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Mountains

The Mile High City capped with clouds

While it does look kind of cool, thankfully this isn’t typical for Denver. Those of us that live here are used to seeing far more sun and warmth this time of year.

A late season storm brought cold, a lot of rain and a bit of snow to the Colorado Front Range this past week. Just to the west in the mountains they were measuring the snowfall in feet. It was a bit of a shock to the system of residents.

In reality, snow in May is not that unusual although this system was stronger that normal for this late in the season. Certainly I hope we are done with the white stuff for the season but Denver’s latest snowfall in history occurred on June 12, 1947 so you just never know.

Denver, Colorado sits under a layer of clouds after a late season snowstorm blanketed the area and the nearby Rocky Mountains in snow.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Denver, Colorado sits under a layer of clouds after a late season snowstorm blanketed the area and the nearby Rocky Mountains in snow. (© Tony’s Takes)

Fresh snow on the Colorado Front Range

Fresh snow on the Colorado Front Range. Our weather here can go from one extreme to the next. One week ago my photo excursion started quite chilly in the wake of a late spring snowfall. The white stuff blanketed the nearby Rocky Mountains and left smaller amounts down here at lower elevations. Here you see the Great Plains in the foreground and Mount Meeker and Longs Peak towering in the background. Today, one week later, we will see high temperatures reach well into the 80s and push toward record-setting territory.

Fresh snow blankets the Colorado Front Range mountains and adjacent plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Fresh snow blankets the Colorado Front Range mountains and adjacent plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A snow-covered Mount Meeker

Sometimes wildlife watching can get a bit boring but, one good thing about Colorado, when you are waiting for the critters to do something there are other things to look at. In this case, the 13,911 foot high Mount Meeker. From this angle, it does a good job of blocking its more famous and taller neighbor, Longs Peak. For climbers, Mount Meeker is actually considered a more difficult summit to attain than Longs.

Mount Meeker dominates the horizon to the west from the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Mount Meeker dominates the horizon to the west from the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

High altitude respite

Conditions at 11,493 feet high can be challenging to say the least. Now imagine you are a railroad worker in the 1880s without any of the modern conveniences we take for granted.

The Section House was built atop Boreas Pass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains to house workers that built and maintained the Denver South Park & Pacific narrow gauge railroad. The line ran from Como in the South Park area to Breckenridge, Dillon and Frisco.

Today, the road over the pass retraces the path the tracks took and is an extraordinarily scenic drive and certainly far more comfortable today than what folks had to endure back when it was built. This image was taken back at the end of September when it was still relatively hospitable up there.

The Section House sits atop a snow-covered Boreas Pass in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Section House sits atop a snow-covered Boreas Pass in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. (© Tony’s Takes)

High country Milky Way and a shooting star

Browsing through some pics from last year I came across this one that I haven’t shared. Taken on September 11 up at Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Above Mount Audubon lies the Milky Way. Toward the top right of the image you can see a meteor as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere.

I don’t really have the photo gear needed to do high quality #astrophotography but I still love getting out there every now and then and giving it a shot. This particular location is at an altitude over 10,000 feet and away from most of the contaminating influence of city lights which provides for some amazing nighttime sky viewing opportunities.

The Milky Way is seen above Mount Audubon in the Brainard Lake area.  (© Tony’s Takes)

The Milky Way is seen above Mount Audubon in the Brainard Lake area. (© 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)

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)

Video: Landscape Top Shots 2016

Well, another year is just about in the books and for me, wow, it was quite an amazing one in terms of photography. I was able to capture beautiful scenes from right near home in Colorado to ones in the Canadian Rockies. I sat down last night and gathered up what I would call my landscape ‘top shots’ from the past year and compiled them into a video. I hope you enjoy it! Best viewed full screen. Feel free to share and be on the lookout for my wildlife top shots coming later today.

A postcard scene of the Colorado plains and snow-covered Rocky Mountains

Extreme cold and a healthy shot of snow were no deterrent to me venturing out to take pictures two Sundays ago. It is times like these that wildlife almost seems to become more active than normal and perhaps best of all, keeps many of the less dedicated humans at home and out of the way. 😉

As dawn began to cast its light across the scene, I had to stop and just take it all in – the beauty of this state can be awe-inspiring and therapeutic. Two deer does were grazing in the snow-covered grass, one seemed interested in the guy with the camera. Low fog draped across the foothills and towering above, those indomitable mountains in the distance. Just a gorgeous scene that I count myself privileged to have witnessed.

A deer doe stands on the Great Plains with the snow-covered Rocky Mountains in the background.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A deer doe stands on the Great Plains with the snow-covered Rocky Mountains in the background. (© Tony’s Takes)

Denver, Colorado: Queen City of the Plains

Many folks that have never been here before envision Denver as being in the mountains. That is certainly not true. The Rocky Mountains lie just to the west of the Mile High City with Denver itself actually residing on the Great Plains.

This image, taken back in November, gives a good view of the landscape. Looking toward the west from a spot about eight miles northeast of downtown, you can see the city with the mountains towering in the background.

As everyone knows however, the city’s official elevation is one mile above sea level, 5,280 feet, as measured from the steps of the state capitol. That of course is where the city gets its primary nickname but it has also been called the Queen City of the Plains and the Queen City of the West at different times in history.

The Mile High City in fall. Looking back toward Denver from the east. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Mile High City in fall. Looking back toward Denver from the east. (© Tony’s Takes)