The new Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L outside view with full-sized tripod attached.
Who doesn’t love great gear? I’ll be the first to admit – I’m a gearhead always on the lookout for something better, innovative, sharper, stronger, lighter… you get the idea. I just added the new Lowepro Flipside Sport 15L pack to my burgeoning collection of photo packs and I’m really happy with the purchase. I’ve been using a Lowepro Orion clamshell-syle pack for day hiking (which is a very good pack) and was looking for a backcountry-ready pack with back panel access that would carry a body, 3 lenses, full-sized tripod, water, snacks, jacket, and filters without breaking my back. With the Flipside Sport 15L, I found the right pack for the job. (more…)
The Eastern Peak of Mount Sopris is reflected in Thomas Lakes one autumn morning in late September. This was a rare combination for me - still water for a mirror reflection and golden aspen in a high alpine lake. These aspen were just clinging to their leaves, to be dropped for the season in a few fleeting days.
While tallking to someone I’d just met recently, we touched on the fracking-gas-development mess in the West. I told the middle-aged lady that fracking may soon be happening in the Roaring Fork Valley, known for the town of Aspen, movie stars, skiing, and some of the most expensive real estate on earth. The lady, who’s name I can’t recall became indignant, telling me “There’s no way THEY’LL let THAT happen, not IN ASPEN! There’s WAY too much money there.” Technically, Carbondale is down valley from Aspen, but new plans to drill the Thompson Divide as reported in The Aspen Times threaten the only buffer between the Roaring Fork Valley and the mega gas fields in the Piceance Basin. It can happen here, and a unified grassroots opposition may be the only way to prevent industrialized energy development in the Roaring Fork. I’ve just contacted the Thompson Divide Coalition, a local citizens group that is fighting for the Thompson Divide and the Roaring Fork. Please contact TDC and offer your support.
Snowmass Mountain (14,092') offers a commanding view of the high peaks of the Elk Mountain Range. Most of our climbing route from Snowmass Lake is in view, as well as Maroon Peak, North Maroon Peak, Pyramid Peak, Castle Peak, and countless others.
There are mountains of our dreams that may never be reached and mountains of the mind that we just might stand on. Every one has its own special place etched into the soul. That’s the thing about mountains, they wait until we’re ready. Snowmass Mountain, in Colorado’s Elk Mountain Range, took us nine years to climb, a “not quite” in our Jerry Roach book. We first attempted Snowmass while circumnavigating the Maroon Bells on the four pass loop in 2003 and were thwarted by weather and a shortage of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. True story. This time around, fitness was in question, but we were determined and had been perfecting the art of suffering over the last decade. The latter, combined with determination driven by a “not quite” in the Roach book, and lots of peanut butter on Marla’s homemade banana bread got us to the top this time around. (more…)
Alison Holloran of Audubon Rockies holds a yellow warbler for Sage and Willow. Soda Lakes Bioblitz on June 23, 2012
What’s a bioblitz? Well, you get a bunch of folks together and document every living thing in a small area over a 24 hour period. There are biologists with a great depth of knowledge about everything that crawls, swims, runs, or flies,and regular folks who just care about special places. It’s a lot of fun and I was fortunate to photograph the event for Audubon. Click more to see my photo essay. (more…)
“We’re taking a break… You all can do whatever you want” Phil Lesh
Have a happy and safe 4th everyone.
Thanks to Federal Judge Marcia Krieger, the sagebrush, aspen forests, and wildlife on top of the Roan Plateau will remain wild…for awhile longer.
Last week, Federal Judge Marcia Krieger ruled that the Bureau Of Land Management must take another look at the plan to open the Roan Plateau summit to full scale industrial drilling. The Denver Post reported that the plan is set aside – for now. The Roan is among the most biologically rich places in Colorado, and as I wrote in Two Sides Of The Roan, the plateau base and western top is already developed. Why destroy the still wild eastern half? The BLM plan would develop a ridge at a time, tapping reserves along a ridgeline before advancing across the plateau top. The thousands of truck trips, noise, dust, bright lights, air and water pollution would negatively impact the wild character of a special place. Imperiled Colorado River cutthroat trout, declining mule deer, sportsmen, and recreationists would be affected as well. Thank you, Judge Krieger for standing up for our public lands. And thanks to conservationists at Rocky Mountain Wild and The Wilderness Society who’ve been in this fight from the beginning.
A stream in tallgrass prairie is plowed under for a housing development. Jefferson County, Colorado
I visited a prairie stream today and marveled at the vesper sparrows and meadowlarks zooming across the grassland, pausing to sing from a mullein or a sturdy big bluestem. It was already 70 degrees just after sunrise as first light grazed the grassy tops, backlighting salsify blooms with golden light. My two track disappeared in grass well above the running boards, hiding the glacial cobble that made this land unsuitable for the plow when the land was settled. I bounced along a fenceline heading into the rising sun, putting the truck in 4WD for the steady drop to the creek. At a point where the creek was freshly dammed, fresh water pooled below, the scarred hills reflected both green prairie and tracks of giant machines. A lone elk zig-zagged on the staked hillside, seemingly unsure of where to go. Red-winged blackbirds and songbirds still sang next to the praire sunflower by the creek on a piece of ground that hadn’t been bulldozed yet. The workers hadn’t fired up there machines so early on a Monday morning, so the sounds of the prairie and the green grassland community were juxtaposed against disfigured land that will be transformed for thousands of homes. Before leaving, I imagined thousands of bison traveling the stream, Native American hunters lying on their stomachs along the ridge where I stand.
The stream is unnamed on my map and appears to flow from a seep in the foothills. That it is unnamed seems appropriate for its fate.
A massive mule deer buck tastes the air to test a doe's readiness for mating, or estrus level during rut. The behavior is called "flehmen". This image was made in the last light of day as the sun dropped behind the Rockies.
“We have a really big project and a tight deadline, love your work, and want to use several of your images. We’ll give you full credit, which will give you good exposure.” So, I ask “what’s your budget.” The voice says “we don’t have a budget for photography. Usually people just give us photos to use.” This actual conversation happens way too frequently and is remarkable in its sameness from one person to another. The person on the other end of the line gets paid a salary, health benefits, and travel expenses, has a 401K, yet expects me to work for free. So, I hit the reset button and educate another soul about professional photography. (more…)
A screen shot of The Photographer’s Ephemeris from my desktop. I also have TPE on my iPhone and Macbook Pro.
My friend Michael Forsberg recently asked what apps I have loaded on my iPhone for photography. So, I thought it would make a fun blog post and hopefully some of you good folks will chime in with some apps you find helpful. Here’s my list:
1. My number one photo app is The Photographer’s Epheremeris. In an instant, I can find sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset data in a Google Earth based application for anywhere in the world. It’s $8.99 and invaluable. (more…)
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"Quad mom", a Yellowstone grizzly sow who had four cubs in 2010, rests on a hillside with the two surviving cubs, now sub-adults. I had just watched these rather large bears breast feed in the sage. They'll be on their own soon and the sow will mate again.
I just returned from two weeks in Yellowstone National Park, where I was working on my Sage Spirit book project. I was mostly focused on grizzly bears that are in the lower elevation sagebrush flats and meadows in spring. As summer heats up, it’s more difficult to find grizzlies as they move higher. I visited “Quad mom” every day for the first week, observing the sow and her two surviving, and nearly grown cubs foraging in the sagebrush on Swan Lake Flats for hours each day. The bears would rock back and forth as they pulled on roots and dug for bugs, bulbs, rodents – anything to satisfy an omnivorous appetite. They spent a couple of days on a bison carcass across the meadow a half mile distant. I only saw the sow and sub-adult cubs one more time after they ran to the forest one evening. Maybe she sent the cubs out on their own and prepared to mate? We’re fortunate to be able to observe these noble creatures – long may they roam! (more…)
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