Buildering in Boulder

Buildering #2. Somewhere in Boulder, Colorado, 2014
Buildering #2. Somewhere in Boulder, Colorado, 2014

I have been trying to get my hands and forearms back in shape recently. Memories of The Yellow Spur on Redgarden Wall, I suppose…

I’m a pig compared to 35 years ago, but it’s still fun and I’m quite thankful I can still get out and do something on the rock.

Yesterday I popped over to a place we used to go for some quiet “buildering” (bouldering on buildings) to see if it still existed. It does. And the fresh chalk marks were proof that it is still being used, although I’m not sure of the official policy on the activity there.

It doesn’t take long to burn out your muscles on the sandstone–just a traverse or two back and forth (or much less, as is my case currently). It’s a great workout in a very secluded, but easy to access, area.

It’s location? I’m mum on that. If you are a climber or long-time local, you may recognize the location based on these images…I’ll just say it is in the heart of Boulder.

(If you go there, by the way, pick up some trash. The wind and inconsiderate partiers sometimes deposit extraneous debris in this hole-like locale.)

Buildering #3. Somewhere in Boulder, Colorado, 2014
Buildering #3. Somewhere in Boulder, Colorado, 2014

Mistakes

Creature, 2014
Creature, 2014

Sometimes a photographic mistake can actually turn out to be quite artistic.

Serendipity!

The above image initially was captured as my wife deliberately pressed her face up close to my camera (on a tripod at the time) just as I pressed the shutter. She was playing around…messing with me a bit.

Luckily I didn’t delete the file in the field (not a good habit, anyway, except for the most heinous mistakes), and when I saw it on the computer screen at home, I decided it had potential. A bit of creative post-processing…and voilà!

So, don’t readily delete your “mistakes”–something interesting could come of them!

Climate Change and the Liberal Freaks Who Believe In It

Water Abstract #9. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #9. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014

Yep, we all know that this climate change or global warming thing is nothing more than a left-wing, liberal conspiracy to bring down the world’s economies and impose socialism and its evils upon us all.

Leading the charge, as they do in battle, the Pentagon is one of those typical liberal fruitcake organizations that has been wasting time doing ridiculous studies on the effects of climate change and how it may affect their business around the world.

My question: Why in the hell are they wasting time and my tax dollars to study this crap when we all know such change ain’t happening and humans ain’t causing it!? (Look at how cold it was this past winter–evidence enough for me!)

Here are some of those socialist documents the Pentagon has been coming up with in which they acknowledge the important effects of climate change (Gawd, how can they!?):

An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States Security (October, 2003), by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall

Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) 2010

–Department of Defense, Report to Congress on Arctic Operations and the Northwest Passage (May, 2011)

Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) 2014

WONDERFUL BREAKING NEWS: House Directs Pentagon to Ignore Climate Change (thank God someone has some sense in this country! Damn Pentagon commies!)

Not to be outdone, here is a list of other socialist organizations who are turning in to pansies of the liberal left by embracing all that pseudoscience that purportedly supports the global warming ideology:

Ernst & Young – Third largest services firm in the world by revenue. One of the Big Four accounting firms in the world.

Lloyd’s of London – Some trifling little insurance and reinsurance organization…

Munich Re Group – One of the other world’s leading insurers. Warren Buffett, well-known fake capitalist and ardent communist–he supported Barack Hussein, you know–and is one of the leading share holders.

Swiss Reinsurance Co. Ltd – World’s second largest insurer.

Allianz – World’s largest insurance company.

AIG – 38th largest company in the world. Insurance and financial services.

Marsh & McLennan – 5th largest U.S. diversified financial company.

Damn insurance companies, all of ’em. I’m sure they are using all that false data compiled by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just to raise the rates on my South Carolina beach house.

Department of Defense, Pentagon, insurance companies…freaks, all…can’t get more commie, socialist, left-wing, liberal, sissy, than those groups!

Thank God the oil, coal and gas companies are straight with us…WAY much more reliable sources of information in my mind than that world-wide conspiracy of scheming and conniving (so-called) climate scientists!

In fact, maybe we need to look at a way of outlawing ALL science…but I’ll save that for another post.

 

FINAL NOTE – For those of you who read through this with great enthusiasm and just didn’t quite catch on: Satire Alert.

A Strange Connection

Lonely Plants. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Lonely Plants. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014

I’m sure you are all aware of the troubled young man who rampaged out of control in Isla Vista, California last week, killing six people, then himself.

There is a weird connection to photography there.

The psychologicaly disturbed and emotionally wounded kid who committed the horrible act was Elliot Rodger.

Elliot’s father was Peter Rodger, a British documentary film maker (Oh My God) and an assistant director of The Hunger Games.

Elliot’s grandfather was George Rodger, a British photojournalist and founding member of Magnum Photos. He was one of the photographers to witness and document the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (where Anne Frank died in March, 1945) during the last days of World War II. George Rodger’s work was published in Life, Time and National Geographic.

Weird.

As to the act itself. We are a violent society. We think there are good guys and bad guys, and the bad guys should die or be put away. There is no middle ground. We think brute force is the way to solve things (think of all our superheroes!). We don’t teach our children life skills…how to cope with abuse, with tragedy, with dysfunctional homes, with the pressures of life in a consumer-driven, capitalist economy…how to deal with conflict constructively…how to grow up…how to treat others fairly regardless of gender, race, religion, or body type…

Until we deal with that reality, meaningless mass murder will be the cost of doing business here in the United States.

P.S. Next time you go to the local movie theater for a night out, count the posters on the wall announcing upcoming features. Now count the number of those posters that depict a weapon or an act of violence. Do the division. You will very likely come up with a “pro-violence” figure somewhere around 80-90%. (Unless, of course, you frequent one of those fancy-pansy, Euro-liberal, artsy-fartsy, indy film joints.)

2014 Louisville National Juried Photography Show, Update

Fifty Years Later (2014)
Fifty Years Later (2014)

Tomorrow, I will drop off the above image, framed and matted, for hanging at the Louisville Show–the one image of mine they accepted. Also, for the first time, I’ll drop off ten smaller prints as “bin work” for sale.

The show always has some impressive work on the walls from all over the country.

The opening reception and presentation of awards: May 31, 2014, 7-9p.m. at the Louisville Center for the Arts at 801 Grant Avenue in Old Town Louisville. The show runs from May 31 through June 8.

Come on out and be inspired!

Water Abstracts, Eldorado Springs Canyon

Water, Rock, and Stick. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water, Rock, and Stick. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014

Lately, I have been having a lot of fun with the water. It is spring, after all.

Coincidentally, Ken Rockwell (the man folks apparently love to hate) recently posted some images showing the effect of different shutter speeds on the appearance of the water in your final image. His post is sort of useful, except…it all depends…

The appearance of water in your LCD will depend not only on shutter speed, as Ken points out, but also on three other critical details…

…how far away is the water?

…how fast is it moving?

…how close are you zooming in or how wide are you zooming out (both related to the first point).

Luckily, with digital, you can simply experiment until you get it right–“right” being the way you want it.

With your water images, you can try capturing the “big picture” (as the above image illustrates), or you might move in and look for unusual compositions and patterns, as in this short photo essay:

Water Abstract #2. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #2. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #3. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #3. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #5. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #5. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #6. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #6. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #7. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #7. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #8. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #8. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #9. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #9. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #12. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #12. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #13. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014
Water Abstract #13. Eldorado Springs Canyon, Colorado, 2014

Update on Chasm Lake Trail Conditions, May 2014

Mount Meeker & Longs Peak. RMNP, Colorado, 2014
Mount Meeker & Longs Peak. RMNP, Colorado, 2014

This is one of my favorite places near Boulder and I have always wanted to get up there in the early spring with winter conditions still evident on Chasm Lake, Mount Meeker, Longs Peak and the famous Diamond.

Yesterday (May 23), I finally made it happen, and here are the highlights…

An excruciating 1a.m. wakeup and on the trail, by headlamp, at 2:30a.m. A crescent Moon rising slowly in the east. I whistled and sang “Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go!”–gotta keep the bears alert, dontcha know.

The trail started out merely very wet and with intermittent snow patches for the first mile. After that, you were nearly constantly walking atop 2-3′ of snow–luckily packed down a bit by other hikers and fairly solid in the early morning coldness. It has certainly been a good snowfall winter!

Above treeline, the wind had blown much of the snow away so it was nice to walk on actual trail for long stretches.

Not long after first light, I arrived at the saddle where the Chasm Lake Trail and the trail up to the Longs summit via Boulder Field/Keyhole diverge.

Nice view out toward Denver by the light of a fingernail Moon. Strange to be so far way from humanity, yet so close. And speaking of humanity…The headlamps I had glimpsed earlier down below come by me at the saddle–two climbers heading quickly for Dreamweaver, a classic mixed snow/ice/rock climb up a long couloir on Mount Meeker.

The Denver view:

Pre-Dawn Moon Over Denver. Chasm Lake - Longs Peak Trail split, RMNP, Colorado, 2014
Pre-Dawn Moon Over Denver. Chasm Lake – Longs Peak Trail split, RMNP, Colorado, 2014

The next section of the walk to Chasm Lake can be treacherous in bad conditions as the trail cuts across a fairly steep slope. It’s no biggie in the summer as you simply follow the nice, secure trail cut into the rock and talus. In winter conditions, though, the slope can be avalanche-prone (after a heavy, fresh snow), or a slope you don’t want to tumble down (in hard snow). In the latter case, with no effective self-arrest, you would fall a very unhealthy distance onto the rocks of the Peacock Pool cirque hundreds of feet below.

Luckily, since the last big snowfall, enough people had already hiked up the trail before me as to create a very narrow, but fairly secure footpath across the now stable snowfield (even with no traction devices). Just put your boots in the slots left by the previous boots…and don’t look down.

Pre-dawn, the two Dreamweaver climbers crossing the snowfield:

Snowfield Traverse to Chasm Lake. RMNP, Colorado, 2014
Snowfield Traverse to Chasm Lake. RMNP, Colorado, 2014

Arriving just a few minutes after sunrise (scheduled by the Universe for for 5:41a.m.), I had Chasm Lake to myself for awhile…not a breath of wind (rare!)…an absolutely spectacular hidden glacial valley…lake still frozen, but showing signs of spring thaw.

Then two nut cases looking for a high altitude ski challenge approached and went by on the opposite side of the lake. Headed for Lamb’s Slide, perhaps? A lot of work for one run!

Skiers crossing the high traverse to Chasm Lake:

Upper Traverse to Chasm Lake. RMNP, Colorado, 2014
Upper Traverse to Chasm Lake. RMNP, Colorado, 2014

On skis, headed for Lamb’s Slide (see the two dots on the far side of the lake):

Chasm Lake #6 (Two Skiers). RMNP, Colorado, 2014
Chasm Lake #6 (Two Skiers). RMNP, Colorado, 2014 (Tough to see them with a small image on a small screen.)

Meanwhile…the two climbers were well up the lower slopes of Dreamweaver, on Mount Meeker:

Climbers on Dreamweaver #2. RMNP, Colorado, 2014 (Two more dots!)
Climbers on Dreamweaver #2. RMNP, Colorado, 2014 (Center couloir, two more dots!)

As I left Chasm Lake and headed back down the trail, the clouds began to form…precursors to the thunderstorm that will surely brew up later in the day. Hopefully, all will make it back down before then.

Longs Peak #2. RMNP, Colorado, 2014
Longs Peak #2. RMNP, Colorado, 2014

By noon, I was back in Boulder. What a paradise this place is!

 

UPDATE: Chasm Lake #6, in color…someone inquired and, sure enough, I think the color version is better:

Chasm Lake #6 (color). RMNP, Colorado, 2014
Chasm Lake #6 (color). RMNP, Colorado, 2014