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) Sat, 28 Jul 2018 15:20:00 GMT Sat, 28 Jul 2018 15:20:00 GMT https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u909639306-o396147349-50.jpg Mike Bucher Photography, LLC: Blog https://www.mikebucherphotography.com/blog 120 80 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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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

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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. 

 

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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

 

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Bear Lake Milky Way

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Sprague Lake Milky Way

 

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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