Hello and welcome to
ColoradoLight.com! The purpose of this site is to display my nature and travel photography, provide an
e-mail contact for purchasing prints, and provide links to related sites that may be of interest. I'll also
comment on how my health has benefitted from regular hiking.
My name is Tom Schmitt. I have enjoyed 35mm outdoor and travel photography since 1984. Although I have lived in Colorado Springs since 1987, I did not explore many of the area trails until Spring of 2001. After roughly a decade of sedentary living and poor eating habits, in January of 2001 I decided to change to a healthier lifestyle that includes a Mediterranean diet and regular physical activity.
After beginning my fitness program at a health club in January, I moved the "program" outdoors in the Spring and hiked nearly 500 miles from April through October, all on area trails. In December of 2000, I weighed 230 pounds with over 30% body fat. By July of 2001, I had reduced to 185 pounds with just over 20% body fat! On one of those Spring fitness hikes, I began packing my new Mini DV camcorder to try out on birds, flowers, waterfalls, and streams. Before long, this rekindled my passion for nature photography. Inspired greatly by the Colorado columbines, other wildflowers, and the beauty of Pikes Peak, I felt it was again time to dig out my old Ricoh KR-5 Super (I bought a new Nikon system and a good, sturdy Manfrotto tripod in July).
The red lilies (or wood lilies) were a highlight of Summer of 2001! These beauties were blooming along Bear Creek and North Cheyenne Creek in July. On a hike in mid-July, I spotted over 100 of them! I enjoyed photographing these striking flowers that, as I had read in more than one book, are rare and endangered.
In August I was pleased to find and photograph "elephant head" flowers in the Bottomless Pit area on Pikes Peak
(no scans uploaded yet). Until then, I had only seen them in pictures.
In September 2001 I learned how beautiful the aspens truly are. I had convinced myself over the years that their colors were boring and limited compared to eastern trees, and I needn't pay much attention to them. How wrong I was! I was impressed by the brilliant and varying shades of green, yellow, and orange at Horsethief Park, the Bear Creek/Forester Trail area, and the Tarryall Mountains. There was nowhere else I would rather have been than out on the trails photographing the aspen and other autumn foliage! The changing colors of the scrub oak at Garden of the Gods and Waldo Canyon were spectacular! After the September 11 terrorist attacks I watched CNN daily, and my hikes provided needed breaks from the news.
Winter 2001-2002 was nearly snow-free, but I was out on the trails enough to get some shots. At Garden of the Gods I looked for snow scenes following the few storms we had, and I photographed the dramatic light of sunrise and sunset. I enjoyed finding details like snow-covered pine branches and backlit oak leaves still hanging.
I often check a Farmer's Almanac for the best day of the month to shoot a full moon setting over alpenglow-lit Pikes Peak, as in the photo on the next page. I find the day where the time of sunrise and moonset most closely coincide, then add one day. Even when conditions aren't ideal for alpenglow (when the sunlight is blocked by clouds), the results can be pleasing, as in "Moonset From Quail Lake" (Winter, p.1). I have not yet photographed a full moon rising over sunset alpenglow on the west side of Pikes Peak.