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


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
click here to view larger or order a print

Ridgway Library Exhibit – Jan. 11 – Mar. 13

2019 Favorites


Here we go again … Happy New Year! 2019 was a great year and I have a lot to be grateful for. Best wishes to all for a wonderful 2020 and thank you for visiting!

You are invited to view my ‘2019 Favorites’ Gallery … in keeping with a 17 year tradition! I like to organize images by year on my website, as an alternative to my store where they are organized by subject. Each of my sites serves a purpose. My website serves as a hub for all I do with links to my store, blog, stock photography and more! Many of the images in ‘2019 Favorites’ have appeared in posts here, where I show my most current work and thoughts about photography. If you’d like to see some of the posts click on ‘Denise Bush’s Photo Blog’ at the top (to return home) and scroll down.

On October 16th I had quite a surprise when I looked out our front window and saw a stream of smoke, rising from the forest in our Cimarron view. It looked like it had just started so I called to report it. They had learned of it just minutes before. Hunters, plentiful in the forest this time of year made the discovery. The investigation lead to a walled tent with a wood-burning stove. Part of the roof material was charred and consistent with some found nearby. This area of the forest is known as Cow Creek and there is just one rough, dirt forest road to gain access. Watching it for a bit I realized I should get out my camera and document it. I took this first shot about an hour after I spotted the fire. I posted it on a local residents Facebook page, alerting people who didn’t have my ‘watch tower’ view. Feeling like a photojournalist, I watched, worried and photographed the fire as other, nearby spot fires started in windy conditions. After a few days we received some very welcome snow which helped to minimize the fire, until another snow put it out completely. I am showing the images as I shot them, in chronological order.

A fire in the Cimarron Mountains near Cow Creek was discovered early in the morning on October 16, 2019. It is spreading quickly.

‘In The Beginning’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire burns in the National Forest of Southwest Colorado.

‘Growing Wildfire’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire burns in the National Forest near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Smoky Plume’ © Denise Bush

The last light of day illuminates a forest fire in the mountains near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Smoky Last Light’ © Denise Bush

Flames can be seen on a ridge in a wildfire in the National Forest of Colorado.

‘Flaming Ridge At Twilight’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire burns through the night in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.

‘Wildfire At Night’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire burns throughout the night and into the pre-dawn hours in the Cimarrons of the San Juan Mountains near Ridgway, Colorado.

‘Cow Creek Fire At Sunrise’ © Denise Bush
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A forest wildfire burns through the night and into the pre-dawn hours.

‘Sunrise Fire & Smoke’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado grows larger by the minute!

‘Smoky Mountains In Colorado’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire in a mountainous national forest takes on an ominous look at night.

‘Fire In The Sky I’ © Denise Bush

A wildfire in a mountainous national forest takes on an ominous look at night.

‘Fire In The Sky II’ © Denise Bush

After some welcome snow a wildfire smolders in the Cimarron Mountains near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Smoldering Cimarrons’ © Denise Bush

A fire smolders under Precipice in the Cimarron Mountain area near Ridgway Colorado.

‘Smoldering Alpenglow’ © Denise Bush