Global warming stretches Rocky Mountain wildflower season

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In response to global warming, pasque flowers are blooming earlier in the spring in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Colorado ecosystems will see profound changes

Staff Report

FRISCO — The Rocky Mountain wildflower season is about one month longer than it was just a few decades ago.

That  may be pleasant for hikers and photographers, but the rapid shift in the timing of seasonal blooming will have profound consequences for birds and bugs that depend on the blooms for food.

The 39-year study shows  more than two-thirds of alpine flowers have changed their blooming pattern in response to climate change. Half the flowers start to bloom weeks earlier, more than a third are reaching their peak bloom earlier, and others are producing their last blooms later in the year. Continue reading

Morning photo: Editor’s choice

High country landscapes

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Sunset over Buffalo Mountain, Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — Indulging the inner photographer, I scrolled back through the Summit Voice archives to choose a few classic Summit County scenes from seasons gone by. Summit Voice photography is for sale at our online Fine Art America gallery. Continue reading

Morning photo: Saturday …

Whew!

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Here’s how the day started in Summit County, with a little help from Instagram.

FRISCO — Labor Day weekend got off to a good, if somewhat soggy, start, with visitors from the Front Range and around the country thronging the high country for one last summer weekend, even as ski resorts started ramping up sales efforts for season passes. But the lingering monsoon has kept things pretty warm. The moist air acts like a blanket; so far we haven’t had those first few crisp nights that often do in late August, but nobody is complaining. Continue reading

Morning photo: Thursday mashup

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Snake River, Summit County Colorado

Late summer wildflowers blooming along the Snake River in Summit County, Colorado,

FRISCO — A handful of midweek shots from Summit County and beyond … remember, our daily photo sets of snapshots are a pointer. If you like what you see, visit our online gallery at FineArt America for a selection of Summit County scenes available as fine art prints or greeting cards.

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A wildflower bonus season in Summit County, Colorado, as persistent rains have kept things fresh in the high country.

Continue reading

Morning photo: Colorado tundra

In the alpine zone

Colorado wildflowers

Alpine bog laurel and globe flower.

FRISCO — All that late spring snow melted away pretty quickly once the weather warmed up in June, and the moisture is paying off with what looks like it’s going to be a bountiful wildflower season in the alpine zone. The tundra is a special place, home to species that grow around the world, either at high altitude or in far northern latitudes. It’s pretty cool to watch photo-based social media feeds like Instagram, where other nature enthusiasts are posting photos of similar species growing in Norway, for example. In any case, get out and enjoy the tundra the next couple of months, because the summer season is short up above 11,000 feet. Continue reading

Morning photo: Brilliance

Colors are popping in every way …

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A crazy blood moon over Summit County Sunday evening, as smoke from distant wildfires tinted the sky. I didn’t think the old Canon 300 mm zoom would be able to pick up this much detail in the darkness, but that full moon was pretty bright!

FRISCO —At about 10 p.m. last night, my teenager came out of his bedroom and asked, “Anybody know why the moon is bright orange?” We had noticed the wildfire haze earlier in the evening, but the sky was overcast at moonrise, so it wasn’t until the moon was pretty high that the unusual tint was visible, but what a sight. By Monday morning, most of the smoke had dispersed, but enough lingered to add just a touch of texture to the sky over the Rocky Mountains. Here’s what it looked like. Check our online FineArt America gallery for print quality landscape shots of Summit County, Colorado. Continue reading

Morning photo: Summer!

“And the livin’ is easy …”

A summer day ends peacefully along the Meadow Creek wetlands in Frisco, Colorado.

A summer day ends peacefully along the Meadow Creek wetlands in Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — It’s a timely theme for the popular #FriFotos Twitter chat: Summer begins today with the solstice, when the sun rises and sets about as far to the north as it gets. Along with the astronomical implications, summer signifies a lot more — barbecues, fireworks, swimming, camping and picnics in cool green meadows or beneath shady trees. Here’s a selection of images culled from the Summit Voice files to celebrate the start of the season. Continue reading

Morning photo: Feeling summery …

Some iPhone HDR action …

Colorado Gore Range at sunset

A wildflower sunset pano, taken with the iPhone’s HDR switched on.

FRISCO — I’ve been having some pretty good luck with my little iPhone’s built-in HDR function the last few days at sunrise and sunset. Sure, some of the Instagram filters can deliver a similar effect, but the HDR lets the image retain most of the qualities of the natural lite. In addition to using it for landscapes, I’ve tried it on some closeup shots, too, to try and capture more detail in shady spots. If you have an iPhone 4S or an iPhone 5 and you’re shooting in sketchy light, give the HDR a try! Continue reading

Morning photo: Gore Range glow

A little trek in the Lower Blue

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Alpenglow.

FRISCO —Made it back down to the Lower Blue Saturday evening to check the light at the other end of the day after shooting some sunrise shots about a week ago. A partial overcast partially foiled my plan to get the last rays of light illuminating the flowers, but I still had fun working with a 300 mm telephoto to shot some Gore Range peak portraits, and with the iPhone to try and coax some additional color from the scene. Check out our FineArt America gallery for more Summit County landscape. Continue reading

Morning photo: Mountain meadows

A trip down the Lower Blue …

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Lupines and arrowleaf balsamroot in the Williams Fork Range.

FRISCO — An early morning hike into the foothills of the Williams Fork Range, north of Silverthorne yielded a few decent photos in challenging, high-contrast light conditions. I also struggle a bit with composition as I grappled with the wide-open landscape. While colors are stunning, I often found myself looking at the viewfinder and seeing a lot of dead space in the center of the image. Without a defined subject, I looked for strong lines, formed either by the shape of the land or by the pattern of early morning light and shadows. I’m also struggling a bit with focus in some scenes, trying to get a really sharp focus, so I just pulled a fixed focal length lens out of an old camera bag to try it out on some wildflower scenes the next few days Continue reading

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