Yellowstone Lake and Aspens: Wallpapers

Here are the images that were requested to be provided in a wallpaper version by some of our readers from our trips to San Juan Mountains and Yellowstone.

Aspens Wallpaper

1) Aspens 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

Yellowstone Lake Wallpaper

2) Yellowstone Lake 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper

If you are looking for information on how the above images were taken, check out the first two links on the top of the page, along with the Landscape Photography Tips I posted a few days ago.


Best Time to Photograph Maroon Bells

During the last two weeks, I have received several emails from our readers, asking what the best time to photograph Maroon Bells is. I have been to Maroon Bells many times, so I would love to share some info on when to photograph the most popular location in Colorado (and one of the most photographed spots in the world).

Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells is truly magical, the one place you can only appreciate when you are there. While photographs do show the beauty of Maroon Bells, they still cannot transfer the raw beauty of the place with its high altitude fresh air, the smell of wildflowers and plants, pleasant afternoon breezes, the ever-changing weather and freezing-cold nights and mornings. Maroon Bells changes drastically during seasons. In the spring (which is around late April and May), the water level of the Maroon Lake is high, the aspens have new leaves, with wildflowers and plants just starting to turn green. The summer is beautiful, with the busy streams and gorgeous wildflowers. The fall season is what draws the most amount of people to Maroon Bells, due to aspens rapidly changing their colors. If you are lucky, you might get some snow with aspens in their fall plumage. Winters are rather harsh, but still beautiful with fresh snow. The roads in winter are closed though, so you would have to rent a snowmobile to get to the lake. In terms of seasons, I personally like to visit Maroon Bells from mid-July to late September.

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Landscape Photography Guide is now posted!

After more than a week of writing the darn thing, I finally decided to post my landscape photography guide. I apologize for making it so long, but I really wanted to make it in-depth with all kinds of tips and techniques that I have been learning every year. Please note that the article is a work in progress and I do not consider it finished in its current state. I will be adding a lot more information to it going forward and I am hoping that other landscape photographers will join me and share their tips, so that I could expand on other topics. Here are some other topics that I want to add in the future:

  1. Printing
  2. Showcasing and Online Portfolios
  3. Photography Contests
  4. More post-processing tips and techniques
  5. Locations and spots
  6. And more!

Stay tuned for some simple flash tips to photograph your family during the holidays!

Landscape Photography Guide

I have been planning to write this landscape photography guide for a long time, but held it off for a while, thinking that I could do a better job after learning about it more. My landscape photography journey has been a big learning curve and I have been enhancing my skills so much during the last few years, I realized that I could spend the rest of my life learning. Therefore, I decided to write what I know today and keep on enhancing this guide in the future with new techniques and tips.

1) Preface

It is amazing to see how quickly the world is changing around us. What seemed to be intact and perfect just several years ago is getting destroyed by us humans. One of the reasons why I fell in love with photographing nature, is because it is not only my way of connecting with nature, but also my way of showing people that the beauty around us is very fragile and volatile. And if we don’t take any action now, all this beauty will someday cease to exist, not giving a chance for our future generations to enjoy it the same way we can today. Hundreds of movies have been filmed, thousands and thousands of great pictures taken and yet the world is not listening. What can we do and is there hope? It is very unfortunate that we only act when a disaster of a great scale hits us and the unbalanced force of nature enrages upon us. But we as photographers must continue to show the world the real picture out there – the deforestation of our rich lands, the pollution that is poisoning our fresh waters and causing widespread diseases, the melting of glaciers, the extinction of species and many other large-scale problems that are affecting the lives of millions of people and animals around the world. Therefore, it is our responsibility as photographers to show the real picture.

Dead Horse Point Panorama at Sunrise

2) Introduction to Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is a form of landscape art. While landscape art was popularized by Western painting and Chinese art more than a thousand years ago, the word “landscape” apparently entered the English dictionary only in the 19th century, purely as a term for works of art (according to Wikipedia). Landscape photography conveys the appreciation of the world through beautiful imagery of the nature that can be comprised of mountains, deserts, rivers, oceans, waterfalls, plants, animals and other God-made scenery or life. While most landscape photographers strive to show the pureness of nature without any human influence, given how much of the world has been changed by humans, depicting the nature together with man-made objects can also be considered a form of landscape photography. For example, the famous Mormon Row at the Grand Teton National Park has been a popular spot for photographing the beautiful Tetons in the background, with the old barns serving as foreground elements.

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Maroon Bells at Night Wallpaper

Some of our readers requested me to post a few images from my trip to San Juan Mountains in a desktop wallpaper format. This first image is actually not from San Juan Mountains, but from Aspen, Colorado. This magical place is called “Maroon Bells” and it is one of the most photographed locations in the USA. I shot the below image at night (moonlight) using my Nikon D3s and the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens at ISO 800, f/3.2, 30 seconds.

Maroon Bells at Night

And here is the link to download the wallpaper:

Maroon Bells 1920×1200 Widescreen Wallpaper


Yellowstone Trip Log

Our Yellowstone trip log starts with “Hell’s Half Acre” – the place where the movie “Starship Troopers” was filmed. Remember the scenes when troopers fought with bugs in an alien desert? These look pretty darn close, don’t they? :)

Hells Half Acre #3

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San Juan Mountains Trip Log – Part 2

This is the second part of our trip log to San Juan Mountains. You can see the first one right here. For the second part of the trip, Lola unfortunately could not join me (she was too busy shooting important events) and I was fortunate to have Sergey accompany me on another photo tour to southeast of Colorado.

Let me start off with my favorite image of the second part of the trip that I captured at Maroon Bells in Aspen (image as is, no post-processing):

Maroon Bells at Night

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San Juan Mountains Trip Log – Part 1

Now that I have just a little bit more time on my hands, I am able to go back and review some of the images that Lola and I snapped when we went for a road trip to San Juan Mountains of Colorado a couple of weeks ago. One thing for sure, it is hard to guess the exact time when the colors will be at their peak and when the leaves are going to fall, since it changes year after year. If the cold hits the mountains early, the leaves change colors early. Although Denver has been pretty warm this fall, I had no idea how warm or cold it would be in the mountains. So without much thinking and guessing, Lola and I quickly packed our gear and took off to see the San Juan County. Our objective was to see Ouray, Telluride and the surrounding areas, test the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G DX VR lenses and come back with good pictures. I think we managed to snap a couple of good images, although the weather yet again did not cooperate much with us.

I hate to admit it, but this was my first time travelling to that part of Colorado – I have been living here for over 13 years! Everybody kept telling me to visit the “Switzerland of America”, but various circumstances and other travel plans have been putting off my trip year after year. This year has been super busy for Lola and I, for which we are certainly grateful, but at the same time, it left very little time for personal and family travel. But there is a big difference between a photography trip and a family trip. We knew that our kids would not enjoy it, so with promises to take them to Micky later this year, we took off.

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I had a Dream…

Do you dream of pictures? Most passionate photographers do. Some dream of a beautiful location with the right lighting, while others dream of perhaps a perfect subject in a perfect environment. Whatever the dream is, the goal is to create a unique, beautiful image that will trigger the emotions of the viewer, touching their deepest senses and ultimately creating a very positive experience – a picture worth a thousand words…

I had a dream like that for a while, perhaps after seeing Yellowstone for the first time. The raw nature, strangely beautiful and colorful pools of hot spring water and geysers left some unforgettable memories in my head and I have been dreaming of some images of Yellowstone ever since. While there are plenty of pictures of Yellowstone out there, most of them show the famous Yellowstone Falls or some other waterfalls, geysers and hot springs. Most other photographs are of bison, wolves, bears, moose, elk, deer and other animals – the wildlife part of Yellowstone. Landscape photographers certainly give a lot more attention to Grand Tetons, largely because of Ansel Adams’ classic photographs and also because the Tetons are very “contrasty” and beautiful, especially in fall.

Lola and I took a short trip to Wyoming this past weekend and decided to check out Yellowstone and drive through Grand Teton National Park on the way back. Obviously, I already knew that I would not be able to capture anything good from the Tetons, since we were planning to leave Yellowstone at around noon time – the worst time of the day for Tetons, especially when it is hot. On top of that, the wildfires of Yellowstone and the surrounding areas contributed to the thick haze, making it extremely difficult to capture images during the day. Here is the picture of Grant Tetons with fall colors that I captured right before we took off home:

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

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San Juan Mountains Trip

After a crazy work and travel schedule, we are now back! San Juan mountains were breathtaking, I cannot believe that I have not been there before, although I have lived in Colorado for over 12 years now. The colors were beautiful and vivid, but the skies were too clear without a single cloud…

San Juan Mountains

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