On spring runoff and quadcopters

Spring at Boulder Falls. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2013
Spring at Boulder Falls. Boulder Canyon, Colorado, 2013

Spring is most definitely here. Boulder Creek is fat and fast with torrents of water. The kayakers are salavating. Boulder Falls is a loud roar. Our snowpack almost made it to 100% of normal, so things are looking pretty frothy in the creeks lacing down from the Divide. Gotta love the changing seasons.

Since the short Boulder Falls trail is currently closed and off-limits due to rock fall danger and swift current, the above image was created by dangling my camera from a radio-controlled quadcopter and flying it into the cleft that forms Boulder Falls and hovering directly across from the pounding, frothing, churning, charming water. It’s tough to get that slow shutter speed effect to work from a gyrating, wobble-machine like the quadcopter!

Satire alert, in case you swallowed the hook that was bobbing down the creek.

Memorial Day 2013

Aircraft Hangar & The Flag. Denver, Colorado, 2012
Aircraft Hangar & The Flag. Denver, Colorado, 2012

In honor of those who serve…and, for me, in memory of my aviation friends I lost during my Air Force career:

Steve “Sunny” Sundstrom, F-16 pilot

Doug Bradt, F-111E pilot

Greg “Maniac” Martineac, F-16 pilot

Craig Button, A-10 pilot

And their poem…

                      High Flight      by John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence.

Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or ever eagle flew — And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Last Contrail.
Last Contrail.

Old Photos

[NOTE: Photo inadvertently removed. Will replace as soon as I get to it.]

How many old prints, slides and negatives do you have in your attic? I know I have at least a few. What to do with them, ay, what to do? Well, I’m thinking my big winter project for next year will be to do some sorting, scanning, labeling and filing…it would be nice to have some of this images as electronic files for printing, photo books, family slide shows, and so on. Many of these old images could even be improved a bit in Photoshop by adding some contrast, re-cropping and cloning out distractions (this one could use some contrast, for example).

In this family photo we have (from left to right): Anna Best Joder (my grandmother), Patricia (my aunt), Robert (my Dad), Glen H. Joder (my grandfather, the country doc, standing), and Donald (my uncle). The horse and the sheik are unknown, as is the photographer.

This was probably taken at the family ranch in Cheyenne, Wyoming around 1945, about ten years before my grandmother, recently divorced (surely a huge and literally unspeakable scandal, given the times) moved down to Boulder County, Colorado with 35 horses. It was there that Anna Best started the Joder Arabian Ranch on what was then a 600-acre spread three miles north of a very small, sleepy and isolated college town called Boulder.

Interesting things, these old photos…and ripe for THE NEXT BIG PROJECT!

The upcoming Louisville Photography Show & some words on artistic vision

Brainard Reflection #7. Brainard Lake, Colorado, 2012
Brainard Reflection #7. Brainard Lake, Colorado, 2012

Well, that makes three years in a row that I have been able to get in to this national juried photography show in nearby Louisville, Colorado (June 1-8, this year; see the Louisville Art Association website)…but each time it is a little bit harder. This time only one of my submitted images was selected–but at least one did!

The image that made the cut (above) makes a good study in the difference you can make in post-processing to get the image to fit what you had in your mind’s bloodshot eyeball. What I was seeing when I made the image is pretty close to what you see above.

The JPEG the camera spit out (with neutral in-camera picture settings) is quite a bit different and that is what you see here:

Brainard Reflection #7 out of the camera, uncorrected and uncropped
Brainard Reflection #7 out of the camera, uncorrected and uncropped

Starting with the RAW file, I cropped, reset the white balance, and adjusted the exposure, among other things–plus I cleaned up a few of those ubiquitous and silly sensor dust bunnies. The conversion to monochrome was done with the Nik plug-in, Silver Efex Pro 2.

The point is that the creative process runs all the way from the setup and making of the image, to the post-processing and printing. You, as the artist, can adjust things to fit your vision anywhere along the way. And, indeed, flashes of inspiration can occur anywhere along that entire trajectory.

Hmmm…maybe I should try a square crop, too…

Virginia Dale, Colorado and the Infamous Jack Slade

Virginia Dale Post Office. Colorado, 2013
Virginia Dale Post Office. Colorado, 2013

You’ll pass this place at the high point in the road between Ft. Collins, Colorado and Laramie, Wyoming on U.S. Highway 287, just four miles or so south of the Wyoming line. Not much there these days. The post office and cafe is shuttered. There is a ranchette next door with pigs, chickens and a llama or two. Traffic rarely stops, with the exception of the occasional photographer or tourist interested in memory-steeped structures from the past…such as this building you see above, closed in the 1990s, the school house built in 1874, and the original stage stop structure from the 1860s which is still standing. Click here to read more, including the Jack Slade wild west story.

Can you tell it’s graduation month?

The Day After. The Hill, Boulder, Colorado, 2013
The Day After. The Hill, Boulder, Colorado, 2013

Let the parties begin!

It was no problem taking all the time in the world to make an image of this front yard in the early morning (our next-door neighbor, as it happens) as all the residents were likely passed out inside. I never learned to like the taste of alcohol so this was never my scene. When I was young, I found it much more fun and rewarding to be off hiking some slot canyon, flying a hang glider, cornering in a local criterium, or climbing some granite wall–adventure was my drug of choice.

I guess when you graduate university and you are away from Mom and Dad, getting wasted makes you feel quite grown up…at least until you are on your hands and knees in the wee wee hours, praying beside that great, odiferous porcelain god and coughing up voluminous, fetid offerings to the same. Thankfully, most of us eventually grow out of this stage.

Happy Graduation!!!