On a hard crusted drift at the big meadow’s margin I made this photograph facing the winter wind. In the woods behind me the snow was soft and deep except where I’d broken a trail with my snowshoes to get to this place, one of my favorites. If I had put on my face mask I might have gone farther up the meadow making images along the way, but this day I spent only a few minutes on the crusty edge before heading back into the trees.
A stubborn brown leaf refuses to let go though the cold and strong January wind does blow.
A February image that I liked the moment I looked out and saw the bird and one of last year’s leaves clinging to the top branches of an aspen.
The sign in the foreground declares, “No Hunting”, but that’s exactly what I was doing – hunting images to capture.
A few days at our favorite hot springs in December yeilded the images below of the Chalk Cliffs, Mt. Princeton, plus a few more “riding shotgun” images – this time of South Park. Extremely low temps with wind and blowing snow made it too cold when I was there to do much photography. I didn’t get out of the hot outdoor pools, sauna, or my warm room in the lodge long enough to get the kind of captures I’d planned for this trip.
Note to Melissa, who feels cold when she views my winter images: This time it truly was cold!
You can’t see the lake under the snow, but it’s there. This image was made the same day (winter solstice ’08) and location as the one in my previous post, Hahn Peak.
I went to the park expecting groomed trails, but the ranger said there was not enough snow yet with only two feet or so on the ground. He marked the park map for me to show the location of a trail. I broke a trail through soft deep snow in that general direction enjoying the quiet solitude and beautiful views.
Yes, it was as cold and cloudy as it looks in the photos, but not too cold and dark to enjoy the exercise and capture a few images.
The little mountain chickadee is often a photographic subject for me in winter. This one posed for a portrait view behind a rail covered with snow. Then, it perched on the feeder hook as the little nutchatches often do. The mountain chickadees seems comfortable with me and the camera as near as about 8 ft. Any closer and I send them flying into the nearby trees. Both of these images were captured with a 100 to 400 lens from about 10 feet.
I’m not really a birder, I just like the challenge of photographing them. I have to keep the field guides to birds at hand to look up any unfamiliar species. I also search for information about my feathered subjects online. In a recent search, I learned that the mountain chickadee stays only a short time near the nest where it hatched. It then moves to a new location and spends the rest of it’s life there. No migrating away from winter weather for these little birds. No wonder they seem so appreciative of the seeds I put out for them.
This wide angle image was captured in early morning sub-zero weather from just outside our room at the hot springs the last week of December. You see part of Mt. Princeton on the right and Mt. Antero on the far left with the chalk cliffs of Mt. Princeton at the center and the moon above. The moon called to me to come out with the camera and tripod in the wind and cold. Fingers and toes cried for me to go back inside even though I wore boots rated for the temperature and ski gloves while out. You may click the image to see it a bit larger.
When I saw the image above was not the best of my color shots from a recent trip, I decided to do a b&w conversion for Trina, my friend who loves black and white photography. Mt. Princeton is one of our favorite mountains and this capture shows a cool snow devil swirling into the air above the mountain. The time was mid-day, not the best for the landscape shot, and the cold and wind were fierce. I had spent a few days in the area hot springs, but didn?t take many photographs as the night temperatures were well below zero and the days were not much warmer. It seemed wiser to soak in the hot pools than to freeze out in the snow and wind. I drove into a roadside park when leaving the area and hopped out just long enough to capture the scene.
Yesterday we had light snow all day with low temperatures. The birds came to eat at the feeders and clean up the spilled seed under them. This junco was willing to pose for me, turning his head back and forth and always with a bit of seed in his beak. Six pine grosbeaks also came, but were more shy about being photographed. I think my dog barked at them from inside the house and frightened them. Today, the nuthatches, chickadees, and juncos are at the feeders in the sunshine, but we are stacking a load of firewood, not photographing. I’ll go back to work and perhaps get the camera out later in the afternoon.
junco in the snow – 1/60 sec at f/5.6, focal length 400mm, ISO 200