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Evening sky turns into a rainbow of colors

I was expecting a typically gorgeous Colorado sunset on this day not long ago but it was the pre-show about a half hour before that was the best part. Iridescent clouds appeared and turned the sky into a rainbow of colors. It was an awesome one seen from my backyard.

Cloud iridescence is caused by clouds (usually cirrus) that have small water droplets or ice crystals in them causing the light to be diffracted, or spread out. The phenomena is much like the rainbow colors seen with oil in water.

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Stunning iridescent clouds as the sun starts to set north of Denver, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Stunning iridescent clouds as the sun starts to set north of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Sunset on the Colorado Front Range

Beautiful sunrises and sunsets are a pretty common occurrence on the Colorado Front Range. Every now and then though, Mother Nature gives the scene an extra ‘kick’ to make it that much more awesome. Such was the case on this evening last week when not only were the colors and formation stunning, there was a hint of iridescence at the edges. I do wish I had a clear view of the horizon but pics above look awesome anyway. Taken in Thornton, Colorado.

A late winter sunset lights up the Colorado sky in shades of orange and blue. (© Tony’s Takes)

A late winter sunset lights up the Colorado sky in shades of orange and blue. (© Tony’s Takes)

High contrast driftwood

What to do when you are sitting near a river waiting for the wildlife you are watching to do something interesting? Take pictures of driftwood! My patience was wearing thin and I was bored so I started pointing my camera at random things. The amount of detail in this piece of wood was somewhat compelling and made for an interesting subject. What do you think? Color or black and white?

Old driftwood along the South Platte River shows a variety of textures. (© Tony’s Takes)

Old driftwood along the South Platte River shows a variety of textures. (© Tony’s Takes)

Old driftwood along the South Platte River shows a variety of textures. (© Tony’s Takes)

Old driftwood along the South Platte River shows a variety of textures. (© Tony’s Takes)

A glorious view top to bottom

Boy, I could almost flip this image and you wouldn’t know. That sunrise reflection on the water is pretty darned close to a perfect mirror of what lies above. Last week I took a day off to go do some critter viewing. That part of the day did not go so well as once the sun rose it was overcast and animals were elusive.

However, the one saving grace was the way the day started – with this amazing scene on Colorado’s Great Plains. That was topped by the fact I was with my photo buddy, my son, who made sure to remind me when we were viewing this to put the camera down for a while and just take the scene in. A wise young man he is.

A fantastic sunrise above reflects on calm lake water below. (© Tony’s Takes)

A fantastic sunrise above reflects on calm lake water below. (© Tony’s Takes)

Stunning sunrise on the Great Plains

My photo excursion on this day didn’t pan out quite as I wanted with worthwhile targets proving to be elusive. The one saving grace was the way the day started – with this amazing scene as the sun began to creep over the horizon.

The brilliant yellows, oranges and reds above would have been cool enough but throw in the same thing reflected on the calm waters of a lake and it was pretty awesome. Here in Colorado the mountains get most of the press but I have seen far more stunning sunrises and sunsets at the lower altitudes to the east.

A stunning sunrise on the Colorado plains as seen from Jackson Lake State Park.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A stunning sunrise on the Colorado plains as seen from Jackson Lake State Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Reflections on Swiftcurrent Lake

Going back to last June and our road trip through the northern Rocky Mountains. On this particular morning the rest of my crew opted to sleep in so I went for a quick drive through the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park where I took in the amazing scenery. This image was taken on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake soon after sunrise.

The 8,855 foot high Mount Grinnell is the closest, most dominating peak in the image. It is named after George Bird Grinnell, an anthropologist and naturalist who fought hard to save the dwindling population of bison in Yellowstone and was instrumental in getting Glacier National Park formally established in 1910.

Swiftcurrent Lake and Mount Grinnell in Glacier National Park soon after sunrise.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Swiftcurrent Lake and Mount Grinnell in Glacier National Park soon after sunrise. (© Tony’s Takes)

Last day of January closes out the month in stunning fashion

Winter in Colorado brings some amazing sunsets and last night proved to be a case in point. Fast moving jet stream winds this time of year create mountain wave clouds and lenticular clouds that are in and of themselves fun to see. Throw in unearthly colors as the day comes to a close and you have the makeup for spectacular scenes.

Unfortunately, living in suburbia, I don’t have a good, clear shot of the western horizon and didn’t have time to run somewhere that provided a better view of the overall scene. However, tightly zoomed in pictures show the intricate details and the amazing forms and colors of the clouds.

An absolutely stunning sunset in the Denver, Colorado suburbs. (© Tony’s Takes)

An absolutely stunning sunset in the Denver, Colorado suburbs. (© Tony’s Takes)

An absolutely stunning sunset in the Denver, Colorado suburbs. (© Tony’s Takes)

An absolutely stunning sunset in the Denver, Colorado suburbs. (© Tony’s Takes)

An absolutely stunning sunset in the Denver, Colorado suburbs. (© Tony’s Takes)

An absolutely stunning sunset in the Denver, Colorado suburbs. (© Tony’s Takes)

An absolutely stunning sunset in the Denver, Colorado suburbs. (© Tony’s Takes)

An absolutely stunning sunset in the Denver, Colorado suburbs. (© Tony’s Takes)

The indomitable Longs Peak

At 14,259 feet high, Longs Peak dominates the views on the Colorado Front Range. In this image, I was about 25 miles away. As the northern-most fourteener in the Rocky Mountains, when you look west, this mountain, probably more than any other, stands out.

Its sheer height coupled with its distinctive form make it easily recognizable and one that commands attention. It was photographed by Ansel Adams, painted by Albert Bierstadt and featured on the Colorado state quarter.

A snow-covered Longs Peak dwarfs the landscape of locations to its east. (© Tony’s Takes)

A snow-covered Longs Peak dwarfs the landscape of locations to its east. (© Tony’s Takes)

Fire and ice on the Colorado plains

Air temperatures just below freezing, wind chills near zero. Not a particularly hospitable morning when I captured this scene a couple of weeks ago. However, it was absolutely gorgeous and I relished standing there and watching the sun rise over the frozen lake. Average temperatures here are starting to warm up and that ice will gradually begin receding. In another month or so it should be relatively ice-free and then it becomes a haven for a wide variety of birds.

Fire and ice: The sun rises above an ice covered lake on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Fire and ice: The sun rises above an ice covered lake on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

An icy landscape in black and white

My photo excursion Saturday was a bit disappointing in terms of wildlife. However, I think this capture helped to make up for it. It was pretty cold on the Great Plains as the sun rose, winter’s effects were still very evident in the frozen lake and the ice covering it. The colors of the sunrise were pretty but nothing overly extraordinary however the cool blue of the clouds and frozen water made for a cool scene. Conversion to black and white really seemed to make this image.

Black and white image of a frozen lake in Morgan County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Black and white image of a frozen lake in Morgan County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

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