Monday
Mar262018

WIRR 2018, March Week 2

For Nate’s spring break, we headed to a friend’s house in Oak Creek for a few days of skiing at Steamboat Springs. We left late, with the idea that we would stop along the way and do a short snowshoe. We chose the Walton Peak trailhead in Rabbit Ears pass. It turned out to be a good choice, and we had a fun little three-mile jaunt. At the beginning, though, we got some resistance from Nate and during one of those periods I started shooting pictures. Many of these will be appearing on Instagram soon as a mini-project titled Snow Shadows. But before I started on those images, I tried a few trees against the skyline (reject) and then a few shots of a snow-covered brook (jackpot). I love the soft curves, the mystery of the dark gap in the snow, and the cool tones of this wintry day. It became my favorite image of the week. 

Snow-covered Creek

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 32mm, f/5.6 at 1/950, ISO 200.

Digital Darkroom. When I shot this photo I was 100% positive it was going to end up as black and white. So much for that— I loved the soft blue too much. I ended up raising the exposure by half a stop, and punching up the vibrance. I also lowered the light temperature to increase the blues. Although originally shot with Fujichrome Velvia emulation, I changed it to Provia in post; the Velvia added too much of a magenta cast. I finished processing by using the spot removal tool to take out a few pieces of dirt on the snow.

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.

 

Sunday
Mar252018

Le Grand Voyage — Day 24

This was our first night in a hotel.  In the morning, we were faced with our first €15 breakfast (each).  In the past we might have just paid this.  By now, we knew we could get better croissants for 1/4 of the price half a block away.  And we were right.  We started by scoping out the town a little, and then heading off for our first castle.


My first big realization of the day was remembering how much I missed driving a standard.  Zipping around on tiny country and city roads, constantly shifting, surging forward, braking. What fun.  Hard to believe I was driving a diesel.


We zipped our way through several small towns to Chateâu de Chambord.  Chambord is a magnificant castle, originally built as a hunting lodge.  





Numerous conical towers sprout up fantastically from the central keep, inside a large courtyard inside an outside wall.  The rooms felt small- not cramped small, but I-could-live-in-a-room-like-this small.  Dozens of fireplaces were needed to keep the rooms warm in the winter.  The central keep had four main towers, joined in the middle by a beautiful double-helix circular staircase.  




From the top of the castle, one had spectacular views of the fantastic spires, as well of the extensive grounds.






After seeing our fill, we took a scenic route home, tricking our GPS into keeping us away from the major towns.  We had a little bit of a hard time finding a restaurant we were in the mood for, falling back on a creperie.  I had a gallette with... hamburger?  Desert was a crepe with a Grand Marnier flambé.  Interesting.

 

Monday
Mar192018

WIRR 2018, March Week 1

This week I was at the Esri DevSummit conference in Palm Springs, California. When I travel west, the time zone difference traveling west allows me to get up an hour earlier, and in Palm Springs I try to use that time to photograph. I got out twice this week, and shot a number of images that have appeared on my Instagram feed. Although I usually focus on architecture or cacti, I spotted this particular photo when I looked higher up into the sky. It was a crystal-clear morning, and this wispy cirrus cloud stood out. The wispiness was mirrored in the fronds of a palm tree, and this became my favorite image of the week.

Cloud and Palm

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 41mm, f/6.4 at 1/640, ISO 200, Fujichrome Velvia emulation.

Digital Darkroom. I lowered the exposure just a little bit, then massively increased the contrast and clarity to really accentuate the wispiness of the clouds and palm tree. I lowered the exposure of the palm tree to add detail back in the leaves.

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.

 

Sunday
Mar112018

WIRR 2018, February Week 4

At the top of the Sundance chairlift at Snowy Range Ski Area, there is a grove of aspen trees. They are gracefully bent over, white bark standing out against the commonly grey skies. They are especially lovely during a snowfall, and as we rode the lift the snow was just starting. I didn’t dare to take a picture on the lift, as these trees are 10 feet from the end. On this particular day, we skied underneath the lift, giving me an opportunity to click the shutter. This became my favorite image of the week.

Aspens

iPhone X, telephoto lens.

Digital Darkroom. On this image I increased the exposure and contrast, reduced the whites and the blacks, and added clarity. After converting to black & white, I adjusted the color channels. Then I went through and painted the major tree branches with a brush, increasing the exposure of the aspen bark. Finally, I brought the image into Touch Retouch to remove some distracting snow flakes.

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.

 

Sunday
Mar042018

Le Grand Voyage — Day 23

Travel day.  What could be easier — exit the apartment, get the rental car at Orly airport, and drive to Amboise.  As Nate would say "easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy."  Right?  Right?  

As we packed over the course of the last few nights, it became obvious that we had done too much shopping in Paris.  So the first thing we did was to go shopping for another suitcase.  We then realized that with suitcases, backpacks, and camera bags, we had nine pieces of luggage between the 2½ of us.  We briefly, very briefly, contemplated carrying this stuff through the Métro or via a bus.  That wasn't going to happen.

Not a problem.  We carried our bags down to the ground floor and Nate and I waited in the foyer.  Dorinna would walk the seven minutes to the Métro, and get a taxi at the stand.  She would bring it to the apartment, we'd load up, take the cab to Orly airport and get our rental car.  Voilà!

We started texting back and forth.  She had found the taxi stand, but the taxis were empty.  She tried in the nearby convenience store and at the Métro, but for the first time ever, didn't find anyone who spoke English.  "Manifestation" was the word that kept getting repeated over and over.  Dorinna gave me the phone numbers of the taxi companies, but they all just went to answering machines in French.  She started to walk to the much larger train station two steps away and I looked up the word Manifestation with my translation app.

Demonstration


Uh oh.  Are they on strike? Dorinna typed in "Are the taxis on strike?" into her transation app, and got an emphatic "Oui!" when she showed the French to the Métro woman.

What now?

Messages conversation between Dorinna (gray) and Rich (blue)


Our first idea was to walk two blocks to the local Hertz office, which we did, and although they tried to be helpful, there were no cars.  We had to get to Orly airport for our car.  What's the best way to Orly?  Why the Orly bus of course.  So the three of us got on the Métro for the four-stop ride to the Orly bus station.  Thankfully we had left our luggage in the apartment.  We decided we would get the car, drive it to the apartment, load up, and then drive out.  Other than the whole "drive a car in Paris" thing, it as a perfect plan.

 
Well... the Orly bus wasn't running.  Why?  The taxi cabs had blocked off the roads leading to the bus stop.  Seriously.  This was getting troublesome — would other roads be blocked off too?  

Back onto two more trains, including the most crowded, packed-like-sardines train I've ever been on.  But... we made it to Orly!  And they had our car! Um... could we get out of the airport?  The car guy gave his best French shrug of indifference and said "maybe."

We decided to try.  More delays to get the kid seat for Nate and we were finally off.  I'm the map guy, so I navigated.  The problem was Dorinna had never really totally completely mastered driving a standard transmission, which is what we had to drive.  And her last attempt was six years ago.  Parisian drivers are very nearly insane, and it was rush hour...



It was a jerky, long, stressful drive.  We were passed several times on the left, and several times on the right- on a single-lane road.  We drove the wrong way on a one-way street under construction.  But we eventually made it, and we parked across the street from our apartment in what might have been a free parking spot.  Or maybe it was a No Parking spot.  I don't know. I tried my best to shrug with indifference like the rental car guy.  We took turns loading the car, and we were soon on our way again.

The drive continued to be stressful, and our two GPS units gave different sets of directions.  We went in a large circle at least twice.  But eventually, eventually we broke free of the city and hit the open road...



The town of Amboise was a little oasis of calm.  Our hotel looked out directly at a castle and the late afternoon light was wonderful.  The main street was mostly pedestrian and lined with restaurants.  We chose an Italian one, and I dug into pasta carbonara.  It was a relaxing end to a stressful day.

View from our hotel room





Postscript:  We found out later that the taxi companies were protesting Uber.  They had blocked off all the roads into the airport terminals.  There was even some violence, including an attack on Courtney Love's Uber.  The only ways into or out of the airport were via the train and the rental car garage, so we were pretty lucky.