Friday, May 21, 2010

Tight Squeeze

Yet another of the many beautiful places I visited in Colorado was the Colorado National Monument where this picture was taken. A winding path lead between two large rock formations, ending in a large cul-de-sac just out of view on the right.
While the cul-de-sac opened up and let the composition down a bit, the bend leading to the end didn't, hence this picture. I liked how the light bounced around inside lighting up some of the banding near the ground.
And of course, I was protected from the wind so it was almost warm there!

Last one from the frozen lake

Last one, I promise. As I walked around the frozen lake shooting from various angles, some of the shots were overexposed from flare from the sun. A drawback with shooting ultrawide angle lenses. In any case, I really liked the composition of this shot, but the overexposure ruined it, "as is" so a little (ok, a lot) photoshop adjustments and the picture was salvaged.
Not all pics can be saved by photoshop, but it can help when the original pic isn't a write-off. You can still see the overexposure in the ice on the lake, but it's not like I can reshoot this composition easily.


Colorado was full of surprises. I was driving across the I-70 corridor, flanked on both sides by heavy mountains when it would suddenly level out, rivers would pass by, and then swallowed up by mountains again.
I took the next exit, doubled back and found a wonderful tributary spashing down from the mountain.
The heavy undergrowth cut some of the wind but it was cold up there (duh! right? I was 12,000 feet up).
In any case, the actual waterfalls I wanted to see were closed off, so these crystal clear rapids substituted nicely.

Deep Falls

This is clearly a photoshop manipulation. I took what was otherwise an ordinary closeup of the rapids caused by the waterfalls, deepened the colours and blurred out the background.
The result, I thought, was better than the original. Again, from my Colorado trip.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Five minutes later

Same park, not far from the last shot, Mr. Sun came out and gave me depth and details on the rock.
Thanks Mr. Sun


The clouds were out in force for this shot, taken at the Garden of the Gods, a little adjustment in photoshop brought out the details while retaining the look of the sky.
Actually, I like this sky a little better, as it wasn't prone to blowing out the sky in the image. But with a brought shy you got strong shadows on the rocks, intensifying the look.
So it's a trade-off.


Why no, these pics aren't in any order, why do you ask? Taken at the Colorado National Monument, closeup detail of the pinon trees. Not with a macro lens, but with a wide-angle lens at point blank.
The weather in Colorado, with the exception of the day I was leaving, while cold, was perfect for photography, and here was no exception. Bright blue skies, fluffy white clouds and still air provided the perfect backdrop for all the pictures taken there.

Garden of the Gods

Not hard to see why they call it that. Also not hard to see that my lens was filthy. Really should have attended to that before I went snapping away like a lunatic. Well it's cleaned up somewhat for here, but if I ever print this out, it'll have to undergo some serious spot cleaning.
As you can see hre, and in future images from the Garden, the skies went from heavy overast, or bright sun in a matter of minutes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Alien Landscape

From a place called Roxoboro State Park. The rocks were this deep red colour, contrasting nicely with the blue sky and white contrails from passing jets.
This place was stunning, and I look forward to posting more from there.

Rough Neighborhood

The rough section of the golf course. Taken at 10mm (ultra wide) in portrait mode, allowing me to get everything into the scene, albeit at a slight distortion.


Peppered throughout Colorado were these twisted trees, called Pinon trees. Apparently the strong winds twist them into these weird shapes.

Taken at the Colorado National Monument at some way high elevation.


My Nikon D1x is weather-resistant so I managed to get closer to the falls without fear. Of course the splash did cause spots all over the lens cover, which affected the image somewhat, but that was easily cleaned up in photoshop (and lens cloth)
I like the fuzzy look in the upper right of the image, like a giany bristle brush.
The overcast day allowed for a long exposure time, giving the 'cotton candy' look to the water.

Even Civilization

This was taken on my first few minutes in Colorado, it's a golf course! The day was perfect, the sky crystal clear and of course the grass freshly cut. It made me want to go golfing just to be in the presence of those rocks.
For the record, I can't golf.

Another view of the frozen lake

This was on the last leg of my journey, along the I-70 corridor. I was tired, mentally worn out and yet this hidden lake had to be one of the most beautiful places I went. The contrasts in colours and seasons cannot be accurately captured by my skills.
Nonetheless I tried.


What trip to Colorado would be complete without a visit to the Coloado river? This is but a small part of the river of course, coming down from the mountains, but beautiful all the same.
It was freezing up there! Had difficultly holding the camera without shivering, even bundled up.


I bought a book just before I went on photographing Colorado and in the book it mentions a number of waterfalls to check out. Sadly, many of the areas had been closed by Avalanches, but I did mange to find a good one, here is one of the pics, taken on an overcast day.


One of the last bits of photo equipment I needed was a flashgun (honest! last bit) and it arrived just in time for my trip. Sadly my results with it were less than stellar. Of course I've never really used a proper flashgun before so perhaps I had it set wrong.
This is from a crystal caverns way up high in the mountains of Colorado. This shot turned out properly exposed, hopefully you can see the details


Given that the state is very mountainous, the weather is all over the map. This was taken at about 12,000 feet up, as you might be able to see, part of the lake was still frozen. When the wind wasn't coming off the slopes at -80 million degrees, the ambient temperature wasn't that bad. Still, it was hat, gloves and heavy jacket for me.

There will be a lot more to come

This is from a place called Black Mesa (or something like this, I'm still a little fuzzy from the trip) for obvious reasons. The image barely conveys the steep drops into the river below. Like 200+ feet below. Nothing like that to trigger a little (okay, a lot) vertigo.
By the way, these images have been resized to make uploading easy and for any viewers still on dialup. If anyone wants a full sized image of any of my work, I will be happy to send you one (warning, 70MB in file size)

A Real Vacation

After too many years, I went on a real vacation. To Colorado for a few days to photograph the wonderful landscapes out there. I took 80 gigs of pics, and will be sorting through them over the next several months I suspect. They are not in any order, just as I find the ones I like and post.
And yes, the sky out there really is that blue. For the vast majority of these pics, they are straight from the camera with little or no adjustments.
All taken with my simply wonderful Nikon D1x and either the 17-35mm f/2.8 or the 10-20mm f/4.5 lens.