With all these eclipses this year I'm getting lots of practice trying to get photos of them. 

The recent April 4th one was a good one to catch. It was an early morning with the totality happening around 6am, but compared to others that's pretty reasonable. 

My hope was that there would be a little bit of pre-dawn light to illuminate the landscape so I could get a shot with the moon and some landscape in it. As I'm sure I have said before, I don't really care for moon photos are are only of the moon. We all know what the moon looks like, I want to see it as part of a landscape to give it more context and make a unique image. 

I had a couple of ideas for compositions and after quickly realizing my first idea (the moon under a balanced rock) wasn't going to work because I had to be too close to the rock to align it. 

Plan B was to visit a favorite bent tree which has some good usable angles to combine it with something in the sky. I was still closer than what would be ideal, but decided to work with what I had so I wouldn't miss this short event while searching for a composition. 

Photography is about compromises. The ones I had to make to get a decent exposure (lens wide open + high ISO to keep exposure times short) made it so I still couldn't get both the moon and tree in focus in a single photo. So the image below is a combination of two exposures, one with the tree in focus and one with the moon in focus. Although I prefer not to have to combine exposures, that is what I needed to do to make this image look the way I wanted. 

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Since I was in a nice area (Hartman Rocks) I hung around for the sunrise because why not? The sky was cloudless, which isn't usually a good thing for landscape photography. Keeping this in mind I wanted to capture what was interesting about this sunrise, the nice light hitting the landscape. I came up with the composition by climbing a similar rock outcropping to give this high perspective. I was rushed as I knew this light wouldn't last. I got a variety of heights and liked this one the best. It shows what is nice about Hartman Rocks with the snowy mountains in the background showing context. With both of those elements bathed in golden light, it's hard to get a bad shot. 

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As a little bit of an aside, I tried some in-camera RAW HDRs for some of these shots. While I like the idea, I ended up liking a single "regular" shot the best of the batch. The HDR just didn't look as natural to me and it even had a little bit of flatness to it. The contrast in this single exposure really seems to help the image pop so that is why I went with this one. For additional pop I processed the image in Lightroom 5 and Color Efex Pro.

 

Tags: | Categories: Astrophotography | Nature | Photography

March 1506

The Worm Moon

I've been slacking on my blog lately but I've still been out shooting photos as always.

I met a friend who just got a new camera for a moon rise shoot last night West of Gunnison. The moon rise was a really nice one which was a relief after being concerned we might get blocked by clouds. A perfect window opened in the clouds and a big, beautiful, yellow moon appeared. It was only barely light enough to get some foreground in the shot as well. Context in a moon photo is important to me or it will just look like every other moon photo. 

Today my efforts were rewarded with lots of positive feedback. Western State Colorado University (my alma mater) shared the photo on Facebook and it became their most-liked FB post ever! I also shared it with Earth Sky who featured it as their photo of the day (March 6, 2015).

If you are also a fan of this photo, you can order a print of it in a variety of sizes and formats by clicking on the image below. I have some damaged gear I need to replace soon so every sale helps, no matter how small. Thanks for visiting!  

Photo taken with a Pentax K-3 and Pentax DA* 60-250 f/4 lens

 

Tags: , , , | Categories: Astrophotography | Nature | Photography

January 1509

Freezing frost

For a couple of days this week our town was engulfed by freezing fog which covered everything in beautiful hoarfrost. 

This happens from time to time here but this event was particularly impressive. I went out before work to capture the scenes around town. 

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Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Nature | Photography

December 1431

Silverton redemption

My last couple of visits to Silverton Mountain have been during some bad snow conditions. It's still fun, but I'd always rather ski powder!

Last weekend a friend and I went to get a day in while it's still unguided season and we can do it cheaply and it was amazing!

They are only open on weekends and it had been snowy Christmas week. The snow was settled creamy powder on Saturday that we labeled hero snow. 

It was cold in the morning, below zero for sure but the skiing made up for frosty fingers and toes. Amazing day!

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I have done it once before but we didn't get helicopter rides this time around. There was so much fresh powder to ski we were pretty satisfied with lift and hike-served skiing.

Edited to add:

That last shot just won me a heli drop in Silverton Mountain's Instagram contest so I'll be back this season. Yeah!

Tags: | Categories: Action | Skiing | Sport

December 1415

Holiday cheer

Although I have mentioned in the past it can get to be too much, I have to admit I like a little holiday cheer when it's that time of year. The lights make for fun photography subjects and people get into a merry mood.

It's been a good holiday season for my photography so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite shots so far.

This was a big crowd for the Night of Lights celebration where Santa lit the tree from a bucket truck. 

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A world record for skiing and boarding Santas was made at Crested Butte

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The lights and giant tree in downtown Gunnison look even better in a snow storm!

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Tags: , , , | Categories: Holiday | Photography

I let the Huffington Post use a photo of mine for a blog post with the theme "Totally worth it". I took this a couple of weeks ago on my way home from work. 

It's a pretty light post featuring ten photos that express the theme. Gunnison got a little bit of exposure too. I don't always agree to these freebies but this one seemed like it might be good for reaching a wider audience. Hopefully it will generate some interest or future business with HuffPo!

Tags: | Categories: Nature | Photography | Travel

October 1427

nOrionids

I had a very late night one night last week trying to get some photos of the Orionid meteor shower. I saw some great meteors streak across the sky but didn't manage to get any photos this time (darn!). 

While sitting out in this remote spot, listening to some Pink Floyd with my camera automatically collecting images of the night sky I decided to do a little light painting on this fantastic driftwood stump with my red headlamp. 

Then I used a program called ImageStacker to stack 150 20s images into one composite for this image. Kind of fun, I think!

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Tags: , , , , | Categories: Astrophotography | Nature | Photography

October 1422

Dramatic sunsets

The sunsets lately have been pretty impressive! I've also been busy with life in general so I feel pretty lucky I have been able to get out to shoot them regularly. 

Without much time to spare I keep hitting the same area, Tomichi Creek near W Mountain Ranch which is close, easy to access, and pretty scenic.

Here is what I am talking about:

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The big scenery favored a wide lens so my Pentax 15mm and Rokinon 8mm lenses were well suited. 

 

Tags: , , , , | Categories: Nature | Photography

I got out early this morning to check out the lunar eclipse. I always enjoy seeing these events and this one was no exception. My lovely wife Mary joined me for this one as well which made it extra-fun!

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I got my favorite model to do a little yoga for me

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Once the eclipse was done and the sun was rising I decided to stop by W Mountain Ranch since I was out and had all my gear. Nice sunrise this morning too!

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Tags: , , , , , , | Categories: Astrophotography | Nature | Photography

September 1421

Burn the Grump!

There were differences but also some similarities to the Whatever party and Vinotok. Both events had big crowds of people drinking and having fun, but Vinotok is a longstanding traditional fall festival in Crested Butte that feels a lot more organic. There were no obvious sponsors, beer wasn't free but of good quality, and the blue paint was still just left over from Whatever, USA. 

I haven't been to a Vinotok in quite a few years so it was fun to see it still so vibrant and well attended. The theme of the celebration is a kind of Pagen earthyness that culminates in the trial and burning of the Grump. The Grump is an effigy that represents negativity and bad luck so burning it in the fall is a way to let go of those things and move on to winter (and skiing of course). It's a great party!

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Tags: , , , , , , | Categories: Holiday