Image of the Month: May 2013

A misty morning at Muddy Pass Lake near Steamboat Springs.

A misty morning at Muddy Pass Lake near Steamboat Springs.

Landscape photographers are suckers for saturation. Bold and beautiful colors often dominate the genre with good reason: we like to accentuate those times when nature overwhelms us. However, more subtle conditions can be powerful too. While photographing this scene at Muddy Pass Lake east of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I expected a more vivid sunrise as a rainstorm from the night before subsided. Instead I saw a quiet landscape with a pastel-colored sky. Without garish colors to draw my attention, I had more time to think about photographing textures, such as the grasses along the lake. With Rabbit Ears Peak in the background, I was able to capture this scene as it probably looks on most spring mornings.  Serenity over might and still unmistakably beautiful.

See this photo and many more like it in my book Classic Colorado. Copies are in stock and shipping today!

Image of the Month: April 2013

Sneffels Range 1940 by Russell Lee, Courtesy Library of Congress

Sneffels Range 1940 by Russell Lee, Courtesy Library of Congress

Sneffels Range by Joshua Hardin

Sneffels Range by Joshua Hardin

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Recently a friend pointed me toward some rare color transparencies from the 1940s that the Library of Congress has posted on their website. Many of these include WWII-era images of people engaged in home-front projects to support the war effort, though others provide a slice-of-life view into the era depicting such subjects as county fairs, sideshows and peach harvests. (Check out a selection of these images on The Denver Post’s Photo Blog or the Library of Congress’ Flickr page). Some of my favorite images depict cityscapes and landscapes. Many of the city views have changed dramatically over the 70+ years since they were taken, but I was impressed how many of the landscapes show areas that have changed very little. One of these pictures was of farmland in Ouray County, Colorado near Mount Sneffels taken in 1940. (It was taken to help illustrate the construction of the Million Dollar Highway route that is now a scenic byway in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains). This image appears at the top of this post and it reminded me of a photo I took only a few years ago, also posted above. Seeing these two images together makes me thankful that there have been some magnificent landscapes that have been preserved by generations of conservation-conscious farmers, ranchers and proponents of open space over the last century and I can only hope that we continue to preserve these areas for hundreds of years to come.

See this photo and many more like it in my book Classic Colorado. Copies are in stock and shipping today!

Image of the Month: March 2013

Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park, Oregon

Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park, Oregon

The Pacific Northwest is one of my favorite spots to photograph when not in Colorado. Back in January 2009, I spent a week driving the scenic coast via Highway 101. It was a opportune trip in many ways: I wanted some time alone to explore a new environment (a relationship I had been in was obviously coming to an end and it was great to get away for a while); airfare from Denver to Portland was extremely cheap (the country was enduring the worst period of the Great Recession); and the weather cooperated wonderfully for photography (great clouds and sunsets came together despite the coast being in the throes of winter). Only hours after arriving at Seaside, Oregon I took this shot while making my first visit to Ecola State Park. This view toward Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach is perhaps one of Oregon’s most photographed locations, but to a landlocked Colorado boy, any time I get to see the ocean is an unusual and refreshing experience. It was the start to a week of peace and healing I desperately needed at the time.

Image of the Month: February 2013

Icicles Near Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Icicles Near Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Ice is fun to photograph. I’ve embarked on several trips to take pictures of Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park during this time of year. The lake seems halted in time with frozen undulating waves and ripples  in suspended animation over its surface. Cracks, fractures and trapped air bubbles below seem to glow with the light of early morning there. On my way back down during one trip I stopped at a rock overhang on the edge of Bear Lake close to the trailhead. I noticed these fantastic icicles and bands of blue, aqua and white ice around it. The photo opportunities there were just as spectacular as the lake above where I had spent most of my morning. Sometimes it goes to show that you can find excellent photo opportunities during your journeys as well as at your destinations.

Image of the Month: January 2013

Windblown Snow Around Thatchtop, Rocky Mountain National Park

Windblown Snow Around Thatchtop, Rocky Mountain National Park

Wind is a fact of life during winter in Rocky Mountain National Park. Gusty weather conditions are probably my least favorite to take pictures in. The reason why is landscape photographers love using narrow apertures to maintain a sharp depth of field. However, with narrow apertures come slow shutter speeds to allow enough light to expose an image. During the spring and summer months windy days make it difficult to keep flowers and other foreground subjects in focus when using slow shutter speeds. The leaves of aspen trees and other foliage also blur on windy days in the fall months. In winter, wind remains an annoyance to a photographer (winds at this time of year are not just cold, they can literally knock you off your feet in the Rockies) though wind can also create interesting patterns of clouds or snow drifts circling peaks as in this shot taken of Thatchtop Mountain. There aren’t many times wind works to the advantage of a photographer (the only time I ever remember loving the wind was when I was shooting sailing regattas in the Caribbean) but days like this one come to mind when the wind wasn’t too intense to shake my tripod where I was standing, but enough to cause this dramatic circling snow cloud a few thousand feet above allowing me to take a sharp, yet compelling landscape photograph.

Image of the Month: December 2012

Carter Lake Colorado Snow

Carter Lake Colorado Snow

Fog rises from Carter Lake near Loveland, Colorado as seen from behind a grove of snow-covered ponderosa pines. This is one of my first and favorite nature photos taken many years ago the morning after a winter storm. After the dry year we’ve experienced here in the Rockies, here’s hoping we have a White Christmas and you have a happy holiday season!

See this photo and many more like it in my book Classic Colorado. Copies are in stock and shipping today!

Image of the Month: November 2012

The Return: Longs Peak

The Return: Longs Peak & Mount Meeker

This photo was taken just north of the town of Mead along Interstate 25 on my way home from a road trip late this summer. There had been a few small wildfires that caused haze over the mountains. The partly cloudy skies and late afternoon sun provided the light beams. It’s been very dry in the Rocky Mountain West and wildfires continue to burn even into the normally-snowy winter months. Smoke can add interesting colors and drama to landscape photography, however I would trade images like this for a bit of relief for those who have been in the path of wildfires this year.

Image of the Month: October 2012

Aspen Reflection, Mesa Lakes, Grand Mesa, Colorado

Aspen Reflection, Mesa Lakes, Grand Mesa, Colorado

Sometimes we can find beauty in less-obvious locations. Instead of photographing these aspen in fall foliage head-on, I looked for a different, perhaps more interesting composition during a recent autumn trip to the mountains. A reflection in a lake provided that opportunity. I hope that photographers will look for abstract photos as well as the more obvious displays of color in nature.

See photos like this one and many more like it in my book Classic Colorado. Copies are in stock and shipping today!

Image of the Month: September 2012

Sunflower field east of Loveland, Colorado

Sunflower field east of Loveland, Colorado

There may be no better symbol of the end of the summer season and the beginning of the fall harvest than the sunflower. I found these flowers in a farmer’s field near Interstate 25 only about ten minutes from my home in Loveland, Colorado. The field provided a great view of Longs Peak and Mount Meeker rising in the distance above the blooming sunflowers during sunrise. See this photo and many more like it in my book Classic Colorado. Copies are in stock and shipping today!

Sept. 7 Classic Colorado signing at The Bookworm of Edwards

The cover of "Classic Colorado" by Joshua Hardin

The cover of “Classic Colorado” by Joshua Hardin

Join me Friday September 7, 2012 beginning at 6 p.m.  for a signing of my book Classic Colorado at The Bookworm of Edwards, near Vail, Colorado! The event will be part of the independent bookstore’s Local Author Showcase for the Fall 2012 season. Meet me and seven other wonderful authors to learn about our inspirations and future writing plans, pick out gift books for friends and purchase books to get signed.  Tickets are $10 per person with appetizers and cash bar included. Get your ticket and learn more at: http://bookwormofedwards.com/event/local-author-showcase-fall-2012.