Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Preparing for Nature Photography Summit

The last couple of days I have been getting ready for the North American Nature Photography Summit in Jacksonville, FL.  Some have you probably are asking what I am going to teach. Actually I am going to spend 3 days as a student of some of the great nature, wildlife and landscape photographers that I admire like Art Wolfe, Clyde Butcher, George Lepp, Lewis Kemper, Tony Sweet, Rob Sheppard and many more. The itinerary is here: http:www.naturephotographysummit.com  Lynn is traveling with me, but will not be attending the Summit. She is taking stacks of our photos from the last year and organizing them into photo books.

Friday, February 22, 2013

It is Photo Editing Time

I shoot all of my travel photographs in the RAW format.  Photos shot in RAW need to be edited in Photoshop, Lightroom or another editing program before they can be printed or displayed. I shoot RAW because it gives me more information and more security that I am going to be able to do something with even marginal pictures. So, we are back from 3 weeks of traveling. I have photos to edit from Virginia and Colorado.  More later.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Home Bound - Warmer Weather - Hooray!

I am writing this from our Southwest Airlines flight home to Tampa.  Oh, how I love the technology of being able to use wi-fi at 30,000 feet. We made a stop in Columbus. We stepped off of the flight in cold 25 degree weather and blowing snow. Sounds familiar, doesn't it. We love traveling to snow bound places like our occasional mountain home in Breckenridge, CO.  But, we also always love coming home..unpacking...jumping into shorts and a golf shirt. We really just love life and travel is a huge part of it.

NANPA, The North American Nature Photographer's Summit is in Jacksonville this year. It is next week and I am thrilled to attend the 3 day seminar this year.  This year's seminar features the World's top nature photographers like Clyde Butcher, George Lepp, Rob Sheppard,  Guy Tal, Lewis Kemper and Art Wolfe. Interested? All information is here:  http://www.naturephotographysummit.com/

More from sea level shortly.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Enjoying the final day in Colorado with family

Yesterday, we spent the day watching our daughter Heather spend her hard earned money on things to improve her house. She intelligently decided to buy all new appliances for her kitchen and take advantage of  Presidents Day savings.  She did real well and spent the remainder of her fun money on a new 39 inch TV and Blu Ray player for her bedroom. I am jealous.

I decided to get in one great long walk in before heading back to the Sunshine State.   I did almost 5 miles including a loop around  the recently re- opened Harriman Lake Park in Littleton ( Harriman Lake Park has Re-Opened) . The park just reopened last week after spending 2 years being renovated. The Park really isn't quite ready for prime time yet, since the lake is near dry. However the 1.4 mile  trail around the lake is good.  The only wildlife that I spotted today were a couple of squirrels and the usual flock of Canadian Geese. I did spot a coyote nearby though. The coyote must have been interested in dining on goose!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

From 2 Degrees to 55 Degrees in One Day!

We just came down from the mountain this morning. When we left Breckenridge the temperature was 2 degrees F.  When we arrived in Littleton the temperature was 55 degrees.  What a difference a little altitude makes. Breckenridge is at 9600 feet base elevation with the peaks of the ski trails near 13,000 feet.  Littleton is one of the most western suburbs of Denver, the Mile High City.  This is one of the secrets that Colorado residents would prefer to keep for themselves...that you can live in the mild Denver area and in less than an hour one can be skiing in magnificent powder.  This is President's Day weekend.  I-70 was jam packed with SUVs with roof racks sporting skis and snowboards.

What an idyllic day today in spite of the cold temperatures in Breck.  The skies are a cloudless clear blue palette that I affectionately refer to as Colorado Blue. The only wildlife that we spotted was a pair of llamas from someone's ranchette on the outskirts of Littleton as well as a large unidentified  hawk in one of the trees along the highway. Perhaps I will get out with my camera for a few high 
country photos tomorrow.
The Dredge on the frozen Blue River in Breckenridge.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Best Snows of the Year in Breckenridge

Snow has been falling pretty constantly in Breckenridge  since Tuesday night making for excellent skiing. The groomers have been out nightly so when the snow continues it is nice soft powder on top of those groomed trails.  I got in about 3 hours of skiing yesterday. It was cold on the lifts with the chilly temps below the teens and blowing snow.

It is always fun and therapeutic to get into the hot tub for awhile after a day on the mountain.  After freshening up we were off to last night's dining selection at Blue River Bistro.  Lynn and I had their trout selection.  Lynn had the Ruby Red Trout and I had their special trout that was encrusted with walnuts.  Both entrees were delicious. We had a great Malbec wine from Argentina with our meal, but the highlight for me was the Snickers Martini that I had as an after dinner drink. Just great. Dining is always a big part of our trips to Breck. This small town has one of the largest percentage of high quality restaurants of any that I know of.

Happy Valentines Day everyone. We are taking the wives to The Hearthstone tonight. Dining is in a beautiful old Gold Rush days home and the ownership, chefs and staff  have been there forever. The Hearthstone has been our favorite restaurant in Breckenridge since coming here the first time in 1996.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fat Tuesday in the Rockies

Tuesday was beautiful in Breckenridge with cold temperatures topping in the teens. I skied by myself ...got in 10 runs under beautiful blue skies. I got back to the Lodge at 2 PM.  Lynn heated up some leftover Mac and cheese from our wonderful dinner on Monday night at Briar Rose. We had never had the Mac and cheese there. It came highly recommended. 

This was Fat Tuesday and Breckenridge takes advantage of every opportunity for a party. We stood along Main Street and watched the short, funky Fat Tuesday Parade. I took my Nikon 70-200mm Nikon lens. I got some interesting people shots, but I probably could have gotten by with a wide angle lens. I will post my photos here when I return home. 

Dinner Tuesday night was at Steak and Rib.  It is a favorite of ours. Lynn and I had the lamb t-bones...Fabulous.  Our friends had the elk which they really enjoyed. 

Looks like another great day on the mountain. More later.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

A great day with the family in the Rockies

We woke up to a snowy morning yesterday in Breckenridge.  I was excited that my daughter, Heather and granddaughter Savannah were planning to drive up to spend a day in the snow. Snow was good on the mountain. We spent most of our time on Peak 7. I like that part of the mountain for it's great cruising runs over natural terrains. It reminds me of playing golf  on a Scottish links course. Heather likes it because snowboarders need the steeps to be happy. We spent about 3 hours on the mountain and enjoyed lunch at the restaurant at Peak 8. We love the chili on the mountain, but we were surprised that they were sold out so I had a chicken pot pie...very good.  Heather had clam chowder and we shared a huge wedge salad.  Hopefully, Savannah will take snowboarding lessons next year.

Dinner last night at Michaels. Lynn & I love their White Lasagna (seafood). Long wait...over an hour on a Sunday night!  Looks like everyone from Denver was here for the great new snow. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lots of Snow in the Moubtains

We are at 9600 feet in Breckenridge. We drove up yesterday in snow. The Rockies in Central Colorado were expecting 8-14 inches of snow by midday Monday. So, we got just what we were expecting for our ski holiday...SNOW. On the drive up we spotted 6 bighorn sheep right along I-70. That is funny since there is a bighorn sheep viewing area just east of Georgetown which is only a few miles up the road. In 15 years we have never spotted a bighorn at that spot. Wildlife is abundant in this part of Colorado, even in the dead of winter. We usually see red fox. We see mountain goats when we drive up to the summit of Mt. Evans and occasionally bighorn sheep along the road.  Since we have our timeshare in the mountains it makes it easy for our daughter and granddaughter to come up and enjoy the snow too. It is quite a contrast from Denver which has been brown and dry...yet only an hour away.

Friday, February 8, 2013

On the road again...Colorado

Lynn & I are in Colorado. Yes, you can't keep us at home in Florida for long before wanderlust kicks in. We are watching our talented 4 year old granddaughter grow up so quickly. Yesterday, She surprised us by creating an absolutely cool stick figure portrait of Gramma on Lynn's iPad. I know that she is really getting the Hutchinson itch to have a tablet of her own.  It looks like Heather has cloned a little artist.

 The weather here in Colorado has been gorgeous.  Cloud free sunny days.  Temps in the 40s. A dusting of light snow on Wednesday. We have been thinking about those folks in the northeast that are about to get slammed with another winter storm. We pray for their safety.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Home Again..if only for a couple of days

845 miles.  That's the driving distance back to our home in Florida from our recent vacation stay in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I am glad to be home, if only for a couple of days. We anticipated the cold weather.  We really didn't consider that the folks in Virginia really don't drive well in snow...and the area just doesn't have efficient snow removal.  We experienced 2-3 inches of snow during the 1st couple of days of our visit.  We later learned that there had been 600 wrecks that day due to the nasty weather!

When we have a driving destination in mind we generally plan on driving approximately 600 miles.  That usually means that we depart from our hotel between 7 and 8 in the morning and arrive at our hotel stop at around 5 in the afternoon.  I would prefer to make a few stops along the way and explore historic places and different landscapes, but that usually just doesn't work if we are to make the most of our destination.  On this trip, we did 600 miles the first day which got us just outside of Jacksonville International Airport.  We generally don't make reservations for these stops, but we do pay attention to holiday travel, big events in the areas that we are going so that we don't get stuck without a room!  Early in our marriage with our kids we decided to return from Dallas to our home which then was in Ft. Lauderdale over the 4th of July weekend.  We were getting tired and started looking for a hotel near Tallahassee.  There were none to be found with any vacancies.  We finally stopped at a rest area near Perry, Florida and slept in the car.  It only takes one time like this to cure me!