Spring Rush

22May20

In the mountains nothing calls out ‘spring’ quite so exuberantly as the streams, rivers and waterfalls! Swollen rivers rush melted snow downstream to get to where it is needed. Always careful of my footing it’s exhilarating to stand beside a roaring river, to witness its power, through sight and sound. And waterfalls are in their glory too … each expressing their own voice while traveling over cliffs and boulders. Some falls only make an appearance this time of year, to do their job then again wait, until next spring’s melt. I have made a recent effort to find and enjoy this wonderful sign of spring, close to home. Here are some early results!

The San Miguel River, near Telluride Colorado is moving swiftly as it turns one of many bends.

‘River Bend In Spring’ © Denise Bush

Falling through tiers, this waterfall disappears in the trees then emerges below.

‘Long Falls’ © Denise Bush

A river flows swiftly along in Spring as if on a mission to reach destinations below.

‘Spring Mission’ © Denise Bush

Water cascades over rocks in spring after making its way through an underground tunnel.

‘Tunnel Cascade’ © Denise Bush

A detail shot of a ribbon-like waterfall making a little ‘splash’ on the way down.

‘Making A Splash’ © Denise Bush

The San Miguel River, near Telluride Colorado rushes through the forest in spring

‘Rushing By’ © Denise Bush

A stream meanders down a mountain in spring, feeding into a larger river below.

‘Springtime Meander’ © Denise Bush


It’s been awhile since I’ve dedicated a post to the ‘Adobes’ … although I have included scenes now and then, in collections with a different aim. The Adobe Hills or Adobe Badlands are a vast area of more than 10,000 acres in Montrose & Delta Counties, north of my Ouray County home. It is more arid in these counties, they get less snow and it melts quickly allowing spring to appear sooner. It is a playground for hiking, ATV & dirt bike enthusiasts, jeeping and this photographer! I find the area a bit ‘otherworldly’ and at times, being there has made me feel like I’ve landed on the Mars! I remember thinking the landscape looked like piles of dirt from a gravel pit when I first saw them. Now I think the Adobes are beautiful and I enjoy shooting there from time to time for a change of scenery. I find the contours and shapes very attractive, especially when complemented with an interesting sky and light. Well, because a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let these images from different seasons take it from here!

A tall hill in the Adobe Badlands near Montrose resembles a pyramid.

‘My Private Pyramid’ © Denise Bush
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A winter sunset adds some pretty pink on top of the tallest hill.

‘Sunset Over Adobe Layers’ © Denise Bush

A canal winds through Montrose Colorado ranch land with the Adobe Hills in the background.

‘Autumn Canal’ © Denise Bush

Yellow wildflowers grace the sides of the road in the high desert near Montrose Colorado.

‘High Desert Bloom’ © Denise Bush

The Adobe Badlands in Montrose County, Colorado are offer interesting, arid scenery.

‘Adobe Badlands Pyramid’ © Denise Bush

Twilight falls on the snow-covered adobe hills near Montroce, Colorado.

‘Adobe Twilight Zone’ © Denise Bush


I’m used to always being out there, trying to out-do my best work while adding to my portfolio. I’m picky and don’t always come away with something I like enough to show, but that’s OK. It’s all good … being out in the fresh mountain air and taking in the scenery never gets old. In recent weeks I’ve stayed at home except for a couple of cabin fever drives and stops with no one else around. I’ve been shooting from our property at sunset which gets me out of the house and enjoying that special time of day. I wait, watch and hope that something wonderful happens with the light and sky … like the last image here, shot from our property. The other scenes are from some of my usual stops on days when I got lucky. I hope you enjoy seeing these magnificent peaks … they are expecting a fresh coat of spring snow tomorrow, Easter Sunday!

The San Juan Mountains of Colorado light up to feature Hayden Peak and the North Pole

‘Amber Glow At Sunset’ © Denise Bush
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Teakettle Mountain reveals its peak as clouds lift after a winter storm.

‘Teakettle In The Clouds’ © Denise Bush

A wintry scene in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado featuring Hayden Peak and North Pole Peak.

‘Winter Light On Hayden’ © Denise Bush

Looking west from Ridgway we see the end of the Sneffels Range On the left and West Baldy on the right with Pleasant Valley in between!

‘Western Winter Panorama’ © Denise Bush
(Hard to see at this small size but felt it belonged in this group!)

Hayden Peak and the North Pole are featured in this San Juan Mountain, winter scene.

‘Painted Sky Over North Pole’ © Denise Bush

A knobby peak reveals itself as a winter storm clears in the mountains of Ouray County, Colorado.

‘Knobby Reveal’ © Denise Bush

Warm light bathes the mountains as clouds lift after depositing a fresh coat of snow.

‘Warm Light Over Cold Peaks’ © Denise Bush


Although I’ve dabbled over the years, I don’t consider myself a wildlife photographer by any means. I do however like to take advantage when an opportunity presents itself, and always enjoy observing animals in their environment. I have great respect for those who shoot wildlife well! It takes a lot of patience, skill and the right equipment. My equipment is geared for landscape shooting but I do have a long lens (a Sigma 150-600mm) and it is plenty sharp. On my full-frame camera, the animals are very often, still too far away. Unlike behavior you might see in places where the animals are used to visitors, here they are wild and scare easily. I’m often not quick enough, especially when my camera is set for landscapes and all wrong for fleeing subjects. Following are some of the critters I’ve had the good fortune to observe, out in the landscape.

A red-tailed hawk is captured at take-off with spruce needles and feathers flying!

‘Red-tail Take-off’ © Denise Bush
(Note the spruce needles in the air)

A red-tailed hawk perches in a spring tree against an aspen forest background.

‘Ready & Waiting’ © Denise Bush
(The background looks like I converted it to sepia but, not the case.)

A mule deer buck shows off his rack against a wintry background.

‘Hello Big Boy’ © Denise Bush

A mule deer doe Is coated in snow, blending in with the brush.

‘Hidden In Winter’ © Denise Bush

Some horses perk up and ask, "are you going to feed us"?

‘Horses In Fog & Snow’ © Denise Bush
(Are you here to feed us?)

A bear wakes up from a long winter’s nap to find some dandelions as a tasty little snack.

‘The Scent Of Dandelions’ © Denise Bush
(A tasty little snack after sleeping all winter.)

A 10 point bull elk turns to bugle to his herd.

‘Bull Elk Bugling’ © Denise Bush

Today is the day an elk calf learns to jump fences as mama coaxes.

‘You Can Do It!’ © Denise Bush
(Today Mama teaches Baby to jump a fence!)

A porcupine peeks from behind a branch it’s been nibbling high up in a tree.

‘Porcupine In Tree’ © Denise Bush

A young big horn sheep is at home on the rocks near Gunnison, Colorado in March.

‘At Home On The Rocks’ © Denise Bush

Three young bighorn sheep observe with caution.

‘Three Young Amigos’ © Denise Bush

A bull moose is spotted in a wet area near Silverton, Colorado.

‘Bull Moose In Wetland’ © Denise Bush

A bull moss is in his habitat among some red autumn willows in a wet area.

‘Landscape With Bull Moose’ © Denise Bush
(A bull moose seems to complete this autumn scene.)


Bare Trees

20Mar20

I have no doubt that trees are the most photographed subject in my portfolio. Mountains may be a close second but sometimes trees play an important role in those compositions too. Trees certainly take center stage in my autumn photography and I love to shoot them in winter as well. With the structure visible we are able to enjoy their interesting silhouettes. I am always looking for trees with pleasant shapes, against the snow or sky, and in pleasing arrangements. I do have some favorites and four of the images here are places I have visited before, and will likely visit again. The scenes are always different depending on the time of year, weather and sky. I’ve accumulated quite a collection over time. A few years ago I displayed some of my framed tree images in a show titled, Tremendous Trees … an exhibit for tree lovers! And for the love of trees, I’ve gathered many of my favorites in an online collection of the same name HERE.

A distant group of assorted trees makes a lovely silhouette against a wintry sky.

‘Winter Assembly’ © Denise Bush

A row of trees growing on a distant rise creates an orderly winter composition.

‘Winter Silhouette’ © Denise Bush
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A little gamble oak soaks in the warm rays on a winter afternoon.

‘Little Tree In Afternoon’ © Denise Bush

Birds take a short rest in a little gambel oak on a sunny winter day.

‘Rest Stop’ © Denise Bush

A grouping of cottonwood trees stands in the foreground with Lone Cone Mountain in the background.

‘Lone Cone View’ © Denise Bush

Some extra white aspens create a high contrast nature pattern in black and white.

‘Aspen Forest Contrast’ © Denise Bush

Some white aspen trees make a strong black and white close-up!

‘Aspen Forest Close-up’ © Denise Bush


I love working my camera along the Loghill Mesa escarpment where I live. The wide, mountainous views are beautiful to behold. But when the sky wasn’t cooperating recently, I turned my long lens downward to capture some scenes in the valley below. I love examining the contours of the land from this high vantage point. The fences, streams, hills and snow create their own designs and become somewhat abstract when reduced to B&W. It’s difficult to see some of the detail at this blog’s small image size but I wanted to post them all the same. Of course viewing them on a phone the detail will be even smaller. See if you can find the elk herd in two of the images!

Bare trees and willows take on a warm glow as the Dallas Creek leads the winding way.

‘Dallas Creek From Above’ © Denise Bush

A view below focuses on a corral and contours of the snow covered land.

‘Corral From Above’ © Denise Bush

Long Shadows develop at the end of the day shining a spotlight on an elk herd below.

‘Elk From Above’ © Denise Bush

A herd of elk graze in the snow covered valley below.

‘From Above In B&W III’ © Denise Bush

A composition of the valley below creates an abstract design of texture and line in B&W.

‘From Above In B&W II’ © Denise Bush

A composition of the valley below creates an abstract design of texture and line in B&W.

‘From Above In B&W I’ © Denise Bush


Winter landscape photography has its challenges and I’ve mentioned them, more than once in previous posts through the years. Today I was thinking that we are at the mercy of the conditions in winter, more so than any other season here. With many roads closed there are just more options in spring, summer and fall. When it’s snowing the mountains are not visible and we sometimes have to wait until the plows come through. To capture optimal conditions we might only have a short window, after the clouds lift enough to reveal the fresh snow. The strong sun can quickly melt the snow off the trees and a bald, blue (boring) sky can appear much too soon. Then after a few days the snow gets old and tracked up from deer, elk, cattle and other miscellaneous critters … as well as humans with snowmobiles and skis. Yes, it’s challenging but it’s exhilarating too and I love it! With the cold air in my face and surrounded by winter’s beautiful, dynamic scenery I feel alive and grateful for each experience.

Coutrhouse Mountain catches bright light against a dark, brooding sky.

‘Brilliant Courthouse’ © Denise Bush

A little tree is all alone in the valley after a snow storm.

‘Little Loner’ © Denise Bush

A trail used by snow mobiles only leads to ‘off the grid’ living.

‘Off The Grid Trail’ © Denise Bush

Last light of day strikes an exposed peak in the San Juan Mountains, San Miguel County, Colorado.

‘San Miguel Moment’ © Denise Bush

A snowy ridge and lifting clouds light up with the last light of day.

‘Spotlight Along The Ridge’ © Denise Bush

New fallen snow and pink clouds are about as close to heaven as one can imagine.

‘Mountain Peeking Out Of Clouds’ © Denise Bush

A gentle slope catches the last light of day under prretty pink clouds.

‘Gentle Light Catcher’ © Denise Bush




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