Sometimes the best camera is the one you have with you. We recently joined our good friends on a birthday hike. The birthday boy’s name is Jim, we’ll keep his real age a secret. The hike, Eagle Lake Trail (near Eagle, CO), starts a 9,300 feet of elevation and ascends another 500 feet. Our friends have been hiking with us many times. When we have our cameras with us they have come to understand there will be many, many stops along the way. Oooh, that’s beautiful! I must get a photo of it.  Since today is Jim’s birthday, we decided not bring our cameras. We didn’t want ruin the hike for him.

We’d barely left the parking lot when we turned around and saw this beautiful scene. Kathryn couldn’t help herself and pulled out her iPhone.

I couldn’t help but capture the start of a beautiful hike [photo by Kathryn]

We couldn’t have hiked more than a couple of moments, when we came across some beautiful wildflowers. What were we to do? We didn’t have our cameras with us. There is no way we could walk past them without a photo. So, out came the iPhones again. It was brief stop. Luckily, Jim did not seem annoyed.

The Wild Roses captured our attention.

A few moments later we came across a grove of aspens. Argh! We love Aspens. Could we stop again so soon? I looked at Jim and saw a hiker’s determination to keep going. What was I to do? Maybe I am thirsty. Yes, I am definitely feeling a thirst come on.  Since we are stopping for a sip of water, a few photos couldn’t hurt.

One Aspen tree arched it’s way across this scene. Somehow it knew we were photographers and needed a good framing mechanism for the photos.

We came across a beat up bridge, the only way to ford the river. Photographers love taking photos of things in any level of decay or brokenness.  Jim powers across. For some reason I am afraid to cross. While summoning up some courage I have time to pull out the iPhone for a couple of shots.

Liz, an expert hiker, did not hesitate to cross. [photo by Kathryn]

After some significant huffing and puffing we came to the end of the hike, in front of a nice waterfall. It’s time for lunch and a rest. I can sit by the river’s edge and pull out my iPhone for a shot. If I angle myself in just the right way, I don’t think Jim will see. Got it. Lunch was tasty for us and the bugs.

We were sitting at the edge of a cliff while looking at this waterfall. I had to be careful, otherwise I could get pushed over the ledge by an annoyed birthday boy.

The walk back was more of the same, stopping here and there for more photos. We came across a field of Columbines. Jim shouldn’t mind stopping for a photo of Colorado’s state flower, should he? Columbines are too pretty to ignore.

Colorado made a great choice when picking the Columbine as its state flower.

The clouds moved in and the Aspens began to glow. Maybe just one more shot?

Wouldn’t you agree that these were worth a quick shot? [photo by Kathryn]

I think Jim decided there was really no way of stopping us. When you can’t beat them, join them. Here he is pointing out a beautiful scene to shoot.

I wasn’t sure whether Jim was pointing out a beautiful scene for me to shoot or telling me where I could go.

We made it back with a slew of iPhone photos. And, somehow, it didn’t cost us our friendship.

Happy Birthday, Jim. Enjoy the photos!

It’s all about the light!