime.

Brown Season Blues

The tweener season between autumn and fall in Rocky Mountain National Park is known as the 'brown' seaons. It's easy to see one's motivation wane when it comes to photography. Even during the brown season there are lots of interesting landscapes and wildlife oppurtunities to photograph. Hiking up to Chasm Falls on a snow morning last week provided a unique opportunity to photograph what would be a very busy place when Fall River Road is open. This day, not another soul to be found. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 ED AF VR
The tweener season between autumn and fall in Rocky Mountain National Park is known as the ‘brown’ seaons. It’s easy to see one’s motivation wane when it comes to photography. Even during the brown season there are lots of interesting landscapes and wildlife oppurtunities to photograph. Hiking up to Chasm Falls on a snow morning last week provided a unique opportunity to photograph what would be a very busy place when Fall River Road is open. This day, not another soul to be found. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120mm F4 ED AF VR

It’s brown season here again in Rocky. While it’s been a very mild autumn it apparent that winter is about to make its appearance in the park. After nearly a month and a half of chasing the colors through different part of the park it can be difficult to make a transition towards photographing the oncoming winter season. Photographing Rocky during the fall season gives one a bonanza of choices. While Autumn is short lived you still have the choice of photographing unfrozen lakes, tarns and streams while simultaneously being able to photograph the fall colors. So in essence autumn season in Rocky Mountain National Park means you can still opt to pursue summer like images while still being able to chase the colors of fall. Throw in the occasional early season snowstorm and you might actually be able to photograph three of the four seasons all in the span of a few days.

So when the fall winds down and the foliage in the park is no more motivation to get out in the field may drop like an aspen leave on a windy day. Making things more difficult is the fact that once the snows start to fall in the higher elevations in late October or early November access to many locations becomes difficult to impossible. With that being said its time to adjust your mindset and remember there are still plenty of great opportunities to be found even if they require a little more work. Here are some suggestions on why photographing during the brown season in Rocky Mountain National Park can be both productive and fun.

1. Clouds. Photographing landscapes with clouds in Rocky is a lot more difficult than it looks. We have lots of bluebird blue sky mornings in Rocky, especially during the summer months. As the season shifts towards winter, Rocky sees some of its most dramatic sunrises. While winds may increase, lenticular clouds hanging over the eastern slope of the Front Range of Colorado become much more common. These lenticular clouds at sunrise with set the skies ablaze with color. This of course will add lots of color and spice to the otherwise brown landscape.

Wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park is at its prime during the 'brown' season as it coincides with the mating or rut. This beautiful mule deer buck keeps a watchful eye on another buck across the meadow. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Sigma150-600mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS C lens
Wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park is at its prime during the ‘brown’ season as it coincides with the mating or rut. This beautiful mule deer buck keeps a watchful eye on another buck across the meadow. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Sigma150-600mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS C lens

2. Water. Much of the water found in streams and mid level lakes is still unfrozen or only partially frozen. By mid winter pretty much all the lake surfaces will be covered in ice and snow. Streams with moving water will typically freeze later than lakes and ponds but they to will also freeze at some point during the winter. Once the bodies of water freeze over catching reflections becomes impossible. Combine colorful skies, lenticular clouds and water that is yet unfrozen or only partially frozen and you still have some pretty good foreground subjects to work with.

3. Snow. The lower elevations may be covered with brown grasses but the high peaks will have a nice covering of snow. By late summer most of Rocky’s peaks have little to no snow on them with only granite showing. With snow once again falling the high peaks will have more character covered in the white stuff.

4. Wildlife. Unlike the trees and foliage, wildlife is actually at its peak during the brown season. The larger ungulates such as elk, moose, mule deer and big horn sheep are all in various stages of their annual mating rituals or rut. This means most of the animals look the healthiest and strongest they will all year. Furthermore they tend to congregate in open areas and are less distracted by human presence as hormones are calling the shots. Hang around the parks in the lower elevations and it’s quite easy to capture beautiful images of a bull elk or mule deer buck in their prime.

So while most photographers I know tend to get a little depressed and down when when the brown season takes hold, there are still plenty of good opportunities to be had when it comes to photographing Rocky this time of year. Lastly one other great thing about getting out during the brown seasons is the lack of crowds. Most of the time you will easily be able to find peace and solitude easily while in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Long Lens Landscapes

With the recent addition of a Sigma150-600mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS C to my lens kit, I've been putting it's longer focal lengths to good use when photographing landscapes in Rocky Mountain National Park. I purchased the lens to use primarily for wildlife in Rocky but have found the longer focal lengths to be very useful at compressing and isolating portions of the landscape. I found this to be the case when photographing low lying fog in Moraine Park from the Many Parks Curve overlook along Trail Ridge Road. Using the 600mm focal length on the lens, I was able to isolate this portion of Moraine Park as the fog moved out. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Sigma150-600mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS C lens
With the recent addition of a Sigma150-600mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS C to my lens kit, I’ve been putting it’s longer focal lengths to good use when photographing landscapes in Rocky Mountain National Park. I purchased the lens to use primarily for wildlife in Rocky but have found the longer focal lengths to be very useful at compressing and isolating portions of the landscape. I found this to be the case when photographing low lying fog in Moraine Park from the Many Parks Curve overlook along Trail Ridge Road. Using the 600mm focal length on the lens, I was able to isolate this portion of Moraine Park as the fog moved out. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Sigma150-600mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS C lens

Which lens or focal length to use when photographing a particular scene or image is a vital function to creating to compositionally coherent image. Browsing through my landscape image catalogs it’s apparent that approximately 75% of my images are taken between the focal length range of 16mm and 105mm. This is more or less in line with my style of photography and works well to convey and translate my vision of the landscapes I enjoy photographing.

With that being said I still look to put my longer lenses to good use whenever possible. While many of my photographs have been created with wide to moderate focal length lenses, some of my favorite images have been taken with longer focal lengths which allow for the isolation or compression of the subject or landscape.

I recently purchased a Sigma150-600mm 5-6.3 DG HSM OS C lens for my Nikon system. I purchased this lens primarily to be used to photograph wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park. With the Elk,Big Horn Sheep, and Moose rut approaching I was hoping I would get a few opportunities to photograph wildlife at longer focal lengths. While most of my photography revolves around the landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park, I do enjoy photographing wildlife when the opportunity presents itself.

Ironically, I have not had as many opportunities to use this lens on wildlife as I had previously hoped. At the same time I have found more opportunities to use this lens for landscape photography then I had previously anticipated. I’ve found the long end (300-600mm) range of this lens can help to foster unique and creative images. I plan on continuing to experiment and employ the longer focal lengths for both wildlife and landscape photography in the future. The caveat with this lens of course is that is both large and heavy so it’s not a piece of equipment I plan on backpacking around the backcountry with. Even so, I’ve been impressed with both the image quality of the lens and the new opportunities it’s affording me when in the field photographing landscapes.

Autumn At Timberline

Landscape photographers will flock to Rocky Mountain National Park this time of year to capture the autumn in all her glory. Most photographers will be looking to photograph golden hillsides of aspens trees. Dont overlook the beautiful autumn color currenlty unfolding at or near timberline in Rocky. I photographed these beautiful fall colors just below Longs Peak on the alpine tundra yesterday. Our mild nights have allowed for the colors to really pop in the higher elevations of the park. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 ED VR
Landscape photographers will flock to Rocky Mountain National Park this time of year to capture the autumn in all her glory. Most photographers will be looking to photograph golden hillsides of aspens trees. Dont overlook the beautiful autumn color currenlty unfolding at or near timberline in Rocky. I photographed these beautiful fall colors just below Longs Peak on the alpine tundra yesterday. Our mild nights have allowed for the colors to really pop in the higher elevations of the park. Technical Details: Nikon D810, Nikkor 16-35mm F4 ED VR

Peak fall color season is upon is here in Rocky Mountain National Park. After a beautiful late summer that was for the most part warm and dry, the signs of autumn are everywhere in the park. With the exception of the lower elevations of Rocky Mountain National Park, most locations at the mid to higher elevations are at or just a little bit past peak. No need to panic, there is plenty of fall color to be found in Rocky right now and I suspect that will be the case for at the least the next two weeks.

As stated above, we have had a very warm and mild late summer in Rocky and that pattern looks like it’s going to continue through next week. The mild weather appears to be not only enhancing some of the fall color in Rocky Mountain National Park, but it is allowing for the color to linger. Colorado is famous the world over for it’s beautiful stands of aspens which turn golden in autumn. It’s what many visitors to the area come to see. While Rocky may not have some of the large towering stands of aspens that some of the famous western slope towns of Aspen, Crested Butte and Ridgway boast, there are still plenty of them to admire and photograph.

With that said regarding the hillsides of golden aspens don’t overlook all the more subtle foliage that are currently resplendent in their autumn glory throughout the park right now. The color at or near timberline in the park is currently as colorful and beautiful as I can recall. The warm days have allowed for beautiful reds, yellows and orange hue’s. I hiked up to timberline just below Longs Peak yesterday and was astounded by how colorful and beautiful the autumn conditions are. The scenes are reminiscent of autumn on the Alaska tundra.

There are too many potential locations to list right now which hold great potential for fall landscape photography in Rocky. The usual suspects such as the Bierstadt Moraine and the Bear Lake area all look great as of this writing. But if you want to avoid the crowds as well as other photographers, head for the higher elevations while the warm temperatures last and enjoy the colorful show currently unfolding near timberline.