Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Building the Art Studio

....Or should we call it a "man cave"...or a "she-shed?"

I haven't been doing a lot of painting/drawing lately.  This summer we began converting half of our large shed into an art sudio.  With a lot of help from Dad (Grandpa), we framed walls, put in some windows, insulated, dry-walled, sanded, textured, painted, put in a door, flooring, furnishing, ect.   Part way into the school year, the man cave is finished and finally getting some use.  I'm thankful for all the help from Cami, Dad, and even the kids.

Time to start some new art projects!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fall Colors Trip 2018 - Twin Lakes and Rocky Mountain National Park

Reflection of Mt. Hope on a pond in Twin Lakes, Colorado
Reflection on a beaver pond near Twin Lakes

This year we took the whole family to camp at Twin Lakes near Leadville.  This is now one of my favorite spots to camp.  The fishing wasn't good, but we didn't care cause the views were awesome.  I'm starting a four seasons series of photographs from this area, so we'll be visiting here again throughout the year. There were absolutely 0 clouds the whole trip.  Most photographers don't like clear skies, but I personally like the plain bright blues against the golden yellows.  Plus, it makes for unbelievably clear starry night photos!  Below are some of my favorite images from the past couple trips.  Hope you like them!

reflection of Mt. Elbert on a high pond in Autumn
Beaver Pond with 14er Mt. Elbert and hills of gold

Old Cabin in the town of Twin Lakes

panorama twin lakes colorado in autumn with fall aspen trees
Pano of Twin Lakes with aspen grove

Rocky Mountain Sawatch Range with stars and milky way in fall colors
Super clear night with the Milky Way easily visible to the naked eye.

creek with aspen leaves blanketing the ground in autumn photograph of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Trickling falls high in the forest of RMNP

glacier creek and Hallett Peak sunrise in the Glacier Gorge area of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Sunrise on Hallett Peak and Glacier Creek

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Four Seasons - Bear Lake

Summer fall winter and spring photographs of Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado prints by Aaron Spong
Four Seasons of Bear Lake - Prints Available

This is my third series of photographs taken at one location in all four seasons.  Bear Lake is probably the most popular spot in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It's the start of many hikes in the Glacier Gorge area and has an excellent view of the tallest mountain in the park, Longs Peak.  This particular view is a bit off the beaten path and a pleasure to photograph in the stillness and silence above the crowds below.  It only took me about a year to complete!  😄

Bear Lake Spring - Prints available

Bear Lake Summer - Prints available

Bear Lake Autumn - Prints available

Bear Lake Winter - Prints available

Sunset - Trail Ridge Road

Took a quick drive up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park for a sunset photo op.  The clouds came in under Longs peak just in time for the last light of the sun to hit the rock spires of the rock cut...Fantastic!

Longs Peak and clouds at sunset from Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain Natioanl Park, Colorado.
Longs Peak above the clouds - Prints available

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Gore Lake and Pt. 12,835

Panoramic photograph of Gore Lake and Mt. Silverthorne in the Eagle's Nest Wilderness, Colorado with wildflowers
Gore Range Backcountry - Prints available

The Eagle's Nest Wilderness is a special place.  Most of the high lakes and peaks are difficult to access on long, steep trails (or off trails).  Tim and I both were already tired before we even started backpacking on Friday morning.  We weren't really feeling it this weekend, but we'd planned this trip months before and stayed true to our commitment.

Molly sure was excited to go with us though.  She sat in the garage the previous day while I packed and wouldn't come inside the house because she was afraid of being left at home.  She's 10 years old now and doesn't seem to have the energy she once did.  I figured that this might be one of the last strenuous backpacking trips that she might get to take.  It wasn't too much for her, though she did choose to stay in the tent and rest rather than go out and explore with me a few times.

The first part of the trek in is 4 miles on the Gore Creek trail to the Gore Lake split.  It's fairly easy and unimpressive through the forest without many views other than some nice aspen groves.  In the fall, this would be a great place to see the colors.  Once we reached the trail split, there were actually  hundred year old marked graves for two men right next to the trail, a strange and kind of surprising thing to see while hiking.  There were rock piles to mark the graves and a metal sign description.


Grave signs (Photo from backpacker.com)

The next couple miles up toward the lake were steep and tiresome. We weren't sure if it would rain so we were trying to move quickly, but were still going at a pretty slow pace
(at least for Tim).  He's been doing a lot of long distance running lately, but hiking up steep hills at altitude with a heavy pack on is a totally different kind of exercise.  Finally the trail leveled out and the views opened up.  Wow!  Jagged peaks all around with colorful wildflowers and streams and pools everywhere.  It was truly an alpine paradise.

First views of Gore Lake

Not long after we set up camp near the lake, a thunderstorm moved in.  We all ducked into the tent to avoid the rain as loud thunder clapped and echoed and rolled through the valley.  You know, the long, loud, ominous kind that seems to shake the ground.  As the storm moved in, you could tell the sudden change in temperature from hot enough to make you sweat to cool enough that you need a jacket.  It was a good time resting our legs and just laying there listening to the wonder that The Lord brings.

After the storm passed, I tried my luck at fishing.  I don't think there were ANY fish in this lake.  There were a number of other people fishing that afternoon as well and nobody had any luck.  We never even saw a fish surface, which was strange because the reports I'd read about the fishing here were good.  Luckily, Tim brought some tuna packets and shared some with me to go with my fish dish.  After we ate our warm meal, I found a good sunset spot for the evening.

Gore Lake with Willow Benchmark/Mount Silverthorne

Red Peak (center) and part of the Zodiac spires (left of center)

Stars over Gore Lake

The next morning I woke to catch the sunrise on Gore Lake.

Gore Lake Sunrise - Prints available

Totally calm

Believe it or not from the cloudless pictures above, after we ate some oatmeal, the sky quickly filled in and it rained for a little while that morning.  I was concerned that our second day of hiking might get cancelled due to weather, but it turned out to be just a quick little drizzle and we were able to get some sun afterward.  We bushwhacked off trail, around a ridge and into the Snow Lake drainage.  From here, we hiked up to Snow Pass and summited an unnamed peak of 12,835 ft. between Mount Valhalla and Snow Peak.  This area was stunning.  I just could not stop taking pictures.  I mean... postcard shots in every direction.  We saw at least 4 different groups of mountain goats along the way.  From the time we left camp until the time we returned, we didn't see another humans soul (Other than two specs of people on top of Grand Traverse Peak in the distance).

Snow Lake

Snow Peak and Snow Lake

Snow Peak - Prints available

Couple of quick scrambling moves to the top.

Grand Traverse Peak and Deluge Lake (left) with Mount Valhalla (Right)

Snow Peak from Point 12,835

We found our way back to camp in the afternoon in time for more thunderstorms to move in.  The sunset that night and sunrise the following morning were more fiery due to cloud cover.  The next morning right as I was setting up my tripod to shoot the sunrise I hear this loud, rapid thumping in the trees.  Suddenly, a big white mountain goat comes running through the field at full speed being chased by a dog.  I didn't realize they could move so fast!  It outran the dog easily and then leaped across a 5 or 6 foot stream which neither the dog nor any normal human could do.  Eventually the dog figured out a way around the stream and continued up the hill after the goat until it disappeared. 

Deming Mountain and West Deming Sunset - Prints available

Sunrise over Mt. Silverthorne - Prints available

I've attached a link of some time-lapse videos from the trip below:

The hike out went quickly and pleasantly as usual with lighter packs.  Thanks for a fun weekend in the Rockies Tim!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

High Lakes in Wild Basin - July, 2018

Reflection of Mt. Alice in Thunder Lake in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado
Thunder Lake - Prints available

After hiking up to a high lake in Wild Basin this past week, I realized that this was the longest (distance) hike I've ever done.  In all the mountain climbing and 14er adventures, I've never gone more than 16 miles in a single day.  This one broke the 16 mile mark according to Tim's gps, which I'm sure is a reason why images of this area are rare.  We had a perfect partly cloudy day with perfect weather for this outing.  I'll just share some shots from the hike:

Ouzel Falls with a sunburst in Rocky Mountian National Park, Colorado
Ouzel Falls

Wild Basin cabin with elephant head wildflowers and Mt. Alice in Rocky Mountain National Park
Elephant Heads and Mt. Alice

Thunder Lake

Longs and Meeker
Lake of Many Winds