I find myself using two cameras at once quite a lot when I am in the mountains. First, I make the pictures with the big Nikon, then I snap the same picture with the iPhone.
Why? I can’t send a picture home (or to the latest social media account) with the Nikon, but I can share it immediately with the iPhone (assuming cell phone coverage where I happen to be).
And the iPhone images are pretty good–just fine as a frog’s hair for most web uses. As an example, here is an iPhone pano from yesterday’s Twin Sisters hike. It is straight out of the phone except for some straightening and some fixing of the sky where the straightening correction had burred the blue at the top.
For reference…the left side is looking south, roughly toward Boulder-Denver, and the right side is looking north with the western quadrant in-between. Longs Peak is at the center with the Mummy Range to the far right. The town of Estes Park would be under the clouds between the Mummy Range and my location.
The ridge in the foreground on the right and the left is actually the same ridge–the west summit of Twin Sisters Peak–so that confirms I swept the camera around a full 180 degrees. It’s hard to see on the small computer screen, but there is actually a surprising amount of detail in the photograph.
Well, how ’bout them apples. A strikeout yesterday, a home run today. It eventually pays off if you keep coming back.
This time, I chose Twin Sisters (3a.m. start hike time), directly across from Longs Peak, as the photo perch. I figured with the storm still lingering about that there might be some fog or a low cloud layer at sunrise today and, sure enough, there was.
The one “shoulda”: I probably should have worn the snowshoes on my feet rather than leaving them in the truck. There was a lot more snow than I anticipated and the trench from a week ago was just visible enough to follow with the headlamp. Luckily, I only had two or three post holes to the hip–typically it was ankle, or shin-deep at the most–and I made the boots work.
The snow was gorgeous…a crystal carpet of jeweled white. And you just couldn’t beat the view (even with a very large stick) of Longs, Indian Peaks, and the retreating storm cloud remnants.
–With the snow conditions, the hike up took 3 1/2 hours. So, I was above the trees, but just shy of the summit, when Mr. Sun showed up. In the summer, the romp through the forest to the top shouldn’t take quite that long.
–FYI…About an hour up the trail from the parking lot is a small break in the trees which makes for a nice place to rest and to take pictures of Longs Peak.
–Photo note: For close images of Longs, 200mm effective focal length is a minimum–and it’s all I own. It would be nice to have at least 300mm or even 600mm available. That is a lot of lens weight, though, so maybe consider a teleconverter on a small telephoto, combining images, or cropping if you have the megapixels to spare.
–Maybe 5-10 minutes past the aforementioned “Longs Peak Vista Luncheon Counter” you will arrive at the 2013 mudslide site. The slide cut through several of the Twin Sisters Trail switchbacks. In the snow, I just followed the faint trench which sometimes had me going straight up the slope parallel to the mudslide and sometimes walking the zags of the old switchbacks. I’m not sure where you might go in summer with bare ground, but it should be fairly obvious.
–I never considered Twin Sisters to be much of an avalanche risk kind o’ hike…but, had it snowed another foot or so that last slope up to the summit saddle might have had me wondering about deviating a bit. As it was, the snow seemed to be heavy (wet), consolidated, not too deep, and fairly well anchored by the rocks and boulders.
–The highest point is to the east, but your best views of Longs are from the west summit.
–The east wall of the “radio shack” was in the sun and out of the wind (well, out of whatever little breeze there was), so made for a fine lunch spot.
–The hike is around 7 miles round trip and 2,500′ vertical, and it is generally accessible all year round, so it’s a good one to keep you in shape for the higher Colorado peaks–and, of course, it’s a wonderful hike in it’s own right.
Some selected images:
I was hoping to be at the top at this moment, to catch first light on The Diamond of Longs Peak. Ah, well, this moment was pretty nice, too…
Smooth snow. A bit more of it and there could be some avy concerns here. Skiers, I know it looks sweet, don’t get your hopes up. There are many rocks and boulders (granite “sharks”) lurking just beneath the surface…
Well, not completely. Yes, there was a pretty solid whiteout going on with visibility at about 100 yards…but at least it wasn’t pouring rain (as I have seen before). So I did manage a few images (as in above and below).
They just weren’t the pictures I had in mind.
My idea was to head up there for the last light of the day as the latest spring snow storm cruised on out toward Kansas. Sometimes you can get great light and some wonderfully, wiggling and writhing cloud streamers threading around and through the mountain valleys as storms exit stage east.
But, it was not to be. Gotta just keep coming back. Maybe tomorrow?
Or, perhaps, are you still running away from something in your life? Do you feel trapped and isolated in the modern spider web that is the world today? How do you cope? What mechanisms do you use to stay anchored and sane? Have you chosen relatively healthy outlets…or, have you not…?
I just got word that three of my works have been accepted for a show at a new gallery called The Darkroom, in Longmont, Colorado. Yippee!
Here are the details…
The gallery is owned and operated by a talented photographer in her own right, Julie Cardinal. She has a lot of energy and ideas so it’ll be interesting to see how her venue evolves. You can check the latest goings-on at The Darkroom Facebook page. The physical address of the gallery is 515 Main Street, Longmont, Colorado 80501 (it’s right on Main Street, next door to the Longmont Theater).
A wide variety of styles are always on exhibit in Julie’s gallery. A gander at her website will clue you in on who’s work is currently on display.
The theme of the exhibit in which I will have three pieces is “The Interpretive Landscape” (my personal focus was more on the cultural aspect of our American landscape). The show will be judged by the Longmont Museum manager and curator, Wesley Jessup, and the Photo Editor of the Longmont Times Call, Matthew Jonas. There are cash prizes, but the big deal grand prize is a solo exhibit–which would be quite the sweet gig!
You can view all of the accepted works at The Darkroom gallery–and there will be some wonderful art to behold–from Second Friday, June 12th, through July 25th, 2015. For more information on this exhibit, here is the Call for Entry page.
The three photographs of mine that were accepted for the exhibit:
First, a more traditional monochrome landscape, and one of my more popular photographs. The Darkroom used this image on their Facebook page to promote the contest and exhibit, which was very nice…
Then a more apocalyptic scene that is part of my Western Civ 102 series…
Finally, another Western Civ 102 image depicting something of our cultural landscape. This was also used on The Darkroom Facebook page to publicize the “Interpretive Landscape” event…
And it ought to be “Earth Century” rather than merely Earth Day! We really need to give that kind of priority to our delicate nest.
It seems that every new study or bit of news about climate change and ocean acidification is saying essentially, “You know what, gang, it’s worse than we thought.”
People scream “Save the Planet”, but that really isn’t accurate and it isn’t the true issue. You see, Mama Earth will eventually have the last gurgling chuckle and work out a new equilibrium–with or without us. It’ll just take her a slight shrug of her tectonic shoulders.
So, the battle cry should actually be, “Save the Earth and a Few of Us Humans Beans, Too!”
Every year it gets more difficult to get accepted in to the Louisville National Juried Photography Show in nearby Louisville, Colorado. For the fifth year in a row, though, I have managed to get at least one image invited–this year, four images!
Here are the details on the show:
Dates: May 30 – June 7, 2015
Where: Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant Avenue, Louisville, Colorado 80027
Reception and Awards: May 30, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Well, for a start…there is no Wikipedia entry for Ferncliff (yet). The closest you’ll get is the entry for Allenspark. (In fact, the property lines look like Ferncliff has been devoured by Allenspark.)
To match the lack of internet presence, Ferncliff looks somewhat–but not completely–abandoned, physically.
Here is the interesting thing for you investment opportunists out there: perhaps half the town is for sale…cabins, gas station, country store, storefront building, etc.
A Google search to check on the sale price, what is included, etc. revealed nothing. Maybe because the land and buildings are “For Sale – By Owner”? The closest I came to finding any useful info was a 2013 blog entry by Aaron Smithmier. In his blog, he suggests you contact the owner at [Correction: as per the comment by OperaGirl below, the correct number is 719-495-8620] for details–and he mentions a selling price at somewhere around $1.5 million. [Update: As of January, 2016, the asking price was $1,350,000.]
Well, if I were, say, 30 years younger, and I had a few million burning a hole in my Pinkerton safe, I’d jump on it like an alligator wrestler. You’d spend $1.5 mil initially to buy the place, then probably another couple of mil to get it fixed up. Pretty cheap investment, says my friend Mr. Koch.
What would I do? I would…fix up all the cabins with all the modern comforts (but rustically decorated, each with a special theme), get the gas pumps up and running (and add an electric vehicle plug), turn the store into both a local grocery store for the Allenspark-Ferncliff area and an entertaining tourist destination with a bizarre and unique inventory of very, very strange “stuff” (and useful stuff, too), fix up and lease out (at very cheap prices) the storefront offices/stores to local artists and entrepreneurs, turn one of the storefront spaces into a cafe/restaurant/bakery with awesome giant brownies (with and without nuts), build a small ropes course/zip line and climbing wall area (covered from the elements), and turn the pond into an ice skating rink in the winter (yes, I’d also buy lots of insurance!).
With the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park just up the street, you could run all kinds of adventures from here: mountain and road biking (altitude training!), climbing, mountaineering, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, photography clinics, horseback rides (in cahoots with the stables in Allenspark), and some just plain “vegging” at the cabins for city folk looking for a piece of quiet at 8,202′ above mean sea level.
Yep, this little corner of the world could be a little pizza pie slice of heaven. It just needs someone with energy, ideas, and money. (Or better yet, a whole family with ADHD!)
Here are some selected images made just yesterday during the latest spring snowstorm:
The For Sale sign, buried by the snow…
The gas pumps–closed now, but current with the State of Colorado, I am told (see Ken’s comment below)…
The cabin area…
You could put stores and restaurant on the ground floor and a few hotel rooms on the upper floor…
This is where you would put your inventory of both useful and bizarre “stuff” so as to attract customers from near and afar…
Finally, a wonderful icebox awaiting delivery of the frigid bagged cubes…
What do you think? Any takers?
[Please comment if you know more about what is going on in Ferncliff–it’s a fascinating place.]
2016 Black & White Magazine, Spotlight Award Winner! (Issue: June, 2017, #121)
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