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Butterflies

At around 7000 feet, in the Big Elk Meadows area west of Lyons, CO.  Some species were feeding on flowers, others on the sap of trees or the damp ground in the bottom of the gulch.

Hoary Comma, Polygonia gracilus



Lupine Blue (Plebejus icarioides)

Lupine Blue, Plebejus icarioides

Fritillary

Perhaps Speyeria atlantis, the Atlantis Fritillary.



Callophrys gryneus (Cedar Hairstreak)

Cedar Hairstreak, Callophrys gryneus



Streamside Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis)

Streamside Checkerspot, Chlosyne nycteis



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White Admiral, Limenitis arthemis



Small blue butterflies.

Lupine Blues, Plebejus icarioides, and Silver-studded Blues, Plebejus acmon, gather to feed on nutrient-rich water in a drying stream bed.

Foxes

I had the privilege of sharing several days early in the lives of five fox kits and their parents. And I was able to shoot some photos and video of the whole gang.

Fox kits play follow the leader.

Follow the leader.



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The kits were about 3 weeks old when these photos were taken and still had their blue eyes and dark coloring.



Fox and kit.

Greeting.



Two kits.

Siblings. Faces are starting to fill in with some of the red color that they will carry through adulthood.



Mom nursing kits.

Time for a snack.

More Eagles

The same Eagles as yesterday, actually. At least I think so.

Better light today, but not as much flying around. In fact, both eagles stayed perched the whole time I was watching them - about half an hour. They did do a bunch of calling and posturing right around the time the sun came up.

Bald eagle
Bald eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles

My usual commute has been carefully chosen to take me through farmland, horse pastures, and the occasional cluster of suburban dwellings - "the road less traveled by", as it were. Although I hardly get the car up to 50 mph at all along the route, it still only takes half an hour, and is a peaceful, contemplative, and mostly scenic drive. Nothing to do to get from point A to point B except watch the road and listen to the radio.

From time to time I have glimpsed what I thought was an unusually bulky bird flying low over the fields and wondered if it was an owl or an eagle, but have never been close enough to tell. That changed a couple of days ago when passed directly under an adult bald eagle sitting in a tree at the edge of one of the small lakes I pass.

So yesterday I geared up and left the house a little early, and spent an hour or so watching the TWO eagles take the occasional pass over the lake and come back to their favorite perches at the shore. It was completely overcast, so the light was no good, but I got a couple of shots anyway.

In flight over the lake.

Flying over the lake.

Perched.

Perched.

I am going out early again this morning - it is going to be a clear day and I hope the eagles are there.

Daybreak - Meeker Peak and Long's Peak

A time-lapse sequence of 345 still images, shot every 10 seconds between approximately 6:40 and 7:40 AM.

The viewpoint is Lyons, Colorado, and the two snowy peaks on the horizon at center are [left to right] Mount Meeker [summit elevation 13,911 ft/4,240 m] and Long's Peak [summit elevation 14,259 ft/4,346 m].

The rising sun [behind the viewer] illuminates the sky around Mount Meeker and Long's Peak - the highest point in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Crystal clear

After a dusting of snow yesterday afternoon, a nice morning around Lyons - calm and sunny - quite cold [but the wood stove is drawing nicely now that I've replaced the mica windows]:

St. Vrain River

Along South St. Vrain Creek

Round Oak wood stove, made circa 1913

Round Oak wood stove, built circa 1913.

Along Rt. 7

Along Rt. 7, just outside Lyons.

On the way back home

A few shots from the road between Tucson and the front range of the Rockies. Tree and canyon

In Navajo territory, a few miles southwest of Kayenta, AZ.

Sunrise looking towards Mesa Verde

Sunrise, looking southeast towards the Ute Mountains.

Sunrise over the mountains.

Sunrise over the mountains just north of Monticello, AZ.

Mountains and lake near Monticello.

Mountains reflected in a frozen lake outside Monticello, AZ.

Rock formation south of Moab, UT.

Rock formation south of Moab, UT. La Sal Mountains in the distance.

Wilson Arch.

Wilson Arch, near Moab, UT.

Colorado River at Moab, UT.

Ice floes float down the Colorado River just north of Moab, UT.

Birds in flight

A few shots from the "Free Flight" program at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum: Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl.

Great Horned Owl, flaring for landing

Great Horned Owl in the flare for landing.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk.

Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawk.

Chiracahuan Raven

Chiracahuan Raven.

And, not in flight:

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird.

Dead Horse Point

I always wanted to see this well-known photo destination. Given its popularity, I thought I would get there early to make sure I had a good vantage point for some photos. So I got up in time to be at the entrance when the Dead Horse Point State Park officially opened at 6 AM.

It was about a 40-minute drive from downtown Moab, in total darkness. There was nobody in the gatehouse when I arrived at the park entrance, so I put my ten dollar entrance fee in the provided envelope and dropped it in the designated slot, then drove to the parking lot at the end of the point.

I need not have worried about beating the crowd - the place was desolate. Fifteen degrees Fahrenheit and a bit windy, and still pitch black. So I grabbed the flashlight and walked across the dry layer of crunchy snow to the overlook. Couldn't see a damned thing - just a void between the line of rosy light along the southeastern horizon in the distance and wall marking the boundary of the overlook.

So I went back to the car and rewarmed until there was enough dawn light to try again. I still couldn't see the shape of the land below from the overlook, but the camera could. So I took a couple of long exposures to figure out where to point the camera for the composition I wanted.

Hope you like the photo - waiting until the sun rose high enough to kiss the top of the point, I froze my @ss off to get it!

Dead Horse Point at sunrise.

Utah

Southeastern Utah and Castle Valley, near Moab.

Rock formation near Dewey, UT

Rock formation near Dewey, UT.

Fisher towers from the Northeast approach to Moab.

Fisher Towers, framed by mesas notched by the Colorado River, on the approach to Moab, UT from the Northeast. The La Sal Mountains stand in the distance.

Castle Valley.

Castle Valley.

Ghosts #1 - Castle Valley snow showers.

Ghosts 1: The ghost of Parriott Mesa [6155'] rises behind a gnarled tree during a Castle Valley snow storm.

Ghostly rock formations during a Castle Valley snow storm.

Ghosts 2: The ghost of Parriott Mesa [6155'] rises behind a gnarled tree during a Castle Valley snow storm.

Orange and Gold - Cub Lake

A warm weekend in Colorado - but the signs of Autumn are all around.

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Sunrise and aspens on Fern Lake Road, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Aspen-lined road.

Aspens along Fern Lake Road.
 

Looking west towards Stones Peak and Nakai Peak

Looking west towards Stones Peak and Nakai Peak.

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Moraine Park.

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Cub Lake.

Cub Lake.

Duck on Cub Lake.

Orange and gold.

Orange and gold.  And blue.

Aspens along the trail.

River and sumac.

Sumac along the Big Thompson River.

Glacier Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park

Not much to say, except that it was another fine weekend along the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

Black Lake panorama

Black Lake panorama.

Alberta Falls

The rocks surrounding Alberta Falls glow pink in the pre-dawn light.

Falls and canyon.

Canyon above Alberta Falls.

Near Mills Lake.

Near Mills Lake.

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Early in the morning, the sun reaches the eastern-facing slopes but the river bottoms remain in shadow.

Mountain stream.

Later in day, as the sun reaches deeper into the canyons and valleys.

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Looking downstream from near the upper end of Mills Lake.

Black Lake from above.

Looking down on Black Lake.

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Cascade and flowers above Black Lake.

High country.  Looking north back down Glacier Gorge.

High country. Looking north back down Glacier Gorge.

Rocky Mountain National Park loop

Boulder - Lake Granby - Estes Park - Boulder

Loop around Rocky Mountain National Park, from Boulder to Black Hawk to Empire to Estes Park and Lyons, and back to Boulder.

Not much photography this week. I figured the trails would be pretty crowded with Labor Day Weekenders grabbing their last handfuls of summer before the kids go back into school.

So instead I took a drive. A sort of big loop around and through Rocky Mountain National Park. I left Boulder around 6:00 AM. We've overpopulated and overdeveloped such that the names of places and streets become ironic: so many places named after birds and animals probably haven't had a trace of their namesakes for fifty or a hundred years. However, it's probably going to be millennia before Boulder's Canyon Boulevard loses its aptness. The street funnels you right into Boulder Canyon - a deep, deep gash carved by the creek that runs from Barker Reservoir into the City of Boulder.

I drove through the canyon towards Nederland, stopping to snap an old cabin and some thistles on the side of the road.

Cabin and thistles

Cabin and thistles.

Climbing south out of Nederland, near the Los Lagos reservoirs, I came upon mist rising off the surface of this pond as the sun started to hit the trees on the opposite shore.

Mists rise of the warm waters of a pond as the sun strikes the treeline.

"Sea smoke", the mist that forms over bodies of water as cold air passes over warmer water.

Ducks enjoy the warm sun.

Ducks enjoy the warm sun after a cool night in the mountains.

Out of the roadside village of Rollinsville, I snapped the creek reflecting the brightening eastern sky as the sun reached the flanks of Starr Peak.

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Creek near Rollinsville and Starr Peak.

The city of Black Hawk, one of Colorado's old mining towns, looked interesting, but the massive casino hotels all but covered the approaches to town - I drove on through, down to Interstate 70, where I shot this photo of Stanley Mine buildings before I turned north on Rt. 40 towards Lake Granby and Grand Lake, where I had a nice breakfast at the Grand Lake Lodge.

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Stanley Mine buildings.

Breakfast at the Grand Lake Lodge.

Breakfast with a view.


Entering Rocky Mountain National Park, I drove through Kawuneeche Valley [Coyote Valley] before climbing up onto Trail Ridge Road. Lots of traffic up there, and lots of cars at all of the stopping points. I stopped for a few more photos before crossing the Continental Divide and descending into Estes Park and turning back southward for Boulder.

Trail Ridge road near the Continental Divide.

Trail Ridge Road near the Continental Divide, looking back westward towards the 12,000-foot Gore Range.

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Looking across Forest Canyon towards Mt. Julian and Mt. Ida.