Sand Dune Panoramas

Sand Dune Panorama #1

After many hours of stitching and tweaking panoramas, I’m finally able to post some of the best ones from the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I had to resize and cut the below images, because some of the panoramas were too long.

Once the thumbnails fully load, click on the first image and it will bring up a separate window with a full version of the panorama. Then click on the next button on the right hand side of the image to view the rest of the panoramas. The images are 1200 pixels wide and they might not fit on your monitor – in that case, you can scroll left and right using your scroll-bar on the bottom of your browser.

I captured this first panorama on a small stream that was running alongside the dunes. The stream was very shallow and I simply stood on it, capturing the stream, the dunes and the mountains in the back:

Sand Dune Panorama #1

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Great Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes #1

I have finally finished sorting through the photographs of the Great Sand Dunes National Park that Sergey and I visited a couple of weeks ago. Although it was very windy and rather cold, the weather was just perfect for photography with the beautiful cloud patches in the sky and rapidly changing light.

I have a very nicely stitched panoramic version of the below shot that I will upload for your viewing pleasure later. This was one of those “accidental” point and shoot shots that I didn’t even think would make it to the website. I got out of the car, shot one horizontal and 9-10 vertical shots for panorama and left the location. Once I got home and stitched the panorama, I wished that I had stayed a little longer :)

Great Sand Dunes #1

We then found a parking spot and decided to hike for a few miles up the sand dunes. While crossing a very shallow stream, I stood right in the middle and took a couple of shots of the mountains, the sand and the water:

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Hawk eating a mouse

Hawk eating a mouse #1

While driving with my kids to a local park for birding, I saw this hawk flying around very low. I was slowly making a turn and continued watching the bird to see what happens next. All of a sudden, the hawk dove into the ground and I knew he was going to have a catch. Then he flew up and I clearly saw some sort of a rodent in his claws. I quickly grabbed my camera and drove towards a pole where he sat to first kill the rodent, then to consume it.

Click “read more” only if you are OK with seeing some gruesome details of a hawk consuming a mouse. Although there is no blood in the animation, some people might feel sick watching this, so I’m just warning you :)

Hawk with a mouse

Hawk with a mouse

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Sunrise at Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells - First Day

I once saw an image of Maroon Bells, where the entire scene was red in color, due to sunrise. After I saw that shot, I have been dreaming of taking a similar (or better) picture. During our last trip, we went to the spot twice with Sergey. We woke up at 5 AM the first morning in Glenwood Springs and arrived to Aspen at 5:50 AM, right before the sunrise. We were amazed to see hundreds of photographers lined up with their tripods, hoping to get a good picture of the place. We waited and waited and the sun never showed up on the mountains, since it was a cloudy day and it wouldn’t want to clear up for our shots. Even when some sky opened up for a few minutes, the clouds would again take over the whole sky, leaving no opportunities for good photographers. Here is a shot from the first day:

Maroon Bells - First Day

Maroon Bells - First Day

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Yellowstone: Family Fun

Family Fun #1

This is the last part of the Yellowstone trip log that I called “Family Fun”. I know my wife has a different opinion about family fun, as not every day we spent there was fun – being constantly afraid of bears (she had read too much about Grizzly attacks before we left), getting bitten by some weird flies/mosquitoes that would leave a really big bloody hole on the skin, sleeping and freezing at subzero temperatures at night and fasting on top of that, wasn’t very easy. But having lived in Colorado, where the weather could change several times a day, we quickly got used and adjusted to the new conditions. The only tough part was that our campsite didn’t have any hot water and driving for an hour to wash our dishes or to get a shower wasn’t very practical either. Nevertheless, despite all challenges and problems, we managed to survive and had a lot of fun!

I snapped this picture right before we crossed the border from Colorado to Wyoming:

Family Fun #1

Omar had a blast!

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Yellowstone: Wildlife

Wildlife #1

I’ll be honest, this part of the Yellowstone tour is probably the most boring one, as I simply do not have any good pictures. I know, it is a shame and it really sucks that I couldn’t capture anything good after coming back from Yellowstone, where wildlife is abundant and all over the place.

Ultimately, I wanted to capture nice images of wolves, black and grizzly bears, foxes, coyotes, various birds (eagles, hawks, owls, etc) and so on and so forth. I’m not sure if it was the hot weather, too many people or just bad luck, but we just didn’t see much wildlife at all. Sure there were deer, elk, bison and some mountain birds…but I have seen them all in Colorado and I can capture them close right here pretty much any time of the year. I read various booklets, asked rangers and other people and still was not able to see anything special.

Let’s start with raptors. Basically, raptors are abundant and can be found everywhere in the park. If you drive along the lakes and rivers, you will most definitely spot Ospreys and Bald Eagles. Ospreys are everywhere and I saw at least 10 of them, whereas Bald Eagles are somewhat rare (only saw a couple).

Wildlife #1

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