Thursday, February 09, 2017

Vantage Point...of a German Shepherd


In High School I did photo shoots of  my "punked out" friends in spiked hair, sunglasses and trench coats and developed the black and white photos in my step dad's dark room. In Art School I "masked out" half the exposed paper to put my roommate in a cereal box. I graduated in 1990, the year Adobe released Photoshop.
Eventually I learned photo editing software, updated my camera and updated it again when technology changed and I could afford it, but I never forgot my photography professor's description of a " Pinhole Camera"...a black painted box, with film inside and ....one single  pinhole for a lens and the implication was clear, it's not the camera that takes great photos.
Since Art School, I've never taken his challenge to shoot camera obscura photography, but I do believe there's a time to use my big bodied, big lens Nikon D3300 and there is a time to take out my phone camera, currently a LG V20.
Like when a photo-op presents itself crammed into a gondola with eight skiers who really wanted one more run down the slopes above Telluride, Colorado  and didn't mind or notice there was our rather large German Shepherd/ Lab dog residing on the floor, named Piper.
Luckily Piper didn't mind playing sardines with a bunch of skiers,
To use my Nikon to capture this moment, I'd had to of  stood up on the bench of the gondola conforming my body to the domed top or literally be outside swaying on the top of it.
Small, unobtrusive cameras captures moments of time far better for the reason people tend to not notice them and you can use them in cramped spaces. Small cameras that have the ability to capture vivid, light filled  moments like a bigger DSLR (digital single lens reflex camera) now that would be something.
A new company... Light.co  is claiming such a thing, introducing their Light L16 compact camera to the market and it is the exact opposite of the pin hole camera with...

"...a multiple lens systems to shoot photos at the same time,
then computationally fuses them into a DSLR-quality image."

Images of the Light L16 camera images are filled with amazing light and color, but it is the promise of what multi lenses will do with the "depth of field" that is most intriguing for me, each lens taking in essence a photo at a certain depth so they are all crisp and clear and then layering them together. 
Light.co's Pinterest board Here features photographers who share a picture from their favorite location, which can be a challenge now days with most digital photographers scanning through 1000's not 100's of choices,
Picking one photo was a tough one for me, living in the Four Corners where I've shot images both in the snowy  mountains of Colorado and red rock deserts of Utah over the same weekend. But the hastag #vantagepoint really stuck with me and I have no better example of a vantage point than capturing my very large black dog looking right in the camera with brown eyes asking me...."Do I really have to put up with this?"
I still wonder what would have happen if she decided not to?



Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Snow in the Mountains....


Below Ophir Pass at just under 10,000 feet above sea level is the little town of Ophir, Colorado, an old mining town that still has life for those wanting to live off the beaten path, literally just below where the plows stop plowing....

photo cred. @zetrocer, cause I didn't want to climb out of the truck...
(though he has not opened his twitter feed to the public...hum?)

                  

There is a "top of the world" feel on all sides of the town....


But the "village" below is lively and active, not the sort of mountain town for "tenderfoot's vacation homes...



There are a lot of young families living in Ophir. A lot of kids and a lot of dogs...



And a lot of snow equipment....


To protect  the only way out of town in the middle of winter because...


it is below this...


an avalanche shut with it's own warning sign, already buried in snow...


Even without an avalanche there is a lot of snow and some place no one will get to until the Spring thaw. 

Ophir's post office is on the other side of  the danger zone... 


nearer to Highway 145 that heads up and over another pass to....


to Telluride...


where most days there is "plein air" painting happening right in the middle of downtown...



And the "Ski Tree" still resides in Elks Park...


But it is always the surroundings, high mountains covered in snow that end the glorious show.. when the ski turns pink and the sun starts to go down.


Cause there ain't nothing like the fading light in the high country in the middle of winter.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Circumventing Wyoming: Mormon Row


Waiting for hiking weather to come to Grand Tetons National  Park, we went to explore Mormon Row situated near the Gros Ventre river.   



Click Here to read the history of the Mormon pioneers that clustered their homesteads in the Jackson valley starting in 1890.
The day we were there, the overcast sky only emphasized the hardship the families dealt with in the unforgiving land of Wyoming. 



 The buildings that are left have now becoming iconic images, captured by weathered photographers coming out at the crack of dawn to get the sun coming up over the Tetons behinds the iconic barns, stark homes and outbuidlngs.

                    



But walking past the windows of the pink house, my thoughts were on the women homesteaders. How  successful were they at getting some flowers to grow outside and did they have geraniums in the windows?




Monday, November 07, 2016

Circumventing Wyoming: Overcast Grand Tetons


Never during our trip to Grand Tetons National Park, did the sun illuminate all the peaks in all their glory. 
Monday, coming out of our hotel room in Jackson, the smoke from the Berry Fire, which straddled the border between Grand Tetons and Yellowstone parks and closed the road for two days, created an eerie haze over the Elk Refuge... 




Seeing the glorious peaks rise up from the valley floor is such an iconic view for a moment I was disappointed but then again this isn't an Amusement park. Other than Old Faithful in Yellowstone, which does somewhat hold to a set schedule... this is wilderness and that, ladies and gents is the reason why these natural wonders are so important. 


We love to camp at Jenny Lake in Grand Tetons, as does everyone else, so we got ourselves a coffee/tea and a bagel, and early in the morning, made our way into the park to see who was leaving...


luckily it was the end of the season, literally the last full week the Jenny Lake campground was open, so we had a few choices and course we had to circumvent the campground, a couple of times before compromising   ( aghhh...me getting my way). But look at the view we had sitting around the fire pit. Yes, the trail to the bathrooms were right on the other side of the tent, but contrary to Jon, I saw that as a plus. Close proximity to the outhouse, in grizzly bear country I see as a good trade off to foot traffic.
Too dreary to do any hiking, we then circumvented the Park, going north up the park road and then south down the Jackson Hole highway, we stopped at the Cunningham cabin.... 


J. Pierce Cunningham and his wife were one of the first homesteaders who tried to make a go at the base of the Grand Tetons. All I can say is burrrrrrrrrr.....


Getting back to camp we just enjoyed the view and realized that we had not camped, together and alone in about twenty five years. We have taken kiddos all over the Rocky Mountains and this was our third camping trip to Jenny Lake. We did do quite a bit of weekend jaunts just the two of us, but apparently a nice hotel in Santa Fe seemed more appealing to us when our kiddos were home.



The heated outhouse was rather nice and but covered in bear etiquette warnings in the stalls. Keep all smelly things including lotions, toothpastes in locked car  or bear box. Don't sleep in clothes you ate or cooked in.... that one was a little disturbing laying on the ground with just a thin nylon tent between you and a grizzly wanting a snack...


The next day we woke up to the snow  line quite a bit down towards the lake...





So decided to drive the River Road, that drops down just above the Snake River and there were rafters who apparently had already paid for float trips and couldn't get their money back or families pulled along by Dad's that, well. were set for an adventure...burrrrrrr again

We also passed the remains of the Bar BC Dude Ranch   established by Maxwell Struthers Burt, a writer and novelist that was instrumental in the creation of Grant Tetons National Park turn of the century.



Meandering towards Kelly, Wyoming. yes for a photo opt, we came across a cluster of cars, and people with really really big camera, the best indication that some wildlife is near by...



Sure enough, a mamma moose and baby bedded down. Then the sun started to come out....



and the tourist&^%$$%$#$#$#
The tourist that come in crowds and block traffic at any overlook or view that does not involve more than fifty steps from their big shinny buses... 


We did finally get away from "the people" and of course we had to bushwhack it down to the lake...





The clouds and sun gave us a awe inspiring view of the Cathedral group above Jenny Lake