Email mecontact me
Show Other Months and Years

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Granite Ridge

It's finally not the hottest month anymore, so I think it's time we get back into doing some hiking. Don't get me wrong, it's still pretty hot in September, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it would have been last month hiking in the Red Feather Lakes Area. We picked this hike out based on it being in our current skill level and because literally everywhere else has adopted a really terrible timed entry system that's ruining one of the great benefits of living in Colorado - being able to go into the mountains whenever I feel like it and not having to worry about making a reservation.

But I digress, This hike was an alright hike that was a little over 6 miles but under 1,000 feet in elevation gain. I was hoping for better views but there were trees in the way for most of the shots. The trail that we picked didn't have a defining ending point, we just wandered in and ended up making a loop out of the hike by taking Lady Moon trail South until it met up with Granite Ridge Trail which we turned West on, and then looped back on the Molly Moon Trail back Lady Moon trail which took us right back to the parking lot. But because there was no summit, there was no real spot for panoramic views or a great spot to eat our lunch.

Burn ScarsGrass From the RocksParvin LakeThinking of Fall

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Butterfly Pavilion

Katie had never gone to the Butterfly Pavilion so I suggested we go since we didn't have any plans this weekend. The Butterfly Pavilion has timed entry currently because of COVID, but I'm not quite sure that timed entry was necessary since they have 300 tickets per hour (which is a lot!!!) and since we were able to buy the tickets literally an hour in advance and they weren't anywhere near booked out. We aimed at getting there in the 11 o'clock hour(instead of in the afternoon) since the butterflies are a little more active in the morning. Besides, the Butterfly Pavilion isn't exactly air-conditioned because they keep it at a temperature and humidity that tailors to the butterflies, not the patrons, so the earlier the better from a sweating perspective (which is an important c consideration for me). Luckily for us, the clouds in the morning broke right before we got there which provided a cooler area but then some great natural sunlight in certain areas of the Butterfly Pavilion.

Paper KiteStaticClipperFlat BackHanging OnHanging OnDelicateAdmiring The ButterlfiesDonTailed JaySmileIn the FlowersClassic Monarch

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Moose at Cub Lake

Today we ventured into Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time of the summer. That seems a little odd since summer ends in a few days but we completely avoided the park all summer long on purpose because of the new timed entry system. In a couple of weeks we should be able to get into the park without making a reservation, but this weekend we wanted to go up there and I was able to get a reservation despite them being sold out within minutes. I was originally trying to get the 9am time slot, but when I tried to add that pass to my cart literally seconds after they were available, they were gone. Instead, I was able to get a 11am reservation successfully added to my cart. That gave us a little more time in the morning to get ready and it was okay since the weather was forecasted to be clear and in the mid 60's all afternoon. The only drawback to getting to the trailhead so late was the location of the sun which doesn't provide the best lighting for taking photos, but it was either that or hiking outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

After waiting in line to get into the park for about 20 minutes, we made it to our destination, Cub Lake Trailhead in the middle of Moraine Park. We got extremely lucky that there was a parking spot literally right in front of the trailhead. There seemed to be a few other parking spots along the way, so it wouldn't have been too terrible to park down the road, particularly since when you make a loop out of this hike you end up hiking a mile along the road which means it doesn't matter where you truly start the hike. The hike started off exciting with a herd of elk; one bull, and maybe a dozen cows were just a few hundred feet from the trailhead. We knew something was up since there were so many photographers on the trail. We just thought it was a particularly busy trail, but luckily for us, the trail wasn't too busy after we got past the herd of elk. This was the first time that I have ever regretted not bringing my telephoto lens with me on a hike. Usually, hikes are about landscapes, not wildlife, and my telephoto lens is heavy and bulky. Oh well, it's only a herd of elk, it's not like it's anything special like a moose (yet...).

The wildlife got a little less exciting on the way to the lake, however still more exciting than most hikes. We followed a wild turkey for about a hundred feet as he ran from us by using the trail, probably not realizing that we too were following the trail. About a quarter-mile from the trail we passed a group of hikers who were extremely excited to tell us that there was a moose at Cub Lake. I tried to not be too excited, especially since we weren't at the lake just yet. When we passed another group of people a little closer to the lake and were told again that there was a moose, that's when we knew that there was a great chance we'd see it too. Just like everyone promised, when we got to the lake there was a massive bull moose just on the other side of the lake eating some lunch. While the moose sat and ate his lunch, we sat and ate ours while watching for him to do something, and I again was disappointed that I did not have the right lens with me.

We sat at the lake for almost an hour, mostly waiting for cloud coverage to try and get some better lighting on the moose. Luckily I had at least my 50mm prime lens with me, which was the most "zoomed-in" lens I had with me (which is a little more zoomed in than the naked eye). There were massive clouds to the West and the wind was pushing them to the East, however, they kept splitting and going both North-East and South-East, but never directly East to cover us the sun. There were multiple times we were completely surrounded by clouds, but nothing directly above us covering up the harsh sun. So after an hour of waiting, we decided to carry on, and then immediately after we started hiking the sun was covered up for about 30 seconds with a random cloud that we didn't see coming. I guess I can't complain too much, I did get to see a moose, afterall.

The rest of the hike did not disappoint. We got to hike through a section of burned area that was recently burned last year during the Cameron's Peak fire, as well as being on top of a highly exposed ridge that gave us spectacular views to the North. Unfortunately the lighting was never that great because of the location of the sun, but that didn't make the views any less spectacular, it only made the photos less spectacular (which is your problem, whoever is reading this, not mine). The hike ended up taking us almost 3 and a half hours, including our hour lunch break, which is pretty great time for a 6.3 mile hike that had 1,000 feet in elevation gain.

AloneDying GrassFracturedLens TestLunch SpotIn the WaterAll of Cub LakeBurned

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Colorado Fall Colors

The last weekend in September is usually the best time to see fall colors in Colorado. That weekend was still almost a full week from the end of the month, and because of this I think we were a little early, but that's okay because getting perfect colors wasn't really the point of this mountain excursion. We went up into the mountains to try out a couple of new lenses that we recently purchased for our upcoming fall foliage photography trip to the East Coast. Since colors were peaking in Colorado before we left for our trip, we figured we better go and shoot with our new glass so we know what to expect. I bought the Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 wide-angle lens and Katie bought pretty much the exact same thing but for her Nikon, a Nikkor 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.

We picked the Silverdale Interpretive Site (just outside of Georgetown) like we had done the previous year because it was familiar and we knew it would be an easy "hike". This area has many different trails that you can make this as short or as long of a hike as you want. Since we only had the opportunity to go hiking in the evening due to other plans the rest of the weekend, it was important to not have a long or unknown hike that would have landed us in the dark as we hiked back to the car.

After a pretty lengthy drive (2+ hours), we got up to Georgetown about an hour and a half before the sun set which is typically about perfect from a lighting perspective. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't actually perfect because of a large cloud that was covering the sun during the entire photo shoot, and even sprinkled on us a little bit. The cloud may have blocked golden hour lighting, but at least we didn't have to work around any harsh shadows. After the sun set, we drove the 2 hours back home. It was quite a bit of driving for such little time in the mountains actually shooting, but the photoshoot was worth it to try out the new lenses.

Carved in the TreeThe BridgeWide AngleOn the RockMountain of ColorUp CloseLaughterStuck in the TreeGetting StormyBack to the BridgeCool and Relaxed

September 2021

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday