Sunset at Lake Isabelle

Our favorite destination in the Indian Peaks Wilderness of Colorado, we hiked up to the Lake Isabelle area on a Tuesday evening for some sunset photography. A beautiful hike and we were rewarded with glorious color. I made a handful of photographs as the evening progressed, these being my favorites. Enjoy!


Cascades and wildflowers on the way up to Lake Isabelle_PBP2191


Falls just below the old Damn at the east end of Lake Isabelle_PBP2210


At the east end of the lake, I begin to line up the photograph I intend to make as the light starts to become more and more interesting. _PBP2253-Edit


The Color of the sun setting behind Shoshoni Peak starts to take over the scene. Now we’re talking. _PBP2291ig

The final image of the evening, Sunset at Lake Isabelle._PBP2325

River Rats!

Valerie and I visited the town of Salida, CO over the weekend and caught some of their local whitewater festival. FIBark, or First in Boating the Arkansas River, has been celebrating the culture of boating on the Arkansas River since the 50’s. Now in it’s 70th year, generations of river rats have competed here over the years. Freestyle kayaking, paddle-boarding slalom races and canoeing are just a few of the events on the water.

Val and I spent the afternoon hanging out with the locals, drinking great brews, and with our bare feet hanging in the cool river, we watched, cheered, and of course, made some pictures.












Thanks to to one of our fav places for eats and brews in Buena Vista, CO, The EddyLine, for sponsoring the event and keeping cold brews in our hands.

Cowboys, Horses, and Skiers

Words by Valerie Brandner / Photography by Paul Brandner


A brisk wind blew in from the east of town as we walked toward main street but the sun was shining and we could already hear the sounds of a big event just around the corner.


Just behind the starting gate was a collection of riders on their horses, all waiting to make their runs. Nostrils flaring and dancing about, these horses were ready to run!


A group of skiers waiting on the other end to join up with their riders and horses, the excitement was palpable. The 2018 Leadville Ski Joring competition was about to begin.


Skijoring competitions and events take place all over the world and consist of a skier being pulled by a tow rope in a waterskiing fashion, by either a sled dog team or a horse, either riderless or with a rider. These are typically long distance races.

In 1949 Leadville, CO started their own brand of Ski Joring (broken out into two words) and this competitive event focuses on speed and agility. The skiers are pulled down main street, which is packed with a foot or so of snow, at great speed.


The skiers are timed and have to navigate a course of slalom poles, jumps, and hanging rings that they need to collect with a small wand.  If they miss any of the jumps, rings or slaloms, they are penalized by adding seconds to their finishing time for each violation.


The riders drive the horses, who cannot wait to run as fast as they can down the street, full speed as the skiers navigate the terrain, and collect their rings.


As the competition builds, the winds start to pick up and we can see clouds gathering to the east. It’s getting a bit colder but the fans are getting louder, and the horses faster.


The horses alone are a wonder of power and speed. So spectacular a sight, you can see every muscle rippling through their shaggy winter coats; one can feel the power of these animals as they gallop past.


The cowboys and cowgirls driving the horses are a vision from the old west. Intense and determined, they barrel down main street with the singular goal of getting down the course as fast as they can without loosing their skier.


In close tow, the skiers at first seem to be just hanging on for their lives. Watching the event unfold, you begin to realize that these athletes are focused and very skilled. And not wearing a lot of protection other than a helmet and goggles.  These guys and girls are courageous, agile, and so much fun to watch!



This yearly tradition is one that you do not want to miss if you’re ever out in Leadville, Co in March.


The locals are great people and the food and drink around town is western saloon style, first class.



To those passionate souls who fearlessly entertained us for the afternoon, here’s to you and those beautiful animals.





Midwest Autumn 2015

Autumn is my favorite time of year and it is truly magical here in the Midwest. It’s the harvest, and it’s time for apple picking, pumpkins, getting out the cold weather gear, and of course, autumn color photography. There is something about the smell in the air, the changing of the season’s, and the harvest festivities you find in every town and community, that just remind me of home.

I love this time of year and it never seems to last long enough. Every year is a race against time to get to all the places I want to explore and photograph. Autumn is the most fleeting of seasons, but the most enchanting by far.

This year I concentrated on the deep woods and beautiful design of autumn in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin- my backyard. Here is a small collection of autumn photography from this year that represents my attempt to capture the feeling of autumn, as I experienced it this year.


Nature’s Deign

Photographed at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.


October Woods #3

This photograph was taken in early morning at The Pewits Nest, just west of Baraboo, WI.


Country Road

Photographed on a small country road just west of St. Charles, IL.


Autumn Trails #1

Photographed at North Park, on the lakefront, Milwaukee, WI.


October Woods #1

Photographed at Devils Lake State Park, just south of Baraboo, WI.


Autumn in the Canyon

Another photograph from The Pewits Nest, west of Baraboo, WI.


Autumn Trails #2

Another photograph taken on the trails at Devils Lake State Park, Wisconsin.


The Meadow

Near sunset at The Morton Arboretum, in Lisle, Illinois.


October Woods #3

The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL.


The Haunts of Nature

Seven Bridges Trails, south of Milwaukee, IL.



Welcome to my new blog! I am a photographer who’s first love is to explore the landscapes, towns, and people of my surrounding areas and beyond. I will never grow weary of exploring a new place with my camera and capturing its story in photographs. I hope you enjoy the content and photography you find here, and it inspires you to go out and explore your world.


Paul Brandner