It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.
Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Photography'

Advertisment


Rock Climbing in Eldorado

April 13th, 2014 · No Comments

Eldorado Canyon State Park is only six miles from my apartment in south Boulder, but it’s totally different. For many people its biggest draw is more than 500 rock climbing routes up the sheer cliffs of the narrow canyon above South Boulder Creek. For me it is the much easier Fowler Trail, where I take my friends when they visit me.

I took my fiancée, Sue, there, in part because of her rock climbing interest and experience. While the Fowler Trail took us through some of the steepest mountains anywhere, it has a nearly level grade because it started in the early 1880s as a railway grade for the Denver, Utah and Pacific Railroad, which was attempting to find a route over the Rocky Mountains. But the railroad abandoned the effort after grading about two miles and never laid any rails.

We had a great walk in the wilds as we searched for rock climbers across the canyon. But not until we started to drive out of the park did we get good views of any of them.

We stopped when we saw several climbers attempting to climb the Bastille, a huge rock formation that reminds us of the fortress in Paris that for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France.

A Young Woman Climbing the Bastille Reaches an Overhang

A Young Woman Climbing the Bastille Reaches an Overhang

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Arches

April 10th, 2014 · No Comments

While twice before I had explored Arches National Park — my favorite place in the entire state of Utah — I hadn’t been there for the past four years. But when my fiancée, Sue, and I traveled to Grand Junction, Colorado, last week for a memorial ceremony in honor of the late husband of one of her close friends, we were less than two hours away from the park. So of course we went there.

The park is famous for having more than 2,000 natural stone arches, probably the greatest concentration of them anywhere. But it also has hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins, and giant balanced rocks. In fact, the first dramatic form that we saw was Balanced Rock, which is as large as three school buses.

Sue Poses Below Balanced Rock

Sue Poses Below Balanced Rock

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Later that morning we explored the North Window.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Around Northeast Boulder

March 10th, 2014 · 1 Comment

My hiking buddy and I don’t usually hike around Boulder on the weekends because we like to avoid the crowds. But Sunday was irresistible for everyone in northern Colorado including us because of a spell of unusually fine winter weather. Just after three inches of snow and with more snow expected soon, Sunday afternoon was a warm 74° and sunny.

Starting at Sawhill Ponds, a city open space east of the city, Sharon and I visited four prime birding spots. We struck paydirt everywhere.

A Ring-necked Duck Spreads its Wings

A Ring-necked Duck Spreads its Wings

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Moving on to Boulder Creek we looked for the local American dipper (water ouzel) and found it just as it flew off. But then Sharon pointed up and I followed her gauze.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Sandstone Ranch

February 26th, 2014 · 2 Comments

We were only trying to approach ​closer to ​ a big raptor​ that Sharon had spotted high in a big tree hundreds of feet to the east. The raptor was well beyond the boundary of the City of Longmont’s Sandstone Ranch ​Park, but we found an open gate.

Through the gate we followed a service road for a few feet, but then it petered out. Lacking a road or even a trail, we walked for about half a mile down a dry stream bed and approached close enough to see that the raptor we had been chasing was an eagle.

​It was a juvenile bald eagle taking a long rest, and I got off this shot​ before it finally flew off:

​We Chased This Raptor, a Juvenile Bald Eagle

We Chased This Raptor, a Juvenile Bald Eagle

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Finding the raptor was what we had set out to do. In fact, we had been hoping to see one even before we left our homes in Boulder. And finding this young one led to much more, its family.

High and clear in the sunny sky one adult bald eagle and four juveniles circled directly over us for many minutes. I got off hundreds of shots of them, but even with my 400mm super-telephoto lens they were closer to being specks than birds. Finally the adult came down to take a good look at us, giving us in turn a good look at it.

The Adult Bald Eagle Soars

The Adult Bald Eagle Soars

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The resurgence of bald eagles is nature’s biggest comeback. Driving to the edge of extinction within my lifetime due to hunting, habitat loss, and DDT contamination, they are now a symbol of survival as well as being the American national bird. May our country have such good fortune.

Share

Posted in: Photography

My Sweetheart and Me

February 26th, 2014 · 3 Comments

When my sweetheart visited me a few days ago in the middle of a cold Colorado winter, we went out for a birding walk at one of the few lakes or streams not covered with ice. Sue and I had met as each of us was returning to the lower 48 in August from Alaska on the M/V Kennicott, and this was her first visit here.

Fortuitously, Sue was here at the same time that my friend Marveen was visiting Colorado. Marveen’s invitation for me to visit her and her husband in Alaska had made it possible for Sue and me to meet. And Marveen took this shot of this loving couple.

My Sweetheart and Me

My Sweetheart and Me

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Under the circumstances I might be forgiven if I had skipped the bird photography. But we found many colorful birds on Clear Creek in Prospect Park. My favorite was this little teal.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Wood Ducks

February 10th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Wood ducks are the most colorful waterbirds native to North America. And one of the great things about cold weather here in Boulder is that they come here in winter.

But when the weather turns as cold as it’s been here lately, their options are limited. They need open water, because they are ducks, and need trees nearby because woods are their habitat. In Boulder I know of only two suitable places for them, Boulder Creek, which runs through downtown Boulder, and Tantra Lake, which is right in front of my apartment. A few miles away in Wheat Ridge is another preferred habit along Clear Creek, another waterway that is big enough and fast flowing enough that stays free of ice in places.
This winter one male wood duck has been hanging out with a large group of mallards in Boulder Creek. This lone male has been waiting months for a female to find him here.

He May be Saying, “This Water is COLD!”

He May be Saying, “This Water is COLD!”

Click on the picture above to enlarge

One of the special things about wood ducks is how they can stretch their necks. A few days ago I went back to Boulder Creek to look for this guy, and he was looking into the water for something to eat or drink.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Josh’s Pond

January 25th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Lots of waterbirds migrate here in northeastern Colorado. When they can.

But this winter most of the water here is frozen. Josh’s Pond, a Broomfield Open Space just over the Boulder County line, is the rare exception, so the birds flock there.

I did too this week. On three sunny afternoons I watched and waited for more than six glorious hours taking more than 1,000 shots of these beautiful birds. Here are my favorites.

Three Male Ring-Neck Ducks Swim on a Sunny Afternoon

Three Male Ring-Neck Ducks Swim on a Sunny Afternoon

Click on the picture above to enlarge
A Female Merganser Seems to Have a Bad Hair Day

A Female Merganser Seems to Have a Bad Hair Day

Click on the picture above to enlarge
A Muskrat Swims to Shore in the Last Light of Day

A Muskrat Swims to Shore in the Last Light of Day

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Photography requires patience and persistence. If just three photos in more than six hours seems like a small return for the effort, please consider this quotation from one of the greatest photographers who ever lived. “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop,” Ansel Adams said. Of course, he had somewhat higher standards.

Share

Posted in: Photography

Carolyn Holmberg Preserve

January 24th, 2014 · No Comments

The Carolyn Holmberg Preserve is a Boulder County Open Space where even in winter I usually find raptors, often hawks and sometimes eagles. I found a bald eagle on my visit there this week.

A Bald Eagle Scans the Preserve for Prey

A Bald Eagle Scans the Preserve for Prey

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

A Retreat to Nada

November 11th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Right after returning home from my epic trip to Alaska, I set forth once more. This time, however, I drove only 200 miles south to Colorado’s lovely San Luis Valley for a week-long Buddhist meditation retreat in the Roman Catholic hermitage at Crestone, Colorado. I drove four hours from my apartment in Boulder to the hermitage, where I joined 10 other experienced meditators. But people can also go there singly either to meditate or simply to retreat from the wider world for a time. This was the most fulfilling and peaceful week of my life.

At 8,000 feet, the hermitage is located where Colorado’s San Luis Valley rises into the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the east. This valley is high desert with less than 14 inches of rain per year. It is the largest Alpine valley in the world, and it remains relatively unspoiled by people, so it is one of my favorite places on earth.

Crestone is the largest intentional interfaith community in North America, although only 132 people live there. It is is a spiritual and new age center with several world religions represented.

The center of the hermitage a lovely chapel called Sangre de Cristo. I attended the Sunday mass there with about 30 other people from Crestone, who almost filled the 36 pews. Not only does the church no longer use Latin in its services, but at least here the church has much less ritual than I remember from when I was a Catholic in my young adult years. The mass had almost no music and no “smells and bells.” This was the first time that I had attended mass since November or December 1963. That was a service in the memory of President John F. Kennedy at the national cathedral in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The Nada Hermitage Chapel in Crestone at Sunset

The Nada Hermitage Chapel in Crestone at Sunset

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Bear River

November 8th, 2013 · 2 Comments

While I would have loved to stay with Martha and Tom in Redmond, Washington, as long as I had stayed with Marveen and Wayne in Nikiski, Alaska, I had to return quickly to Boulder. Before I planned my Alaska trip, I had signed up for a meditation retreat in Colorado that started just after I returned home, and I had made my reservation too late for me to return on the Alaska ferry on any earlier sailing.

Because Redmond and Boulder are about 1,400 miles apart, I couldn’t comfortably make the drive in fewer than three days on the road. So I stopped about one-third of the way in Ontario, Oregon, and planned to stop two-thirds of the way in Evanston, Wyoming, although both were long drives.

But when I entered Utah from Idaho, I stopped at the state visitor center, because I wanted to make a cup of tea and pick up a new Utah state map. Looking through the many brochures that these visitor centers have, I found one on birding in Utah. I happened to notice that this brochure said that the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge “is considered a top-ten in the world by many birding enthusiasts.” I don’t remember ever hearing of it before, but that statement certainly grabbed my attention. Even better, it was only two exits down the Interstate.

Pasteur famously said that chance favors the prepared mind. I say that spontaneously taking a chance can be better than sticking with a plan. I knew that this opportunity was too good to pass up no matter how late I would have to drive that night. The ranger at the refuge’s visitor center told me that my 5 p.m. arrival was perfect timing at the right season, and that I should plan on making the auto tour loop in two hours. In the event, I saw so much that I was there for almost four hours, leaving after dark with a two-hour drive to Evanston ahead of me.

It was absolutely worth it. This nearly flat land has marshes and canals that attract many species of birds as well as birders like me who are able to drive close to the birds, using our vehicles as blinds. The area reminds me of one of my favorite places, Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge in northern Nevada, but the Bear Lake refuge is even more beautiful, particularly at sunset with the golden light on the marshes and the mountains to the east and west.

While I had seen most of the bird species in refuge before, I got better photos of some of them.

A Black-necked Stilt and its Reflection

A Black-necked Stilt and its Reflection

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography