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


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

In the winter my attention often turns to the mountain peaks. It’s when I find them most beautiful, coated in white, the snow accenting their rugged beauty. When the clouds roll in, usually from the west, or lift after a snow storm I think, ‘this is what heaven must look like’!

A peak revels its fresh coating of snow, high above lifting storm clouds.

‘Above The Clouds’ © Denise Bush

The top of Chimney Rock peeks through the clouds at sunset near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Peeking Through’ © Denise Bush

Distant mountains, blanketed in fresh snow create a beautiful winter scene.

‘Snowbound Beauty’ © Denise Bush

Rocky outcroppings reveal their winter coating as a snowstorm clears.

‘Winter Forms’ © Denise Bush


Winter Wonders


In this post I’m displaying some winter images that caught my eye while reviewing. Getting a closer look by processing them helps me determine how much I like them and if they make the cut. And sometimes they don’t! I think that I am both selective and critical of my own work. A photo club I belong to offers critiques, and that got me thinking out loud here. At this stage in my photographic journey I have no interest in participating. I enjoy what I do and if I am proud of a piece, that is what pleases me most. The club wants us to challenge ourselves by trying different kinds of photography. For beginners who have not yet found their niché it’s a great suggestion. However, I feel that I’ve been there and done that, to come full circle with confidence. I have settled into my niché but that is not to say that I don’t have goals and aspirations! My goal is to stay the course … to continue to create interesting and captivating imagery, always open to and looking for that next favorite photograph. The images below were captured between late November and early January. We’ve had fairly steady snows this winter, keeping things wintry, white and wonderous!

Clouds from a recent snowfall lift, giving way to a rugged mountain view.

‘In The Clearing’ © Denise Bush
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A stream flows happily along, among a beautiful snow-covered forest.

‘Stream In Winter Forest’ © Denise Bush

A mountain stream flows along, surrounded by a snow-coated evergreen forest.

‘Wintry Stream’ © Denise Bush

Five bare trees look lovely in the soft winter light at day’s end.

‘Party Of Five’ © Denise Bush
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An open field and distant hill anchor a surreal sky in winter.

‘Minimal Landscape In Winter’ © Denise Bush
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A snowstorm clears to reveal a beautiful winter wonderland!

‘Under Lifting Clouds’ © Denise Bush


Most Favorite!


In my last post I shared a link to my website and ‘2019 Favorites’ gallery. However, my most favorite image was not among them because I added it to my ‘Home Gallery’ instead. Running across it in one of my folders I realized I never shared it on this blog either. Surely my most favorite should have a place here! I printed and framed this for a show last summer. It didn’t sell so I am including it in an exhibit at our Ridgway Public Library where I will be showing along with a potter. I will have about 20 framed pieces on display. Note the title … I amused myself with that one!

‘Pink Peak Peeking’ © Denise Bush
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Ridgway Library Exhibit – Jan. 11 – Mar. 13