I met the guys who call themselves the Non-Native Crew at the top of 12,000 Ft. Cottonwood Pass last week for a sunset shoot. A group of free skiers from elsewhere who now live in the Gunnison/Crested Butte area. They make some fun videos and do freeride events and generally tear it up on skis. Conditions were pretty good, especially considering it's June.

We had a good shoot with the big kicker they built. The light and sky cooperated well and I got some photos I'm happy with. Thanks guys, let's do it again sometime!

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Tags: , , , , | Categories: Action | Photography | Skiing

The first clear evening in a while also happened to be the day of the full Strawberry Moon. So I managed to convincemy family to come out with me for a full moon photo outing after dinner.

We tried something I have been wanting to do for a while, with me shooting across a little valley to my wife and dog on some rocks. I feel like the photo came out pretty well but I also identified some things I could do better so I may try again next month. But we had fun and I think it's a fun image.

In the mean time here is one I thought came out pretty nicely. A big challenge is dynamic range. The dark foreground to the bright moon is a wide dynamic range that many cameras would struggle with. 

Pentax K-3, Pentax DA* 60-250/4

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Tags: , , , , , | Categories: Astrophotography | Hiking | Photography | running

It took a while to go through and upload them all but they are now up and available.

 

Full Growler (and Meowler) photos here

Half Growler photos here

To find your photos, use the search function (magnifying glass, upper right) and enter your bib number, a space and either FullGrowler2015 or HalfGrowler2015. Let me know if you have any trouble. Also keep in mind not all the photos are tagged so browse a little if some of the bigger scale scenics interest you. 

Thanks!

Tags: , , , | Categories: Action | Cycling | Photography | Sport

I took a lot of photos at the Growler over the weekend. I've been processing them, tagging with bib numbers, and uploading them since. Now Saturday's Half Growler photos are ready and Sunday's are still being uploaded (it takes about 24 hours just to upload them!). I hope you all had fun racing on our awesome trails. Maybe see you out there again soon!

 

So the Half Growler Photos are available here.

Full Growler photos should be available tonight or tomorrow. Watch this spot for the link. Thanks!

-Matt

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May 1511

May powder!

I made my annual pilgrimage with a buddy to ski American Basin over the weekend. We try to hit it when the road (Cinnamon Pass) gets plowed to the basin which is pretty high up. Our timing has always been pretty good on these trips and this year was no exception! 

It's was like a mid-winter powder day! Great fun and we skied a new line, Independence Couloir which was fantastic. I carried my Pentax K-3 with my trusty ski lens, the weather resistant DA 18-135. Great combo for adventure!

We left at 4am to get skiing as early as possible. 

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After a couple of miles we put the skis on our backs and booted up the first objective. 

Hard work!

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The payoff was well worth it!

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We skied another run on the flank of Handies after this. It was also fun but the flat light made skiing tough and photography less rewarding. 

An amazing day overall, especially considering it was May 9th!

I also had a chance to try out the new Merge to Panorama function in Lightroom 6 with a series of four photos I took on the way up Cinnamon Pass. Seems to work well and was very easy to do.

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It's really nice to be able to stitch raw files right in Lightroom. Very convenient and the results look good to me!

 

Tags: , , , , , , | Categories: Action | Photography | Skiing | Sport

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