We have something a bit different on our blog this week!
Landscape photography is a personal passion of mine that I’ve enjoyed throughout the years and even before I was a professional wedding and portrait photographer. After a very busy season of weddings and portraits between Houston and all over Louisiana I was in need of a vacation with my family. We ended up in a favorite location of ours, Estes Park, Colorado at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Over the course of more than a week, through various activities including a good deal of strenuous hiking, I compiled quite a few images that I felt were pretty stunning and worthy of their own blog post.
Enjoy the images below!
The view from the Bierstadt Lake Trail leading to the lake for which it was named. Bierstadt Lake was named for my favorite landscape painter, Albert Bierstadt, who was a famous American landscape painter in the mid to late 1800’s.
Images of Bierstadt Lake, the payoff at the top of the trail that winds along the mountainside. The lake sits atop a flat spot along a ridge of a mountaintop, and has grand views of the Rocky Mountains. Worth noting, when Albert Bierstadt created his paintings he would hike with all of his painting supplies, easels, and canvases.
Aspen trees, with their white bark, along the trail.
Views of Long’s Peak, the highest in the Rocky Mountain National Park.
View of Azure Lake, created by melting ice and glacier that eventually feeds into Colorado’s rivers. The peak all the way to the right is Mt Ida, which is the payoff of the very strenuous 10 mile hike that I completed during my stay.
The trailhead of Milner Pass along Poudre Lake, the beginning of the strenuous hike to the summit of Mt Ida. I departed at 6:15am in an effort to make it to the summit and back down before noon, when afternoon summer storms are almost guaranteed and exposure to lighting is a very real risk because of the elevation.
Views along the trail of Mt Ida with the morning sun casting it’s multitude of colors along the range in the distance.
Along the way I encountered two massive Bull Elk grazing along the side of the mountain.
A view back to where I began. The footpath, visibly running along the side of the mountain, leads all the way back down the tree line and to the road in the distance. This was not even halfway to the summit of Mt Ida I would soon learn.
The footpath along the hike follows the ridge line of the mountains, and soon disappears amongst a vast boulder field which is the only way to the summit of the mountain. The path is marked by cairns to help hikers find their way, but the path is not easily traversed. From here to the top would be over a mile of carefully positioning from boulder to boulder. Glacial ice and steep drop-offs are highlights along the way.
Views of glacial lakes at the base of the mountain. In the distance, too far for my camera to capture, I could see a massive heard of elk likely numbering close to 100 or more.
View of the summit of Mt Ida, at just below 13,000 ft elevation.
Views from the summit of Mt Ida. It was particularly satisfying to know that these sprawling views, the beautiful glacial lakes, and wildlife below, can only be seen and achieved by the those willing to endure the strenuous hike to get there. My estimation would be that less than 15 people made this hike on this particular day based on how many I encountered along the way.
This is Alex, a fellow hiker that I met along the way. Alex was much, much braver than I and climbed out to the edge of the summit of Mt Ida for the views, and this photo-op. I’m not sure if the image truly conveys how sheer the drop-off is or how close he was to it, but I was honestly hoping that this image would not be the last that anyone saw of Alex.
Views from the return trip back down the mountain, in all totaling just under 10 miles round trip. The journey down proved to be more strenuous, or at least painful for my knees, than the journey up. By the end of the trip I had absolutely nothing left, and a pretty good case of altitude sickness that passed after a rest back in Estes Park. I like to think that it was the added camera gear and equipment that did me in, but the more likely explanation is that I am not in as good of shape as I thought I was.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Infamous, among other reasons, for being the inspiration and location that Steven King wrote The Shining.
Views along Beaver Meadows at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park.
And finally, views along the top of Trail Ridge Road as the setting sun falls along the Rocky Mountains.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed looking through these photographs, and I hope that my passion for capturing and creating these images is obvious in each and every one of them. Thanks so much,
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