The Road Less Traveled – Kane Creek at Sunrise

A road, trail or foot path are often present in my landscape images. A straight line of a highway, a windy mountain trail, single track, railroad tracks, paved city biking trails, or even more illusive deer or cattle path always provide a strong element of composition. A river might be also a road for me since I am a paddler. Roads offer a metaphor for a life journey.

aerial view of a windy road through red sandstone canyon with coarse vegetation near Moab, Utah

Aerial view of a windy Kane Creek Road near Moab, Utah

This is one of my last road pictures. One morning, when attending Moab Photography Symposium in April 2016, I took a drive on the Kane Creek Road. I passed all packed but quiet campgrounds along the Colorado River, stopped just before sunrise and waiting for some magic to happen. The road was definitely less traveled at least at that time. Everybody was still sleeping. There was only one young mountain biker enjoying his morning ride.

multiple ways for going from A to B, reaching destination or solution - alternatives concept presented with sticky notes, white chalk on vintage blackboard isolated on white

Multiple ways for going from A to B, reaching destination, goal or solution

I’ve realized that the road theme is present in my studio work: alternative paths to the goal or solutions, options, and choices. The are short and efficient pathways to your goal, but there are longer one, which could be more interesting and rewarding. Some pathway may not lead to the solution at all. But, happiness is in the journey not a destination.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Mountain Wayfarer

Happy Thanksgiving Day - a greeting card with a pumpkin and hubbard winter squash against rustic barn wood

Happy Thanksgiving Day

This is one of my new Thanksgiving greeting cards created this year. You can find more similar images with Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas and New Year themes in my stock photography portfolio. They available as royalty free images ready for digital download and licensing.

Selected holiday pictures are also available at FineArtAmerica. They can be ordered as fine art prints, posters, cards and other art products, e.g. iPhone cases.

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Riverbend Ponds Natural Area in Aerial Photography

Riverbend Ponds is one of natural areas of Fort Collins created in the Cache la Poudre River corridor.

It offers a lot of diversity with a stretch of the Poudre River, several ponds and wetlands. There are seven former gravel mine ponds to choose from so it is a popular fishing site. The Colorado Division of Wildlife stocks the ponds with warm-water species (usually largemouth bass, crappie and channel catfish). Birders also enjoy Riverbend Ponds- over 200 species of birds feed, rest, nest, and migrate through including green herons, a wide variety of ducks, American white pelicans, double-crested cormorants and others. Riverbend Ponds’ flat trails with loop options and varied habitat appeal to many hikers and dog-walkers.

It is one of my favorite local paddling destination. I use small ponds near the Timberline Street trailhead for paddling a packraft or SUP (stand-up-paddleboard). These ponds can serve as an easy access to the Poudre River for downriver trips. This year I explored the Big Pond by canoe and SUP, but starting from the Prospect Street trailhead.

You can find several pictures of this areas in my blogs from paddling and walking. However, the pictures below offer a little different perspective – birds eye view. There were shot during Septenber and October, 2014 with the Panasonic Lumix GM1 camera flying on board of the DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter drone.

aerial view of lake natural area

September 24, 2014. 4 ponds in the northern part near Timberline Street trailhead

September 24, 2014

September 24, 2014. Big Pond looking southwest

October 2, 2014

October 2, 2014, Big Pond looking northeast

September 24, 2014

September 24, 2014. Big Pond looking southwest

October 29. 2014

October 29. 2014, Big Pond looking northeast

Some of my aerial pictures shot with Panasonic Lumix GM1 and GoPro Hero 3 are available for licensing as royalty free images directly from Pixel Away Stock website. The portfolio includes also pictures of the Phantom drone in action and some related gear. I will be posting more aerial pictures from the Fort Collins area and technical comments on flying Lumix GM1 camera with the Phantom quadcopter.

Related posts and resources:
October Photo Walk at Riverbend Ponds Natural Area, Fort Collins, Colorado
Winter at Riverbend Ponds Natural Area, Fort Collins, Colorado
SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) in Riverbend Ponds Natural Area
Speed Test of Alpacka Yukon Packraft

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Natural Fort Flight Mission with DJI Phantom 2 Drone

When you are driving in northern Colorado on I-25 to Wyoming you will several rock outcroppings about 5 miles before state line. The most prominent is Natural Fort, a geological and historical landmark. Is on eastern side of the highway. You can access it from a frontage road taking Carr exit. Years ago, there was a highway parking there without any facilities. There is still an old parking lot.

I have some sad feeling about this place since it is trashed and vandalized. New stupid graffiti was added sometime this spring. Nevertheless, I am visiting Natural Fort quite often to take pictures of these rocks and surrounding prairie. You can find some resulting pictures in my stock photography portfolio. I can only imagine how magical this place was in the past.

My last visit this summer included some aerial photography with Phantom 2 Quadcopter flying with GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition camera. Actually, it was my first flying mission outside my backyard. I did a few low level flights from outside and inside the Fort. I was shooting still pictures in the interval mode. GoPro Hero was mounted on a gimbal which allows to remotely control the camera angle. I will be posting more aerial pictures and, perhaps, video clips.


Piloting and photographing DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter Phantom 2 Quadcopter Drone

Piloting and photographing DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter from the old parking near Natural Fort

DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter Drone

Airborne DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter Drone with GoPro Hero 3 camera

Aerial view from the Phantom 2 drone

Aerial view from the Phantom 2 drone

Low level flight over Natural Fort with DJI Phantom 2 drone

Low level flight over Natural Fort with DJI Phantom 2 drone

Low level flight over Natural Fort with DJI Phantom 2 drone

Low level flight over Natural Fort with DJI Phantom 2 drone

Low level flight over Natural Fort with DJI Phantom 2 drone

Low level flight over Natural Fort with DJI Phantom 2 drone

Low level flight over Natural Fort with DJI Phantom 2 drone

Low level flight over Natural Fort with DJI Phantom 2 drone. The pilot is visible at lower right corner.

Low level flight over Natural Fort

Landing on the pavement


Related posts:
Natural Fort Geological Landmark at Winter Dawn
UFO Abducted My GoPro Camera …

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Paddling Natural Areas in Fort Collins, Colorado

Old Town Penobscot 15 canoe on Beaver Pond

Old Town Penobscot 15 canoe on Beaver Pond in Arapaho Bend Natural Area

Summer weekend. Where to paddle kayak, canoe or SUP in Fort Collins?

There is a lot of paddling opportunities along Front Range in Colorado. Horseooth Reservoir is perhaps the most popular lake near Fort Collins. However, during a summer weekend, I am rather looking for something less crowded and away from power boats.

I would recommend one of city’s natural areas to play with your kayak, canoe or stand up paddleboard. Along the Poudre River there are several small lakes and ponds created in location of former gravel mining operations. These lakes are used mostly by fishermen. Water level doesn’t change much during a year. So, there is a lot of vegetation along shores and plenty of wildlife.

My favorite Fort Collins natural areas for paddling are Arapaho Bend and Riverbend Ponds, but you can explore other areas along the river as well. There is also Dixon Lake at foothills.

Related posts and resources:
City of Fort Collins Natural Areas finder
Paddling with a Camera
Paddling Canoe on Lonetree Reservoir near Loveland
Stand Up Paddling (SUP) in Arapaho Bend Natural Area

Corgi  dog in a canoe

Pixel, the water Corgi, in a canoe

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A Curious Baby Fox in Pawnee Grassland

baby fox in Pawnee Grassland

A curious baby fox, his sibling was more shy, mother was hunting nearby.

I am visiting prairies in Colorado more often than mountains. This year Pawnee National Grassland is very green and full of flowers. Check this great picture of primrose blooming by Michael Menefee.

I didn’t shoot any spectacular pictures during my last visit into Pawnee National Grassland, but have a lot of fun watching foxes, pronghorn and birds. And, I discovered this cattle water tank with a rock outcropping. I need to return there for a better light.

cattle water tank and rock cliff,  Pawnee Grassland

Cattle water tank and rock cliff, Pawnee Grassland

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3 Pictures from Horsetooth Reservoir and Foothills after Wildfires

Horsetooth Reservoir, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and Lory State Park are popular recreational areas near Fort Collins. Horsetooth Reservoir is one of my favorite paddling destination, especially, off season or on weekdays during power boating season. During last years we experienced several wildfires west of Horsetooth. The first picture was shot from the Centennial Road while next two during my paddling workouts.

Heavy smoke from High Park wildfire

Heavy smoke from High Park wildfire obscuring the sun and sky over Horsetooth Reservoir and foothills near Fort Collins, Colorado, June 10, 2012

Galena wildfire in Lory State Park

Burnt yucca and bushes after Galena wildfire in Lory State Park – green grass starting to regrow, April 2013

Green springtime landscape on the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir

Green springtime landscape on the shores of Horsetooth Reservoir (Orchard Cove) with some reminders of the Galena Wildfire – June 2, 2014

Related posts and resources:
Paddling the Skeleton Coast
Winter Paddling with Sea Wind Canoe on Horsetooth Reservoir
Larimer County Parks, Reservoirs, Open Spaces, and Trails
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
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Stand Up Paddling (SUP) in Arapaho Bend Natural Area

SUP paddling, Colorado

SUP paddling in Beaver Pond, Arapaho Bend Natural Area

There are a lot of opportunities for paddling a canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP) in the Fort Collins area. My first recommendation for an easy recreational paddling would one of Fort Collins Nature Areas. Several old gravel mining operation along the Poudre River were transformed into nature areas with numerous small lakes and ponds. My favorite are Arapaho Bend and Riverbend Ponds areaa.

The above picture was shot during my morning paddling workout on Beaver Pond – the largest lake in Arapaho Bend Natural Area. One lap around this ponds is approximately 1 mile if you follow the shoreline closely. The easiest access is from Strauss Cabin road between Harmony and Horsetooth. Since water level in these ponds does not change very much there is a lot of natural coastal vegetation and wildlife.

Related posts and resources:
City of Fort Collins – Natural Areas
SUP in Paddling with a Camera blog
SUP in Fitness Paddling blog
SUP in royalty free pictures

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