Yellowstone Trip Log

Our Yellowstone trip log starts with “Hell’s Half Acre” – the place where the movie “Starship Troopers” was filmed. Remember the scenes when troopers fought with bugs in an alien desert? These look pretty darn close, don’t they? :)

Hells Half Acre #3

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Mesa Verde Kiva Panorama

I’m finishing up working on the images from Yellowstone, which I will post tomorrow. Meanwhile, here is a shot of a Kiva that I captured at Mesa Verde National Park:

Mesa Verde Kiva Panorama

Since I did not carry a fisheye lens with me at the time and I had the Nikon 24-70mm attached to the D700, I could not fit much into the frame. Setting up a tripod inside the Kiva was not an option either, since it would take up additional space making it even more difficult to capture this tight space. The solution I came up with, was to lean against the wall and shoot 8-10 vertical frames hand-held @ 24mm using ISO 1600 to create a panorama. One problem, however, was the fact that I would never be able to stitch a panorama if I moved my camera from one side to another (like I typically do) without worrying about the nodal point (if you do not know what a nodal point is or want to find out how to properly photograph panoramas, check out my “how to photograph panoramas” article). What I did was I used the hand-held panoramic technique, which is described in the above link in section 3.3 #10 of the article, where I held the middle of the lens and rotated around it.

As you can see, the panorama stitched perfectly fine!

San Juan Mountains Trip Log – Part 2

This is the second part of our trip log to San Juan Mountains. You can see the first one right here. For the second part of the trip, Lola unfortunately could not join me (she was too busy shooting important events) and I was fortunate to have Sergey accompany me on another photo tour to southeast of Colorado.

Let me start off with my favorite image of the second part of the trip that I captured at Maroon Bells in Aspen (image as is, no post-processing):

Maroon Bells at Night

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San Juan Mountains Trip Log – Part 1

Now that I have just a little bit more time on my hands, I am able to go back and review some of the images that Lola and I snapped when we went for a road trip to San Juan Mountains of Colorado a couple of weeks ago. One thing for sure, it is hard to guess the exact time when the colors will be at their peak and when the leaves are going to fall, since it changes year after year. If the cold hits the mountains early, the leaves change colors early. Although Denver has been pretty warm this fall, I had no idea how warm or cold it would be in the mountains. So without much thinking and guessing, Lola and I quickly packed our gear and took off to see the San Juan County. Our objective was to see Ouray, Telluride and the surrounding areas, test the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G DX VR lenses and come back with good pictures. I think we managed to snap a couple of good images, although the weather yet again did not cooperate much with us.

I hate to admit it, but this was my first time travelling to that part of Colorado – I have been living here for over 13 years! Everybody kept telling me to visit the “Switzerland of America”, but various circumstances and other travel plans have been putting off my trip year after year. This year has been super busy for Lola and I, for which we are certainly grateful, but at the same time, it left very little time for personal and family travel. But there is a big difference between a photography trip and a family trip. We knew that our kids would not enjoy it, so with promises to take them to Micky later this year, we took off.

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San Juan Mountains Trip

After a crazy work and travel schedule, we are now back! San Juan mountains were breathtaking, I cannot believe that I have not been there before, although I have lived in Colorado for over 12 years now. The colors were beautiful and vivid, but the skies were too clear without a single cloud…

San Juan Mountains

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Fall colors of this year

The summer is over and I’m putting together a plan to photograph the fall colors of Colorado. The whole transition from green to yellow, then from yellow to red before the leaves fall off from aspens happens in a very short window of time, lasting 2-3 weeks maximum. If it gets rainy or windy, the leaves fall off even quicker, leaving very little time to photograph the magic of the fall.

It was still about a week early as of last weekend, with the greens getting lighter in color and some trees already getting some yellow tint:

Transition

Shot with the Nikon D5000 and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens.

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Photo Walk 2010 Images

Now that our main PC is back up and running with the full amount of memory (yes, it was RAM that was faulty), we are now back on track! While reviewing our 2010 Lightroom catalog today, I realized that I have not posted any images from the 2010 Worldwide Photo Walk, although I did make a promise to share some pictures. I did not encounter anything great or exciting this year, since I was busy enjoying the company of my friends and other Colorado photographers. The Denver group was super fun and everybody had a blast!

Here are some images that Lola and I took that day:

Photo Walk #1

Lola shot with the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G all day and I switched between Nikon 24mm f/1.4G and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G. The above image was taken with the 24mm f/1.4 – love that bokeh!

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Sunrise Reflection

I have so much gear to test, that I’m having a tough time to get out and shoot. Last week I woke up early for some birding at a nearby park and saw this sunrise on the way:

Sunrise Start

The sky redness you see in the above image stood for several minutes before the sun started coming out of the horizon. After taking a couple of shots, I enjoyed the moment of tranquility and as I was getting ready to leave, found this wood piece close-by:

Sunrise Reflection

Too bad there were not any boats around, since it is a small lake…

Captured with Nikon D300 and Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens.

Sunset Storm

Seeing a storm during a sunset is a rare event. As I was driving from a nearby park home with the family, I saw a small rainbow on one side of the sky:

Rainbow

And the below image just a couple of minutes later on the other side:

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Eastern Meadowlark

It took me a while to sit and wait in the car in Florida to get a good shot of this bird. The Western Meadowlark is pretty easy to spot and photograph here in Colorado – I can often get pretty close to them without scaring them away.

Eastern Meadowlark

Shot with Nikon D3s and Nikon 300mm f/4.0 AF-S lens in aperture priority mode, Auto ISO with Minimum Shutter Speed set to 1/1000th, f/10 for increased depth of field.