I started out from our local airport with a connection through Detroit. There was a flight delay due to weather – high winds that day. I got to Detroit, missed my connection
and ended up staying at a hotel near the airport. I made it to Denver the next day, Thursday, June 3rd, with an early flight but had no time to recover and traveled directly
to the Management office after renting a vehicle. ‘A terrific start’, I thought as I was driving into Greenwood Village for the initial meeting…
This was my first introduction to the staff of Kier Management, a Utah based firm with a Denver office supporting our properties. Annette Peterson from the Utah office, Kelly Ray Burkham, the Denver head of the maintenance team, and I sat down for a short meeting and then off we went to check out the properties. I had a reservation at a Denver Tech Center hotel and by late afternoon we had already visited multiple properties before I was able to check in and unpack. It was a long day and I had much to do. The process for treatment of the images taken that day remained the same whether for work or play – I downloaded the media card to my laptop and duplicated the files on a external hard drive I carried along for that purpose.
Kelly Ray & Annette on the Job...
Canon EOS Mark III 1Ds, 1/400 second at 82mm; EF24~105 f/4L at f/10, ISO 640
It didn’t take long for me to investigate what was in the surrounding area in the non-work hours… One aspect I found interesting was the location of a large park not
far from the hotel. I got on line and read about this facility, Cherry Creek State Park - a site I was to visit multiple times before I left Denver. This worked
out well once the balance of my camera gear arrived – it stayed light for several hours after the work day and being close by provided some opportunities to check
American White Pelican
Canon EOS 5d, 1/500 second at 400mm; EF400 f/5.6L at f/10, ISO 640
Cherry Creek State Park was about fifteen minutes away and soon enough I was loaded up and ready to go. The park surrounds Cherry Creek Reservoir and represented a
good deal of environmental diversity. Included was a marina with ducks, pelicans and other birds, a smallish pond area that represented a wetlands environment, lots
of trees and forested areas and open prairie land. I was pleased to see American White Pelicans around the marina. These birds can be found on the East Coast
occasionally although the Brown Pelican is far more numerous. I’ve viewed & photographed them in Georgia and Florida. However, the dozen or so around the marina
were closer as they hung out on the booms used to still the water where the pleasure boats were berthed.
Incoming American White Pelican...
Canon EOS Mark III 1Ds on tripod, 1/1000 second at 840mm; EF600 f/4L +1.4X at f/11, ISO 640
It was after 1800 hours and I was surprised at the activity level in the park. It didn’t take long to learn among other things, it was a hotspot for bicyclists
doing roadwork. There was also a shooting range, area for folks flying radio controlled airplanes, all types of beach and water activities, boating and
jet-skiers, runners and probably some nature observers like me. It wasn’t easy to pull off the roadway if something of interest was spotted. Bikes were
going by quickly in both directions with great regularity and pulling off represented a hazard. I thought the $8.00 per day fee was a kind of expensive for
the short time I’d be spending per visit although I didn’t doubt the facility was worth the expense and this was for a car full – four or five visits and the
fee would start to add up. I considered purchasing a pass but decided to simply pay the daily fee after consideration. I talked with the Ranger at the entrance
booth and learned one could gain access at 0500 – early morning for early risers. In this case they have an honor system to pay the fee. I didn’t test this but
suspected there was a good chance you could be cited for not paying up if your vehicle was observed without a pass.
Jet Ski on the Reservoir
Canon EOS Mark III 1Ds on tripod, 1/250 second at 840mm; EF600 f/4L +1.4X at f/16, ISO 640
I observed a bird far out on the water that at first I believed was a loon. I didn’t have my binoculars with me, just another thing to pack and transport, so
it wasn’t until I got the long lens focused on the bird that I realized what it was – a Western Grebe. These
are most likely common to Colorado waters
but as a new species to my Bird Photography Index, I was pleased to have the opportunity to photograph the pair I found at the park.
Canon EOS Mark III 1Ds on tripod, 1/250 second at 840mm; EF600 f/4L +1.4X at f/18, ISO 640
I was in Commerce City, just less than an hour from my hotel, before 0700 hours and driving along the road towards the refuge observing the activity. There
was no problem pulling off anywhere along the shoulder and this is what I did to get out and have a look...
Canon EOS Mark III 1Ds on tripod, 1/250 second at 840mm; EF600 f/4L +1.4X at f/16, ISO 640
I was on the grounds of a large refuge with several ponds and other areas of interest. My friend the volunteer, who I later learned was a font
of birding knowledge & somewhat of a local legend, indicated where I could find some buntings but it was a long way from where we stood to discuss
this – there’s a reason the tours are done by vehicle at this facility. In the end result I never got away from the area of the Visitors Center… I
had birds flitting about to photograph and ended up utilizing all my available time right where my tripod was situated. When I realized how much
time had been expended I figured it was best to not start hiking - I wanted to be on time for the baseball game and had to make the drive back to the hotel & change.
Black-tailed Prairie Dog...
Canon EOS 5d, 1/640th second at 400mm; EF400 f/5.6L at f/18, ISO 640
I truly enjoyed being at the game and talking with Steve as we watched the action. Between the two cameras I took around 300 exposures, many of them sequence
shots. And no, I won’t post them all here… But I will post enough to provide an idea of the action I photographed.
Ryan Behind the Plate
Canon EOS 5d, 1/1,000 second at 200mm; EF70~200 f/2.8L at f/7.1, ISO 640
The Slammers were playing a double header and there was a bit of down time between games as the teams prepared. Before packing up I took advantage of the lull by
taking a few shots of the Sivitts family. Generally nobody wishes to do this but everybody was great and although in harsh light, they lined up for me…
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 1/640th second at 400mm; EF400 f/5.6L at f/9, ISO 640
One really neat reason I’d enjoyed being in the Denver was that my daughter Sarah lived fairly close by… She and her significant other
Sam, and I planned to get together this fine Sunday. Sarah called me in the morning and we met at the Denver Botanical Gardens, a place
they wished to check out. It was another hot and sunny day; I packed up the cameras and drove over to meet them…
Sarah & Sam - Denver Botanical Gardens
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 1/2000 second at 70mm; EF70~200 f/2.8L at f/8, ISO 640
We had a nice, although hot day at the gardens topped off by a nice dinner before I headed back to the hotel. The Denver Botanical Gardens facility is
large, well maintained and interesting. There were quite a few dragon and butterflies around the plantings, water striders in the ponds and other insect
life. I photographed some of this activity but really didn’t have the right lenses available to capture these scenes. The next day was back to work. I returned
to the room, downloaded the compact flash cards and prepared to start the work week.
Sarah & Sam...
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 1/1250th second at 400mm; EF400 f/5.6L at f/7.1, ISO 800
Monday was back to business and I met Kelley Ray at the Kier office for a short meeting before heading out to view some more properties. Annette had returned to the Utah office
after the last site reviews on Friday
leaving Kelley Ray and me to conduct the inspections. Over the coming days I spent
a good deal of time with Kelley Ray and found him to be an interesting individual. Besides much discussion of property management, how our companies operate and other work related
comments, I found we had some things
in common. Kelley Ray owned a motorcycle, was a musician and had an interest in photography.
Actually it went a bit beyond that… Kelley Ray I learned was a singer/songwriter and had a band that was quite prominent around Denver - he's a celebrity! Before the week was out he provided a CD so I could to listen to some of his songs and I viewed several music videos he had produced. All were great – I was duly impressed…
Kelley Ray on his Motorcycle
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 1/800 second at 70mm; EF70~200 f/2.8L at f/8, ISO 640
The temperatures in Denver remained downright hot and the sun was bright with little cloud cover. We were outdoors nearly all the time doing inspections. After multiple
days of this I was adjusting to the temperature and elevation fairly well. After the workday I returned to the hotel, downloaded the property photographs and took a
look at the time… I still had a few hours of daylight remaining and decided to take a ride to Cherry Creek State Park to see what may be around where it was close by.
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 1/640 second at 400mm; EF400 f/5.6L at f/7.1, ISO 640
The next morning Kelley Ray and I put together an adventurous plan to visit five properties. We worked out a route to accommodate our schedule and got on the road. Some of
these inspections were attended with Steve Sivitts along so he could price up some of the activities. I also had another associate join us; Corey Stone of Stone Electric, a
friend who I’d remained in contact with over the years. It was great to see these guys again and I was pleased to introduce them to Kelley Ray and the Kier staff.
It was getting towards late afternoon when we returned to the outskirts of Denver. Kelly Ray indicated we were close by his place – did I want to stop and take a look at his bike? I’d already viewed a screen saver of it in the office - ‘sure’, I indicated, ‘let’s take a look’…
Kelley Ray's Motorcycle
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 1/125 second at 35mm; EF24~105mm f/4L at f/8, ISO 640
The next day was mid-week, Wednesday June 9th. Kelley Ray and I had discussed taking a trip to a property in Cheyenne, Wyoming although this would take most of
the day. I’d inspected this property many years before and looked forward to seeing it again. Cheyenne is about ninety miles due north of Denver and I recalled
the beautiful landscape heading out of state… I made certain to have some longer focal length lenses available so we could look for potential subjects of interest
along the way. As it turned out this was an excellent idea.
Swainson's Hawk Along the Roadside...
Canon EOS 5d, 1/4000 second at 400mm; EF400 f/5.6L at f/8, ISO 800
We decided to stop by Kelley Ray’s on the way home… His fiancée, Karla would be home by the time we got there, so we decided to let the traffic go by for a
time and hang out. Kelley Ray, Karla and I had dinner at a wonderful restaurant near my hotel recently – our first meeting. I was hoping to see her again before
leaving Colorado… I found Karla to be an exceptional individual and they formed a terrific couple. Two memorable things came out of this visit, Karla indicated
they would come visit us in Maine and I promised to do everything in my power to return to photograph their wedding once the date was identified. I further indicated I’d be happy to take
some exposures at their house and after a time this is what happened.
Kelley Ray and Karla
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, 1/200 second at 75mm; EF24~105mm f/4L at f/8, ISO 400
Kelley Ray, a Louisiana man transplanted to Colorado, really loves his dog like all good Southerners so we included his German Sheppard, Duchess, in the group.
Canon EOS 5d, 1/125 second at 75mm; EF 24~105mm f/4L at f/8, ISO 400