Monday, October 31, 2011

A Notchtop Morning

I was out at Lake Helene yesterday morning and it was just absolutely spectacular if not very cold and quite deep in the snow (I had not expected to need snowshoes so I was sinking deep at every step). I am still going through the images but I quickly wanted to already share this image with you. It shows Notchtop mountain at the moment of sunrise but covered with a blanket of clouds. The wind was so fierce that these clouds were puffing around really quickly almost as if I was looking at a timelapse video but happening in real life. Quite neat.

A Notchtop morning
A Notchtop morning. Buy a print.
Tech info. Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mmf/3.5-5..6 at 24mm. f/16, 1/13s. Raw image developed in Lightroom.
Same image on Flickr. Relevant Google+ post.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quiet symmetry at Marigold ponds

This image was taken on a quiet evening a few weekends ago in the Odessa Lake area in Rocky Mountain National park. This shows the Marigold ponds, a little lake hidden from sight from the trail. The reflected peak is called the Notchtop. This evening was superbly quiet and the watersurface was completely undisturbed safe for some insects. I love the strong symmetry created by the clouds and their reflection. As you would see in a large print, the reflection is more perfect than any I have ever seen before.

Buy a print.
Technical data: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11.5 mm, f/11, 1/13s, circular polarizer, 2 stop grad ND. Processed from raw in Lightroom.
Same image on flickr. The relevant Google+ post.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Coyote tracks

On the great sand dunes just after sunrise.

steps black and white - Coyote tracks on the sand dunes
Buy a print.
Technical data: Nikon D300, Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 at 18mm, f/8.0, 1/320s.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More fall color in Eldorado Canyon

This image was taken at dusk. I have some nice images looking out over the rock formation with sunset glow on them that I will post at a later time. Now fall color is still topical so I'll show that here. This is a followup to the previous post. This waterfall is fairly easy to find right at a pullout to a big bouldering boulder. You have to scramble down a little through some brush and there it is. There are many nice waterfalls in this area but it is often difficult to get a good angle on them. I think this one works.

Dusk fall
Dusk fall. Buy a print.
Technical: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11 mm, f/11, 1.0s. 3 stop grad ND to darken the sky. Processed in Lightroom (no HDR).
Relevant Google+ post. Image on flickr.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall in Eldorado Canyon State Park

Yesterday, I dropped the little boy off with mom and sis who is selling tickets as a fundraiser for the awesome organization she rides horses with - The Westernaires. She is close to having sold 400 tickets now, which means she will have two chances to win that horse that we have little idea where to keep but we'll deal with that if it actualy happens. I am very proud though that she is working this hard to accomplish her goal with actually fairly little help from us except for giving rides and keeping her company. She is a better sales person than me. Anyway, I did a quick evening run after this to Eldorado Canyon State Park, a very nice park just southwest of Boulder that is famous for its climbing. I posted some winter images from this place before. The picture I will post below is quite different from those images. Even though as I showed before the high country of Colorado is getting snowed on already, the foothills are still in full fall mode. So I went to Eldorado Springs to hunt for a waterfall surrounded by fall foliage as well as to recreate a sunset shot I did with my phone a while ago but with better gear. The latter didn't pan out as I had hoped (I'll post some images anyway when I get to them), but the waterfalls wwere great. The below is one of those images I found.

Fall in Eldorado Canyon State Park. Buy a print
Technical data: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11.5mm, f/16, 0.4s, 3 stop ND and 3 stop grad ND filters to slow down the water and darken the sky. Edited in Lightroom (no HDR here!).
Relevant G+ post. The image on Flickr.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More from the Loch and Lake Haiyaha

Previously I posted a few images from The Loch here and here. Here are a few more that I took, as well as on my hike over to Lake Haiyaha. First this is at the outlet of The Loch:

Ice and fire
Ice and Fire. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/10, 1/500s, ISO 800. I painted in a 1 2/3 stop graduated ND in Lightroom to darken the sky.
Relevant Google+ post. Image on flickr.

I really love the yellow glow over the mountain here. This is the Sharktooth. The name of which is much clearer when you take a look at it from the other side.
Keen observers will notice that I made a mistake here and left the camera at a high ISO that I used for family pictures the evening before. Luckily noise reduction in modern raw conversion software is so good that you don't notice even zooming at 1:1 so it's not a big deal at all and the quality of this image in print is just great.

Here is a horizontal pano that I shot on the same spot as where I took the iPhone panorama posted a few days ago.
Surround. Buy a print.
Technical data: Assembled from 10 images (2 rows of 5). D300 with 35mm f/1.8 DX at f/11, 1/100s, ISO 200. 1 stop darkening of the clouds painted in in Lightroom.
Relevant Google+ post. Image on Flickr.

This should really be seen large. As you can see, the sky is much more dramatic in the DSLR image than in the iPhone panorama, but the iPhone holds up well in the web image. Of course, when you make a large print of this 45 MP image (out of a possible 100 MP or so when rendered full resolution), you'll get incredible detail out of it. The iPhone panorama will not hold up to close inspection in that case. Of course only photographers really care about resolution. People who love the art of photography are looking far more to composition, color, and what kind of story the image tells. Both images work fine in that respect with the dramatic color advantage to the DSLR panorama in my opinion.

Echoes of grandeur
Echoes of Grandeur. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/10, 1/500s, ISO 800. I painted in a 2/3 stop graduated ND in Lightroom to darken the sky.
This is basically a horizontal version of the vertical high resolution composite I posted before. I like both perspectives but slightly prefer this handheld image.
Relevant Google+ post. Same image on Flickr.

After the Loch I was first planning to walk up to Andrew's tarn, but decided to walk over the small trail from Glacier Junction to Lake Haiyaha and Dream Lake. This was very nice and I shot some images of small waterfalls and a little pond I came across. Here is the outlet to Lake Haiyaha. The name Haiyaha apparently means "rock" in a native american language which is an apt name as the lake shore is riddled with enormous boulders hinting at its glacial origin. This is not the actual lake which is further behind, but I didn't take any images over there as it was very windy here and I doubt I could get any nice reflections on it. The outlet however was quite sheltered and offered some possibilities for reflections as you can see below:

Hallett peak reflection
Hallett peak reflection. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/5.6, 1/25s, ISO200

Here is another one at a slightly different location.

Misty evening
Misty evening. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/5.6, 1/25s, ISO200

On the hike over to Dream Lake from Haiyaha, you come across a very exposed ledge that is actually quite scary in winter with deep snow, but that always offers a great view of Longs peak. Here are two more images looking back from that point to Longs. Unfortunately, I did not get any sunset light on it (which is always quite dramatic) but the clouds were very dramatic so I decided to post them anyway.

Along the trail to Lake Haiyaha - Longs peak in the mist
Longs peak in the mist. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/5.6, 1/50s, ISO200

Along the trail to Lake Haiyaha - the clouds split over Longs
Parting the clouds. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, f/5.6, 1/25s, ISO200

If I don't decide to go back in time to my gigantic backlog of images, next up will be some images from Dream Lake and Nymph Lake at dusk.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Elk herd in Apex open space

From 2011-10-12
This herd lives in one of my favorite open space parks to do a quick lunch or end of day bike ride. There are lots of elk in the Denver foothills and you don't really have to go up to Rocky Mountain National Park to see them. As long as you are willing to walk/bike a few minutes you can see them up close. This image is from two exposures on my iPhone shooting against the sun combined using a quick mask in Photoshop. The built in HDR as well as the HDR pro app didn't do a good job here as the elk moved between exposures.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

iPhone panorama of the Loch and Loch Vale

This was created by 6 shots on my iphone4 (non-S ;-) ) in HDR mode. I stitched them together using hugin later. I did have my phone stitch a similar image using the autostitch app which looked great too, but it lowers the resolution (probably a setting somewhere I should change). I slightly warmed the tone in Lightroom but otherwise this is as is. The image is about 12 MP resolution. Click on it for a much bigger view. It is quite impressive what you can do with a cellphone nowadays.

The Loch iPhone panorama
The Loch iPhone panorama. Buy a print.
relevant Google+ post.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Snow on the Loch

It snowed around here and in the mountains on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday I decided to go on an evening hike in Rocky Mountain. I had an extraordinarily pleasant walk (albeit somewhat cold at times). I visited The Loch, Lake Haiyaha, Dream Lake and Nymph Lake. I had not expected much fireworks lightwise, because these are all traditional sunrise pictures. However, as it turns out the clouds that were hanging above the high peaks actually lit up in pinkish and yellowish hues. Also some sunset light actually hit Half Mountain (at least I think that is what it is called). Together these provided some backscatter into the valley which gave a nice warm light. I have a lot of nice images that I will share when I get the time (the backlog is terrible!) but for now here is an image created at the far tip of The Loch.

Snow on The Loch
Snow on the Loch. Buy a print.
Technical info: Composite of 9 images (will print wallsized with impeccable detail). Individual images D300 with 35mm f1.8 DX at f/11, 1/80s, ISO 200. Field of view equivalent to about a 13mm lens on DX or a 20mm lens on full frame.

Google+ post on this image. The same image on flickr.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rocks and reflections in Summit Lake

This was taken a while ago at Summit Lake below Mount Evans. I shot much more the other way too, but right now I just wanted to show this image.

Summit Lake rocks
Summit Lake rocks and Mount Warren. Buy a print.
Technical data: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, ISO 200, f/8.0, 30s, circular polarizer.

Same image on flickr.
Google+ post.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall comes to the foothills

Snapped this using my iPhone on my daily bike ride a few days ago. I used the HDR pro app to combine two exposures to avoid the blue sky from blowing out.

Fall color in Apex park
Also see the relevant Google+ post.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Just heard it on NPR. From the homepage today:

Sad day. I thank Steve for enabling all these innovations that have made a profound difference on my life and that of millions of other people. A lot of what I do in my science work and my photography would not have been possible or would have been far harder and probably quite frustrating without them. Buying my first iPod (when they were still Mac only and the iTunes store didn't exist yet) made me rediscover my love of music. Steve was truly remarkable. The epitaph at the Apple site says it well. Also a worthwhile read is his 2005 Stanford commencement address.

Edit: A very good write-up by John Siracusa at ars. Mirrors my feelings quite well but John is actually a good writer.

Fire over Notchtop : or it pays to look back

Shot while walking away from the lakes. I look back over my shoulder and suddenly there is a flash of color in the sky.

Fire over Notchtop
Fire over Notchtop. Buy a print.
Boring technical info (I get asked all the time): Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 13mm, f/8.0, 1/20s, ISO 200. Developed in Adobe Lightroom.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall color in unconventional places

From Sunday's hike to Two RIvers Lake in RMNP. I noticed these tiny leaved plants on the forest floor had gorgeous yellow and orange colors. On my way down I shot a few images of it. Most very long exposures as it was getting quite dark quickly.

The forest floor comes alive
The forest floor comes alive. Buy a print.
Technical: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, ISO 200, f/8, two exposures of 1/4s and 2.0s blended manually in Photoshop. Originals developed in Lightroom.

I really like the color contrast here with the greens from the trees, the yellows and reds from the shrubbery, the sunset colors and the blues in the sky.

Soft bed
A bed for tired bears. Buy a print.
Technical: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, ISO 200, f/11, 4.0s. Original raw file developed in Lightroom.

Fallen giant
Fallen giant. Buy a print.
Technical: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, ISO 200, f/11, 2.5s. Original raw file developed in Lightroom.

Patches. Buy a print.
Technical: Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm at 11mm, ISO 200, f/11, 15s. Original raw file developed in Lightroom.

There was a lot of fall color in the park but I thought it was nice to see images that did not involve seas of aspen once in a while.
Google+ post.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Marigold Pond Evening Stillness

I went to RMNP yesterday evening ostensibly to photograph fall colors, but ended up scouting out the trail to Two Rivers lake and Lake Helene as I just felt like hiking and escaping the throngs and throngs of people that were in the park gawking at Elk and leaves. That turned out to be a good choice as I met only a couple of hikers and had the place to myself. This area has several traditional sunrise pictures and has been on my wish list for a while. On the other hand, I have never seen an image of it in the evening. This makes sense as the light comes from behind then and you don't get the nice glow on Notchtop mountain which is what people go for. Unfortunately for a variety of reasons I did not make it for sunrise but the evening turned out to be very nice too. The water in the lakes was the most still I have ever seen it anywhere in RMNP ever. Below is an image that will be followed by more from different lakes and areas around the trail.

Marigold Pond evening stillness
Marigold Pond evening stillness. Buy a print.
Technical data: D300, Tokina 11-16 mm at 11mm, f/11, 1/4sec, ISO 200, polarizer to emphasize reflection and 2 stop grad ND. Image interpreted in Lightroom.
Google+ post. On flickr.