Today I welcome Jason Odell, our firstborn, who started showing an interest in photography from an early age. Although he has a different 'day job', his number one love is wildlife photography. Today he's sharing his recent photo trip to the Rocky Mountains National Park.
I had the pleasure of leading a group of photographers on a four-day photography workshop to Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. My colleague and I organized this trip through our biweekly podcast on photography, “The Image Doctors”. With a small class size of seven students, we ensured that each student had ample opportunity to ask us any of the questions that they may have had (and they had a lot of questions!) Our goals for the safari were simple: make sure that each of our students went home with photographs they would be proud of.
Sunday afternoon was our orientation session. After the typical lecture on safety (RMNP starts at 8000’ elevation and goes UP from there), wildlife, and photography quick-tips, we set forth to get in a little shooting in the afternoon light. For those of you who are casual photographers, the best outdoor photos are usually made within an hour of sunrise and sunset. Animals are most active during these times, and the light is pleasant and warm in color.
Weekends in a National Park can be crowded, and even though we deliberately began our trip on a Sunday afternoon, the throngs of elk watchers were still in full-force. Rather than fight for a spot to watch elk from 500 yards away (too far for good photos, anyway), we ended up in a serene aspen grove where the fall colors were going strong.
As we were finishing up our shoot in the aspen grove, we were rewarded by the appearance of a small elk herd, with a large bull “bugling” (that’s elk-speak for proclaiming his territory). We photographed the elk herd and then headed back for an early dinner; the next several days were going to be long ones.
Our itinerary for Monday brought us to one of the most iconic landscape spots in RMNP: Bear Lake. Bear Lake is around 9500’ in elevation and above it juts the top of Hallett Peak, a rectangular-shaped mountain peak. Our reward for leaving the hotel at 5:45 am (not too bad, really) was catching first light hitting Hallett Peak and photographing the reflections of it in Bear Lake. And rewarded we were! We had an unusually calm morning (it is often windy in Colorado, especially in the mountains) and the water was glass-smooth. We spent over an hour photographing all kinds of reflections and fall foliage around Bear Lake; it was truly spectacular.
These are only some of the pictures Jason provided. I'll post more another time. You won't want to miss them.
Jason P. Odell is an outdoor photographer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has authored several books on digital photography techniques and is the co-host and producer of a photography podcast, "The Image Doctors". You can see more of Jason's photography at www.luminescentphoto.com, or follow his blog.