Thursday, December 31, 2015

Four Seasons Series - Rocky Mountain National Park

Four Seasons of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park Estes Park Colorado

One year in the making! 

Just finished my second four seasons project featuring Longs Peak, the king of Rocky Mountain National Park.  This series of images was taken in the Moraine Park area with a view of the eastern face of the peak known as the "diamond".  There was a group of aspens standing alone right in front of the peak in an easily accessible area.  From left to right, the seasons represented are: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.  Each was taken at the exact same location at different times of day and different times of year capturing a lapse in time. 

Longs Peak in Spring in Rocky Mountain National Park Moraine Park area
This image was taken after one of the wettest seasons of the decade. Snow lingered on the mountain well into the month of July.  The fresh bright green growth of the trees and grass contrast with the white blanketed peak.  This photograph was captured mid afternoon.


Longs Peak in summer in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado 
The summer image looks a little hazy in the distance because of the smoke from the huge wildfires on the west coast caused by a severe drought.  The smoke and haze from these fires traveled all the way out to Colorado and created a soft pink glow on the peak this morning at sunrise. 


Longs Peak in Autumn in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado near Estes Park with aspen trees  
The Autumn sunset image took the most work to capture. I visited this same location more than 10 times during the fall color season waiting for this small group of aspen trees to turn to gold.  This specific little aspen stand must have been the last group in the whole park to change their colors!  It wasn't until the end of October that they began to show off their fiery colors. After the sun went behind the peak on this evening, it lit up the sky in warm hues that complimented the color in the trees.


Longs Peak in Winter in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado near Estes Park
This one was taken right after Christmas day on a frozen December morning before dawn. Just as the sun rose, it turned the sky a bright purple above the peak and bare trees. The winds were strong and I stood outside dancing around trying to stay warm next to my tripod.  Note to self, bring gloves next time.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2016 Colorado 14ers Calendar

2016 monthly calendar featuring fourteeners from the Colorado rocky mountains

For years, friends and family have been telling me that I need to make a monthly calendar using my mountain photography.  Well, here it is... announcing the 2016 Colorado 14ers Calendar! 

I've chosen some of the most majestic 14,000 ft. peaks (known as 14ers) from throughout the state to feature in the collection.  Each photograph was taken in it's respective month (there were some very cold and uncomfortable mornings involved).  It was fun visiting these locations of breathtaking beauty:

Click on the link below to order:

Each of the images featured in the calendar are also for sale in high quality fine art photography prints at: 

Friday, October 16, 2015

The End of Autumn

Longs Peak one of the Colorado 14ers at Sunset in Autumn with aspen grove in Rocky Mountain National Park
Longs Peak after the first snow of the season Oct, 2015 - Prints available

The last light of the evening turns the clouds pink as they lift off of Longs Peak to reveal the first snow of the season. A fresh dusting of white blankets the peak and contrasts with the giant "Diamond" east face of the mountain. Most of the color is gone from the aspen trees along the hillside except for a few remaining stands of bright yellow and orange. The fall foliage color season has lasted a long time this year as different stands turned at different times...some as late as mid-October!  The sunset on this evening was one of the most colorful and beautiful I've ever witnessed!  I only wish It would last longer, but that magic hour is short lived indeed.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Rocky Mountain National Park - Autumn 2015

Longs Peak with Aspens from Peak to peak highway in Estes Park

This year was not the most ideal for Fall Color photography in the Colorado mountains.  Many of the popular aspen viewing areas have been infected with some sort of fungus (or that's what they're saying) that causes the aspens to turn brown and drop their leaves prematurely.  Our very wet spring followed by a drought at the end of summer could be one of the causes of these unhealthy aspen groves.  Also, the peaks were still snow free due to the warm weather.  So, after hearing these reports, I decided to stay closer to home this season and spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park.  As far as I've seen, the park wasn't affected as described.  The aspens looked healthy and the colors were vibrant!

Here's a compilation of photographs from multiple trips to RMNP in the past couple weeks:

Wild Basin Area

Mt. Meeker Pagoda and Mount Alice at sunrise in Autumn panoramic
Wild Basin at Sunrise - Prints available


Bear Lake Area
Bierstadt Lake Trail

Elk Bugle

Bear Lake and Longs Peak in Autumn in Rocky Mountain National Park at the classic location at sunset
Bear Lake and Longs Peak at Sunset - Prints available


Horseshoe Park Area


Mt. Chaquita

Horseshoe Park at Sunset in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado with Elk
Sunset in Horseshoe Park (elk herd on the right)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Island Lake Photograph for Sale at American Furniture Warehouse

I'm excited to announce that one of my landscape photographs is being sold in American Furniture Warehouse locations throughout Colorado!  We visited the giant Firestone store this afternoon and found canvas prints of my popular " Island Lake Vertical Panorama" hanging among other landscape prints by talented artists of the western states.  The picture, taken near the town of Silverton, features the beautiful Island Lake with Vermillion Peak in the distance and alpine wildflowers in the foreground .  The image was submitted and accepted in AFW's Artists of the West program months ago and is now being featured in stores.

Island Lake in the Ice Lakes Basin near Silverton Colorado Vertical Panorama with Vermillion Peak and Wildflowers
Island Lake Vertical Panorama - Prints Available

Monday, August 10, 2015

Mt. Sneffels - August 2015

Colorado 14er Mount Sneffels at Sunset in the San Juan Range
Sunset on Colorado 14er Mt. Sneffels

It's amazing how big the difference is between sleeping in a tent and sleeping in a camper.  I spent 4 nights at Ridgway State Park with Mom, Dad, and James in Dad's camper after spending most of the summer sleeping (or more like not sleeping) in a tent.  Even during our climb I could tell that I had more energy and felt better because of the full night's rest on the memory foam mattress.  We only climbed on one of the days we were there, and It was fun to have a change of pace and just hang out with the family. 

The park itself is extremely well kept with lots of fun stuff to do - Biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, fishing, etc. with awesome views all around.  I will have to return here sometime!

One of Mom's favorite activities

Dad, James and I hiked the peak on our second day there and woke up around sunrise to drive down to the trailhead.  Ridgway is so close to Ouray so we had no need to get a pre-dawn start.  We took the 4 wheeler to the upper trailhead.  This cut our elevation gain down to about 1,700 ft. for the climb.  Another nice change of pace from the other longer more physically demanding peaks of the summer.

Waterfall in Yankee Boy Basin

The upper trailhead at Yankee Boy Basin with our ATV on a climb of Mt. Sneffels
ATV at the upper trailhead in Yankee Boy Basin

We started up the trail and came to the steep loose "kitty litter" slope that leads to the saddle.  Slow going from here.  About half way up this section, Dad's back was bothering him.  He's had multiple surgeries on his neck and back over the years, and he made the wise call to stop at this point and head back.

Rock spires and the setting moon in Yankee Boy Basin, San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Rock spires and the setting moon

James working his way up

Once we reached the saddle, the fun began!  I'd hiked Sneffels before with Cami, but forgot how dramatic the scenery is!  The route is a bit punishing, but the views make it worth it.

Black and white of Teakettle Mountain in the Sneffels Range, Colorado
Teakettle Mountain has to be one of the coolest looking peaks I've seen!

Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre peak from Mt. Sneffels
Colorado 14ers Uncompahgre Peak to the east with Wetterhorn peak directly in front of it

The wilson group form Mt. Sneffels
The Wilson Group 14ers to the Southwest

Blue Lakes Pass with Gilpin Peak and "Black Tops" from about the same time a couple years ago - Prints available

Once we reached the top of the Col the infamous "V" notch crux awaited us.  James was a little concerned about climbing through this quick section because of his recent shoulder surgery.  Other than a bit of exposure on the left side before entering the notch, the climbing isn't too hard.  I'd say the move is more awkward than difficult.  James had no problems with it.  Once past this section, the remaining scramble to the top is short and sweet.

Panoramic image taken from the top of Colorado 14er Mt. Sneffels in the San Juan Range.
Summit Panoram from the summit of Mt. Sneffels

Here's a quick video of the climb:


On the way down I took lots of pictures of all the lush wildflowers in Yankee Boy Basin.  This should probably be included as one of the best wildflower locations in the state!

Yellow wildflowers with Potosi Peak in Yankee Boy Basin, Colorado
Wildflowers and Potosi Peak in Yankee Boy Basin

Gilpin Peak and wildflowers from Yankee Boy Basin in the San Juan range, Colorado
Gilpin Peak and indian paintbrush wildflowers from Yankee Boy Basin

It was a fun hike and a beautiful day which only confirmed that Sneffels is one of my favorite 14er climbs.  The Ridgway/Ouray area is a special place that I would highly recommend visiting.

Parting shot of the Cimmarrons with hot air balloon and sunbeams in a farm field of hay.
Parting shot of the Cimmarrons

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

5 Great Wildflower Locations in Colorado

5 of the best wildflower locations in colorado flag

Summer is wildflower season in the Rocky Mountains.  The snow melts and the hills come alive with color making for a photographer's paradise.  Nothing seems to compliment a stunning mountain backdrop better than a foreground of fiery blossoms.  There are many locations that are known for their abundance of budding beauties, but the areas listed below are ones that stand out in my experience:

1. Boulder Flatirons

Yellow wildflowers and the Boulder Flatirons in springtime with moon, Colorado

The entire area surrounding the Flatirons is a great spot in the springtime to find some color. The flat plains of the Front Range come to an end as massive rock formations shoot out of the ground.  One of the most popular places to hike is Chautauqua Park located right on the edge of the town in Boulder.  Here, you can walk only feet away from the parking lot and find yourself in the middle of rolling hillsides full of flowers.

When to go: Late May to Early June

2. American Basin

Beautiful blue columbines in American Basin, San Juan mountains, Colorado

American Basin is a most beautiful setting in the San Juan mountain range.  Located near Lake City just off the Alpine Loop scenic byway en route to Cinnamon Pass, the basin is better known as part of the standard route that leads to one of Colorado's "easiest" 14ers, Handies Peak.  This short hike into the valley is best done at sunrise when the first rays of light hit American Peak in the background.

When to go: Mid July to Early August

3. Shrine Pass

Wildflowers at Shrine Mountain with Mt. of the Holy Cross near Vail Pass, Colorado

Shrine Pass is accessed just a couple miles off of Vail Pass on I-70.  From the pass, a short (and popular) hike up to Shrine Mountain will reward your effort with countless clusters of indian paintbrush and lupine wildflowers.  The 360 views are awesome!  From here you can frame the famous Mt. of the Holy Cross as a backdrop, or capture the whole length of the rugged Gore range to the north.

When to go: Mid July to Early August

4. Crested Butte

The town of Crested Butte is called the "wildflower capitol of Colorado." Endless hillsides of yellow mules ears and white cow parsnip are seen in every direction on a drive through town. Mt. Crested Butte and Gothic Mountain are the dominant peaks here and can best be viewed along Gothic Road just past the ski area. The Brush Creek Road is another great drive and can be extended much further if you have 4-wheel drive.

When to go: July

5. Yankee Boy Basin

 A popular 4 wheeling/hiking location just outside the unique town of Ouray, Yankee Boy Basin is one of the best ways to witness Colorado's finest scenery.  Ouray is called the "Switzerland of America".  The peaks of the Sneffels Range are arguably the most jagged in the state.  The waterfalls, wildflowers, and dramatic mountains are just breathtaking.

When to go: July/August

To view more wildflower art/photography visit:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Teocalli Mountain - July 2015

Teocalli Mountain with an old Barn along Brush Creek road near Crested Butte, Colorado
Old farming house with Teocalli Mountain - Prints Available

KD ready to go!

Cami, KD and I drove down to the Brush Creek road with the intention of 4 wheeling up to the Teocalli Mountain trailhead to set up camp Wednesday night, but by the time we had everything loaded, it was almost dark and raining hard.  We drove a couple hundred yards up the trail on the ATV and turned around to take refuge in the truck where we slept that night.

The next morning after sunrise, we headed back into town to grab some food and explore the scenery around Crested Butte before giving it another try that afternoon.  The entire area was just filled with fields of color.  Crested Butte is called the "wildflower capitol of Colorado."   After this trip I'm inclined to agree with this label:

Sunrise in the Elk mountain range with bright yellow wildflowers and lupines
Sunrise the first morning.

Gothic Mountain in the Elk Range near Crested Butte, Colorado with wildflowers and low hanging clouds
Gothic Mountain
Mount Crested Butte in summer with lush alpine wildflowers
Mt. Crested Butte - Prints Available
Lupine wildflowers with dew drops from the rain
Lupine Wildflowers - Prints Available

We 4 wheeled up the road and set up the tent right at the base of Teocalli Mountain. KD is now 2 years old and getting much better at not driving her parents crazy on long trips. She loved riding the ATV and "helping Daddy drive."

I woke at 3am and headed out in the dark hoping for a unique sunrise view of Castle Peak, the tallest 14,000 ft. peak in the Elk Range.  I reached the ridge right about at sunrise, but the cloud cover was pretty dense.  In fact, there was only a quick 30 second period of time where the actual summit of Castle Peak was visible before the clouds engulfed it again.

Fire on the mountain
Photograph of Colorado 14er Castle and Conundrum Peak at sunrise in the Elk Mountains
Castle Peak - Prints Available
Black and white version of Castle peak with a fresh dusting of snow in the summer sunrise
Fresh dusting of snow at the top!

Here's a time-lapse of the sunrise.  It's about 2 hours condensed into 30 seconds:

The views south were also stunning!

Distant alpenglow

Sunrise on Mount Crested Butte and Whetstone Mountain from the Teocalli ridge
Mt. Crested Butte and Whetstone Mountain from just below the summit.


There almost no visibility on the summit.  We were literally walking in the clouds.  Hiking back down through the fields of wildflowers was awesome though.  Hmm... I must have missed them on my way up.

Looking back down the route.


KD actually fell asleep in my arms while riding the ATV on the way back to the truck.  It was a quick, but beautiful trip that I would highly recommend.

Teocalli Mountain reflected in a small pond near Crested Butte, Colorado
Parting Shot