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All photos © Tony’s Takes. Images are available for purchase as prints or as digital files for other uses. Please don’t steal; my prices aren’t expensive. For more information contact me here.

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Red-tailed Hawk focuses on the landing

Red-tailed Hawk focuses on the landing

This is probably my favorite image from a recent event I attended. Karma is a nine-year-old hawk that is used for falconry and educational purposes by Wild Wings Environmental Education. On this morning, just about everything came together perfectly for this shot - the golden light of the early morning sun, a dramatic sky in the background and of course the extraordinary subject. In the end, this is a capture that I am very proud of.

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Pit stop thunderstorm

Pit stop thunderstorm

On my recent trip to the northern Rockies, our first overnight stop was in northern Wyoming in the town of Kaycee. Soon after arriving as sunset grew close, thunderstorms started to build just to our east. This particular cell was quite beautiful as it was lit by the direct sunlight to the west and the shades or orange of the soon-to-come sunset. For a time it was severe warned as it was dropping golf ball sized hail - thankfully not ...

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A big, bad Bison bull in black and white

A big, bad Bison bull in black and white

Yesterday morning was a pretty dull, gray day with cold temperatures and light snow along the Colorado Front Range. That made for tough lighting and wildlife activity was pretty slow. However at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge I did find a few cooperative Bison including this big guy. Doing some post-processing of the image allowed me to add some drama to the image and I think it makes the big guy look pretty impressive (which he was!). I hope ...

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Osprey takes flight head on

Osprey takes flight head on

A very fun picture taken this past weekend at St. Vrain State Park, Colorado. There are a number of Osprey that spend their summers in the area and this was the male of a pair that is nesting within the park. He was happily perched in a tree near the nest when he decided it was time to go fishing. Thankfully I was ready and snapped this image as he headed right toward me. Due to the compression effect of using a ...

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The famous Lake Louise

The famous Lake Louise

And I'm back! I spent the past two weeks on a grand adventure to Jasper and Banff national parks in Alberta, Canada and Glacier National Park on our side of the border in Montana. It is tough to pick any single image of the hundreds that I took to demonstrate what I saw up there. The landscapes were breathtaking, the wildlife abundant and exciting. Just an absolutely extraordinary experience. This image was taken on June 26 and shows Lake Louise ...

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Barn Owl makes a happy landing

That face! So cute and it certainly looks to be one happy raptor. Humans do tend to project our emotional reactions and our perceptions onto animals when we really have no idea what they are ‘feeling’ but you can’t help it with this image.

This particular owl was a participant at a photo workshop I took back in October. Cupid is two years old and was captive bred for educational programs and he now serves as an ambassador for Wild Wings Environmental Education.

These medium-sized owls can be found across most of the globe, including the contiguous United States. They typically remain out of sight roosting in tree cavities, dense stands of trees and of course barns and other buildings.

A Bark Owl extends its landing gear as it prepares to touch down. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bark Owl extends its landing gear as it prepares to touch down. (© Tony’s Takes)

Relaxed Bald Eagle shows off one of its weapons

The talons on these creatures are nothing short of impressive. Getting a close look at them helps you understand why they are so effective – and deadly. When they are relaxed, eagles oftentimes will hold on to their perch with one talon then lift the other up and tuck it inside their feathers. Such was the case with this guy last month which is why you only see one. He didn’t give a hoot about me being there and was quite content and relaxed.

Bald Eagles are believed to have a grasp capable of exerting an astonishing 400psi. By comparison, the average human’s hand comes in around 20psi. Needless to say, when an eagle latches on to a rabbit, prairie dog or fish, the prey isn’t very likely to get away.

A close up look at one of the talons on a Bald Eagle. (© Tony’s Takes)

A close up look at one of the talons on a Bald Eagle. (© Tony’s Takes)

Fantastic flyby for Freedom Friday

Last weekend I was observing this beautiful lady and her mate. Things were awfully quiet for the longest time as for the most part they sat still but then they decided to try fishing in a nearby pond. Neither was successful but the female gave this absolutely fantastic sequence of her as she approached and then flew by.

This is probably one of my best in-flight Bald Eagle pics I have ever captured. The light was just about perfect and coming from the right direction as she approached and flew by. Focus is pretty much spot on showcasing the beautiful detail in the bird’s plumage. A whispy streak of clouds help to just ever so slightly break up the solid blue Colorado skies.

Have a great weekend!

A female Bald Eagle returns to her roost after a failed fishing trip. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Bald Eagle returns to her roost after a failed fishing trip. (© Tony’s Takes)

One for National Puppy Day

I can’t say I have ever heard of “National Puppy Day” but I guess that is what it is. I don’t have many pics of pups beyond my own dogs so dug into the archives for this one. I reckon it also works for #TBT as it was taken in early May of last year. This cutie Red Fox and its litter-mates were playing in a suburban front yard and my friend was kind enough to let me know so I rushed over. The sun was already below the horizon so light was dim but I managed a few okay captures including this one. So darned cute!

A Red Fox kit watches its brothers and sisters play in a suburban yard. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Fox kit watches its brothers and sisters play in a suburban yard. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mama has a hard time staying awake

Great Horned Owls are some of the most adaptive owls out there. They have proven that they can survive – and indeed thrive – despite humans oftentimes intruding on their territory. This pretty lady proves that.

She and her mate have chosen to make their home not 50 yards from Interstate 25, the main north-south highway through the state of Colorado. Certainly trees here on the plains can be relatively scarce so they didn’t have a lot of options however one would think they would have preferred someplace at least a bit secluded. Instead, their nest is in full view of passers-by on the highway and a frontage road goes almost right under their nest.

The good thing for someone like me is that I get to watch with very easy access. When I saw her this past Saturday, she seemed to be sitting up high in the nest which may mean there are little ones underneath her. I will definitely have to keep a close eye on the progress.

A female Great Horned Owl has a hard time staying awake while sitting on her nest north of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Great Horned Owl has a hard time staying awake while sitting on her nest north of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Goose gets very territorial

I was sitting observing a pair of my favorite bird (you know what kind) when there was suddenly a bit of action right in front of me. One Canada Goose had decided to claim a section of the pond as its own and wasn’t willing to let any other geese in. It comes flying in at another pair of geese landing right on top of another. As those two headed off for a different spot, the aggressor gave pursuit. It was a pretty fun sequence and their aggressiveness was clearly on display as they prepare to mate and lay eggs soon. Taken at St Vrain State Park, Colorado.

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A Canada Goose chases after other geese that were intruding on its territory. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Canada Goose chases after other geese that were intruding on its territory. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little Bighorn keeps watch from on high

Bighorn Sheep lambs may not be all that big but they are nearly as adept at climbing as the adults. The rugged landscape of Colorado’s foothills is a great place for the young ones to learn and while a human would struggle, the lambs scale the rocks and steep slopes with ease. This young ram was more interested in playing with some of the other young members of the herd but did stop to check out the photographers gathered below.

Found across much of western North America, Bighorn Sheep are adept mountain climbers, best known for the adult male ram’s monstrous horns. While the animals are social, rams and ewes typically only meet during mating season. Diseases from European livestock and overhunting had caused the animal’s population to drop precipitously by the early 1900s. Thankfully #conservation efforts have been successful in helping the sheep rebound since then.

A curious Bighorn Sheep lamb keeps watch from the side of a mountain.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A curious Bighorn Sheep lamb keeps watch from the side of a mountain. (© Tony’s Takes)

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)

Blue moon

Daytime images of our only natural satellite are a lot of fun. Normally we only pay attention to the moon in the dark but during the day it looks pretty neat against those blue skies.  Taken yesterday morning, the waning gibbous moon was easily seen in the southwestern sky.

I can’t help but look at the moon and wonder ‘what could have been’ had our nation continued on its course of manned space exploration exploring beyond low Earth orbit rather than essentially giving up in the early 1970s. Surely by now we would have bases on the moon and likely would have even been to Mars. Such a shame.

The landing sites of Apollo 12, 14 and 15 can actually be seen in this image. Those of Apollo 11, 16 and 17 are just inside the area in shadow on the right. Want to know where they are? See here for more info.

A daytime capture of a waning gibbous moon. (© Tony’s Takes)

A daytime capture of a waning gibbous moon. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawks make some noise

I was actually looking for owls when I came across this pair of raptors. There was no nest in sight but they sure did not seem to appreciate me being around so I snapped some quick pics and retreated. Skies were overcast so not the prettiest of backgrounds but the birds themselves looked gorgeous. Taken in Thornton, Colorado.

A Red-tailed Hawk screeches as it flies overhead. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk screeches as it flies overhead. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk flies overhead. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk flies overhead. (© Tony’s Takes)

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