Sometimes when you go for a six mile hike in the mountains, Mother Nature blesses you with perfect light and subject matter for photography. Sometimes she gives you overcast skies, boring vegetation, and no wildlife to speak of. Today was one of those days, so I busted out the Moment macro lens for the iPhone and went small photographing all sorts of tiny objects of nature. Using the Moment macro is tricky. Depth of field is razor thin, and it requires you to move the iPhone in and out from the subject, with a lot of room for trial and error. Also wind will mess with your shots, since it jacks with focus. None the less using it was fun, and added to the walk.
Sometimes you just need to get away and clear your head. Take a couple of days and look for inspiration. Get out and enjoy the world by getting back into nature. Early October in the Rocky Mountains can pose some tricky situations when it comes to weather. Yesterday started out sunny and in the lower 50’s in Estes Park, but less than five miles away, a storm was rolling in over the top of Rocky Mountain National Park bringing rain, snow, hail, and high winds. This didn’t stop us though, we decided to go ahead with a hike up to Beirstadt Lake and take the switchbacks down to the valley floor. The hike was relaxing, and not a complete bust, and I did manage to get a couple of decent photos of a few aspens in full fall color while being pelted with pea-sized hail and high winds.
In 48 hours I’ll be heading to Colorado for 5 days of hiking and taking photos in Rocky Mountain National Park. This is an annual trip, but this year is a bit special since we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park system in the United States. While noodling around on the internet over lunch I did a search on “National Park Posters” and found that the park service has a site dedicated to the posters that have been created for each of our National Parks so I decided to have a look. What I found is series of new posters that have been produced in the famous WPA style of the 1930’s and 40’s but with an updated look. The posters capture the spirit of the originals, and have a specific style guide that has obviously been applied to each, help to create a consistent look across the grouping. The look of the imagery varies slightly from poster to poster, with some that are obviously manipulated photos, or a digital painting that used a photo as a guide layer, but I have to say they are well done and work. The Park Service is selling the posters to help fund the National Park system and what you get for the money is a 13 by 19 inch poster printed on recycled paper that is signed, numbered, and dated. Below is a small sampling of the collection.
I’ve been spending the weekend in Colorado hiking and taking photos of the surrounding landscape. One of the goals of the weekend was to find new places, go where we’ve never been, and venture off the well worn path. Mission accomplished. The photos below are JPEGs. I haven’t had a chance to process any RAW shots, or go through auto bracketed images to make selections and adjustments. That’ll happen in a week or two.
Its that time of year when I make my annual pilgrimage to Estes Park, Colorado for a little time off. After a long drive across Kansas in the rain and a day of light hiking where we saw a brown bear and her cubs, today we hit it early for sunrise in the mountains. I’m trying some new camera settings and a couple of new lens combos, and things are shaping up nicely. I’m just hoping the weather holds for the next couple of days.
One of my favorite places on planet earth is the Grand Canyon. I’ve been multiple times, and I know I’ll continue to head back for as long as I can. I find the canyon absolutely breath taking. Two things I have done that I highly recommend if you ever go; take a helicopter tour that lands you close to the river bed, and ride the mules to the bottom of the canyon. Seriously ride the mule train to the bottom and back.
Now, if you haven’t been, and or can’t go to the Grand Canyon, Google is mapping the entire canyon with special street view back packs. The new Street View images will cover more than 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads.
The promo video below is really nice with loads of time-lapse footage capturing the scenic beauty of the national park, but the actual maps site is even better. On the maps site you can navigate your way through trails and across the rugged terrain, or you can take a look behind the scenes to see how Google is putting this together. I hope Google does more of this kind of thing. What a great way to use the technology.