Saturday, December 31, 2016


Survivors. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Nikon 1 J4, 1 Nikon VR 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm, f/8.0, 1/160s, ISO 400

This is one of many images I took strolling around the interior of the Dunes. There are so many amazing little scenes you can find all around the dunes with plants clinging to life in the most extraordinary circumstances as you can see here.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Purple Dawn at Alstrom Point

The purple dawn
Purple Dawn. Alstrom Point. April 9 2014.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16mm, f/5.6, 30s, ISO 100.

I found this image hiding in my library. It is from a trip with photographer friends that I did in 2014 to Bisti Badlands, Alstrom Point, and White Pocket. On my way back I swung by Bryce Canyon and Calf Creek Falls. The above image had been lurking in my Lightroom catalog for quite a while, me not realizing the potential of the image. I think I now actually like it as one of the best images from that sunrise. This is a while before sunrise as you can see from the stars still being visible but a purple glow was on the clouds already and a yellow glow started at the horizon announcing the coming sunrise. If you want to see more pictures, here is an earlier blog post on this place.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Star trails at Ice Lakes Basin

Back in July, I spent a night up at Ice Lakes Basin in the San Juan mountains and I created the below star trails image
From here to eternity
From here to eternity. Ice Lakes Basin, San Juan Mountains.
composite of 360 images, Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at f/5.6, 15 s, ISO 1600

The individual images were shot 15 seconds exposure and with a 1 second delay between each other. Then I composited all the frames in Photoshop in lighten blend mode and removed hot pixels and airplane traces from individual frames. I also created the below video from these frames. On youtube you can see this in full 4k resolution.
An interesting backstory here is that I had planned to get the milky way rising over the mountain in the middle but had not checked my astronomy app careful enough as it turned out to be a nearly full moon night! A little bit of moonlight is OK but this was too much to see the milky way. It did nicely light up the entire valley though.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Most memorable images from 2016

1. January 31

Pristine. Sunrise at Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 22mm, F/16, 1/3s, ISO 100.
It's a great idea to look back upon a year and choose one's favorite images. I've been going through my images from this year over the last few weeks and, although the year is not over yet, have come up with some favorites or most memorable images. Some of these are not necessarily the best images but they are images that I am fond of. The image above for example was taken on a solo snowshoe hike in #RMNP Jan 31, 2016 where I encountered deeper snow conditions than I'd ever seen in the park. I was the first person up there with pristine snow everywhere (also unplowed road to the trailhead ;-) ) and it was gorgeous. The sunrise didn't materialize much but I got some good images anyway such as the iconic tree above. I also generated several photosphere panoramas that you can see on Google maps. Be sure to drag your mouse all around as these are fully immersive 360x180 spherical panoramas and they really convey what it is like to be there.

You can find more images from Dream lake, Emerald Lake and Lake Hayiaha in the links.

2. February 21

River of rock
A river of rock. Calhan Paint Mines.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 22mm, F/8, 1/15s, ISO 100. Focus stack from 5 images to get everything in pristine focus front to back.
I visited the stunning and fairly unknown Calhan Paint mines that are hidden in a little town-run interpretive park for a sunrise on Feb 21, 2016. Since the last time that I was there 100's of very impressive wind mills were added all around it but luckily the views were not spoiled. This is truly an extraordinary place and well worth a visit if you're ever near Colorado Springs. You can find an immersive panorama that I made the same morning in this link.

3. March 13

Radiance. Matthews/Winters park.
Stitch from 4 images from Nikon 1 J4, 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10 mm, f/4, 1/400s, f/4.0
I took this photograph on a short hike with my wife and son over Dakota ridge. I ride this on my bike often and it is a beautiful trail. Here we were hiking back to the trailhead and we came upon this scene with clouds lit by sunset light. I often like struggling trees as you can tell.

4. May 13

Golden dawn
Golden Dawn. Chautauqua Park, Boulder open space.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 16mm, F/8, 1/30s, ISO 800. Focus stacked.
I was scouting Chautauqua park on May 13, 2016 for a sunrise photography class I would lead the next morning. This is one of the vantage points I identified there. The flowers are fantastic in spring in this place. The next morning was rain and fog the whole time which made for very different but still very interesting images as you can see next. I also hiked up to the royal arch this morning and made a few immersive panoramas there that can be experienced here and here.

5. May 14

Forest scene. Chautauqua Park, Boulder open space.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 at 72mm, F/8, 1/80s, ISO 450.
I got many images like this the morning of May 14. So different from the day before.

6. June 24

Fairytale forest
Fairytale Forest. Boulder Brook, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 16mm, F/16, 1s, ISO 100.

This little micro landscape scene can be found along one of my very favorite places in Rocky - Boulder Brook trail. It is reached from the Storm pass trailhead and the nicest parts are hidden from view from the trail but you can easily hear the little waterfalls. In autumn this place gets covered with aspen leaves that make it look like somebody scattered gold coins all around.

7. June 24

Longs glow
Longs glow. Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 at 48mm, F/16, 1/3s, ISO 100.
The same day as I shot the small forest scene above I drove up to Forest Canyon overlook along Trail Ridge road and enjoyed sunset as it hit Longs peak. Truly a magnificent end of the day.

8. June 25

The ancient one
The ancient one. Mount Evans.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 18mm, F/16, 1/40s, ISO 100.
This image is from a sunrise on Mount Evans in the Mt. Goliath area. When the sunrise didn't materialize much, I hiked around and followed the trail up the mountain and found this tree being backlit by soft morning light. I made the sun peek through some holes in the tree branches and stopped down to f/16 to cause the sunstar to appear. This lens also has the fascinating property that next to sunstars it will show nice diffraction rainbows that are easily visible if you look at the print and even in this web sized version. You can see this image in the rotunda of the Colorado state capitol building for a few more months.

9. July 16

Upper Ice Lake dusk Ice Lake Dusk. Ice Lakes Basin, San Juan Mountains, Colorado.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 18mm, F/16, 20s, ISO 100.
This image was taken on a night I spent in Ice Lakes Basin near Silverton. This is a stunningly beautiful place with seas of wildflowers, gorgeous glacially fed lakes, and rugged peaks. I was here to photograph star trails as you can see in this image. I like this image a bit better than the star trails image due to the streakiness of the clouds. If you look carefully you will spot a yellow tent on the shelf on the right. I made a time lapse of the individual images in the star trails image but I haven't shared this anywhere yet.

10. September 30

Epheremal glow
Ephemeral Glow. Bierstadt Moraine, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 at 34mm, F/11, 1/40s, ISO 400.
This image is from a wonderful fall sunset hike I took with my son up to Lake Bierstadt and back. We hiked up the Moraine which was covered in aspen trees that were in full fall regalia. I took many images but this is one of my favorites for sure. Afterwards we had a great mexican dinner in Estes Park.

11. September 30

Night on the moraine
Night on the Moraine. Bierstadt Moraine, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 at 24mm, F/8, 30s, ISO 100.
This is from the same fall sunset hike as the previous image. This was way after sunset when we were hiking down. The very long exposure caused the lights from one of the RMNP busses to smear out causing the little S in the center. The dusk light really deepened the color of the fall leaves.

12. October 23

Curving. Chasm Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Stitched from 3 images. Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 16mm, F/16, 1/6s, ISO 100.
On October 23 I hiked up to Chasm Lake together with my good friend Jean-David to see the sunrise. We discovered many small patches of ice on the edge of the lake and I used this one as a nice foreground element. The blobs are drops hanging from the bottom of the ice. This was a glorious morning in an amazing place. I also created an immersive panorama that you can experience in this link.

I hope you enjoyed this series of images as much as I enjoyed showing them to you! Happy holidays and a happy new year to all.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Deep dusk

Deep dusk
Deep dusk.
Badlands National Park July 23, 2009. 75 megapixel Stitch from 9 shots from Nikon D300, 18-55mmf/3.5-5.6 at 35mm, f/16, 3.0s.

I ran across this possible shot going through old pictures in Lightroom just recently. This was taken at dusk in Badlands National Park in South Dakota, a truly remarkable place. Strangely, I had never stitched these images together. The badlands take on amazing colors at sunrise/sunset and are sometimes even more deeply colored at dusk. Hope you enjoy this image.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Andrews Creek

In the process of cleaning up my Lightroom catalog I am running into 100's of images I love. Here are two images from Andrews Creek in Rocky Mountain National Park that I took on July of 2015. I published one image from here but have never shown two others that I love. These are both at the point where the semisecret trail (it's not marked and disappears several times in the trees so you'll need some route finding skills) to Andrews glacier takes off from the main trail that leads to Lake of Glass and Sky Pond in Loch Vale. This is a gorgeous area in Rocky Mountain National Park well worth the hike. The first image is one I published before but never highlighted. The second and third are ones that I just discovered and actually like even more. I hope you enjoy these images.


Nikon D600. Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16 mm, f/13, 0.8s, ISO 100.


Nikon D600. Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16 mm, f/16, 0.8s, ISO 100.

From hither
From hither.

Nikon D600. Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 at 16 mm, f/16, 0.8s, ISO 100.