Mike Bucher Photography, LLC: Blog https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Mike Bucher Photography, LLC mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Wed, 13 May 2020 01:33:00 GMT Wed, 13 May 2020 01:33:00 GMT https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u909639306-o396147349-50.jpg Mike Bucher Photography, LLC: Blog https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog 120 80 2019 Year in Photos https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2019/11/2019-year-in-photos This year I have taken several trips, some more productive than others, and have made some good images.  But I have been somewhat delinquent in posting information about these trips and the photographic results.  Below are the brief descriptions of the efforts so far this year.

Lunar Eclipse

January

After several weeks of planning, we travelled to Bryce Canyon in western Utah to photograph the total lunar eclipse.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and we were under 90% cloud cover.  So we hurriedly changed our plans and drove back east to the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado looking for clear skies.  By the time we finally found a clear location, the moon was high above the horizon and the photos were not impressive.  After 4 days and nearly 1700 miles, the lesson learned is that weather is THE primary factor in planning night sky photo trips.

Supermoon

March

On a much shorter trip, I shot the Supermoon from locations close to home.  This time, the weather was much more cooperative.

Supermoon Rise 190320-4026Supermoon Rise 190320-4026

April

On another trip to photograph the full moon, I travelled to the Devil’s Backbone formation near Loveland, Colorado.  Unfortunately, the area west of the formation is all private land, and photo opportunities are limited.

Dowdy Lake & Nokhu Crags

May

On this trip, I drove to the Red Feather Lakes area north of Fort Collins to photograph the springtime arc of the Milky Way above Dowdy Lake.  Although I usually look for dark skies, this time the light pollution from Fort Collins added some interesting color to the image.

Dowdy Lake Milky Way 190505-9388Dowdy Lake Milky Way 190505-9388

Located just west of the Continental Divide at Cameron Pass, the Nokhu Crags in the Never Summer Mountains provided the foreground for some good Milky Way photos against dark skies.

Crags Milky Way 190506-9487Crags Milky Way 190506-9487

Four Corners

July

In early July, Arches National Park has very hot weather and large crowds of visitors from around the country and around the world.  Fortunately, the area around Turret Arch and the Windows is more peaceful at night, and I was able to make some good images of the Milky Way. 

Four Corners 190701-9719Four Corners 190701-9719

The area around Kayenta, AZ, contains several interesting rock formations, including Agathla Peak (El Capitan), a large, prominent volcanic plug.  The Milky Way arching above this formation added interest to the scene. 

San Juan Wildflowers

July

In late July, I made one of my annual treks to the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado to photograph wildflowers.  The timing of this effort is always a gamble, and this year the bloom was later than usual by about two weeks.  The heavy snows last winter left many of the Forest Service roads still blocked with snow, but I was able to find some good flowers in Porphyry Basin and near the top of Stony Pass.

Stony Pass 190722-6434Stony Pass 190722-6434 San Juan Mountains 190722-4875San Juan Mountains 190722-4875

Snowy Range

July

I made a brief trip to the Snowy Range in southern Wyoming to photograph the Milky Way above Brooklyn Lake.

Brooklyn Lakes 190730-9799Brooklyn Lakes 190730-9799

Lightning & Night Sky

August

August is monsoon season along the Colorado Front Range and Eastern Plains, and these storms often produce some spectacular lightning shows. One of the bolts struck close enough to my shooting location to chase me indoors, and another storm offered moonlit clouds with lightning inside the cloud and stars above.

Fort Collins Lightning 190714-02553Fort Collins Lightning 190714-02553 fort collins lightning 190813-03636fort collins lightning 190813-03636

The August full moon, known as the Sturgeon Moon, provided good shooting opportunities near home.

Supermoon Set 190321-4168Supermoon Set 190321-4168

Westcliffe

August

We made a brief, relaxing trip to the Wet Mountain Valley and the town of Westcliffe, the only Colorado community certified by the International Dark Sky Association.  We drove just outside of Westcliffe to find truly dark skies. 

Westcliffe Stars 190828-9878Westcliffe Stars 190828-9878 Westcliffe Stars 190829-0058Westcliffe Stars 190829-0058

On the drive back to town after shooting the stars, our headlights discovered a person lying motionless in the middle of the dirt road about four miles from town.  Our call to 911 resulted in two police vehicles and an ambulance arriving on the scene within minutes.  We never did learn the story behind this mystery.

Beartooth Highway

September

Our next trip took us through six states, over 2000 miles, and included Dinosaur National Monument, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Yellowstone National Park, Beartooth Highway, Spearfish Canyon and the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.  The highlight of the trip was the mountain scenery on the Beartooth Highway along the Montana-Wyoming border.

Beartooth Highway 190914-18364Beartooth Highway 190914-18364

On the trip through the Spearfish Canyon, we stopped at Roughlock Falls.

Spearfish Canyon 190918-18484Spearfish Canyon 190918-18484

Grand Teton National Park

September

Late September is the traditional time for Autumn color along the Grand Teton range, so I made a brief trip to this iconic location to try my luck.  I was able to find some good color...

Grand Teton NP 190925-5448 7DGrand Teton NP 190925-5448 7D

...but the highlights of the trip were a sky full of pre-dawn stars above the moonlit Grand Teton peaks...

Grand Teton NP 190925-18784Grand Teton NP 190925-18784

...and the Milky Way soaring above Jackson Lake.

Grand Teton NP 190925-0183Grand Teton NP 190925-0183

San Juan Mountains Fall Color

The latest trip was to the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado to shoot more fall color.  Just like the wildflowers, the timing of fall color is always a gamble.  And this year, the change was slightly later than usual, but it was still quite good. 

San Juan Mountains Fall Color 190930-5500 7DSan Juan Mountains Fall Color 190930-5500 7D

The Milky Way also put on a good show in the dark sky above the reflective surface of Lost Lake.

San Juan Mountains Nightscapes 190930-0222San Juan Mountains Nightscapes 190930-0222 San Juan Mountains Nightscapes 190930-0214San Juan Mountains Nightscapes 190930-0214

To see more photos from these trips, please visit the location galleries Dowdy Lake & Crags, Four Corners, San Juan Wildflowers, Snowy Range, Westcliffe, Beartooth Highway, Grand Teton, and San Juan Mountains and the subject galleries Night Sky and Lightning

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

 

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Agathla Peak Arches NP Beartooth Highway Colorado Dinosaur National Monument Dowdy Lake Grand Teton NP Idaho lightning Milky Way Montana moonrise moonset Nohku Crags Porphyry Basin Roughlock Falls San Juan Mountains Snowy Range South Dakota Stony Pass Utah Westcliffe wildflowers Wyoming https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2019/11/2019-year-in-photos Sun, 03 Nov 2019 22:33:34 GMT
2018 Fall Foliage https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/11/2018-fall-foliage Cortez Fall Foliage 181005-12032Cortez Fall Foliage 181005-12032

Again this Fall, I followed the peak color transition as it moved from north to south, travelling from southern Wyoming to southern Colorado. 

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Snowy Range, Wyoming, Laramie River, Crested Butte, and Cortez location galleries.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The search for peak fall color began along the Battle Pass Scenic Byway (WY 70) in southern Wyoming. This highway is locally known as “Aspen Alley.”  On the same trip, we travelled along the Laramie River, enjoying the peak fall color.

Wyoming Fall Color 180915-5988Wyoming Fall Color 180915-5988 Wyoming Fall Color 180915-6005Wyoming Fall Color 180915-6005
Laramie River Fall Color 80916-6037Laramie River Fall Color 80916-6037 Laramie River Fall Color 80916-6053Laramie River Fall Color 80916-6053

 

Continuing south, I visited the area around Crested Butte, and was pleased with the fall display.

Crested Butte 180924-3608Crested Butte 180924-3608 Crested Butte 180924-11505Crested Butte 180924-11505

 

Crested Butte 180925-11720Crested Butte 180925-11720

 

The final Fall trip was to the southwest corner of Colorado, between Cortez and Telluride, where we found the best color of the season.

Cortez Fall Foliage 181007-3799Cortez Fall Foliage 181007-3799 Cortez Fall Foliage 181004-11858Cortez Fall Foliage 181004-11858
Cortez Fall Foliage 181004-11896Cortez Fall Foliage 181004-11896 Cortez Fall Foliage 181005-12006Cortez Fall Foliage 181005-12006
Cortez Fall Foliage 181005-12012Cortez Fall Foliage 181005-12012 Cortez Fall Foliage 181006-3785Cortez Fall Foliage 181006-3785

 

In addition to the fall color display, this season was my first attempt at capturing the Perseid meteor shower.  I camped for two nights during the meteor shower peak and captured over twenty bright meteor trails as they streaked across the northern sky.

2018 Perseid Composite 12018 Perseid Composite 1

 

I also captured some new images of the Milky Way from dark sky locations.

Eleven Mile Milky Way 180812-9036Eleven Mile Milky Way 180812-9036 Snowy Range 180909-9095Snowy Range 180909-9095

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Snowy Range, Wyoming, Laramie River, Crested Butte, and Cortez location galleries. 
 

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

 

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Colorado Fall foliage landscapes Laramie River Milky Way nightscapes Perseid meteor shower Wyoming https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/11/2018-fall-foliage Fri, 02 Nov 2018 02:07:25 GMT
Oregon – 2018-06 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/7/oregon-2018-06 Mount Hood 180612-5484Mount Hood 180612-5484

In mid-June 2018, we took a two-week vacation trip to the Northern and Western edges of Oregon.  On the way home from our 2017 trip to Redwoods and Crater Lake, we compiled a list of places and attractions in Oregon that merited a return visit, and on this trip we were able to complete some of those visits.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Oregon 2018-06 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

First on our “bucket list” was the Columbia River Gorge. 

Columbia Gorge 180613-2827Columbia Gorge 180613-2827

The “Mighty Columbia” has carved a ninety mile long steep-sided gorge that separates the states of Oregon and Washington.  On the Oregon side, the basalt rock walls are quite vertical with impressively tall waterfalls.  We were able to visit several of them, but there were several others that were not yet accessible due to the continuing clean-up efforts following the Eagle Creek fire in September-November 2017.

Columbia Gorge 180613-18411Columbia Gorge 180613-18411 Columbia Gorge 180613-18420Columbia Gorge 180613-18420 Columbia Gorge 180613-18430Columbia Gorge 180613-18430

During our travels along the river, we stopped to watch the kiteboarders and wind surfers taking advantage of the strong winds through the Gorge.  These athletes were doing amazing feats and making it look easy.

Columbia Gorge 180614-2935Columbia Gorge 180614-2935 Columbia Gorge 180614-3026Columbia Gorge 180614-3026 Columbia Gorge 180614-2898Columbia Gorge 180614-2898

We also spent some time in the City of Portland.  One of the sights there was the huge craft fair known as Saturday Market (which actually is held on both Saturday and Sunday).   This fair attracts hundreds of vendors and thousands of customers every weekend.   The original architecture along the Willamette River was constructed of cast iron to withstand river flooding.

Portland 180616-5536Portland 180616-5536 Portland 180616-5519Portland 180616-5519 Portland 180616-5529Portland 180616-5529

We also visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden, which is a Zen-like island of tranquility in the heart of the city.

Portland 180616-5563Portland 180616-5563

Our final destination in Portland was the International Test Rose Garden.   Although there are literally thousands of bushes and millions of blossoms, the Father’s Day crowds did not lend themselves to wide-angle scenics.  Instead, I focused on close-up photos of individual blooms.  Many of the flowers are almost structural when viewed from a few inches away.

Portland Rose Garden 180617-3204Portland Rose Garden 180617-3204 Portland Rose Garden 180617-3249Portland Rose Garden 180617-3249 Portland Rose Garden 180618-3343Portland Rose Garden 180618-3343

Our final destination on this trip was the Oregon Coast.  The coastal sea stacks are quite different from the bluffs and buttes of Utah, although the same types of erosional forces are responsible for both.

Oregon Coast 180620-5644Oregon Coast 180620-5644 Oregon Coast 180619-3412Oregon Coast 180619-3412

We were able to cross several items off of our Oregon bucket list, but there are still more places to see.  We’ll be back. 

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Oregon 2018-06 gallery here.   As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) architecture Columbia River Gorge kiteboarders Mt Hood Oregon Rose Garden sea stacks waterfalls wind surfers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/7/oregon-2018-06 Fri, 27 Jul 2018 19:20:04 GMT
Capitol Reef 2018-05 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/7/capitol-reef-2018-05 In Mid-May, I made a brief visit to Capitol Reef National Park to capture more images of the canyon country and the dark night skies. 

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Capitol Reef 2018-05 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

On my way West, I camped overnight at Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and photographed the Milky Way above the canyon.   The skies at this National Park are so dark that it was difficult to get any starlight to illuminate the canyon walls.  But the starry arc of the Milky Way stood out in bright relief.

Capitol Reef 180514-8411 6D-PanoCapitol Reef 180514-8411 6D-Pano

The next day, I continued West to the main section of Capitol Reef National Park.  The only campground in this part of the Park was already full, which turned out to be OK, since the campsites there are too close together for my taste.  Instead of “KOA camping,” I stayed in a B&B on Notom Road, just outside the park.  During the hot daylight hours, I drove the full length of the Scenic Road and took several shots of the very impressive bluffs of the Waterpocket Fold.  It’s easy to see why these rock walls made this area one of the last to be fully explored in the lower 48 states.

Capitol Reef 180515-5432Capitol Reef 180515-5432 Capitol Reef 180516-18347Capitol Reef 180516-18347 Capitol Reef 180515-5441Capitol Reef 180515-5441
     

My chosen nightscape shooting location in this part of the park was the Chimney Rock trailhead, where I shot a stacked composite panorama of the Milky Way.

Capitol Reef 180515-8659 6D-PanoCapitol Reef 180515-8659 6D-Pano

My final stop on this outing was Cathedral Valley, in the less-visited northern part of the Park.  With the exception of one primitive campground, the camping in this part of the park is all dispersed.

Capitol Reef 180517-18374Capitol Reef 180517-18374 Capitol Reef 180517-18379Capitol Reef 180517-18379 Capitol Reef 180517-2826Capitol Reef 180517-2826

The night skies in this deserted part of the park are especially dark, and a panorama above the Temple of the Sun showed the Milky Way at its best.

Capitol Reef 180518-8938 6D-Pano composite 1Capitol Reef 180518-8938 6D-Pano composite 1  

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Capitol Reef 2018-05 gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Black Canyon of the Gunnison canyons Capitol Reef Milky Way nightscape https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/7/capitol-reef-2018-05 Thu, 26 Jul 2018 21:25:08 GMT
Valley of the Gods 2018-04 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/4/valley-of-the-gods-2018-04 To capture the Milky Way during the April new moon, I returned to the Valley of the Gods in southeastern Utah.

Valley of the Gods 180414-8248 6D-PanoValley of the Gods 180414-8248 6D-Pano

My return to Utah for this lunar cycle was primarily determined by the weather.  Storms were taking place in Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota, while clear skies were predicted further south.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Valley of the Gods 2018-04 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

During the day, the Valley of the Gods contains an impressive collection of 1000-foot buttes and free-standing spires.

Valley of the Gods 180415-2762Valley of the Gods 180415-2762

Valley of the Gods 180415-2779Valley of the Gods 180415-2779

Valley of the Gods 180415-2763 7D-PanoValley of the Gods 180415-2763 7D-Pano

 

After dark, the Valley has relatively dark skies that allow the stars to steal the show.

Valley of the Gods 180414-8231Valley of the Gods 180414-8231

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Valley of the Gods 180415-8310 6D Composite 1Valley of the Gods 180415-8310 6D Composite 1

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Although the Valley is a primitive location with no water or facilities, it compensates for these inconveniences with interesting geology, solitude, and bright, clear skies.  To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Valley of the Gods 2018-04 location gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) astrophotography milky way night sky nightscape stars' utah valley of the gods https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/4/valley-of-the-gods-2018-04 Fri, 20 Apr 2018 03:28:53 GMT
Valley of the Gods 2018-01 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/2/valley-of-the-gods-2018-01 During the last few days of January, I visited the Valley of the Gods in southeast Utah.  This area, which was part of the Bears Ears National Monument until the monument was greatly reduced in size, has very little population, little visitation, and very dark skies.  Those facts, plus the Valley’s  scenic buttes and bluffs, made this an excellent location to shoot the total lunar eclipse on the morning of January 31st.

Valley of the Gods 180131-17158 5D Composite 5Valley of the Gods 180131-17158 5D Composite 5
To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Valley of the Gods 2018-01 location gallery.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

For nearly a week before the trip, I studied maps, read internet articles and used smart phone apps to plan the trip and the specific timing of the eclipse.  I arrived a couple days before the eclipse to scout locations in person, and to shoot the starry skies above the buttes.

Valley of the Gods Stars 180129-8078Valley of the Gods Stars 180129-8078 Valley of the Gods Stars 180129-8082Valley of the Gods Stars 180129-8082

Since the moon was nearly full during the nights just before the eclipse, I also made some moonrise shots above the rock formations.

Valley of the Gods 180129-2455 7D Composite 3Valley of the Gods 180129-2455 7D Composite 3 Valley of the Gods 180129-16910 5D Composite 1Valley of the Gods 180129-16910 5D Composite 1

 

During the eclipse I took several lunar “close-ups” to show the changes in color and the details of the moon’s surface

Valley of the Gods 180131-2485Valley of the Gods 180131-2485 Valley of the Gods 180131-2501Valley of the Gods 180131-2501

Finally, during the daylight hours, I re-visited the scenic areas throughout the valley.

Valley of the Gods 180130-16942 PanoValley of the Gods 180130-16942 Pano

This trip pointed out the benefits of careful advanced planning for celestial events.  Using the Photo Pills app on my phone allowed me to be in the right place at the right time to capture this heavenly event.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Valley of the Gods 2018-01 gallery.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) lunar eclipse moonrise starry skies valley of the gods https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2018/2/valley-of-the-gods-2018-01 Tue, 06 Feb 2018 19:58:03 GMT
Colorado Fall Foliage 2017-10 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/10/colorado-fall-foliage-2017-10

Southern Mountains 171003-3399 5DSouthern Mountains 171003-3399 5D

This year, I made three trips to the Colorado high country to photograph the fall colors, with some additional opportunities to capture some starry nightscapes.  My plan was to follow the fall color change from North to South, catching the peak color in each area.

To see more photos from these trips, please visit the Colorado Fall Foliage 2017-10 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

I started this Fall season in Colorado’s northern mountains around Steamboat Springs.  I camped along Buffalo Pass Road and took several photos of the Milky Way, but the light pollution from the town of Steamboat Springs washed out some of the dark sky.  As I was shooting, a car drove by and illuminated the aspens along the road, leading to a very different photo. 

 

Northern Mountains 170916-08643 ILCE-7SNorthern Mountains 170916-08643 ILCE-7S

Headlights and Starlight

 

I moved on to Hahn’s Peak Lake, where the weather closed in, and then to Rocky Mountain National Park.  RMNP was more crowded than I expected for mid-September, but the crowds were gone when I shot the Milky Way above Bear Lake and Sprague Lake.  Shooting in different directions gave different amounts of light pollution from Estes Park, and different colors in the night sky

 

Northern Mountains 170918-7665 6DNorthern Mountains 170918-7665 6D

Bear Lake Milky Way

Northern Mountains 170918-7709 6DNorthern Mountains 170918-7709 6D

Sprague Lake Milky Way

 

On my second trip, the fall color was better in the central mountains around Crested Butte.

Central Mountains 170924-5001 X-T1Central Mountains 170924-5001 X-T1 Central Mountains 170923-4916 X-T1Central Mountains 170923-4916 X-T1

Central Mountains 170924-3304 5DCentral Mountains 170924-3304 5D

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I also found a couple wildlife subjects.  Driving down from Lake Irwin, I was surrounded by a family of moose, the bull, cow and two calves, but only the bull was willing to pose for me.  Just outside of Gothic, I saw a fox carrying his lunch along the road, and he was kind enough to drop his meal and give me a smile.

Central Mountains 170925-1684 7DCentral Mountains 170925-1684 7D

Central Mountains 170925-5101 X-T1Central Mountains 170925-5101 X-T1

 

My third trip was to the southern mountains between Ridgway and Cortez, where the fall color was on full display. 

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Part of this trip was a drive on Last Dollar Road between Ridgway and Telluride.  There is a sign at the north end of this road warning about very slick mud when wet, but I have driven this road many times without any problems.  But this trip was different.  After an overnight snow and early morning melting, the road surface was wet with frozen soil below, and about a mile of the steep downhill slope was as slick as grease.  My sole focus as I fish-tailed down this section was making it down alive.

The fall color display in the Colorado mountains is always a pleasure to behold.  To see more photos from these trips, please visit the Colorado Fall Foliage 2017-10 location gallery here

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

 

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) "last dollar road" "milky way" "san juan mountains" "steamboat springs" telluride aspens fox moose "fall color" colorado cortez crested butte hahn's peak lake https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/10/colorado-fall-foliage-2017-10 Sat, 21 Oct 2017 22:36:56 GMT
Wyoming Solar Eclipse 2017-08 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/9/wyoming-solar-eclipse-2017-08 Solar Eclipse Closeups 170821-0147Solar Eclipse Closeups 170821-0147

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Wyoming Solar Eclipse 2017-08 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

At first, I was not going to shoot this once-in-a-lifetime event.    But as I heard and read more about the uniqueness of it, along with the tools and techniques needed, I started to get the urge.  After some last-minute scrambling to get solar glasses and solar filters for the lenses, I drove up to central Wyoming to a rural location just south of Casper and near the centerline of the path of totality.

Campgrounds in the area were already filled by people who had done a much better job of planning in advance.  I stopped along a back road to practice finding the sun through the 400mm lens and the solar filter, which turned out to be harder than it appears.  I was putting away the equipment when I was joined by a local landowner, who told me I was on private property.  I apologized and ask where I could find some public land where I could camp for several days.  He explained that it is difficult to identify public lands because the public and private lands are very intermixed, the atlas does not show land ownership, and there is no requirement to post private property in Wyoming.   After several minutes of friendly conversation, he told me he knew where I could camp, and led me onto his property to a shaded campsite next to a creek, where he and his family had camped while building his cabin.  Over the next three days, I had 160 acres to myself to practice eclipse techniques and shoot some very dark Milky Way skies.   One the day of the eclipse, I set up two cameras, one for a timelapse of the phases of the pre-eclipse, plus totality, and the other for close-up of the sun just before and after totality.

Solar Eclipse Timelapse 170821-0098Solar Eclipse Timelapse 170821-0098

Totality Phases 4Totality Phases 4

I also took advantage of the very dark skies in that area of Wyoming to shoot several different Milky Way scenes.

Wyoming Milky Way 170817-07911Wyoming Milky Way 170817-07911

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Wyoming Solar Eclipse 2017-08Wyoming Solar Eclipse 2017-08

 

This trip was an exercise in good fortune: the solar filter and solar glasses arrived just in time, I was lucky enough to encounter a welcoming landowner and stay on his property, and there were clear skies and moderate temperatures for the entire trip. I had time to practice camera settings and had some down time to relax. Overall, an enjoyable and productive outing.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Wyoming Solar Eclipse 2017-08 gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) eclipse milky way solar total wyoming https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/9/wyoming-solar-eclipse-2017-08 Sat, 02 Sep 2017 00:35:00 GMT
Colorado Wildflowers 2017-07 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/8/colorado-wildflowers-2017-07

Wildflowers 170712-4356Wildflowers 170712-4356  

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In mid-July, I spent a few days in the southern and northern mountains shooting the annual wildflower spectacle.  I was also able to capture a few good night sky photos. 

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Colorado Wildflowers 2017-07 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The first destination was the San Juan Mountains.  The flowers around the Blue Lakes were just before peak condition, although there was still ice on the Upper Blue Lake.

Southern Mtns Wildflowers 170710-4029Southern Mtns Wildflowers 170710-4029

 

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The flowers at Stony Pass were in excellent condition

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A week later, I visited the northern mountains and found some very good stands of wildflowers

Northern Mtns Wildflowers 170719-4615Northern Mtns Wildflowers 170719-4615

Northern Mtns Wildflowers 170718-4517Northern Mtns Wildflowers 170718-4517

 

While in the northern mountains, I also made several photos of the night sky

Northern Mtns Nightscapes 170718-723Northern Mtns Nightscapes 170718-723

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This was a good year for wildflowers in the Colorado high country, with plentiful moisture and favorable weather.  It is always a pleasure to visit and soak in the beauty.   To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Colorado Wildflowers 2017-07 location gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) blue lakes colorado milky way stony pass wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/8/colorado-wildflowers-2017-07 Sat, 05 Aug 2017 04:58:00 GMT
Redwoods Parks & Southwest Oregon 2017-06 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/7/redwoods-parks-southwest-oregon-2017-06

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Our long-distance photo trip for 2017 was to the Redwoods parks of northern California and the southwestern corner of Oregon, including Crater Lake National Park.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Redwoods 2017-06 and Southwest Oregon 2017-06  location galleries here and here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

Our first destination was the Redwood state and national parks in northern California.  Our itinerary took us through Wyoming, Idaho and western Oregon to the tiny hamlet of Klamath, California on the Yurok Indian reservation.  From there, we visited several parks to see groves of massive redwoods.  These trees are nothing like the trees in other areas, including the Sequoia trees further south.

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Just north of the parks in Crescent City, we found some poppies that are an attractive alternative to the wildflowers of the Rockies

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From the Redwoods, we drove north to Crater Lake National Park.

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Although the park was open, half of the Rim Drive was still snow-bound and the holiday crowds often overwhelmed the roads and parking lots.  Even with the crowds and closed trails, the park did offer some very scenic views, including starry night skies above Wizard Island.

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Because we visited the park during the July Fourth weekend, the crowds were more than we wanted, so we opted to look instead for waterfalls along the Umpqua River and covered bridges in the Cottage Grove area

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Our visits to the Redwood groves and the area around Cottage Grove left us looking forward to return visits for more exploration and more photos . 

To see additional photos from this trip, please visit the Redwoods 2017-06 and Southwest Oregon 2017-06 location galleries here and here.

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) covered bridge crater lake oregon redwoods waterfall https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/7/redwoods-parks-southwest-oregon-2017-06 Sun, 16 Jul 2017 05:11:00 GMT
Bears Ears National Monument 2017-05 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/6/bears-ears-national-monument Utah 2017-05 170521-3309Utah 2017-05 170521-3309

Valley of the Gods Panorama

This trip to Bears Ears National Monument in the southeast corner of Utah was focused on nightscapes and Indian ruins.  This area of Utah is extremely rich in historical artifacts, including some spectacular granaries and dwellings.  Almost every canyon contains evidence of extensive native habitation dating back to 1200AD.  This part of the state also has truly dark night skies.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Utah 2017-05 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

Two of the more well-known Indian ruins are located relatively close to each other in Road Canyon and Mule Canyon.

Utah 2017-05 170522-3343Utah 2017-05 170522-3343 House on Fire Ruin

Utah 2017-05 170522-3347Utah 2017-05 170522-3347 Fallen Roof House Ruin

 

Valley of the Gods is a scenic backcountry area in southeastern Utah, near Mexican Hat. It is a hidden gem with scenery similar to that of nearby Monument Valley. Valley of the Gods has isolated buttes, towering pinnacles and wide open spaces that seem to go on forever.  Valley of the Gods offers scenery similar to Monument Valley without the tribal restrictions; it is located on BLM land and is open for hiking, backpacking and camping.

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Valley of the Gods has some of the darkest skies in the nation, which allow the stars and Milky Way to be very visible.

 
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Adjoining the Bears Ears monument is the Natural Bridges National Monument.  The three bridges in this monument are a testament to the power of water in creating interesting sandstone bridges.  These bridges take on a very different appearance after dark.

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Finally, I visited the San Rafael Reef area, with its towering bluffs that once presented significant obstacles to westward migration through this region

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This area of the Colorado Plateau continues to offer amazing photo opportunities, and draws me back time after time.   To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Utah 2017-05 gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) bears ears nm milky way natural bridges national monument ruins valley of the gods https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/6/bears-ears-national-monument Fri, 16 Jun 2017 00:35:00 GMT
Four Corners 2017-04 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/5/four-corners-2017-04

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Storm Clouds Above the San Juans

Have you ever had one of those trips where poor weather seemed to follow you everywhere you went? 

My trip to the San Juan Mountains this April was one of those trips.  My primary objective for this outing was to shoot the starry skies above the mountains around Ouray, Colorado.  Unfortunately, it rained or snowed every night of the trip.  So I switched my attention to snowy landscapes, and finally went further south in search of better weather.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Four Corners 2017-04 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

For the first two days of the trip, the rain continued off-and-on throughout the day, with snow at the higher elevations.  During the brief clear periods, I was able to get a couple shots of old mining structures along the Million Dollar Highway south of Ouray, and one panorama of the Uncompahgre River drainage.

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Joke Mine

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Cumberland Mill

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Uncompahgre River Valley

After two days of clouds and gray light, I checked the weather radar and decided to go further south to the northwest corner of New Mexico, where I hoped to find clearer skies.  After a white knuckle drive over the snow-packed Red Mountain Pass, I found improved weather and dry roads.  I continued south of Farmington to the Bisti Wilderness.  Once I got to this trail-less, unsigned wilderness area, I used a GPS to hike to an area of strange hoodoos.  The soft mudstone layer in these dry washes is protected by slightly harder sandstone, leading to some very precarious balanced rocks.  I shot some of the formations in mid-day light, before the clouds closed in for another night of rain.

 

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The same can be said of this trip that is often quoted about baseball games: “You win some and you lose some.  And some are rained out.”

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Four Corners 2017-04 gallery here.   

 As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/5/four-corners-2017-04 Sun, 07 May 2017 23:51:46 GMT
Utah 2017-03 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/4/utah-2017-03 Utah 2017-03

 

Mesa Arch Milky Way & Moonrise

After several months without any photo travel, I decided to visit the southeast corner of Utah and the northwest corner of New Mexico to photograph the red rocks and night skies.

 

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Utah 2017-03 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

 

I started my visit by driving along the Colorado River on the Colorado Riverway Scenic Parkway just outside Moab, Utah.  This drive at river level gives a dramatic view of the bluffs and buttes carved by the river.

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From Moab, it's a short drive to Canyonlands National Park, where you view the canyons carved by the Green River and Colorado River from the mesa above.  The canyons are immense and cover hundreds of square miles of fantastic shapes.

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Canyonlands NP has very dark skies, which makes it possible to get an excellent view of the starry firmament.

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From Canyonlands, I drove southeast to Shiprock & Bisti Wilderness.  Shiprock in northwest New Mexico is an ancient volcanic spire that is sacred to the Navajo.  It can be seen for over 50 miles in all directions.  Bisti Wilderness is a remote area of dry washes and strange hoodoos just south of Farmington, NM.  I plan to visit this area again after dark to capture stary skies above these strange formations.

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My final step on this trip was a drive through Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  Here, the Colorado River has carved massive canyons before being bottled up by the Glen Canyon Dam to form Lake Powell.  The juxtaposition of red rock canyons and snow-covered mountains is striking.

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The Colorado Plateau continues to offer great vistas and pleasant surprises.  To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Utah 2017-03 gallery here.   

                                                                                                                       

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Bisti Wilderness Canyonlands Colorado Riverway Milky Way Shiprock nightscapes sunset https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2017/4/utah-2017-03 Sun, 23 Apr 2017 00:37:47 GMT
Colorado Fall Color 2016-10 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/colorado-fall-color-2016-10

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This fall season, I decided to try something a little different.  I took three trips within four weeks to different sections of the Colorado high country, following the fall color as it peaked through the mountains.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Colorado Fall Color 2016-10 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

I started with a brief visit to the northern mountains around Steamboat Springs and the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.  The fall foliage around Hahn’s Peak Lake was very colorful, and the night skies were very dark.

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The foliage along the road to Buffalo Pass is usually very impressive, and this year was no exception.

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My next stop was the San Juan Mountains between Ridgway and Hermosa.  This visit coincided with peak fall foliage throughout the area, with some of the best color in several years.

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The area around Ophir was especially colorful on this visit

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I finished the visits with a trip to the central mountains around Crested Butte, where I encountered a taste of winter mixed with the fall color

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This trip showed a full range of fall color, from early-season mixed greens and yellows to late-season fall color with snow. 

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Colorado Fall Color 2016-10 gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Milky Way San Juan Mountains West Elk Mountains aspens fall color https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/colorado-fall-color-2016-10 Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:41:12 GMT
Black Hills 2016-11 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/black-hills-2016-11

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We took a Thanksgiving vacation to Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  This trip included the Norbeck Scenic Byway through the Black Hills and a side trip to Badlands National Park.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Black Hills 2016-11 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

On the first night in the park, I got a chance to try out my new Vixen star tracker to shoot the night sky.  This device allows the camera to follow the rotation of the earth and keeps the stars as points of light, even with a telephoto lens and two minute exposures.  The results show real promise.

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We were able to get some close-up shots of bighorn sheep and bison, and in some cases the animals were almost too close for comfort.

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The geologic formations in the Badlands are truly fantastic, with layers of different colors and incredible eroded shapes.

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Finally, we took a short side trip to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, one of the most patriotic locations in the western U.S.

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This trip provided a pleasant holiday getaway with several good photo opportunities.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Black Hills 2016-11 location gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Badlands NP Black Hills bighorn sheep bison stars https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/black-hills-2016-11 Wed, 14 Dec 2016 23:46:40 GMT
Snowy Range 2016-08 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/snowy-range-2016-08 During the new moon at the end of August, I took a short trip to the Snowy Range to shoot the Milky Way from a very dark sky location.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Snowy Range 2016-08 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

This sequence shows the changes in Milky Way appearance as the sky gets darker and the stars show more brightly

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The night sky continues to keep me out late shooting the stars.  It’s a fascinating subject.

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Bright Milky Way

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Snowy Range 2016-08 location gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Milky Way Snowy Range https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/snowy-range-2016-08 Wed, 14 Dec 2016 23:24:57 GMT
San Juan Wildflowers 2016-08 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/san-juan-wildflowers In early August, I made my annual wildflower pilgrimage to the West Elk Mountains and the San Juans. 

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the San Juan Wildflowers 2016-08 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

I started this trip above Crested Butte at Paradise Divide.  After setting up camp and taking a few shots of flowers and sunset, a hiker came to the car and asked if I had any water and if I could give him a ride into town.  Turns out he had hiked from Lake Irwin (20 miles) and the driver who was supposed to pick him up had not arrived.  The hiker had broken his water bottle along the trail and appeared to be suffering from exhaustion and dehydration, so I made room in the car, gave him a bottle of Gatorade and drove down Slate River road in the dark to Crested Butte, where we were met by his sister.  Then I drove that same narrow shelf road back up to Paradise Divide in the dark, went to bed, and then got up at midnight to shoot the stars.  This encounter certainly made for an interesting night.                      

The areas around Paradise Divide and Emerald Lake always seem to have an abundance of wildflowers and great scenic opportunities that keep me coming back year after year.

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Cinnamon Mountain

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Lupines & Mule Ears

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Cloudy Milky Way

After reading about the wildflower and scenic opportunities at Blue Lakes near Ridgway, I decided to have a look for myself.  The hike to the Lower Blue Lake is quite steep in spots, but the climb is certainly worth the effort and the views and the flowers got even better between Lower Blue Lake and the Middle lake.

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During the hike back to the trailhead, the skies darkened and it started to rain lightly.  Thank goodness I take rain protection on my hikes.  After a short while, thunder echoed off the mountainsides, the rain got heavier and it started to hail.  This wet weather continued the entire 4 miles back to the trailhead.

On this trip, I also visited Stony Pass outside of Silverton and the American Basin on the Alpine Loop, but the photo opportunities in both areas were limited by overcast skies and rain storms.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the San Juan Wildflowers 2016-08 location gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Blue Lakes Milky Way San Juan Mountains West Elk Mountains waterfall wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/san-juan-wildflowers Wed, 14 Dec 2016 23:07:23 GMT
Rabbit Ears Pass, Turquoise Lake 2016-07 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/rabbit-ears-pass-turquoise-lake-2016-07 At the end of July, I made a short trip to the northern Colorado mountains to make photos of wildflowers in the high country.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Rabbit Ears Pass & Turquoise Lake 2016-07 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The area around Dumont Lake between Muddy Pass and Rabbit Ears Pass consistently has a great wildflower display, and this year was no exception:

Wildflowers 160727-8817 5DWildflowers 160727-8817 5D Lupines & paintbrush

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Turquoise Lake outside Leadville is an excellent location for shooting the Milky Way

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Milky Way reflection

Although the timing of this trip was slightly late for this area, the flowers were still quite beautiful.  And three days in the high country is always a pleasure.

Rabbit Ears Pass & Turquoise Lake 2016-07Rabbit Ears Pass & Turquoise Lake 2016-07 Dumont Lake Sunset

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Rabbit Ears Pass & Turquoise Lake 2016-07 location gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Milky Way sunset wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/12/rabbit-ears-pass-turquoise-lake-2016-07 Wed, 14 Dec 2016 23:06:36 GMT
Capturing The Light Photo Exhibit https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/5/capturing-the-light-photo-exhibit On May 6th, I was honored to have three of my photos accepted in a juried photo exhibit titled Capturing The Light at the Cultural Arts Council gallery in Estes Park, Colorado.

Colorado Riverway CloudsColorado Riverway Clouds

These photos, along with the work of eleven other artists, will remain on exhibit until May 29th, 2016.  For more information on the exhibit, please visit the CAC website here.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Cultural Art Council exhibit juried photo https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/5/capturing-the-light-photo-exhibit Fri, 13 May 2016 00:38:32 GMT
Badlands NP 2016-03 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/3/badlands-np-2016-03 This trip to the Badlands NP was intended to be a solo camping trip to shoot the Milky Way above the Badlands formations.  However, because of the early Spring date, the campgrounds were closed and visitor center on short hours.  As luck would have it, most of the businesses in nearby Wall, SD, were also closed for the season.  But in spite of those complications, the Milky Way was still there, and the craggy formations in the park were interesting, especially at sunrise and sunset.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Badlands NP 2016-03 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The Badlands National Park, located just south of Wall, South Dakota in the high plains just east of the Black Hills, consists of more than 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires, and the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States.  The Badlands contain miles of bizarre, colorful spires and pinnacles, massive buttes and deep gorges. Erosion of the Badlands reveals sedimentary layers of different colors: purple and yellow (shale), tan and gray (sand and gravel), red and orange (iron oxides) and white (volcanic ash).

 

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The night skies in Badlands were not as dark as I expected, with several small towns generating areas of light pollution along the horizon, but the Milky Way was still impressive above the spires and pinnacles.

 

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To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Badlands NP 2016-03 gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Badlands Milky Way South Dakota light painting spires sunrise sunset https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2016/3/badlands-np-2016-03 Thu, 17 Mar 2016 02:45:34 GMT
Yosemite & Sequoia 2015-10 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/11/yosemite-sequoia-2015-10 We finally made the journey to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, locations that had eluded us for several years.  Both parks were still busy in mid-October, but less crowded than during the high season.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Yosemite & Sequoia 2015-10 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

During our drive across Nevada, we were met with a significant thunderstorm.  Out on the desert, you can see a storm coming from quite a distance, and this one looked serious.  The rain was heavy enough to cause the roadside ditches to flow with several inches of water – in the desert.

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In Yosemite Valley, we visited the oft-photographed favorites.

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Yosemite Falls

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For most of our short visit, the skies were clear, with few clouds to make the sunsets interesting.  But we were able to capture some good evening color on the valley walls.

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From Yosemite, we visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.  Kings Canyon was open, but the only road into the Clarks Grove area was still closed due to mop-up efforts following the Rough forest fire.  But the Grant Grove of sequoia trees was open, and it gave us our first good look at these huge trees.

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We continued into Sequoia NP where we were even more impressed with these cinnamon-colored giants.

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We were glad to finally see these iconic locations, and equally glad to get back home after long drives across Nevada and Utah.  Of the two parks, we found Sequoia more interesting and more peaceful.  We will make an effort to return, possibly when there is snow on the trees, or in the Spring when the dogwoods are in bloom.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Yosemite & Sequoia 2015-10 gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Kings Canyon - Sequoia National Park Sequoia National Park Yosemite Valley sequoia thunderstorm waterfalls https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/11/yosemite-sequoia-2015-10 Thu, 05 Nov 2015 06:58:05 GMT
San Juan Mountains 2015-09 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/11/san-juan-mountains-2015-09 A trip to the San Juan Mountains to view and photograph the fall color in the high country has become an annual pilgrimage for me, and this year’s trip was very productive.

In addition to many great fall displays, this trip included an opportunity to photograph the total eclipse of the Supermoon.  To read about that experience, please click here.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the San Juan Mountains 2015-09 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

This trip started in the Elk Mountains at McClure Pass and continued south through the West Elk range to the famous aspen groves of Kebler Pass

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I camped at Lost Lake campground and watched as a small fox caught his dinner then curled up for a nap.

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The Cimarron Mountains put on a spectacular color display around Silver Jack Reservoir

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The San Juans showed excellent color everywhere from Ridgway to Cortez and Durango.

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As usual, the mountain skies always put on a great show

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To see more photos from this trip, please visit the San Juan Mountains 2015-09 location gallery here

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) San Juan Mountains aspens autumn fall sunrise sunset https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/11/san-juan-mountains-2015-09 Sun, 01 Nov 2015 21:17:16 GMT
Supermoon Total Eclipse https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/11/supermoon-total-eclipse

My annual fall foliage visit to the San Juan Mountains coincided with a rare celestial event, a total eclipse of the Moon while it was at its closest distance (perigee) to Earth during its orbit.  A “supermoon” is especially impressive because it is approximately 10% larger than the average moon and about 15% brighter.  Coupled with the total eclipse, the whole event was truly dramatic.

To kick off my San Juans Fall foliage trip, I went to McClure Pass.  After checking the Photographers Ephemeris for the timing and direction of the moonrise, I selected McClure Pass for its unobstructed view of the eastern sky and the view of nearby mountains.  After claiming a camping spot at nearby McClure Pass campground, I drove up a side road to get prepared for what I assumed would be a solitary vigil.  But as the afternoon turned into evening, more people joined me to watch the spectacle and my solitary location turned into an eclipse watching party. 

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Supermoon Total Eclipse gallery here.   Click on any image below to see a larger version.

Just Before Totality

During Totality

Just After Totality


When I returned from the trip, I combined three of the eclipse photos into a composite that shows the moon passing through totality of the eclipse.

Supermoon eclipses are quite rare, and the next one will not occur for another 18 years.   So I am grateful that I was able to get a clear view of this one, and to share it with several new friends.

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.]]>
mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) McClure Pass San Juan Mountains Supermoon eclipse watching party total eclipse https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/11/supermoon-total-eclipse Sun, 01 Nov 2015 18:41:20 GMT
Park Range 2015-09 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/10/park-range-2015-09 I took a quick overnight camping trip to the Crested Butte area to shoot the fall color in the northern mountains before my trip to the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado.  The Fall color display in the Park Range was quite good around Pearl Lake and Steamboat Lake.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Park Range 2015-09 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

Steamboat Springs 150923-0127 5D 0E0-Pano.jpgSteamboat Springs 150923-0127 5D 0E0-Pano.jpg Pearl Lake Hillside (private) Steamboat Springs 150923-0156 5D 0E0-Pano.jpgSteamboat Springs 150923-0156 5D 0E0-Pano.jpg Steamboat Lake

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Steamboat Lake

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To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Park Range 2015-09 gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Park Range Pearl Lake Steamboat Lake aspens fall foliage sunset https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/10/park-range-2015-09 Fri, 02 Oct 2015 00:15:00 GMT
Grand Canyon North Rim 2015-08 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/9/grand-canyon-north-rim-2015-08 This solo camping trip to the Grand Canyon North Rim was a follow up our trip to the South Rim in April.  While the two locations are only twelve miles apart as the crow flies, they are quite different experiences.  The South Rim has larger crowds, warmer temperatures, more visitor facilities, and less forest cover.

This trip also included several other iconic locations in Northern Arizona: Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley, and Canyon de Chelly.  Each of these locations offered views of the dramatic canyons and bluffs of the American Southwest.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Grand Canyon North Rim 2015-08 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The North Rim offers several viewpoints of the canyon, including Cape Royal, Point Imperial, and Bright Angel Point.  These overlooks are especially dramatic at sunrise and sunset, when the low-angled light brings out the texture and color of the canyon walls

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Cape Royal

Horseshoe Bend just outside of Page, AZ, is a stunning bend in the Colorado River, with sheer canyon walls of over 1000 feet.

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My attempt to visit the Lower Antelope Canyon was thwarted by Mother Nature when she decided to put on a thunderstorm nearby.  The Navajo guides wisely decided that the possibility of a flash flood in the narrow slot canyon outweighed the need for photos.  That location will have to wait for another visit.  But the rainstorm yielded a different kind of photo opportunity.

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My next destination was Monument Valley, a Navajo Tribal Park that has been the setting of numerous Western movies.

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Sunset Beams Above Merrick Butte

 

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My final destination on this trip was Canyon de Chelly, which has overlooks on both the north and south rims. Like Mesa Verde in southwest Colorado, this canyon was the long-time home of ancestral tribes, who left behind several well-preserved ruins.  The Navajo continue to occupy this canyon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One of the more spectacular sights in the canyon is Spider Rock, which according to Navajo legend is the home of Spider Woman.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Grand Canyon North Rim 2015-08 gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Antelope Canyon Bright Angel Point Canyon du Chelly Cape Royal Grand Canyon Horseshoe Bend Merrick Butte Monument Valley North Window Point Imperial Spider Rock The Mittens White House Ruin https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/9/grand-canyon-north-rim-2015-08 Wed, 02 Sep 2015 00:15:00 GMT
American Basin 2015-07 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/8/american-basin-2015-07 Late July is wildflower season in the high country of the San Juan Mountains.  I took a six-day camping trip to American Basin and the high basins around Ouray to capture this beauty and found the flowers to be in very good condition.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the American Basin 2015-07 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

Spring comes late to American Basin, high in the San Juan Mountains just off of the famous Alpine Loop road.  But when it finally arrives, the flowers in the basin can be spectacular.

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While camping overnight in the American Basin, I captured a moonlight shot of the mountains and a sky full of stars and wind-blown clouds.

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The high basins around Ouray were also in great condition, with flowers in profusion

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To see more photos from this trip, please visit the American Basin 2015-07 gallery here.

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) American Basin Governor Basin Ouray Porphyry Basin San Juan Mountains wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/8/american-basin-2015-07 Sun, 02 Aug 2015 00:15:00 GMT
Crested Butte 2015-07 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/7/crested-butte-2015-07  

In mid-July I visited the Crested Butte area in search of wildflowers and Milky Way reflections, and found both.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Crested Butte 2015-07 location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The small pond at the top of Paradise Divide offers great opportunities for reflections at sunrise and sunset.  It also offers great reflections of the night sky.  This small pond is one of my favorite locations in the Crested Butte area.

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Crested Butte has been named as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, and in most years the title is well-deserved.  The forest service roads into the West Elk Mountains and the area around Emerald Lake offer a wide variety of flowers, and they were in good shape on this trip

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There was a challenge on this trip that I have not encountered before.  On Friday afternoon, the camping spots around Paradise Divide filled quickly.  This was a marked contrast to mid-week, when I camped there completely alone.  In addition, there was a great deal of gunfire quite near the camp sites.  After several hundred (!!) rounds had been fired, I called 911 to request a visit by the sheriff's deputy.  They told me that recreational shooting is allowed on public land, regardless of the proximity to campers or other users, but agreed to come and check the situation.  Since the shooters were on the other side of a ridge, the deputy could not require them to stop.

This experience has put travelling in the backcountry in a whole new light for me, and I will choose my campsites with more care (and more distance from towns).

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Crested Butte 2015-07 location gallery here.   

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Milky Way Paradise Divide West Elk Mountains recreational shooting reflections wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/7/crested-butte-2015-07 Sun, 26 Jul 2015 00:15:00 GMT
Wind River Range, Wyoming https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/6/wind-river-range-wyoming The Wind River Range is a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains, running almost 100 miles southeast from the Tetons.  The majority of the range is within the Bridger Wilderness and the Wind River Indian Reservation.  Most of the range is accessible only on foot or horseback, and there are very few roads that allow a close approach to the mountains.

Our base of operations was the town of Pinedale, Wyoming, which bills itself as the gateway to the “Winds”.  It is the only town of any size on the western slope of the Winds between Jackson and Rock Springs.

The objective of our trip was to photograph the spring wildflowers, and we were able to find several good examples. 

 

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We also visited Green River Lakes, the source of the Green River.

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To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Wind River Range gallery  here.

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

 

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Green River Lakes Wind River Range wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/6/wind-river-range-wyoming Sun, 21 Jun 2015 00:15:00 GMT
Utah National Parks https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/5/utah-national-parks Arches Windows PanoramaArches Windows Panorama This trip was my third visit to the National and State Parks in eastern Utah over the past six months.  My first two trips to this area are briefly described here and here.  On this third trip, I again visited the Colorado Riverway (Utah state highway 128), Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, and Dead Horse Point State Park.  The earlier trips covered several well-known icons in these parks, and this trip re-visited some of them in different light. 

This trip felt different than the first two, since these popular parks were more crowded and resulted in a less engaging experience.  To get a more “natural” feeling, I also visited Capitol Reef NP and Dinosaur National Monument, both of which are much less visited.

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Utah NP location gallery here.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The weather forecast for this trip called for clear skies, so I was planning to make photos of the Milky Way above the canyons.  However, Mother Nature had other plans.  There was light snow falling as I drove east over Vail Pass, and heavy rain as I continued across the Colorado Western Slope.  After camping at a BLM campground overnight, I awoke to rain on the first morning and was reminded that a prolonged, steady rain can make the 4Runner feel quite small.  However, the stormy conditions gave rise to interesting clouds and storm light.

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Later in the afternoon, I visited Arches NP and noticed that there were small groups of wildflowers scattered across the sandy soil in front of some of the rock formations.  This was another fleeting benefit of the rains.

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A strong storm passed through the park, after which the low-angled sunlight and dark clouds made for an interesting contrast.

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The next morning was rainy again, so there were no Milky Way photo opportunities.  After driving through Canyonlands and feeling a little discouraged, I decided to look for someplace less crowded and headed to Capitol Reef NP.  The drive on US24 parallels the San Rafael Reef, an interesting wrinkle in the earth which is quite different from Arches and Canyonlands.  My destination was the Cathedral Valley in the little-visited north end of Capitol Reef.  I stopped at the park visitor center to ask about the road into the Valley, but the ranger said that they did not know of any visitors to that area in the past two weeks.  Fortunately, the road was in good shape and the rains held off during my visit.  I was able to drive to the Temple of the Sun in the southern part of the Valley, and camped near the formation to shoot a cloudy Milky Way and a bright sunrise.

Temple of the Sun  Milky Way 1Temple of the Sun Milky Way 1 Temple of the Sun Morning LightTemple of the Sun Morning Light

There were no other visitors at the site, and it felt like there were no other living souls within 30 miles.  This was the complete opposite of Arches and Canyonlands.

I drove north out of the Valley on a rough road over Thousand Lakes Mountain, and then north on the highways to Vernal, UT, where lightning and a roaring thunderstorm changed my plan from camping to motel.  After a dry night and a hot breakfast, I visited Dinosaur National Monument.  This park has so few visitors that the Visitor Center was locked up tight on a mid-May morning.  The rain continued to follow me, and I waited for the fog to lift out of the Yampa and Green river valleys.

Dinosaur Monument Yampa RiverDinosaur Monument Yampa River

Although I was not able to make some of the Milky Way photos that I had planned, this was still a productive outing.    

As always, I would appreciate your feedback in the comment section below.

 

 

 

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Arches Canyonlands Capitol Reef Cathedral Valley Dead Horse Point Dinosaur National Monument Milky Way Temple of the Sun wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/5/utah-national-parks Wed, 27 May 2015 00:09:35 GMT
Grand Canyon South Rim https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/5/grand-canyon-south-rim During April, we visited the Grand Canyon South Rim for the first time in over 30 years.  The weather is comfortable at this time of the year, although the temperature can be quite cold at dawn with a strong wind at the canyon rim.  As an added benefit, the crowds are more manageable at this time of year. 

Our introduction to the Canyon was a walk along the Rim Trail.

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We were able to visit several of the named viewpoints along the rim, all of which have a spectacular views of the vast canyon.  These views are especially good during the "golden hours" at sunrise and sunset.  The canyon walls take on different colors with the changes in light direction and intensity.

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We were lucky to have a rain storm during our visit, which resulted in dramatic storm light over the canyon from Yavapai Point.

Grand Canyon Yavapai Storm 4Grand Canyon Yavapai Storm 4

The vast size of the canyon is difficult to capture in two-dimensional photos, but adding people to the photo can help to give a sense of the enormous dimensions.

Grand Canyon Powell VistaGrand Canyon Powell Vista Grand Canyon Powell SpectatorsGrand Canyon Powell Spectators

To see more images from this trip, please visit the Grand Canyon South Rim gallery at http://www.zenfolio.com/mikebucher/e/p973474920

Our plan is to visit the North Rim later in the summer to capture the dramatic potential of the monsoon season.

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

 

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Grand Canyon Grandview Point Lipon Point Mather Point Rim Trail South Rim Yavapai Point storm light sunrise sunset https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/5/grand-canyon-south-rim Wed, 13 May 2015 19:27:09 GMT
Southeast Utah https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/3/southeast-utah After a three-month winter layoff, I again visited the red rock country of Utah, this time to Canyonlands NP, Dead Horse Point SP, and several small sites in the southeast corner of the state.  The photos below give a small taste of the scenes in this area.  To see more photos from this area, please visit the Southeast Utah gallery at http://www.zenfolio.com/mikebucher/e/f513743166.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

The first several days of my trip coincided with spring break and I was surprised to find many of the campgrounds full, with campers enjoying the mild mid-March weather.  Fortunately, one of the advantages of camping during photo trips is the ability to adapt to unexpected challenges, such as finding a place to spend the night.  

For me, one of the attractions of the high desert is the variety of wispy cloud formations.  This trip offered several examples:

Colorado Canyon CloudsColorado Canyon Clouds Colorado Riverway

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Arches NP, South Window

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Canyonlands Green River Overlook

Castle Rock, Priest & NunsCastle Rock, Priest & Nuns

Castle Rock, Priest & Nuns

 

Mesa Arch in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands is a very popular location, with crowds of photographers almost every morning.  I have not yet made my best image of this iconic landmark, which means I need to make more visits.  

Mesa Arch ColorMesa Arch Color Mesa Arch SunstarMesa Arch Sunstar

But the Milky Way above the arch was impressive.

Mesa Arch Milky Way 3Mesa Arch Milky Way 3

 

Dead Horse Point is a spectacular viewpoint of a canyon carved over 1000 feet deep by the Colorado River, and is especially beautiful at sunrise.

Dead Horse Point Sunrise ReflectionDead Horse Point Sunrise Reflection

The Four Corners area of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico has a large number of well-preserved Indian ruins, including the House on Fire grainery perched under a large sandstone overhang that appears to be flames.

House On Fire RuinHouse On Fire Ruin

In this same area is a large valley filled with imposing monoliths, the Valley of the Gods.  This area is reminiscent of Western movies of the 40's and 50's.

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Finally, the Dolores Valley offers attractive views of imposing bluffs from the river level.

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As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

 

 

 

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Arches Bluffs Canyonlands Castle Rock Dead Horse Point Fisher Towers Mesa Arch Turret Arch Utah sunrise sunset https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/3/southeast-utah Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:42:14 GMT
Arches & Canyonlands Fall 2014 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/1/arches-canyonlands-fall-2014 On my final photo trip of 2014, I visited two of Utah’s “big five” National Parks: Arches and Canyonlands. These two spectacular locations are quite different. Arches NP is relatively small in land area, but has the greatest concentration of natural arches and rock fins in the world.  Canyonlands NP, on the other hand, covers a huge area with spectacular views of the eroded canyons of the Green River and Colorado River.

To see more photos from these trips, please visit the Arches Fall and Canyonlands Fall galleries.  Click on any image below to see a larger version.

 

Arches NP contains a large number of named rock formations, including:

Arches Balanced RockArches Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

Arches Turret & North WindowArches Turret & North Window

Turret Arch

Arches CourthouseArches Courthouse

Courthouse Towers

Delicate ArchDelicate Arch

Delicate Arch

 

CanyonLands NP and nearby Dead Horse Point State Park offer dramatic views of the immense valleys carved into the Colorado Plateau by the Colorado and Green Rivers

Dead Horse PointDead Horse Point Dead Horse Point

Canyonlands Mesa ArchCanyonlands Mesa Arch Mesa Arch

Green River Overlook Panorama 2Green River Overlook Panorama 2 Green River Overlook

 

Although not a national or state park, the Colorado River canyon upstream of Moab contains spectacular red rock bluffs and spires.

Capitol TowerCapitol Tower

Castle Rock

Colorado Bluff ReflectionColorado Bluff Reflection

Colorado River Bluff

Fisher TowersFisher Towers

Fisher Towers

Colorado Riverway CloudsColorado Riverway Clouds

Colorado River Cloud Reflections

 

As always, I would appreciate your adding a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Arches Balanced Rock Canyonlands Castle Rock Courthouse Towers Dead Horse Point Delicate Arch Fisher Towers Mesa Arch Turret Arch https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2015/1/arches-canyonlands-fall-2014 Fri, 02 Jan 2015 21:17:46 GMT
Colorado Fall Color 2014 https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/10/colorado-fall-color-2014 This fall I visited the southwest corner of Colorado on two trips to capture a great seasonal color display. The weather conditions provided a little of everything, from blue skies, overcast conditions, rain, and even snow. These two back-to-back week-long trips illustrated that the color change is gradual, with peak colors in one area and green (or bare) trees in another.

To see more photos from these trips, please visit the San Juan Fall 2014 gallery.  Click on any image below to see a larger version. 

On the first trip, we used Ouray as a base of operations, with trips to Dallas Divide, the Million Dollar Highway, Last Dollar Road, and the Durango area.

 

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Dallas Divide with a mix of Fall colors

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Sneffels Range from County Road 7

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Yellow Mountain with yellow aspens

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Aspens in transition near Rico

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Historic Trout Lake Trestle

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Snowfall & Aspens on Million Dollar Highway

On the second trip, I camped at McClure Pass and near Ridgway and took side trips to Dallas Divide (with better color this time), Last Dollar Road, Priest Lakes, and Kebler Pass.

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Moonrise and sunset light from McClure Pass

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Sunrise from McClure Pass

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Dallas Divide

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San Miguel Valley from Last Dollar Road

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Priest Lakes Reflection

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Fallen Color

Kebler Pass PanoramaKebler Pass PanoramaThe aspens on the west flank of The Dyke along Kebler Pass Road, with a small grove of reddish leaves just below the rock face.

Fall splendor below "The Dyke" formation near Kebler Pass

I also visited the Hermosa Cliffs and the Animas River valley between Molas Pass and Durango, with very satisfying results.  The overcast conditions gave an air of mystery to the rock formations, and the diffused light made the fall colors more vibrant.

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Hermosa Cliffs with Fall color and low-lying clouds

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Amimas River valley with hillsides covered with Fall color

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Aspen grove and colorful undergrowth

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Hermosa Cliffs shrouded in clouds

As always, I would appreciate your leaving a comment in the section below.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Dallas Divide Fall Hermosa Cliffs Kebler Pass Million Dollar Highway San Juan Mountains aspens autumn moonrise sunrise https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/10/colorado-fall-color-2014 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 18:48:16 GMT
Rabbit Ears Pass https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/8/rabbit-ears-pass After two trips that could have had stronger wildflowers, this trip hit the flower jackpot.  The east summit of Rabbit Ears Pass had some of the better concentrations of flowers that I have seen, all in peak condition.  There was such a profusion of great blossoms that it was difficult to decide what to shoot next.

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To see more of the photos from this trip, please visit the gallery at http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p187726469

 

 

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Rabbit Ears Pass dew-covered flowers wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/8/rabbit-ears-pass Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:28:01 GMT
Snowy Range Wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/8/snowy-range-wildflowers This was a quick overnight trip to the Snowy Range just west of Laramie, WY.  The wildflowers were numerous and in good shape, with several scenic opportunities.

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There were also moose in the area, and very dark skies with almost no light pollution, which allowed good shots of the Milky Way.

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It got quite cold overnight, which made for good frost shots on the flowers.

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To see more of the photos from this trip, please visit the gallery at http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p618542504

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Snowy Range frosty wildflowers wildflower scenics https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/8/snowy-range-wildflowers Mon, 04 Aug 2014 01:02:16 GMT
Crested Butte Wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/7/crested-butte-wildflowers Crested Butte 140722-9689Crested Butte 140722-9689

This late-July visit to the Crested Butte area featured good wildflowers and high country camping.  As usual, the areas around Paradise Divide (West Maroon Trail and Emerald Lake) yielded the best wildflower and scenic photos. 

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This area draws me back each summer, and these photos illustrate why.

Crested Butte 140722-9706Crested Butte 140722-9706 To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Crested Butte 2 gallery at http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p644867722

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Crested Butte West Elk Mountains columbine wildflowers https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/7/crested-butte-wildflowers Wed, 30 Jul 2014 22:57:21 GMT
Southern Utah Visit https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/6/southern-utah-visit This June visit included the iconic canyon country National Parks of Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef.  These parks exemplify the stark beauty of the southwest, and this trip reinforced my fascination with the red rock country of the Colorado Plateau.  

Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP are relatively close together in southwestern Utah, and both show the beauty and power of natural erosion, but they are very different viewing experiences.  In Zion, one views the power of the Virgin River from the bottom of the canyon with sheer cliff faces rising over one thousand feet above.

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Bryce Canyon is higher in elevation, and shows a different geological layer of sandstone.  This canyon is largely the result of freeze-thaw erosion, which creates "hoodoos" instead of canyons.  This canyon gives spectacular views from both the rim and the bottom.

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Both parks have very dark skies with little light pollution, and offer excellent opportunities for night photography.

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Capitol Reef gives another view of the geology of the Colorado Plateau, showing the western edge of Waterpocket Fold.  This giant wrinkle in the earth made east-west travel difficult for early pioneers and made this area one of the last in the lower 48 states to be settled.

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To see more photos from this trip, please visit the Southern Utah location galleries at:

Zion - http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p519802608

Bryce Canyon - http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p800781180

Capitol Reef - http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p893597911

As always, your comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Bryce Canyon Capitol Reef Colorado Plateau Virgin River Zion hoodoos https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/6/southern-utah-visit Sat, 28 Jun 2014 21:40:18 GMT
Grand Tetons NP Spring Visit https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/5/grand-tetons-np-spring-visit  

Grand Tetons Dawn PanoramaGrand Tetons Dawn Panorama

 

This May I again made the all-day drive to Grand Tetons National Park to photograph the snow-covered peaks and some wildlife, as well as more shots of the Milky Way. 

Dawn light on the Teton Range

 

 

 

Early the first morning, I set out along the main park road to shoot the dawn light on the Teton Range.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this time of the year, the herds of elk, bison, and moose are migrating from their winter home on the National Elk Refuge to their summer ranges in Jackson Hole and the surrounding mountains.  This gave several opportunities to photograph these animals at close range.

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Grand Tetons AM 140501-6154 7DGrand Tetons AM 140501-6154 7D During this trip, the snow pack was still quite deep in several places, including the Jenny Lake area.  The snow had thawed and re-frozen so many times that the 4- to 5-foot drifts were solid enough to walk on without leaving footprints.

 

Since some of the side roads had been cleared of snow, I was able to reach the Moulton barn along Mormon Row.  This is reputed to be the most photographed barn in the world.  The mountains in the background may have something to do with that. Grand Tetons AM 140430-7812 5DGrand Tetons AM 140430-7812 5D

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I went out on three successive nights to shoot the Milky Way, which can be quite tiring due to sleep deprivation.  And even in early May, the nighttime temperatures can be pretty cold.  But the resulting photos were quite gratifying.

 

On my final evening, I stayed late into the twilight to capture the crescent moon setting over the Grand Teton peak.  This was a fitting end to this visit. Grand Tetons PM 140501-8089 5DGrand Tetons PM 140501-8089 5D

To see more photos from this trip, please visit the gallery at http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p301020810.   As always, I would appreciate your comments and feedback.

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Grand Teton NP Jenny Lake Store Milky Way Moose bison dawn light https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/5/grand-tetons-np-spring-visit Tue, 13 May 2014 19:08:14 GMT
Mesa Verde Trip https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/4/mesa-verde-trip Cliff Palace PanoramaCliff Palace Panorama This trip to the canyon country of southwest Colorado included the Mesa Verde National Park, the Dolores River Canyon, and the Colorado National Monument, using Cortez as a base of operations.

Ship Rock 140330-5357 20DShip Rock 140330-5357 20D On our first day we had heavy overcast skies, with poor conditions for landscape photography.  Hoping we could find better conditions, we drove south to Shiprock, AZ.  Unfortunately, the conditions deteriorated further and we drove into a blinding dust storm.  We drove south of town and made a couple photos of the Ship Rock formation despite the conditions.  We’ll need to visit this area again in better conditions to capture the beauty of this landmark.

 

 

The next morning, I got an early start (4:00 AM) to shoot the Milky Way from Park Point in the Mesa Verde park.  The low clouds were backlighted by the towns of Mancos and Durango adding color to the photos, and the pre-dawn twilight gave a light blue color to the sky.

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After returning to Cortez for a little more sleep, we returned to the park to shoot the ruins on top of the mesa, which are even older than the cliff dwellings.

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Continuing into the park, we visited two of the more completely restored cliff dwellings: Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace.  Both of these multi-story complexes are dramatic examples of the design and building skills of native peoples whose only tools were stone axes.

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We continued our trip driving north through the Dolores Canyon, where the river has worn through hundreds of feet of sandstone to create spectacular bluffs. 

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We wrapped up this trip with a visit to the Colorado National Monument just outside of Grand Junction as the daylight faded.

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This trip increased our appreciation of the red rock country of the southwest, and we will be taking more trips to this part of the southwest in the near future.

 

To see more photos from this trip, please check out the Mesa Verde gallery at http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/p879464228

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Colorado National Monument Dolores Canyon Mesa Verde NP Shiprock https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/4/mesa-verde-trip Wed, 16 Apr 2014 00:12:35 GMT
Grand Teton NP Winter Visit https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/2/grand-teton-np-winter-visit

I left Fort Collins on January 20th for a brief visit to Grand Teton National Park to photograph the Teton Range covered with snow.  During the long drive around the north slope of the Wind River Range, I started to be concerned about the lack of snow.  The roads were clear and the hillsides were bare, including the colorful Painted Valley just outside Dubois, WY.

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That all changed as I got closer to Togwotee Pass, which was snow-packed and icy.  The drive from Dubois to Jackson took much longer than expected, and I drove much of the way in the dark.

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On the 21st, I drove to Glacier Overlook to wait for sunrise.  The temperature was well below zero in the pre-dawn darkness, which made waiting difficult, but the sunrise was worth the effort.  It took 45 minutes for my hands and feet to warm up after I got back in the Jeep. 

I tried to drive to the Mormon Row barns, but Antelope Flats Road was not plowed beyond the first residence, and I forgot my snowshoes, so I could not get to that location.  I went as far north in the park as the north end of Jackson Lake, stopping to walk out onto the frozen lake on snowmobile tracks.  On the way back, I stopped at Colter Bay Village (completely buried in 4 feet of snow) and Jackson Lake Lodge (closed for the season).

Just below Jackson Lake Dam, the turbulent water of the Snake River was creating clouds of water vapor which quickly froze on the trees along the bank.  The resulting "ghost trees" were pretty spectacular. 

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Later in the evening, I drove to Teton Point Overview to shoot a night sky filled with stars above the Tetons. At this time of year, the brightest part of the Milky Way was not visible, but the sheer abundance of stars was impressive.

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 On the 22nd, the forecast was for more cloud cover, so I drove to Teton Point Overlook to shoot the sunrise.  More clouds above the mountains held the promise of more interesting shots.  With clouds to the east, the sunlight hit the mountaintops later, so this time I waited in the Jeep.  At about 9AM, the clouds gathered and made a more dramatic background with the peaks still in sunshine.

 

 

 

On the 23rd, I returned to Fort Collins via the southern route through the broad Green River valley between the Wind River and Wyoming ranges. 

Along the way, I happened upon an isolated, abandoned cabin that seemed to embody the cold conditions and the wide-open valley.

To see more photos from this trip, please check out the Grand Teton Winter gallery at http://www.mikebucherphotography.com/f513743166

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mike_bucher@msn.com (Mike Bucher Photography, LLC) Grand Teton NP Grand Teton Winter gallery Jackson Hole Snake River Teton Range Wyoming cabin frosty trees night sky sunrise https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog/2014/2/grand-teton-np-winter-visit Sat, 08 Feb 2014 23:26:55 GMT