Ken Papaleo: X Marks the Shot: Colorado Wild Flowers Photos

Colorado Wild Flowers Photos

“X Shot” Information

Camera - Canon EOS Mark III
ISO - 200
Lens - Canon 500 mm
F/stop - 4.0
Shutter - 1/800

 After my accident, I decided to make Colorado’s wildflowers my first project. I had shot them for the Rocky Mountain News for years, but never for myself. Dallas Divide and Shrine Pass were the locations I picked for my adventure. I drove first to the divide in mid-June. I arrived in the late afternoon. Upon pulling into West Dallas Creek Road, I found a spot to pull over, stopped and ate my bag lunch. It’s always a good idea to bring food and drink with you when you drive into the back country. The weather was cloudy with thunderstorms moving through the area. The sun would not set until about 8 pm, so I waited for a couple of hours (big lunch) before heading out to shoot. Lupine were in plenty and some Wild Iris but not much else. I headed in toward the mountains on the dirt road. The sky cleared some leaving white puffy clouds. I used my macro and wide angle as I worked the flowers. I found nice groups of flowers but never a large field of full color. As evening approached, clouds moved in again quickly taking away all the epic light. I was counting on that light for my best work but now that was gone. I decided to use an off camera strobe to create dynamic lighting on the Lupine and liked the results. I awoke early the next morning to the sound of rain and thunder. A front had moved in and wasn’t going anywhere, so I left for home.
  The following week I went to Shrine Pass at the top of Vail Pass, with my best friend Dennis Schroeder. Schroeder was also a photographer for the Rocky Mountain News. We arrived around 3 pm and started to shoot. It was a sunny day and this time I made a better effort at shooting something when I saw it! To make it interesting, Dennis and I decided that I would shoot long glass and he would only use wide angle. This is a fun way to work with another photographer. You really get a different look at an area this way. I decided to just use my Canon 500 on a Canon Mark III with mono pod. I had used my 500 before and knew I could use it like a macro lens, well almost. By shooting my big glass at an f/stop of 4.5 and getting to the point where the focus is as close as possible to the subject, I then can isolate it from any background. This is how I captured my “X SHOT”.
  Another good tip for shooting wildflowers is to try to shoot them backlit as this makes them really glow. Remember, you might have to provide shade for your lens to prevent lens flare. We were having a great time and it was very quite, just the sounds of our cameras. As we were capturing the beauty before us, a quad came racing up the dirt road. We both turned and shot the backlit, dusty vehicle as it approached. It turned out to be a nice shot. Sunset was near and we waited at a spot on a trail to give us a good view of the Ten Mile Range. The sunset was nice but not great. As the sky turned black, we headed back to our homes in Evergreen. It was a good shoot.

“X Shot” Location Information

1. Drive time from Denver, 2 hrs.
2. Take I-70 too top of Vail Pass.
3. Get off at the rest-stop exit.
4. Look for dirt road, Shrine Pass.
5. Shrine Pass goes through to US 24, near Red Cliff

Ken Papaleo
Colorado Nature Photographer


Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
Evergreen, Colorado, United States
I worked for the Rocky Mountain News for 28 years, until they went out of business. I now do freelance work, post this weekly blog, ski and play with my four grand children. I still have the love to get out and take photographs, which brings me great peace and comfort.

Search This Blog

Blog Archive