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'

Time Passes Slowly

December 13th, 2014 · No Comments

“Time passes slow,” Bob Dylan says, “up here in the mountains.” It can pass slowly wherever we connect with nature, but here in Colorado, where we are over a mile high, we benefit from slowing down our mental clock and adjusting to the pace of the wild after too much work indoors.

I have heard that other people may get bored when time seems to pass slowly for them, but for me it is relaxing. More of us need to develop patience, and being with wild animals and birds helps that to happen.

Lately, I have had so much that I wanted to do that I haven’t had enough time to do a lot of it. Stress started to build and I got a headache that lasted for days: Not until I took two hours off to sit at Josh’s Pond in nearby Broomfield.

​My "Blind" at the Edge of Josh's Pond

My "Blind" at the Edge of Josh's Pond

Click on the picture above to enlarge

I took the camp chair that I keep in my car and carried it here where the reeds shielded me enough from the birds on the pond that I didn’t look like the usual scary human. Next to the chair is my camera equipment (besides the one I used to take this photograph).

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

The Road Less Traveled

December 7th, 2014 · No Comments

Sharon and I took the road less traveled through the Sawhill Ponds Wildlife Preserve on a sunny and warm Tuesday morning. In several places it wasn’t even a trail, much less a road, and we had to bushwhack cross-country. That made all the difference in terms of how much fun we had. We had a great time exploring new parts of a preserve that each of us has hiked dozens of times before.

I wanted to show Sharon the route that I finally found last month through the undeveloped central part of the preserve. We got to the trailhead just as the first light was hitting the ponds at 7:30, but then, just 15 minutes into our hike, we got sidetracked. When we came to the pond shown in the photo below, we saw a big white bird in the far distance.

A Big White Bird Rests in the Distance of Sawhill #2

A Big White Bird Rests in the Distance of Sawhill #2

Click on the picture above to enlarge

To approach close to the bird we had to hike south, to the left, of this long pond, taking us where neither of us had ever hiked before. We didn’t even know if we could get close, but we succeeded by walking through the tall grass.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Belmar Park

November 11th, 2014 · 1 Comment

Hooded Mergansers are so uncommon in the West that only once before had I ever seen and photographed one of the handsome males, and that was at some distance. But a couple of weeks ago Sharon told me that some of these extravagantly crested little ducks had arrived at Lakewood’s Belmar Park, which I had most recently visited 2 1/2 years ago.

Yesterday, however, was the first good chance that I had to return. That was because I wanted a sunny weekend morning, in part to avoid the rush hour traffic on weekdays. Returning the 30 miles to Boulder on a weekday after an early morning hike could be frustrating, because this is a city park, just six miles from the Colorado State Capitol in downtown Denver.

​A Male Hooded Merganser May Be Small, But We Can't Miss Seeing Him

A Male Hooded Merganser May Be Small, But We Can't Miss Seeing Him

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Sawhill Ponds Wildlife Preserve

November 8th, 2014 · No Comments

The middle of ​Sawhill Ponds Wildlife Preserve ​is wild and is therefore my favorite part of the preserve. But after the September 2013 flood wiped out many of the social trails, we haven’t been able to get through. In five or six previous attempts this year I tried every trail and animal track without success.

But this week I made one more effort. I followed a track along the south side of the big pond at the north center of the preserve that I had previously given up on as being impassable. This time I succeeded in getting through.

The Middle Part of the Preserve is Wild​

The Middle Part of the Preserve is Wild

Click on the picture above to enlarge

I ​didn’t encounter anyone in the two hours I was on the trail. Not even Sharon, who had left th​at​ morning on a trip to Southeast Asia.​ And I picked a great day to make my discovery.​

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Red Rocks Amphitheatre

November 4th, 2014 · No Comments

As Sharon and I returned from Staunton State Park last week, we passed through the town of Morrison, where ​red ​sandstone rock formations provide a dramatic backdrop for outdoor concerts at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. But to Colorado’s birders it is equally famous for the bird feeders behind the Trading Post.

This is one of the few places anywhere where we can see all three species of rosy-finches, and we have usually gone there in winter.​ But this time, in late fall and in the middle of the day, we were trying our luck.

We got it.

We were happy to find several Oregon-form Dark-Eyed Juncos in the rock gardens. Sharon and I both appreciate its subtle colors. While these are common birds that often come to my own bird feeders, they have been difficult for me to photograph. Until now.

The Colors of an Oregon-form Dark Eyed Junco Match Those of the Rocks

The Colors of an Oregon-form Dark Eyed Junco Match Those of the Rocks

Click on the picture above to enlarge

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Staunton State Park

November 3rd, 2014 · 4 Comments

Staunton State Park is so new that it’s not even finished. Opened to the public only since May 2013, Colorado’s newest state park is six miles west of Conifer and an hour south of Boulder.

Sharon discovered the park by searching the Internet and suggested that we hike there this week. We chose a cloudless and still day, but the temperature was below freezing when we got to the trailhead at 8,200 feet just after the park opened at 8 a.m.

I had no great expectations, particularly because we knew that the dams for the ponds at the end of the 2.2 mile Davis Ponds Trail were still being built. Nevertheless, this trail seemed to each of us to be the best place for us to begin to explore the new park. However, we wanted a somewhat longer hike, so later we made another loop of about 2 miles around the Staunton Ranch and Mason Creek trails.

When we got out on the trails, we were most pleasantly surprised. The mature ponderosa pine forest we found there is less dense and more attractive than many other pine forests in the state. The trail itself could not have been more to my liking: Not only does it have a smooth gravel surface without rocks or roots so I didn’t have to watch it constantly, but it is also wide enough for two to walk abreast and climbs just enough to give us moderate exercise.

​Sharon Pauses on the Davis Ponds Trail

Sharon Pauses on the Davis Ponds Trail

Click on the picture above to enlarge

I also didn’t expect to see much wildlife or many birds up this high in the mountains. But one of the first animals we saw were Abert’s Squirrels, which are confined to the Colorado Plateau and the southern Rocky Mountains and we have rarely seen before.
[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Water in Fort Collins

October 28th, 2014 · No Comments

Water was what we wanted when we went wandering out West on Wednesday. Whoops! We actually went on Thursday, which wrecks the alliteration.

Sharon and I went to Fort Collins, which seems to have as much love of alliteration as I do. We went past the city’s Magpie Meanders and on a previous trip had visited Prospect Ponds and Cattail Chorus.

Sharon wanted to go to the Cache la Poudre River Corridor Natural Areas at North Shields Ponds and the nearby McMurry and Salyer Natural Areas. I wanted to go to the Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area. So we compromised and went both places.

We appreciated the Cache la Poudre River, which has so much more water than Boulder’s creeks do.

The Cache la Poudre at First Light

The Cache la Poudre at First Light

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The first big bird we saw was on one of the North Shields ponds just north of the river.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Wild Basin

October 27th, 2014 · No Comments

Sharon and I managed to make one more trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park before the snows of winter come. Each of us wanted to get back to Wild Basin, which is one of the prettiest parts of the park and is the closest to our homes in Boulder.​

“Ouzel Falls is the most popular destination in Wild Basin,” says Lisa Foster in Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide. “It is a short cascade in Ouzel Creek that plunges dramatically over a small granite cliff.”

This is my favorite Wild Basin hike too, one that I’ve made four or five times over the years. Sharon has also hiked here often. But neither of us had been to Wild Basin since the September 2013 flood damaged many of the trails and took out several of the bridges, including the one over Ouzel Creek, effectively blocking the trail beyond the falls.

That didn’t inconvenience us, because the 5.4 mile roundtrip hike to Ouzel Falls was long enough. We started at 8 a.m. when the car thermometer registered 29 degrees 8,500 feet up in the Rocky Mountains. After climbing steadily for 1,000 feet, we reached the falls.

Much of the hike was within hearing distance of North St. Vrain Creek, into which Ouzel Creek flows. A spur trail took us to a short waterfall en route.

​Copeland Falls on North St. Vrain Creek

Copeland Falls on North St. Vrain Creek

Click on the picture above to enlarge

​When the trail reached Ouzel Creek, we could see the falls in the distance. But the real view required a little scrambling up the left bank over boulders and through thickets until we got close enough to the falls to feel the mist.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Moraine Park’s Elk

October 20th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Colorado’s two fall events are the yellow and orange of our trees and the elk rut. This week Sharon and I went to Rocky Mountain National Park and experienced some of each.

Mainly, however, we wanted to see elk and to hike. We went to Moraine Park, a park within the national park, hiking a trail where we had never gone before. It was a good choice.

The Pinedale Glaciation in the central Rocky Mountains, which lasted from about 30,000 to 10,000 years ago, formed Moraine Park. During this time a tongue of ice crept down what is now Moraine Park, plowing up rocks and soil. Pushing them to the side where they remain in lateral moraines to the north and south of present-day Moraine Park, they cleared the center.

A Bull Elk Studies Me in Moraine Park

A Bull Elk Studies Me in Moraine Park

Click on the picture above to enlarge

We got to the road along the north side of Moraine Park well before sunrise at 7:13, giving me enough time to set up my tripod when we saw a large herd of elk on the south side. The bulls weren’t competing for the females, but two females or immature males sparred.

[Read more →]

Share

Posted in: Photography

Leaf Peeping

October 19th, 2014 · 4 Comments

When fall comes to Colorado, many photographers turn into leaf peepers, and I am no exception. While leaf peeping may sound slightly risque, it is actually a pretty nice thing to do.

It got me away from my easy chair this afternoon and out to Boulder County’s Coot Lake Open Space, nine miles northeast of my apartment. I took the 1.2 mile trail that circles the lake and wetlands just to the west of Coot Lake. After an aspen teaser a few days ago near Mud Lake up in the Front Range, I wanted to see some of the trees down here turning to gold and remembered the cottonwoods and reeds in wetlands here.

The Mellow Light at the End of the Day Illuminates the Wetlands

The Mellow Light at the End of the Day Illuminates the Wetlands

Click on the picture above to enlarge
The Wetlands Shine in the Golden Hour

The Wetlands Shine in the Golden Hour

Click on the picture above to enlarge
Share

Posted in: Photography