Making New Friends

I made some new friends at Colorado National Monument last week… Desert Bighorn Sheep friends, that is! It was a cloudy day and I was hoping it would stay that way. Canyons are difficult to photograph because of their extreme contrast so I wanted diffused light. Upon arrival I was greeted by some bighorn ewes and got a few shots that show how adorable they are before another visitor scared them off. The sun came out shortly after making the lighting conditions harsh, so I spent the day scouting the park. I drove from one end to the other and back again… about 25 miles one-way, stopping to walk out to several of the overlooks. Right around sunset there was another group alongside the road in an area deep in shade. The light was fading fast so I boosted up my ISO and shutter speed for some captures of rams that made the day seem better! I like that the images show how well the sheep blend in to their rocky habitat.

Desert Bighorn Sheep are a subspecies of Bighorn Sheep. Both males and females develop horns soon after they are born. Older rams have larger, curling horns that can grow to measure over 3 feet. The ewes’ horns are smaller and do not curl.

'Desert Bighorn I' © Denise Bush
‘Desert Bighorn I’ © Denise Bush
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'Sheepish Greeter I' © Denise Bush
‘Sheepish Greeter II’ © Denise Bush
100-400mm @ 400mm • 1/250 sec. • f/8 • ISO 400
'Desert Bighorn II' © Denise Bush
‘Desert Bighorn II’ © Denise Bush
100-400mm @ 400mm • 1/125 sec. • f/8 • ISO 800
'Sheepish Greeter I' © Denise Bush
‘Sheepish Greeter I’ © Denise Bush
'Desert Bighorn III' © Denise Bush
‘Desert Bighorn III’ © Denise Bush

Mountain Magnetism

Here are a group of images featuring the West Elk Mountains as seen from the Black Canyon National Park. I went to check out the canyon (about an hour and twenty minutes away) one day last week and once there was quite drawn to the mountains in the distance. I stopped at several different lookouts along the awe-inspiring canyon’s south rim but the light and sky just weren’t right for canyon pictures on this afternoon. I kept coming back to these mountains… they looked so pristine and majestic, cloaked in new-fallen snow. The winding road drew me in and I sought out different vantage points. I was attracted to the contrast between the warm tones of the high desert and the cold tones of winter’s approach. With the mountains quite far away and on the other side of the (2,000+ foot) deep canyon I used my longest lens, a 100-400mm to make the mountains as prominent as I could. I enlarged the focal points in LiveView and used my loop to make sure the focus was spot on. Traveling up and down the south rim road a few more times I tried to become familiar with it for my next visit, which I hope will include some canyon images! Staying until after sunset I photographed the clouds and alpine glow of last light on the beautiful scenery before calling it a day… a ‘very good’ day!

'This Way' © Denise Bush
‘This Way to the Mountains’ © Denise Bush
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'Beyond the Canyon Rim' © Denise Bush
‘Beyond the Canyon Rim’ © Denise Bush
'Mountain Highlight' © Denise Bush
‘Mountain Highlight’ © Denise Bush
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'Last Light On Winter Peaks' © Denise Bush
‘Last Light On Winter Peaks’ © Denise Bush

To see all my recent images click on the large ‘Denise Bush’s Photo Blog’ at the top then scroll down. See my previous post, ‘Mining Town Remains’ for something completely different! Thanks for visiting!

Mining Town Remains

After going to a waterfall near Telluride one day not too long ago, we decided to explore another road I had been curious about. Up and around on a narrow dirt road we climbed, one switch-back after another. I avoided looking down at the cliff right below my passenger door and at the same time hoped no one would be coming the other way! The snow began to get a little deeper in spots as we gained elevation (ending up at about 11,000 feet). Finally we came upon an old mining, ghost town. At that high elevation and rugged landscape we were reminded of how tough the miners and other people who lived here back in the day were! Of course I needed to get in a few quick shots before it started to drizzle and get dark. Some of the buildings were without roofs and in bad shape… bowing and tilting and falling apart. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will weather the winter months. It will be impossible to get up there without a snowmobile soon. I do hope they are still standing when I can go back in the late spring and spend more time. Here are a few favorites!

'Looking Through Time' © Denise Bush
‘Looking Through Time’ © Denise Bush
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'Doorway To the Past' © Denise Bush
‘Doorway To the Past’ © Denise Bush
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'Cabin Over Yonder' © Denise Bush
‘Cabin Over Yonder’ © Denise Bush
'Miner's Cabin Interior' © Denise Bush
‘Miner’s Cabin Interior’ © Denise Bush