Colorado

An iPhone Postcard Landscape

Ominous Flatirons. Boulder, Colorado, 2017
Ominous Flatirons. Boulder, Colorado, 2017

 

From the sea back to the high mountains… and a local iconic (cliché?) postcard landscape for you from just above the Boulder Bubble, aka The Friendly People’s Republic of Boulder.

With my D800 and my 24-70mm lens off at Nikon for repairs (they were dropped some time ago…both still worked, but were pretty banged up), it is the iPhone that I have with me most often these days.

REPAIR UPDATE: It appears that my D800 is coming back from Nikon as “unrepairable” This means I will have to use the thing sans battery door and with a small pointy object always handy to pry the battery out of its slot each time I need to charge or change it. The camera still makes good images, though, even with the bashed batt compartment.

Heavy Spring Snow on Sugarloaf Mountain!

With the latest storm moving out yesterday, I thought it might be an opportune time to hike up Sugarloaf Mountain. The idea would be to catch sunrise on the Continental Divide, maybe see the trees plastered with snow, and hopefully even get a nice undercast layer of writhing fog fingers caressing the low mountain valleys.

These photo trips never really pan out like you expect, though. On this morning, for example, there was no undercast and the Continental Divide peak tops were mostly obscured by cloud remnants from the recent storm. At least there were lots of snow-laden trees.

What really attracted me, though, were the huge snow sculptures and drifts at the summit–some of them hip deep. The driving wind, and thus blowing snow, helped give the images some unusual movement effects, even if it was difficult to keep the lens relatively spot-free. (Forget trying to actually change lenses!)

The hike up was through a smooth, fluffy coat of shin-deep powder snow.

First tracks are the best!

On to the images…

 

The magic moment. Another day quietly begins with orange plasma on the horizon and light pink on the snow at my feet:

Sugarloaf, April Snow, #2. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017
Sugarloaf, April Snow, #2. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017

 

Then the wind woke up and the early morning went full-on, roaring orange:

Sugarloaf, April Snow, #4. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017
Sugarloaf, April Snow, #4. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017

 

Sugarloaf, April Snow, #5. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017
Sugarloaf, April Snow, #5. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017

 

This was my favorite photograph of the day, a portrait of Longs Peak as the first rays of the sun hit the mountain. The wind was blowing directly into my lens, which made for some wonderful blurring and subtle colors in the foreground…but the flakes would quickly start filling up the spaces around the inside the lens shade. I cloned out a number of inconvenient spots from flakes that stuck themselves to the glass:

Sugarloaf, April Snow, #3. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017
Sugarloaf, April Snow, #3. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017

April in the Colorado High Country

There may be trees blossoming down in Boulder, but it is still looking like winter up above 9,000′ or so.

Here is a block print-like image of Dillon Lake I liked, made just a couple of days ago. It is definitely an experiment with unconventional composition.

Screw the rules (sometimes)!

Dillon Lake, April Contrasts. Dillon, Colorado, 2017
Dillon Lake, April Contrasts. Dillon, Colorado, 2017

 

And a few more monochrome images from the same general area of Colorado, all made during the first few days of April…

 

Island in the Clouds. Near Dillon, Colorado, 2017
Island in the Clouds. Near Dillon, Colorado, 2017

 

Tenmile Range in Cloud. Near Frisco, Colorado, 2017
Tenmile Range in Cloud. Near Frisco, Colorado, 2017

 

Snow Dunes. Near Dillon, Colorado, 2017
Snow Dunes. Near Dillon, Colorado, 2017

 

April Snow. From Loveland Pass, Colorado, 2017
April Snowpack. From Loveland Pass, Colorado, 2017

 

Making Tracks. Near Loveland Pass, Colorado, 2017
Making Tracks. Near Loveland Pass, Colorado, 2017

 

A Skier's Landscape. Breckenridge, Colorado, 2017
A Skier’s Landscape. Breckenridge, Colorado, 2017

 

Wanderlust. Breckenridge, Colorado, 2017
Wanderlust. Breckenridge, Colorado, 2017 (14ers Grays and Torreys Peaks are just under the sign with Keystone ski runs below.)

Changing Colors on Sugarloaf Mountain

It had been too long since I had been up on Sugarloaf Mountain (8,917′), my favorite local golden hour perch.

(My favorite perch? A hearty, “Yep”. Just type “Sugarloaf” into my website SEARCH box to see how many times I have dragged my camera and tripod up there–in all kinds of conditions!)

So, this morning, with the just-past-full Moon setting some 45 minutes or so after sunrise, and a weather service fore-guess that indicated some clouds but not too many, I thought it might be the place to go.

Getting unstuck from the warm bed and into various layers of winter threads was tough, but I was generously rewarded with the following scenes…

 

Approaching sunrise, low fog, and suburban sprawl from Denver on the right to Boulder in the center:

Sugarloaf, #1. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017
Sugarloaf, #1. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017

 

Patterns of purple and pink to the north:

Sugarloaf, #5. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017
Sugarloaf, #5. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017

 

That’s the rounded summit of Mt. Audubon (13,229′) on the left and Longs Peak (14,259′) near the center. The wave clouds indicate high winds aloft, but the low fog contradicts with calm winds below:

Sugarloaf, #7. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017
Sugarloaf, #7. Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017

 

As the Sun lights the snowy Continental Divide on fire, the grand Moon, drops down toward the lenticular clouds behind the two Arapaho Peaks. The taller of the two summits, North Arapaho (13,502′), is under the larger cumulus cloud while South Arapaho (13,397′) is the highest little bump along the ridge to its left. The higher mount on the right is Kiowa Peak (13,276′):

Sugarloaf, #10a. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017
Sugarloaf, #10a. From Sugarloaf Mountain, Colorado, 2017

White Rocks/Teller Farms Open Space (A Photo Walk)

You never know what you are going to find on these photo walks. 

I was pessimistic as Dana Bove and I set out on this short trail just outside of Boulder, Colorado. But, eventually I managed to start “seeing” a few nice images–largely thanks to the handful of unusual lenticular clouds that came and went throughout the evening.

Examples…

Here, in an early attempt, I am playing with some compositional elements as best I can:

White Rocks, #6. Near Boulder, Colorado, 2017
White Rocks, #6. Near Boulder, Colorado, 2017

 

Looking for patterns in the cottonwoods, I came across a collection of nicely rhyming arches:

White Rocks, #8. Near Boulder, Colorado, 2017
White Rocks, #8. Near Boulder, Colorado, 2017

 

The two marshmallows were lovely, but the contrail in the lower left really helped make this one work even better than expected:

White Rocks, #10. Near Boulder, Colorado, 2017
White Rocks, #10. Near Boulder, Colorado, 2017

 

Finally, my favorite image in which three passing birds happened to come along at just the right time. Post-processing it with a high-key effect really helped make the high fliers stand out:

White Rocks, #11a. Near Boulder, Colorado, 2017
White Rocks, #11a. Near Boulder, Colorado, 2017

2017’s Month of Photography is Here!

Altar to the Gods. Denver, Colorado, 2015
Altar to the Gods. Denver, Colorado, 2015

 

There is plenty to see and do this month around the Denver-Boulder metroplex and, indeed, all across the country.

Exhibits, lectures, art walks, artist discussions and chats, workshops…you name it. And you’ll find just about any genre of the photographic and digital arts that might tickle your fancy tastes.

For specific event information in our local area along the Front Range, go to: Denver’s Month of Photography 2017 website.