Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most incredible drives in the contiguous 48 states. The road rises to 12,134 feet elevation and over 11 miles of the highway is above treeline. Whether your camera is pointed toward the twin peaks of Long’s Peak and Mount Meeker, the alpine flowers or the pikas, bighorn sheep and elk, the photographic possibilities are endless and inspiring.
After we finished shooting wildflowers above Hidden Valley, we continued our drive toward the summit. The parking lot at Rainbow Curve and its incredible vistas was teeming with cars and people so we decided to drive up a little further.
Our patience paid off when we pulled into a spot at Lava Cliffs, which is just below the highest point on the road. In the valley to our east were elk. The gentlemen were enjoying a snack and napping near the ponds while the ladies were to their north in the meadow munching on a midday treat. Now the elk weren't that close to the roadside pullout but I was confident that I could get some great shots with the Tamron 150-600mm I brought along.
Little did we know when we pulled out our cameras and Tamron lenses, we were going to attract almost as much attention from the tourists as the elk did.
When we arrived at Lava Cliffs, the overlook was full of tourists with i-Devices, point-n- shoots, binoculars, and a few DSLRs with "kit lenses." We set up our tripods along the edge of the overlook. I was using the new Tamron 150-600 VC on my camera while Deanna had the 200-500 on hers. With lens shades on, and pointed toward the elk, they were a sight compared to those around us.
And our lenses allowed us to get a little closer to the wildlife. These images show how the right lens can still let you get the action even when you are over a half mile away from it. The bull elk in the second image were approximately a half mile from our vantage point while the cows and calves were in a field a little closer - only about a quarter mile or maybe a bit less. In all three of these, you can see how amazingly sharp this lens is when it's wide open at 600mm
And as often happens, it wasn't long before we were answering questions about the lenses, photography and sharing the views from our cameras with visitors from Kansas to Iowa to England. I think Deanna spent more time allowing people to look through her camera viewfinder than she did shooting.
As I told those I spoke with on Sunday, I love the versatility - and affordability - of this lens. And I can be confident whether on a tripod or even handheld as these are, that my images are going to be great with Tamron's VC stabilization even in the always breezy conditions at 12,000 feet above sea level.
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