Thursday
Sep142017

WIRR 2017, August Week 1

We started our vacation this year with a backpacking trip on the Oh-Be-Joyful trail, just outside Crested Butte, CO. The trail follows a stream with the same name through a wide open glacial valley. The surrounding mountains of the Ruby Range are made up of reddish horizontal bands of formerly sedimentary rock. Underfoot, it’s mostly broken pieces of shale. Spruce and aspen cover the peaks and parts of the valley in splotches of paint. Grays and whites of swirling clouds mixed with patches of hopeful blue. My pack was heavy, with four days worth of food, but I didn’t seem to care. After moderate grades at the beginning, it leveled out and the walking was easy. 

We thought we hit the wilderness boundary, but then hit another sign about an hour later. Our progress was slow but after that we kept it going rather steady. Rain threatened, but it was a passing shower. After some searching, we found a good camp, sheltered and out of sight of the trail, but with a grand view nonetheless. The rain came and went numerous times throughout the evening, but we put up the tent, cooked, ate, and cleaned up without undue difficulty. 

The second day started slowly. I woke up late, and while not cloudy, the whole valley was intensely foggy. That and the general dampness made it hard to get moving. The whole morning was casual, and we didn’t hit the trail until 11:30.

After that, we did pretty good. 

The climb went by quickly. I love the shelf topography here, clearly formed by the formerly-sedimentary rock layers. Democrat basin is especially amazing. Dozens of places to camp. We chose one that was relatively sheltered. We got the tent up just in time for the rain. Only a passing shower this time.

Around 2:00 in the morning wind started to howl and thunder echoed in the distance. A thunderstorm was coming through and it sounded like it might be a nasty one. Instead, it was pretty milquetoast. A little disappointing actually.

As day broke another thunderstorm came through. I started to wonder what kind of day we were going to have. Instead, it was sunny with only a few dissipating clouds. We still had a mellow morning, not leaving camp until 11. But everyone wanted to climb to the top of Oh-be-joyful Pass, and climb we did. It was pretty steep in spots, and the final ascent had the kind of steep tumble/crash/injury slope that never seems to bother me, but is actually quite dangerous. The top, well the whole trip, had great views. My son Nate (8) was pretty excited to make it to the top. I had to spend most of the climb retelling The Hobbit, but the story kept him motoring. We had snacks at the top, and then started down, which is when I took a shot back at the pass, my favorite image of the week.

Oh-Be-Joyful Pass

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm, f/9 at 1/1000, ISO 640.

Digital Darkroom. Mountain shots can be hard to get right. I started off the processing of this one by raising the exposure over 1.5 stops. I lowered the contrast and tweaked highlights and clarity. I dropped the blacks -25 to really deepen them. All of this made the foreground look pretty good, but I then had to fix the sky. I lowered the exposure buy a full stop and added +15 to the contrast with a graduated filter, almost bringing those values back to the original. 

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
Aug272017

WIRR 2017 July Week 5

During my monthly trip to Redlands, I went on a photo walk with my friend Matt McGrath.  We drove to downtown Redlands, and quickly split up to find things worth photographing.  I stumbled across this wonderful little alley way, covered with colorful murals.  The one I liked the best became my favorite image of the week.

King of the Beasts

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at  18mm, f/8 at 1/30; ISO 800.

Digital Darkroom.  The standard kinds of adjustments here.  I pushed the clarity and saturation sliders to +30 and +27 respectively.  I nudged the exposure up half a stop and hit the contrast for +36.  Finally, I gave the whites +7 and the blacks -38. My goal was to make the vibrancy of the colors really pop out, and the subject matter meant that if the result wasn’t entirely lifelike it wouldn’t matter a whole lot.  

 

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.

Thursday
Aug242017

WIRR 2017 July Week 4

Some weeks, I take long trips far from home to make the photos that become my favorites.  Other weeks, I walk downstairs to find the kitchen glowing with red light.  I grabbed my camera, jumped out into the backyard, and made my favorite image of the week.

Sunset of Fire

 

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at  19.6mm, f/22 at 1/60; ISO 400.

 

Digital Darkroom.  As if often the case, the raw image out of the camera is rarely what I remembered seeing, and some adjustments were required to bring it back.  I increased contrast, clarity, saturation and threw in some additional sharpening to make the final image.  The original is below.

 

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.


Saturday
Aug192017

WIRR 2017 July Week 3

“What time is it?”  My wife asked as we woke up in our tent.  We were camped above tree line near the American Lakes, in the Colorado State Forest.  The sun was still rising, and the day promised to be a good one. 

“Time to take pictures.” I replied.  Stopping only to grab the camera and tripod, I set out.  I spent the next hour and a half walking around the area.  I hiked from our camp near the outlet of the lakes up to Snow Lake, and looped around the American Lakes on the way back.  Although there were plenty of people camped nearby, I  saw only one photographer and two fishermen out of bed.  I shot various different subjects throughout the morning.  On the climb up to Snow Lake, I looked back the way I had come.  The light wasn’t too great, as I was shooting into the sun.  I decided to take advantage of that, though, and cranked the aperture down to f/22, causing the sun to turn into a starburst with some great lens flare.  The reflection of the sun in the lake, also with a starburst, made it all work, and turned this into my favorite image of the week.

 

Early Morning at American Lakes

 

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 29mm, f/22 at 1/60, ISO 400.

 

Digital Darkroom. Shooting into the sun results in an image that is underexposed and washed out.  Some worked needed to be done to bring this back to what I remember seeing when I pressed the shutter.  It took some time experimenting before I found the settings that worked.  First, I lowered highlights (-51), giving definition to the suns.  Increasing exposure (+1), contrast (+18) and clarity (+25) restored the light in the foreground to what I was expecting.  The mountains got a lot of snow this winter, and it melted late in the season.  The grass was a spectacular green, so I pumped up the saturation of that green to +70.  All of that left the foreground in great shape.  For the background, I dragged down a graduated filter, using the brush tool to fix the fact that the horizon line wasn’t perfectly straight.  For that filter, I lowed the exposure by almost another two stops, pumped up more contrast (+28) and increased the saturation (+37) to bring back the blue in the sky.   The original image appears below.

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
Aug012017

WIRR 2017, July Week 2

On Saturday afternoon, the family went down to Horsetooth Reservoir to try out the inflatable kayak we had purchased last summer. The included foot-pump stopped working partway through the inflation process, but the craft was seaworthy enough for my wife and son to take their maiden voyage.  I paced them on the shoreline, coming across a stand of Cottonwood trees.  What made the stand unique was the high-water level of the reservoir.  The trees were completely submerged, and most were surrounded by people swimming and wading.  I found a tree without people nearby and took some shots.  I loved the soft colors- green from the reflections of the leaves in the water, yellow where the shallow water covered the sand underneath, and of course the blues from the sky.  This became my favorite image of the week.

 

Submerged

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at  39mm, f/5 at 1/6000, ISO 400.

 

Digital Darkroom.  My vision here involved a soft palette of hazy colors- impressionism.  I punched up the exposures, and surprisingly the contrast as well.  In the tone curve tool, I dramatically lowered the highlights a lot to take out the light reflections on the water, leaving me with relatively dull soft light.  I punched up the vibrance to emphasize the yelllows, greens, and blues.  Clarity is one of my favorite adjustments, and I often crank it pretty high.  This time I dropped it, aiming for soft, not sharp.  The results were good, but something else was needed.  I pulled up the PhotoToaster app and added a canvas-like texture.  Now I had what I was looking for.

 

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.