Category Archives: Colorado

2009 Photo with 2022 Software

The D90 camera was announced by Nikon in August 2008. I had one with me on a trip to Colorado in 2009 when we stopped by the Garden of the Gods city park in Colorado Springs. It’s a stunning place , especially for someone used to Florida Landscapes.

The sun was nicely positioned behind this rock formation but it made the light extremely harsh. I used a four frame exposure bracket to try to capture the dynamic range in the scene. When I got home I worked on the image but could never get a color version I liked. I ended up converting it to monochrome for this blog post.

Anyway, I saw it while browsing through my Lightroom catalog and decided to try again. I started from the RAW source files and used the experience I’ve gained since then along with the capability we now have available in recent software. This was the result:

A red rock spire in front of the sun and cloudless skyA red rock spire in front of the sun and cloudless sky

Lightroom’s enhanced detail RAW conversion, merge to HDR, and sky selection masks were especially handy along with the better adjustments available with Adobe’s latest process version software. I also ran it through Topaz AI sharpen as a final step.

I like this 2022 version better than the 2009 one. Once again, I’m glad I save my RAW source files. Back then, it would have been hard to imagine the software we have today. Do you have any older images that you’re not completely happy with? Maybe it’s a good time to dig them out and try again with new software.

Also: Happy Fathers Day to every dad out there! There’s nothing as precious as your love, as important as your advice and support, and as educational as the examples you set.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Stay positive, be kind, take care of yourselves and each other. And if you can – when you make photos, save your RAW files!

©2022, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Reprocessing a Mt. Evans Elk Herd panorama

Back in July of 2007, I wrote a post about Mt. Evans, Colorado and included this image of an Elk herd we saw there:

Elk herd near mile marker 8 on Mount Evans  (2007 version)

At that time, I was using a Nikon D80 camera and made this photo with an entry level 70-300 telephoto lens.  I remember wanting to capture as much detail as possible, so instead of making one exposure of the whole herd, I zoomed in as far as I could and made four different frames at 300mm (450mm eq.), f/5.6, 1/100 sec, and iso 100. I ran across these images in my photo archive recently and wanted to see if I could reprocess the RAW files for a better result.  I thought you might be interested in my work flow – not so you can reproduce my results, but to give you some ideas on how to process your own images.

Here is one of the original RAW files SOOC (straight out of camera).  The white balance and exposure aren’t optimum and sharpness isn’t very good either – maybe due to poor lens stabilization and optical performance (and maybe due to my poor technique).

Here are the steps I went through to reprocess this:

  • Used DxO Photo Lab software to convert from RAW to .tiff and take advantage of the built in Prime Noise reduction algorithm.  I like that this software applies camera and lens specific corrections to all images.  It also returns the results to Lightroom still in RAW / DNG format.
  • Made basic adjustments (exposure, white balance) in Lightroom, and copied to all four frames.
  • Opened as layers in PhotoShop.
  • Stitched the frames into a panorama: Edit -> Auto-align Layers; Edit -> Auto-blend Layers.  At this point, it looked like this:

When I made the original frames, I didn’t cover enough ground for a rectangular composition.  To fix this, I used PhotoShop’s excellent Content Aware Fill on the missing corners.

  • Select the blank areas with the Magic Wand tool.  Expand the selection (~3 pixels).  Edit -> Content Aware Fill
  • use the clone tool to eliminate any obvious fill anomalies.

And then I worked on sharpness.  Here is a 300% look at the area near the Bull Elk:

Not very sharp.  So I:

  • Duplicated the layer and applied the Topaz Sharpen AI filter.  I used the Stabilize method with a Remove Blur value of 0.70.  Here’s the much improved result:

Topaz Sharpen AI can work wonders on this kind of problem, but it does take a lot of CPU power.  Depending on your hardware, you might have to be (very) patient.

  • The final step in Photoshop was to use Topaz Clarity for some added midrange contrast.  I applied the Nature -> Fur and Feathers II preset.
  • Back in LightRoom: I cropped to a 2:3 format; tweaked White Balance and exposure again; boosted texture and shadows on the Elk with a circular adjustment and range mask; Reduced green and yellow saturation; Used a -12 highlight priority vignette and added grain at 15.

And this is the new version I just posted to Flickr.

Mt. Evans Elk herdMt. Evans Elk herd (2019 version) – Near mile marker 8. Quite a harem! There are about 60 elk in this image: A single bull, ~10 young ones, and the rest female.

It took me about 30 minutes to do this.  Was it worth the effort? I can’t answer for you.  I think it looks much better and I’m glad I saved those RAW files! As long as i can re-start from the original sensor data, I can leverage newer software and get better results.  I know a lot of folks don’t enjoy computer work, but I do – so to me it’s worth it.

Click on any of these to see larger versions.  I have other Mt. Evans (and Colorado) photos in this album on Flickr.  And if you have any questions on this, I’ll be happy to try and answer them.  Just ask in a comment below.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make (or reprocess) some photos!

©2007 and 2019, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Reprocessing reminder

Do you have a favorite photo that you made a while ago?  Perhaps with an older camera?  If so, you may want to see what new versions of software and your revised tastes and improved skills can do differently.

I had a request for a print of this image.  It’s from way back in 2007, made with my first DSLR – a Nikon D80:

Littleton, Colo. cabinLittleton, Colo. cabin

I like this photo.  A lot, and not just because of the subject.  It reminds me of driving along the road between where my Mom used to live and my Sister’s house, and visiting them both.  It’s been on the blog before:  here and here.  If you’re interested, please take a look at these two posts to see earlier versions.

Fortunately, I was saving my digital files in RAW format even back then, so I can take full advantage of any improvements in photo software.  I decided to run this through my current imaging workflow before printing.  Using DxO Optics Pro, Photoshop, and Lightroom, I was able to reduce noise, improve shadow and highlight detail, and tweak color, contrast, and brightness.  I feel the new version is better.

Using current software on an image made with 10-year-old technology can be amazing.  I even see a spider web hanging from the near door that I never noticed before.

What do you think?  Do you ever reprocess your older images?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make and / or reprocess some photos!

©2016, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Colorado: New vs. Familiar

I was in Colorado last week and had a chance to go sightseeing in the mountains near Denver.  Whenever I visit, I find it to be so scenic and photogenic that it overwhelms me.  It’s different from what I normally see at home here in Florida and I want to make photos of everything.

Valley of sunbeams and shadows

Valley of sunbeams and shadows – Don’t miss Mount Evans if you ever get to Denver in the summer time. This is a four image panorama from near the summit, about 13,500 feet.

I find when I get back from a trip like this and go through my images, most don’t have the impact that I felt at the time.  My “keeper” rate seems lower than from local trips.  Maybe this is because I’ve photographed in Florida so much that I don’t see as many new things when I go out – so I make fewer photos.  Luckily, I did end up with some that I really like from Colorado.

The Chapel on the Rock (Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel)

The Chapel on the Rock (Saint Catherine of Siena Chapel) – This is in Allenspark, Colorado, south along Route 7 out of Estes Park on the grounds of the Saint Malo Retreat.  We didn’t know this was on our route. It’s wonderful to discover something unexpected like this while on a drive.  Another 4 image pano.

I guess we humans are hardwired to find new and unfamiliar things more interesting.  And familiarity can breed complacency.  Do people in Colorado get used to the mountains and sleep in some days instead of getting up and out to see and photograph them?  Like we sleep in here instead of getting up to go out into a world-class wildlife refuge like Merritt Island?

Bristlecone pine trees
Bristlecone pine trees – Some of the trees in the Mount Goliath Natural Area are over 1,600 years old. I used my IR modified Olympus E-PL1 for this photo. Yes, it’s one more 4 image pano.

Wildlife is different out there too.  Some non-Florida species I saw included six new life birds (Steller’s Jay, Gray Jay, Common Raven, Black-billed Magpie, Dark-eyed Junco, and a Broad-tailed Hummingbird) as well as plenty of Mountain Goats, Marmots and Chipmunks.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird – Behind my Sister’s house in Littleton, Colorado. These birds look very similar to the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds we have in Florida, but the Broad-tailed doesn’t have a black chin. No, this is not a pano.

I wonder if Florida’s unique landscapes and wildlife are as interesting to people visiting here as Colorado’s are to me when I’m out there?

Here are two earlier posts about Mount Evans:  Mt. Evans and Mt. Evans Redux.  You can view other Mount Evans photos here on Flickr.  And this set on Flickr has more Denver area photos.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos – of new and of familiar things!

©2013, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Theraputic Photography

Why do we photograph?  For many reasons:  To capture a moment and save it.  To document something, so others can see what we see.  To amuse or delight viewers with our images.  To create art as a form of self-expression.  To report facts as in a newspaper, or slant facts as in an advertisement.

Most of the time I’m trying to make something interesting or beautiful.  To show viewers what I’ve seen and how I’ve seen it.  I also like to record where I’ve been.  And making family photos  at gatherings / events is also important to me.

Great gloomy plains
Great Gloomy Plains – Photographs often reflect the photographer’s mood.  I made this photo during a break in a light snowstorm near the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Hudson, Colorado.

For the last couple of weeks, my photography has served another purpose – one that I hadn’t ever considered.

My Mother was 80 years old and apparently in worse health than any of us knew.  She passed away while in the hospital for back surgery.  Even though she hated to carry around her oxygen tank, she was sharp and active until the end.  Mom was a great woman and much loved by everyone who knew her.  She was a wonderful mother and I miss her terribly.

Lynn and I went to Denver to be with family and help settle Mom’s estate.  Her affairs were in good order, but there was still a lot to do.  As you might imagine, it was an emotional and stressful time.

Bull Elk

Bull Elk, photographed near Buffalo Bill’s Grave outside of Denver, Colorado

Of course this wasn’t a photo trip, but I did decide to bring a small point and shoot camera.  I’m very glad I did.  During the two weeks we were there, we took a couple of short side trips.  I found that when concentrating on photography, I could exclude other things from my mind and feel almost normal for a while.  It really helped me cope and get my emotions back toward a more even keel.  These are three of the photos I made.

Sunrise over Chatfield Lake 2

 Sunrise over Chatfield Lake – I made this photo on the morning we left to return to Orlando.

Photography helps us remember. It can also help us forget. At least for a short time.

You can see more Denver images in this set on Flickr.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos.

©2012, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Mount Evans Redux

I’ve been to Mount Evans before and written about it here.  I got a chance to go back this week and my second visit was as good as the first.  Maybe even better, since I showed this wonderful place off to Sara, Mike, and Julie.

The highest paved road in North America starts in Idaho Springs, Colorado and winds for 28 miles around tight switchbacks to an altitude of just over 14,100 feet.  There’s a small parking lot near the summit, and a short (but vertical) hike to the very top at 14,270 feet.  The road is quite narrow in spots, and is exciting or scary depending on your attitude and its altitude / slope.  There are many places to pull over that offer outstanding views of the surrounding landscapes and wildlife.

Bristlecone pine
Bristlecone pine:  This species of tree is the longest lived single organism on earth

Take I-70 west from Denver and exit at County Road 103.  The first half of the drive from there is pretty but not too out of the ordinary.  The fee station is around the halfway point, and this is where most of the excitement begins. Pick up a brochure so you’ll have a map and information about the park.

Both times I’ve gone have been in early July so I can’t say much about the rest of the year.  Try to visit on a weekday to avoid crowds, and if you can’t go on a weekday – leave early.  The only day we could drive up was the 4th, so we left around 7am.  When we asked the ranger at the fee station, he said it wasn’t crowded yet but would be, and recommended we go up to the top and stop at places on the way down.  If you don’t, you might not get a parking spot – they get very limited at the top as the day goes on.  We saw lots of cars headed up as we were leaving.

Wildflowers are abundant in July.  Even above 14,000 feet where the terrain seems barren – you can see flowers in between the rocks.  July is also a great time to view wildlife.  On this trip we saw a Deer, Chipmunks, Elk, Mountain Goats,  Marmots, and a Pika.

Baby mountain goat
Baby mountain goat –  There were several families of mountain goats near the summit.  This little one posed for me so I could frame him against the out of focus mountains in the background.  It’s amazing to watch them scramble from rock to rock and never slip.

Pair of Marmots
Pair of Marmots

At the summit, the average summer temperature is ~44 degrees (F) and the average wind is ~30 mph, so we were particularly blessed with a low temp of 55 and very calm winds.  The winds were so calm that on the way down we decided to stop and hike to a couple of pools of water, hoping for a photo of the clouds reflecting in the ice melt.  It seemed like a really short hike downhill from the road to this pool.  When we turned around to go back uphill, the car looked really, really tiny and far, far away.

Catch pool reflection
Catch pool reflection and Mike admiring the view

If you’re ever in the Denver area, you just have to visit Mount Evans.  It’s spectacular and very accessible.  Flatlanders like me shouldn’t do the trip on their first day at altitude.  I’m not in the best of shape and at 14,000 feet I found I was out of breath even after short walks.  A few days to acclimate at around 5000 feet may have helped.

Click on any of the photos above to go to Flickr where you can see a larger version.  You can see the rest of my Mount Evans photos from this trip here, and you can see photos from my earlier trip here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Now – go make some photos!
©2011, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved

Around Denver over Thanksgiving

We had a family reunion of sorts in Denver last week for Thanksgiving.  Mary, Mike and Sara met Lynn and I at my mother’s place and we were able to see most of the Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and in-laws.  We had a great time and the Thanksgiving dinner was especially good, with 25 relatives at my sister’s house to consume two turkeys along with various gourmet attractions including sweet potato stuffed oranges.

We also had a chance to visit some Denver area photo attractions:  Buffalo Bill’s grave and museum at Lookout Mountain in Golden, The city of Denver’s bison herd, Garden of the Gods, and Pikes Peak.  We also got in a few minutes of browsing at the antique store along I-70.

Here are some of the photos from our visit – I’ve only posted a few of them here on my blog.  Click on any of them to go to Flickr, where you can look at a higher res version. You can also see the rest of this set on Flickr at this link.

We drove up to Lookout Mountain last Monday to visit the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave site, which is only about an hour from my Mom’s place.  The museum is nice, with a lot of information about Buffalo Bill and the wild west.  We especially liked the dress up area, where you can don chaps and a cowboy hat, climb up on the legless horse and rope a plastic calf. There’s also some very scenic overlooks from the parking area.
091124__DSC6536_Coors beer factory from the overlook at Buffalo Bill's Grave

A little further up the road (I-70, exit 254), the city and county of Denver has a herd of bison that you can stop and see.
091124__DSC6660_Bison in the city of Denver bison herd along I-70.

On Thanksgiving morning, Lynn and I got up very early and drove down to the Garden of the Gods before sunrise.  You might remember my earlier post about this place.  Let me just say that it’s even more beautiful at sunrise and well worth the early trip.
091126_IMG_1095_Dawn in the Garden of the Gods, Thanksgiving day, 2009

Saturday, we drove down to Pikes Peak and rode the cog railway to the top and back.  The visibility was much better this time than it was the only previous time we did this.  That time we had heavy fog and weren’t able to see much of the landscape.  This time, in spite of clouds – it looked like we could see forever.
091128__DSC7140-7145_photomatix_pano_On top of Pikes Peak, 14110 feet above sea level

It was a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed ourselves, and we’ll cherish the time we spent visiting these places with our family forever.

Three Letter Acronyms For Success (TAS), TAS #2: GAS

OK, gentle reader, our first TAS was HAC – Have a clue . So, once you have a clue, what’s next?

What’s the next thing you need to do to be successful in life and also in photography?  TAS #2 is GAS.  We’ll use the family friendly version here, which is GAH or “Give a Hoot”. In other words, care about your photography, be passionate, be motivated, take all the knowledge you’ve acquired and apply it.  Get out there and make some photographs!

Are you a “serious” photographer? I don’t mean serious as in don’t have any fun with it (quite the opposite).  I mean do you care about your photography? I suspect if you’re reading this blog you do.  That’s really all GAH is about.  It won’t make you a success all by itself, but it is necessary.  And it’s the motivation you need – and combined with the knowledge you acquire with HAC, you’ll be much more likely to be successful.

OK, so TAS #1 (HAC) is all about acquiring knowledge and TAS #2 (GAH) is all about applying it.  The more you apply your knowledge the more it becomes something you do instead of something you just know.  Practice builds the skills you need to get the shot when you don’t have the luxury to think things through.  This happens quite a lot in photography – the light or the situation changes quickly and you have to change quickly to capture it.  Big secret here:  I think most honest photographers would tell you that they have screwed up a photograph many times in the heat of battle.  You will too.  You need to try to minimize this.


  • Carry a camera – use it. Always look for scenes / subjects that would make a good photo.  Make the shot.
  • Think about photography as much as possible.  Mental exercises – how would I shoot that: framing, composition, lenses, ISO, etc.  When you look at your finished photos, think about what you should have done different.  When you’re getting ready to take photos, think through how you’re going to do it. Look at other people’s photographs and try to understand how they made them.
  • Try a new photographic technique as often as possible
  • Show your work to people.  Accept feedback and use it constructively

There are the two photos that go with this post.  I used the second one in a prior post , but this is the first time I’ve posted the other one.  I think the pair together is a good illustration of TAS #2: GAH.  I was very motivated and passionate about this particular photograph and went to a good deal of effort to make the image, edit it, and print it.  It looks pretty good up on my wall.

This is the raw capture straight out of the camera:

Littleton, Colo. cabin (straight from camera)

And this is the processed image ready to print.  It took a lot of knowledge (HAC) and a lot of passion (GAH) for the final print to come out like this.

Littleton, Colo. cabin (post processed)

As your homework for this session, you can point out things that are different between the two images and how you think they got that way.  As before, I’ll grade your answers before I post TAS #3.  Oh, by the way, I’ve added a comment to TAS #1 explaining what I meant about the photo in that post.

Be passionate about your photography .  To help you with TAS #2 – Give a Hoot, and to help you stay motivated, here’s a few inspirational photo related links I’ve come across recently.  Please take the time to explore these.  They moved me, and if you’re at all interested in photography, I’m betting they will move you too.

Zack Arias – Transform Video
David duChemin – A question of definition (link no longer available)
Darwin Wiggett -Beyond the trophy
Paul Indigo – Do professional photographers love their jobs?
Scott Bourne – Taking the best photo you possibly can (link no longer available)
Rick Sammon – It’s “Have Kid Will Photograph” (link no longer available)

©2009, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, and Waterton Canyon near Denver

I was lucky enough to go on a business trip to Denver last week. I stayed with my Mom and got to visit a bit with her and her friends. I also got to see my sister LaDonna and brother Jim and their families in Denver and my brother Rob and his family in Colorado Springs.

On the way to Rob’s, I stopped by the Garden of the Gods for a couple of hours. (Note: you can click on any of these photos for a larger version).

The Garden of the Gods park is run by the city of Colorado Springs and is about an hour south of Denver. You take I-25 south and exit right onto Garden of the Gods road. I hadn’t been there before. The rock formations are spectacular and unlike anything we see in Florida. If you go, early morning probably has the best light. I wasn’t able to arrive until around 10 am and by then the lighting was pretty harsh. I wish I had been there earlier or that there had been some nice clouds in the sky to work with, but you take what you get and I was happy to be able to see it. I did some bracketed exposures to work with in HDR and converted some photos to black and white. I like the way they turned out.

Rock climbing is allowed and I made a few photos of a couple of climbers.

While in Denver, I also took a walk through Waterton Canyon and made a few photos.

And one night, my nephew Jared and I made this panorama of the night-time skyline visible from my Mom’s place.

My other photos for this post are here

©2009, Ed Rosack.  All rights reserved.

Some more Denver pictures

Here is a gallery of three more pictures from our recent Denver trip.

The first image in the gallery is a colony of cliff swallows nesting under an overpass near my Mom’s place. Lynn first noticed these birds during our frequent trips in and out. They’re very hard to photograph since they seem to be in constant motion. When I tried to get close on foot, they grew very agitated and noisy. I finally got a not very good photo by using the car as a blind and taking the shot through the sun roof. I was zoomed in all the way with my 70 – 300mm, but didn’t have enough light to stop the motion, even though I upped the ISO to 400 to take this at 1/250 sec. Lesson learned: It’s better to get the shot, even with some noise in it – so up the ISO as much as you need to stop the action.

This old log cabin is just off the backroad between my sister's and my Mom's house.

I saw this cabin along the side of the road between my sister’s and Mom’s places, and really wanted to make a photo of it. I didn’t have time to go by at sunset, but this late afternoon shot captures the mood pretty well. I had to play around with curves in Lightroom to bring out detail in the clouds without losing it in the trees and cabin. I also cloned out a TV antenna on the roof and a power line on the right side. With those gone, it’s more appealing to me and could almost be a high definition window into the past.

The final shot in the gallery was taken from the balcony of my Mom’s place. The sunsets weren’t very colorful while we were there, since late afternoon thunderstorms covered the mountains to the west nearly every day. We finally saw a little color and this shot, especially the cloud shadows on the lower left, turned out pretty well.

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.