Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wild Basin on a Rainy Day

The best hike in RMNP on a rainy, foggy day is the Wild Basin trail. On Tuesday, 06/02/09, we experienced one of those rare, all-day rains and overcast skies. I hiked up to Calypso Cascades with the goal of capturing nature images. It was a very enjoyable experience.

Mountain Maple with new leaves emerging, Acer spicatum

Canon 5D: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM: f/4, 1/250s, ISO 400, lens focal length 105mm.

Fairy Slipper Orchid, Calypso bulbosa, along the Wild Basin Trail. Prime time for this dime sized blossom.

Canon 5D: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM: f/18, 1/4s, ISO 250, lens focal length 90mm.

The ferns are emerging in large numbers.... in the fiddle head stage.

Canon 5D: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM: f/4.5, 1/30s, ISO 250, lens focal length 105mm.

Rock clematis, Clematis columbiana. Clematis vines grow easily in cold climates.

Canon 5D: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM: f/8, 1/25s, ISO 100, lens focal length 67mm.

I hiked as far as Calypso Cascades. The next mile of hike to Ouzel Falls will have to wait for another day.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM: f/16, 1/4s, ISO 50, lens focal length 28mm.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Williamson's Sapsucker, mated pair

I was lucky to observe the nest of a mated pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers, Sphyrapicus thyroideus. The light was low, so there is some motion blur in these images. But, I will probably hike back to this location to photograph more of their activity in an effort to get better light and more sharpness. The male is striking, with black back, white rump and wingpatch, and white stripes on face. The female has densely barred body and plain brown head. Uncommon, but not rare. Always a good sighting for a "birder". These images were captured in the Upper Beaver Meadows area.

Canon 5D: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO 400

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Peck-a-Boo, Mating Ritual of Red-naped Sapsuckers

Sometimes, it's just a joy to be a photographer in RMNP. It would be enough to get to observe some of the great nature events, but is a true honor and privilege to get to photograph the unique events. The road to Upper Beaver Meadows is now open. One can drive to the west end of Upper Beaver Meadows in order to hike along the forest edge and stream...a great place to see wild birds. This morning, a pair of Red-naped Sapsuckers flirted in the area. The male is on the left. The female on the right. I had never seen their crests displayed in an erect manner before.

Red-naped Sapsuckers, Sphyrapicus nuchalis, mated pair. Members of the "woodpecker" family. The male is on the left and is identifiable as the male by the extensive red on throat. The female and the male both have a red patch on nape.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Return of the Mountain Bluebirds

After the big snowstorm of April '09, the ground feeding songbirds evacuated the area, or they hunkered down. At least, I didn't see any bluebirds for several days. As the snow melts, the bluebirds are returning to nest and raise their chicks. Below are images of the more colorful male on the wax currant bush. The female is perched on the rock.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Venture into the Valley

Rocky Mountain National Park experienced a big snow event on April 16-18, 2009. Snowfall amounts were measured in feet, with +3 feet common. There was no accompanying wind, so the snow stayed where it fell. It was very welcomed moisture. In April, the snow won't stay around for long. The image below was made on April 18. The elk herd ventured into Moraine Park in search of grazing opportunities. Belly deep in snow, they seemed confused. The clouds were lifting from the Stone Peaks area west of Moraine Park.

Humans enjoyed the late season snow opportunities by skiing into the wilderness backcountry. The image below was captured in Hollowell Park, RMNP, Estes Park, CO.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Centennial Haunt

I was honored to have my image, "Centennial Haunt" selected as Theme Photo-of-the-day at

This is the Stanley Hotel Lobby in Estes Park, Colorado. It was the inspiration for Stephen King, as he wrote the script for the movie, "The Shining", starring Jack Nicholson. The Hotel is 100 years old this year. It is rumored to be haunted and the "Ghost Hunters", of television fame have visited here to film their show. 4 second exposure. Canon 5D: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM: f/22, ISO 100, A volunteer young tourist was willing to be my "apparition".

Monday, March 23, 2009

Winter of the Equilibrium

This image was recognized as photo-of-the-day at on March 22, 2009 in the Animal category. Title, "Winter of the Equilibrium".

Coyote carrying back legs and haunches of a mule deer. Most likely, the deer was killed by a mountain lion. The coyote is simply doing his scavenger thing. Coyotes, even in a pack, rarely bring down a healthy deer or elk. Mountain lions are night stalkers and are the primary predators of the mule deer herd. Mule deer populations are large, so nature attempts to balance via the food chain interactions.

Canon 5D: Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM: Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO, f/5.6, ISO 400, 1/1600s.