A Warm February

I have seen temps well above 70 degrees Fahrenheit a few times over the past ten days. What’s with that? Isn’t this February in Colorado?

Today, I’ll offer up some contrasting colors from throughout the warm day of yesterday. These are scenes that look more like late autumn on the Colorado plains rather than winter February, no?

Fallow Field, Late Afternoon. Weld County, Colorado, 2016
Fallow Field, Late Afternoon. Weld County, Colorado, 2016

 

Fade to Pink. Walden Ponds, Colorado, 2016
Fade to Pink. Walden Ponds, Colorado, 2016

 

And a bonus semi-abstract landscape. If you compare the above image to this one, you can identify where my eye went to cut out this reflection from the larger scene…

Pink at the Ponds, #3. Walden Ponds, Colorado, 2016
Pink at the Ponds, #3. Walden Ponds, Colorado, 2016

Endangered Agriculture

A handful of images on this theme, from the rural areas on the plains east of the Front Range.

There is a better than 50-50 chance that much of the land in the following scenes will be subdivided and strip-malled (mauled?) over the next 20 years.

Disappearing Ag. Weld County, Colorado, 2016
Disappearing Ag, #1. Weld County, Colorado, 2016

 

Two Clouds, Two Trees. Weld County, Colorado, 2016
Two Clouds, Two Trees. Weld County, Colorado, 2016

 

Disappearing Ag, #2. Weld County, Colorado, 2016
Disappearing Ag, #2. Weld County, Colorado, 2016

 

A Prairie Dog's View. Boulder County, Colorado, 2016
A Prairie Dog’s View. Boulder County, Colorado, 2016

What If?

Worlds to Explore. Denver International Airport, Colorado, 2016 (iPhone6)
Worlds to Explore. Denver International Airport, Colorado, 2016 (iPhone6)

 

What if everyone in the world were completely free to choose their career path and ALSO be assured of making a decent living at it?

What do you think everyone would choose?

My guess is that a huge proportion of us would choose the arts–music, theater, dance, literature, sculpture, painting…yes, and even photography. Others would likely choose sports–sort of an artistic endeavor as well, I like to think.

Some may even enjoy the act of creating a new business, or inventing, or exploring, or going to Mars.

Who would choose to sell insurance…or pour concrete…flip burgers…or work at “the office” behind a maze of mauve partitions? Many fewer, I would guess.

My theory is that humans are artists and creators by their very nature. Alas, it is the nature of our current civilization that tends to erase that creativity–or, at a minimum, force that inherent creativity into the background.

Emptying My iPhone Pockets

In other words…going through my recently collected iPhone photos.

Whenever I see something random and interesting, I pull out the phone and take a picture.

I am finally getting used to the fact that the phone is also a camera and am finally remembering that I have it available as a photographic tool.

So, here are some random iPhone images from the past few weeks, pulled out of my “pockets”…

Prom Dressing Room. Denver, Colorado, 2016
Prom Dressing Room. Denver, Colorado, 2016

 

A Chef's Thumb's Up. Boulder, Colorado, 2016
A Chef’s Thumb’s Up. Boulder, Colorado, 2016

 

Waving at the Waves. Denver, Colorado, 2016
Waving at the Waves. Denver, Colorado, 2016

 

Rock Alien. Mt. Lemmon, Arizona, 2016
Rock Alien. Mt. Lemmon, Arizona, 2016

 

Sawhill Grass-scape. Sawhill Ponds, Colorado, 2016
Sawhill Grass-scape. Sawhill Ponds, Colorado, 2016

 

Cottonwood Shadows. Sawhill Ponds, Colorado, 2016
Cottonwood Shadows. Sawhill Ponds, Colorado, 2016

Photographer Spotlight: Kate Zari Roberts

Kate at Work. Sawhill Ponds, Boulder, Colorado, 2016
Kate at Work. Sawhill Ponds, Boulder, Colorado, 2016

 

There is no need to weigh yourself down with equipment to make photographic art. Indeed, most modern human beans already have the two tools you need:

  1. Your creative brain, and…
  2. A mobile phone.

If you have not seen Kate’s wonderful iPhone work, take the time to peruse her website HERE.  Seeing what is possible with a small, relatively basic, tool is certainly motivating me to whip out the cell phone for pictures way more often than I used to–maybe it will inspire you as well!

The above image is an iPhone portrait I made of Kate at work out at Sawhill Ponds last week.

Frederick-Firestone Fracking Series (Weld County)

It is quite an operation. Is it really a frack site yet? Or is it merely a drill rig doing its thing before the actual fracking begins?

From a distance:

Silver Birch Frack Site. Frederick, Colorado, 2016
Silver Birch Site. Frederick, Colorado, 2016

 

From a bit closer:

Silver Birch Frack Site, #2. Frederick, Colorado, 2016
Silver Birch Site, #2. Frederick, Colorado, 2016

 

A neighborhood view:

Silver Birch Frack Site, #3. Frederick, Colorado, 2016
Silver Birch Site, #3. Frederick, Colorado, 2016

 

A playground view:

Silver Birch Frack Site, #4. Frederick, Colorado, 2016
Silver Birch Site, #4. Frederick, Colorado, 2016

Recent Dacono (Weld County) Neo-Topographics

Here are a few more “possibles” for my Neo-Topographic portfolio, made whilst out chasing bald eagles with my photographer friend, Dana Bove.

In this one, I liked the combination of new homes, oil pumpjacks, and the bald eagle–a clear commentary, in one small rectangle, about shrinking habitat and damaged ecosystems. The eagle in this photograph is one-half of a pair that used to have a nest farther west, near Hwy 52 and CR 5. The nest was removed to make way for a planned subdivision in that area:

Bald Eagle Habitat. Weld County, Colorado, 2016
Bald Eagle Habitat. Weld County, Colorado, 2016

 

A boarded-up farm falling into ruins, and an advancing new subdivision on the horizon…and yet another oil pumpjack:

New Homes, Zero Down. Weld County, Colorado, 2016
New Homes, Zero Down. Weld County, Colorado, 2016

 

Oh, what stories could this basketball hoop tell? How many rural pickup games were played here, under the stars, in the grand silence of the prairie, to an audience of crickets, coyotes, and prairie dogs, before the advancing population of human beans finally closed down the arena for good?

The Basketball Court. Weld County, Colorado, 2016
The Basketball Court. Weld County, Colorado, 2016

 

Coming soon…Staples? King Soopers? Home Depot? Walgreens? Merv’s Mini-Storage? MacDonalds? Progress! Growth!

Ag to Strip Mall, Holly and Grandview, Dacono. Weld County, Colorado, 2016
Ag to Strip Mall, Holly and Grandview, Dacono. Weld County, Colorado, 2016

Arizona Summits: Picacho Peak, North Summit (Winter)

Picacho Peak, #1. Arizona, 2016. (The view of the main peak from the north ridge.)
Picacho Peak, #1. Arizona, 2016. (The view of the main peak from the north ridge.)

 

Some desert images from last week’s quick visit to Tucson…

First, a note…For more complete details of Picacho Peak State Park, and photos of the main trail and the exciting, must-do, cable route to the summit, see my previous blog post from December 19, 2014.

So, you say, you have been there and done that already? Great! Here is a nice variation to explore the next time you stop at this wonderful, lush, desert oasis o’ peace during your bumper-to-bumper I-10 travels between Phoenix and Tucson: the North Summit of Picacho.

Trail details:

–This route is significantly shorter than the climb all the way to the main summit. You can get up and down the North Summit in roughly two hours depending on how much you dawdle along the way. For comparison, the climb up and back to the main summit will likely take you a minimum of three hours.

–I would call it a Class 2+ hike (with a brief bit of titillating exposure on the “Knife Edge”!), albeit with the opportunity to try out some Class 3 or 4 terrain if you wish–but the rock quality is not up to Yosemite standards, so be careful!

–The route to the North Summit deviates from the main summit trail once you get to what I call the “Main Saddle”. This is the place where you have your first views of the western horizon and the main summit trail drops steeply down the west side of the mountain.

–As with all desert hiking in this area, October through April are your best months. Woe to those innocent tyros who would attempt this in the oven of summer!

–This North Summit gives you a unique perspective on the Picacho Peak massif and it will definitely be a sunrise/sunset photography destination for me in the future.

Here are some images to guide you. They were all made with the small but powerul Sony RX100iv, the first at sunrise, the others in late afternoon…

The big picture, from the entrance:

Morning Light. Picacho Peak, Arizona, 2016
Morning Light. Picacho Peak, Arizona, 2016

 

At the Main Saddle, looking toward the ridge leading to the North Summit. Stick to the Class 2 Gully unless you want a bit more excitement. The short headwall will go at easy Class 3 to Class 4, depending on where you climb. Once you gain this headwall, cross the cactus-garden plateau and aim for the narrow ridge above:

North Summit Route. Picacho Peak, Arizona, 2016
North Summit Route. Picacho Peak, Arizona, 2016

 

A closer view of your headwall options:

North Summit Route, Initial Difficulties. Picacho Peak, Arizona, 2016
North Summit Route, Initial Difficulties. Picacho Peak, Arizona, 2016

 

A look at the narrow upper ridge. The “Knife Edge” section may give you some pause if you aren’t used to exposure, but the rock quality is good and there is a nice stone “handrail” for you to clasp with your death grip. If you are comfortable on this kind of terrain, though, you can actually just walk across:

North Ridge, Final Section. Picacho Peak, Arizona, 2016
North Ridge, Final Section. Picacho Peak, Arizona, 2016

 

The view back down the ridge as you approach the North Summit:

Picacho Peak View, Arizona, 2016
Picacho Peak View, Arizona, 2016

Selected for “Landscapes” Exhibit at the Ft. Collins Center for Fine Art Photography!

Approaching Inferno. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2014
Approaching Inferno. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2012

 

Whoopee!

I have tried several times to get juried in to a show at the Ft. Collins Center for Fine Art Photography (C4FAP) but have never been successful–until now!

It is quite an honor to be selected by the C4FAP as it has, since its opening in 2004, established itself as a serious venue for high-quality, national and international-level, fine art photography. So, for some time now, exhibiting there has been one of my artistic goals.

This is definitely a step up for me.

The dandy details:

–The Ft. Collins Center for Fine Art Photography is located at 400 North College Avenue in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

–Some 2,900 images from 640 different photographers were initially submitted for consideration. The final selection will feature 50 photographs by–if I have counted right–49 artists from all over the U.S. (plus three from the U.K. and one from Denmark).

–The exhibit is called “Landscapes“and runs from May 6 through June 10, 2016.

–The juror is Natasha Egan, the Executive Director and Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP).

–The opening artist reception is on Friday, May 6, 2016, from 6-9p.m. If you are in this neck o’ the forest on that date, come on out!

–The one piece of mine they have selected is shown above: “Approaching Inferno” (2012), a digital capture made from an early morning hillside perch high up on Sugarloaf Mountain, above Boulder, Colorado. It is currently printed at 18″ x 12″ but I will test a slightly larger version–perhaps 24″x16″. The image originally had another title, but I prefer this current one.