Morning photo: Sunday set

Overview …

FRISCO —I made it out for an early morning photo sesh/dogwalk today, heading to one of my favorite wrinkled areas along the shore of Dillon Reservoir. This particular stretch of shoreline is notched by deep coves, which is good for photography, because you can find different vantage points, in relation to the water and the mountains, to make the most of the reflections, and using the vegetation along the water’s edge to help frame the scenes. Once again, I was struck by how fast our area’s lodgepole pine forests are regrowing after the pine beetle outbreak that move through the north-central Colorado mountains in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In places that were logged early, many of the new trees are already two- to four-feet tall and growing densely, just like the old lodgepole pine forest. This morning’s clouds, fueled with moisture from the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolores, helped soften the light. Click on the images in this set to choose the full-size option, especially for the pano shot, and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Morning photo: The wide view …

Lovely landscapes

FRISCO —Many of the vistas in the Colorado high country are so expansive that they’re hard to capture in a single frame without a good wide angle landscape lens. Mountains stretch across the horizon as far as the eye can see and tower up high into the sky. But there’s another option — some newer smartphone cameras feature a panorama option, which enables you to move the camera, in vertical mode, across the landscape. I’ve been exploring this feature the past couple of months, finding that, even without a tripod, you can do the scenery justice. Click on the images in this set and choose the full-size option to see the full-size panos, and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Morning photo: Sunday set

Summer days …

FRISCO —From dawn to dusk, the light has been fantastic the past few days here in the Colorado high country. I was able to range a little farther from home than usual, visiting Leadville a couple of times for teen-run music festival and stopping by Mayflower Gulch along the way. From the scruffy foothills east of Leadville, the view of the giant Sawatch range is always impressive and it was a special treat to watch the sun set behind Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak. Mayflower Gulch is pretty amazing any time of year, but really comes to life with wildflowers in mid-summer.

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Morning photo: Mayflower Gulch

At treeline …

FRISCO — After a quick trip to Leadville, I turned off the highway at Mayflower Gulch to take the dogs for a short walk under building thunderstorms. As the thunder, hail and rain built in intensity, I almost jumped back in the car to head for Frisco, but I was glad I waited it out, because the storm passed pretty quickly. The short walk turned into a nice tundra jaunt. The sky stayed a bit on the gray side, which isn’t always the best for landscape shots, but it is good light for flower portraits, especially for the pale hues of the columbine, which can get lost against a bright background. What a great year for wildflowers! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Morning photo: Sunday set

Mirror in the sky …


FRISCO —Weather forecasters are telling us that the monsoon season here in the Rocky Mountains will probably start early this year. In fact, the first surge of subtropical moisture is set to arrive starting today, which is good news if you like photos with dramatic clouds and lighting, and also good news for wild mushroom hunters, since our forest fungi need those summer rains to proliferate. But even before the monsoon season kicked in this year, we saw plenty of moisture the past few weeks, leaving Summit County as green as I’ve ever seen it. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Morning photo: The mountain zone

High in the Rockies …

FRISCO —Early mornings are the best during these long summer days in the Colorado high country. Before the heat and haze build, before the traffic gets thick, it’s quite and calm, and the glow of dawn suffuses the landscape with warmth. But if you want to catch the sunrise, you’ll have to get up plenty early. If not, follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

Morning Photo: Sunday set

Perfecting panos

FRISCO —I’ve been working more on perfecting panoramic iPhone images, mainly by adjusting the speed of the pano sweep across the landscape, learning that, the slower you go, the more data the sensor captures, resulting in a sharper image. You can click a couple of times on any of these to see them full size.

Moving the camera at the same rate of speed is also important. If you slow down or speed up, it changes the light value, resulting in brighter or dimmer spots. Of course, keeping the horizon straight the whole time is also important, but even if you do, the movement tends to “bend” objects in the foreground. For example, straight logs laying perpendicular to the camera start to look curved. But used in the right way, the pano setting offers a nice alternative to a super wide angle lens, or to cropping standard size shots.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for daily photo updates and visit our online Fine Art America gallery for more Colorado landscape photography.

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