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The San Juan Mountains

The San Juan Mountains

The San Juan Mountains dominate the southwestern corner of Colorado and are likely the most rugged of Colorado's mountain ranges. Silver and gold brought the early settlers but they were never a match for the San Juans. I traveled to the San Juan's as part of a photo workshop where I struggled mightily to learn new skills and improve on old ones. The best part was the new friends I made. And, being home.

Atlanta Botanical Garden - Fuqua Orchid Center

Atlanta Botanical Garden - Fuqua Orchid Center

The Dorothy C. Fuqua Orchid Center in the Atlanta Botanical Garden displays the largest permanent collection of orchids in the US with over 10,000 specimens. It's a great place to spend a winter day with a camera - or without. Photography at a place like the Fuqua Orchid Center usually centers around "macro-photography" or shooting close up and personal with a lens designed to do just that. And, generally, I don't particularly care for macro and I am challenged to do it in an acceptable fashion. I hope I did it well enough for you to enjoy my "take" on "The Orchids of Fuqua Center".

Thanks to Ken Nitschke of Michigan for identifying the particular species. He covered up for some carelessness in not recording what I was shooting - all the orchids were labeled; I just didn't record the information.

Savannah - Tybee Island

Savannah - Tybee Island

The Savannah - Tybee Island area of coastal Georgia is one of the most diverse and photogenic areas of Georgia and the Deep South. Within a few miles is the beach at Tybee Island on the Atlantic and the pier as well (great for sunrise shots), the Tybee Island lighthouse, Fort Pulaski (beautifully restored and maintained Civil War fort), Bonaventure Cemetery (considered one of the most beautiful in America with splashy azalea displays and beautifully carved monuments), the historic squares of Savannah, River Street in Savannah, Wormsloe Plantation and more. The perfect time to visit - mid-March through early-April. It's a favorite destination and I never tire of returning.

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - July 2011

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival - July 2011

This image I submitted to the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival contest was the winner for 2011 and was featured on the official poster for the Festival.

The photo was taken off Kebler Pass Road west of Crested Butte near an area known as "Horse Park". Technical information for photo fans: exposure 1/6 sec @f22, ISO 200, focal length 17mm. The camera is a Nikon D200 and the lens is an f2.8 17-55mm Nikon lens. The image was shot as a fine jpg/NEF file and the white balance was set for shade. Thanks to Darren Kilgore and Brent Doerzman for some excellent location advice and to Mark Rasmussen for teaching me how to shoot "sun stars", use graduated neutral density filters and much more.

Crested Butte is known as "The Wildflower Capital of Colorado" and my many visits there in the summer would certainly support such an assertion. The Festival was held from July 11 - 17, 2011 and is the largest of its kind in the West and perhaps in the entire country.

I thoroughly enjoyed being in Crested Butte for the Festival and the hospitality extended to me, my family and friends by all associated with the Wildflower Festival was warm and warmly received - I'll be there helping visitors find that special place where the wildflowers grow at next year's Festival and the ones after that.






Colorado - Crested Butte & San Juan Basins - July 2010

Colorado - Crested Butte & San Juan Basins - July 2010

Along with a group of friends I spent not nearly enough time in several of the high mountain basins of the San Juan and Elk Mountain ranges of Colorado in July 2010. The trip was officially a tour with LightChase Photography but I managed to "weasel" a special role by acting as "location consultant" for the tour.

It was clearly a case of careful manipulation that,once again, proved that old age, experience, and guile will overcome youth and enthusiasm. Clearly, Mark Rasmussen (owner of LightChase Photography) was naive about dealing with seasoned veterans (another name for old guys) when he asked me to put together a tour that I would like friends to experience, photograph and enjoy. Let the fun begin!

What I put together included locations I have previously enjoyed (Paradise Basin, American Basin, Silver Basin, Yankee Boy Basin, "Secret" Basin, and Governor Basin) along with a location that I have long wanted to visit - Porphyry Basin and Bullion King Lake.

Our photo experience began in Crested Butte which is nestled between the Elk Mountains and the West Elk Mountains. Crested Butte enjoys the reputation of being "The Wildflower Capital of Colorado" and it continues to earn that reputation. After enjoying and photographing select locations in the Crested Butte area for a couple of days we journeyed over Ohio Pass, past "The Castles" and along the shores of Blue Mesa Lake until we ended up in the Cimarron River valley on our way to our eventual destination, Ouray.

Once in Ouray, our real adventure began. We left the driving to our destinations in the hands of the experts of San Juan Jeep Tours and one of their supremely skilled drivers, Brian Simpson. Brian not only handled the driving chores flawlessly but also added to our daily excursions with his thorough and interesting historical narrative about the San Juan region.

Our destinations included a sunrise trip to Molas Lake, a sunset shoot at Dallas Divide, a fantastic day at American Basin after passing over rugged Cinnamon Pass, a journey to Porphyry Basin and Bullion King Lake and all its waterfalls and little streams, "Secret" Basin where we experienced a lot of unexpected visitors, the seldom-visited Silver Basin which features two turquoise-colored lakes, a dramatic backwall and a living rock glacier, Governor Basin (where I "chickened out" in driving a rental SUV the previous year - excellent decision, by the way) which, to me seems as mysterious as Machu Picchu. Governor is, however, much higher by over 4,000 feet, than the mountain-top in Peru. Finally, our tour ended with a trip to the famous but overly popular Yankee Boy Basin where the crowds can be avoided by traveling to the upper reaches of the basin at the Blue Lakes trailhead. The pinnacle of our experience was a trip to the summit of Red Mountain #3 where we were literally "On Top of the World". I hope you enjoy our photographic journey.


Colorado Wildflowers - Summer 2009

Colorado Wildflowers - Summer 2009

Summer in the High Country - the basins, the ridges, the valleys, the tarns, the cirques, the meadows, the rivers and streams - is more than mountain-sides of flowers or a lot of pleasing photographs. It's really about the experience with everything else secondary. Summer in the Colorado Rockies is brisk mornings, warm afternoons and afternoon showers. It's hummingbirds doing battle over a Columbine. It's the smell of firs, pines, and spruce and the chalky-white of aspen trunks. It's about night skies that glow with the stars and the Milky Way and crisp, clear mornings.

The summer of 2009 was, literally, the summr of a generation as far as wildflowers go. It all started with one of the more prodigous snowfalls in years that left behind water content exceeding 125 percent of historic averages over most of the state and snow packs that exceeded 150% of average in the prime wildflower environments such as those in the Crested Butte area and the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado. And, after the snow stopped, it started raining - almost every day in May and June. The result - a wildflower bloom not seen in several decades.

Summer in the High Country is about a state of mind and a renewal of spirit and soul. It's about growing and learning. It's not about photographs - they're just the reminders and a way to share the experience with family and friends.





Colorado

Colorado

I was born, raised and educated in Colorado and it'll always be "home".

Colorado is a state of superlatives but none more so than the natural beauty found in all corners of the state - from the grass prairies and wheat fields on the high plains of eastern Colorado where I grew up, to the "fourteeners" of the mighty Rockies. Here are just some small glimpses for you to view and, hopefully, enjoy. The images in this album always help me "reconnect" with home.









Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier National Park

There are fewer images here than I had hoped for. I had great expectations of wildflowers everywhere and dramatic views of Mt. Rainier. An unperfect photographers storm of unfavorable weather and very poor photographic execution on my part produced a yawning number of very mediocre images. Maybe I'll do better next time.



Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

There are not as many photos here as I had planned and hoped for. I had great expectations of brilliant sunrises and glorious sunsets on the beach. Alas, there was a convergence of unfavorable weather and very poor photographic execution on my part that yielded very few acceptable photos. The rain forest shots turned out to be as boring as a family vacation slideshow. Maybe next year.


Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country is a region of hills, some rugged and desolute, others gentle and welcoming. But, in the early spring, the only thing that matters is the wild flower bloom and acres and acres of bluebonnet, paintbrush, cactus, and dozens of other varieties. I've made two trips to Hill Country and am looking forward to the next one. The hospitality is warm, friendly and open; I've had ranchers direct us to unknown fields of wildflowers just because they saw us with our cameras.

Wildflowers and Trees

Wildflowers and Trees

A couple of friends gave me the idea of a gallery consisting only of wildflowers and trees. It's a great idea so check in - some images are found in other albums but here, they are the stars.






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