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Mountains

Moody reflections of the forest

With overcast skies and light rain falling, it was tough to find photo opportunities on this morning in Colorado’s high country. While standing on the shores of a pond scanning for wildlife, I looked down and saw this scene and kind of liked it. Different but kind of neat I think.

A downed, bare tree is reflected in a pond's water in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

A downed, bare tree is reflected in a pond’s water in Rocky Mountain National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Happy birthday to the Centennial State

It was on this date in 1876 that Colorado was admitted to the union as the 38th state. A lot certainly has changed in the 141 years since then but, despite all of the progress, much of the natural beauty for which the state is known for remains.

In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates visited the state and soon after penned “America the Beautiful”. It is well known that the amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties she wrote about were a direct reflection of her time here.

In fact, it is said that a visit to the summit of Pikes Peak was indeed her primary inspiration. From the lower elevations of the Great Plains that cover the eastern half of this state to the rugged mountains in the west, this truly is an amazing place and I am blessed to have been born here.

This image taken back in April seems to me to do a nice job capturing this state.

The great state of Colorado in one picture - from the Great Plains to the snow-covered Rocky Mountains. (© Tony’s Takes)

The great state of Colorado in one picture – from the Great Plains to the snow-covered Rocky Mountains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Sparkling high country waters in black and white

Taken last weekend in Lake County, Colorado. I was out for an early drive while the rest of my camping crew slept in and came across this very pretty and picturesque creek. Using a slow shutter speed allowed me to make the waters blur as they rushed past the rocks.

Black and white image of waters rushing across a creek in Colorado's high country. (© Tony’s Takes)

Black and white image of waters rushing across a creek in Colorado’s high country. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bison graze at ease along the Madison River

This beautiful scene kickstarted our visit to Yellowstone National Park last month. Winter had been harsh up there with a great deal of snowfall and the spring was a wet one. However, all that moisture made for a lush, green landscape and rivers flowing full and quick.

Soon after arrival we set out for a quick exploration trip and found a herd of bison grazing along the banks of the river. Above, a cloud-dotted sky with spots of bright blue peering through. Truly a scene showing nature at its finest and a scene I will never forget.

An American Bison herd grazes along the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Bison herd grazes along the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Little outhouse on the prairie

Taken at one of the most photographed spots in Grand Teton National Park. It is tough to come up with an original composition here as it has been seen and imaged so many times by photographers far beyond my humble capability. So, rather than focusing on the historical barns and houses, I chose to give a nice look at a less picturesque structure, but one that is extraordinarily important. 😉

An outhouse on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

An outhouse on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pastel colored sunrise at the infamous Oxbow Bend

This is almost certainly the most photographed location in all of Grand Teton National Park – and for good reason. From this vantage point you have a view of the Tetons including the 12,605 foot high Mount Moran, the highest peak in the area. Below, the Snake River flows lazily, oftentimes providing picture perfect reflections of the scene above.

On our trip to the park a few weeks ago, only one morning saw weather conducive to picture taking at the spot but thankfully it turned out to be a pretty good one. The colors of sunrise were muted but still enough to color the clouds in pastels and the mountains, following a healthy winter, still had quite a lot of snow on them. Only a few ripples on the water caused by feeding fish disturbed the reflection in the water.

A paste colored sky at sunrise at Grand Teton National Park's Oxbow Bend.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A paste colored sky at sunrise at Grand Teton National Park’s Oxbow Bend. (© Tony’s Takes)

Wildflowers and the Tetons

The weather during my trip to Grand Teton National Park wasn’t ideal with quite a bit of rain and a good bit of cloud cover whether it was raining or not. Nevertheless, there were times those clouds really helped pictures and added drama. Such was the case with this image. The blooming wildflowers dominate the foreground with the snow-covered mountain peaks in the background. Above, the mostly cloudy skies added some drama.

Wildflowers bloom at the base of the Tetons in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Wildflowers bloom at the base of the Tetons in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

Schwabacher’s Landing in Grand Teton National Park

I’m back after a week in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. The weather was a bit less than ideal – even some snow! – but it was a fantastic trip with lots of sights and of course pictures to share.

This image was taken a few days ago as the family and I visited this spot we had not been to before. It was gorgeous with a little creek stemming off of the Snake River moving through, the forest and of course the Tetons in the background.

We took a nice little three mile hike through the area enjoying one of the few periods of sun we had during our time up there. Next time I am up there I must visit this same spot at sunrise and / or sunset as I know it would be amazing.

A beautiful scene at Schwabacher's Landing in Grand Teton National Park.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A beautiful scene at Schwabacher’s Landing in Grand Teton National Park. (© Tony’s Takes)

Lots of snow in the Colorado high country

This view is taken looking down on the Moraine Park area of Rocky Mountain National Park. Longs Peak is the dominating mountain to the left of center. While the lower altitudes were dry, up high, especially above timberline, there is still a lot of snow up there. Much of that is thanks to a late season snowstorm that hit a week and a half ago.

A panoramic view looking toward Longs Peak and the Moraine Park area. (© Tony’s Takes)

A panoramic view looking toward Longs Peak and the Moraine Park area. (© Tony’s Takes)

Hot air balloon above the Rocky Mountains

What a difference a couple of days make in Colorado. Just two days before this image was taken we received a late season snowstorm that shocked the residents of the Front Range. It definitely had us wondering what happened to our spring.

As is typical here though, it didn’t last long and soon we were returned to our typically beautiful weather. The morning temperatures were still crisp when I took this image but the gorgeous view of the snow-capped peaks to the west were more than enough to warm my heart.

It was a bonus that this balloon rose high in the sky, seeming to sail above those massive mountains in the background. The scene certainly served as a reminder why I love this state.

Image available for purchase here.

A hot air balloon rises above the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A hot air balloon rises above the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)