Frozen Lake on Pikes Peak

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Happy first day of winter! Well, happy first official day of winter, anyway. Where I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, winter is often a good two months old by the time December 21 rolls around. And even where we’re living now in Washington, DC, and Hannover, Germany, our nature photos have had a “wintry” feel since the end of November.

Anyway, we’ve chosen to post a couple of seasonally-themed nature pictures today in honor of the winter solstice. Both images come from a late-December trip that Anji and I took to Denver, Colorado, back in 2014. She is a huge Denver Broncos fan and an even bigger Peyton Manning fan, so I gave her a tickets to a Broncos game for her birthday.

With its towering mountains, northern Colorado is, of course, a dream destination for any nature photographer. So we decided to spend some time during the two days before the game traveling around the area and taking some photos the beautiful landscape around the city. We drove up into the mountains near Denver to capture some images on one day, and drove down to Colorado Springs for more pictures the next. Unfortunately, Colorado was experiencing relatively unseasonably warm days, so we didn’t get the snowy, wintery images that we were anticipating.

At least, not in the beginning. That all changed when we drove up to take some landscape photos on the summit of Pikes Peak, the tallest mountain in the Southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Thanks to the altitude, we got much colder air temperatures and more snow piled up on the ground. We also got, as can be seen in the photo above, mountain lakes covered with ice. What we especially liked about that particular tableau was the way that the cracks on in the sheet of ice ran parallel to the horizontal lines dividing the dirt, grass and snow on the shore. The result of those lines is a landscape divided into multiple, visually-pleasing layers in the final image.

As we got higher, we began to get better and better views of the countryside around Pikes Peak. Not only did we get great photos of a ridge of snow-capped mountains on the horizon, we also got images like the one below. Because of the altitude, we were able to get an interesting new angle on the smaller mountains in the vicinity of Pikes Peak. As we look back on it now, we realize that by shooting down on these nearby hills, we essentially did the equivalent of drone photography several years before we actually purchased our DJI Mavic Pro drone!

Snowy Mountain at the Foot of Pikes Peak in Colorado

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