Back Roads of Life

Kebler pass in Autumn
Autumn Road Trip

 

The plans are made for my Autumn 2018 road trip.  I’ll be heading out to the San Juan Mountains this year during the last week of September with my good friend Jonathan Steele.

In a perfect world the weather will throw everything at us. I don’t really look for perfect blue skies and sunny days. I like drama in my scenes. A little mud doesn’t hurt either.

This photo was taken on Kebler Pass a few years ago on a road trip with my good friend Merlin Peck. It’s having those things to look forward to that make life worth living.

Under The Weather

Photograph of Mt. Bierstadt
Mt. Bierstadt as Viewed from Mt. Evans

I’ve been a bit under the weather these past few days. I have no motivation to get out for photographs until this head/sinus thing clears up.

Which brings me to this photo of Mt. Bierstadt. Bierstadt is a 14,065 ft peak next to Mt. Evans. Taken on June 20th, 2016 during a photo tour from near the summit of Mt. Evans after a storm front moved through. It’s a little gnarly driving up to the summit in a snow/hail/rain storm but the payoff was this spectacular scene near sunset.

Mt. Evans was under the weather on that occasion, so this is my symbolism for the day. There is usually sunshine on the horizon, you just have to wait for it.

Scenic Saturday

Photograph of Red Mountain Creek
Red Mountain Creek – Colorado

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend here in the Rocky Mountains.

Trudy is at the cabin on one of her home improvement missions. I tend to step aside and watch the wood chips fly when she takes on a project. The photos from her adventure are looking promising. I just love having a gal who loves tools.

Small Surprises

Colorado’s San Juan Mountains in Autumn

For me, landscape photography sells almost 2:1 better than wildlife. My most popular theme is Autumn photography in Colorado.

Sometimes I take the scenic beauty in Colorado for granted. I’ve been doing this for long enough, going to my normal haunts around the state begin to feel redundant.

What I’ve discovered is to not concentrate on the iconic locations and scenes, photographed by thousands, over and over.

These days I spend more time looking for scenery in the nooks and crannies along the back roads. Areas that one doesn’t normally associate with group workshops and camera club outings.

I don’t recall ever seeing a photograph of this location, though the area is heavily covered by shutterbugs.

The best days are when you find small surprises.

Stop And Smell The Roses

Colorado Landscape Photographer
Livermore, Colorado

As we approach the opening of moose photography season here in Colorado, the weather has been a mixed bag as usual.

The saying is “Springtime in the Rockies”, which is commonly used to describe the drastic changes in weather patterns. It’s not uncommon to have Summer weather one day and four inches of snow the next. And that’s what’s been happening this year.

I’ll probably be offline for a few days as we make our annual trek to Red Feather Lakes to get our cabin opened for the season.

This photo was taken a couple of Summers ago. I’ve begun to explore my own backyard for landscape scenes that I’ve previously taken for granted. When one drives through an area often enough, it’s easy to forget to see things. I drive by scenes like this all the time in Northern Colorado, so now, this year, I intend to stop and smell the roses.

That’s A Different Story

Bull moose in a lake. Northern Colorado
Bull Moose – Northern Colorado

I suppose I’m a traditional type of person in that I find emotional comfort in certain traditions.

For internet purposes, I practice the tradition of “Moose Monday.”

I’m not quite certain of the origins of “Moose Monday” as it’s been observed by quite a few people I associate with. I’m I the reason? I don’t think so, but I may have contributed to the delinquency of others.

The Moose Collective. I think the first guy other than me who I recall using the phrase was Matt Dirkson and he too appears to have this insatiable appetite for photographing wild moose but we aren’t alone. Birds of a feather so to speak, it was inevitable that we collide and join a growing a photographic tradition of naming specific photographic themes for days of the week. Some days are better than others, literally.

Still, no one person gets credit for anything organizational in a collective. It’s more symbiotic than organized. We have “Moose Mommas” in the group too, so it isn’t a guy thing, I know that much.

These things aren’t just limited to Moose either. Us moose people in the collective are sort of a sub-collective. There are many sub-collectives in photography and we all appear to be traditional people from what I can see. Many of us are obcessed with our traditional ways, so we find our collectives and carry on.

To add to the confusions, I’ve picked up a nick-name as well.”The Moose Whisperer.” I’m not certain of the origin of that name, as I’ve heard it used many times over the years describing me but that’s a different story.

 

Wednesday’s Photograph

Sunset on the windows section of arches national park
Arches National Park, Utah

I’m still holed up in my office working on Internet stuff but this warm weather is calling me to get outside.

I’ve started a new project helping a blind friend build a website and that to me seems more important at the moment than more photos of Blue Heron.  I have photos of Blue Heron.

I’ll be patient until spring is in full swing.

 

Try It, You’ll Like It

Colorado Landscape Photographer Gary Gray
Georgetown Loop NGRR

It is “Train Tuesday” isn’t it?

I’ll use this photo as the example shot for today’s blog post.

For the amateur photographer looking to better understand compositions in landscape photography.

There’s a concept called “Previsualization” photography gurus often preach.

There’s another concept I call “revisualization.”

Previsualization in essence is thinking about what your photo is going to look like before you actually see it and make the image. Previsualize your scene, when you see the required elements you have something to work from because it’s recognizable. It works, if you have capacity for abstract thought. All abstract thought ability mileage varies from photographer to photographer though.

Revisualization is different from all that, but it plays into previsualization as a precursor.

I often challenge myself to shooting with “one camera, one lens” for a day of heavy photography. This forces me to use that lens exclusively for an extended period of time and learn exactly how it will perform on that body and in general on other bodies in dynamic situations.

My first choice in lenses for this exercise are prime lenses. For example, the blog photograph today was taken with a Canon EOS 1Ds MKII using the EF 50mm f/1.4 during one of my photography workshops. I shot with the above mentioned camera/lens combination that entire day. My physical location was determined by the position my client wanted to be in. I was there to assist, not do my own thing. I get the shot I take once the assistance isn’t needed. Now I’m in a position not of my choosing, with a fixed camera/lens and I have to find a shot at the last second.

A fixed camera/lens combination automatically takes you out of your comfort zone because it removes the possibility of certain types of shots. You’ll often find that you have to compose a shot on the fly and it’s not necessarily the previsualized scene you had in mind. A couple hundred of frames in, if you’re learning anything, you’ll literally get the picture.

When it’s all said and done, you could wind up with some really nice photos you may not have thought of if you had brought that big super-zoom instead.

Getting out of your comfort zone is a good way to learn.

Try it, you’ll like it.

My 2018 Colorado Landscape Photo Tours Are Now Open For Booking

Colorado Landscape Photographer Gary Gray
The San Juan Mountains

 

I have taken a couple of weeks off from getting photos and have been working in the office on some long overdue web site updates and such.

Google never liked my main business web site due to it not being “mobile friendly.” I don’t really care what Google wants me to do, but I have to be realistic. If my web site doesn’t show up on a mobile phone web search, that’s people who aren’t finding me.

I design and maintain my own and others web sites and as I grow older, it’s become a challenge learning the ins-and-outs of SEO optimization and site functionality.

Basic redesigns are done and online now. I’m still doing fine tweaking on some of the pages here and there.

I’ve just added the “Colorado Landscape Photo Tour” page to the main web page. That should get me in the search results. My goal is to have everything I’m doing turn up on page one google search results. Should be there by the end of this month.