On the Road - Colorado

I'm a little slow posting photos from Colorado.  Birthdays, a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains and other things kept me from finishing the post processing on these.

Mary and I met our friends Mike and Barb at a vacation condo they booked in Avon, Colorado.  We spent a delightful week with them exploring Vail, Leadville, Aspen and Steamboat Springs.  Lovely relaxing visit and beautiful scenery.  A few patches of Aspen were turning yellow but peak autumn color was still a couple of weeks off.

Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells seen from Maroon Lake is the most photographed landscape view in Colorado, perhaps in North America.  Dawn and predawn images produce the best light.  Still a gorgeous scene, if all you have there is mid-day, Travelers need to be aware that from mid-June through the first weekend of October the parking area is restricted to bus service from Aspen Highlands and vehicles with handicapped or disabled tags from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  Get there well before first light to get a good spot!

Hanging out at the Tree Line, Nearly 12,000 ft

We took a Jeep trip from Avon east on I-70, South on US-24 and east up Resolution Creek Road toward Ptarmigan Hill.  Spectacular High Country views.

Another view from the Tree Line.

The Four Amigos and our jeep driver, Wolfe.

On the way back in the Jeep.

Taken on US-24 in a moving jeep, this is the bridge near Red Cliff.

One last look at Maroon Bells.

Autumn In Tulsa

Spent a little time last week wandering through the woodland paths at Mohawk Park.  That's always good for the soul and especially nice in autumn's celebration of color.

These individual leaves are not be perfect specimens, like us, they show imperfections from the passage of time and the effects of a long summer and the wind and rain of early autumn.  I think them beautiful in their own right.

Autumn Blush

Scarlet Imperfection

Three of a Kind

Getting Used To A New (Rented) Lens

We drove out to Kaw Lake near Ponca City today to get some more dust on a new SUV and get some experience shooting with a new lens.  I advance of attending "The Great Smoky Mountain Photography Summit" I rented a Canon EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6L lens and a Canon Extender EF 1.4 III.  I hadn't shot with this long a lens and extender before and though I would spend a couple of days before the trip to get used to using this with a monopod.

It certainly takes some getting used to, especially with a monopod.  The image dances around in the viewfinder when trying to focus.  I used AI Focus Auto Focus and a continuous shooting mode to try to maximize results.  I will want to try AI Servo Autofocus as well to see if that gives me better results.

I knew I would need some practice with this rig to try to get any somewhat decent results.  I might do better on the tripod with this combination for the stability but I thought the monopod would be more versatile trying to catch wildlife.

Anyway, here are the three best of the several hundred shots I took this afternoon.  The combination of lens and extender provides an effective focal length of 560mm.  Since I'm as quiet as Yogi Bear in the forest I still had to crop these images a whole lot!

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

Preparing For A Photography Critique

After taking a few deep breaths I accepted an invitation to participate in a photography critique at the Great Smoky Mountain Mountains Photography Summit next week in Townsend, Tennessee.  I'm a critique-ee rather than a critique-er.  Don't know yet who will be in that role, but the workshop has engaged some of the biggest names in wildlife and landscape photography.

I expect the exercise to provide a frank assessment of my photographic skills and give me some direction for improvement.  Either that or they will tell me where I can sell my gear.

Selecting ten images for a portfolio is a tough process.  Photos I was proud of five or six years ago seem pretty lame now although a few made my final cut.  And some recent ones didn't seem so good upon closer examination.  I found the need for some additional post-processing for many of them before ordering prints from mPix.  Those prints should arrive later today and I have my fingers crossed to see how they turn out.

Anyway, I thought I would share a few from my final selection that don't otherwise appear on this site.

Taken six years ago on a trip to Ireland.  I like the simplicity and mood in this.

Taken on the same trip to Ireland.  Sometimes we get lucky.  Rainbow over the lakes of Killarney as seen from Ladies View.

Autumn along the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico.

Jökulsárlón - glacial lagoon in Iceland.