Garden of the Gods with the MHWPC

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is one of the local, natural icons around Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Donated by the heirs of Charles Elliot Perkins in 1909 to the city of Colorado Springs so that it would remain as a park to share with all.  It is truly a magnificent site with the rock upheaval and the splendid Pikes Peak in the distance.

Having been there a few times now, I wasn’t going to miss another opportunity to visit it with the Mile High Wildlife Photography Club (MHWPC) for a sunrise shoot.  We met at 5:30am at the Garden of the Gods main parking lot all caffeinated up.  After everyone got their photo equipment ready to go, we started to hike around to the eastern side of the park to hopefully shoot the rising sun on the rocks, which makes them glow a brilliant red, with Pikes Peak in the background.

The Photographers Ephemeris (TPE) for our shoot

Disappointingly, the sun stayed behind a cloud covered sky to the East for most of the morning, which didn’t make for the most beautiful sunrise.  But, there aren’t too many sunrises that one can complain about, so it was still worth the trip.

All in all though, it was a great morning with some decent shots that I wanted to share below.

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

Members of the Club Shooting Sunrise

 

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods (Black & White)

Sunrise at the Garden of the Gods by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

“Kissing Camels” on top of the Garden of the Gods

 

“Lone Tree” just Northeast of the Garden of the Gods

Lone Tree by Neal Fedora on 500px

Members of the Club Shooting Geese

 

“Geese on the Peak” on top of one of the formations within the park with 14er Pike’s Peak as the backdrop

Geese on the Peak by Neal Fedora on 500px

 

 

My Little Shih Tzu in the Winter

Powder Nose

This past week, I was going through some pictures and came across a series of pics that I really liked of my Shih Tzu from this past winter.  They were too good to keep to myself, so wanted to share them.

Portrait

 

Eating Snow

 

Powder Nose

 

Running Through the Snow 1

 

Running Through the Snow 2

 

She absolutely loves the snow, so come the first snow of the season she is constantly scratching on the back door to get outside to run in it and especially eat it.  Because of her food allergies, that the best treat she is going to get!  Man do we do love her though!

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014

Lunar Eclipse

During the early morning hours of April 15, 2014, the world was exposed to the amazing sight of a total lunar eclipse.  This was the first of four lunar eclipses (April 15th will be followed by another on October 8th, and again on April 4th and September 28th of next yearthat we will have the pleasure of witnessing over the next year and a half.  Never shooting the Moon, let alone a lunar eclipse before, my brother and I decided to brave the cold and sleep deprivation to enjoy this wonderful event.

It was really windy, so long exposures weren’t really possible unless you timed it right between the strong gusts of 20+ mph.  As a result, the typical recommended small apertures for sharpness wasn’t possible if I wanted to keep the noise to a useful level.  So, smaller F-stops it was!  Up until the main full lunar eclipse time at ~1:45 am local time, it gradually got more windy as the front rolled in which caused my earlier photos to be more in focus.  And here’s the best one of the lot at my full zoom…

Trying to shoot the Lunar Eclipse (aka Blood Moon) for the first time, it was a cold, windy night in Colorado. Although my fingers froze (I have a problem with that), I did manage to get a few shots in acceptable focus anyway. Wouldn't have traded a thing, a really amazing sight that used to awe our ancestors. The bottom right is the bright double star Spica.

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014 Canon EOS 7D, Focal Length 448mm (200*1.6 crop * 1.4 tc), Shutter Speed 1/3 secs, Aperture f/8, ISO 1250

 

It got to the point that my phalanges were getting too frozen and rather unusable, so I wanted to make the most of the rest of the functional time that I had.  Seeing Mars so bright that evening was really disturbing to me as odd as that may sound.  I found myself constantly gravitated towards it and really wanted to include it in a photo with the amazing lunar eclipse that we were witnessing.  So I did (it’s the bright one on the far right)…

 

Trying to shoot the Lunar Eclipse (aka Blood Moon) for the first time, it was a cold, windy night in Colorado. Although my fingers froze (I have a problem with that), I did manage to get a few shots in acceptable focus anyway. Since Mars was so close, I really wanted to capture the Moon with Mars in the same frame capturing the contrast of the two this cold evening/morning.  The bottom right of the Moon is the bright double star Spica.

Lunar Eclipse – April 14/15 2014, Canon EOS 7D, Focal Length 136mm (85 * 1.6 crop), Shutter Speed 1/2 secs, Aperture f/4, ISO 6400

It wasn’t long before I honestly could not do much with my fingers, even with the hand warmers.  So, I just couldn’t take any more pictures, but I felt I captured the ones that I wanted anyway.  Thus, I resorted to sitting back, stuffing my hands in my pockets with the hand warmers and enjoying the rest of the eclipse.  I hope you had a chance to see it.  If not, I hope that these pics help and that you take advantage of the upcoming ones.

Information on the photos above:

  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 70-200L F4
  • Kenko 1.4x Teleconverter (Photo #2)
  • Benro Tripod
  • Mirror Lockup used
  • Canon RS-80N3 remote switch used
  • Nik software used to denoise the image, increase warmth and contrast and moderate the extreme dynamic range exposure of the Moon

References:

  1. Great photography guide from Mr. Eclipse
  2. Useful photography tips and explanations from PhotographyLife.com
  3. Some information on the lunar 2014 eclipses from io9.com