Coyote - Nikon D300, 18-200mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO 200
This morning I set out to take photos in Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time this winter. I wasn’t expecting to get any great landscape photos because I was more interested in testing out my winter gear and my own perseverance. I arrived at the Bierstadt Lake trailhead well before sunrise and I immediately noticed how little snow there was in RMNP. I had fully expected to use my snow shoes, but the trail was mostly barren. That didn’t stop it from being cold and windy, though. I don’t know what the temperature was, but IF it was above 0 F it wasn’t by much. Within minutes of being on the trial, the water in the tube that runs to the bladder in my backpack froze solid. I’ll definitely have to figure out how to solve that problem before I attempt longer winter hikes. I also think that I will need to strictly limit the amount of camera equipment I carry. It’s nice to have every lens and filter with me so that I can adapt to changing conditions, but winter hiking adds a lot of other gear like snow shoes, poles, ice axe and all the extra clothing. I need to pull a Galen Rowell and hike with only what I absolutely need. A carbon fiber tripod would be nice too!!
Aspirations of becoming road kill - Nikon D300, 18-200mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 200
With the lack of snow and dull sunrise this morning, I didn’t even take out my camera on my hike. But the day still had something in store for me. As I was driving back down through the park, I spotted a pack of Coyotes. They were headed someplace and stayed close to the road for a few miles. In fact, they walked ON the road for much of the way. Good thing it was still very early and there were no cars. I quickly grabbed my camera which was sealed in a zip lock bag warming up after my frigid hike (this helps to prevent damaging condensation). Of course, all the settings on the camera were set for landscape photography, not wildlife photography. In the excitement of the moment, I didn’t think to change the settings so a lot of the photos didn’t turn out so great, but I think it was more fun just seeing them. There’s always something special about seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.
Coyote Stretching - Nikon D300, 18-200mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO 200
Coyote Playing - Nikon D300, 18-200mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO 200
My brother and I recently hiked up to the base of Notchtop mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park to get some dawn images of Lake Helene. To have enough time for the 3.2 mile hike up, we had to meet at the trail head at the ungodly hour of 3:15 AM…which actually meant that I had to get up at 1:45. Ouch. It was a great hike though and we had the advantage of an almost full moon which provided some nice light on the trail.
Nikon D300, 18-200mm, Singh-Ray Gold & Blue Polarizer, f/16, 30 sec, ISO 200
We arrived at Lake Helene well before twilight so we had enough time to explore the area before we had to set up our cameras. We ended up finding Two Rivers Lake which is just to the east of Lake Helene. Above you can see the nice pre-dawn view from Two Rivers Lake. We both stood in the shallow water to take the shot. I used my Singh-Ray Gold and Blue Polarizer to accent the great colors of the sky.
After grabbing a few shots at Two Rivers, we had to hustle back over to Lake Helene to setup in time for sunrise. We ended up getting sorta cornered in a marshy area along the shore and weren’t able to navigate to the best vantage point in time for first light. But I think I came away with at least a “blog worthy” image of Lake Helene. I would have preferred some clouds in the shot, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers :)
Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm, Singh-Ray Color Combo, f/16, 2.5 sec, ISO 200
It was pretty chilly up there at 10,580 feet. / 5AM. I thought a lot about the approaching fall and winter and how I need to discover a new level of perseverance and determination in myself if I’m going to get some good winter shots this year.
Today I welcomed a Canon ImagePrograf 6100 24″ wide printer to my studio! I’ve been spending all evening installing print heads, ink, paper and calibrating it. I’m so excited! Now comes the journey of learning how to make great prints of my photos. I’m intimidated by all the intricacies of the process, but I know I’ll like it ’cause I’m a geek like that :) Stay tuned for some exciting news in the near future about what I plan to use this printer for!