Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Birds and Buds

Feet of snow and twenty below weather seem to have lost to birds and buds in Bozeman Montana, but let me knock on some wood. As spring approaches more and more birds catch my ears, and the sun has actually begun to warm my skin, opposed to freezing my snot and catching my breath. Because it is Montana, people have continued hiking all winter but now trails have begun to be more populated as well as the awakening of bears and other, smaller, furry, less intimidating creatures.

It feels good to once again hold my camera in my gloveless hand and breath some fresh air without flying down a mountain on skis, as wonderful as that is. With snow in the forecast, it turned out to be a beautiful day and a great dose of fresh air and that good old mother nature.

With lots of snow still in the canyons, rivers have un froze and trails signs have actually begun to remind me that they do in fact still exist. 

It is time to bring on spring and hiking season with a camera in hand. :) happy shooting.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sypes Canyon

There is nothing more peaceful as well as invigorating to me as a fresh snow fall. Add a little elevation and fabulous views topped with snow and you just can't get much better then that.

Down in the valley it started only being a small dusting of snow and then quickly turned into a winter wonderland. The definition and detail that snow can bring out in a photograph can add so much visual appeal to the eye. 

Although we lost most of our fall leaves (in a matter of half an hour), the contrast left by snow against the bare rocks is almost equally as beautiful. 

Snow although beautiful can be an extremely difficult subject to photograph, due to its high contrast or lack of contrast at all depending. I love this time of year because there is just enough snow to get a beautiful visual appeal, but not so much that you are getting overexposed photographs. 

As we increased in elevation the snow quickly began thickening around us, until we were engulfed by a beautiful covering. And one that would surely promise much more to come in the next few weeks. 

Once at the top, land that seemed barren and dull was now iced with several inches of snow, creating a beautiful contrast with the valley below. I am defiantly looking forward for more snow to come, so stayed tuned!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Grotto Falls

Winter is approaching quickly as all the fall leaves have mostly died off. It would seem that in Montana we are stuck in Limbo, somewhere between fall and winter. It is getting too cold for hiking but not enough snow to break out the snowshoes and skis yet. With frosty mornings boasting twenty degree temperatures it is getting harder to find the motivation to get up from the warmth of my covers. Luckily for me, it is hard to pass up a beautifully sunny day. With several layers of clothing applied, I set out with my dog and roommate in tow with promises of steamy warm, and delicious coffee.

Hyalite Canyon is one of the most popular recreation areas in both winter and summer, due to its reservoir and waterfalls. Which is what continuously keeps me returning as well. With a fresh coat of snow the hike seemed even more refreshing and appealing.

As you walk into the Canyon the trail is wide and open and then begins following the creek. 

As you start to hear the waterfall in the distance you open up into a beautiful canyon. 

The mixture of snow, ice and water makes for an incredible display. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Big Creek Trail

Today there was a break in the cold weather so I headed out to Paradise Valley to do some hiking. This area is world renowned for its beauty and it sure did live up to my expectations. As you drive along there are so many trails to chose from and explore it is hard to do only one. I chose Big Creek Trail which is about half way between Yellowstone and Livingston Montana. Although the colors of the area were beautiful, I chose to do my photos all in black and white this time because I wanted to do something different, but also because it seemed to feel more old and simple.

I love to stop and take pictures while I am driving, whenever I see something that catches my eye it is really hard to not stop and take advantage of it. Some of my best photographs were taken pulled over on the side of a road somewhere. 

Of course on the trail there is plenty of photography opportunities as well! This hike was really unique in that it went through a lot of meadows and then high mountains, giving me a lot of variety. 

It is amazing how many different types of trees that there are and how they can have so many different colors, even in black and white. I especially love the snags and how they pop out against the sky and background. 

It is amazing how quickly you become engulfed in the back country, I can leave my house and then fifteen minutes later be out in the mountains with not a person around. Which is one of the reasons why I love Montana. There is always one mountain range after another. 

All of the trails in this area connect one way or another. If I wanted I could probably easily hike from Bozeman to Yellowstone without having to step off the trail. Which is also one of the reasons why I decided to turn around when I hit Cottonwood Creek. Yellowstone was a bit ambitious for me!

Hyalite Canyon and Palisade Falls

It's amazing how many canyons there are in the Bozeman area. Each one is shockingly different and equally as beautiful. In the fall, Hyalite Canyon becomes a quite area where you don't run into nearly as many people as you would in the summer. Only seven miles out of town, Hyalite and Palisade falls are two beautiful little treasures with lots of other hikes and stops along the way.

This is just a small glimpse of what the drive was like. With the fall colors changing and the river on the right it doesn't get more beautiful then this. 

All three of these photos were taken along side the road just on the way up to the hike, while my dog sat patiently....waiting for me to return.

So patient ;). Because it was later in the day, we decided to go up Palisade falls rather than Hyalite Canyon. Palisade falls is a short hike, only one mile up and easy to access. 

The Bozeman area got a little bit of snow over the last week, making a beautiful combination of colors. This is probably one of the only places that you can almost get three seasons at once. 

Because the weather changes so quickly, you never know what you are going to get when you go out to photograph. But from my experience there is always something around here to make you in awe of what nature can do. 

This is one of many waterfalls in the area. Although it is a beautiful sight now, I can only imagine how it looks in the spring when the snow starts melting into the canyon. I hope that you all enjoyed my post and get out there to enjoy the beautiful fall colors!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Middle Cottonwood

I have decided that if I am ever in a bad mood all I have to do around here is step outside and I can't help but be cured of it. Everywhere I look I am surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges and some even several miles from my home. A thunder storm had just rolled out and the skies had cleared so I ran up to Middle Cottonwood after work. The drive up there was quite pleasant through the country and backing up to the Bridger mountain range. I ooeed and aawed at old barns and landscapes but didn't stop, so that I could make it up and back before the sun set. Here is the trail markings at the actual end of the trail.

As you can see not the most strenuous hike, but perfect for a hike after work. I went up in the late afternoon which is not the best lighting for photography, it creates a lot of shadows and overexposed areas in your photograph. Since this hike was fairly wooded, I ended up not having to much of a hard time with it. 

This is what the trail is like in the beginning of the hike kind of open with smaller trees enclosed around you. The trees are starting to turn colors for fall and I am sure they will be breathtaking in another couple of weeks!

This was the second of two bridges, luckily if you were to fall in it is only a couple of feet down. My dog chose to walk through the water rather then brave the bridge.

This is where the terrain started to get into the canyon, with lots of evergreen trees and rock side walls. The creek provided a nice cool breeze to cut the heat. 

This time of year I am always surprised to still find a couple of wild flowers that have survived the first couple of freezes. These were the only ones I saw the entire time. 

Towards the turn around marker the trail goes into into a meadow and then branches off into several other hikes into the Bridgers. On my way back I ran into a few hikers and mountain bikers who were discussing the momma bear and baby they saw back by the second bridge. Probably lucky for me, I did not run into them on my way back. Although winter is defiantly coming, quickly, I am eager to get a few more hikes in before the snow sticks. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fairy Lake

About twenty miles outside of Bozeman you hit Fairy Lake Road. Then it is only another seven miles up a dirt road to a beautiful lake with a trail looping the outskirts. Well, that was all well and dandy until I hit the dirt road. Apparently in Washington dirt roads mean finely packed small pieces of rock, while in Montana they are a bit more hard core then that. Meaning, giant boulders and one foot deep potholes.

Here is a nice break in the road where I stopped to take a few pictures. The mountains here are so beautiful, I can't wait to see them covered in snow!



These thistles were on the side of the road and they were so neat looking, they are a much brighter purple then what I am use to. 

I also found these guys on my dirt road adventure. She is such a pretty auburn color, my dog wasn't sure what to think of them. 

I finally reached the lake and it was defiantly worth the drive! This is where I should have brought my tripod and had a panorama view. But, you can still see how beautiful it is. 

The hike was only about a mile all around but it gave my plenty of time to doodle and throw the stick for my dog. Happy hiking!