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Smoky Sunset From Western Wildfires — wk 34

Several wildfires were burning in the western states (California, Oregon, Washington) this week. The sunsets have been really amazing with intense red and oranges from the smoke. On Friday, I headed to a park that had some elevation above power lines to capture the sunset. This was a park that I discovered that day — Kunming Park. This park used to be called Rosedale Park, but was renamed when Kunming became a “Sister City”. At the park there are three boulders that were imported from Kunming, China. The orange light from the sunset really enhanced the color of the boulders.


Kunming Park Boulders

About this time, several people had arrived at the park, mainly locals, to enjoy the sunset at the end of the work week. In the following image, I captured the sun as it was about to set below the mountains behind the tree.


Sun Setting, Kunming Park

Panning towards the south, away from the sun, the orange was more muted. Also, the layering of the mountain ranges and clouds was more distinct.


Smoky Sunset, Kunming Park, No 1

The park had some interesting steps, with an S-curve, that creates a leads into the image.


Curved Steps Kunming Park

When the sun dropped below the mountains, the orange color of the sky became more intense, as can be seen in the image below.


Smoky Sunset, Kunming Park, No 2

I zoomed in to capture the cloud bank that was hanging above the mountains.


Cloud Bank Above Mountains, At Sunset

I waited, watched and experienced the sunset. Finally, after the sun had dropped further down, the underside of the clouds were lit by the orange sun beams.


Last Rays Of The Sunset Catching Clouds

A few minutes later, the colors faded as the sun disappeared well below the horizon.



Workshop On Guanella Pass — wk 33

Last Sunday, the Colorado Photo Festival continued with a workshop program. Several workshops were offered. I chose the Guanella Pass hosted by Stephen Weaver. Seven of us traveled from Golden to Georgetown by van and headed up the pass. We stopped at one location before reaching the summit. Then we headed down to a meadow that had a variety of different wildflower species. I made to following image of a pair of asters located in the shade of willow bushes. The sun grazed the top of the willow bush to light up the flowers.


Two Asters, Guanella Pass

We spent a couple of hours making images in the meadow before heading down Duck Creek. Crossing the creek, I found a location where algae formed a nice tasty brown scum on a pond in the slow flowing creek.


Algae Scum In Duck Creek

We made our way back up towards the parking lot. Looking over the the west side of the pass, I made this image of the distant grassy mountain top. I included the ridge with willows and pine trees as the foreground for the image below. There were two elk grazing in the meadow at the lower left corner.


Late Afternoon Skies Over Guanella Pass

We moved over the the east side parking lot for some late afternoon snack before continuing with some more photography. We headed down to the lake where the plan was to later catch the sunset. The clouds had built up on the east side of the pass. In this image Mount Bierstadt is the peak on the right, with the Sawtooth Ridge on the left of the peak.


Clouds Over Mount Bierstadt And Sawtooth

We made our way to the lake shore. In this image, I captured the reflections of Mount Bierstadt behind the grasses at shore.


Reflections Of Mount Bierstadt

Here is another image looking across the lake to the south of the pass.


Lake Below Mount Bierstadt

Finally we moved to a mound on the eastern shore of the lake. As the sun dipped down below the peaks in the west, the clouds were lit by red light of sunset.


Sunset Over Guanella Pass

Soon after, we packed up and headed back to the van for the return trip to Golden.



Clear Creek, Golden — wk 32

Yesterday I attended the Colorado Photo Festival in Golden. During the lunch break, I headed down to Clear Creek. As I left the American Mountaineering Center, I passed by these bicycles lurking behind corner of the building.


Bicycles, American Mountaineering Center

Last year, at the same event, the trail along the creek was closed and under some 3-4 feet of water. This time, the trail was busy, with people taking advantage of the water in the summer heat. So I found a spot under the bridge to observe the action.


Hurrying Along, Under The Bridge

I zoomed out, to capture the leading lines formed by the concrete joints in the following image.


Under The Clear Creek Bridge, Golden

A gap in the bridge, allowed the sunlight to stream down into the creek, creating these stripes in the water.


Sunlight Stripes, Clear Creek

Tubers were lazily floating down the creek. At the bridge, they would leave the water, pick up their tubes and head back upstream. I was intrigued by the clear centers of the tubes, that showed a hint of the tubers. Following a couple of tubers, I made this image.


Tubers, Clear Creek Golden



A New Addition To Samson Park — wk 31

Samson Park has several sculptures based on “Alice In Wonderland”. Last week, a new sculpture made its appearance — “The Walrus And The Carpenter”.


Walrus And The Carpenter, Samson Park

On the pedestal, surrounding “The Carpenter”, are a group of marching shells. The main sculpture appears to be bronze, but the shells appear to be like some other (non-bronze) material.


Walrus Pedestal Shells

Leaving the park, I made this image of the brass lettering in the entrance gate.


Entrance To Samson Park

Later in the week, the median sprinklers were running, to water the trees and grass in the median. I chose a backlit composition of the water sprays in the morning light.


Backlit Median Sprinklers

Across the road, in Tuscany Plaza, the aspen trees were side-lighted by the morning sun. These two trees created formed a Vee.


Aspen Vee, Tuscany Plaza



Long Trip To Shrine Pass — wk 30

On Saturday, I had planned to make a trip to photograph wildflowers in Shrine Pass. Heading out on I-70, traffic was backed up for several miles before Floyd Hill. This would delay the journey by a couple of hours, so I turned back to Evergreen and headed to South Park from Conifer. I turned off to Weston Pass and took a break from driving. The South Fork of the South Platte river flows down the pass. There are several beaver ponds in the river. These always make for great subjects for infra-red.


Beaver Pond In Weston Pass

Water tends to absorb a lot of infra-red, so pond often render as dark tones. The blue sky also does not emit and infra red, so appears almost black. In the following image, I concentrated on a closer, more detailed image of the beaver pond with willow bushes reflecting from the water.


Reflections In Beaver Pond, Weston Pass

After a while, I headed over the pass, stopping along Big Union Creek. There are some interesting waterfalls in the creek that can make for some great images. However, there was dappled sunlight falling the creek that did not make for easy images. After about an hour, I left the pass on the western side joining the highway to Leadville. This was a short drive away. The road forks after Leadville, with one road heading to the Tennessee Pass and Red Cliff, about 20 miles away — the gateway to Shrine Pass. I slowly worked my way up the pass, practicing shooting videos. Near the top of the pass, the wildflowers became more prolific. I found this clump of Asters at the roadside.


Asters In Shrine Pass

There were several groups of Arnicas in the meadows. However, there was a breeze together with falling light levels. Time for some “intentional camera movement” to create some blurred images.


Arnica Blur, Shrine Pass

At the roadside was a large boulder that was surrounded by wildflowers. The boulder shielded the flowers from the breeze in the following image.


Boulder Surrounded By Flowers, Shrine Pass

There were some Arnicas sheltered here in this detailed image.


Arnicas And Boulder, Shrine Pass

Finally, I reached the top of Shrine Pass, just before the sun set over the mountains. Here the Indian Paint Brushes were quite prolific. I made this image about a minute before the sun disappeared over the mountain peaks for one of the last images of the day.


Indian Paint Brush On Shrine Pass

That concluded a long journey to Shrine Pass. Fortunately, there was less traffic on the return trip home on I-70.


Walking back to the light rail station after work, I pass the Arapahoe Station #3 building that is still under construction. On Friday, there was light overcast skies that made for some great light for photographs. In this image, it created interesting reflections in the glass. This is another one of those “Blue Buildings” that I pointed out in a post earlier this year. In this image, I cropped to a square to exclude distracting construction equipment on either side of the building.


Arapahoe Station 3 Building, In Blue

Continuing on there is another building, adjacent to the station, also in blue. The cloudy sky really makes the blue buildings stand out.


Another Building In Blue, Near Arapahoe Station

At Arapahoe Station is a huge water fountain. I switched to the fisheye lens to exaggerate and distort the circular retaining wall around the fountain. Fortunately, the pedestrian on the left side walked into the frame to include some human interest.


Fountain, Arapahoe Station, Fisheye View

Walking around the station, I found this abandoned coke can on the ticket validator.


Coke Can Validator

Exploring further, there is a glass enclosure to provide some shelter against the cold in the winter months. I created this composition using the reflections. There is just the right amount of light reflecting off the glass, to balance the light coming through the glass from the far side.


Arapahoe Station, Reflection In The Glass

I met this man who was sitting astride his bike. I complemented him on his “cool bike”. As I motioned to make this image, he got off the bike. I shot this image and showed him the result. He did not realize how wide the view was, but like the result!


Man With His Cool Bike

Leaving the train at DU, I wandered around the station and parking garage to search for some more unusual angles. There is a tunnel under the garage that leads to the sidewalk along the street.


Transfer… Tunnel, DU Station

While shooting here, I noticed some bikers riding outside. I waited by the entrance to the tunnel, until another person approached. I dashed inside an waited for the biker to pass by in the following image.


Biker, Outside The Tunnel

These fisheye images were made with Rokinon 8mm lens on a Fuji X-E1. This is a fun lens to use from time to time.



This last weekend I decided to spend some time learning to shoot video. So yesterday, late afternoon, I headed to the South Platte River, near Foxton. Here are some of the still images that I made.


South Platte, Turbulent Flow

For the above image, and the one below, I set the aperture to f/22 so that I could get a long shutter speed of about 1/10 second. This allows some smoothing of the water flow and enough of the flow to show turbulence.


South Platte, Turbulent Flow, No 2

In the following image, I used a Lee “Little Stopper” neutral density filter. This allowed a shutter speed of almost a second, rendering the turbulence as a milky flow.


South Platte, Flows Like Milk

While perched on a huge boulder at the riverside, I could shot down into the river to capture the water flowing over these three boulders.


Boulders In The South Platte River, Foxton

After a couple of hours shooting video with some stills, I headed up the Cathedral Spires trail for some still images. The Salsify flower were plentiful at this time of the year. The giant “dandelion” seed balls make for some interesting images.


Salsify Alongside The Cathedral Spires Trail

Finally, I headed back, passing this interesting pink granite boulder formation. Looks like a great pair of buttocks!


Pink Granite Along Cathedral Spires Trail

I packed up and headed home. Arriving back in the metro area, the sun was setting above Green Mountain. What a spectacular sunset to end the day!


Sunset Over Green Mountain

Now that I have some more video, I will need to spend some time reviewing the video clips for lessons learned.




Yesterday, Angela and I headed down to the Sports Authority Field at Mile High, also known as Mile High Stadium, to watch the Outlaws (Denver’s Lacrosse team) play the Boston Cannons. Soon after the game started, I made this image of the play unfolding before us.


Denver Outlaws At Mile High Stadium, July 4th

Unfortunately, Boston were just too strong a team and won 22-9. There was a crowd of about 31,000 watching the game. Following the end of the game, we waited for about 20 minutes for the Independence Day fireworks to start. I hardly ever get decent images of fireworks — this year was no exception! The iPhone’s auto-focus system just goes crazy in the dark and gave me out of focus images that I ended up deleting.

After the show, we slowly headed out. People were dressed in various combinations of red, white and blue. I passed this young girl wearing a tiny hat with red, white and blue, stars and stripes. This image was given the “Glaze” treatment to soften colorful tones.


Girl With Stars And Stripes Hat

I wanted to camera the “flow” of people heading out of the stadium exits. The regular camera app that I use (Camera+) does not allow long exposures. So I chose the “Slow Shutter” app that allowed me to make a few images. This was one image that I captured, with a slight saturation boost to enhance the red and green colors.


Leaving The Stadium

Here some folks that had some really cool clothing adorned with stars and stripes.


Wearing Stars And Stripes

After we left the stadium, we walked back to the light rail station. After crossing the South Platte River, we walked alongside the flowing water. The stadium lights were reflected in the fast flowing water. This was the first time that we had both seen the stadium in red, white and blue lights that were reflected in the flowing water.


Sports Authority Field, Reflections In The Platte River

I made one final image of the stadium from the light rail station. I liked the glow of the lights reflecting from the remnants of smoke left by the fireworks in the following image.


Sports Authority Field, From Light Rail Station

The station was packed with people waiting to board trains that were homeward bound but we did not have to wait long for out train.