Move Over 2011 A Busy 2012 Ahead

Ponderosa's and Evergreens in fresh snow on Shanahan Ridge
Ponderosa's and Evergreens are buried beneath a fresh dump of snow on Boulder Shanahan Ridge. I plan on spending more time photographing scenes like this one in 2012. Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Park's properties are ripe with potential. Technicial Details: Canon Eos 1Ds III, 16-35mm F2.8 L II
2011 is almost over. It’s been an exciting and eventful year for me for sure. Lot’s of great days spent in the field creating new images, new locations visited and a list that continues to grow longer of new locations I would like to photograph. While I always like to reflect on the past year, I typically find myself eagerly awaiting a new year with new challenges and adventures. I don’t typically make new year’s resolutions. Some would argue that resolutions area really just excuses to delay actual goals. Regardless, making resolutions to begin a new year is not something I typically do. I do however use this time of year to reset the compass so to speak. It’s a good time for me to embark on a new path and to set a ‘to do list’ of items that apply to my photographic aspirations for the year. Below I’ve listed some of the things I would like to accomplish and focus my photography on in 2012.

1. Continue to refine my personal style: This is by far my most important goal for 2012. Every year this is one of my most important goals on my list and I cant stress enough how important to me this goal continues to be. Each day the internet is full of exceptional imagery of iconic locations from heavily travelled and photographed viewpoints. While I enjoy this imagery, I want my work to have a more personal feel that represents my vision in a unique, maturing, and artistic manner. There is a lot of great landscape photography out there and differentiating my work from the masses is very important to me.

2.Stay local, photograph local: I love to travel. The thought of being on the road for months, sleeping out of the back of my truck and traversing the country traveling to remote locals and National Park’s is something I dream about a few times each day. While someday this may be my goal for the year, I’ve found it to be much more rewarding and productive to photograph locations close to home. Rocky Mountain National Park and Boulder County Open Space property will continue to top the list of locations I plan to spend most of my field time in 2012. I find it very rewarding photographing local locations and staying local allows a greater appreciation and understanding of these areas close to home.

3.Less gear lust, more adventure and photography: This goes without saying. In 2011 I was fortunate enough to be able to update a good portion of my landscape photography kit. It’s not that I did not already have an adequate lineup, In fact I had more than what I needed to produce high quality imagery. Even so, I was able to update some of my older Canon lenses to more recent releases. These updated lenses wont improve my photographic vision one iota, but they do produce slightly better results than there older counterparts. The truth is there are many great photographers capturing images with basic camera’s and kits. It’s important to remember that a good carpenter never blames his tools for poor workmanship. Furthermore having to much gear or constantly lusting over gear gets it the way of the end product, creating imagery and art.

Well here’s to having a great 2012. There lots out there to do and photograph and I plan on taking the bull by the horns this year. It’s been a fun first year of blogging and I’ll keep updating as often as I can. Happy New Year to all, and a toast to success in 2012.

Oh Christmas Tree

Sunrise over the Boulder Flatirons from Boulder County Open Space and Mountain Parks
Clouds scoot over the Flatirons and Boulder, Colorado on this fine morning. My prospects were not looking great when I started out this morning, but luckily for me clouds formed over the Flatirons right before sunrise making for some dramatic light. Technical Details: Canon Eos 1Ds III, 24mm TS-E f3.5 L II
Sunrise was looking less than promising when I headed out last week in an attempt to create some new imagery. I had an idea of where I was going to head to photograph the Boulder Flatirons but the twinkling stars above and lack of any clouds in the sky had me thinking this trip would likely end up being a pleasant morning hike with my dog Jackson. I figured at the very least, I could scout out some new locations on Open Space property south of Boulder. It’s too easy on a morning like this to talk yourself out of taking a chance on an image. Excuses such as expensive gas prices, a nice warm fireplace back home, a backlog of images to process, web site pages to update and the dreaded trip to the mall to shop for Christmas gifts all were toying with my psyche this morning.

The thought of wasting a good morning to head to the mall was enough to get me out the door in a hurry. I figured if I could get outside and commune with nature, I could tolerate the hoards of people at the mall later in the day. As I neared Boulder, the prospects started looking a little brighter for the morning shoot. A lone cloud hovered over the southern portion of the Flatirons. The cloud was fairly small but appeared to be growing in size as I continued to watch is in the sky.

Photographer’s are obsessed with interesting skies, the more dramatic the better. Clouds help to add texture, color and depth to an image that otherwise may appear flat, dull and two dimensional. The combination of this lone cloud that appeared to be growing was enough to get my juices flowing with the remote prospect of an interesting image. Off I headed from the Flatirons Vista trailhead, navigating myself and my dog through the large herd of cattle grazing on Open Space property. My dog’s not all that interested in photography, but being a Border Collie, he’s certainly interested in the cows.

The cloud I had been watching had now separated and multiplied. Additional high clouds had formed over Boulder and my prospects were improving by the minute. I must have still had the thought of the mall and Christmas on my mind when I settled on this composition of this lone Ponderosa south of Boulder. Another morning with slim prospects turned out to be a great morning for photography. I’ve had quite a few morning’s like this one over the last year. It’s great to reflect back on the successes as well as failures that all end up being great adventures in spite of the final photographic outcome. And with that, regardless of what holiday you celebrate this year, here’s to wishing all of you a Happy Holliday and Merry Christmas.

Back To The Archives

Longs Peak and Mount Meeker from the Twin Sisters and Tahosa Valley
A spectacular sunrise illuminates Longs Peak and Mount Meeker on a late October morning. I photographed this image of Longs Peak in 2002. 2002 was an interesting year in Colorado. Rocky Mountain National Park was immersed in one of the worst droughts in the history of the Park. Typically, even in late fall there would be snow fields still present on Longs Peak. This year, no early season snow had fallen and all the snow from the previous year had completely melted over the course of that hot, dry summer. Technicial Details: Toyo 45AX field camera, Nikkor 360mm T ED lens, Fuji Velvia 4x5 film.
It’s been a busy Christmas and holiday season for me. I hate to admit it but I have not been able to get out in the field and photograph as much as I would like. Not sure what New Year’s resolutions I am going to attempt to fulfill in 2012, but every year one of them is to get out and photograph more. I’m planning on jumping on that resolution early here as I’m starting to get cabin fever. I find it’s good to wind down a bit, because otherwise I find my creativity and motivation suffers. The key is you just have to make sure you don’t slow so much that you lose your flow and rhythm when you get back out into the field.

So what have I been doing?. Besides fulfilling Christmas print orders I’ve been busy adding and editing images on my web site. I’ve been able to add and update my Rocky Mountain National Park Gallery as well as updating the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Park’s Gallery with lots of new images. Furthermore, I’ve been working on a backlog of Drum Scans from my 4×5 transparencies that I’ve been sitting on for the last year. While I love the look of film and Fuji Velvia, I don’t miss cleaning, spotting and editing the Drum Scans. It takes a good amount of effort to get the scans cleaned up and ready for the web and print orders. Here’s a 4×5 transparency of Longs Peak from the way back machine to hold everybody over.

Winter Blues

A big sky over Boulder's Flatiron Formation
I love the expansive 'Big Sky' feel along the Boulder Open Space properties on the south side of town. I think these are some of the most impressive view of the Flatiron formation. The chilly morning is emphasized by this subdued, blue tinted sunrise from the Flatirons Vista Open Space. Technical Details: Canon Eos 1Ds III, 24mm F3.5 TS-E L II
For the most part, the iconic image of Boulder’s Flatiron formation is photographed from the meadow in Chautauqua Park. While photographing the Flatirons from Chautauqua Park provides a great viewpoint, for my money some of the best view of the Flatiron formation have always been from the southern part of Boulder.

Drive Highway 93(Broadway) south out of town or north from Golden and in my opinion you are treated to some of the most spectacular view’s of the Front Range and in particular Boulder’s Flatiron formation. The rolling hills south of town, dotted with Ponderosa’s give the photographer unlimited locations and compositions to work with. These large expansive vista’s lend themselves well to the spectacular Winter sunrises that occur along the Front Range.

Wind’s rolling off the eastern slopes often create beautiful lenticular clouds that hover over the Front Range. Combine this with the likelihood that there will be a break in the clouds cover over the eastern Plains, and viola you get spectacular sunrises over the Flatirons. What I personally find intriguing about the Boulder Open Space properties on the south side of town is that you can photograph the entire Flatiron formation. This varies from the classical view of the Flatirons from Chautauqua Park where you are only able to photograph a small portion of the formation.