Scenes from a Colorado overflight

We recently did a bit of family travel — on our way from Denver to Phoenix, we were fortunate enough to have relatively clear skies and a late afternoon flight.  Perfect for some aerial twilight photography of various spots in Colorado and the four corners region of the U.S.

First up for you, Colorado Springs (top of frame) seen over the snow covered Rampart Reservoir, not far west of town.

Over the Rampart

Colorado Springs is one of those places I normally see while driving through (in this case, on I-25) — from that perspective, the mountains form a wall to the west of the city.  But from above, the fact that the mountains are essentially a (tall) rumpled plateau is much more evident.

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Sugar Skull

A while back, I bought a used Olympus E-PM2 off eBay and had it converted to full-spectrum usage (i.e., I had the anti-IR filter removed from its sensor).  Add an IR filter to its lens, and you can get some interesting effects with the setup — so I took it up to the mountains to the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Championships:

Sugar Skull

After split-toned processing, this is an infrared image of the “Dia de Muertos” snow sculpture, created by a team from Wisconsin.  This sculpture won the “Artists’ Choice” award this year, well-deserved if you ask me.  The level of detail that the sculptors could achieve with packed snow is impressive.

So why *did* the elk cross the road?

Apparently to stick his tongue out at me:

So why *did* the elk cross the road?

Or, maybe he’s just a big Miley Cyrus fan?  At any rate, let this image serve as a reminder to always keep your camera in your lap when venturing into an area with active wildlife.  We took a family trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park (in northern Colorado) this past weekend, and not far inside the park’s gate, we spotted this stunning bull elk grazing just off the far side of the road.

By the time I’d pulled over and retrieved my camera from the car’s back seat, our visitor was up on the road, crossing over to our side.  I only had time to fire off a couple of hasty shots (through the closed driver’s side window) before he was behind our car entirely.  Thank heaven for auto-focus.

The elk’s expression is, of course, hardly majestic.  But you know how bad they are about following direction…