The photographs on this site are copyrighted, but can be used with prior permission and attribution. Please contact me about usage or if you would like prints.
When contacting me, please give the image number you are inquiring about. It's the 4 digit number following the plant name.
Image numbers are assigned by the camera while photographing. Usually there is just one number. In some cases there are two, such as 6764/6789, indicating that several or many images, in this case 26, were taken at different focal lengths and stacked together to produce an image with most or all parts in focus. This process is called focus stacking (see below).
Several sources for plant identification have been used, with these being the most important:
“Flora of Colorado” by Jennifer Ackerfield
"A Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Rockies” by Carl Schreier
“A Guide to Rocky Mountain Plants” by Ruth Ashton Nelson and Roger L. Williams
"The Alpine Flora of the Rockies, Vol. 1” by Richard W. Scott
“Guide to Colorado Wildflowers, Vol. 2” by G.K. Guennel
•USDA Plants Database - plants.usda.gov/
•Integrated Taxonomic Information Sysytem - www.itis.gov/
•Southwest Environmental Information Network - www.swbiodiversity.org
•Southwest Colorado Wildflowers - www.swcoloradowildflowers.com by Al Schneider
•Wildflower Search - www.wildflowersearch.com
•Biota of North America Program - www.bonap.org
•The American Southwest - www.americansouthwest.net
•Flora and Fauna Northwest - science.halleyhosting.com by Paul Schlichter
When identifying the plants, the scientific names indicated on the Integrated Taxonomic Information Sysytem (ITIS) website were chosen. Family names have been revised according to the latest APG standards.
All of the photographs were taken with digital cameras, primarily Nikon DSLRs, including D70, D200, D300S and (currently) D810. Most DSLR photos were taken with a Nikkor-Micro 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom macro lens. Other cameras were used as well, including aim-and-shoots Canon SD650, Nikon P7000 and Sony RSX-100III. Beginning in 2016, I've been doing focus stacking on some photos using the lens focusing barrel or a Kirk FR-2 focusing rail.
Most photos were taken with natural light but some close-up shots were made using a Nikon RC1 macro flash system.
Almost all photos are shot with camera RAW file format and developed and converted to JPEGs on a Macintosh computer with Adobe Lightroom and Color Efex4 Pro software. For the focus stacks I use Helicon Focus software to process the images.
My processing steps consist of first identifying the plants and organizing them in Lightroom with keywords. The photos are usually cropped and exposures/contrasts adjusted before converting to JPEGs and uploaded to my website using Blocs web development software.
Along with hiking, mountain biking is a great way to get to some of the best wildflower sites, and it’s quicker than walking. My backpack is usually loaded with a camera, hiking tripod, biking equipment and water for a day in the Colorado backcountry. If it’s an aggressive ride, I’ll take my small Sony RX100-III camera, and for easier rides my DSLR with macro lens will be in the backpack.
Another way we get to the best places is in our 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited shown here at Lower Crystal Lake in Summit County. We drive as far as the roads allow and then hike. Click here for more about our Jeep adventures.
© Tom Lebsack 2023
Banner photo: Ten Mile Range and Rhodiola integrifolia (King’s Crown) in Summit County