Clouds over Long’s Peak (Rocky Mountain National Park)

I spent a cold morning taking pictures of Hallett’s Peak over Dream Lake. As the sun rose and the late morning hikers gathered I started my descent down the trail. On my way down I gazed over at Long’s Peak and noticed the unique cloud formation building above it. I unpacked my camera gear and waited a few minutes as the clouds passed over top of the highest mountain in Boulder County (rising to 14,259 feet).

Clouds over Long’s Peak (Rocky Mountain National Park)

Clouds over Long's Peak (Rocky Mountain National Park)

I’m not sure what kind of cloud it is – does anyone have any ideas? I thought it was lenticular at first but think those build vertical up through the sky and these clouds seemed pretty flat.

Cholla Garden Sunset (Joshua Tree National Park)

The Cholla cactus is native to the Southwest US and while it looks harmless is actually a ‘jumping’ cactus so don’t get too close to them because they STICK to everything and their quills are sharp! So sharp that they even pierced my heave hiking boots when I stepped on one. I had to remove my boot and pull the quill out of the bottom of my foot – OUCH! Okay so they don’t really ‘jump’ per se but they stick to everything and they do seem to shed so their pods and quills are scattered all over the cactus garden. Despite how prickly (and painful) they are I do like the look of them at sunset. The way the sun bounces off the quills and makes them glow is pretty magical. I stayed out past sunset and had to very carefully (and slowly) navigate myself back to my car – not an easy feat with all the cacti around.

Cholla Garden Sunset (Joshua Tree National Park)

Cholla Gardens Sunset (Joshua Tree National Park)

View from the Rim (Grand Canyon National Park)

My one and only trip to the Grand Canyon was unforgettable – we want to go back but competing priorities have gotten in the way. Maybe when we have some little ones we can take a road trip like the Griswolds.

View from the Rim (Grand Canyon National Park)

View from the Rim (Grand Canyon National Park)

My goal is that after seeing ‘Grand Canyon,’ every person in the audience will go home knowing they have to conserve water: even something as simple as installing a low-flow toilet or showerhead, or turning off the faucet while they’re brushing their teeth.

First Light at Emerald Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park)

I came down with a pretty nasty cold last week that took me out of commission for a few days. I’m finally feeling a bit better today which is good because I’ve got a bunch of travel coming up the next three weeks. No personal trips mixed in there though so will have to keep drumming up old travel photos like this one from Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer of 2014. I was with my wife vacationing after a business meeting and woke up one morning to make the 3.5 mile round-trip hike to Emerald Lake.

The easily accessible trailhead, Bear Lake Trailhead – the busiest in the park, is often over crowded by 10 AM so if you plan on going hiking here be sure to get there early or just plan on parking in one of the remote parking areas and taking the shuttle to the trailhead. Alternatively, you can hike to this spot by adding some distance if you start at the Bierstedt Lake Trailhead. The trail is well maintained and takes you by two other lakes – Nymph Lake and Dream Lake – as it winds through pine and aspen trees.

First Light at Emerald Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park)

First Light at Emerald Lake (Rocky Mountain National Park)

I scouted this location out the day before when my wife and I hiked up to this spot. I envisioned framing the shot with this funky looking dead tree anchoring the foreground. If there were only a few more colorful clouds in the sky this shot would have been perfect but the clouds weren’t picking up the sun the same way the peaks of the mountain were.

Sunset over the Bow River (Banff National Park)

One of my favorite locations in Banff for taking sunset pictures is at the Castle Mountain Junction off of the scenic Highway (Bow Valley Parkway i.e. Highway 1A) that runs alongside the primary road that connects Banff with the Lake Louise area in the Canadian Rockies. The scenery looking up and down the Bow Valley River is fantastic and occasionally you get lucky with some color in the sky – like I did on this evening.

Sunset over the Bow River (Banff National Park)

Sunset over the Bow River (Banff National Park)

Like others I’ll make new years resolutions and for me it is to travel more this year. It may seem like I did a fair deal of traveling this year (and my airline miles somehow say I did) but the majority of that unfortunately was for business and I wasn’t able to take advantage of that travel this year as much as I have in the past. Therefore, I’m staring this year doing a better job of taking advantage of trips around the country with ‘side trips’ to locations I want to photograph again. In late January I’m taking a side trip back to Joshua Tree to photograph those famous trees. My last trip was back in 2013 and (hopefully) I’ve improved my photography techniques since then and will be better able to capture the sunrise and sunset in the dessert. Later this year I will take a trip out to Yosemite (FINALLY) and plan to tackle Yellowstone/Grand Teton as well (it has been FAR too long). Of course we also will spend two and half weeks exploring Southern Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and possibly Botswana) coming up in April and are scouring the internet for a vacation package that fits our budget to New York City for our six year anniversary in March. It should be a fun year and hopefully one filled with more memories (and mountains!).

Death Valley in the Morning

I started the year off with a couple of trips to California. Death Valley was one of the highlights and the January weather – a little bit of rain/clouds – added to the atmosphere of the shots. I never got much of the clear skies that Death Valley is known for in the summer but that’s okay because it kept the heat off of me throughout most of the day.

Death Valley in the Morning

Death Valley in the Morning

A few more posts to this site but once the new year starts I’m going to migrate exclusively over to so make sure to follow me over there. We will be heading to Africa for our big trip next year and I’m thinking of upgrading from my current camera (Canon Rebel T3i) and lens setup to a new full frame camera – Nikon D750. After four/five years of picking up Photography it appears to be a hobby I intend on keeping so I think it is about time to make the jump to a full frame camera. It isn’t an easy decision primarily because of the cost involved but I’ve been told by many that a crop sensor vs a full frame sensor is a night/day difference. Additionally, I’ll have to invest in all new lenses as well since my current crop of lenses won’t work with this camera. I will be selling all my older stuff but that will only recoup a fraction of what the new setup will cost me – the way I see it though it is more of an investment.

Pre-Dawn at Swiftcurrent Lake (Glacier National Park)

In Glacier National Park one of the best places to catch the sunrise is at Swiftcurrent Lake as many photographers like to capture the unmistakeable Grinnell Point with the alpenglow on it. Unfortunately for me the clouds interrupted my sunrise and the colors weren’t as dramatic as I hoped. However, the pre-dawn light was nice and I think the poor weather conditions kept alot of the other photographers away because I was here almost by myself which is amazingly rare with an almost always full hotel right on the edge of the lake (Many Glacier Hotel).

Pre-Dawn at Swiftcurrent Lake (Glacier National Park)

Pre-Dawn at Swiftcurrent Lake Glacier National Park

My posting has been a little sporadic lately but I’m hoping to get a more scheduled approach going as my personal life settles down. This has been one of the most difficult year’s of my life and I will be really pleased when the clock turns to 2015 and I can put it all behind me.