Wednesday
Sep192018

WIRR 2018, July Week 5

I have a number of long-term photo projects that I’m working on— collections of images on specific subjects that I come back to time and time again. Some of these projects will probably go nowhere, but others might eventually coalesce into something more tangible- a photo book or a collection of prints on a wall in our house. One of these projects is ceiling lamps. Originally inspired by Cole Thompson, the project is similar to Cole’s only in the subject matter. One of the things I like about this series is that I can find images in the strangest of places (like this shot and this shot, both taken in restaurants). The latest image in the series came while watching Toad the Wet Sprocket play a concert at at Washington’s, a club in Fort Collins. It became my favorite image of the week.

 

Ceiling Light, Washington’s

iPhone X (wide-angle lens).

Digital Darkroom. I lowered the exposure as I took the photo, but there was still cleanup to do. I used a brush with lowered exposure to paint out distracting elements around the light (smaller lights, reflections on the ceiling, and so forth). For the main light itself, I used a variety of settings to make the fixture really pop. Contrast was boosted to +100 (!!!), but the other settings were slightly more subtle (highlights +15, shadows -22, whites +28, clarity +40, dehaze +21, saturation +30).

WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.

 

Tuesday
Sep182018

Summer of 2018: Shambhala Mountain Center

The summer is over, but the memories remain. While the summer was going on, I didn’t have time to edit photos and write up the stories to go with them, but now I do. This regular series will look back at the trips and adventures of the summer.

During a weekend of Jeep camping with my cousin Laura and Nate, we decided to take a visit to Shambhala Mountain Center. Shambhala is a Buddhist temple in the foothills near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. They host programs and workshops and offer lodging in cabins and tents. The biggest draw, to a non-Buddhist at least, is the 108-foot tall temple, the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya. The temple houses, among other things, a gigantic Buddha.

The rest of the complex was closed due to a silent meditation retreat being run at the center, but the stupa was open for visitation. While I’m not knowledgable about the religious symbology, the stupa, both inside and out, is a sight to behold. Although I’m not a Buddhist, it still felt right to practice my daily meditation on the cushions inside. Even Nate gave it a try. 

As I looked at the stupa from the outside, I remembered the Buddhist practice of circumambulation, literally walking around temples. I decided to give it a shot just to see what it was like. Since I was still barefoot from my visit inside the temple, I circled the temple on hot sharp gravel without any shoes. While I’m sure the other tourists (and maybe my cousin) thought I was a weirdo, I found it quite meditative. Paying careful attention to the heat and sharpness of the gravel on my feet did drive out other thoughts and helped to focus the mind. Still, one time around was enough; I guess I’m not ready to be a monk yet.

 

Friday
Sep142018

Ten Images from Joshua Tree

Last April, I took my nearly-annual pilgrimage to Joshua Tree National Park. Although I posted a number of images to my Instagram account, I’ve only published one image here. Until now. In no particular order, here are my favorite ten images from this year’s trip.

 

1. Airborne over Joshua Tree

Flying into Palm Springs, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to be in a small regional jet. Coming from Colorado, the flight ends with a traverse across Joshua Tree National Park. This image, captured with my iPhone, shows the low-elevation California desert giving way to the higher-elevation Mojave.

 

2. Quail Mountain


We camped in Juniper Flats. True to its name, Juniper Flats is a relatively flat valley with a fair number of Junipers mixing in with the Joshua trees. This late afternoon image was taken by some boulders near our campsite, looking across the flats to Quail Mountain. Quail Mountain is the highest point in the park, and was to be our destination on our second day.

 

3. Beaver Tail Cactus


If you want staggeringly high cliffs or awesome peaks, you’re better off in Utah or Colorado. Joshua Tree’s beauty is in its subtle details. I love the complex texture on this beaver tail cactus.

 

4. Sunburst, Late Afternoon


I love the look of Joshua Trees, but finding novel ways to photograph them becomes more difficult over the years.

 

5. Joshua Tree Sunrise


Alas, I went back to bed right after shooting this, and missed whatever atmospheric pyrotechnics were coming up next.

 

6. View from Quail Mountain


On top of Quail Mountain, the midday light was hot and harsh. Black and white does better in these conditions. Here I emphasized the alternating bands of color, starting with the black rocks on the mountain peak, and ending with the hazy skyline in the distance.

 

7. Dead Tree


I love dead trees, especially burned ones— the bleached out trunks coupled with blackened branches, the spindly Mandelbrot patterns of the outreached limbs, and the simplicity of it all against a featureless sky.

 

8. Run Rabbit, Run


Juniper Flats was teeming with jack rabbits of every size and variety (and coyotes too). This guy ran through our campsite a couple of times while we were sitting and quietly talking.

 

9. Granite in the Sun

Afternoon sun on the rocks yields the signature Joshua Tree Orange.

 

10. Morning Clouds


Our campsite in Juniper Flats was perched at the base of a hill of granite rocks. When I first camped there in March of 2008, we jokingly referred to it as the Pile… Of Rocks, with a noticeable pause at the end of pile and a heavy stress on the final two words. This year we camped there because it helped block the strong winds on the first day. On our final morning, puffs of cotton filled the sky next to the Pile… Of Rocks and it became my favorite image of the week.

Wednesday
Sep122018

WIRR 2018, July Week 4

The Exchange is a fun and unique outdoor mall concept that opened in Old Town Fort Collins. Constructed using a combination of regular buildings and colorful shipping containers, the newly opened facility has a collection of restaurants and small shops. They’ve covered the place with a collection of whimsical street art, which has been featured on this blog before. This little piece always makes me smile— a gas meter painted to look like a hamster cage. It became my favorite image of the week.

Hamster Gas Meter

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 26.5 mm, f/7.1 at 1/110, ISO 200.

Digital Darkroom. A cartoon subject like this deserved the cartoon treatment. I increased contrast, clarity, vibrance, and saturation. I raised the whites and lowered the blacks. And, no surprise, I used the already saturated and intense Velvia film emulation.

WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.

 

Monday
Sep032018

WIRR 2018, July Week 3

Dorinna was away this weekend, so Nate and I met my friend Kevin down in Denver for a weekend backpacking trip. We hiked to Gibson Lake, in the mountains west of Mt. Evans. There were plenty of day hikers, but once they cleared out we had the entire alpine basin to ourselves. It was a great spot, and we ended up camping above tree line at 11,880’. After camp was set up, Nate ran around the tents, probably happy to no longer be hiking. I didn’t have time to grab my big camera for this spontaneous burst, but fired off this photo with my iPhone at just the right time. While I took more artistic photos over the weekend, none of them warms my heart more than this image of my son running with joy across the tundra. This became my favorite photo of the week.

The Joy of Camping

iPhoneX.

Digital Darkroom. The main thing that needed fixing with this photo was the slightly-blown out sky. I managed that by dropping highlights by -47 (boosting up shadows +8 to compensate). I nudged up contrast just a bit, but with the low-angle light I actually had to reduce clarity to stop the image from looking too crispy.

WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.