2012 Rearview

A look back at 2012 – in pictures of course πŸ™‚ Happy Holidays and here’s to a grand 2013!


“Lift Off” An adult bald eagle takes flight from a snag near Lake Derby. Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, CO. This eagle landed to my south while I was facing north, aniticpating eagles returning to the roost in the evening. We spent a few minutes together before he left for the roost. I guess he was checking me out. Haliaeetus leucocephalus


sawatch range, aerial

Sawatch Winter Aerial : Prints Available

 An unbroken view of Rocky Mountain Peaks as far as the eye can see in the sothern Sawatch Range. I made the image while flying with LightHawk for my Sage Spirit project. The Sawatch forms the northern border of the Gunnison Basin, holding water that will sustain life through the summer months in winter snowpack.


great sand dunes, sangre de cristo mountains

Snow Dunes : Prints Available

 Snow on the Great Sand Dunes is uncommon enough that I hadn't personally witnessed the event in many visits. Here, snow highlights the dune faces below ridges of the mighty Sangre De Cristo Mountains. An hour later, the snow was gone.

Students in the Zapata Ranch Sandhill Crane Photo Workshop line up with big glass at Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge.


I returned to the Gunnison Basin for the fourth stright spring to photograph Gunnison Sage-grouse, one of the most endangered birds in North America, but still not on the Endangered Species List. GuSG’s have been a huge challenge for me and I’ve seen a lot of birds leave the lek before there’s enough light to photograph. Sometimes a golden eagle shows up, or there’s not enough females on the lek to hold male’s attention. Regardless, there’s a story to be told and I think this image helps tell the story well. These birds lek (mate) in a pasture on a ranch in the Gunnison Basin. The rancher moves his cows to another pasture during lekking season, giving the grouse a place to mate from late March into May. It’s an important piece of a complicated puzzle as a wide range of folks work together to save the species.


grizzly bear, endangered species

Grizzly Portrait : Prints Available

 Although the direct stare of a grizzly bear is intimidating, this bear was moving from one foraging spot to another. We watched him turn over rocks and dig for forty-five minutes before he ambled into the forest. The grizzly bear is a keystone predator and an endangered species. Ursus arctos horribilis

Three grizzly bears – “Quad Mom” and cubs sniff the air in near darkness. The sow stood before the bears ran full speed for the forest. Ursus arctos horribilis

quad mom, grizzly bear, swan lake flats

Running Bears : Prints Available

 In near darkness, a grizzly bear sow and her two year old cubs run from Swan Lake Flats. The sow, known as "Quad mom" gave birth to four cubs in 2010. The two survivors, now sub-adults will be on their own in 2012 as the sow prepares to mate again. What were they running from? A large boar was seen in the meadow a few days after and she may have been protecting her cubs from him. Ursus arctos horribilis


Pinedale Bioblitz with Audubon

wind river range, Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area

Soda Lake Evening : Prints Available

 Warm light on the Wind River Range and evening clouds over Soda Lake, near Pinedale, Wyoming. Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area
Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area, audubon rockies bioblitz

Bird Release : Prints Available

 Sage Holloran releases a cowbird at the Audubon Rockies bioblitz on June 23, 2012. Soda Lake Wildlife Management Area


Climbing talus slopes en-route to Snowmass Mountain.

capitol peak, snowmass mountain, elk mountain range

Capitol Peak From Snowmass : Prints Available

 Capitol Peak (14,130') stands above ridges of stone at the top of the Elk Mountain Range. The view is from Snowmass Mountain (14,092'). Capitol is one of Colorado's most difficult 14,000 foot peaks, known for the knife edge on the right hand side of the peak. 

Marla considers the challenge of reaching Challenger Point (14,081′), painted in golden sunlight.

crestone peak, crestone needle, kit carson mountain

Kit Carson Summit View : Prints Available

 Low clouds envelop the summits of Crestone Peak (14,294') and Crestone Needle (14,191') in this view from Kit Carson Mountain's (14,163') airy summit. Along with several other climbers, we decided to spend little time on top in case a thunderstorm would develop. 


bull moose, front range

Bull Moose Portrait : Prints Available

 A large bull moose feeds on willows on an August morning. Moose have just recently migrated to the eastern side of the Continental Divide along the Front Range, long favoring the wet side of Rocky Mountain National Park. On this morning, I watched a bachelor group of six large bulls feeding in the willows. 
Wetterhorn Peak, blue moon, Matterhorn Peak

Wetterhorn Moon : Prints Available

 The August "blue moon" sets beyond Wetterhorn Peak (14,015') before dawn. The perspective is from the summit of Matterhorn Peak (13,590').
white-tailed prairie dog, keystone species

White-Tailed Prairie Dog Bark : Prints Available

 It's more like a chirp and prairie dogs aren't dogs... There are five species of prairie dogs in North America and all are imperiled due to habitat loss and a host of other reasons. These rodents are primarily sage dwellers and a keystone species for the ecosystem. Prairie dogs can communicate in sentences and form strong family bonds. 


Bull moose in autumn, Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado


aspen forest, full moon, kebler pass

Moonlight Tent : Prints Available

 A full October moon lights the aspen forest above our tent on Kebler Pass.

marcellina mountain, aspen

Marcellina Sunset : Prints Available

Marcellina Mountain (11,348') and the surrounding aspen forest seems to glow in warm evening alpenglow of an October sunset.

alta, wilson peak

Wilson Peak View : Prints Available

 The ghost mining camp of Alta is situated at 11,800 feet with a stunning view of the San Miguel Range. Here, Wilson Peak (14,017') is viewed through windows in one of the remaining buildings. The town was never incorporated and operated from 1877 to 1948. Alta was Colorado's first mining town to use AC current, completing a long distance power line in 1891.


zapata ranch, the nature conservancy

Bison Stampede : Prints Available

In a scene reminiscent of the old west, American bison are moved to a holding pen during the annual autumn roundup at The Nature Conservancy's Zapata Ranch. The bison had just burst through a gate and resumed grazing a few minutes later. 


sunlight basin, absaroka range

Sunlight Creek Passing Storm : Prints Available

 An early winter storm passes through Sunlight Basin, leaving a trace of snow and a promise of winter. Sunlight Creek flows from high in the Absaroka Range and is an important tributary of the Clarks Fork River, eventually meeting with the Yellowstone River. 

Parting Thought

May we be silly, even childish and find joy wherever we may wander!

24 thoughts on “2012 Rearview

  1. I enjoyed this series from 2012 and could even hear the prairie dog singing “O Holy Night.” Looking forward to your work for this coming year and glad you and Marla did not fall from any of those peaks you reached during the year. Yes, lets be silly, childlike and sometimes childish. Merry Christmas!

  2. 2012 was quite the year Walt! You did an awesome job of capturing the year, working hard in every aspect….photographing, patience, hiking, being a good steward of the land…..you name it! Can’t wait for 2013 to see how silly we can be with a ton of joy thrown in.

  3. I am always amazed by Marla and your adventures and the energy with which you attack them. I am even more amazed, Dave, by your incredible eye for beautiful pictures and your ability to capture them for those of us who are too faint of heart to face down a grizzly, or a group of bachelor bull moose, or stampeding bison. Thank you for all that you do.

  4. Awesome encapsulation of an entire year, Sho! You and Mozee have done some amazing things this year! Hoping we can join you in 2013 on more adventures…

  5. Dave,
    Absolutely beautiful…thank you for sharing your wonderful photos and comments with us. The beauty of our world is what keeps this heart pumping….and you capture it better than anyone. Thank you.

  6. These pictures plus your description are the greatest
    and, of course, I love the final picture of you two,
    my kids who I love a lot.

  7. All I can say is “WOW!” Beauty captured once again, as only your talented hands can do! Thanks for sharing such an Amazing Year, Dave. πŸ™‚

  8. 2012 beautifully captured Dave! Wonderfully written descriptions too. Thanks for sharing your and Marla’s adventures with all. Seeing your photography always makes me miss CO that much more!

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