July 1407

Happy 4th!

After an early morning hike with my lovely wife and hanging out at a barbecue I headed up nearby "W" Mountain (technically it's called Tenderfoot but most people call it W due to the big W on it) to see if I could get some interesting shots of the fireworks. I wanted, as I usually do, to get something from a different perspective than what most people see. 

I saw a big moose on my way up which is unusual here and especially so close to town. I couldn't get a good photo of the moose but I think I did reasonably well with the fireworks. I feel like a lot of fireworks shots lack any foreground interest. I think a good fireworks photo should have some context so that was my intent here. 

If you celebrate the 4th of July I hope your day was a good one as well!

You can buy a print of this photo here.

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June 1425

Go Jefe!

My friend and neighbor Jefe Branham is currently dominating the Tour Divide mountain bike race and may break the course record. This is a 2745 Mile long race from Canada to (almost) Mexico. He is 11 days in at Mile 1850 and now sits 350 Miles ahead of second place. He makes up time by skimping on sleep and riding hard. Wow!

Live gps tracking can be seen here.

As always he is humble but appreciative of praise. I hope I didn't annoy him with my enthusiasm this morning!

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Update: He won by a wide margin in about 16 days and two hours. Yeah! 

 

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Nice work to all the competitors! I was very impressed with the skill level I saw.  

I took a lot of photos for the morning competition and they are available for prints and downloads here.

 

Unfortunately I was unable to take photos for the afternoon competition. I did get some of the awards, but that was all. :(

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Thanks for being patient! It takes a while to tag them with the bib numbers and uplod them to the site but they are finally up. Tagging is important so you can search for your bib number and not have to look through every photo. That's over 700 photos between both days. My shutter finger is tired, but probably not as tired as your legs!

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Click here for the Full Growler photos

Click here for the Half Growler photos

 

Great job riding out there and thanks to all the volunteers, Gunnison Trails, and to Dave Wiens for creating this event!

-Matt

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I'm still uploading the Full Growler shots, but the half growler is up. Click here to see them.

To find yourself, click the magnifiying glass in the upper right and enter 2014HalfGrowler and your bib number.

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Let me know if you need help with any of it.

Great job out there, thanks for looking!

-Matt

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I really enjoyed all the performances on Friday at the recital. Great job everyone!

If you want to see more photos or order prints, go here. Thanks for looking!

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April 1420

WSCU Springfest

A long standing tradition that used to include a lot of beer. Now it's a bit mellower but it was still fun and the bands were good. 

I missed the first band, but then the Denver Jamband Yamn played before Gramatik who I hear is from Slovenia. Pretty fun energetic electronic set. It was a beautiful evening. The hoopers with lighted hoops were my favorite photo subject of the evening. 

There was also a slack line competition. Pretty cool event!

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I had a very late night earlier this week because I stayed out and photographed the lunar eclipse. It was an impressive sight and the thing that made me extra interested in this was that Mars would be nearby during the event, making for some photo opportunities we don't get very often. 

I hiked up behind the WSCU campus to get some photos. I'm still going through some that will take a little more work but here are a couple of basic shots of the moon and the night sky. 

 

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I had a fun time shooting some photos at the Slush Huck pond skimming event at Crested Butte on Saturday. What a fun end to the season! I shot a lot of photos and put a gallery up here

If you don't see yourself let me know and I may have an unpublished shot I could put up. 

Nice huckin' everyone! 

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I was happy to hear I won a photo contest at the Pentax Forums recently for this image, Lateral Growth. A requirement was that I write up a "making of" post for the forums. Here's that post:

This photo was taken at a place called Hartman Rocks Recreation Area. It's an area a couple of miles from where I live in Gunnison, Colorado that has a big network of hiking, biking, and ski trails. It’s a great amenity for our very active community and also just one of my favorite places to be.

 

I’m a mountain biker and during the long summer days I ride those trails after work for fun, my health, and my sanity. I almost always have a camera along in my pack as well. When the clouds or light are looking good I’ll stay out through sunset and ride home in the dark with a headlamp. Usually I just bring the camera (K-5 in this case) and a small prime or two, usually the DA 40 and DA 15 Limiteds.

Late last summer we got more rain than usual. Hartman Rocks which is typically dusty dry desert really greened up, and in flat rocky areas we got some persistent puddles. Puddles are very unusual in the area so on this particular night with puddles present and what looked like an interesting sunset coming I had to stop riding and shoot for a while.

 

I shot this area with a lot of different shaped puddles for a few minutes, mostly getting the alpenglow in the East where the exposure is easier to control because of lower contrast between the landscape and sky. After getting what I felt were going to be some good shots facing East I started packing up. The light was starting to fade and I knew it was going to get chilly on my ride home. I turned around and noticed this interesting and probably very old juniper tree had been behind me the whole time. It had this nice puddle below it and I knew I just had to get the camera back out for a few more shots of my newly discovered subject.

 

Shooting to the West now, the foreground was in shadow and the sky was brighter than it was to the East. I figured it was worth a few frames of the tree and puddle with those good clouds so I took a few more shots. I exposed for the sky, not wanting to blow it out. This left the foreground rocks very underexposed. I also put my subject relatively centered in the frame which I try not to do too much, but to get all the elements I wanted without ones I didn’t want, it kind of had to work out this way. Reflections seem to be more forgiving of a centered composition so I had that going for me too. I shot this at 1/50s, f/10, ISO 200 so I’d get good DOF but still be able to hand-hold it.

Once I downloaded my images I saw that my other shots did come out pretty well, but I was intrigued with this tree shot. I felt it was flawed being so underexposed but decided to see what I could do with it anyway because the tree was so neat and the puddle probably wouldn't be there long.

This is how the image looked when I first downloaded it from the camera.

I straightened it and boosted the exposure and shadows in Lightroom. This helped lighten and balance it out, but it still lacked detail in the wonderful lichen growing on the rocks.

After adjusting levels in Lightroom but before using Color Efx Pro

For the final touches I opened it in Nik Color Efx Pro 2 and applied the Brilliance/Warmth filter and Detail Extractor to bring out the foreground texture details.

The final product was something I was happy with, although it involved more processing that I prefer to use, it was the best I could come up with. I found the subject so interesting I had to make this image work the best I could.

 

Looking back I could have made it better if I used a ND Grad filter to balance the sky and foreground at the time of capture. A tripod would have helped too and I prefer to shoot landscapes with one, but I also prefer not to mountain bike with it.

Read more at: http://www.pentaxforums.com/news/the-making-of-lateral-growth.html#ixzz2xkbRhSyS

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