Denver Outdoors

Recently, I took a brief trip to Denver. I only had about a day and a half there, and I wanted to make sure I got in my fair share of both outdoorsy excursions and city life. And, of course, I brought my camera along.

The first place I visited in my quest to experience Denver’s natural world was the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. I had wondered why I hadn’t seen any brochures for it at the airport or hotel. When I got there it became obvious – the view of the refuge isn’t the most picturesque, particularly the side that looks onto the adjacent Invesco Field stadium and its copious parking lots. From the car, it also seemed that I probably wouldn’t see much wildlife on the semi-barren landscape. As soon as I started walking around, however, a chirping noise alerted me to an entire town of prairie dogs who would periodically pop out of their holes to watch me suspiciously and sound the alarm to their brethren. This one let me get fairly close:

Prairie dog, © Karen Joslin 2011

My favorite photo from the refuge, though, was the image below of the cracked, parched desert earth. Sometimes I love to capture the texture and details of a subject in a more abstract way, and this photo is a perfect example of that.

"Gaia," © 2011 Karen Joslin
“Gaia,” © 2011 Karen Joslin

After I left the refuge, I headed over to Cherry Creek State Park. If I’d been in Denver longer, I’d have spent much more time there. It’s a great place for hiking. The park also allows swimming, boating, camping, and other types of recreation. Hiking was all I had time for, though. The first trail I headed down presented me with this interesting old tree in a sea of grass:

Black and white photo of an old tree
“Still Standing,” © Karen Joslin 2011

In a different part of the park, I had just started down a path towards some woods when a doe and fawn bounded out of the trees and into the grass ahead of me. They didn’t stay there long, but I managed to get this shot:

“Doe and Fawn,” © Karen Joslin 2011

For anyone wondering about my workflow, I start by making image adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw, and I occasionally apply WOW ACR presets to images, such as with the Doe and Fawn photo above. If I feel the image needs further work that I can’t accomplish in ACR, I do that in Photoshop. I process my black and white images using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0. Because that will drastically change things such as contrast and density, I don’t make many changes to those images in ACR – I mainly look for blown-out whites and shadows that are too dark.

© Karen Joslin. 2011